Friday, August 22, 2008

just some thoughts...

i don't really have any funny stories to share about my adorable children, but i haven't blogged in a few days, so i thought i might just share a few of my thoughts from this week.

#1 it is official i am no longer employed by RISD and it is becoming so real. for the past 7 years of my life i have spent this week sitting in meetings, cutting out lamination, sweating, stapling, painting, personalizing things, making 13 trips to the teacher store for just one more thing, organizing, feeling stressed & excited at the same time, and all that goes with getting ready for a new school year. (all you teachers out there understand.) well, this year i did have some stress and i am sure sweat a little, but no teacher meetings or hanging up bulletin boards. this week i feel like i have officially started my job as full-time mom-- laundry, washing bottles, going to chick-fil-a, cleaning, and going to playdates. i love all of those things, but i would be lying if i didn't admit that i have had some sad moments. i miss the smell of new crayons, the energy that fills a school as everyone is preparing, the friends, the satisfaction of looking aroud perfectly organized classroom that you have been working in for days (without air conditioning), and the anticipation of the challenges that each new school year brings.

#2 i am feeling very emotional about my niece starting kindergarten and it is freaking me out just a bit! i think "aunt flow's monthly visit" might have something to do with it, but seriously i can't even imagine what an emotional wreck i am going to be when it is olivia. i just hope that sarah (that's abby's mommy) is holding up better than me and will have lots of advice when i am in her shoes in a few years. i am really excited for abby. and i want to say one more time how much i love abby! she is going to be the best kindergarter ever!! a teachers dream- smart, full of personality, a rule follower, helper, kind to others, and enthusiastic about learning!

#3 i love the olympics!!! these last 2 weeks they have consumed me. i have switched to watching the "today show" in the morning from "good morning america" (i know some of you have the opinion that this is should be a permenent decision, but i miss diane, robin, and channel 8 news/weather/traffic) so that i can get the inside stories. i stay up way too late (like 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. watching the "late night games." and i am already sad about the closing ceremony and the games being over for another 4 years. the summer olympics are so great! this is going to sound super cheesy, but i have felt so proud to be an american and really feel like the athletes have represented our country well. i am such a dork, i know!

#4 the most relaxing 15 minutes of my day is my shower. don't misunderstand me, i have always enjoyed showering, but since having 2 little ones at home i APPRECIATE the shower more. it is literally the only time that everyone allows me to be alone. i sometimes feel like every other minute of the day is filled with others and i just need a little alone time every day. so last night i found myself making the shower take as long as i possibly could. is that sad? i hope not because i don't mean it that way. just funny how things i never thought would be different, like showers, change as life changes for me.

#5 will someone tell me how to fit everything in one 24 hour period? laundry, cooking, cleaning, feeding baby, diaper changing, potty training, having friends, watching olympics, spending time with husband, and still have time to read a book, oh and don't forget sleep. i know the obvious is to cut out olympics, but i still don't think i would have enough time.

this is so wordy and probably so boring, but for me it has been very therapeutic. so thanks! i can now see that this has been a significant week for me. lots of changes and many new realities. i am feeling a bit overwhelmed at this moment, but very soon (like tomorrow) i will calm down and be so excited about the next stage in my life.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

more fun at the lake

i feel so behind in my "blogging" these days. not that life is really any different, but finding time to blog has been scarce.
anyway, i wanted to make sure and mention our fun weekend at the lake with some friends. a couple weekends ago, we loaded up the car and once again headed to cedar creek lake to the bowlin lake house. this time some of our friends from college met us there, the herridges (brad, mary, and baby grant) and the brischkes (steve and kristy). we all went to baylor together. mark and steve lived next door to each other in the dorm their freshman year, then were roommates sophomore year, and have remained close friends ever since. brad lived a few doors down from mark in the dorm their freshman year, and they too have been great friends since. the "wives" (as we are often called when the "boys" are together) we also friends in college. we were all in the same sorority together, and since we all did the "baylor thing" (met our husbands early in our college days, dated for a long time, and then got married shortly after graduation) we have all been friends for a very long time. ANYWAY, we started planning this weekend back in the spring. brad is a pastor of a church in waco, tx. steve is a lawyer in temple, tx. kristy is the director of student life for mary hardin baylor university. mark has a crazy schedule with camps and work in the summer. and mary and i are full time mommies. so with all these crazy jobs and schedules that demand different "busy seasons," august 7-9 was the first weekend we could all get away. (enough background already, i know. but i want everyone to understand how special this weekend was.) we all arrived on thursday evening. first the herridges and then later the brischkes. once the kids were in bed we spent time sitting outside, enjoying the lake, and catching up on life. these are the kinds of friends that you can just pick up where we left off- i love that about them. the next morning we woke up and hit the lake. everyone (except olivia) was anxious to get on a jet ski. so we played on the lake-- swimming, tubing, knee boarding, and steve and kristy took a really long (almost 1.5 hour) "sight-seeing trip" (they got a little bit lost) around the lake. the evening was filled with more talking and the open ceremony of the olympic games. (side note... i loved the open ceremony and the olympics. yeah for the usa!!) the entering of the countries is way less boring when you turn it into a guessing game of "how many athletes do you think they have?" "over or under ____?" thanks brad and steve for that. saturday was more of the same- playing on the lake, "crazy lake adventures," good conversation, and the olympics in between. as everyone left early sunday morning we were all talking about when and how we could fit another lake weekend on the calendar soon. here are some pictures from the weekend...

