Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Irish Princess

For those that don't know, Katie is our Irish princess. Born on St. Patrick's Day in 1991 after spending the weekend at the St. Pat's Day celebration in Savannah. No, I did not partake of the green beer! Katie also competed Irish dance for 6 years or so attending local, regional, and national championships. Although we loved it, the time came to move on to other things. Giving up dance allowed her time for soccer, yearbook, a job, her new sisters, and a boyfriend. Pretty good trade-off, huh?

Well, tonight I was preparing her info for her senior yearbook ad. If this is not done in your area, be thankful! What this entails is a quarter, half, or full page in the yearbook of pictures and text wishing the senior well in the future (or whatever you want). Since Katie is the yearbook editor, we felt obligated (ie: pushed/talked into) a full page ad. So we spent part of the afternoon looking over pictures to include. I won't put them all here but suffice it to say, it was a trip down memory lane.

We came across these dance pictures of when she was much younger. I can't seem to locate any in her early teen years. The guy in the photos is her dance teacher. Wonderful, fun loving, Irish man. We have lots of fun and entertaining stories we could share about our times together but won't. After all, this is a family blog. :-)

Anyhow, as I was trying to decide what to include in her ad from us, I came across this Irish blessing which seemed fitting:

May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.

A friend of mine told me this (senior) year would be very emotional for me. I didn't quite believe her. But now that I've really started thinking about everything, I can't believe my baby is leaving me.

Enjoy your kids when they are small. Although they can annoy us to pieces, cause us to color our hair more often than the box recommends, and push us to have just one more glass of wine or chocolate chip cookie, they are only little and with us for a short period of time. Treasure that time because before you can blink three times, they are grown up and gone.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Santa shops at Kroger!

Did you know that Santa shops at Kroger? We didn't either until today! All three girls and I were on an (un)successful mission to find fall/winter clothes. We hit up Target, Kohls, Children's Place, and Gap. No luck. However, while we were shopping, Anna Grace saw a teenager who had dyed her hair jet black and was wearing a red bow.

"Mommy, I just saw Snow White!"

She was very excited. It took us a minute to figure out what she was talking about but then looked around and found the teen in question.
(For those not "in the know", Snow White is dark headed and has a red bow in her hair.)

But I digress so back to the real story: Santa!! On our way home, we decided to swing through Kroger to get some pizzas for dinner. Mom was too cheap to spring for real take out pizza.

Oh, and by the way, the Kroger gas pumps had run dry again. Good thing we filled up just five short hours ago---although we waited in line for a while.

Anyhow, we were walking through the store when one of the girls (I think it was Abby) basically ran into/tripped over this bearded gentleman. We apologized and kept shopping. Just after we checked out, he stopped me to say that she had not tripped over him but instead, he was in her way. He then proceeded to hand Anna Grace a business card. Anna Grace was walking about 4 steps behind me because she was mad at me. I wouldn't buy her a movie. Again, a mean mommy.

On the card was a picture of Santa with all his info. This gentleman plays Santa for schools, daycares, and parties. Anna Grace was rather taken aback as to why Santa would be shopping. We've had many questions since getting home. She was even more excited to see Santa's mommy (AKA wife) shopping with him too. :-)

You can tell your kids that we have Santa's phone number and will share with all the moms and dads out there!
After getting home and seeing his picture more closely, I believe he is the same Santa who has been at the girls parties at the daycare all these years. Very nice man!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ladybug sighting!

I posted my sister's jewelry site the other day. I included photos of things she has made for me. One of those was a ladybug bracelet (I have earrings to match). She realized at that point that she left her ladybug things off her site! So the site has been updated to include a few ladybug items. She made Anna Grace a bracelet with the largest size ladybug that she carries. I just couldn't get a good picture of it though. Check out Silver Indulgence by Karen to see what ladybug item she can make for you. Too bad we're not adopting again. She could be a good fundraiser for me!! Or, if you are a sports mom, see what kind of fundraiser she could do for your team. :-)

Out of gas????

