Friday, October 31, 2008

Anabelle is really started to walk more and more. She hasn't quite gotten the hang of it and looks like a drunken sailor when she stands up, takes 3 to 4 steps, falls on her bottom, and then laughs. She is persistent and gets right back up and tries again. This morning, Anabelle stood up and spontaneously started dancing to a song on the Imagination Movers (a Disney program). She grinned at me the entire time, even when she fell on her bottom!

She has also renewed her love of climbing up and down the stairs. To add the stress of it all for me, she has also sprinkled in a little standing up on a top stair and wobbling as if she's going to fall and sliding down several stairs on her belly. I guess she likes to keep me on my toes.

We weren't on our toes yesterday. Anabelle was playing beside the stairs when her hand slipped. She fell face first into the corner of a stair. She has a very sad looking purple bruise to the left of her mouth. It does match her pink and purple butterfly costume.

Tonight, we having a neighborhood Halloween party at the club house. A few months ago, I was talking to our neighbor and we decided it would be a great idea to plan a party for the entire neighborhood. Wow, that sounded great! I think all will go well, and we'll have a great time. We're having a chili cook off, and the winner gets a free house cleaning. The kids will have a costume contest and pumpkin carving contest. Our neighbor also got some of those huge inflatable moonwalk toys for the kids. Emma Rose is going to be a Sunflower Princess, and Anabelle is going to be a butterfly. The only bad news for us is that 3 out of 4 of us are sick, and we'll have to go home a little earlier than we might otherwise.

Emma Rose told me that her costume is so beautiful she can get married in it. She has had a recent fascination with marriage and weddings lately. I'm not sure where it came from. I asked her who she wanted to marry and I expected her to say Harrison, the little 3 year old boy next door. She didn't. She told me she wanted to marry me! How sweet. I think if Daddy would have asked, she would have told him she wanted to marry him.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Brother's Wedding Pictures

I've uploaded the pictures I took at Christopher's wedding. This is the web site:


Exciting news from the last few days:

  • No, nobody is pregnant except my dear friend Nicki who is having a "stinky" boy.
  • Anabelle took 7 independent steps last week - the most evah.
  • Emma Rose went to Sunday school all herself "without one single tear" she proudly said.
  • Anabelle had her first day in Sunday school and only cried the last 10 minutes. They probably tried to give her gold fish. I wonder if she gave them The Sign.
  • John & I were able to go to church together for the first time in a year.
  • I scratched my eyeball (not on purpose) and was in so much pain that I went to the doctor sans an appointment and waited for mercy.
  • Emma Rose said she wanted to talk about cars at dinner tonight. Her daddy has indeed brain washed her.
  • John turned 34. Wow - since I am 8 years younger than he is, I'm wondering how it will feel when that happens to me. We went to the 41st Annual Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville to celebrate. There were lots of cars there.
  • We saw a Pine Siskin at our feeder.
  • I still cannot think of a name for John's car. He's really keen on Delilah, which means languishing, lovelorn or seductive. It reminds me of the Atlanta station B98.5 with love songs in evenings and its hostess, Delilah. Maybe that works. It just doesn't seem to fit the car. I've promised I'll have a name by the end of the week. I need suggestions . . . (He has ruled out Misty.)

Pine Siskin

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

John and I saw a new (to us) bird in our back yard this morning. We believe it is a Louisiana Waterthrush. (In the first picture, the bird is just about in the center of the photograph. He's difficult to see.) I was able to get a few pictures. I also snapped a few pictures of an Eastern Bluebird and a Mourning Dove.

Louisiana Waterthrush

Eastern Bluebird

Mourning Dove

In hawk news, we were outside from about 5 to 6 and saw the Cooper's Hawk try to pick off a 3 song birds. He's watching the feeders from somewhere in wait of a carefree songbird. Ahhh . . . . . the circle of life. Hobie would get really excited each time the hawk would come in the yard. He would bark and chase after the it until it was out of his site. The song birds have not been at our feeders as much lately, and when they are there, they look a little nervous. The good news is that our seed is lasting a little longer than it usually does.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anabelle started walking again today! She took two to three independent steps about half a dozen or so times. It was very exciting!

Here are more of the pictures Emma Rose (age 3.5) has taken with her camera.

