Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

Despite the fact that I had a migraine, again, I wanted us to get out of the house and enjoy this gorgeous day. So we packed a bag and headed out to my favorite place in Birmingham - Oak Mountain State Park. The weather was perfect, a little on the cool side, but not cold, and not a single cloud in the sky. We decided to try a new trail today so we headed to the north side of the park, and let the girls choose the trail. Heading down the White trail, with the girls leading the way, I knew it was going to be a great hike. We stopped for lunch and to practice our balancing skills on a few fallen trees, and we really enjoyed the hike through the barren trees, with the sunlight streaming through. In the summer, the trees block the sun and make the forest seem so dense, but in the winter, you can see for miles across the valleys. It was spectacular. Much of the hike was along a stream; it was nice to see water in the park because everything was so dry this summer.

We reached Maggie's Glen and decided to take the Yellow trail back to our car. This trail took us through a couple of groves of young pine trees, and Abby called these the fairy forests. This hike was about 3 miles, and I really expected the girls to get tired and start complaining, but they never did. Abby went fast the whole time, with Perry trying to keep up, and Sarah and I kept a slower pace, enjoying the scenery and listening to the birds.

We were all very happy to cross the bridge back at the beginning of the trail, and get into our car. But we were also very proud of ourselves and happy that we'd had such a beautiful walk.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Flashback - Sarah's Turn

Of course I want Sarah to get equal billing, so here are my top 50 Sarah pics. For some reason this was even harder than picking Abby pics - Sarah has such a unique personality, I wanted to be sure to capture it.
Sarah is smart, generous, loving, considerate, funny, creative, serious, concerned, beautiful, conscientious, friendly, and incredibly unique.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poor Little Say

Getting off the bus today, Sarah told me she was getting a little headache. I had one too, and even Abby said she had one this morning. I think it's the weather. I've never really had a weather issue before, but today was a weird gray day that started out in the mid-60s and quickly headed to the low 40s, and it just made my head feel weird.
Anyway, by the time we got home, she said it was starting to hurt BAD. I got her some Tylenol and put her on the couch with an ice pack, hoping she would go to sleep. I headed upstairs with Abby to help her build a fort in her room, and when I came down 15 minutes later I found Sarah curled up on the couch in tears. Why does a 5-year-old get migraines? Why?
I moved her into my dark bedroom and tried to help her fall asleep, but she felt nauseous and sure enough she threw up just minutes later. It hurts me to see her suffer with migraines. I know, all too well, what she's going through, but I was 19 when I started getting them. To think that she's only 5, and facing this already. It makes me so sad.
The good news is that she did finally fall asleep, and she said she felt a little better before bedtime. She still didn't want to eat, and the lights were bothering her, but I think the worst of it has passed, and I'm hopeful that she'll be fine in the morning.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Other Side

Those of you who know Abby KNOW that all those things I wrote about her are true, but she also has a dark side on occasion. This morning she showed that side of herself in full force.
On school mornings, the girls go upstairs around 7:00 to brush teeth, make beds, and get dressed. I know I'm very lucky because they are usually able to do all of those things by themselves with no issues. But today...well, Sarah came downstairs to tell me that I needed to go check on Abby. I started up the stairs and saw the problem: Abby had on white tights with pink and purple hearts, a sleeveless blue dress with flowers, and a sleeveless white shirt with a pink pattern OVER that dress. I wish I'd thought to get the camera, but trust me, her seasons, colors, and layers were all wrong. I'm really not picky about what they choose to wear, generally speaking. The tights don't have to match. The colors don't even really have to match. But this was just WAYYYY to much. So I told her to change, and I think that's when her head spun around. She pitched a royal fit for the next 20 minutes. I had to mark her behavior chart twice (which upset her even more, of course, but what's a mom to do?!!!) Ultimately she went to school in a pink short-sleeved shirt, a pink fur-lined vest, and pink pants. I don't think it was a win-win or a lose-lose. We'll just call it a draw. As she was walking out the door, she gave me a big kiss and said "I'm sorry Mommy. I love you." And so of course all is forgiven. But to avoid another difficult morning, we've decided to pick her clothes out at night.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Flashback - Abby

Abby was the star student this week, and I had to send in 8 pictures for her to share with the class and hang on the board. This was a very difficult assignment - 8 pictures, out of seven or eight thousand? (no joke!) I've put together a slide show of my 50 favorites.
Abby is magical, sensitive, smart, hilarious, beautiful, loving, friendly, outgoing, adventurous, determined, confident, cautious, trusting, graceful, and very, very special. And I'm not saying all that just because I'm her mom.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Math Savant?

