Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brady's BFF

Meet Brooks.

He is Brady's BFF. Or at least that's what I have decided. Brooks is one month older than Brady and lives right next door, so I have a feeling that these two will be two peas in a pod.. once they get a little older. Riding bikes, going to the neighborhood pool, fishing in our p0nd. Getting into boy trouble....

Brooks came over to play last night while his daddy mowed the yard. His mom was at work, so we had a quick play date. Brooks take a few minutes to decide if he liked being left at our house, but it turned out okay... just as soon as we brought out the goldfish crackers!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A Mother's Guilt

Am I the only mommy out there who feels guilty all the time? With constant help, support, and encouragement from Chris, you'd think I wouldn't feel so guilty all the time. But I do.

I feel guilty because I work. I should be staying home with my kids during their most precious time, right?

If I did stay at home, I'd feel guilty because I wouldn't be contributing to the family financially.

I feel guilty for going back to graduate school.... EVEN THOUGH I'm in school so I can teach at the collegiate level and ... yes ... have more time with my family. But in the meantime, while studying, researching, going to class... yup, guilt.

I feel guilty when I have girls night. Even though I know that EVERY mommy needs some girl time. But I feel guilty for leaving Chris with the kids. He doesn't have a guys night, so I guess I feel like it should be equal-playing-opportunity for all!

And even at night, when I want to go for a run - I wait until Brady goes to bed and Kennedy is watching TV or reading because I feel guilty for using daylight/family hours to work out.

Seriously. WHAT is wrong with me? Will it ever go away? Will I ever feel like it's okay to be away from my children for a few hours? Because I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am a better mommy for having that time away. I remember being at home for maternity leave.. and after I was finally able to drive, I packed up the baby and went E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. I couldn't stand to be at home for days at a time. Having time to decompress gives me a renewed sense of energy for my kids. That energy gives me patience when they are a little cranky... it gives me the ability to be calm when they are not.... it gives me motivation to make story time THE BEST story time ever (with sound effects and everything!)..

So then why, I ask, should I feel guilty?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More, please!

Brady is saying two words at a time now. It is SO sweet to hear him learn how to talk. For example, when he wants more food (which is ALWAYS)... he starts by saying, "Mooooh?" (translation = more)

So now I say to him, "Say 'more please!'" And he does! "Moooh peees."

His blanket, which our friend Laura Weego gave him (and swore it was the best blankie ever... she was right!), he calls "bluh-blee."

He's always been able to say "mommy," "daddy," and "sissy," - but anything other than that has been kind of hard.

He knows his afternoon teacher's name (Adrienne) = "Ay-yin."

His favorite food = apple (which is VERY easy to understand cause he actually uses all the correct letters!)

And my favorite.... with THREE syllables... "I duh doo." No - not poop. He's saying "I love you." That, we can thank Barney for. The big purple dinosaur is my LEAST favorite character (that's putting it mildly), but if his annoying songs teach my sweet son how to tell me he loves me, then he's allowed on my TV anytime.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hair DO-NOT!

My friend Gina used to say in college... "hair doooooo-NOT!"

Well, I have had a FEW (okay, several) of those in my day. I used to have VERY short hair. I have also had very BROWN hair. At one point in my life, I wasn't making enough money to get highlights. Never .... again ..... will I go without highlights.

I have become a hair snob. It's actually a running joke by a few of my friends! Susie asked me once, "If you got a bad haircut/color, would you go and have it redone?" Uh... YEAH!

Some people are car snobs. Some people only carry designer handbags. Me? I must have good hair!
Let's review.

Never again will I go without highlights. Never again will I have boy-short hair.

Never... never.. again.

Brady = No Fear

There is a big difference between my daughter and my son. Earlier this week, I blogged about Kennedy losing a bit of her fear. Brady was born without any! Kennedy refused to go in a bounce house until she was three. And even then, she wouldn't jump much. At four years old, she started enjoying them a bit more.

Last weekend at Cole's birthday party, Brady experienced his first bounce house. He literally jumped in head first, climbed the squishy ladder, slid down the slide, bounced his little not-yet-two-year-old heart out.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Helping" Daddy...

I've mentioned this before, but I'll write it again. Brady LOVES to be outside. He points to the door or window and used to say "side"..... now it comes out more like "uh-side." So last weekend when Chris mowed the yard for the first time this season, we all went out to help... more like watch. Brady decided he would like to help daddy sweep off the sidewalk. Well I couldn't help but snap a few photos of daddy's little helper.