The self portrait series:

The family series:

The walk in the neighborhood series:

Monday, October 20, 2008

This afternoon, we all went down to the neighborhood playground. Anabelle had her first real experience on the slide, and the girls were able to race (sort of) down the double slide together. Anabelle prefers sliding down backwards on her belly! She would start to go down the traditional way but then turn to go down backwards. When she would get the bottom of the slide, she would sport a huge grin, squeal, and then get on her hands and knees to try to climb back up the slide. Emma Rose loves being able to play with her sister and Daddy. I couldn't resist putting these pictures on the blog right away!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Today was a very exciting day: Emma Rose had her first (and second, third, and fourth) piece of gum, and it did not get stuck in or on anything. It was great! The gum even helped to keep her thumb out of her mouth.

Before naps, John, the girls and I went outside to put the last of the cedar trees in the ground. We'll Anabelle and I mostly supervised again, and John and Emma Rose did the real work. Anabelle had her first ride in the little red wagon, and the girls had their first ride together in it, too.

This afternoon, we got in the car about 10 minutes after I gave her a piece of gum. She said to me, "Mommy, I have to tell you something berry (she's not quite 100% on the 'v' sound yet) sad." After I asked to hear all about it, she said with a very disappointed look on her face, "I swallowed my gum." I turned to face the front to keep her from seeing my stifled laugh. Then she said with a much happier face, "Can I have another piece now?" She loves the gum and prefers the minty kind to the Big Red. She could only keep in a piece of Big Red for about 3 minutes, and I think that's because Daddy told her it would be too spicy and she wouldn't like it. She accepted the challenge, but decided against chewing the gum.

We also went to Berry Patch Farms to get a pumpkin. There were a few animals to see, popcorn and apple cider, and a good size pumpkin patch. We even had a little hay ride to get the pumpkins. Once we made it to the pumpkin patch and I snapped as many pictures as I could, Emma Rose started doing the pee-pee dance. We had to cut the pumpkin choosing short and dashed back to the hay ride.

We made it to the bathrooms only to find the lady's bathroom was occupied. Emma Rose saw an open door and ran in to the men's bathroom. She had her pants pulled down faster than I could say "DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!" I managed to hold her above the potty and no germs were transferred. Whew.
Emma Rose had her face painted with a little black cat. She sat very still and was delighted to see the picture in the mirror. We had a cup of apple cider and watched two pigs yelp for dinner and a little baby calf run around like a puppy. After that, we piled in the car and headed home.

The evening was topped off with dessert with our neighbors. Lisa and Jeremy and their three kids came over, and after getting all sugared up, the kids played and ran around the house a little. Anabelle really enjoyed seeing all the big kids play and got a little frustrated that she can't run around like they did. BUT did she try to walk?! No.

Anabelle is saying more and more words. She's saying shark, sock, ear, bye-bye, and is really trying pretty hard to get some other words out, too. She has said turtle a couple more times. She really loved having a little apple cider at the pumpkin patch and is eating like a horse again. Her belly is definitely a Carpenter belly!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

John took the screen out of the window yesterday, and I've been keeping my camera near the kitchen window. I've also been paying a little more attention to the yard since we saw the big bird yesterday. It paid off as I finally have a shot of a small bird that is not a House Finch or a Goldfinch.

These are the pictures (cropped and enlarged) of the Eastern Wood-Pewee we saw in the back yard. It eats insects, so we won't see it at the feeders.

This afternoon as I was walking to the kitchen, I saw a very large bird swoop up from the yard and try to grab a bird off the feeder! It settled on the fence, and I ran for the camera. I focused the lense just as he flew away. I was able to get one very blurry shot, but it's exciting to see just how big it is! I believe it was a Cooper's Hawk, but from what we've read, it's difficult to distinguish between the Cooper's Hawk and the Sharp-shinned Hawk. After reading more, we think the hawk we saw yesterday was a juvenile.

If it was the same bird, he's probably decided he's found a good restaurant. I hope the song birds don't leave!

Friday, October 17, 2008

This afternoon, I saw a new bird at the feeder! It was a bird of prey, and John and I have decided it was probably a Cooper's Hawk. I was able to get 3 very fuzzy pictures of it from the kitchen window. (I'm going to ask John to take the screen out, so any future pictures of birds will be a little better.) The Cooper's Hawk is nicknamed "chicken hawk" as the females can decapitate other birds as large as chickens. It's a good thing there were no chickens in our back yard. There are quite a few song birds, and it looked as if the hawk had his eye on something as it was perched on the arm of the feeder.

