Saturday, September 27, 2008


Perry's mom, sister Faith, sister Holly, and niece Emma Faith are here for the weekend - Perry and Bailey are feeling very outnumbered! We are having a wonderful time hanging out and getting to know Emma Faith. I wish I could post a hundred pictures - she's so beautiful and happy. Sarah, especially, is in love with her. (I think Abby would be more enchanted with her if she felt better, but she has lost her voice and feels a bit puny). Sarah is attached to Emma and holds her, shakes her rattle, helps get her dressed, feeds her a bottle, and wants to know if she can get a baby sister for Christmas! (uh...that would be a no). Even Bailey loves this baby, and he doesn't jump on her or try to get in her face.

We went to Build-a-Bear today because Auntie Holly had given the girls gift certificates for their birthdays and we'd been waiting to use them. Sarah built a High School Musical bear and named her "Musically," while Abby built a sparkly purple bear and named her "Princess." After the bears were built and dressed, Perry posed with his favorite girls (minus me, of course, because I was holding the camera!) I thought this was such a cute pic - too bad you can't see Emma Faith!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Bus

Everyone acts surprised that I let my girls ride the bus. I guess that's because I'm a bit of a control freak (especially about my girls), and that darn bus is just outside my comfort zone. But I've let them ride it home every day, even the very first day. We have about 15 kids who get off at our stop, and they all look out for S&A, so that gives me some comfort. Until today. At 3:00 my phone rang, and it was their school. Sarah had missed the bus. But don't worry, they said, she's fine, she's not upset, and there's another bus that goes right by our stop so they just put her on that bus instead. They told me to just wait a minute after Abby got off, and Sarah's bus should be right behind her. Well, I knew that wasn't exactly right. Obsessive mom that I am, I've looked at the bus routes. There is another neighborhood bus, but it doesn't turn off the main road and pass our street. So I needed to walk up a block to catch it. In the meantime, Abby's teacher called to let me know that she had taken Sarah to the second bus and even offered to ride with her, but Sarah was fine. It all worked out, despite the confusion. Sarah was a little upset once she saw me, but I was so proud of her for the way she handled it and held herself together. It turns out that Sarah had a substitute today, and she didn't let them go early enough. Sarah went to get Abby (like she does everyday, sweet girl), but Abby was already gone (and I doubt that it even occurred to Abby that she should look for Sarah). So by the time Sarah finally decided to go to the bus without Abby, it was too late.
I'll try to let them ride on Monday, ... but no promises.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fun with Costumes!

On Sunday I went to the costume sale at Children's Dance Foundation in Homewood. The girls LOVE to dress up, and I wanted some new fun clothes for them. I found some great things, and the girls have been having so much fun trying out the new costumes and playing with the awesome scarves.
Chick update: One of the eggs cracked today. Sarah said they were scientists and they looked inside to see if they could figure out what happened to it. No conclusions were reached.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's All Coming Together

Just an update on the writing and reading. First the writing: they are both doing great with their "kidspell" and usually don't ask for help when they're trying to write things. They sound it out, and I can usually read what they write. Yesterday Abby came home with "book report"about a book called Apple Picking Day, and her favorite part of the book was "Goweg tow the frm" (going to the farm). Sarah did sticker spelling yesterday and spelled "pig", "cat", "lam", and "cow". I think they get it.
On the reading front, I've been hesitant to say that they're reading, because they aren't very confident yet, and sometimes they don't even want to try. But tonight, they both sounded out books that they didn't know (early readers), and they both recognize some sight words, can sound out the easy words, and are very good at using the pictures to get context and help them guess at the words they don't know. So I think I can safely say that they're reading. How exciting!
At school today, they put eggs in the incubator. In 21 days, they'll have baby chicks! I forgot my camera today, but I used Mrs. K's camera, and I'll try to get a pic to post here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Lies We Tell Our Kids

Wow - I've been a blogging fool this weekend! I just keep thinking of things I want to remember! Tonight, Sarah had a mosquito bite. The bugs love her, unfortunately. She put two different kinds of itch medicine on it, but nothing was helping, and she was driving us crazy with her complaints. So then Perry told her that a pink permanent marker would make it stop itching. He said he learned that when he was a nurse, and he read it in a book. She bought it, hook, line, and sinker. He said that only pink works, and it has to be a permanent marker. Later she found another bite to put it on, and asked me to do it, but I said that only licensed professionals can use a permanent marker for medicinal purposes; only a doctor or a nurse. Aren't we terrible?

