Wednesday, August 31, 2011

462 A (MUCH NEEDED) Night With Friends

One of my husband's fraternity brothers recently got married (they ran away and did it on the beach like sensible adults), and they invited everyone to come celebrate with a reception in their honor. Travel is pretty hard to pull off, but we are lucky enough that the happy couple lives right around here. I had been looking forward to seeing a bunch of our college buddies and having time to catch up with everyone. We all know I don't get out of the house very often, so this was an excellent opportunity.
Like I said, Eric and Tammy were married on the beach, so the reception had a Hawaiian theme... sundresses and Hawaiian shirts. Those trips to the mall from the last post were in search of the perfect dress... but since the perfect dress doesn't exist, I settled for this one...

Chip preferred one of the shorter dresses I had tried on, but to be perfectly honest, the dress he liked was rather tight and I wouldn't have been able to enjoy myself ...or breathe deeply. This one had the added bonus of a low neckline... I figured that not many people would make it past the cleavage to notice the ample hips. Chip just rolled his eyes, but come on! you know it was a valid point. It isn't as noticeable from this angle, but trust me.

After a bit of a last minute scramble to find a babysitter (thank you so much Nicole!!), we were all set for a night with our buddies. You know we were excited because the Jaxons were early! I know, it's a miracle!

And what a night. I danced like a fool! No, not because of the alcohol ... Mostly because I am not known for my dancing skills. I am not afraid to get out there and shake it (as long as there are a few people to act crazy with me)! I did have a few drinks, but if anything they only caused me to be more cautious ... those little cups are slosh prone on the dance floor. Yes, I even did the required wedding party line dances. I refused to "clap clap clap, clap yo hands" ... I did have my hands full after all (drink and phone...shush, I put my phone in Chip's pocket a few times, but I needed to have the camera part of it ready). Oh, and I apologize to anyone whose feet I stepped on, but that will teach you to dance too close to me.
p.s. Clearest sign I was dancing like a wild thing ... I was sore the next day! OUCH! (and so sad)

There is not much that will beat a night with old friends. A few couldn't make it, and they were sorely missed, but all in all we had a fabulous time. If I could convince everyone to head back to college I totally would! I love you all! There was lots of laughing and talking and hugging and laughing. YES, there was enough laughter to warrant saying it twice. And I was really in need of some good hugs!

Even if the lighting was abysmal... I know! I know! It is more romantic to be dimly lit... BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PICTURES!?!? I brought my big camera, but I felt odd taking it out when there was a photographer walkng around. I settled for really being a guest and enjoying my friends!  In this day and age of camera phones and instantly posting to facebook reception halls should turn up the lights a wee bit ;) That being said, a few pics from the night (forgive them).

Super blurry, but it would have been so cute! UGH!!!

I wish you a lifetime of joy.
A lifetime of love.
I wish for you to start and end each day with a kiss.
I wish for you long conversations about nothing ..and everything.
I wish for you comfortable silences, too.
I wish you happiness in yourselves and in each other.

 Congratulations! And thank you so much for inviting us to help celebrate your marriage!

Monday, August 29, 2011

461 Randomness As Usual

Still experiencing bloggers block. Not sure what to write about and not sure why it would even matter. But, I know it will come back to me eventually. Until then I will just share some randomness from our lives.

In chronological order, but I know it will seem completely mixed up ... I give you almost two weeks of Jaxon4 life...

I need to do more research into Mexican Sugar Skulls. I just love the way they look ... but I am sure there are different meanings to different images, and since it is not my heritage I worry I will make something offensive in some way. For now I am just doodling within a skull shape.

 Katie's obsession with feathers made us check out the local Beauty Store where I was promptly scared and amused by these wig modeling mannequins.

Birthday party for friends...
 ...with friends...

 A trip to the mall last Sunday with the family...

 The Wolfchase Mall now has a train ... and Connor HAD to ride it. So we ALL had to ride it. First, he chose the blue car...
 But after snapping a pic, Connor noticed the caboose...

Katie wasn't being very cooperative about taking pictures ... I'll show her! (that is gum on her lips, she had just popped a bubble)
Sunday night we got home to find Bartleby unable to run from Connor. When he did stand up he could barely stumble to the next room. I picked him up and held him in my lap until he passed away. It was peaceful, and he got to go in arms that loved him with a loving voice in his ear. He waited until we got home to him. He was neurotic, but he was a wonderful cat. We miss him. It hits harder sometimes. When the kids are in bed and he doesn't jump in my lap. When we go to the bathroom and he doesn't chase after us, knowing we will be trapped and he can get pet. When we walk by the cat food aisle in the store and it suddenly hits us that we don't need to walk down it. Bartleby, you are loved and missed. I took this pic a few weeks ago. Our handsome boy...

