Thursday, December 29, 2011

No white Christmas two years in a row, but I'm definitely not complaining

Christmas was absolutely wonderful this year. Audrey was obviously more aware of what was going on, which made it even better. She was still overwhelmed, though, especially at Mom's, where she had a pile of presents that was higher than her head. Not to mention two hyperactive cousins:)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Something tells me that Katie likes the Hello Kitty boots we gave her.

On Christmas Eve, we spent the day with just the three of us. We went to the candlelight service at our church, which was beautiful. However, they didn't have childcare, and our preacher did a full-length sermon, which I didn't expect. As we left, David said, "Thank God for childcare" and I had to agree! She was squirming all over the place, except when there was music. She fell and busted her lip during the service, but she didn't make a sound. Nada. She was bleeding, and I asked David to get some toilet paper for the blood. So, I have to give her major props for that.

When the church was filled with nothing but candlelight and music, I felt an incredible peace settle over me. I'm so glad we went. We took these after the service.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Christmas Day was at my mom's. Thankfully, we did it later in the day, so Audrey could have a full-length nap. I know she would have melted down if she hadn't gotten one. She got so many presents that I can't even remember them all, but she especially loved a Mickey Mouse ride-on train (from my brother and family) that makes all kinds of music and loud noise. Hey, I can take the noise if it makes her happy. Most of the time.

We spent the day after Christmas with David's parents, and Audrey got tons of gifts there, too. She got a dollhouse with lots of accessories, and I love that it doesn't have batteries. I like that she'll have to use her imagination to play with it. Although, I have to say, David and I are having fun with it, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I got lots of great things, too, but...wait for it...David's parents gave me a Keurig coffee maker! Wow. I was totally shocked. I've been going back and forth about wanting one, especially with the cost of K cups. But David gave me a filter where I could also use regular coffee, which I didn't even know was possible. Absolutely awesome, and I love it! Now I need suggestions as to the tastiest K cups. Hint, hint.

I got David a helicopter that's controlled by an iPad or iPod Touch. I thought he'd like it, but I had no idea how MUCH he'd like it. That calls for an entirely different post, since this one's getting lengthy already.

A merry, merry Christmas, for sure.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Surprise, surprise!

I've gotten some amazing gifts in the last couple of weeks. For my birthday, I got a Nook Color! It's great, and I can't wait to read some of the children's books to Audrey. They really "come alive" with the pictures. Of course, I'm enjoying it myself, too;) When I have pain in my hands, it's hard to manage holding up a book to read in bed, especially a hardback, so the Nook is perfect.

I also received 30 tulips from David (have I written about that?) and a beautiful sterling silver necklace with Audrey's name and birthstone. I'll post a pic of that later, after my resident photographer takes a good picture of it. It's surprisingly hard to take a good picture of jewelry.

And I can't believe I'm even typing this, but I got a bracelet from Tiffany. It still hasn't sunk in, really. I have an aunt and uncle who live in Santa Fe, and they always send us generous gifts. However, I was not expecting something like that. They usually send me some beautiful jewelry, but this was amazing!

All the gifts for our family came in one box, and David unpacked it. I was in the other room, and I thought I saw a glimpse of that signature blue box. But I didn't believe it. Then David said he couldn't wait for me to open my gift, so I became cautiously optimistic.

As a mother should, I stifled my curiosity and focused on Audrey's gifts, even taking the time to read her card aloud. She loves cards, by the way, and this one had music, so it was a hit. Audrey got a beautiful tree ornament from New Mexico and a Barnes & Noble gift card. Awesome.

Then David brought in the blue box. With amazing self-control, I actually read and admired my card before opening it. But when I opened the box, I freaked out. Look how beautiful it is!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

You can't really tell from the picture, but the pendant (I'm not sure what you call it) says Tiffany, New York, Fifth Avenue over and over. I'm not embarrassed to say that I performed an impromptu "I just got a bracelet from Tiffany" dance. I'm only thankful that no one caught it on video.

They also sent me a B&N gift card, which was really above and beyond after the bracelet. When I called my aunt yesterday to thank her, she said, "That's what aunties and uncles are for. We figured every girl deserves a piece of jewelry from Tiffany."

I couldn't have said it better myself:)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rare occurrence

On Sunday night, we got together with my mom's side of the family for Christmas. We haven't done that in at least 3 years, which is crazy since we used to do something for Christmas and Easter every year.

If my grandparents were alive, they'd be upset at how little we see each other, but it's really hard with everyone's schedule. Both my cousins work crazy hours (Sonya's a retail manager and Russell works at BMW, which is open 24/7).

I was glad Mom and Aunt Barbara didn't do the whole Christmas dinner spread, because that's a lot of cooking, and I know Mom will be doing it on Christmas Day anyway. They had barbecue, since it was easy, and Mom made pot roast for me since I can't have pork. Which is fine with me, by the way. After Dr. Petan told me about all the parasites in pork and chicken...well, let's just say I'm not sad that I can't eat those particular foods.

