Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thursday, Joe and John took the girls on a little hike near the cabin, and Nicki and I went into town for pedicures. On the walk, they saw a tree where at least one bear used it as a scratching post. John said Emma Rose got a little scared! They had a great time. Emma Rose and Anabelle had just laid down for a nap when Nicki and I returned. I went in the bedroom, and Emma Rose giggled and said "Mommy, I pee-peed in the woods." She was so proud of herself.
The other families arrived Thursday night, and we had a great breakfast Friday morning. It was the beginning of being totally spoiled for breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, and other yummy and fattening goodies were standard fare for three mornings. I would have taken pictures of the spread, but I was too busy eating! Emma Rose was in sugary heaven. She doesn't normally get as much sugar in a year as she had in three days. She de-toxed Sunday and seems to be back to normal!

Friday, we spent the day at the cabin. I started out the day with a little of the outdoors inside. When I got out of the shower, I saw a scorpion on the wall just outside the shower door! John smashed it and threw it away. During the rest of the day, it was nice to watch the kids play together and just relax, especially after filling up on such a great breakfast. The guys went out for a solo hike. I heard there were lots of rocks to climb over, and they saw evidence of more bears on the ground. Meanwhile, the girls and Dallon, the only boy, watched a movie on a quilt on the floor. The mommies were able to relax a bit. Friday night was bath night for all the kids. Anabelle started the trend, and the other girls followed. Emma Rose was next, and Sara and Audrey got in the bath with her. Emma Rose got out, and Laurin took her place. It was super cute!

Anabelle was saying "sky" and "eye" and pointing in the appropriate direction. She also started saying book, hi and her version of cracker in reference to graham crackers. I got turtle out of her once but haven't heard it again. She also started signing more much more often for us during the last part of the week. All the little girls were fascinated by her and kept trying to feed, kiss, and hug her. She really liked all the attention! I kept expecting her to walk, but she's still just teasing us with almost taking that first step.

Saturday was a busy day as we went to Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay where we visited the petting zoo, saw clogging, slid down the gigantic slide, watched pig races, and, of course, picked apples. The kids also milked a cow! John and I learned that Anabelle really enjoys chewing on apple cores. It tasted yummy, plus it was soothing to her gums.

We were sad when the trip was over! John did get to get back to his car. After washing the dirt off my car, he washed his car. . . and the love affair with mustangs continues. I still have not decided on a name and have not had a ride in the car, but Dorie is in the running. It's from Finding Nemo when Crush (the turtle) calls Dorie Little Blue.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, we spent the day hanging out at the cabin. Anabelle loved climbing in a little chair and scaring the adults. Joe is a play dough master, and Emma Rose and Anabelle stalk him to play with it. I think John and I are going to have to but some more play dough toys for Emma Rose when we get home. John found the hammock on the porch, and the girls found him! It was a relaxing day, and we were ready for an outing on Wednesday.

We packed up two cars and went to Fort Mountain State Park Wednesday. We hiked a trail and saw a Stone Tower and a rock wall. The trails were pretty friendly and there were lots of rocks, flowers and leaves for Emma Rose and Anabelle. We also found a playground where Anabelle had a snack, and Emma Rose and Laurin were able to play for a while. There were three tired little girls that night!

Thursday, Anabelle woke up and stood up in her pack and play. She squealed with joy to see Mommy asleep in the bed next to her. Nicki and I went on a solo outing into town. The dads stayed behind and took the girls on a walk through the woods. We’re expecting the other two couples and four children this evening!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is the first picture of John's new (to him) car. I'm taking suggestions for names, but I have to have a ride before I settle on one.

True Blue 2001 Mustang Cobra

Anabelle really started using the sign for "more" for John. She still won't do it for me. Also, it seems that she is starting to feel empowered that she can sign for milk and get it. It's great for us, the parents, because we can fill a need without having to guess, and Anabelle doesn't fuss! We're all happy!

Anabelle Signing More

We're at the cabin outside of Chatsworth, and it's a beautiful place, far away from most of civilization it seems. Traveling the last 3.8 miles was a bit treacherous as it was a steep gravel road. It took about 30 minutes. We're having a great time! Emma Rose and Laurin have been playing and running around in circles. Emma Rose is so excited that she's hardly eaten. This morning, Laurin's daddy, Joe, had both girls mesmerized with play dough. There's also this pretty large, log cabin style doll house, and the girls have been playing in it quite a bit. It's going to be a fun week.

Emma Rose and Laurin Playing in the Doll House

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I gave Emma Rose a little hair cut Monday night! It was looking a little shaggy - the sides off her hair grow faster than the back. Some might call it a reverse mullet. She also gets "the fuzzies" when she sleeps and when she's in the car. A section on the back right side of her head gets fuzzy, and I think it's causing some of that hair to stay dry and break off. Anyway, she now has a little bob! She'll have to go to the salon for a real haircut next time. Now, I can't wait for it to grow so we can let it grow long! Anabelle is still basically bald . . . . cute, but bald.