Okay, so he didn't actually help clean up the grass at all. He spread it around a little bit, but had a great time wielding the broom.
And how on earth could you not smile when you see this face? What a sweet boy. (Oh - and his daddy put him in that Cowboys shirt. I'm thinking it was laundry day.....)

Old Friends...

My dear friend Leah Hickman. Let me tell you how I met her. In 2003 while living in Dallas, I heard a radio ad for the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. I was inspired to attempt the adventure. In order to participate, walkers had to pledge to raise $2100 for breast cancer research. Once I registered, I was given the name of a team captain who had volunteered to train the group of walkers in our area. By my lonesome, I went to the first walking meeting and started training every Saturday with an amazing group of women. Leah was one of them.

We began to walk and talk, at some times for hours. Our team was the Asphalt Angels. Believe it or not, they are STILL walking together as a group!

When we started training, Leah had recently lost her dad when we met and during our training, her mom, Sara, was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a tough time for Leah and her mom. Today, Sara is cancer-free. Since our 3-day walk in 2003, Leah got married, had a son Tommy (who is the same age as Kennedy) and when he was just a few weeks old, they moved to Longview. She also had a daughter, who is the same as Brady!

So since Leah lives in Longview, which is about an hour from here, we try to get together to catch up, trade kid stories, commiserate about the hectic nature of our lives... and we also try to RUN! Yes, we have moved on from walking to running. Our walking friends would not approve. We got together last weekend to run a Longview 5K race. Good earth!? It was HILLY! I had no idea Longview had such big hills!!

Leah is the kind of friend you can not see for months at a time and then pick right back up where we left off. She is a wonderful friend and I am lucky to have her in my life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The joys (and smells) of motherhood......

When Chris is out of town, it's NUTS during the morning routine. We have to leave the house much earlier than usual, which typically means I have to wake up the kids. This morning, I started waking up Kennedy and then went to finish getting ready... and left Brady to sleep for an extra 10 minutes. That meant I would just pluck him from the warmth of his bed and throw in the car... PJs and all.

One quick tangent: He has been eating A LOT of apples lately. A lot = 2 or 3 per day. On top of that, he is learning to drink from a regular cup so he drinks tons of water. He likes to practice big-kid-cup drinking.

SO - since he is eating lots of apples and drinking lots of water - yup! You guessed it! Lots of poo! This morning was no exception. The first thing he told me when I walked in his room ... "Poo poo!" But there is no time to change the diaper before we get to daycare. Kennedy will miss the daycare bus to Legacy, so we hop in the car and go. We get to Cypress Run, I get Kennedy to her room and then head to Brady's room. Don't worry - I wasn't THAT parent who dropped off a poopy kid in his pajamas. I changed his clothes and his *NASTY* diaper and got him settled in before I dashed off to work.

When I got back in the car, I took a deep breath and started my 30-minute drive to work. It's a part of my day that I actually enjoy. Me and my 30 minutes can just enjoy the quiet. But on this drive, I was not enjoying myself because of the wretched stench! I was blessed/cursed with an amazing sense of smell, particularly from pregnancy on. I can smell a fart a mile away. So when I couldn't get Brady's nauseating poo smell out of my nose, I rolled down the windows a little bit to circulate the air. When that didn't help, I wondered if the poo had leaked in his car seat. Nope. Then it hit me - it was ME! I pulled my shirt up to my nose and.... WHAM!??! I started to gag.

Apparently the stench had seeped through Brady's pajamas and rubbed off on my clothes. You KNOW it was a strong smell to be able to transfer from one piece of clothing to another. SERIOUSLY!?!!

By the time I figured out where it was coming from, I was half-way to work. Being the only store open before 8:00 a.m., I held my breath (literally) and walked into Walmart to buy a shirt to wear to work. Ten minutes later, I walked out with a $3 shirt and a little treat for myself.

Happy Wednesday!!!!! (I think.......)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Books with Brady

The past two nights, all this sweet boy wanted to do is read books. Book, after book, after book, after book.....

We migrate to his room or the office (where the bottom shelf is jam-packed with books) and we start reading. We read at our normal bedtime routine - we read to both kids - but Monday night, two books turned into eight. But how on earth do I tell those puppy dog eyes that we can't read anymore. Uh, you DON'T! You keep reading!

Tonight, he crawled into my lap with his truck book. (Note to self: Buy Brady some BOY TOYS! Kennedy's hand-me-downs are not fun for him anymore. He is interested in trucks and dinosaurs!) So he climbed into my lap and kept saying... "More?" So more books did this tired mama read.