Monday we had to go back to the mall. We had to exchange Connor's Captain America costume for a bigger size... and we were looking for a sundress and a Hawaiian shirt for our friends wedding reception that was coming up. Connor and Katie took turns harrassing ... I mean "helping" me in the dressing room. 

And Katie had finally talked us into a second hamster ... We are clearly gluttons for punishment.
 And we came home with a new Winter White. Her name is Sugar... and I am pretty proud of Katie for not wanting to name her Salt since we already have a Pepper.
 And some random fun ...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

460 Off on a Tangent... Again

Katie has been back in school for less than two weeks, and already I am reminded of why Summer Break is so very awesome. How I managed to forget the early alarm clock, the pick up right when Connor should be going down for a nap, or the hell that is homework I will never know, but forget it I did.

Monday was one of those horrible, rotten, very bad days that makes you question your sanity and/or your parenting skills. The struggle to get homework done ... or to even get Katie to crack open a book is a hard one every day. Monday however I had promised Katie that I would take her to get feathers in her hair. You know, since we obviously are rolling in dough, might as well spend $25 (plus the $5 tip, of course) for three skinny little feathers off a rooster which took a whole five minutes to crimp into her hair. I had my reservations about the feathers, but she has been asking for them all summer, and the school cleared the skinny ones to go along with dress code. So, I gave in. Sure, I can't get her to comb her hair on a daily basis, but she wants to go to a beauty salon ... for feathers... And we all know I am a huge pushover, so we headed out to find a beauty salon that would do feathers. Her friend Mia had feathers done at a little salon, so I looked it up and we headed that way ... I did not check the days and times it was open, and not being very girly myself I didn't even think that some salons aren't open on Mondays. Of course, we had passed several beauty shops on the way, so we just made a u-turn and found another. We ended up at Cabello Salon, and Jennifer was super sweet with Katie. We picked out the feathers and she popped them on in and we were off again. Yellow, purple, and turquoise if you were wondering.

We walked outside and I tried to get Katie to pause for a picture... she immediately threw a little diva attitude. SERIOUSLY?! Two seconds haven't passed since I just handed over the cash for those little things in her hair! You would think it wouldn't surprise me by now, but it does every single time. I should know that the minute she gets what she wants she will no longer comply with my wishes. And I know she isn't the only child who pulls out the smiles and "yes ma'ams" to get what she wants. (Shhhh Mom, I know ... it is payback) But hell! She should know by now that if I can't get a picture then it might as well not have happened. There needs to be a contract specifying that I will be able to take as many pictures as I like when she is getting what she wants. I had to be satisfied with a really horrible picture to commemorate one of our few mother/daughter outings.

She is now obsessively checking out ebay for feathers. It is SO easy to do ... and I mentioned that if we were going to do it again then I might as well do it myself. She now has the idea that I am going to do her hair and all of her friends' hair ... And if I had the stuff then of course I would happily put feathers in everyone's hair, but I wasn't planning on opening up my own business (which is exactly how Katie interpreted it).

And while Katie and I were out getting her hair done did, Chip took Connor for a much needed haircut. It was even MORE needed after Chip tried to buy one more day by trimming his bangs with kitchen shears... We were headed down to visit his parents and Connor had hair brushing his eyelashes, so he was just trying to make it easier for him to see (I guess).
I am not sure how an actual barber managed to mess his hair up even MORE, but she certainly did. He's three ... he squirms. That is enough of an excuse right there, but apparently she blamed it on his cowlick ... and the color of his hair (it shows everything you know). Luckily, he is still the cutest thing in the world. Hair grows.

