Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections on 2010.....

I blinked and this year was over.

I remember last New Years Eve - getting ready to go to Eric's house for a small get together of friends. We called it "Let the Games Begin in 2010." It was a low-key, wine-drinking, Wii-playing kind of night.... :)
That was before Eric and Leann were married. Now they're happily hitched with a baby boy on the way, due in February.

It's funny how much can change in a year. Last year, Brady was a tiny little one year old. (Okay, wait.... he's never really been tiny). Now, he's talking more, loves to count, point out colors, and regularly asks to "talk a Nina" on the phone.

Kennedy was a pip squeak in kindergarten. Now, she's a sassy first grader who I can tell is going to give me a run for my money. Her sass can only be matched by her mama... and that's the problem. She's a mini-me. Yikes. Jumping shirtless on the neighbor's trampoline.... taking a quick squat to pee in the field next to our next door neighbor's house... these are things you don't expect a six year old to do. Yet sweet Kennedy has shamelessly done both these things.
Chris got a promotion this year... And I took a completely different job working from home so I could have more time and be involved with the kids and their schools. It's been a very busy year and I expect it to only get busier in 2011 with sooooooooooooo many babies being born.

We'll get a new addition to the Skinner family..... NO, NOT ME!! My sister is having another little girl. And I'm getting my very own adhoc goddaughter when Susie and Ford welcome a little girl from Columbia to their family.
Lots to look forward to next year!

As far as 2010 goes, it was a very good year. The hardest part was losing my sweet puppy Roscoe. I think of him often and even tear up every once in a while thinking of all that we had been through together. But with the addition of Zoe, life goes on in our house. Our family has completely fallen in love with her.
Overall, we were extremely blessed this year. I am thankful for my healthy family, fantastic friends, good jobs for me and Chris, two entertaining and lively kids, and the most loving husband a girl could ask for....


Saturday, December 18, 2010

My heart is already warm.

This morning, we are on our way to do one of my favorite things as part of the holiday season. We are delivering a box of food to a family in need. We did this last year as part of The Simple Church missions, which is Chris' volunteer job at church.

So we're pulling into line to get our address for the delivery and I said, "Oh... This just warms my heart!"

Kennedy's response: "My heart is already pretty warm."

We all laughed so hard. And then, just when I think she doesn't "get it" -- she takes put her coin purse, pulls out $2 and says she wants to give the family some of her money.

I love how big her heart is.......

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


With the inspiration of my nanny in mind (my great-grandmother on the Gardner side of my family) -- I taught myself how to crochet. ((Okay, okay. That sounds like I just figured it out on my own. I watched YouTube repeatedly!!))

One of my favorite blankets is an afghan that my Nanny made. And since my mom won't hand it over, I decided to learn how to make my own treasures. But before plunging into a massive blanket, I started small. A tiny scarf.

I picked the perfect shade of purple yarn for my sweet girl. When she realized I was making her a scarf, she squealed in excitement! She asked everyday if it was ready. Finally last weekend, I finished it. She wore it around the house that morning, but when we were finally ready to leave for church -- she didn't have it on. I asked why she wasn't wearing it, she replied very matter-of-factly... "I just don't want to."

So much for the excitement.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010


It's been way too long --AGAIN -- since I've written here. I only thought I would have more time with my new adventure. Unfortunately, I am busier and more stressed. I am hoping that once I really settle in - it will be calmer. The thing about sales is that when I'm not working, I'm not getting paid. Soooo -- I work ... constantly. At a salary job, it's no big deal to take a break, have a few slow days.... no biggie cause the checks keep coming. Ha!

Thanksgiving flew by and now we're just a few week from Christmas.

This is my favorite picture from Thanksgiving. All the grandbabies. :)

Our house is decorated and ready for the holidays.

And we started the Elf on the Shelf tradition this year. "Sparkie" has been hiding all over the house!

Oh... And I taught myself how to crochet.

Just the usual insanity!!!! :)

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Things my kids say.....

Scene: Chris is playing in the living room with Brady. Kennedy and I are sitting at the table.

She looks at me, and referencing her brother, she says: "Daddy should be careful. Brady has a clemency to bite ."

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In love

I totally fell in love with my son again tonight. From time to time, one of the kids will do something that simply brings me to tears. Tonight, it was Brady who stole my heart.

After running to me when I picked him up from school, he gave me the biggest hug... EVER. You know... the kind where you wrap your arms really tight around someone's neck? Then in the car on the way home, Brady innocently looked and me and asked, "Mommy, daddy cooking?"

Note to self: MOM. MUST. COOK. MORE.