the herridges on the jet ski. oh how we wish our sweet olivia would like for us to go on family jet ski rides, but nooooo!

olivia and grant playing "ring around the rosy" for the 109th time. they had so much fun together.

this was olivia while the rest of us were playing in the lake. she was relaxing and eating an entire pint of blueberries!!

so we FINALLY convinced olivia to put her feet in. thanks grant for making it look like so much fun! still not the jet ski or swimming, but we are making progress.

this weekend was great for so many reasons- laughter, relaxation, good food, olympics, funny college stories, but the best part was friendship. friendship that is real. these are the kind of friends i know will last a lifetime. here's to many more lake weekends filled with sweet memories and to...

the next generation of cherished friends.

Monday, August 18, 2008

just jack

well, i have been writing about olivia a lot these days. i guess that's because she commands the spotlight 98% of the time, as most first borns do. so i am going to dedicate this post to an update on jack. jack is 3 months old and such a precious baby. 3 month olds don't really do much- sleep, eat, cry a little, and make some dirty diapers, yet i really feel like he is changing every single day. he smiles more. stays awake for longer periods of time. makes cute little baby sounds to get our attention. sleeps through the night (10- 12 hours). eats more less often (love this!). and snuggles as much as he can (love this too!). oh, and still spits up a ton creating lots and lots of laundry! he still loves his swing, his bottle of expensive formula, his family (i think he likes his mommy best), but his newest love is his THUMB!!! anyone who knows me, knows that i have fought this because my theory has always been... you can take the pacifier away, but i can't take the thumb away. after fighting him for weeks, i finally gave in. stay tunned, in about 2-5 years i am going to be blogging about all the crazy things i am trying so he will stop sucking his thumb. but for the time being, no more forcing the pacifier, soothie or wubba nub. i must admit, he is pretty darn cute when sucking his thumb and it is hilarious to watch him try and "find it." deep down i always knew that the thumb sucking was inevitable for little jack. every synogram showed his hands by his face and he has always loved having a fist by his cheek. it was only a matter of time before he figured out that it could soothe him. there are some perks to this thumb business, it is pretty nice to not have to run around looking for a pacifier or make sure one gets in the diaper bag. but on the flip side, i am not even thinking about all the germs that he will be ingesting on a daily basis. oh well!
i know that as jack continues to grow and change there will be lots of stories to share. and maybe one day he might even steal the spotlight from his big sister for just a moment. for now jack is calm, predictable (most of the time) and precious and that is just perfect to me!

had to include just one picture to show how cute he is with his new love...

Friday, August 15, 2008

tutu tuesdays

this summer olivia got all dressed up in her tutu, tap, and ballet shoes and went to dance class every tuesday morning. we started calling them "tutu tuesdays" around our house. olivia loved dance class and looked forward to it each week. one of her favorite parts was getting to be with her friend lilli. lilli's mommy and i are good friends, so we were excited to have an activity that our girls could do together. this also gave us 45 minutes a week to chat. by week two olivia was asking when we would be there so she could see lilli and give her a big hug. our plan worked!! the girls love spending time together and are such sweet friends. as far as olivia's dance skills go, i won't say she is a "natural." she spent the first several minutes (like 20 minutes) of each class just observing and taking it all in. then she would participate in a few steps, and by the end of class she was all warmed up and ready. of course, 9 minutes later class was over! she got her ballerina stamp at the end of each class and was so proud of herself. i loved every minute of this crazy experience for 8 tutu tuesdays this summer.