It was fun, although things got a little tense when my cousin Russell brought gifts for all the kids. We had determined beforehand that we weren't doing that, since we only decided last Wednesday night that we were getting together. That didn't leave a lot of time for shopping, obviously. I was relieved, though, because I have trouble coming up with gift ideas for their birthdays, much less Christmas! Not to mention the money issue, of course. So my cousin Sonya got really annoyed, but there was no scene, thank goodness. We're klassy like that:)

Russell said, "I know I'm going to piss off the adults tonight, since I brought presents when we agreed not to." I told him I wasn't mad. It was a win-win situation. Audrey got two new dresses and leggings and I didn't have to buy anything. Is that awful of me?

The kids had a great time.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And ever since I put a bow on Audrey's head as I was opening a birthday gift, she does it herself now, very enthusiastically, I might add.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Fun times for all.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

My birthday was this week, and it was actually pretty great. I was feeling a little better after being on an antibiotic for a sinus infection. Oh, I don't think I've mentioned that, have I? Yeah, I was absolutely miserable. And I still don't feel well.

Back to my birthday, though. Audrey was perfectly behaved, couldn't have been better. I even led her in a chorus of "Happy birthday to Mommy" a few times. I got a few cards and lots of Facebook birthday wishes. Then around 3:45, some boxes were delivered to the house. We get boxes all the time, so I didn't think anything of it when I saw three.

But I was surprised when I saw that one of the boxes had 1-800-FLOWERS on it. David and I have talked about how impractical flowers are, especially on our budget. I forgot all about that, though, as I opened the tulips, my favorite flower. 30 of them!

David's parents came by that afternoon, and they gave me a Nook Color. Wow! It was on my Christmas list, but I really didn't expect that for my birthday. I haven't used it yet, but I can't wait.

Fast forward to a few days later, and my tulips have suffered an untimely death. David chewed someone out at 1-800-FLOWERS, and a fresh batch was delivered today. We'll see how those do.

My family is coming over this afternoon to celebrate my birthday, and I'm not looking forward to it, because my ex-SIL will be here, and I feel like our house just isn't big enough for the two of us. Because she just makes me sick.

The important thing, though, is that I had a good birthday. I forgot to mention that David took me out to eat and gave me a beautiful necklace, too. Not to mention that I have him home now for the next two weeks. And that's all that matters.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I have no words

My brother, Owen, and my ex-SIL, Candy, are trying to reconcile. They've tried this before. It failed miserably.

I...well, I don't know what to think. I know the world doesn't revolve around me, but this comes at a most inconvenient time. My 40th birthday is rapidly approaching and, amazingly, I don't feel depressed about it.

Owen's birthday is this week, so we're celebrating on Saturday. Mom warned me Candy might be there. This took me a few days to accept (okay, to be honest, I haven't really accepted it yet). Then I told Mom that I didn't want her at my birthday celebration, which we're doing the weekend after Owen's.

Although I'm trying to rise above my pettiness, I think I have the right to request that she not be there. I haven't seen her since the last time they tried to reconcile. She treats my nieces like crap. Katie recently told me she's scared of her. So, for her to be there on my birthday would make me absolutely uncomfortable. Not to mention David, who is extremely protective of me and doesn't have a lot of love to spare for Candy.

This birthday is a milestone for me. We're not having an elaborate party, just the family. I do not want my 40th birthday to be uncomfortable, especially when Candy may not be around even 40 days from now.

I'm trying to forgive, because I'm a Christian, and I know that's required of me. But I can't get past this. I understand that she'd be at Owen's birthday and :shudder: Christmas.

You wouldn't think she'd have the nerve to push Owen into pressuring me about this, though. But you'd be wrong. I found out, after Audrey's party, that Owen asked Mom if she could come to it, and he was angry when she said no.

So here's my dilemma. If my brother asks me if she can come to mine, what do I do? Tell him I've decided not to celebrate this year? Lie and say I'm going to Bora Bora? If we had the money, I wouldn't be opposed to dropping everything and going there, if it meant I could avoid her.

The real answer is...I'll have to allow it. Otherwise, there will be hard feelings. If I say I don't want to celebrate, my nieces (not to mention my mom) will not understand. Candy will then tell my nieces that I decided not to celebrate because I didn't want to invite her. No, she's not above that.

God help me. And if you made it through this post, God bless you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

She's two!