Okay ... enough about hair. And I just realized I got off on a tangent. I was going to rant about how I am starting to wonder if being a stay at home mom does more harm than good. (Bear with me)
When I was in fourth grade (I started in 3rd) I rode my bike home from school with my sixth grade brother, or I walked home with my nose buried in a book the whole way (Mrs. Pinson always feared for me), and we were home alone until Mom got off work. We were latchkey kids. And that wasn't a bad thing. It taught us to be self sufficient. It taught us to figure out problems on our own. It taught us to find strength within ourselves. I don't remember ever being scared (except of the Pizza Man, but I told that story long ago). It was a simpler time, and by simpler I mean the bad stuff happened, but you didn't hear about it everyday. We got home and we did our homework, or we sat at the table and did it while Mom made dinner. I don't remember needing constant help and supervision. This might have backfired in a few ways... I don't learn well from others. If I can't teach myself then I will just fail (and fail I have on occasion). I am trying to let myself learn from others. It is a conscious effort to stop myself from shutting the door when someone tries to teach me something. I am trying. It doesn't always work.
I am starting to worry that Katie is relying on me too much. Constant access to me has kept her from learning to rely on herself. It is hard to determine what is actual need of help and what is a need for attention. Then she asks for help, but she is clearly not listening while I try to teach her how to solve a problem on her own. JUST GREAT! She got my refusal to be taught and a double dose of lazy. That poor child needs an intervention or school is just going to get worse. Or maybe she is just staring at me blankly until I give up in frustration and give her the answer. Unluckily for her, my patience is improving.
Am I a helicopter mom?!
Am I the enabler?!
I want to raise confident, secure, self-reliant, and strong children.  I just haven't figured out exactly how to do that yet. Especially not without giving up my super sweet, snuggly babies. This requires a better sense of balance than I seem to possess. But I am working on it. And isn't that all we can do?
Eventually I will teach myself how to be a better parent...don't bother trying to tell me how. I am not that good at accepting help just yet.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

459 That Atlanta Trip I Took and Never Shared

On July 26th I became an aunt again (and possibly for the last time *sigh*)! And what a cutie he is! I had to restrain myself for a day before the kids and I headed for one last visit to Atlanta before the summer break was over.  Working around a school schedule really cuts into our ability to visit freely, so I wasn't sure when my next chance to run home would be. With a fresh and shiny baby to snuggle and family to visit it was a must!

I woke up bright and early Wednesday morning and threw way too many clothes into laundry baskets (I am a master packer. Be jealous of my skills). Then I loaded up the kids and the hamster for the drive to Atlanta. Yes, we had to take the hamster. Poor Pepper has to put up with so much as part of our family :) In order to take the kids on potty breaks we had to put her in her exercise ball and stash her in my purse. It was pushing 100 degrees outside and there was NO way I was risking another hamster heat stroke... Katie wanted to carry the ball, but I was finally able to convince her that most places frown on bringing rodents inside.

I did manage to time my arrival to Atlanta to coincide with rush hour, but at least I wasn't dealing with Talladega traffic this time! Luckily I only had a few miles of bumper to bumper to deal with, but it was MORE than enough. Especially coming at the tail end of a long drive listening to "How much longer we be here?" But even with the traffic, and the blanket of smog hiding most of the skyline, it felt so good to be back home. Turning into the neighborhood was a great feeling.

We were able to relax for a little while before we headed up to the hospital so I could get my baby fix.

AND HOW CUTE IS HE??!! This is Spencer. The newest addition to the family. I might be a little biased, but I think he is super handsome. And there is nothing like holding a fresh baby to make your hormones kick into overdrive. I think it is all that new baby smell. (and yes, I didn't break out the big camera, these are from the phone)

 We always try to have at least a little "adventure" when we are in Atlanta, and this time my mom had the excellent idea of going to the Southern Railway Museum in Duluth, GA. Connor was in HEAVEN!Even if it was pushing 100 degrees out there and it was SWELTERING! Still, all in all it was a very cool outing.

 They got to climb up in the cab of the General and look around.
 They had all different kinds of public transportation, not just trains. I loved this cute bus.
 And we got to walk through a lot of different types of cars. Did I mention it was REALLY HOT? or that the trains are REALLY OLD? Some of them also happened to be REALLY STINKY. No way to avoid that of course, but be prepared to do some mouth breathing in a few of the cars.

And of course we had to catch a little train ride. The whistle hurt Connor's ears but he was certainly game to put up with it for a train ride.
 Also important to note for anyone planning to take kids to the Southeastern Railway Museum ... The gift shop is full of actual train themed merchandise. And it is all reasonably priced. I hate nothing more than going somewhere, walking in the gift shop to see them selling something I could buy at Walmart... for three times the price. If I am going to purchase a souvenir then I want it to really reflect the experience.
After the train museum we ran over to the SprayPark in Roswell. The kids didn't play very long, but they certainly needed the chance to cool off.

I didn't take as many pictures this time in Atlanta. Next time I come home I will be able to force everyone to take a new family pic, but with Ronka and Spence in the hospital it wasn't going to happen this time around. As usual I didn't get to see everyone enough. Katie and Connor want to see their cousins more often. We did get to go out to dinner with some friends who qualify as family. I was trying to pack visiting and recharging my sanity into one trip ... and I think the sanity recharge failed. I just hope I can get back home soon to see everyone.
Georgia, I miss you already.