I spent thirty minutes looking for a gas station today that actually had gas. I must have passed eight stations that were completely out. I finally found some at one place but they only had premium. So, I had to pay $4.24 for gas today. Yeah for me. Are the rest of you having gas supply issues in your area or is it only Atlanta?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Katie and Mom

Wow! Again, two posts in one night. I am on a roll. Nah, I just couldn't find a way to make Alex's guitar and Katie's hair mesh into one post. Hee hee!! As I said over the weekend, Katie dyed her hair brown. It was a HUGE hit at school today. Everyone loved it. I'm getting used to it but it's still not the Katie I expect to see. Anyhow---she wanted to see how much we look alike now that our hair is the same color. What do you think?

Her self portrait---

Katie and me

Alex's new toy

Alex just bought a new (used) Schecter guitar off ebay. He had some issues with it (ie: too hard to figure out how to tune since the bridge is more challenging that others) so wanted to sell it. After much discussion (read: yelling), we told him to keep it. Last night, Dave and I spent lots of time reading the info on the guitar and set it up correctly. Amazing what you can accomplish when you read directions. Hmm. Did I really say that out loud? Here are a few photos from today:

Anna Grace loves hanging out in Alex's room when he has the amp cranked. Abby, well, not so much. It's too loud for her.

I love Alex's room!

Sure, I'll smile for a picture. :-)

Me? Take a picture? I don't think so!

Excuse the messy room. After all, he's 14!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jewelry, jewelry, jewelry!!

My sister, Karen, is a stay at home, home-schooling, Marine Corps wife and mother of two boys. She started a business a while ago selling silver jewelry that she creates. Her website was just updated so I thought I'd share it here. Check out Silver Indulgence by Karen. She has all sorts of items including mother bracelets, ladybug items, salvation bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces, and lots more. Everything is hand-made by her. Here are a few things she made for me:

PS. My pictures don't really give her work justice. Check out the site!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our beautiful driveway....

We took advantage of a quiet night and went to Mass tonight. Now we can hang out tomorrow in our jammies for as long as we want! When we got home, we started dinner while Katie took the little ones outside to draw. Looks like a good time was had by all three girls! Note the new hair on all of them. The little ones had their hair cut this morning; Katie dyed her hair a light brown instead of the natural blonde. :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm from China too!!

Today at school, Anna Grace and her best friend "Mary" (names have been changed to protect the innocent) were doing their activity when their teaching assistant came by to check on them.

Mary pipes up with, "I am from China too!"

The assistant, Miss Karen said, "No you aren't Mary".

But Mary replied with, "Yes, my hair is just like Anna Grace's".

So sweet!

And, it made me realize that Anna Grace must talk about being from China while she is in school. Wish I could be a fly on the wall so I could hear what she says all day long.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anna Grace and her stories

Two posts from me in one night. Wow! If you missed the one about the girls and their new friends, scroll down. :-) I just couldn't resist adding this story tonight.

Anna Grace was drawing tonight while I was making dinner. When she got done, she took the time to explain her picture.

As you can see, it's pretty elaborate. So, let me explain. Anyone that reads our blog knows that daddy travels often. He isn't gone for just a few days but for a few weeks at a time since he goes to Asia. This particular picture pertains to a China trip.

Mommy (AKA, me) is on the side outside of the house. According to AG, I am looking at the sky (airplane) saying, "Honey, where are you?". Oh and I have my glasses on instead of my contacts which explains the strange growths out of the top of my head. The four kids are all in the windows of the house. Note the sad faces. Up in the sky is daddy's blue airplane. Dave typically flies Korean Air out of Atlanta direct to Seoul before continuing to HK or Shanghai. Korean Air has blue planes. Oh, and he is currently home and has been for a few weeks. Guess she's just thinking of past trips.

According to Anna Grace, daddy was sitting in the airplane, drinking a batini (martini for those who don't speak AG), and waiting for a snack. While he waited, he looked like this:

I hope he didn't look like that! He might scare off everyone!

New friends :-)

My friend, Denise, ran a contest a few weeks ago. The winners received a new lovey especially made by her. Denise recently opened a sight on Etsy called Snug as a Bug Boutique which sells these cute friends!

Anyhow, she emailed me to say that my name had been drawn in the contest. Yeah for us! I never win anything. :-) She was so sweet and told me she'd send both little girls a new friend. Today we got home from school and saw this on our front stoop:

The girls were very excited! What is it mommy? Can we open it? Is it for us? Once we got in the house and opened it, their faces lit up. It was so sweet! We attempted a few pictures but nothing was great. See below for proof.