Abby has really been showing a special aptitude in math lately. It started this weekend, when she picked up a money workbook I'd found at the Dollar Store. She asked me to help her with it, and I explained that pennies were 1 cent and nickels were 5. With that information, she worked the first five pages in the book without my help. She could look at a picture of 3 nickels and 2 pennies and write 17, fairly quickly, without counting out loud or using her fingers. She just does it in her head. She did it again tonight. I bought some linking cubes to help Sarah count to 100 (Abby has been doing that for a long time, but Sarah still gets stuck). At the dinner table, I used 10 of them and asked a few math questions. I could put any number of them on the table, and then ask how many more I needed to make another number, and she'd get it immediately. Sarah didn't have a clue. I've always been good with numbers so I'm thrilled that Abby seems to enjoy math, and I hope with a little work we'll get Sarah on board soon!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fun Day, Fondue!

Today was so gorgeous, I couldn't believe it. The past week has been dreary and frigid, and today's forecast called for a 55% chance of rain, but the sun came out and it warmed up and it was spectacular. We went to church with Debbie Debbie, then Costco, then home for a sandwich, and the we went outside. We played out front and took the girls for a bike ride (we walk and they ride, because they're still VERY tentative), and talked to some neighbors. I took the girls to the library while Perry ran some errands and then went for a run, and then we had more outdoor fun on the hammock and the trampoline when we all got back. It really was a great day.

Perry's latest house project was the outer room of the laundry room. He built in shelves and a desk and really got it looking nice. My job was to organize it, and I'm still working on that. I pulled everything out and then went through it all, and now I'm re-loading and trying to find a home for everything. As I was doing that, I ran across my two (yes, two) fondue pots, and decided that fondue could be our new food tonight. I made a chocolate sauce and had strawberries, bananas, apples and pound cake for dipping. Yummy! Abby tried everything with the chocolate sauce but decided she liked it all plain best. So she ate lots of cake and lots of fruit with her skewer, but not dipped. She's a purist. Sarah loved it all and really thought the dipping was great. Next time I'll try a cheese. And I'll try serving fruit with toothpicks and skewers as a snack - they really seemed to enjoy eating off a stick!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday Saturday Flashback, Labyrinth or Maze?

I missed my Friday Flashback, so I thought I'd just do it today. Today Sarah was resting on the couch and flipping through her favorite picture book - the photo album of their first year. Here are some of the highlights:

This morning Perry took the girls to Krispy Kreme, and then he and the girls took a dozen doughnuts to some friends for a Saturday morning surprise. Random acts of kindness - what fun!

Tonight we went to CPK for dinner. Abby opened up her kids' menu and asked "Is this a labyrinth or a maze?" Now, how many 5-year-olds know what a labyrinth is? (Thank you Grandmother and Grandfather!) One of her favorite things to do at Middle Earth is to walk the labyrinth. Usually we walk it in silence, with just an occasional laugh when we get confused, but the last time we walked it, we talked about all the things we were thankful for. That was a really great walk.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

World's Worst Mom

Today I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for Sarah because it seems like she always feels sick. I really felt silly scheduling the appointment - "What's wrong with her?" they asked. Well...she's tired, cranky, whiny, constantly complains of headaches, went to the nurse twice last week because she was nauseous, says her throat hurts, coughs a lot, and just seems unhealthy. "Any fever?" Nope. Maybe she's just a complainer, I'm thinking. I talked to her teacher about it, and we discussed being a little less nurturing and trying to toughen her up. I gave her an incentive for having 7 "healthy" days, with no complaints.
So what did the doctor say? Well, he couldn't do any lab work, because she has STREP! Ugh. Right then we decided that she's definitely not a complainer (he asked her 3 times if her throat hurt, and she said no each time). So when she gets better we're going to do some blood work and see if we can find out what's going on. I wonder if she has allergies. Whatever it is, I hope we can figure it out soon and help her feel better.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Quickies

It's been hard to find time to post - I'm trying to stay off the computer during the day (time waster!) and at night it's been...Jack Bauer Jack Bauer Jack Bauer and American Idol! But Sarah has said a couple of cute things that I want to remember.
This morning she was talking about watering some tiny plants that they planted at Daisies. Sarah said she'd go get the "Winn Dixie cups" from the bathroom (you know, the little Dixie cups!) It reminded me of how I always thought that 18-wheelers were called "Big Mac trucks." I think I was a teenager before someone set me straight.
And tonight, when I kissed her goodnight, I told her to have good dreams. Maybe dream about the circus, I suggested (because that's what I dreamed about last night, for some random reason). She said maybe she'd dream about me. Awwwwwww!!!!
I needed that. Abby and I had a really rough day.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Random Thoughts