I was really bummed when Audrey was diagnosed with an ear infection a few days before her birthday. But I was determined to make the most of it, and we kept the Kleenex box within easy reach:)

I think she had a great time. I'm glad we got this pic of the three of us before the party started, since it was utter chaos afterward.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We had a Minnie Mouse theme, since Audrey's fairly obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

We had about 16 people there, which was a good number. The party was at David's parents' house, since we can't accommodate many people at ours. Even though Audrey was drugged up with Benadryl, Tylenol, and Amoxicillin, she was a trooper. She did have somewhat of a glazed look on her face during the party, but things started coming alive at the end of opening gifts. She had to warm up to that, since I don't think she likes being the center of attention. Much like her mommy:)

Gracie bought her a bear hat (or as Audrey calls it, "bear bear") and some mittens, all with her own money. She's such a generous child.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And this year, David made cupcakes. Last year's ladybug cake was ridiculously expensive, so we decided to shake things up. Audrey had a special one with a Minnie Mouse candle. She doesn't get sweets very often, but she's a big fan of cupcakes (again, like her mommy).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

David took off work for her actual birthday, and when he asked her what she'd like to do, she said, "Cupcake". Smart girl.

She got so much stuff, including the Little People zoo, which has to be assembled. The box didn't say "Some assembly required"; it said "ADULT assembly required". And I did it, since David was swamped with work that day. Now, before fibro, I actually put a desk together. But the zoo took me an hour. It's hard to read instructions while a toddler is trying to "help", so I finally turned on Mickey Mouse for her.

All in all, I think she had a good birthday. She's still sick, and guess what? So am I. Again. I feel like wiping this whole place down with Lysol.

And I have a two-year-old. How did that happen?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Vintage birthday

Last year, when Audrey's 1st birthday party rolled around, I was depressed. Darned seasonal affective disorder. I got all excited about planning it around October, but by the time it came, I was not enthused. It was still a great party, though.

I wasn't even blogging then, which I love to do. I think it was 3-4 months that I went without blogging. But all that has changed now (more on that later).

Audrey's 2nd birthday party was Saturday. Before I share those pics, I've decided to share some vintage pics from last year, since I didn't post any then. We had a ladybug theme, by the way.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And one of my favorites.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And...she's sick again

Ugh. Audrey had a cold a couple of weeks ago. I can't remember if I wrote about it, but I was literally blowing her nose every ten minutes for a week. I'm fairly certain I gave it to her, even though it was different for me, since almost losing my voice was my main symptom.

She was better for a week, during which David got sick with the same symptoms as I had. Then yesterday, she spiked a fever of 102.8, which scared the poo out of me. Even though she runs a normal 98.6, I've always been around 97, so a fever that high really scares me.

But she looked so normal yesterday morning.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I knew she was getting sick on Monday, though. And my first thought was (after feeling really bad for her), Great. Her birthday party is on Satuday, and we'll either have to cancel it, or she will be miserable.

But thankfully, she just has an ear infection. This is only the second one she's ever had, so I'm very grateful for that. The doctor said she should be feeling better by Saturday. So the party is on!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Play set

I've been wanting a play set for Audrey that she can use, one with a swing and a slide. I thought maybe Santa Claus could bring it, but then I decided that Santa couldn't afford it. Yikes. Those things are expensive.

My mom heard about a family whose house was being foreclosed, and they were selling lots of stuff. They were asking $75 for a play set. My mom bought it, sight unseen, mainly because she knew the family needed help.

And wow...was it ever dirty. Their back yard had a lot of good 'ole red Southern mud, and it showed. But my step-dad and Mom cleaned it up, and it looks pretty great. See?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I did something stupid after they brought it here, though. I climbed to the top, went through the hole up there, and then proceeded down the slide with Audrey. Now, that might not be a big deal for a normal person, but for me? Major mistake. My muscles just can't handle that. When we got to the slide, I realized hips weren't going to fit. So I had to angle myself to the side so we could get down. Needless to say, after a crash landing at the bottom, I was seriously hurting.

It's just that, even after all these years, I sometimes can't get over my physical limitations. If I have a day when I'm feeling good, I'll end up doing something stupid like that and mess myself up again. Before the fibro, I was fairly athletic and would try just about anything. I was in excellent shape from Pilates and yoga. Now? I can't even make it through a prenatal yoga video.

Well, enough self-pity. David's mom and grandmother came over to visit yesterday, and they were playing outside with Audrey. His grandmother said, "Does Audrey have a friend that can come over and play with her?"

I immediately got defensive. I answered, "No, ma'am." Then she went on and on about what a shame that was, that David's mom had lots of friends to play with when she was growing up.

I wanted to say, "Listen up. There are days when I've struggled to get out of bed and take care of Audrey. I can't take her anywhere by myself without considerable pain. Do you think I have the energy to troll the neighborhood for friends?" I was soooo angry. I've feared that my fibro will isolate her from kids her own age, and here was someone pointing that out to me.

Aargh. She may not have meant it that way, but it was like a kick to my gut.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The weather outside is...really beautiful

Okay, so our tree is up, I've changed my blog other words, I'm prepared for the holiday season. I even have all my winter clothes out, although to be truthful, some are still sitting around in bins. But guess what the temperature will be today? 72! It was yesterday, too. Now, I really don't love cold weather. I like semi-cold weather, where I can be outside with Audrey and not get frostbite. And I know I'll be complaining about the cold later this winter.

