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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Girlie Thursdays

"We went to God today. But, He didn't come out. We just saw a picture of him."
From what I can gather, this is Julia's description of going to chapel at her new school. She's pretty interested in God and Jesus these days. In fact, the other day she told me that when she grows up, she's going to be "a ballerina and Jesus." Sounds like she'll be a bit busy!

In other news, I saw Julia poking at her stomach yesterday, and I asked her what she was doing. She kept at it, very determinedly, and replied, "I am trying to make my belly button go away!" I didn't want to be the one to tell her that that was going to be a hard feat to pull off.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Dear Will,
As of yesterday, you are five! You have waited so long for this, and I am so happy for you that the time has finally come. Being the youngest in your preschool class meant that everyone else was five, but that you were still four. You constantly told me, "I hate being four!" and now four is no more.

In some ways, I can't believe it. I can't believe that it's been five years since I first met you, yet in some ways, it seems like yesterday, and I can't really remember or imagine what our life was like before you were in it. I can't believe how "grown-up" you are, how much you know, how many things you can do, and how you already have a life that I'm not a part of...that there are parts of you that I don't know every detail about and things every day that you experience without me.

You are a delightful child. Really, you are almost always so much fun to be around. Now, you could stand to tone down the questions, but since you come by that naturally from me, I can't blame you too much. I love that you're inquisitive, but some days it feels like my head might explode from the lines of questioning that we get into. Just today when we were at the doctor for your checkup, you had to ask the nurse approximately fifteen questions about why they needed to check you blood and pee and how they were going to do that. She winked at me and said, "He's going to be a smart one!" And, I don't doubt it. You truly have a love of learning that I hope will continue for life. Currently, you're really into math problems and love to get me to ask you all of the addition tables whenever we're in the car. For some reason, you're particularly proud that you know what ten plus ten is. You also love for us to read to you, but of course, that can become difficult with the questions. Sometimes I find myself saying things like, "No more questions until I finish this page." But those proclamations never stand up, because I can't resist explaining things to you when you ask so nicely. I feel like I've become a walking thesaurus or dictionary, as each time you ask "what does that mean," I search my brain for a list of synonyms that might make sense to you.

But, learning isn't your only passion. I don't want to make it out like you're a quiet child who sits and does math problems by himself (though that would be fine, too). But're quite active. In fact, your Hulie says that in our family, at least one child is always talking and at least one is always moving. You and your sister switch out on who is who, but let's just say you're both VERY energetic. You're always up for a project or coming up with a new plan of what to play (though you can be a bit bossy). You love to be outside, and even the 100 degree heat doesn't seem to slow you down. You've become a fantastic swimmer this summer and you've moved on to working on strokes with your swimming teacher. You love to play soccer, as well, and that will start up in a few weeks. You've also begged to take tae-kwon-do, which is offered through your new school. You seem to have lucked out and inherited at least some athletic ability from your father.

In terms of play, you're very imaginative, but I think daycare has spoiled you with always having someone to play with. You are not very good at playing by yourself, but when I play with you, you often tell me I'm doing it wrong. But, you love to play with superheroes, cars, dinosaurs, cowboys, or a random combination of all of those.

You're still a good eater and a good sleeper. If someone will lay down with you, you'll often still take a nap. You're polite most of the time, and you're mostly nice to your sister, who does not always return the favor. You're a very caring, affectionate, and sensitive child and you seem to be uncommonly good at thinking of how other people might feel (MOST of the time). When I asked you what kind of birthday cake you wanted, you initially said chocolate. But then, you paused, and asked, "But what if some of my friends don't like chocolate?" You're always looking out for other people---be sure to keep that up. Kindness, particularly to those who might not receive it from others, tops my list of character traits that I hope you develop.

You're a funny kid. You constantly say funny, grown-up things, but you don't even realize that they're funny. You're not trying to be funny, but certain things just come across that way when they come out of your mouth. Like when you looked at Julia and plainly asked her, "Julia, why do you need to be so fussy right now?" Or when you mutter under your breath, "Oh great, Julia's fussing again." You mimic us A LOT, and we're finally learning that we need to be aware of that.

Will, keep up the good work. We love having you in our family and you really light up our days. I can't wait to see what FIVE has in store for you.

Love you to infinity,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Song

Julia made up a song for me this morning that I just had to share. It's sung to the tune of Frere Jacques.