Definitely NOT the Alabama State Fair

A couple of weeks ago, our neighbor mentioned that the Alabama State Fair was coming to Pelham this year. Pelham is about 10 minutes from our house, so we were pretty excited. I googled it to get more information, and found out that it's actually a controversial topic. Evidently the state fairgrounds are in Birmingham, in an area that many (most?) people consider fairly dangerous, and the fair hasn't happened in a few years. Now this new company is coming to town with a fair, and calling it the State Fair, but our Mayor is adamant that it is NOT the State Fair. Those of you who don't live here probably don't know that our mayor is crazy. Nuts. He recently formed a committee to try to get the Summer Olympics here in 2020 - he's definitely off his rocker. But I digress - I just wanted you to understand why I wasn't concerned by his opposition, and why I was still very excited about the (Not) Alabama State Fair.
Today, we stopped for cash at the ATM (because fairs are ridiculously expensive these days) and headed to Pelham. We knew we'd made a mistake the second we pulled in. This was not a fair. At best, it was a carnival. It was about 1/10 the size of the Greater Gulf State Fair in Mobile. Perry and I were disappointed, but the girls saw the ferris wheel and started squealing, so we decided to make the best of it. While it was a small venue, and the only livestock was in the petting zoos, we still had a great time. S&A ate their first corn dogs (how is that even possible? 5 years old and never had a corn dog?), rode their first ferris wheel, rode every kiddie ride available, walked through their first fun house maze (while P & I were laughing hysterically watching them bump into walls), and generally had a fantastic morning. We finished with some cotton candy and a few minutes of a High School Musical performance. $95 and 3 hours later, we were home and ready for a nap.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Environmental Print

Galleria Field Trip - From A to Z

Field Trip

Another milestone: the girls are going on their first field trip today. Both of their classes, plus one more, are going to the Galleria for an environmental print scavenger hunt. I'm going to chaperone, but I'm meeting them at the mall instead of riding the bus.

Abby was NOT happy about wearing her ugly gray school t-shirt today. While they don't have to wear them, it is encouraged because it makes it so much easier to keep up with everyone. And I knew that if I didn't make her wear it today, she would never wear it in the future. So, Sarah and I worked hard to convince her that it looks really really cute with a skirt. I'm not sure she totally bought it, but she did finally give in.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How Quickly They Learn

It's been less than two weeks since I posted about how differently the girls were learning to read. I'm blown away by how much they've learned in such a short time. Today Abby came home with some sticker spelling. Up until now, this has consisted of a column of stickers, and a letter by each sticker for the beginning sound of that sticker. So, for example, she would put a heart sticker on the page, and then write an "h" by it. Like I said earlier, she hasn't brought home any work showing "kid spell". Today, though, her list had 7 items. If I get ambitious, I'll scan it and post it here. But for now, here's her list:
sofac (snowflake)
grl (girl)
bala sipz (ballet slippers)
pegwn (penguin)
fawr (flower)
hrt (heart)
balay (ballet)
Her teacher wrote "WOW," and I agree! Then, after dinner, I was downstairs playing Starfall with Sarah, and Abby was upstairs in the playroom. She came down and handed me a note, then went back up. This is what her note said:
"Mom Pez play in plarm wt me" (Mom please play in the playroom with me.)
I'm seriously blown away.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Separation is Official

After a week, it's apparent that the new sleeping arrangements are definitely working. Everyone is sleeping later, even Abby. And Abby is loving the "pink" room, because a) it's pink, b) it has a big bed, and c) mostly because there's a bright street light that shines in and allows her to see her books after we say goodnight. I told the girls that we would find time (when????) to decorate Abby's new room and redo Sarah's room and get it all "just right". Abby understands that she'll need to move out of her room when we have company, and she's fine with that. I think she's just so proud and excited to have her very own room. I'm really proud of Sarah - I thought this would be very hard for her, and I expected to hear her calling me for the first few nights until she got used to being alone, but she's been very happy about the change and hasn't been a bit anxious or concerned.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Liver Walk

We had such a fun morning. We were at the Galleria at 8am for the Liver Walk, to raise money for the UAB Liver Center. Astellas (Perry's employer) was one of the sponsers, and P had a booth. This was their first year, so it was a pretty small crowd, but it was one of the better walks I've done. First of all, it was inside - AWESOME! They had Chick-fil-a biscuits for everyone, lots of goodies at various tables (including stickers and great coupons for Build-a-Bear), and 4 clowns making balloon animals and painting faces.

Sarah and I walked FAST to keep up with Abby's hopping and running, and we won the "race" (everything is a competition in this family). Then the girls got their faces painted (a bunny for Abby and a butterfly for Sarah) and asked for balloon flowers. We finished with a carousel ride and were out of there before 9am! I had promised Krispy Kreme (before I knew we were having biscuits, obviously), so off we went for a doughnut. Abby's classmate and friend Katie was there, so it was an extra-special KK morning.