These are the best of the 3 pictures.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We have finally started working on getting some trees in the yard! It's very exciting since the back yard is totally bare except for the culvert next to the back fence. The culvert is not exactly picture worthy, and it could also be dangerous if a child or small animal fell into it. (There is a board over it to protect the lives of our children and dog.)

In March, the first tree we planted was a dogwood in the front yard. The second tree was a maple. John dug up a small sapling and planted it in the front yard. It's just a bit smaller than Emma Rose. She would not pose for a picture beside the tree. We're all keeping our fingers crossed that it doesn't die.
The third and fourth trees will be planted by Friday. I found red cedar trees on sale! I've been wanting to plant them to attract cedar waxwings to our yard. It might be a long shot, but if we don't get the cedar waxwings, the trees should attract some other birds. John dug two giant holes, and we'll put them in tomorrow once we get some good soil to mix with the native Georgia red clay (that permeates and stains every fiber of children's clothing). Emma Rose had a great time helping her daddy, and Anabelle, Hobie, and I "supervised." In several years, the trees will also be great to offer a little privacy from the house that is contracted to be built on the lot next to us.

I'm hoping to plant a few more trees, hopefully deciduous, during the fall, and we'll look for some others that are native to Georgia and will attract some birds. In other birding news, the little tufted titmouse has started visiting the feeders again! Once we put out more suet, I'm hoping he'll come much more often and I can get a good picture of him.
Female (left) and Male (right) House Finches

This afternoon, I had my first ride in the new mustang. Both the girls were in the car with us, and it was a tight squeeze with two car seats. At one point, John moved one of his hands to scratch his back. Emma Rose said to him, "Both hands on the wheel, Daddy!" She also announced that she likes to go fast. I think John's car obsession is rubbing off on her. It's pretty scary as I think John might indulge her when she can drive. Sadly, I still do not know what to name the mustang. The choices so far are Dorie and Norah, but neither seem to be quite right.

Anabelle, the one who refuses to walk, started playing peek-a-boo tonight at dinner. It was very cute! She would hide her face with her hands, remove hands, and then squeal when we all said "Peek-a-boo!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Weekend in Maryville, TN

Last weekend, John and I (aka a planner by occupation and a scheduling freak) made a spontaneous decision to go to Maryville to visit Sugar Pops (John's dad and step-mom). At noon we called to make sure Sugar Pops would be home and were receptive to a visit. At 1:30, we were in the car and headed north. I only forgot Anabelle's pajamas.

The weekend was a perfect choice for a visit as there was a fall festival in Maryville. Before we went to the festival, Emma Rose rode Thomas the train down the driveway, and John let Anabelle (in the stroller) race Emma Rose. Julian, our nephew, was able to spend a good part of the day with us Saturday, and we all enjoyed the festival. We were also able to see Grammy for a little bit on Sunday. It's nice that John's travel schedule is light right now so that we can make a trip north!

One final note: The best part of the weekend is that this UGA fan was in Tennessee when the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Tennessee Volunteers! It was a first for me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This past weekend was a busy weekend for the Carpenters. It started Friday night with the rehearsal dinner for my brother's wedding. Saturday was the wedding, which was one and a half hours away in Lula, Georgia. On the ride home, I noticed that I was losing my voice. I think John was secretly happy about his stroke of luck. When I woke up Sunday morning, I didn't even try to get out of bed. My lost voice was a prelude to more yuckiness. Sunday was a busy day for Daddy as the children needed tending to. It was also a day that Daddy gained a new appreciation for what Mommy does on a daily basis.

Monday, Anabelle finally did it!! She took two independent steps . . . and has not done it since. I've been getting her to walk while only holding the tip of my index finger, so we think she may be walking on her own before Halloween. It's very exciting! Emma Rose is going to have so much fun with a little sister who can walk! Anabelle is going to love being able to do more of what her sister can do.

Emma Rose now has a digital camera. It's a cute Fisher-Price kid tough camera with a viewing screen, so she can see what she's aiming at and the actual picture she's taken. It's been in her little hands ever since she got it. I have had to explain to her that it's not nice to take pictures of people when they are in the shower, unclothed, or on the potty. I also had to delete quite a few prior to this little talk we had. We can't wait to see everything from her perspective!

Here are a few of the pictures she's taken so far.

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