olivia was so cute in her "dancewear." so looks so big to me!

olivia with lilli. this was their first "tutu tuesday."

olivia with her teacher, miss lane.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


being olivia's mom is so much fun. don't get me wrong she and i have her moments, but for the most part i sit in awe that god has given me this precious child that is so very smart, helpful, sensitive, and super funny! she is also strong willed, persistent, and can be quite manipulative, but aren't most toddlers? so i really had no idea that my 2.5 year old would make me laugh so hard and 5 minutes later make me want to cry just a hard. olivia has been a talker since age 1. really don't think she has stopped since then. but as her vocabulary continues to grow, olivia often takes some creative liberties with the english language, aka "oliviaisms" and i love it. they make mark and i laugh, so i thought i might share a few on the blog. this way i will have these "oliviaisms" in print and maybe someone out there might smile too!

here are my favorites and the ones i can think of today...

"money"= her lamb lovey that she sleeps with
olivia might say, "i need money mommy. he makes me feel better."

"mazagines"= magazines
olivia might say, "nana reads mazagines while gramps watches stargate."

"paper toilet"= toilet paper
olivia might say, "i need paper toilet mommy. i am done!" (can you tell we are potty training)

"sprinklers"= sprinkles on cupcakes or sundaes
olivia might say, "i found another sprinkler in my ice cream! it's pink!"

"bazert"= dessert
olivia says EVERY night at dinner, "are we having bazert tonight?"

"SUB"= SUV (as in the kind of cars many of us drive)
while driving olivia says, "look mommy they drive an SUB just like us! nana has an SUB, but she says it is a crossover. misty has an SUB. rah-rah has an SUB. ... (she lists everyone we know that drives one!)

"big booms"= fireworks
olivia might say, "are there going to be big booms? i don't like big booms."

"why not?"= why?
me: "olivia we are going to leave in 5 minutes?"
olivia: "why not?"

"how you gonna..?"= why are you...?
olivia might say, "how you gonna turn off my show mommy?"

i know i am forgetting some good ones, but these have all been apart of some conversation today. i sure love my olivia and all her "isms."

Friday, August 8, 2008

a artful moment

so we were having a rare "at home day" and olivia didn't know what to do with herself. she played in her room for awhile and then seemed to be bored so i suggested that she paint. she seemed super excited about this idea. since we were going to be at home for the day i decided to go all out rather than the normal dollar store watercolors, cup of water, and scrap paper. i set up the picnic table outside, found an old t-shirt of daddy's, got out the good paint, the BIG paper, and multiple sizes of paintbrushes. (this all took about 15-20 minutes to get set up and organized plus a little sweat since it was all set up outside- olivia's request.) olivia ran outside and sat down at her table and began creating a materpiece. i was thinking this is going to be be fabulous. watercolors usually entertain her for at least 20 minutes so i have a good half hour to get some things around the house done. i came back inside and before i could get the laundry out of the dryer, she was banging on the back door screaming, "i'm done mommy! i made a pretty picture. what can i do now?" my thought was, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!" what i said was, "are you sure you don't want to add anymore to your picture? do you need some more paint?" anything to make this activity last longer. she said, "no, i am ready to come in. i need to wash my hands." so there it is- literally an artful "moment" since it lasted about 2 minutes total.
i did manage to take a few pictures before the fun ended. (right after set up, before coming in to do laundry.)

i don't think we will be painting again anytime soon. at least i am not going to be the one to suggest it! :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

lasagna, laughs, and lots of baby loot

i spent most of my pregnancy with jack on bedrest, so i was unable to make it to the shower that my friends had planned for me. my sweet friends insisted that we have some sort of "party" to honor jack even though he is now 2 months old. the other night we had a "girls night out" without husbands, babies, diaper changing, kids menus, and child centered conversation. it was so fun. we had our own room at buca di pepo and a BIG round table. i loved that i could talk to everyone at the table. the food was delicious, the cake was yummy, the gifts were too much but totally adorable, and the company was precious. in the words of my husband, "i combined my worlds" for this event. my teacher friends and college friends came together to celebrate. it was so fun! here are some pictures from the evening...