We had a pretty good day today, despite the gray, gloomy weather. Abby and I went to the library while Sarah stayed home and helped P do some work in the laundry room. I always enjoy a little one-on-one time with either of them, and it doesn't happen often enough. I need to work on that. Another resolution?
Yesterday I finally moved Abby's bulletin boards out of Sarah's room and into Abby's. I guess I'd been procrastinating because it made their separation seem so final. But they're both so happy with their sleeping situations, I knew it was time. Anyway, Abby's room looks really great. She needs a few pictures and maybe a little table, but it's looking really cute. Sarah wanted to know what we were going to do to her room, and I asked if she'd like to take down Abby's old bed and get a bookcase. She was thrilled. So today we went out and found her a really cute bookcase, and lamps for both rooms. Their rooms look so grown up now, and it makes us a bit sad to know that our little girls are growing up so fast.
Our New Year's Resolutions are going pretty well. I have been exercising, not as much as I need to, but I'm trying to figure out what's going to work for me. I'm just glad I've started trying to build the habit. Sarah's room is spotless, and so is Abby's closet (ha). Sadly, we haven't had any dinner parties yet (Sarah thinks we need to replace the kitchen table first, since I ruined ours doing iron-on transfers), and Abby hasn't made it to outer space, but I have tried 3 new recipes this week. Beef stroganoff wasn't a winner, but the girls liked the noodles and the meat (just not the sauce), so I might try it again with a different recipe. I also tried a broccoli/potato frittata last night that Perry and I both liked (OK from Abby and Yuck from Sarah, but she's not a big broccoli fan).
And finally, to end this rather random post, a blogging friend of mine challenged other bloggers to describe our husband's eyes. She wrote this beautiful piece of flowing prose, and I told Perry that all I could come up with was "blue." He laughed and told me that his eyes are green. Wow - I should be ashamed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Habits

Well, obviously "blog more often" isn't one of my New Year's Resolutions. In fact, it might be the opposite, since I'm trying to be more intentional with my time and waste less time on the computer. But I did say I'd post our resolutions once we finalized them, so I wanted to do that.

Be more intentional with my time; set goals each week
Exercise (note that I didn't say "exercise more" - I really need to START exercising)
Expand our dinner repertoire - we've gotten into a rut, and I want us (especially the girls) to be more willing to try new things
Nurture my friendships

Keep room clean
Have more dinner parties
Don't whine or cry (boy did she blow this one last night!!!)

Have more play dates
Go to outer space
Keep closet clean

Be more intentional with his time with the girls (teach them things)

To help with the dinner resolution, I created a chart and hung it on the wall. Whenever I serve a new food, we'll write it on the chart and we'll each rate it "yummy," "OK," or "yuck." Last night I served whole wheat three cheese tortellini, and it got 3 yummies and 1 OK. Not bad. The girls were excited to try it because they wanted to vote. I'm hoping to try something new at least 2 nights a week, more if possible.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

I wanted to blog about the holidays, but I know I won't be able to remember everything, and even if I did, I'm just not verbose enough to write about all the things we've done over the past two weeks. We've had some very busy days!!!
So, I just put together a little slide show to remind me of some of the highlights. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Out of Hibernation

Man, that was a comfy cave I'd climbed into the past few weeks. Lots and lots (and lots) of family time, with very little computer time. I managed to check my emails and occasionally read a blog or two, but I just couldn't find the time or the motivation for a blog post. So now I have a lot of catching up to do. I'll get to that later.
As I watch Alabama get trounced in the first quarter of the Sugar Bowl, I want to post about our dinner conversation tonight. I think this was our first family dinner, just the 4 of us, since the Saturday before Christmas. I've really missed our conversations. So tonight I started talking about New Year's resolutions. I always make some, and I haven't formally written any down this year, but I have been thinking about them. When I finalize mine I'll post them. But I was talking about them at dinner, and the girls were asking questions and trying to figure it all out. Sarah said she'd resolve to keep her room clean, and also wants us to make a family resolution to have more people over. When I asked who she wanted to come over, she said, "Debbie & George and their family, Sue & Bill, Turner & Clay and all their family, and Heather." So it looks like there will be more family nights and playdates in our future. Abby said she wanted to play on the water slide more next year. ha!
Perry and I have a new addiction. It's called Blokus. I bought it for Sarah and Abby (and it's the 2-person travel edition, not the full-blown game), and Sarah likes it, but Perry and I love it. It reminds of the cribbage addiction we had early in our marriage.
I'll post some holiday pics later.