But as I think about the endless "to do" list (clean kitchen, pack bags, grad school homework), I purge my brain of all things unrelated to this sweet face and our books... because before I know it, he'll be graduating from high school and I'll be begging for these snuggle days again. So two books or ten - we'll read until he passes out.

(Kennedy - if you are reading this, you were outside playing with your friends! Snuggling with mommy is NOT high on your priority list these days...)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Ballet with my Tiny Ballerina

This is Kennedy's third year of dance and this year, we are taking classes at the Shreveport Dance Academy, which is where the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet gets many of their dancers. I, not being a dancer, had no clue that THE ballet was housed through this academy! Lucky for us! AND - even better was this season's feature was The Wizard of Oz! Kennedy loves the movie... (remember she was Dorothy for Halloween?). So of course I bought tickets as soon as I could, which put us on the second row. My sweet girl was SO excited!

Okay, mom was a little excited too! Kennedy loved every minute of the show. She got up at intermission and walked down to see the orchestra. She waved to the musicians. Her eyes lit up when Dorothy danced across the stage. She clapped at all the right places. It is such a joy to see her happy.
Conveniently on the way out, we saw DOROTHY!! Kennedy begged me to stop and get her autograph... I suggested we try a picture instead. She stared at her, looked at her ruby (ballet) slippers, and smiled SO BIG!
On the way out, I asked Kennedy if she wanted to dance in a ballet like The Wizard of Oz one day. This is how the conversation went.

Mom: "Do you think one day YOU would want to dance on stage like that?"

Kennedy: "I think so, but I might be scared and shy...."

Mom: "When have you ever been shy?"

Kennedy: "Well mom, that would be a very hard performance."

Whether or not Kennedy decides to continue dancing as she grows up, she will always be my bright eyed, NOT shy daughter.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Painting With a Twist

My friend and sorority sister Jean McQuaig Beauclair opened a new business in town called Painting With a Twist. It's a studio where an art teacher takes you step-by-step through the process of painting the canvas selected for that class. Oh... and there's WINE!

I've been twice since it opened and I LOVE it! I'm a crafty kind of gal anyway, but this was so much fun! I painted this ballerina for Kennedy's room. I love how everyone's painting looks different! My sweet friends made this even more fun... Deanna, DeAnn, Francesca, Deni, and Jean.
And at my second attempt, I painted this slinky (and somewhat curvy) little black dress. It is such a great getaway. And in two to three hours, you walk away with a beautiful canvas. You should try it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Overcoming Fear

My sweet daughter has always been a little skiddish. Okay, skiddish is an understatement. When she was two years old, she wouldn't step in the grass barefoot. Yeah. I know.

But I have seen a dramatic change in her since kindergarten. Going to big kid school has been a tremendous confidence boost for her. I thought being amongst the smallest ones in school would have the opposite effect. She was a little shy at first, but now - she's swinging from the trees... literally!
This is her flying down a... ZIP LINE! (And yes, she is in her ballet uniform... we went straight from ballet class to a birthday party.) She climbed the rock wall to the top of the tree house and stood at the top of the zip line for a few minutes... contemplating...
...and then she held on tight to the handlebars, hiked up her legs, and WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

Do you see that smile? Love it.

And for Christmas, we bought her roller skates. She's been skating around the house (on the carpet) for weeks... maybe months. Then she started skating on the tile, but ONLY if she's holding onto the cabinets or a wall or a chair.
And then suddenly.... she decided she was ready to venture outside. She started skating (translation = walking) on the grass. And then I held her hand and we slooooooooooooooowly skated on the concrete.

And now look at her! Skating on the sidewalks without holding my hand and sliding down a zip line with the BIGGEST smile on her face. My baby girl is overcoming her fear, one small step at a time. And I couldn't be more proud of her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Daddy Turns 40!

For those of my friends who have children, please forgive the term "daddy" in my title because I am not referring to MY father, but my kids' father. Since this blog is for our kids to learn about our adventures in parenting - I will refer to Chris as "daddy"... and MY "daddy" as "Papa," which is what Kennedy and Brady call him.

So daddy just turned 40! If you know Chris, then you know he is NOT into It's not that he doesn't like having a birthday. And it's not that he's in denial. He just doesn't like people to make a big fuss.

If you know me, then you know I LOVE to make a big fuss. Sometimes we mix like oil and water. This is one of those situations. But seriously - 40 is a BIG birthday! I didn't want to be tacky and obnoxious with "Over the Hill" stuff because 40 is NOT OLD. And besides, he's got a young, blonde 32-year-old wife! Haha!