Sugar and Pops came for a visit Tuesday afternoon. Sugar brought an awesome Honey Baked Ham dinner for us that night. Wednesday, we went shopping in Dawsonville, and Thursday, we went to Helen, Georgia, also known as Little Bavaria. It was the perfect day for a trip there. Helen was just beginning the Oktoberfest, which is the longest Oktoberfest in the world according to their pamphlets, and most of the activities happen at night. When we started walking, Emma Rose had to smell every flower by the street. We walked around the town and found a great authentic German restaurant with wonderful sauerkraut and purple cabbage. The sauerkraut was just as good as my grandmother's kraut. Pops also treated Emma Rose and Sugar to some homemade ice cream. (The owner of the shop was lactose intolerant!) Anabelle sat in the stroller and eventually fell asleep.

Thursday was a memorable day for me. Emma Rose and I had our first discussion about what she would wear. She did not want to wear what I had chosen for her. She was very upset and told me, "I don't want Sugar Pops to see me in this!" She wanted a pink shirt, not the brown one with pink pants. I offered her another outfit, and she still refused. She finally relented and looked very cute!

John arrived home Thursday night and reported that Charlene was indeed totalled. He got through all the paperwork with the insurance company Friday. It is the end of an era with Charlene, and now he is looking for another car . . . a mustang, of course. We'll see what he can find, and we'll be taking our time to make sure he finds something he'll love. I don't think it'll replace Charlene for him, but I'm sure he'll have fun getting to know the new car. He told me I could choose the new car's name, too!

The week of the 22nd, we're headed to the mountains at Bear Lodge Falls for a vacation with Nicki and her family. Two other couples and their children will be joining us during the weekend. Emma Rose is looking forward to spending a week's long play date with her best friend, Laurin! It should be a great vacation for all of us, and we're really looking forward to spending the entire week with John. I'm hoping he doesn't spend the entire week looking for a car.

Saturday, we went into Canton for the local car show sponsored by Po Boys Car Club. Emma Rose loves being with her daddy looking at all the cars. She told us Saturday that the blue ones are her favorite - the make and model don't matter. It's fun to walk around to see what people do to their cars. Some are pretty average looking, and some are really neat.

Anabelle is now definitely saying "tree." She will point to a tree and then say it. She's also been saying "da-da" quite a bit lately and will occasionally say "ma-ma." Her absolute favorite word is still cat, and she's saying dog, too. We have to listen closely when she's saying dog and cat because they sound so similar. Anabelle is also pointing to the light in a cute crooked way and trying her best to say light. She doesn't quite make it. She's also mimicking sounds of phrases without the actual letters. In the car, she just babbles and babbles unless she is crying because she's teething. Can you guess which we prefer? We're so happy about her being so vocal. It's better than listening to the radio.

In car news, John has found another car. There will be pictures and a name. He seems very happy and is on the way home with her now. She is a 2001, true blue Mustang Cobra. I still think we'll miss Charlene, but I'm sure that for John, this will be salve to the wound of losing her.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Little Ballerina

Emma Rose has ballet every Monday. She's been having some issues with going in to the class and staying by herself. For the first 4 classes, I had to stay in the room with her. Last Monday was her first day staying by herself. It was forced. I know being a mommy is all about creating little people who grow into independent adults, and I know that takes a lot of hard work on the part of parents. I had no idea how many times my heart would break and ache as I helped my babies on their journey to independence.

Last Monday was one of the toughest days for both me and Emma Rose. Staying by herself started with me telling her she was going to ballet by herself with a milkshake reward after ballet. She cried for about 15 minutes before we got in the car, for the entire 35 minute ride to ballet, for the 15 minutes before the class, and most of the 45 minute class. She tried desperately to get out of the class and back to me. Through the door, I could hear her calling, "Mommy! I want my Mommy!" I held back tears so that I wouldn't totally scare Anabelle and so that I could I could put on a happy, 'you-can-do-it' face for Emma Rose. The good news is there was an assistant in the classroom who lovingly consoled her and helped her to participate.

Today was a lot better! Emma Rose cried for about 10 minutes before we left and mercifully fell asleep on the way there. She did cry when we arrived, but that was brief, too. When I put on her ballet slippers, she threw herself in the floor (it was very dramatic) and cried. I told her she is my big, brave girl, but she insisted she was not. I took her in the class room, handed her off to her teacher and left. Her teacher is wonderful and very understanding. Emma Rose stopped crying much sooner this time, then started quietly watching her classmates. Ms. Heather, her teacher, has made name cards for the floor, so the students can stand in the appropriate place. They are arranged in a traditional class room format facing the teacher. When Emma Rose was ready to participate, she collected her name card and moved it to the front of the classroom beside her teacher so that she could look at the rest of the class. She sat for a while and also wandered around the classroom. At one point, a little girl came out to go potty. Emma Rose saw me, and expecting her to make a break for freedom, I gave her the thumbs up sign. She just looked at me and smiled!

