Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010!

Can I just begin by saying that Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday?  I've always hated being scared and shelling out money for costumes and candy just isn't my thing.  So Scott and I have agreed that we'll just keep things simple until the girls are old enough to care one way or the other.  

We turned this picture into a postcard for Scott to drop to his clients.  We wrote on the front in orange, Happy Halloween from Scott Shipman and his "ghouls."  Yes, I am a cornball.

Poor Rachel is cutting teeth so she looks stuffy in this picture but I thought she was so cute.  The bib and booties were actually gifts to Elizabeth from Andrea a couple years ago.  The mummy booties crack me up...they're little rattles.  Of course, they were ripped off before we could walk into church.  And yes, I have my daughter in white pants after Labor Day...we work with what we've got!
Susie found this little play princess dress for Elizabeth so we put it on as our costume.  She loved it and the skirt and kept twirling around to show me.  "Mama!  Pincess!" 

 Oh yes, Rachel loved the skirt too.  We also broke out the Easter hat.

Miss Opinionated...Don't even think about putting a princess dress on me, mother...

Unfortunately, the first kid to show up in a mask at our door sent Elizabeth to the hills.  My little helper spent the rest of the night tucked into her daddy's arm, afraid of the doorbell ringing.  So we shut it down early and Scott and I mended our broken heart over our little girl being scared for the first time.  For the record, Rachel just looks scared in this picture.  Shockingly, she was just fussy.

So that was our Halloween this year...short and to the point!  On to Thankgiving and turkey!!  I really do prefer my pumpkin in pie.  :)

Gone to Carolina in my Mind...

I feel like it took me all last week to recuperate from the four days we spent in the Carolinas.  Taylor was sweet enough to ride down with us and enable us to visit friends that we haven't been able to see in a year.  We spent the night with the Mason's, Dana and the Swofford's and got to visit with the Campbells', the Epley's, and the McSwain's.  Elizabeth got to play with puppies, kitties ("diddies"), birds, a goldfish and lots of kids...she was in pig heaven!  Thank you so much to everyone who either hosted us or made the trip to see us.  It was such a blessing to get to see everyone.  Enjoy the pictures!

Cheesing with Aunt Dana

ERS playing with the kitties

"Diddies!  Wheh ah you??"

I think she would have spent the entire time at the Swofford's outside if we had let her!

Rachel contemplating if she would rather attempt to chase her sister or eat the grass

"Mom!  A doggie!!"

"Oh, sweet diddy."

"Billy, just let me down for a second!  I just saw a rock I can gnaw on!"

Ah...thank you to the Campbell's for the princess panties and thank you to Donna for putting them on over the sweatpants. 

The girls didn't really care that Chelsey was hurt...that is not a good enough excuse not to play!

At the Swofford's

We love Austin!  She isn't shy to grab a baby!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

First time crawling!!

You just have to know Rachel.  She has such a little determined look about her when she wants something or wants to do something.  She gets her mama's furrowed brow and sets to work.  Well, we've been working on this crawling thing, but Rachel has two things working against her:  

1. She has a huge head.  I'm not ripping on my daughter, but her head is massive.  We're talking high 90th percentile here.  She's got the cure for cancer growing in there!  

2. Her sister.  Anytime Rachel gets on all fours and starts the rocking back and forth process, Elizabeth sits on her.  Or lays in front of her.  Or pushes her over.  Or (my all time favorite) grabs her hands so that she falls flat on her face.

I know...poor Rachel...She can thank her sister when she's winning her multiple Olympic gold medals. 

So today was the first time she got everything headed in the same direction and I was able to grab my video camera!  She looked so...gratified!  Until she got to the thing that she wanted and her older sister grabbed it away.  Ah, onto the next challenge!

I texted Scott right away (he was in a lunch meeting) and his response was "Aren't you glad that you're home to be able to witness her firsts?"  And I am.  Being home with the girls all day can be stressful...and hard, and lonely all wrapped up into one.  There are days of limited adult conversation and the hours are long.  I hate that there are times that I jump into the self-pity pool with both feet - and like anytime the devil can get a foothold, he works on my mind until I'm so down in the dumps that my husband comes home to a cranky wife.  