But this is ridiculous! It felt like spring yesterday. And it was nice to take Audrey outside, don't get me wrong. She's been cooped up in the house for a while because she was sick. But during the week of Thanksgiving? It just feels strange.

At this point, David will probably be wearing shorts and flip-flops to Thanksgiving dinner. On the bright side, it looks like we've gotten out of having two Thanksgiving meals in one day. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for that. We've done that a couple of times in the past, and it's been a nightmare. By the time we got to the second dinner, we were disgustingly full. And that was before we had Audrey.

David took control yesterday and figured out a way for us to do Thanksgiving with his family tomorrow instead of Thursday. Since they're all in the same school district, everyone has Wednesday off. I'm thrilled! Although this means David won't have Wednesday to cook, but I think he's willing to make that sacrifice.

So come on, weather. Can I at least be able to wear long sleeves on Thanksgiving day?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

But despite it all, I'm so thankful for having a wonderful, healthy child this Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Tis the season...

...for birthdays. There's an onslaught of celebrations in my family. It starts in October with Mom and Katie, skates through November very easily with just Gracie's and one of my friends from high school, but December? Wow. Let's see. First there's my first cousin's, Sonya. Then comes Audrey's, closely followed by Owen's, and then mine rounds out the year. My ex-SIL's was after mine, but we don't have to worry about that anymore:) All these are before Christmas, mind you.

When I was pregnant, I was a little concerned that Audrey would be born on someone else's birthday. She was due on Owen's birthday, and part of me thought it would be kind of cool to have them share a birthday. In the end, though, I'm glad she has her own day. Honestly, I was just terrified that she would be born on ex-SIL's birthday...oh, the horror.

So here are some pics from our fun times. For some reason, Mom wouldn't let me take any pics of her on her birthday, so I'll just post one from the next weekend.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Then Katie's.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yeah, she was pretty excited about the Talking Woody doll, but it scared the snot out of Audrey. She also got a beanbag, which Audrey seemed to enjoy.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And then The Three Musketeers at Gracie's party.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And no, I don't know what's going on with the expression on Katie's face.

Audrey enjoyed one of Gracie's gifts, too, even though I couldn't get her to smile.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Whew. The first wave is over, and my friend's 40th birthday card is in the mail. I'm preparing for the second wave now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Isn't she cute, standing there with her stuffed monkey around her neck, beside the...what is THAT? A Christmas tree?

Yep. David put it up on November 13, the earliest we've ever done it. Even when I was pregnant and we wanted to make sure the house was decorated after we got home from the hospital.

It feels kind of weird, since it's so warm outside. It feels like September and here we are with our tree up. But David just bought it on Sunday, and he was really excited. We had to throw out our old one last year, so we were tree-less. The bulbs on our new tree look yellow in the pic, but they're slightly larger LED bulbs, and they look great.

We're not the only ones in the spirit, either. There's a house near us with serious decorations; it's hard to see for sure, but we think there's a merry-go-round in their yard, and, of course, several decorated trees.

On Monday, the day after it went up, Fed Ex came to deliver a package. Now, normally I don't open the door to any stranger when David's not home. Too paranoid. But I had to this time, since David was expecting an important package.

So I open the door in my pajamas, since it was so early. Makeup-less, glasses, no bra. And believe me, I NEED a bra. I saw the guy look past me, at the tree. Then he looked at me, which was when I realized I was in Christmas pajamas.

I have an explanation for that. I wore something entirely different to bed, but I woke up drenched in sweat again. Stupid night sweats. So I grabbed the first thing I could get in the middle of the night.

But that's okay. I gave that guy a funny story to tell his wife.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Poor me

Audrey doesn't let me rock her before naps anymore. The routine used to be that I would read her a couple of books (while she's in my lap), and then rock and sing to her before I laid her down.

Well, that came to a screeching halt recently. She still wants me to read her books before nap time, but now she stands beside me. Or, she drags her little rocking chair in front of the glider, with her back to me, while I read and sing. Annoying? Yes. Nap time has become a serious struggle, with her crying and screaming when I leave the room no matter what I do. Sad? Most definitely. I miss holding her and rocking to her.

David's having the same problem. He normally puts her to bed at night, and I think she does the same thing to him. She lets him hold her once in a blue moon.

At least she still lets me hold her when I read to her. That is, when she lets me read to her. Lately, she gathers a bunch of books and brings them to the couch. I'll say, "Do you want me to read those to you?" She'll say, "Nope, honey" and proceed to look through them by herself.

I know she needs to gain independence, but it's hard for me. Bittersweet. Or maybe just bitter. I miss this.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween this year

This Halloween was kind of strange. I can only think of a couple of times when I wasn't with my nieces for trick-or-treat or some kind of celebration. Last Sunday, we were all supposed to go to the Trunk or Treat that my parents' church was sponsoring.