Sweetie Mommy!
Sweetie Mommy!
Yes her is. Yes her is.
Her my favorite Mommy. Her my favorite Mommy.
Yes her is.

She was obviously in a good mood this morning! I have to say, this is my new favorite song. I'll even forgive the grammatical mistakes.

Funny Things My Kids Say

From Julia, when she climbed up in my lap after I had been at the gym: "You don't smell very good!"

From Will, when he saw me wearing white jeans and a tank top (i.e., something other than workout clothes): "Mama, why are you so fancy today?"

From Julia: Zach told her that he would rock her five more minutes if she would give him a kiss on the cheek. So, she obliged and got her additional minutes. When those were up, she got a gleam in her eyes, gave him a kiss on the other cheek, and asked, "Now can I have anudder five minutes?"

From Will, who was obviously feeling extremely philosophical: "Mama, who made God God? I mean, who was around before God to decide that he got to be God?" (I had no answer on this one.)

And, a couple of funny things that I've found myself saying, things that I never really thought I'd have an occasion to say:
"Where is the other half of Chewbacca?"
"Get your cheese off of the sofa!"
"Do not put your panties on Will's head. He doesn't like that."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Back!

Wow. I have been completely sucking at blogging this year. When my kids look back at 2011 and ask what they did or what cute things they said, I won't have anything to tell them. But, as always, I resolve to do better. And, this time, I might actually have a shot at posting more frequently because....I quit my job! Yes, as of June 10th, I am a full-time SAHM, housewife, or "domestic engineer" (Zach's term) or whatever you want to call it. I'm very excited to have this opportunity to spend more time with the kids....well, come the fall I'll spend some more time with them. But, through the summer, I'm keeping them in daycare. Yes, I am completely spoiled!

Anyway, what have we been doing since I last posted? Well, there was Easter. There were various egg hunts, parties at school, dying eggs for the first time ever (not as much of a disaster as I would have thought), an Easter bunny "cake" out of Rice Krispy treats that I was very proud of, church at the Alabama Theater because our sanctuary is being renovated, and lunch at the Venables.

I got strep throat and thought I was going to die. Seriously, it was the sickest I've been in recent memory. I was in bed for three full days, and couldn't even drive myself to the doctor. Fortunately, no one else in the family got it. I think they are all carrier monkeys.

We went to Lindsey and Nate's wedding in North Carolina and left the kids with my parents. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask), that was the same weekend that Melanie, Bob, and baby Jack came to B'ham for a wedding. So, EVERYONE stayed at our house, and I think it was a bit much. But, we had a great time! And, that's what really matters. (And then I got to see baby Jack for a day when we got home. Yahoo!) Will also had a great time that weekend--he was enthralled by cool uncle Bob who taught him science experiments and math problems. He's still talking about it.

Will "graduated" from his 4K preschool class and they had a big party to celebrate. It was really cute, even though he's only been there for a year, and even though he isn't actually going to Kindergarten in the fall (he's going to 5K because we're holding him back due to his late birthday). But, the kids had worked hard on their program, and I worked hard on not tearing up while they sang their songs. Off-key children's singing is about the cutest thing ever.

The day after graduation, we headed to the beach. We rented a condo in Seagrove, and my mom joined us for most of the week. It was GREAT! We had perfect weather all week, and since it was the week before Memorial Day, it wasn't crowded at all. The kids loved playing on the beach and swimming in the pool. I have never seen so much energy.

To keep things exciting, as soon as we got back from the beach, I went to Fairfax to wrap things up for work. I attempted to teach "the new girl" everything I could about the job and said goodbye to my co-workers, some of whom I worked with for over ten years. They had a happy hour for me (with too many shots), and gave me a very sweet "retirement" gift...a membership to the Children's Theater for the year. We went to see our first show, The Little Red Hen, this past weekend, and the kids loved it...even Julia!

When I returned, I finalized everything in my last week of work, and then we left town again. This time, we went to Austin, TX to see my cousin Ben (Big Ben, as the kids call him) get married to Amy. Since it was a family wedding, my parents and sister went too, so the kids had their first overnight babysitter. Everything went off without a hitch, and they were even asking for her when we came back (I could really feel the love). We had a great time in Austin. It is such a cool city, and we loved spending time with my cousins, who we don't get to see often. My aunt and uncle put on a great Rehearsal Dinner, and then the wedding was beautiful, though quite hot. On our free day before the wedding, we went out to brunch, rode water bikes, drank during the day, and walked around some of Austin's shops (again, very hot). I felt like we made the most of our mini-vacation!