thank you to all my friends who came. it was wonderful to spend a night out with each of you. when i think about the evening it just makes me smile. i laughed so much and had such a great time. i am so blessed to have such wonderful friends. i especially want to thank- cally, misty, mari, erin, stacie, and shannon for hosting such a fabulous party. y'all are the best!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

the greatest show on earth

o and i had the chance to go to the circus when it came through town with a group of her friends. we had so much fun with her friends from ballet and some of my mpe teacher friends and their kids. olivia was asking lots of questions about what we would see at the circus before we went and i kept telling her animals and clowns. i totally forgot about the tightrope walkers, the trapeze, human cannonballs, and other crazy stunts. she loved it all, but her favorite parts where the animals. this is probably because that is what i had built up. she would squeal, point, and announce each time they came out into one of the 3 rings. we saw horses, zebras, dogs, elephants, and tigers. they all could do AMAZING tricks.

if you ask olivia what her favorite part of the circus was, she would say, "i like the clown on the little tiny bike and the big boom (firework) that came out of it." she thought this was hilarious! of course this was in the "pre-show" so i guess the actual "greatest show on earth" was a little disappointing for her. oh well, we had so much fun! thanks heather for coordinating the event!

o loved sitting in her own seat and clapping for all the performers.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

she's a BIG girl now!

well, it has offically begun. we are potty training. olivia has been ready for quit some time, but mark and i have not wanted to "go there." it is not that we don't want olivia to grow up, or that we are afraid of dealing with pee-pee and poo-poo all over the place, or that we are going to have to do a HUGE song and dance each time we have a successful trip to the bathroom, well, actually it is about all of those things and then some!
i have been preparing for months, but not really wanting to commit to the process. we bought "big girl" panties (in several varieties), have had a little potty in the bathroom, i made the reward sticker chart, and have been talking about how big girls don't wear diapers. olivia took all those hints and would ask to sit on the potty in the morning or in the evening before baths. she would even ask me at times during the day to take her to the potty, but i was a mommy in denial. i wasn't ready for public restrooms, buying pull-ups, accidents, and having to drop everything to assist in bathroom trips at the most inopportune times. so i would tell her, "no you don't!" how crazy is that!
i decided that august was the month and i would have to get over all these issues. no more excuses! i stuck to my word and on friday, august 1 we jumped into to "potty training" with both feet. it is no surprise that my sweet olivia has done a great job!! the first day she only had one "u-oh" moment all day!! saturday she did an awesome job. we had a birthday party, lots of errands, and some long car rides, but she was such a big girl and went on the potty all day long. no accidents! can you believe it! (i was shocked.) sunday and monday went well too, but we did have a few more "u-ohs"! olivia is so proud of herself . she loves the rewards that come along with this potty training business. she gets to put stickers on her sticker chart, gets 2 jelly bellies, and we sing and dance in celebration of pee-pee in the potty and dry panties. (oh, what we do for our children.)

olivia with her "sweet" rewards...

showing off her "big girl elmo panties"
(sorry mark, i know you are going to hate this picture, too much skin, but it was too cute!)

i am sure by writing all this i am jinxing the success, but i am so proud ALL OF US i had to share. i still get anxious when i think about going out in public without a pull-up, what all this looks like when preschool begins in a few weeks, and how i will keep her motivated, but for now i have to focus on the positive and keep celebrating the small successes of everyday.

Friday, August 1, 2008

danny's day!!

july 31st is a special day for our family. it is my father-in-law's birthday. i know that in some families a "father-in-law birthday" might be considered an obligation, but i have the best father-in-law in the world, so i am glad to have a day to celebrate him. danny, has been a special part of my life for 11 years . it is such a blessing that he has been present at the most significant events in my life. he one of the few that witnessed my baptism on an icy january evening. he was there when i went to college and when i graduated (yes, he sat through 2 college graduations- mark's and mine!). he was the best man in our wedding. he wouldn't miss being one of the first to hug me after giving birth to his grandchildren. but he is also there for all the little things birthdays, drop by visits to hold jack and see olivia, hugs on sunday morning at church, weekends at the lake, regular emails to check on us, and so on. the list could go on forever. he is super supportive in EVERYTHING we do and we always feel loved by him! thank you danny for being the greatest father-in-law! thank you for raising a godly son who i call my husband. thank you for teaching me to LOVE baylor and be a true fan! sic em bears!! thank you for being a great example of what it means to be be called "daddy." thank you for your hugs, words of encouragement & support, smiles, and unconditional love.

i told you he was great! so today is a perfect chance to tell everyone (well at least the 4 people who read this) how blessed i am to have danny in my life.

love you danny! ~stephanie

a few pics of danny...

i just had to include one pic of danny as a child. isn't he cute!!

look how happy he is... family and baylor together. it doesn't get much better!!

i couldn't leave out jack. here are jack and pop bonding!!