Honestly, I think he said that because Chris cooked last night and I kept telling him that daddy was cooking. Mmmm hmmm... Yes, that's my story. :)

Then, when I asked for a kiss tonight... I got a bonafied, REAL lip smacking kiss. You know how when kids are little they put their mouth to your cheek and just go "Mmmmmaaaaah!" There's no smack... just a sound effect.

Well tonight, I got smack. It was THE sweetest moment of my day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kennedy's BFF(L)

Kennedy has totally bonded with a new friend, Kaitlin (seen here on the far left at 50s day). They play together, write notes to each other, they want to start a Book Club together.

Of course, it helps that her mom is wonderful. She's real. Very easy to talk to.

This week, we had Kaitlin in the car and they were discussing their friendship status. They decided they were BFFL. Best Friends. For. Life.


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Sunday, November 7, 2010


I love this time of year. It's getting cooler. The holidays are approaching. And winter snuggles are THE best.

Halloween kicks off the fall and we had a blast this year. Brady was just as much into Trick or Treating as Sissy.

She chose a ninja costume. B wanted to be his super hero Buzz Lightyear. I (reluctantly) decided to not coordinate their costumes this year. Turns out, it was best for everyone. No pouting!! Yay!

Our Hardy friends joined us for the neighborhood trick or treating. Dads stayed home and watched the game and drank beer... uh, I mean -- they passed out candy to the kids in our neighborhood.

The adults had a party, too! Midway to Mardi Gras party was 70s. Us girls and our husbands (who were very good sports) were the kids from The Brady Bunch. Can't you tell? Cindy, Marsha, and Jan? So fun....

And our porch needed some decor as well. Carved pumpkins and Kennedy's clown pumpkin from school. And yes -- those are deer antlers coming out of the head. Kennedy got those on her trip to the camp with Nina and Papa.

Happy Fall Y'all!!

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My life now

What a whirlwind this past month. I will upload photos from Halloween, Kennedy's 50's day at school and some other goodies... (now that I have a new camera battery charger).

My mom and sister have commented that I am just as busy, if not BUSIER, now than I was when I was at LSUS. Well, yes. I think it's true. The reason is that now, time is money. Being on a commission basis means ... no work = no pay. Having a salary allowed me to have a little downtime and it wasn't that big of a deal... cause I'd still get a paycheck. :)

So, if a client says they're interested in coming up with some gift ideas for their employees - I try to get back to them the same day, even if it's after "business hours." If I don't help them, they'll go somewhere else and I'll never get their business again!!
I am happy to report sales for the month at $50,000+!! Of course that wouldn't have been possible without leads from Jean.
So here are some misconceptions about working from home:

1. It's easy.
No... it is not easy. I don't feel like I want to sit on the couch now... but I do feel like if I don't take a shower first thing in the morning - it won't happen. There have been several days where I look up and it's 3:00 and Kennedy is coming home from school .... and I never even washed my face. There is just SO MUCH work, that I have to get cleaned up first thing.

2. I have more time now for other things.
Well, I make time. I could realistically just work round the clock, as I imagine many sales folks do. But I sign up for stuff at Kennedy's school, I volunteer to be the parent on the field trip. I agree to be Room Mom. ... because that's the reason I took this opportunity. I could fill my day with sales, but I force myself to step away. But I don't have much spare time... as you can tell from my very limited blog entries...

3. You can set your own schedule.
Yes... that is true. I do set my own schedule. But there is not a regular routine like before. I knew that I had to get up every day at a certain time, leave for work by a certain time, I'd work out certain days of the week, get home at a certain time, etc. Now - it's up to me. That takes TREMENDOUS will power... which is why I am not working out as much as I'd like.

Things are different since Chris and I both work from home now. We see a lot more of each other now, which has been good in some ways... and an adjustment in other ways. I do truly miss the daily conversations with co-workers at the office, particularly seeing my BFF every day and knowing every detail about each other's days. That has been tough to deal with..

But there is more time now for snuggles, more time for me to spend at Kennedy's school, I have been able to cook (a little), we play outside in the evenings more, I get to help Kennedy with her homework....
So while the transition has been bumpy, I think it's all worth it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Random Recent Photos....

Our little Brady at a birthday party....

Cousins at the park!!
"Hey Mommy! Are you coming?"

Ohhhhhh myyyyyyyy... I snapped this picture of Kennedy at Old Navy. She was just too stinkin' sweet-looking. I'm not sure why she wanted to pose with this dog, but I just couldn't resist taking a quick pic.