When it was time to change from her ballet slippers into her tap shoes, I again expected a flood of tears. She happily walked out with the rest of the girls and declared, "I can go back aaalllll by myself. I'M a big sister. And IIII get a milkshake." She did get a strawberry milkshake on the way home. Hooray for Emma Rose!

In Anabelle news, she is now saying "baby." We also think she might have said "tree" a couple of times, too. Her favorite word is still "cat." Today, I finally got her to use the sing for more. Emma Rose was sharing her milkshake with Anabelle, and that reward was just what she needed to make the sign!

Sad Day for Charlene

It was a sad day for Charlene this past Saturday. She's been with us for about 8 and half years. There is still a twinkle of hope, but John and I think she'll be put to rest. She's been a great car, and she took care of John when he crashed. John is uninjured minus a few sore spots and the temporary loss of some of his pride. We should know by the end of the week if this is a temporary "hospital" stay for Charlene or if this is the end of an era and the beginning of new one.

We are very thankful John wasn't hurt!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yesterday morning, Emma Rose visited the doctor again. He thinks she has had 2 viruses back to back. She's lost 2 pounds since last week because she's not eating like she normally does, but the doctor doesn't seem to be concerned. He says she should be feeling better by mid-week. We haven't had any more fever since Thursday. The milkshakes we've been giving her should help her gain the weight back!

This morning, she woke up before Mommy and Daddy. We heard a couple of thumps, and then she appeared in our room. This time she had one t-shirt (her favorite My Daddy Rocks t-shirt), a pair of shorts, and two pairs of underwear. She said, "Mommy, get me dressed." I asked why, and she said, "Because I'm going to get naked." She did just that by flailing her clothes across the room, and I helped her get dressed. She thought it was really funny she had gotten two pairs of undies. She also told me she was all better and the yogurt had made the germs go away.

Yesterday was a big communication day for Anabelle. She started saying "Uh-oh!" and she started signing for milk. I've been trying to teach her the sign 'more' for about 6 months or so, and still she's only done that one once. I've been trying to teach her the sign 'milk' for about 3 or 4 days, and last night she did it at dinner! Now, she is an expert at asking for milk with her hands. Last Wednesday, she said "fish," and there has not been a repeat performance. Maybe it was hopeful hearing hopefully.

This morning, Anabelle discovered the tissues. And I discovered her discovering the tissues. I was busy in the kitchen, and all was quiet. Ahhhhh I was thinking to myself. Then, reality struck. It was quiet. I started hearing whosh, whosh, whosh. Anabelle had the tissue box on the floor and was steadily pulling out tissue after tissue and spreading them all about her. All Emma Rose and I could do was laugh!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday morning, it seemed that Emma Rose was all better from her cold. At about 7:30, I heard thump. I waited a few minutes thinking it was Jasper, and then I heard another thump. I looked over and saw Jasper on the bed. Then, I heard Emma Rose's door open and slam shut. She came parading in my room with a stack of clothes. She announced, "Mommy, it's day time. You can get me dressed if you like." Very fancy words for a three year old, I thought. Then she put the clothes on the bed. The thumps were her opening and closing her dresser drawers and getting the three pairs of shorts she plopped on my bed. She was ready to start the day. Too bad I was on my way to a slow start that morning! Thank goodness for Disney channel that entertained Emma Rose while I got ready to start my day.

That afternoon, we were playing upstairs. Anabelle was crawling around, and Emma Rose said to me, "Sometimes Anabelle gets lost in your room." I asked her how we would find her. She pointed to both her eyes and said "With your eyes." Then, hoping she would say something like we would look for her, I asked, "Yes, but how do we find her?" She again pointed to her eyes and said as if I had asked a very silly question, "With our speaks." She was trying to say specs as in spectacles. I wonder how long it will be before her slang outgrows my knowledge of current slang.

Anabelle continues to give me the sign (tongue out with blowing) at dinner. The crying has subsided a bit, but she's still not as interested in food as she was even 3 weeks ago. I've figured out that I can get her to eat if I sing to her. She hears my own special version of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes that I'm sure not many others would be interested in hearing. Maybe it works because she opens her mouth in awe of singing ability, and I'm not American Idol material. Whatever the case, I'm just glad she's eating dinner.