P took them to the library before lunch, so I was able to take a little nap. I'm feeling a little under the weather and hope it's just allergies. This afternoon we went for a playdate at Lauren's house, and then had dinner at Johnny Ray's. A full but fun day for all!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dance party

The girls have been playing dress-up with my clothes lately - I guess the closet FULL of dress-up clothes in the playroom just isn't enough anymore! So, here are some cute pics of their ensembles. One day they put on a fashion show, and then yesterday they had a dance party. Sarah has become very attached to this shirt/mini dress - I think she needs a gold hoop belt, big hoop earrings, and some go-go boots!


Sarah's class is making a scarecrow for Aldridge Gardens. Today the other room moms and I helped the kids create their own little scarecrow person, decorate an apron with their handprints, and make a big scarecrow. All the kids had fun with it, and I'm excited to see how it looks when we get it all set up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Trial Separation

Sometimes, even though two people might love each other very much, they just reach a point where their differences become too great. Maybe they've tried to find ways to compromise, again and again looking for a way to make it work out, but each time they fail. And the more they try to stay together, the more apparent it becomes that it just isn't working. So finally, out of despair, they talk, and agree to a trial separation. Nothing permanent, not yet, just take it one day at a time and see how it feels.
That's what happened in our house last night. After over five years together, Sarah and Abby have decided to try sleeping in different rooms (I had you going there for a second, didn't I?). Their sleeping patterns are just too different. Abby requires very little sleep, and Sarah requires an inordinant amount of sleep, and every day the problem gets worse. Yesterday, Sarah was like a girl possessed - tearing up paper, scribbling on her artwork, carving on the kitchen table. That's what happens when she's tired, or maybe even exhausted. I put them to bed by 7pm each night, and Sarah goes right to sleep despite the fact that Abby stays up looking at books for about an hour. But in the morning, Abby wakes up before 5:30, and she tries to be quiet, but Sarah always wakes up. It just doesn't work. Plus, their room is right over ours, so every morning Perry and I wake up before 5:30, too, when Abby walks to the playroom or drops a book.
So, after lengthy discussions, we all decided that Abby would sleep in the "pink room" while Sarah would stay in her bed. Abby has wanted to do this since we moved into the house, but Sarah has always been the one who didn't want to separate. Until a few months ago, she wouldn't even go upstairs by herself! But she's becoming more confident and secure, and she decided that she was ready. This morning Abby came down the stairs at 6:15 (it was "six-zero-zero" on her clock), and a few minutes later Sarah came down. We didn't hear a peep before then. Everyone agreed that the experiment was a success. But, I'm going to call it a trial for awhile. It really makes me sad that they're not together anymore - it was so sweet to check on them at night and see them together. But if this will help Sarah regain control of herself, it might just stick.

p.s. I got some pics of the picnic, so I edited that post.

Monday, September 8, 2008


My mom is an excellent baker. We had homemade goodies almost every day when I was growing up. Unfortunately, I did not inherit that gene. I like to cook and think I'm pretty good at it, but baking is an entirely different story. It seems so precise - I'm much better when I can improvise and estimate. But, for the sake of my girls and to build the memories, I attempt to bake on occasion.
Sue gave the girls a Junior cookbook last week. They've been flipping through it. Saturday, Abby asked if we could make teddy bear cookies. I looked at the ingredients and realized I had everything we needed, so we did it. It was a lot of fun, and they really are good helpers. They help me gather the ingredients, turn on the oven, measure everything, pour it into the mixing bowl, and of course lick the beaters. I had to laugh at myself when I thought we were ready to shape the cookies, and then noticed the two eggs and the vanilla still sitting on the counter! No wonder the batter was so dry! I was scared to add them late, because I know that doing things in the right order is important in baking, but I was not willing to start over. So we added them, mixed again, and decided it was all OK. The best part was that they got to lick the beaters again after that!

Then came the really fun part: rolling balls in our hands, then mushing them on the cookie sheet, repeat, repeat, repeat...9 parts per teddy bear (body, head, ears, arms, legs, nose), probably 25 teddy bears (I lost count). They turned out soooo cute and yummy! We had way too many, so the girls delivered some to our neighbors. What a fun afternoon!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Paper Dolls

The girls had their first big homework assignment this weekend (fortunately they both had the same project so there were no hurt feelings). They brought home paper dolls and needed to decorate them with pictures, magazine clippings, colors, etc. The assignment was "all about me", so it's supposed to help their classmates and teachers get to know them.

I found a big stack of photos and a bunch of magazines and let the girls pick things that were important to me. They both decided to do pictures only, and after sorting through the pics 3 times, they both had it narrowed down to about 30 each. I had to step in help them get it down to about 10, and then I did most of the cutting. But they took it from there. They laid it out, glued the pictures down, decorated with stickers, and had a great time creating. These turned out really cute, and I can't wait to see what all their friends created.