So after bath time, we tried again. Let's just say by this point, Anna Grace was just plain silly and wouldn't cooperate. It took many tries to get what we did! Alex said I was being a mean mommy to make them take pictures over and over again. Hey, if they'd cooperate, we wouldn't have to keep doing it! I thought these were cute but then realized the adorable pink bunny and bear blend right in with their jammies. Oh well. I tried. Sigh.

If you want one of your very own to bring a smile to your child's face, head on over to Denise's blog or Etsy site!! At the very least, go check out her family. She is a mom to six. Yes, six. And I think four is hard. :-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Homecoming...and a day for me!

This was Homecoming Week at the high school. Katie really gets into the school spirit thing; Alex, not so much! She participated in the daily dress up (or dress down days depending on how you look at it) as well as the Powderpuff football game. Unfortunately, the senior girls lost that game to the juniors but made up for it during the pep rally where they dominated at tug-of-war. Here are a few scenes from the week:

Katie with some of the powderpuff team after the game commiserating at Taco Bell

Katie and Catlan on Twin Day (she talked him into participating!)

Katie and her friends as the Powerpuff Girls for Super Hero Day

Catlan and one of their friends as Mario and Luigi

As for my me day: one of the parents in my class has a nail salon. On back-to-school night, she gave me a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure. How sweet! I finally had time today to use it. It was two hours of quiet time for me---heaven! Tonight, Dave and I are heading out for Japanese once he gets home from church (ministry fair). This will be the first time we've been out alone in quite a while. The big kids will hold down the fort while we're gone. We often eat alone but haven't been out in a long time!

So, for my dad: Tonight we're going to "hot dog the kids and EYC it!"

Note: when we were kids and went to visit my grandparents in California, the adults would often head out to the Encinal Yacht Club for dinner (hence the phrase EYC) and leave us with our teenaged uncle. At one point, someone coined the above phrase. My dad relished in using this phrase when we were young to point out the fact that we were staying home but they were heading out somewhere fun!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Weekend with the Girls

Katie, Anna Grace, Abby, and I just returned from a night away in the mountains of Georgia. My parents rented a condo for a week in the little town of Helen, GA. Helen is set up like an alpine village so is very interesting to walk through. The original plan had been for the whole family to go but soccer schedules got in the way. So it turned into a girls weekend only. Grandpa said that was okay. He would enjoy his harem!

We arrived on Saturday and immediately headed out to go tubing in the Chattahoochee River (tubin' the Hooch). I have no pictures from this event as we were, well, in the water. I didn't think my camera would appreciate time in the water. I did take a photo today of other people in the water so you could see what we did.

We chose our tubes and boarded the bus to take us to the drop off point. Basically, you are dropped off and float back to the start point. With the drought in Georgia, the river was low which made it a bit challenging in spots. Nonetheless, we got in our tubes and headed downstream. We tethered the little girls tubes to mine and Katie's so they could not float away. This was a great thing except that at times, they were going one direction while we were going another. Made it easier to get stuck! With the water level low, it was challenging to avoid the rocks. All of us spent much time climbing out of the tube to get unstuck from the rocks or tree limbs.

At one point, Katie climbed out of her tube to get unstuck from an area. She also lost her shoe at the same time. Well, technically it was my shoe which I had said to not lose as I needed to wear them today! So while she is trying to fix her shoe, she let go of the tube thinking it would stay put. After all, she and Anna Grace were stuck. Next thing we know, Anna Grace is floating downstream by herself giggling the whole time. Katie stood there in the river a bit dumbfounded as to how this happened. She also dropped the shoe which started to float away as well. So she tries to catch the shoe and tube but misses both. The rocks on the bottom of the river are slippery so she is making very little progress toward fixing her problem.

In the meantime, AG got hung up again so we thought we would have time to grab her. Anna Grace saw my shoe floating past and grabbed it. Yeah for AG! We have the shoe but no Anna. Abby and I are paddling like mad to get caught up to Anna Grace but to no avail. AG broke loose again and kept floating further away. Katie was struggling to walk on the rocks to catch up. Abby and I came up behind her and literally knocked her into Abby's tube. I couldn't avoid it! But at least she could make more progress riding with us.

