Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bonding Before School

Anna Kate's friend Anslee wanted her to come over and play this week while I worked. Anslee's mama actually suggested it and so the girls have been bonding before school starts back again. Anslee and AK are great friends, but during the summer they were only seeing each other at Sunday school - it was past time for them to get together. The reports I am getting are limited due to the fact that Anna Kate falls asleep in the car on the way home (from the girls playing so hard without a nap), but from what I've been told, they are having a blast! They have played games, played with baby dolls, played 'beach', dress-up, gone shopping and out to lunch every day. **Renee, you are spoiling my child ;) J/K**

Aren't they cute little buddies :-)

The two girls will be in the same class again this year and Anna Kate is SO excited to start. I did some school clothes shopping online last night and think I got most of the basics. Now my dilemma is what backpack and lunch box to get her. I want something I can have personalized and if there is more than one choice.....I am in trouble. She still needs shoes for both summer and fall, but she needs to try those on, so I will have to take her to the stores for that. I'm sure her choice will be flip flops, more flip flops and Crocs...

Other than that, things are quiet. We're getting ready for our trip to the beach this weekend (family wedding) and then it will just be a matter of getting through another seven days until our V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Taking one for the team...

I was out of town on business four days last week and then came back to a very hectic office. I was stressed to say the least. Anna Kate was being especially difficult, my nerves were shot and Mt. Katie was sure to erupt! Thank goodness Jeff picked up on all of that (he would have to be blind and deaf not to) and pretty much took AK off my hands for the weekend. I was able to get the laundry done and pick up the house (isn't that relaxing??). I even made a trip to Wal-Mart by myself! This afternoon Jeff took Anna Kate fishing. They were planning to use 'croockits' (crickets), but couldn't find any, so they used worms instead....Katie does not do worms, croockets or artificial bait. I feel sorry for the fish anyway and Anna Kate calls me a scaredy cat...

Here she is with her very first fish. She refused to hold it or the fishing line. Her expression is priceless!! I feel your pain baby...
She caught one more fish and then she just wanted to ride on the boat. But first, a girl has to quench her thirst.

Silly girl!

We have a family wedding to attend this weekend in Gulf Shores and then the following week we head to our favorite vacation spot.....Destin, Florida for a week. Oh, I can't wait. No work, no stress, no problems. Just cool sand in my toes, the sound of waves crashing on the beach, the hopefully refreshing ocean water (please no jelly fish this year!) and that wonderful breeze felt only on the ocean. *Heavy Sigh*

And I'll close with this cute photo.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Made It

It actually wasn't a bad trip. We left the house around 12:30, but I had to run by my office and make a few other stops before we were truly on our way. Anna Kate ate her lunch and was asleep by the time we got to Opelika. I found my favorite station on SIRIUS (the 80's) and enjoyed a little quiet thinking time (that's rare in my life). She woke up right as we were pulling into Roanoke so we stopped for a short potty break and were on our way again. At that point the 'are we there yet?' started. This is where I begin to lose my mind. However, I was prepared this time and broke out the activity book and markers. She was occupied for approximately 8 minutes *sigh*....Shortly after that she was in meltdown mode.

A few of our conversations during the meltdown phase of our trip

AK: Mammmmmmmmmmmma, when are we going to be there?
Me: In a little while - about 45 minutes.
AK: But that's going to take a long time!
Me: Not nearly as long as it has been.
*Pause for silence (she was thinking up something else to complain about)*
AK: Mama, I'm cold! (said in whiney voice)
Me: Why don't you use your blanket?
AK: My feet are cold. Feel 'em.
Me: Yep, they are cold.
AK: That means we're there. Are we there?
Me: *sigh* No Anna Kate. Another 40 minutes.
*Pause for silence*
AK: MAMA!!! I'm hot in this car all day long!
-Mommy turns a/c on in back of car-
AK: NOOOOO mama, I'm not hot.
-Mommy turns a/c off in back of car-

And that was just 7 minutes of the meltdown phase. Do you see why traveling with this child is exhausting? But then there are the fun moments when we crank up mommy's dance music and sing and dance. This afternoon we grooved to the Eurythmics, U2, Beasty Boys, Culture Club and many more fine tunes of the carefree 80's and 90's :-)

So now here I sit, wide awake, when I should be in bed since I have to drive three hours to a two-day meeting in the morning. Oh well..... Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to a hotel room alone? Just imagine, a king size bed all to myself. The TV all to myself. Peace and quiet. And WIFI (which I have at home, but still) that's luxury! Here is where I'll be staying. I've never been before, but it looks nice. Here's to hoping my meeting doesn't run long...