Field trip with Kennedy and Mrs. Clark's class to Papa Simpson's Farm!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fourth Half Marathon

I coached my dear friend Scott through his first half marathon today. It was my fourth and, by far the most fun race.

Maybe it's because there was no pressure for me to finish within a certain time.

Maybe it's because someone else was relying on me to help him through.

Either way, we had a great time. Okay... Let me rephrase that. I had a great time. I hope he will look back on it (after the achy knees and tender muscles heal) with satisfaction.

Congrats Scott!!

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Location:Tyler, Texas

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An update... finally

So much has happened these past two months. I have no decent pictures to show for it because in the midst of this big transition in my life, I lost my camera battery charger. So, I promise to make up for it with a ton of photos this fall. It's going to be a busy one, but I'm excited about the changes underway.

I haven't had a chance to write because I have been working my way out of my dream job at LSUS into a work-from-home sales/marketing job. (Huh? What? Why, you ask?) One word: my kiddos. I am getting choked up right now just typing this.

Okay... here's the deal folks. I'm a working mommy for sure. I could NOT be a stay at home mom. I do not have that gift of patience. I like working. I always have. I always will. BUT - these past 18 months, and even more intensely these past six months, I was working 50 to 60 hours a week on the university's website. It was the largest project of my career, by far. I had many meltdowns, but she is a BEAUTY. She launched and I can honestly say that it was one of the proudest moments of my career. In fact, most of my "proudest career moments" have come from my job at LSUS.

So why leave?

Because with this job, I was on call non-stop. I rushed around like a mad woman in the morning to get everyone ready for work/school. When I got home from work, it was a mad dash to cook dinner. MOST nights, Chris cooked because he works from home. Then, 30 to 45 minutes of time with the kids before bath and bedtime routines and in the bed they went. For some moms, that's not a big deal... but I grew up having my mom at home everyday when I got home from school. She chose the stay-at-home mom route, which meant she was always there for us. I have always wanted that, but wasn't sure how.

Then at a dinner party for our dear friend Scott, I sat across the table from my college sorority sister Jean. I had mentioned to her about a year before that if she ever needed help with Cayenne to keep me in mind. She owns Cayenne Marketing.... AND Painting With a Twist... AND is opening a "Twist" in Bossier in 2011. Apparently she always remembered that I said I was willing to help her, so we began talking about me coming on to manage most of her existing accounts since "Twist" was taking up so much time.

After a few weeks of discussion with her and Chris - I decided that while I did NOT want to leave my dream PR job, I DID want to have more time with my kids. So, I bit the bullet and turned in my resignation. It hasn't been an easy transition. I gave four week of full-time notice at the university and reluctantly agreed to work part-time a second four weeks to help train my replacement. (Remember me? The one who can't say no? That's me...)

So I started Cayenne part-time while I wrapped up LSUS part-time... launched the university website, packed up my office and headed to my card table desk for this new challenge.

It is not luxurious. I do not have tech support. I do not have an administrative assistant to process paperwork. I don't have maintenance assistance. BUT - I do have this.............

Two pint-sized assistants willing to answer the phone for me, scribble all over my notes, play with my post-it notes, and reinforce this not-so-easy decision. It has been a VERY bumpy ride, but I know it will be worth it.

I've already been able to go with Kennedy on a field trip with her class, coordinate a project for her teacher Mrs. Clark, and cook dinner once or twice. (Hey - it's a slow process, okay?)

So to our family and friends who keep up with us via this blog, I apologize for not updating as frequently as I like. I will do better going forward..........

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's going on?

It has come to my attention (thanks to my sweet mother-in-law living in Maine who regularly checks our family blog for updates) - that I haven't updated in a looooong time. It's been almost a month since a quality update about what's happening in our lives. And there has been A LOT happening.

I am leaving LSUS. I'm starting a new adventure, which allows me to work from home. Right now - I'm doing both jobs. Kennedy started her fourth year of dance - this year, she chose jazz! She also had to switch teachers because if overcrowding. Brady is talking more and more everyday - and frankly.... he won't STOP talking! Chris and i started volunteering at our church, which we love!! I'm still in grad school, signed up and then dropped a sign language class with my friend Deanna after realizing that I had just a feeeeew things going on. I tend to overcommit myself. (My family is saying to themselves, "Uh huh!!")

So I promise to update on all of these things this week.... Ummmm, maybe next week.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Been Missing

Yes..... It's been a while since I've posted, but life has been crazy.

An update is coming soon. I promise...........

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Prayer for Kennedy

God protect my baby this school year.
Bless her as a student, a leader, and as a Godly friend.
May she be bold for you....
May she be your hands and feet to her friends and to those who don't know you each day.
Your loving hand be on her always.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last person......