We looked ahead and realized we were heading for a small drop off. Well, if we were heading there so was AG and she would get there first. Yikes! Luckily, a father was in that same area with his son and asked if he should stop her. Yes! So he grabbed ahold of her tube so she could not float away. He held her there until Katie arrived. Whew. I'm sure Anna Grace would have been okay because the river goes through spells where it's pretty quiet. But it still made me nervous! Anna Grace loved it though. She would wave at us, laugh, and continue floating away.

Anna Grace begged me later to untie her tube from mine. "I promise I won't float away Mommy!" Uh, I don't think so! We compromised and let her hang off the edge of the tube so she could drag her hands through the water. It bothered Katie to let her do that so she and I traded girls.

I think we all had fun tubing but it was hard at times to avoid obstacles. My parents were stuck more often than us and had a harder time breaking free. They were both worn out last night! Mom also jammed her finger at one point when she flipped out accidentally. It was still pretty swollen today. Hopefully it heals quickly.

Amazingly enough, a huge group of drunk college kids were there the same time we were. :-) But they were harmless. In fact, when Katie and I floated by with the little ones, I heard them say amongst each other, "Wow. We've messed up those little kids experience and turned it into an R rated trip." But they really didn't. There was nothing the little ones saw that would have changed their trip. But it made Katie and I chuckle to watch them.

(Katie and I did say that this would be a fun place to come with a bunch of friends. The little ones said they want Catlan to come next time!)

After this, we headed back to the condo for a quick swim before dinner. Grandpa took advantage of the quiet and had a quick nap. Grandma took time to soak in the hot tub before coming to the pool. We swam, went back to change, and enjoyed tacos for dinner. We put the girls to bed in the loft area but, believe it or not, they wouldn't go to sleep. I know, you are shocked! I finally went upstairs around 9:45 so they would settle down. I thought we had a good night since they went to sleep and stayed in bed until 7am.

But at 7, they were up and quietly reading stories to each other. Katie didn't think they were very quiet and said she would pay them to be quiet. Neither one fell for that trick. So Katie resorted to this:

Yes, she is in that bed. She put the pillow and covers over her head to block the noise. I would have smothered under all that! I took the girls downstairs around 7:30 to eat; Katie followed about 45 minutes later not looking too pleased to be awake.

The plan for the morning was to hit the playground, go miniature golfing, and walk around Helen a bit. So, we went down for a quick time at the playground. The girls played on the swings, climbed, and had fun. Katie really did have fun playing with them but didn't want to cooperate for a picture.

After this, we loaded into Grandpa's car and headed for mini golf. We let the girls ride in the backseat of his car with no car seat. I know, not a great idea but we were only going 35 mph for a mile or so. So we took the chance. The girls loved it! After our short drive, we arrived at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf.

The girls like to play golf although all they really do is whack the ball to death. Then they carry the ball closer to the hole and push it in. They've only played mini golf a few times now. Once with Grandpa when we were in VA, once at Gulf Shores in April, and today. It's a trip to watch them!

Both would listen when Grandma, Katie, or I would tell Grandpa our score. Typically the answer was "3" or something like this. Well, they would pipe up with "Grandpa, I got a 55!".

As part of our charge for the golf, we got free ice cream at the end. Yes, it was 11am and we had not eaten lunch yet, but oh well! Oh, and see how cooperative Katie was yet again for pictures!

Check out our cute pirates!

Here is Grandpa with his number one granddaughter-

And a picture of my parents-----

We left golf and walked around Helen for a little bit. Katie picked up a couple of souvenirs for her friends. We also bought homemade fudge and chocolate covered pretzels. Yummy! We got the girls gummy bears to eat in hopes they would be quiet on the drive home. (note: it worked!)

After a quick lunch at the condo, we got back on the road home. A good time was had by all. I am glad we made the trip up even if it was for a quick visit. I know my parents enjoyed seeing the girls but will enjoy the peace and quiet now that we're gone! Katie is now at powderpuff football practice, Alex is preparing to mow someone's yard, I am doing laundry, and Dave is getting ready to grill steak for dinner. In other words, life is back to normal!

(PS: A HUGE thanks to Katie for coming along and being my wing-man. She had fun visiting, golfing, and tubing. Having a chance to visit grandparents is always fun. But a weekend alone with the girls can get to be rather stressful---believe it or not!)