I was very excited because I really love Halloween. Not the blood and gore stuff, but I love seeing everyone's costumes, especially now that I have a little one to dress up.

When we got to Mom's last Sunday, Katie was there, but Gracie wasn't. For some reason, she hadn't come. One of Katie's friends from when she was very little came with us, though. They hadn't seen each other in years, but they had the strangest connection back then, and they still do. Not creepy strange, just odd.

At Katie's birthday party when she was about 4, I met this friend, Johnny, for the first time. He gave her a pink heart necklace (which she still treasures) and stayed by her side the entire time. David took a lot of pictures at that party, since Owen was in the hospital with a kidney stone and couldn't come. David put the pics and a song about daddies and daughters on a CD; I know it brought a tear to my eye.

Here's a cute pic of Katie and Johnny right before we left.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And then one after Katie's wig got itchy, even though I think they're WAY too close (I know, I'm protective).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

But seriously, don't they look like tiny teenagers on their way to prom? Yikes.

Audrey was a little freaked out at Trunk or Treat, but I think she handled it well. There were TONS of people there; it was so far to walk that they were using golf carts to take people back and forth to their cars.

They had lots of blow-up stuff that the kids could bounce on, and Audrey was on a small one with some other toddlers. There was a little girl dressed up like Abby Cadaby, and she was adorable. She was bouncing and laughing, while Audrey just kind of stood off to the side, not wanting to leave us. Just when Audrey was getting comfortable, Abby took a nosedive off the side. It was horrifying, and there were people standing right there who didn't even try to catch her. And David inadvertently caught the whole thing on video! Well, after we determined that Abby was okay, we were done with that.

I was just disappointed. I missed being with the girls. Gracie wasn't there, and Katie spent all her time with Johnny. (When I passed by a huge bouncy castle, I saw the two of them holding hands as they jumped down the slide). Things are changing, and I don't always like change.

But we were blessed to spend time with my mom and our little cheerleader.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh, the holidays

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm kind of freaking out. About the holidays, of course. I love Christmas; don't get me wrong. Even though I made a promise to myself that I'd focus more on the "real reason for the season", Christmas gifts still have to be bought, right?

I think the anxiety started when I realized how close to Christmas we are. David said something a week or two ago that sent shivers down my spine: "We only have 8 weeks left in our semester."

Say what?? When you look at it that way, you may be able to understand my anxiety. And, I'm prone to anxiety anyway. Plus, I'm not a good shopper. When you mix the fibro and my chemical sensitivities to scents and new clothes, you get a shopper who can only be in a store for about an hour at a time.

Last year was so easy. We took theme pictures from each month of Audrey's first year of life, and that was everyone's gift. It was the best.

Of course, I also have to figure in Audrey's birthday in December...and her party. Although I know intellectually that it won't be that bad, since my mom and mother-in-law do most of the food work (at least they did last year), I can't help stressing.

I think we finally decided on a theme, though. Mickey Mouse, although I'd been thinking Minnie all this time. I finally realized I was pushing Minnie because it was more girly. We got a catalog of birthday supplies in the mail, and I actually went through it with Audrey. She displayed a clear preference for Mickey. Her real favorite is Donald (mine, too!), but they don't have anything that focused on him. Bummer.

It's not like we'll even be buying many decorations, just a few accent pieces. I figure there's no reason for spending money on MM plates, cups, etc., when she won't even care about those things. So, we'll just get some solid colors for those, hopefully from the Dollar Tree. All I know is we're going to have lots of balloons. Audrey loves them.

And if I've completely stressed out anyone about the holidays, I humbly apologize. I just want this to be a great Christmas for Audrey, since she's really aware of everything this year. We looked at trees the other day, and she kept saying, "So pretty!" Adorable.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, we visited our local "pumpkin patch". One of the churches around here sponsors it, and they have a pretty large assortment of pumpkins. I've been wanting to go to a real pumpkin patch, with a corn maze and hay rides, but I just don't have the stamina right now.

We had just as much fun at this one, though. Last year, Audrey was seriously afraid of the pumpkins. Of course, she was only 10 months old at the time, and she was scared of lots of things.

This time, though, she went from pumpkin to pumpkin, checking out as many as she could. She especially liked the white pumpkins and the ones with warts, as I call them.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We finally picked out three, in varying sizes, and she plays with the tiniest one at home.

Here are some of the good pics we got that day.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yes, she wanted one of the biggest ones!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We also did some pumpkin carving with Gracie and Katie, and it was lots of fun. Especially for me, since I didn't do any of the dirty work:) Katie decided to carve a heart on hers, and it turned out really well.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Gracie did a cross, and I was very impressed with her. She had a good-sized pumpkin, and she insisted on cleaning it out and carving it by herself. It took her a looong time, but she did it!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And then David worked diligently on his/ours. It looks great, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

He also carved Audrey's initials into a smaller pumpkin, which was cool.