Anabelle: The Sign

Yesterday was our play date day with Nicki and Laurin. We were also joined by Missy, one of our friends from high school, and her newly adopted daughter, Gemma. It was good to see Missy again as we haven't seen her in a little over a year and good to meet Gemma, too!

Pre-play date, I used all of our ripe tomatoes to make dinner for us. It was nice because I was starting to be concerned about using them before they went bad. I chopped tomatoes to use instead of the recipe-recommended canned diced tomatoes and made my own salsa to use instead of the store bought salsa. I even got the salsa seal of approval from Nicki whose pregnancy craving includes salsa!

Strangest Tomato I've Ever Grown

We had quite a full house. It was fun to see one more baby in the mix. Gemma is about 2 months older than Anabelle, and she wanted to love on Anabelle and Hobie A LOT. Gemma rubbed Anabelle's fuzzy head and kissed her. She "tackled" Anabelle football style a few times to give her hugs. Anabelle returned the love with her baby, open mouth kisses - those that only a mommy or daddy can fully appreciate. Gemma also was pretty interested in Hobie who ended up getting pulled by the ear across the ottoman. Laurin and Emma Rose, who sometimes focus all of their attention on him, gave Hobie some attention, but he mostly tried to stay on his bed that I moved to the chair. I was very impressed that Hobie did not bare his teeth even once. He was relieved last night when he was safely tucked in bed beside me. There was a lot of excitment for such a little puppy.

Laurin on Higher Ground to Protect her Toy Stash

Anabelle with Gemma Pre-love Fest # 3

Anabelle performed by showing all of us the sign at dinner. Nicki gave her some avocado, which in the past she has really loved, and I gave her blueberries and butternut squash. Gemma likes avocados, too and helped Anabelle eat it! Anabelle did not really want to eat, so I (unfortunately for all who heard) had to do my own special rendition of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Anabelle really enjoyed it when Nicki and Missy joined in! When that song stopped working, we sang The Wheels on the Bus. Anabelle ended up eating a pretty good dinner.

Also during dinner, Emma Rose and Anabelle insisted that I hold them while I was eating. It was at this point I suspected Emma Rose was not all better from her cold. I checked her temperature, and she had a fever. We have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. Emma Rose recovered for a bit, I put Anabelle on the floor where she could crawl freely, and I finished dinner. It's nice to have other non-crying adults in the room when I feel the urge to go crazy.

Emma Rose and Laurin on the Ottoman (Hobie in his Bed in the background)

After dinner, Laurin and Emma Rose pretended to bunnies. They shared Emma Rose's bunny ears and jumped around the house. When they pretend like that, it's one of my favorite times to watch them. With each play date, they are playing together rather than side by side more and more. It's so great for them to grow up together and for Nicki and me to be able to see it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Today, John bought and installed a new muffler and some other muffler like parts on his car. He had to drive to about an hour to buy the parts at Summit Racing and then an hour back home. Emma Rose went along with him for the ride and had an awesome time. She made sure to tell me she saw lots of signs. Summit has these really cool vintage-like garage signs that John loves. She was his car buddy and helped him with the installation. Anabelle even had her afternoon snack in the garage with Daddy. John was thrilled with the results!

Anabelle also made more progress toward walking. She walked holding only one of my hands all the way across the front yard - more than 50 steps! It was very exciting. (John even stopped the car work to snap the pictures!) All that exercise may make her cute little chunky legs get skinny.

The girls topped off the day with bath time. Tonight, Daddy managed bath time almost all by himself. The three of them have a fun time together. Emma Rose and Anabelle also rolled around and fell face first over and over again on Mommy's and Daddy's bed. They were ready for bed and a good night's sleep tonight!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Friday Emma Rose and Anabelle were still feeling a bit bad due to Anabelle's teething and Emma Rose's cold. The day John comes home I usually try to get some domestic chores done so that I can spend time with him rather than do laundry, vacuum, etc. Friday was the day this week, and the girls played upstairs while I was toiling. Anabelle has started being able to crawl really fast and has become fascinated with pulling hair out of Jasper. She started a new game with Jasper Friday: Anabelle chases Jasper, corners her, and squeals with excitement. Jasper flattens out her ears, looks at Anabelle with terror in her eyes, and runs away.

Hobie also gave and receive affection that day. He loves it!

To our delight, we continue to be over run by ruby throated humming birds. At almost every meal, the juveniles fight with each to be king or queen of the feeder. We're also seeing lots of baby gold finches along with the swarm of house finches. They are so cute. Unfortunately, several of the house finches we've seen have the bird version of pink eye, aka "the funk." It's pretty contagious in the house finch and gold finch community. And also very sad.

Just a little update on the college football scene: UGA won their first two games. UT lost their first game. It's a good season for UGA so far. Emma Rose and Anabelle will need a UGA cheerleader outfits!