Saturday, July 19, 2008

On The Road Again

Anna Kate and I are headed north tomorrow. I have a meeting in Muscle Shoals Monday and Tuesday, which is a five and a half hour drive from here. So, we're going to drive up to my parents' house after church and spend the night so I won't have to get up at the crack of dawn Monday morning. I'll only have to drive two and a half hours compared to five this way. Anna Kate will stay with them while I'm at the meeting and then I'll pick her up afterwards and head back home. I absolutely dread the drive (Anna Kate and I don't do long trips together very well. she doesn't understand why I can't use my bionic arm to reach behind my own seat and over to the door to reach her sippy cup while driving, turning the music up because she can't hear it and fixing her pillow *insert rolling eyes*) but we'll make it. I am trying my best to time it just in time for her nap so we'll see.

I do know that her MiMi and Popsy Miller are so excited to see her (me too, I suppose). MiMi called today and asked to speak to AK. I had to snicker to myself at AK walking around in her ballet leotard, hand on her hip, phone to the ear and her talking up a storm about all they are going to do. Anna Kate says she is staying six days, but I know my child and three nights is her max before she has to have a 'mama fix' ;-) Even so, I know they will have a great time. And mom, I was sure to pack cute outfits so you can show her off.

**Happy Dance** I get to stay in a hotel!!!! I won't know what to do with a night alone. I plan to take my camera gear (there is a jazz festival in town) so I have no doubt that will keep me busy. Rest assured, "will I have wifi in my room?" was the first question I asked the hotel assistant, so I will be able to share. God love modern technology!!

Before I close, you know I have to leave you with a picture of the Princess.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Weekend Project

I have been wanting to paint Anna Kate's playroom for a while now so I finally just bit the bullet and did it. It was two full days of work from sun up to sun down, but it's done and I'm happy with it. More importantly, Anna Kate loves it! The paint color is Pickling Spice and is a true sage green (it looks 'minty' in the pictures.)

This desk was the most time consuming project of them all though. It took three coats of white and two coats of pink (on the legs), but I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.

As for the's just temporary. I don't have a white one, so I just made do with this until I can buy a new one. I'm exhausted and sore, but I think it looks fabulous!

Before I close and head to bed, I just had to share this picture with you. Anna Kate has finally figured out that she can recruit the dogs as her 'babies'. Belle and Barkley had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they happily went leaping after her into the playroom...

She thought they would look nice in these 'soft and cuddly' onesies. Don't the dogs, I mean babies, looked thrilled to be alive?????


Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Birthday Party!

We decided to have a few friends over last night for a little get together, but somehow it turned into a birthday party for me :-) I've never had a birthday party....ever! My dear friend Jennifer even made me a cake (and it was delish!).

Jeff started marinating the ribs Friday night and then he made his secret rub Saturday morning (with a little help from Anna Kate.)

Our friends arrived at 4:00 and the kids came ready to get in the pool.
Left to Right: Brooks (6), Brantley (3), Georgia (6), Anna Kate (4).

We let the kids swim while Jeff grilled the ribs. The kids had hot dogs and chips, while the adults had ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn relish (recipe to follow) and bread. YUM!!! Jeff's ribs received RAVE reviews :-) Then it was time for the blow-out-the-candle-ceremony.

After the kids got all hyped up on chocolate cake they decided to have a 'dance contest'.

This would be Anna Kate & Brantley break dancing!

Then it was time for the girls to go on a road trip............on the golf cart, lol! But nothing, NOTHING beats the entertainment we were about to witness out on the back porch when we returned!!!

Duane imitating Jennifer doing the 'Cabbage Patch'...

This is Derick's reaction to Duane's performance.

Jennifer (we call her 'JMo') and Duane (affectionately called 'Hoop')

And don't forget their 18 month old daughter Jada, who joined in the dancing fun.
We had so much fun last night. Everyone left around 10:00 and I stayed up until midnight or so cleaning up the house.

Oh, before I forget here is the corn relish recipe. I wasn't crazy about it, but everyone else seemed to like it.