I just might be the last person on the earth to buy one of these things. But I am going to give it a whirl. I've been a Blackberry user for years now and I had decided to go with the new Blackberry Torch. But I am curious about this little gadget. There are so many things I have been accustomed to with the Blackberry. But as Susie reminded me, I'm a Democrat. Change is good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(Sometimes, Papa has to just give in and play hairdresser...)

Monday, August 16, 2010

May I Present........

...the Royal Duchess, Susie Stinson! Yay Susie! My BFF was selected to be in the royalty of the Krewe of Justinian XVII! One of the perks of having a friend in the royalty? Parties!

With Chris out of town for the Red Sox game, I asked my favorite "guy guh" to escort me to this very high end occasion! We had an absolute ball!

And all of the duchess' best ladies were given masks to make sure we were dressed for the Masquerade Bal. We all looked very festive while we drank, danced, and celebrated the upcoming Mardi Gras season.

Deanna Hardy and me...

Shelley, Susie, and me... besties!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What a Fun Age

For all the hype you hear about the "terrible two's" - there is soooooo much more that is fun at this age. Brady learns new words everyday - probably trying to keep up with his sissy.

Just in the last week, he started looking at me with the sweetest eyes and says: "Mommy, I hold you." My heart melts E.V.E.R.Y. time. I immediately scoop him up. He never wants to stay wrapped up in mommy's arms too long, but that's okay... I'll take every second I can get.

This weekend with my birthday, he enjoyed repeating "Haddie Buuuday!" over and over and over. Anything he sees that is colorful that might, possibly be birthday related - he points at it, squats down a little bit and shouts.. "Haddie Buuuday!!!"

And once he got the hang of "Happy Birthday" - and heard the happy birthday song a few times, he started pointing to birthday things and says, "Haddie Buuuday HOOO HOOO!"

We figured out that he's trying to say " you.." - and we laugh and laugh and laugh.

Having a boy has been so much fun!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer is Over....

Depending on who you ask in he LaPierre house, you'll get a myriad of responses to the phrase... "Summer is over." Kennedy, while exhausted from all her summer activities, was somewhat ready to get back to a routine. Brady, of course at daycare, didn't miss a beat. But Chris? He was ready for the return to normalcy (whatever THAT is) in the LaP's house.

It's not that he didn't enjoy Kennedy being home with him some weeks during summer break. It's just that he, bless his at-home-working-heart, was... well, trying to WORK. She didn't understand that daddy couldn't be interrupted every 10 minutes.

Sweet girl started first grade last week and, so far, loves it! She is sandwiched in between two boys (ewwww... yuck!) because they sit in alphabetical order. So it looks like she won't have to worry about getting in trouble for talking!

And since she has to wear a "borrrrrrring" uniform, she can add her own unique style with some hot pink, sparkly shoes. Work it!

And what a perfect opportunity to welcome the new teacher, Mrs. Barton, back to school with a little "treat" bag of Rice Krispie treats!

It's going to be a great year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big kids = big beds

Since Kennedy is starting first grade this year, we knew the REAL homework would begin. And while I love our home (love, love, LOVE it) - the only downside is the small bedrooms for the kids. They're not TINY, but they don't have a lot of room for furniture. Once you fit a double or queen bed and a dresser, there's not much more room to play.... or put in a desk for homework. So we decided to get Kennedy a loft bed. You know... the kind that has the bed on top and desk underneath?

So we surprised her with this bed and she gladly helped her daddy put it together. Chris said she was a big help and he even let her screw in some of the pieces. She LOVES to help.

With Kennedy's queen bed now available, we decided to move it into Brady's room and skip the toddler phase of his bed and go right to the big boy bed. The ONLY reason I thought this might work (meaning Brady staying in bed) is because he gladly slept on a double bed with Kennedy when we were on vacation.
It seems strange to me that he (who just turned two this summer) went straight from a crib to a queen bed. But folks - let me tell you, it was the easiest transition. He does not get out of bed! Now, I must confess that he doesn't go down EASILY ... with ME! With Chris, he lays down, says "Night night, Daddy" and talks himself to sleep. With me, it's all tears and "Mommy, sleep here. Lay down." I have to get Chris in there every time.

But as much as I'd love for him to go right to bed, it's sweet knowing that he still wants his mommy. At least one of my kids does!

And so as Kennedy starts first grade and Brady moves up to a big boy bed, I'm happy about the contentment of my family... but I'm also watching them grow up soooooo incredibly fast. Could I please slow it down a little?