We had a great weekend. Today was beautiful. We went for a Jeep ride and played in the park this afternoon, before pizza and movie night (Babe).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Kindergarten - Times Two

It's almost like a social experiment - taking two kids, with almost identical experiences, and putting them in different classes with very different teachers. Sarah's teacher, Mrs. K, is very laid-back. loving, nurturing, and focused on hands-on learning. Sarah is doing great with "kids-spell". She can write complete stories just by sounding out the words and writing the letters she hears. "Wuns upon a tim thar wus a litl grl", she wrote this morning. Amazing. But ask her to read a word, and she freezes. She hasn't made that connection yet. She can read anything that you've read to her, because she has an awesome memory. She knows a lot of sight words. But show her the word "pig", and she doesn't know how to say puh...i...g......... puh..i..g........ puh.i.g..... pig! It's so odd, because if I asked her to write the word pig, she could do it in a second! It's just the way she's learning.
Then there's Abby. Her teacher, Mrs. S, is very structured and disciplined. She's also loving and sweet, but she runs a tight ship. Abby knows which letters are vowels, and what sounds they make. She knows her blends (th, sh, etc.). And she obviously practices phonics, because she can sound out any word I show her. But she doesn't like to write, I've never seen her do "kids-spell", and she gets really upset if I ask her to read a book, because she wants me to read it. She loves books, stories...she doesn't want to struggle through the words.
I'll try to remember to post about these differences every now and then, to record their accomplishments and take note of how the different approaches to learning will ultimately get us to the same goal - proficient reading.

p.s. I forgot my camera yesterday at the picnic. Ugh! But, some other people had theirs, so I'm hoping to get some emailed to me.

Edited to add a picture!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Our family is complete again

Bailey's home. Yea. He's doing really well - he has a couple of meds to take, and he has to eat prescription food for a few days, but he definitely seems better. The girls were soooo excited to see him when they got off the bus today!
Perry and I had a meeting at school tonight, and Sue kept the girls. When we got home, Bailey didn't meet us at the door. Perry guessed that he was closed into the girls' room, and sure enough, that's where he was. Abby was curled up at the bottom of her bed, wrapped around Bailey, sound asleep. It was only around 7:20, so I'm thinking maybe THAT's the answer to Abby's sleep problems? I wish I had a pic, because it was so sweet, but Bailey saw me when I opened the door and jumped down to go find Perry.
Tomorrow we have a kindergarten picnic at school. I'll definitely take my camera. Sarah asked me to bring carrot sticks, dip, and water, while Abby asked for brownies and popsicles. I'm thinking I might throw in a few sandwiches, too!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How's our boy?

Bailey is still at the vet. He was on IV-only yesterday and most of today, and then they were planning to give him some water starting tonight. If he does well with that, he might be able to come home tomorrow. It's so quiet around here without him - the mood of the family has changed and there's just not the same joy. The only positive thing I can think of is that I slept great without him in our bed last night - he's a serious bed-hog!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Bailey is at the vet with pancreatitis. He's on IV fluids and will have to stay 1-4 days. Needless to say, we miss him terribly and we're worried about him. He's such an awesome dog, and while I'm confident that he'll be fine, it's still scary. I'll update you when I know more.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Just catching up

After a room mom meeting Friday morning, Perry and I loaded up the car, checked the girls out of school, and headed south for the weekend to visit my family. It did occur to us that we were heading to the coast at the same time that Hurricane Gustav was making a beeline for the same spot. But we decided to make a quick trip, and I'm really glad we did. Friday night we had a nice family dinner and then played out front with some really cool frisbees Mimi found.

Perry and Thomas had a beautiful Saturday morning for a round of golf, while I hung out with Leslie, Mimi, Pop, Emily, & the girls. We didn't even go anywhere all morning, we just played games and talked. That night we had a very decadent meal - Pop cooked his famous ribs, and they were his best batch ever. Mimi boiled a bunch of shrimp to go with it, and we all ate until we were miserable. That night, S&A had a slumber party at Emily's house, so P & I watched the Alabama game with Mimi, Pop, and Thomas and also kept our eye on the storm.

Sunday morning we got up early, even though S&A weren't there to wake us up. But it was very nice to have time for coffee and breakfast without little ones running around! We decided we should head back in the morning because of the Louisiana evacuations. We got on the interstate before 11am, but that was probably a couple of hours too late. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper, with most of the cars from Louisiana. As awful as it was, I really felt sorry for those people evacuating. It took us about 5 hours to get home, which wasn't too bad considering the circumstances.

We enjoyed our day off today. The girls and I met Debbie Debbie at the mall to look for school shoes, this afternoon they had ballet, and tonight we had dinner at a neighbor/friend's house. Tomorrow it's back to our routine.

Check out these cool mushrooms Abby found growing in our backyard. I've seen pictures of mushrooms like this, but I've never seen any up close!

And one more pic. This is Sarah, this morning. She has always liked shoes - in fact her first word was "shoes". Today she made quite the fashion statement!