Since we're still having some hot days around here (imagine that), we mixed up a potion of vinegar, lemon juice, and water to brush over the carved areas of the pumpkin. We'll see how that works. Alas, the smaller pumpkin is already looking a little pooped, but the bigger one seems to be okay. Fingers crossed that it makes it to Halloween!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I think I mentioned that I'm reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Well, one of the techniques of dealing with a toddler who's having a tantrum is to reflect his/her feelings back to them. This is supposed to let the child know that you appreciate and understand their feelings.

It goes something like this:

(Child is crying because you've taken something away from her...say, a steak knife:)

Parent: Mad! Mad! Mad! You're mad because I took away the steak knife. But noooo, you can't have it. It's dangerous. But we can play with your kitchen."

It sounds weird, and it feels even stranger to actually do it. Usually, if I'm alone with Audrey, it works, though. She'll stare at me in wonder that I know why she's upset. With David around, however, it doesn't work as well. I'm not sure why.

But here's what happened after we got back from my doctor today. Audrey melted down because she wanted to go outside and admire our Halloween flag. I needed her to get inside and take a nap.

Me: Mad! Mad! Mad! You're mad because I won't let you play outside! But nooo, you need a nap! Let's go find Bear-Bear!

Audrey: (Even more screaming)

Then later, when she was perfectly composed, she said, "Mad. Mad because.....(unintelligible words)." Over and over and over again. So it turned into a tug-of-war.

Audrey: Mad because....blah blah blah
Me: I'm mad because you won't nap.
Audrey: (more of the same)
Me: I'm mad because I can't understand what you're saying.

All the while, we are definitely not mad and are just having a conversation. Strange? I think so.

However, she was an angel at my two doctor's appointments today. The doctors and nurses were chatting about it while I was waiting for a blood test.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

But when we get home? The little devil comes out. She's now been up for almost 6 hours without a nap. I can hear her in there trying to turn the doorknob and get out.

Thank God for the weekend. I need some reinforcements.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I don't really feel like writing anything. Audrey's been sick since Saturday, I have something, too, and I'm tired from detox, allergies, sickness, etc. So I'll just post a pic of Audrey. It's come to my attention that all the latest pics have been of her in a towel.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

See? She actually does wear clothes!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trying my patience

Oh, the terrible twos. I didn't realize they could start as soon as 18 months until I started doing some research. Now we're at 21 months and we're going strong. Of course, Audrey saves her worst behavior for me. Yay.

She had her first time out on Tuesday. I've been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block, so I followed those guidelines. Reason for time-out? Absolutely refusing to let me change her poopy diaper. So I took her, diaper-less, to her room for a two-minute time out. I wasn't even able to clean everything up before I put her in there, but I didn't care. Surprising, given my germaphobic tendencies.

I'm totally over this struggle with diaper changing. A couple of weeks ago, I strained a muscle in my back, and I'm convinced this is the reason. She completely turns over on the changing table and starts to stand up, and the child is strong! She laughs and thinks it's a game, but, needless to say, I'm not amused. Not when poop is involved.

Her second time out was yesterday. The reason? Same as before. Once again, she was in her room diaper-less. Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh. The good thing is that, after the punishment, she calms down and lets me change her.

On a bright note, I was able to bathe her again yesterday. I'm trying not to focus on the fact that I was down for the count for the rest of the day, though.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And last night before bed, she came to me for a hug and a kiss, not the other way around. What a sweetie.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good news!

I went back to see my homeopathic doctor last Thursday, to see how I'm doing and if any supplements needed to be changed. I also got back a couple of "foods"...COFFEE, DARK CHOCOLATE, and stevia. I was so excited!

When we got home, David made some coffee for me. I couldn't use my normal creamer because of dietary restrictions, so the coffee was...not so good. I was so disappointed. I've been waiting for two months to get it back. Yesterday, though, I made some more and added lots of milk, and it was yummy. I'm trying to be thankful, even though I'm still banned from the wonderful fall coffee concoctions at Starbucks. We're at Target every week, and the signs at Starbucks mock me. But I will be strong.

I was also excited about getting dark chocolate back, but curiously, I haven't had any as of yet. I'm allowed to have one small piece every day, and truthfully, I'm afraid to try it. I think I'm going to go nuts and eat every last one in the bag, because dark chocolate is one of my favorite things.

During this detox, I think my taste buds have changed somewhat. Like I said, my second try at coffee was successful, but I have to say, I'm still loving the green tea. In fact, I just finished my second cup and I haven't had any coffee yet. Weird.

As far as the rest of the appointment, Dr. P says I'm right on schedule for where I should be. We got to see my blood again, and you could see the fungus and yeast die-off in my blood. It was disgusting. I guess I was thinking that the stuff would die off and be eliminated almost immediately. Yep, I was very wrong about that. Since I've had these problems for so many years, it's going to take a while for it to go away. We did see some healthy new red blood cells, which have a kind of halo around them. Very encouraging.