Creamy Corn Relish

- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 3 Fresh ears of sweet corn
- 1/3 cup sour cream (I used the fat free)
- Milk to taste (I used 1%)

Shuck and clean corn. In small bowl combine olive oil and paprika. Brush corn with oil mixture. Lightly sprinkle corn with salt & pepper. Grill corn directly over medium heat for 12-15 minutes turning once. Carefully cut kernels from cob. Transfer to bowl; stir in sour cream. Season with additional salt & pepper. Stir in milk to desired creaminess and enjoy.

Finally, thank you to our friends and to Jeff and Anna Kate for giving me a wonderful birthday weekend. I love you all!


Friday, July 4, 2008

Breakfast, Babies & Fireworks

I woke up to Jeff cooking breakfast for me - sausage, eggs and biscuits. It smelled soooo good. While he cooked Anna Kate and I played with her babies in her playroom. We dressed them all (why must all the babies be naked?), fed them and then put them all to sleep in their own beds. After that we sat down to eat and then Jeff clean up the kitchen (I know!!). The rest of the day was laid back and relaxing, which we all needed. Anna Kate and I took a nap so that we could stay up late for the fireworks. That was wonderful!

Tonight we went out to the state park with some friends to watch the fireworks. The weather was perfect; 83* and breezy. It felt great! We parked in the big grassy field instead of the parking lot so that the kids were able to play. It wasn't long before others discovered our secret, and we had to rope the kids in. The fireworks were good. Not Disney World by any stretch of the imagination, but the kids enjoyed them. And now, everyone is in bed sleeping (I'll be following them as soon as I finish this up.)

We have two groups of friends and their children coming over tomorrow afternoon for ribs. I'm looking forward to it. We're grilling ribs and corn on the cob (that I will turn into a creamy corn relish (it's a new recipe, which I will post if it turns out good), potato salad, baked beans and texas toast bread. For dessert I'm making a Key Lime Cream Cheese Bars that are heaven on earth. My mouth is watering already...

And to my dad, who has been really sick with a stomach bug, I hope you feel better!

So until tomorrow night, I will leave you with a few pictures from the day/night.

All the babies in their respective beds.

Anna Kate taking pictures of her babies.

People had little firecrackers every where. Anna Kate said they were loud.

Jeff & Duane

Anna Kate & Jada waiting for the fireworks

And here they are!! (I had my shutter speed set too low.)


Thursday, July 3, 2008

That Makes No Sense...

I think back to when Anna Kate was a baby and toddler often, especially when I look at pictures. It seems like yesterday to me, yet it seems like one big blur now. When folks used to tell me, 'you better enjoy every second with her because they grow up so fast' I didn't believe them. OH.MY.WAS.I.WRONG!!!

Anna Kate was taking a bath this morning while I was putting my makeup on and wanted to brush Dora the Explorer's teeth. I gave her a spare toothbrush which she wanted toothpaste on. I didn’t want to waste it, so I suggested using the bubbles instead. She looked up at me with a very serious expression and said, and I quote, “Mama, well that just doesn’t make any sense at all. She needs toothpaste, not bubbles.” My how quickly she is growing up!

And I guess since she is growing up she has taken on the roll of a Mama. She has two baby dolls that she if particularly fond of. Every single morning, and I do mean every morning, we have to haul the babies in their car seats with a blanket and binky for each of them to the car. Anna Kate gets in, gets them all situated and buckles them up. When that's done she finally climbs into her seat so I can buckle her up. This process takes a good 3-4 minutes and I don't dare ask her to please hurry up or I'll get, "Mama, don't rush me!" from her. (I swear she takes her dear sweet time just to get under my skin.) This morning was no different and she was so darned cute sitting in the car with her babies all buckled up beside her. She was so proud of her babies :-)

Pardon the poor quality of this photo - it was taken with my cell phone.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A New Look

I decided that I wanted to spice up my blog and after THREE days (html coding is not easy) I'm finally finished. Well almost finished, I have a few more elements I want to add but it's pretty much done. What do you think?

This week has been pretty good. I'm just anxiously awaiting Thursday, my last day of work and then I'm off for the holiday. I can't wait! It's so nice to have a birthday on a holiday because I'm guaranteed the day off every year.

My primary goal for this 3-day weekend is to get some recent photos of Anna Kate, as well as a few of she and I. I hope she'll cooperate.

I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!