Whew...we have been busy. Of course, mixed in all of that, we celebrated Mother's Day and Father's Day. Will started swim lessons again (though this time we have to call it swim "practice" and refer to his teacher as "Coach Andrew"). Julia started gymnastics, which is as adorable as it sounds. Will's going to McWane camp this week, and I've been trying to take the kids out of school for some one-on-one time. So, life has been full, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. But really, that's just the way I like it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

They Match!

This was a major accomplishment for me. I got the children in their "matching" outfits, with no fussing from anyone. They agreed to take pictures. They smiled for said pictures. And this was all done before school while Zach was out of town for work! (Their cooperation was fueled by the two sweet rolls that they each had for breakfast, but that's a minor detail that I'm willing to overlook.)

Time Marches On

Zach makes fun of me because every month I have to comment on how I can't believe it's and where did that previous month go. Literally, I say this every month. I continue to be astounded when I come back to the blogging world and see that I haven't posted in a month. But, recently we've been so busy that I'm not surprised that I somehow miss the passing of time. March was a whirlwind: I went to Chicago the first weekend to visit baby Jack (oh, and his parents too). Carol was in town for a visit the next weekend. We went to Chattanooga with the Petreys one weekend. Had Supper Club at our house. Will started soccer. Took Julia to her first dentist visit, and found out at the same visit that Will had two more cavities (the dentist keeps claiming that it's genetic and not our fault, but I think he's just being nice). Zach traveled every week for work. We celebrated Teacher Appreciation week at school, and I went with Will's class on a field trip to the library. Oh, and I worked at my job some, too, you my free time.

Once we got into April, we had a weekend FULL of birthday parties. Zach went to the Masters for "work". I went to NYC to see my best friend, who is getting married soon. Soccer continued. Junior League ramped up. Easter looms.

Each month, or each season, I always think "Oh, once we get through XYZ, things will calm down." Yet somehow, they never do. I'm finally starting to realize that this may just be my life these days! I just hope I can slow down and enjoy it every once in a while.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Girlie Thursdays: Cutest Thing Ever

This morning, Julia was looking at a picture from our wedding.

"That when you got marry."
"Yes, that's when Mama and Daddy got married."
"I not there. I was still with God."

She and I had discussed this weeks ago when she could not accept my answer that she wasn't at our wedding. She kept asking where she was, and didn't understand "you weren't born yet." At some point, I used some terminology about how she was still in heaven with God. I guess it stuck with her! You never know what they are picking up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Circus

Alternate Title: Sometimes, Just Sometimes, I Think That Maybe We're Doing Something Right

At the end of January, we took both kids to the circus (yes, it's been that long since I posted on the blog). This was Julia's first trip, and though she had no idea what a "circus" was, she was thrilled. She's at a phase where regardless of what the event is, she wants to make sure that she gets to go. In fact, a common question from her whenever she hears us talking about anything, is "Me go?!?" I guess she finally started to realize that we took Will to certain things that she didn't get to attend, and now she is not willing to miss out.

Anyway, I digress. This was Julia's first trip to the circus, but it was Will's third. Last year, we had a firm policy that we were not going to buy any of the plastic, crappy toys that the circus has to offer. We made a big deal about how getting to go to the circus was the big treat, and he also got to get a snow-cone in a tiger cup, which we thought counted as a toy. It did not. At least not in Will's mind. He held it together pretty well until we were leaving, where we had to walk through the plastic toy gauntlet. Then, he lost it--screaming, crying, pouting--if you can think of a bad behavior, he did it. Needless to say, this left a bad taste in our mouth regarding our circus visit.

Fast forward to this year: we decided to come up with a new plan. We succumbed to the fact that buying a plastic toy for each child was just part of the circus experience and cost. But, we told Will that he was going to have to help pay for his toy by using some of his allowance. He gets four dollars a week (when we remember) and doesn't have much to spend it on, so he has quite a stash. He quickly accepted our terms and ran upstairs to get his money. When he came back, we were astounded:

"Here is my five dollars for my toy. And here is five dollars for Julia to get a toy. Because she doesn't get an allowance, so how is she going to get a toy? I brought five dollars for her."