But let me tell you, THE BLESSINGS FAR OUT-WEIGH ANYTHING BAD!  I am so thankful for my husband who works the long hours so that I can stay home and see my kids.  I love the hugs from Elizabeth when she gets up from her nap and the fact that I can watch Rachel change every day.   I cherish being able to control my gag reflex when I watch my daughter disassemble her cheese sandwich to eat the cheese first and then mash together the bread with mayo and stuff it all in her mouth.  Even the whole potty training fiasco...I know that this is a stage and she's going to go to the potty.  You don't see many 6-year-olds walking around in Pampers.  So my writing is mainly for comic relief and to record her adventures.  

Not to get on my soapbox there, but I know a lot of moms have the same thoughts I do and go through the same trials and tribulations.  I think Tonya said it best in her blog when she said (and I'm paraphrasing you, my friend) that she felt justified in the challenges of staying at home because she was doing exactly what her Heavenly Father had called her to do.   I can't tell you how many times I've been comforted by that thought when things have gotten hard.  And it is even harder when you are a working mom - because then you have GUILT!  When I was teaching, I would skip my workout (even though the gym was just down the road from school) because I would feel guilty about taking any more time away from Elizabeth.  And just this morning, Scott had to come home because he forgot his phone and ended up sitting down and reading Elizabeth's Elmo book to her (for the millionth time) because he just couldn't resist the "" she threw out at him.  

I guess the trick is just to stay continually thankful.  Thankful to get to witness the "firsts."  Thankful for the job that puts food on the table. Thankful to have the ability to cook the food that goes on the table.  Thankful for healthy, growing, curious kids.  Thankful for a spouse that is loving and appreciative.  And thankful for friends who read my ramblings. :)

Thank you, Lord for my husband.  Thank you for the sacrifices he makes every day to get up and go to work and provide for us.  I know he misses his family when he's away.  Thank you for my healthy and beautiful and MOBILE children.  Please protect them as they continue to grow and help me not to take a second for granted.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby girl after my own heart

My daughter went hunting through our closet the other day and found...a softball...  While this may not shock many of you, I really haven't played with actual baseballs or softballs with my child.  She loves to throw the her sister...  so most of her toys are soft!!  So when she found this, she LOVED it!  And she especially loved the CLUNK sound it makes when you drop it on the floor.  She can't wait to go to Furman this weekend to see some girls that might play with her!

Anyway, enjoy the pictures.  They made my heart smile!

Sigh...still potty training...

You know when you're pregnant and people make all kinds of silly comments to you and you feel like you could write a book about things NOT to say to a pregnant woman? (You sure there's just one in there?  You look like you're about to pop!  And my favorite...Weren't you JUST pregnant??!)  Well, I think the same thing goes when a mom is going through the potty training process.  For some reason, people just want to share with me their stories of how EASY their children took to potty 18 months...and never had an accident...actually, all of their children were like that...  

Well let me tell you, that's not our child.  

Last week, I had a stomach bug hit me pretty strong.  Of course, it was the worst on Scott's busiest day at work, so I was at home for 15 hours with the girls just praying not to get them sick.  That was the same day that Elizabeth decided that she didn't want to wear an even-slightly-wet diaper and took them off and threw them away every 10 minutes.  She'd then run in to me, yelling "di-pah chain!" with the new diaper.  I just knew I was going to run out of diapers and have to drag my pukey self with my wild, been-in-the-house-too-long kids to the store.  So we decided that we'd give the potty training another go.

Coincidentally, this was the same night.  I ran Rachel's bathwater and Elizabeth jumped in.  My first double bath!  Elizabeth kept trying to wash Rachel.  Rachel thought the whole thing was awesome!  I don't know what they're trying to grab here...
 Again, we did the no diaper around the house with the potty in the living room.  She screamed every time we put her on the potty.  As I was changing Rachel's diaper, Elizabeth actually picked her potty up and moved it back to the bathroom.  Maybe she'd sit on it there?  No...scream...great.  She really enjoys walking in on me going to the potty though and announcing to anyone that listens that "Mommy pee-pee!"  Then she gets to flush for me.  She loves that part.

So two nights ago, I thought my husband was a genius when our daughter ran out of her bedroom with poo-poo in her hand to give to him.  "Dada, Dada!" she calls.  She had obviously taken her diaper off and fished it out to bring to her daddy because she didn't want to sit in it.  I would have freaked out.  But without blinking, my husband said, "Let's go put that where it the potty!"  And he marched her down the hall, and let her flush her poo-poo down the potty. She was so excited...and then mad that it didn't earn her any m&m's.