Birthday morning, Kennedy and I decorated the kitchen, put out our gifts and snuck out of the house before dawn to get his favorite Starbucks drink. Kennedy was so excited to help me get things together for her daddy. The night before, she helped wrap presents and begged to keep them in her room because ..."Daddy would never find them there!" I agreed because who on earth could turn down such giddiness?! When I put her to bed that night, I told her I would be waking her up so we could get daddy's favorite morning coffee. My alarm went off at 5:45. I threw on some clothes and went to Kennedy's room and she was already awake and bouncing with excitement!

So we had our family celebration that morning and enjoyed the company of some friends that evening. Honestly, I think Chris would have been happy with just that. But mama doesn't know how to celebrate small. So the next weekend, we invited our closest friends over for a crawfish boil. It was soooooooooo good! Being in Louisiana has grown on Chris because he really likes crawfish! Crawfish + corn + potatoes + beer + his favorite dessert = THE best birthday party!

This picture makes me fall in love with this sweet face all over again. He is so handsome and so wonderful to me and is the BEST father to our kids. I am extremely lucky to have him. Oh - and you see that cute little button? That's his baby picture! It looks exactly like Brady! I had some buttons made for everyone to wear... they had very embarrassing pictures from Chris' mullet-pimply teen years. Did I mention he is a good sport?

About that favorite dessert - Boston Cream Pie - I ordered this one. I tried to make one the first year we were married and FAILED miserably. I will never try again. It was awful and took me two days to make it. That was the year I learned there is a difference between baking powder and baking soda. No blonde jokes people!

Chris' mom (Memere, as the kids know her) makes this dessert and I will never be able to live up to those expectations. It's just NOT possible. So I called around and there is one bakery in town that makes it. He said it was pretty good (I'm not a big fan, so I had one bite), but I'm sure it doesn't come close to his mom's. That's okay.... it's the effort, right?
One final funny picture of Brady eyeballing this crawfish. He wasn't quite sure what to think, but I just couldn't help but post this photo. Right after I took the picture, he ran off to play.
Happy Birthday daddy!!

"Awww meeeah!"

Quick funny story about sweet Brady.

He LOVES to play outside. That's an understatement. He is constantly pointing out the window and saying, "Side?" That's definitely the boy in him. All Kennedy wanted to do at his age is sit on the floor and play with her toys. So any chance he gets, Brady wants to be outside in the grass, pushing cars around, anything.

This morning, we opened the garage door so I could load up the car for school. Brady stepped down the step into the garage, took a few steps, turned around to see if Chris was within reach, and then made a beeline for the driveway hoping to play outside.

Chris scooped him up and held him like a plank under his arm and Brady, in his sweet innocent voice, said, "Awww meeeeah!" (Translation: "Awe man!")

We laughed and laughed and laughed. It was THE best way to start our day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Evenings

What is it about spring evenings that make me smile? Last night, Chris fired up the grill and open two ice cold beers for us... I made hamburger patties and sat on the porch while the kids played. It was one of those moments where I was soaking in all the goodness around me. Brady loves playing outside, so we lounge on the back porch as much as possible right now while it's warm!

So as I was sitting in my chair, I looked at my kids sitting at their picnic table and thought.... "How blessed am I to have these two wonderful babies in my life? (Hush, I know Kennedy is 5. She is STILL my baby and always will be!)

And then I was checking out the cute hiney on my husband and thought... "What a lucky woman I am to have THIS man in my life (with a cute butt)."

After our dinner on the back porch, Brady got a little dessert - a bright green Peep from his Easter candy. This child LOVES those things. He practically swallowed it whole.

And then, we went to the front to watch Kennedy roller skate. Considering this girl is a complete scaredy cat about EVERYTHING, I was super pumped about her rolling around on the concrete.

(Disclaimer: she has been practicing for weeks! It took her a week to get brave enough to get off the grass!)
So spring is here and we are enjoying every minute of it! Before we know it, the temperatures will be burning us alive at nearly 100 so we will enjoy every minute of this!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Besides the fact that Brady was feeling icky (although you cannot tell in this picture below), we had a great Easter. My parents came to our church and Tim was in town, so he joined us as well. Then the traditional brunch and egg hunt at Nina and Papa's house! Grandma Faye felt up to coming over, so she joined us too. Both kids were given books from the Grandparent Easter Bunny.

Did you know he visited the grandparents house? It's kind of like Santa. Ha!

Oh... and Brady had an Easter basket very similar to his sister's (but with boy things and darker colors)... but since he is obsessed with Elmo these days, Kennedy and I found this tiny Elmo basket and she thought it would be fun to buy for her little brother. It was one of those sweet moments that I want to bottle up and take out whenever they're fighting over a toy.