I was a little bummed because I thought my detox would be over, that I'd now be taking supplements that are supposed to "build me up". Though it's true that I'm taking a couple of things for that purpose, I'm still very much in the detox phase. And I'm still in lots of pain sometimes.

However, my blood and urine results are looking good, and things seem to be headed in the right direction. I even got a smiley-face sticker on my lab results (yes, this pleased the teacher in me:)

So I've got to be patient. Which is not, by the way, my strong suit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Please make it stop

Monday was the worst day I've had with Audrey since she became a toddler. I don't even think I can describe it in words, but I'll try.

I didn't sleep too well Sunday night, which set me up for a bad mood on Monday. But Audrey seemed okay when she woke up, even though it was earlier than normal.

Since I was so tired, I let her watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse after breakfast, and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep during it. We've taken to watching usually one 24-minute show a day, MM or Handy Manny. After MM was over, she started asking for Handy Manny. I told her no, that we'd already watched our TV for the day.

I can't even tell you how many times she screamed "Handy Manny!" after that. Good grief. I didn't want to give in and let her think she could get what she wants by screaming. But I finally told her she could watch it after she took a nap.

I tried to put her down for a nap several times, but every time she said, "Nope, honey" and refused to sleep. She usually takes a nap about 4 hours after she wakes up; on Monday, however, she was awake from 7:00 until 2:30! And the more tired she got, the more she started falling and getting hurt, which led to more screaming. I was at my wit's end. At one point, I was on my knees next to her bed, praying for patience.

Finally, I just had to leave her in the room and close the door. She wasn't even in her bed. She must have screamed for at least 20 minutes, but the child needed her sleep! I had no choice.

And then yesterday, she did a 180 and took a 4 1/2 hour nap. I think her molars are coming in. God help us.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sweet success

Ever since Audrey was born, I've wanted to give her a bath by myself. When she was tiny, I helped with a bath at the kitchen sink. But bending over a bathtub? My back will simply not allow it.

And it's always been so awful that I can't even bathe my own child. Talk about feeling useless. David has been doing it, just like he does everything else.

But last weekend, I had the idea of putting Audrey in the shower with me. I figured she could play with her toys at the far end of the tub and I could bathe her without breaking my back. And it worked!

I'm so pumped about this. It's such a small thing, but such an important thing that most other mothers take for granted.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Right after her shower with Mommy. I think she enjoyed it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What I'm reading

So, I decided to read Breaking Dawn again, the last novel in the Twilight series. I know some people hate these books, so if that's the case, please stop reading for your own sake.

I've been a Twilight fan since before there was a movie. When I was teaching, my students had silent reading time every day (mandated by the school, but a good thing), and since I had 90 minutes with each class, it was easily doable.

Some students in my Honors English class were reading Twilight. Sometimes, I would walk the aisle during reading time to see what everyone was reading. I liked to be familiar with what they were reading.

I kept seeing this black book, with the enticing picture of white hands cradling an apple.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I picked the book up several times, but after reading that it was about vampires, I quickly put it down. I don't know what made me finally read it (I think it was because my students kept bugging me about it), but I was hooked from the beginning.

Well, I've read the first three books twice, but I've only reading Breaking Dawn once. I've started it several times, but for some reason, I've gotten bored with it. But now, with the movie coming out in November, I've had extra motivation to re-read it.

And I'm loving it! I could read it all day if I didn't have, you know, a life. There are so many things I've forgotten about the book, really important things. I can't wait for the movie. I've been trying to guess where the cut-off will be for the first installment. And I can't wait to see Bella transformed into a vampire...also, I'm interested to see how they're going to handle the filming of Renesme's rapid growth. This is supposedly a leaked picture of Bella as vampire.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I am stoked! When this movie comes out, David and I will definitely be having a date night. Grandparents be warned...babysitting is in your future!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hard days

Since the last few days have been very trying (teething, I think), I'm going to list some of the adorable things Audrey's been doing this summer. I keep wanting to write about them, but I forget. So here we are:

1. I may have mentioned this before; I'm not sure. If so, you'll forgive me. I realized a few months ago that one of my favorite words must be "honey". When Audrey started saying it all the time, mimicking me, it was so cute. Lately, she's started saying "No", but not like I thought she would. She says, "Nope, honey."

"Do you want a nap now, Audrey?"
"Nope, honey."

I love it. Except now I'm teaching her to say "No ma'am". I do live in the South, you know. It's part of the code:)

2. Sometimes she'll ask me for a hug. She'll be sitting in her high chair, and she'll say, "Huggie". So I lean over to hug her, sticky fingers and all. How could I not?