Yesterday, we had her diaper off and were talking about the potty again when I took Rachel into her room to get dressed.  Within a couple minutes, I heard the toilet lid slam and the flusher being jiggled by little paws.  When I went in the bathroom, Elizabeth just smiled at me.  "Mama, poo-poo in potty!"  So I lift up the lid and sure enough, there it is.  She had gone on the floor, picked it up and put it where it went.  After scrubbing her hands for five minutes (which she LOVED) I tried to explain to my two-year-old that you put your poo-poo in the potty, but not with your hands...

I swear, people...I have a master's degree...I should be better than this!

So the adventure continues and I'm still waiting for that ah-ha moment from my daughter.  Until then, hope you enjoy the stories!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This is how you pray, Tina

Last night, I took another mental picture that I hope stays with me for the rest of my life.  Elizabeth has gotten really good at praying.  Especially at night, she will bow her head and close her eyes, folding her hands and leaning into me or her daddy.  Well last night, I had let the dogs in (from barking their heads off in the backyard) and when we got ready to pray, Elizabeth looked at Tina and held her folded hands out like, "See Tina, this is how you do it."  Of course, Tina could have cared less, but it just struck me as so sweet.  

Susie and Elizabeth at 4 months

Dear Lord, 
Thank you for these little girls and the many blessings they bring to our lives. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day one in a leotard

In the brochures for Nashville, I'm sure they don't tell you that you will have allergies like never before once you live here.  The past two weeks have been full of runny noses and sinus headaches, so I apologize for not updating.  Hopefully the cooler weather will give us some relief. 

I hesitated taking Elizabeth to gymnastics today because she was so miserable last night (snot running down her face, watery eyes, general crankiness).  But after spanking her three times for jumping on my bed, I figured she must not feel THAT horrible.  

I've been dressing her in t-shirts and shorts for class, but after doing the bear crawl on the balance beam brought her shirt to her chin last week, I figured it was time for a leotard.  Her little friend Kensley (or Kensley's mom, Amy) provided a hand-me-down that she had outgrown, so we pulled it out this morning.  

Now, Elizabeth is in a tad of an argumentative stage right now.

"Look at this leotard, Elizabeth!  Do you want to wear it today?"

"Nope, no, no," she answers, with a strenuous head shake.  She pushes past me to get in the closet.  

"Do you want to go to gymnastics?"

"Yeah!  Nastics!  Yay!"

"Then we're wearing the leotard."

So I pull the adorable pink leotard on my child and then pull shorts up to cover her diaper.

"Don't you want to go pee-pee in the potty so you don't have to wear a diaper to gymnastics?"  (Mommy = pushing her luck.)

"Nope, no, no."  And she digs out her tennis shoes and socks.  Well, it's freezing outside so I grab the cutest little fleece sweatsuit to put on top of her leotard.  Pants go on, no problem.  The sweatshirt pulls over her head and has a zipper.  She starts screaming as soon as it goes on.

"Zipper up!"  she cries.  So I pull the zipper to the top, which makes her cry harder.  "I tuck (stuck)!  I tuck!"  

With that, I give up.

My schedule baby

I don't think I've told you yet that I figured out the answer to Rachel's crabbiness...SHE WAS TIRED!  I had gotten so used to Elizabeth's and my schedule and was running Rachel around with us, that I didn't realize I was sleep depriving my little punkin.  After doing some reading on baby sleep schedules (I fully recommend, Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluthm, M.D.), it seemed that her night time fussiness and general sour spirit was due to a lack of naps. 

The solution hasn't been the easiest on me, but having a good-natured baby is well worth the sacrifice.  I set my alarm for 6 a.m....after hitting snooze ten times, I get up and wake Rachel up.  It's not hard because she's a light sleeper.  So normally, she wakes up as soon as I walk in her room.  She eats and plays for two hours and then is back down for a morning nap, which usually lasts for an hour.  (During which, her sister and I battle over whether the baby is up or not and whether she can run into her room or not while I attempt to get dressed.)

We normally go to the Y or gymnastics once she wakes up and then she goes back down for an afternoon nap after we get home.  One more nap follows around 4 or 5 and then she goes to bed at 8.  So, that is a nap every two hours and eating every three.  So she's well-rested and mommy is exhausted!  Ah well!