I think I teared up a little bit. This is the exact attitude of giving and sharing that we're trying to foster, and he came up with it all on his own. Of course, he was praised effusively, which he loved, and we all headed out to the circus.

When it came time to pick a toy, he picked a light up, spinning sword, which I believe he has played with exactly once since. But, here's the best part of this story: Julia was standing with us while Will picked his toy, but didn't seem to realize what was going on, and we weren't about to clue her in if she wasn't begging for something (I'm sure she'll mention it in therapy later). After we paid for Will's sword, the man gave us a comment card that had a picture of an elephant on it. Julia thought that was her toy from the circus! And she was happy about it! Between the picture of the elephant and the free tattoo she had gotten before the show, she thought she had hit the jackpot.

And so did we.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Will-isms

Since I've been away from the blogging world for a while, I wanted to share some of the funny things that Will has said over the past few weeks:

"Mama, are dinosaurs bigger than....(here I think he's going to say something that might be comparable to a dinosaur, like a house, bus, tree, etc)...a beaver?"

"Mama, why doesn't Julia have any jeans? She needs some so she can be a cowgirl."

"'s time to get ready for school already? I didn't even get to have my shark battle!"

Julia's really into animal noises, so one day we were going through what sounds all of the animals make. I jokingly asked Will what a shark says, to which he quickly replied, "Duh-nun. Duh-nun. Duh-nun" (aka, the theme song from Jaws). Where he came up with that, I will never know!

Friday, January 28, 2011


If you come to our house and happen to need to use the restroom, be sure to lock the door. Julia loves to visit people in the bathroom. I've quickly learned this (the hard way) and have taken to locking the door more often than not. But, Julia really loves visiting people while they're in the bathroom. So, this is what I get while I'm just trying to have two minutes to myself:

(Doorknob jiggles repeatedly.)

Yes Julia, I'll be right out.


Yes, Julia. Just a minute.


Yes, Julia. That's just what I would call this. Complete and utter privacy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Girlie Thursdays

Also known as, reason #4,326,501 why we're screwed:

Julia wanted to play Elmo on my phone, but I told her no. She looked at me as if I had slapped her across the face, and growled back, "Don't. tell. me. no!"

Oh little girl. That's what Mamas are for! And unfortunately for all of us, I think you're going to need to hear 'no' quite often.

And, reason #4,326,502:

Will asked for something in a not-very-nice way. In fact, he pretty much ordered me to get whatever it is he wanted. Since I am always such a buzz-kill, I quickly told him that that was not the way we asked for things around here. Julia heard the conversation and decided to interject.

Julia: We say please, Wuh-wuh. (what she calls Will)
Will: JULIA! You are not the boss of me!
Julia (very calmly): I am. And we say please.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Will-isms

Last week, I spent some time actually making a pretty good meal for dinner. We had chicken Parmesan with Parmesan grits (yes, we like some cheese around these parts) and a salad. It took a little while to prepare, and I was proud of myself that I had made the effort and that it was good. Both of the kids ate it up (a miracle), and everyone seemed to enjoy the meal. To top off a lovely dinner, Zach had gotten some slice-and-bake peanut butter cookies from the store, so while we were finishing eating, he went and put the cookies in the oven, and then delivered them to the table. Remember, these are slice-and-bake, which means they took all of 5 seconds for him to prepare.

Zach brings the cookies to the table, and Will looks up at him admiringly and declares, "Daddy! You are such a chef!"

Really? He gets called a chef for his prepared cookies and the meal I made from scratch doesn't even get a mention? Sounds about right--Mamas never get much credit!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas Memories