3. She has to be wherever I am when I'm the only one at home. Yes, this can definitely have its negative points, for sure. But the other day, we got home and a friend of mine called. I lay down on my bed to talk, and Audrey pulled herself up and laid herself stomach-down right on top of me. She was hugging me and laughing.

4. We've taught her the "God is great" blessing to say before eating. If I forget to say it, she'll reach out her hand and say, "Blessing". And if anyone else is in the house, they have to come over and hold hands with her.

5. After she has a bath, we let her run around naked for a while, "airing her out", so to speak. She's started leaving on her hooded towel and running around the house, the towel flying out behind her like a superhero's cape.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

6. She's started saying "I love you" a lot more lately. She said it over and over at breakfast the other day. Yes, sometimes I instigate it, but so what? Then last night, David mentioned my name, and she said, "Love her".

It helps so much to think of these sweet things when we're currently in teething hell.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fun in the Sun

So I finally bought a water table for Audrey. I'd been wanting to get one for her for a while now, but I'm definitely the frugal type (a serious understatement). I argued back and forth with myself, thinking that she really didn't need it, that she had plenty of toys, yada yada.

But a couple of weeks ago, it started to get a little cooler. By which I mean, you didn't feel like you were smothering the moment you stepped out the door, anytime of the day, from the humidity. It was actually pleasant in the shade, only in the morning, though. We started spending more time outside after David went back to work. We've always gone around the yard, even when she was about 6 months old, looking at everything. I love being outside, and so does she.

I finally decided that it was worth it. After all, she can use it for a couple more months and definitely next year. And she loved it! She even played with it inside without water. I'm glad we got it, since it brings a smile to my little girl's face.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 30

Whew! I'm glad this blog challenge is over. I didn't even do the whole thing, and it wore me out. Here we go...

This is what I am changing TODAY to make my life better.

Since I'm feeling a little better, I've vowed to get out of the house with Audrey and attend Mom's Club events. I've only been able to do a couple of things, last year, so I'm really excited about it.

This morning, Audrey had her first Play Doh play date! She had a great time, even though it took her a little while to warm up. Lots of kids were there, probably 10-12, which is a lot for a person's house. Here she is, consumed with the Play Doh.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

She was actually more interested in the molds than the actual Play Doh, but that's okay. She likes to take things out of a container one by one, and then put them back. So that's what she did!

The moms were all very nice, and I felt totally at ease. I'd only met one of them before, but I didn't realize it until I left; I just knew she looked familiar. I was determined not to be nervous and not to talk too much, which is what I tend to do when I'm nervous. I was successful!

Audrey behaved well, even when a little girl came and got her cup of Goldfish crackers and said, "Mine!" Later, I saw the little girl feeding her the crackers by hand. SO adorable.

Only stressful things: there was a deep step between the kitchen and den area, and she fell down near the end. She cried a little, but one of the other moms swooped her up before I could even get there. That was awesome.

Then, I didn't pick up on her tired cues because she was so busy playing. When I picked her up to go, she hit me in the face a couple of times. Lovely. Then, she refused to get in the Jeep. I finally persuaded her with the promise of a banana when we got home.

She fell asleep on the way home, and I put her down for a nap about an hour ago. I can still hear her stirring, though, so she may be too wound up to nap.

Overall, it was a huge success. I'm hurting, of course, but it's not too bad. I have a massage this afternoon, so I'm really grateful for that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 29

Easiest time in my life

Oh, there are a few of those. College is definitely on the list. How could I possible live in one of the most beautiful cities ever and not feel like one of the luckiest people on earth? Charleston was absolutely amazing. See for yourself.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And that's just part of the campus, not even taking into account the beaches, the historic district, the Battery, etc., etc.

But I'm not choosing college; I think the easiest time of my life was right after Audrey was born. Obviously, I was very upset about my grandpa passing away the night before she came, but since I couldn't attend the funeral or anything (still in the hospital with an emergency C-section), it almost seemed like it didn't happen. So, I didn't really grieve until several weeks later.

But the days following Audrey's birth...there was something magical about them. We brought her home on December 8, my brother's birthday. Sometimes it's fairly warm here around that time, but that day, there was freezing rain. I was so scared we were going to have a wreck on the way home.

My family came over that night to celebrate Owen's birthday (it sounds crazy in retrospect), but everyone treated me like a fragile piece of glass. I had my new beautiful daughter, and my wonderful husband, and in addition to that, I had the support of my family. My mom stayed over for a few nights, since we didn't know what to do with the baby, having not received a manual at the hospital:) This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of them.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Our house was fully decorated for Christmas; it was a sensational experience. The sights, the smells, the magic of Christmas and a new life were in the air. David got to stay home with us for several weeks, thank goodness, which definitely made this the easiest part of my life. I was surrounded by friends and family, and I truly felt loved and treasured. I'll never forget the euphoric feeling that lasted for weeks on end.

A picture is truly worth a thousand words

This pic perfectly describes Audrey's attitude the past couple of days.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

What else can I say?