That last Christmas post was getting a bit too long, but I did want to share some of my favorite memories from this year's Christmas season:
  • Overheard while the children were playing with their new wooden Nativity set: "NO Julia, you cannot hit me with the baby Jesus!"
  • Julia's reaction as we drove into Mountain Brook village one night and saw all the trees lit up: "Awe-thome!"
  • Julia declaring very loudly (and out of the blue) during the Living Nativity "If I go poop in the potty I get M&Ms!!!" I did tell her that one time a while ago, but I have no idea what prompted this as we're not really working on potty training right now.
  • This:
  • Will's over-the-top joy when he picked out and opened a present on Christmas Eve. He had been asking all season if a particular present was "that car thing like we got Luke A." and indeed it was. I think we could have stopped with that and he would have been happy.
  • Zach's over-the-top joy about the beef tenderloin wrapped in pancetta that we made for Christmas Eve dinner.
  • Will's sweet program at school and how he knew all of the songs.
  • Julia's version of Jingle Bells, which just involved, "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, HEY!" over and over again. Oh, and how she asked me to sing "Manger" each night when I put her to bed.
  • Julia wearing a dress I smocked for her and my dress coat from when I was three when we went to church on Christmas Eve. I tried to get her to wear the little cross necklace my mom gave her when she was born, but she declared "dat tickles!" and wasn't interested.
  • The finding of the magic elf each morning and how the children were so appreciative, and almost always told him 'thank you' for whatever surprise he brought. I especially loved it on the rare days when Julia found the elf before Will and would shout, "DER DA MAGIC ELF!!! DER HE IS! TANK YOU MAGIC ELFFFFF!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas 2010

December took it out of me. I think most moms struggle with the fact that they're usually the ones doing most, if not all, of the presents, decorating, cooking, wrapping, etc, and this year was no different for me. Holiday madness coupled with the fact that work was insane--and even included a mid-month trip to Fairfax--really made me feel overwhelmed this season. And, I hated that feeling. I hated worrying if we were doing all of the fun things associated with Christmas, or if my stress over "getting everything done" was taking over (it was). I wanted to provide special, fun traditions and memories for our children, but it seemed like I didn't really get to relax and enjoy things with them until Christmas had come and gone.

This year, we didn't go see Santa. (Though, after last year's visit, I'm not sure that we really missed out on that one.) We didn't go to ZooLights. We didn't make it to our friends' ornament swap because Will and I were sick. We didn't go to our neighborhood Christmas party, or really many Christmas parties at all.

So after that Debbie-Downer opener on a Christmas post, let's focus on what we DID do: We DID go to the Advent Workshop at our church to kick off the season (and even let Julia come this year). We DID go Christmas tree shopping with my dad (while my mom was in Chicago visiting my adorable new nephew), and got our tree up and decorated pretty early in the month. We DID enjoy the Christmas program and party at the kids' school. We watched all of the classic Christmas movies on TV, and my mom took Will to see them at the Alabama Theater, as well. We read LOTS of Christmas books and wore our Christmas pajamas. We opened our chocolate Advent calendar each day (a big hit) and did our ornament Advent calendar, as well. We talked about the baby Jesus and went to the live Nativity. We hosted Carol and Bill for several days surrounding the actual holiday. We went to children's church at noon on Christmas Eve. We fixed a delicious beef tenderloin for Christmas Eve dinner. We had our traditional Christmas dinner at Mom's house Christmas Day. We ooohed and ahhhed over lights, even though we never took an official light tour. We made Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve and ate them with icing on Christmas Day. We were astounded by a white Christmas (I don't care if the weathermen didn't officially count it as a white snowed on Christmas Day in Alabama and that's all that matters!) We sat by the fire. We opened too many presents. We counted our blessings.

Will and Julia had a fabulous Christmas present-wise. They each got one BIG gift from Santa: a PowerWheels Ford F150 for Will (just like our neighbor's) and a play kitchen for Julia. Though, Will kept pointing out that they were really going to share these gifts: "The truck is mainly mine and the kitchen is mainly hers, but we both get to play with both of them." I think this stemmed more from his desire to play with her gift than to share his, though he has been great about giving her rides in his truck. Other hit gifts were a baby crib, high chair, and Baby Alive doll for Julia, a stand-up microphone for Will, various guitars for the family, books, art supplies, and lots of stocking stuffers. It was almost too much, but they really have enjoyed playing with the things they got. And, they weren't too manic on the actual day...

All in all, it was a great Christmas, made even better by the fact that we didn't have to go to the doctor on December 23rd as we have for the past two years. Will and I were sick before Christmas, and then mine got worse after Christmas, but for the actual day, we were all pretty good. The weather outside was frightful, but the fire was so we stayed inside and in our pajamas and just lounged and played and all took a nap. Oh, and Zach and I realized that we already had the two best Christmas presents ever: