Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday Bash

I have wanted to blog all about Gabrielle's birthday but I have been so tired and unmotivated to sit at the computer and type. But here I am finally...

I think Gabrielle's party went well. It was cool and drizzly and the backyard was a mess. Rather than having everyone in and out of the house we decided it was easier to keep the party inside. Ed opened all the windows so we would have some air circulating through the house in hopes to prevent it from getting too hot once 35 people were packed inside.

I have to say I'm rather proud of Gabrielle's cake. Once I had finished decorating it I brought Gabrielle into the kitchen to take a look. She said, "Ah, it's so beautiful!" My heart melted. Those were some of the sweetest words I've ever heard.

Gabrielle was so excited Friday and Saturday morning as we were all running around getting everything ready. We really did not go all out but just the simplest things made her so happy. She loved her 3 balloons from Dollar Tree. I wanted to put a couple on the mailbox but Gabrielle said they might get scared and wet so no balloons made it out.

Gabrielle has continued to play with each and every single thing she received. She got so many cute and fun gifts!

This week we've been enjoying the beautiful fall weather. We've been outside playing and roller skating and have been to the park two days in a row now and are planning yet another trip to the park tomorrow! It's been great for me because Gabrielle plays really hard for a couple of hours, then once we're home sits quietly and plays or watches TV while I'm making dinner and has been going to bed early. Last night she fell asleep on the couch before I could even get her to bed!!

Thanks again to everyone for sharing Gabrielle's birthday with us and for all the birthday wishes. We feel so loved and blessed to have such great family and friends!!

And finally, I don't want to leave Samantha out of another post so here are some recent pictures of her playing. She has discovered her feet and toes. She really likes sitting up in the floor playing and in the past couple of days has started rolling all over the place!

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dear Gabrielle,

Happy Birthday, baby! I cannot believe you are three years old today! I can still remember the day we found out about you. I drove home from work praying so hard for you. When I found out you were on your way I could not stop crying I was so happy. I even had to drive to your Daddy's office right then to tell him the news. I could not even wait a couple of hours for him to get home!! We went out to dinner to celebrate. It was so difficult to not call everyone we knew right then with the exciting news.

You were such a good and happy baby. You slept and ate really well from day one. Once you learned how to smile and laugh that is all you did! We started going to a church playgroup when you were 6 months old and no one believed that you ever cried because whenever they saw you, you were smiling. Every where we went people commented on your beautiful blue eyes and your little sprout of a pony tail on top of your head. You really were adorable and still are!!

As a toddler you got into everything! You loved to color and paint, play outside especially in the sandbox, and "collect" things. You would gather up all of your toys that were alike such as getting all of your horses together to play or all of your bears together to play. You liked to line things up, even your food sometimes!

As a preschooler you have now become quite the little ballerina. I guess it was not quite a year ago you discovered Angelina Ballerina. She quickly became one of your favorite characters. You dance every where you go whether there is music or not! You started ballet class just a couple of weeks ago. Your favorite color is pink. You still like to color and draw but you are now learning how to use scissors and glue. Your new hobby is cooking. You love to watch the Food Network with Mommy and pretend cook at your little kitchen the recipe you have seen on television. You also really like to help Mommy in the real kitchen.

You became a big sister this year and have been such a good big sister! You are very helpful getting various things for Mommy like baby wipes and pacifiers and burp cloths. You can make your sister smile and laugh like no one else and enjoy playing with her ~ most of the time!

As I look back at photographs of you over the past three years I can't believe how much you have changed in such little time and how fast you have grown up. Especially over the past year you have become such a big girl and a beautiful girl!

This is a slide show I made of some of my favorite photos and moments of you since the day you were born.

I thank God every day for you. You are so special in a lot of ways but especially because you made me a Mommy. I can never tell you enough how much I love you and can never give you enough hugs and kisses!

Happy Birthday sweet girl! I love you very much!!

Love, Momma

Friday, September 25, 2009

To My Husband

Happy 5 year anniversary to my wonderful husband! In some ways I can not believe we have been married for 5 years already and in some ways it feels like forever ~ I'm not sure if that is good or bad. (wink wink)

As I was watching our wedding video recently I was reminded of Matthew's message to us during our ceremony. Marriage takes a lot of work. There is a lot of give and take, a lot of compromise, a lot of putting yourself second or even further down on your priority list and sometimes a lot of saying you are sorry even when you don't feel in the wrong. With that said every ounce of effort a marriage takes is worthwhile. The good things I get in return ~ the love, the support, the understanding, the companionship, and the friendship ~ are tenfold.

Life brings both good and bad. I thank God for blessing me with you to stand together through all the good and all the bad.

You are a loving and devoted husband and a wonderful daddy to our two beautiful girls.

Here is to another 5-times-10 years together! Happy Anniversary and I love you!

Our Wedding Vows

I, Tiffany, take you, Ed, to be my husband
I will trust you and honor you
I will laugh with you and cry with you
I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst
As I've given you my hand to hold
So I give you my life to keep
So help me God.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Fall!!

Yay ~ the Fall season is officially here! I wish it felt a little more like fall but at least we are starting to have some cooler weather with a lot less humidity. I love fall! It is absolutely my favorite time of the year. It doesn't seem like we have a very long fall season here unfortunately but while it is here I do enjoy it. The cool crisp air, the leaves changing and falling, the pumpkins, the comfort food ~ I love it all!

Here are some of my favorite fall photos of Gabrielle.

I am really looking forward to getting some cute photos of Samantha during her first fall and getting some sweet photos of Samantha and Gabrielle together.

With Gabrielle's birthday only a few days away now I have been busy this week preparing for the big day. Gabrielle requested an Angelina Ballerina birthday and we are doing our best to give it to her. She did agree to simple pink party ware but where we can we are putting little Angelina and ballerina touches.

I decided to challenge myself with her cake this year. I made her first two birthday cakes and I do recall saying with each one "this is it - I'm not making anymore cakes!" Yet here I am designing and making her cake once again this year. I do have fun doing it and try not to stress too much about it. You can't find an Angelina cake pan in the U.S. apparently so Ed and I put our heads together to figure out how to have Angelina on the cake. I like to play around with clay and Sculpey so I got the bright idea that if I can sculpt figures out of clay I can do it out of fondant or gum paste. Ha Ha! Well it turns out gum paste is a little more challenging! Here is what we have so far:

I made Angelina's head and skirt and Ed did her body, arms and legs. I also did the roses. The pieces are drying out and hardening now and I will "paint" them Wednesday or Thursday. This makes me a little nervous because if I mess them up while painting them I'm not sure we have a lot of time to do something else. I am making a simple sheet cake and will place the pieces flat on top of the cake.

Anyone reading please, please pray for nice weather on Saturday. I was really stressing out about it earlier today. Then I sat and decided it was out of my hands. I am not going to worry or stress about the weather anymore. I pray that God will see fit to have glorious weather on Saturday so that we can all be outside playing in the fresh air. But if God decides we need the rain more then we will make do inside ~ even though there will be about 35 or more people packed into our small house. More prayers for good weather can't hurt though, right?

Tonight Gabrielle showed again just how sweet of a big sister she can be when she wants. I heard her and Ed in her room playing. After a while I decided to peak in with Samantha. Gabrielle asked me if it was okay for Samantha to play too!! So I sat Samantha down and Gabrielle proceeded to show her little sister how to play with the dollhouse. Sure there were moments when Gabrielle would snatch the doll Samantha was grasping at or complain about everything being slobbery but overall Gabrielle really did well with her baby sister.

I don't know if anyone has noticed but I've been posting a lot of photo collages lately. I always have such a difficult time narrowing down which photos to use but with the collages I don't have to be so choosy ~ I can use them all!! In case anyone is wondering I create them with Picasa 3, free software from Google. I love it! I have Photoshop which is awesome but when I just want a quick simple collage Picasa is definitely the way to go. You can also create slideshows with it as well which you will see on a special upcoming blog post.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Dinner with Friends

This Saturday we had our good friends, the Slocks, over for dinner. Casey and I have been friends for 11 years now. She has a little boy and a little girl pretty much the same ages as my girls. I'm a little bummed that I did not take any pictures of everyone but with two 3-year-olds running around and two babies who needed attention it was a little hectic.

I tried a new recipe for dinner - beef and cheese manicotti. It was from Giada De Laurentiis's "Everyday Italian" cookbook. I have had this cookbook for two years now and can you believe this is the first recipe I've tried from it? Crazy! I love Italian food and we have some sort of pasta dish on a weekly basis but for whatever reason I had not tried anything from the book until now. It was a perfect dish for guests because I was able to put it all together up to 8 hours in advance, cover and refrigerate it, so when Casey and Mike and the family arrived the only steps left were preheating the oven and baking. Everyone seemed to like it as well.

I may not have taken any photos myself but fortunately Ed did think to snap a few of Samantha and Anna in the playpen. I had really wanted to get one of them sitting on the couch together because they were so cute together and even had coordinating outfits but I guess I'll have to do better next time!!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Busy, Happy & Energetic Girls

It has been a busy week of cleaning. I have to admit that while I was pregnant I was not a very good housekeeper and I really have not had the chance to clean like I wanted since Samantha was born. With Gabrielle's birthday being only a week away and knowing we would be having family and friends visiting I decided this was the week to do some fall cleaning. I am almost finished with the whole house. Now if I can only get the rest of the family to keep it clean I'll be happy!!

Samantha was such a happy girl today. She played in her exersaucer for quite a while and I think she is even getting used to her playpen. She sits up really well now but even when she tips over she doesn't immediately fuss and cry about it. She rolls over and doesn't fuss about being on her belly either. She holds herself up with her arms and reaches and grabs for her toys. I hope this isn't a sign that she is going to be an early crawler ~ I am so not ready for that!!

I tried to get some cute pictures of Gabrielle but I don't think the child is capable of staying still longer than 2 seconds!!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dance Class #2

What a dreary day here! It was difficult to get up out of bed this morning and even more difficult to do anything other than sit on the couch today. But today was the second day of Creative Ballet for Gabrielle so we had to get out of bed, get dressed and get out the door.

Last night after dinner Ed and I took her shopping for her tights and ballet shoes. Later we will get her a new leotard and probably skirt but for now she has a couple of leotards she can use. She was very excited about going to the store. We went to Tutu's Dancewear in Wake Forest. Gabrielle had a smile on her face the entire time we were there and did not want to take her ballet shoes off after trying them on.

Here are some photos of Gabrielle before leaving for dance class.

She did great following directions and of course had so much fun. She showed her Daddy when he got home from work some of the steps she had learned today including a plie and how she knows her left and right feet. For the past week Gabrielle has talked about her teacher Miss Traci quite a bit so I expect we will hear a lot more about Miss Traci this week.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

What A Weekend...

Where do I begin - with the good or the not so good? I'll start with the good...

Friday and Saturday were pretty typical days of grocery shopping, running errands and trying to clean. Sunday was the big day of the weekend.

Ed and I had tickets to the Carolina Panthers football game. My sister and her hubby were nice enough to watch the girls for the day even though they have a house full of girls of their own. So we left our house at 6:30 am to head to Concord.

We dropped the girls off with Faith and David at their church around 9:30 and then headed to the stadium. The game started at 1:00 but we also had passes for the UPS hospitality tent in the South Lawn Village. The tents opened up at 10:30 and we wanted to get there as early as we could.

After driving around in circles in downtown Charlotte, shocked by the $40 parking prices, we finally found a safe but much, much less expensive parking lot. It meant we had a little further to walk but we could not imagine paying $40 for parking!! We did not even have that much cash on us anyway.

The UPS hospitality tent was great ~ free food and drinks and a band for some entertainment. I had a delicious bbq sandwich, macaroni & cheese, chips, a chocolate chip cookie and brownie. Ed had pretty much the same thing but also a hot dog which he raved about and two bag of chips instead of dessert since he doesn't eat chocolate.

As we were sitting, talking about what time we wanted to go into the stadium, one of the UPS reps came over and told us he had pre-game on field passes for us!! How awesome is that?? Around 12:15 we were escorted through the press entrance and out onto the field. We were allowed to take as many photos as we wanted but couldn't bother any of the players as they were warming up. It was very cool. We stayed out on the field until about 5 minutes before kick-off.

Our seats were pretty good too except that we were surrounded by Eagle fans! There were almost as many Eagle fans at the game as Panthers. For anyone who saw the game or knows the outcome you'll understand why being surrounded by the opposing team was no fun at all!

As for the not so good part of the weekend... The Panthers played a horrible game. We lost 38-10. In addition to watching a horrible game we got sunburned. It was soooo hot! I don't even want to think about what our faces would like if we had not splurged on some new Panthers baseball hats at the stadium.

About halfway home there was construction on I-85, just outside of Greensboro. It was late, almost 9:00, we were all tired, Samantha was crying and now we were in stop and go traffic due to lanes ending. For those of you who know my luck and my history can probably see where this is going. The lady behind us wasn't paying attention and sure enough we were rear-ended. Yes, that would be accident #5 that I have been involved in, none of which were ever my fault. Four out of the five involved someone rear-ending me. But back to last night's incident - it seems to be very minor, just a scratched bumper. No one was hurt and Gabrielle did not even get frightened by what happened. When the trooper came up to the car to check on us her only comment was "Is that man saving us?" Unfortunately we were stuck on the side of I-85 for about an hour.

Finally at 11:30 last night we pulled into our driveway safe and sound. The girls remained asleep as we laid them in their beds and both Ed and I went straight to sleep as well. I don't know how Ed is holding up today. He left for work as usual at 6:30 this morning. I managed to sleep until almost 8:00 and even had a short nap today and yet I'm still exhausted!!

All in all, even with the way the night ended, it was a very fun Sunday and a nice treat for me and Ed. Samantha was not fussy for her Aunt Faith fortunately and Gabrielle had so much fun with her cousins that she cried for half an hour about leaving to go home!

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweet Peas

Samantha had her first taste of pureed vegetable today ~ sweet peas. I think the photos say it all...

"Please don't make me eat anymore..."

I didn't make her eat anymore. (Aunt Faith gets to feed her tomorrow!!)

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Friday, September 11, 2009

What Goes Around...

I would like to take this time to apologize to my mom and to my sister, who was forced to share a room with me for several years. I was less than neat as a child and was somewhat of a pack rat. Well it seems my messiness as a child has come back to haunt me through my oldest. Gabrielle apparently doesn't seem to have fun unless she dumps each and every single toy she owns on the floor - and this is a daily occurrence. Not only does she make her room a dumping ground but inevitably toys make their way into the kitchen, living room and even our bedroom and always, always, always just thrown on the floor. I still do not consider myself a neat-freak but the toys everywhere are driving me crazy!!!

Yes, we do make her bed at least most days but within an hour or two the bed is once again messed up.

I just hope Samantha takes after her Aunt Faith!

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Sharing Some Cuteness

In my opinion there are few moments when my girls aren't just adorable but I thought they were especially cute last night. I just have to share some photos and video of their cuteness!!

These pajamas were Gabrielle's. I don't know if it is the stripes or
the way they fit so snuggly but I have always thought
they were so cute.

I was wanting a photo of her slippers. I was holding her in a standing
position while Ed stood above and behind me. On the count of 3
I would let go. She slipped down with every attempt but had
the funniest expression on her face.

And for some more video of Gabrielle. Last night while the Black Eyed Peas were playing before the start of the football game, Gabrielle was pretending she was a deejay. I seriously do not know where she learned this!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thursday Already!?!?!?

I can not believe it is Thursday already! Where did the week go?

The week got off to a rough start with Samantha not feeling well. I took her to the doctor on Tuesday and was told she had a little virus and it would clear up on its own. After the fever left for good she had a slight rash on her tummy and head which led me to believe she had Roseola which ironically enough Gabrielle had around the same age. Her rash is now gone and the only symptom that remains is her fussiness. The afternoons and evenings have been the worse - of course when I need to be cooking dinner and getting everyone ready for bed! The past two days she has screamed so much that now her little voice is hoarse. She did not sleep as well last night as she usually does. I hope this is just a phase, maybe she is spoiled from being held so much while she was sick.

The week has certainly not been all bad though. Gabrielle attended her first dance class yesterday morning. She was so excited. She loves all things ballet and Angelina Ballerina. Her prize for potty training last year was a pink ballet outfit. She twirls around the house constantly. She even wants a ballerina birthday. For her birthday I thought she would like a new ballet outfit and some ballet slippers. Ed wanted to take it a step further and get her enrolled in some classes. Yesterday we were just "trying" the class but I knew that Gabrielle was going to love it - and she did! She talked about her teacher and "ballet school" the rest of the day. We borrowed ballet shoes from the dance studio yesterday. I wish I had a photo of Gabrielle's face when her teacher put those ballet shoes on her little feet. Her face just lit up! My heart melted. It was one of the sweetest faces I've ever seen. Ed and I will take her shopping later in the week to buy her own shoes, tights and probably a new leotard and I'm hoping to get a dance bag made for her by her birthday.

And now this week in photos...

Since Gabrielle will not start preschool this year I try to do as many creative and learning activities as I can find time and patience for but I always make sure it is fun and I'm not trying to force her to learn anything. She loves art projects and here she is cutting and gluing.

And one of the final projects - a boat. She is saying "boat" in the picture instead of "cheese" which is why her mouth looks like it does.

Just playing around with the color options on my camera.

Samantha loves kisses!!

Samantha, like her sister as a baby,
likes trying to
grab Ed's facial hair.

Getting ready for her first Creative Ballet class.
I'll have better pictures up next
week once we have her new ballet uniform.

Samantha chillin' in her playpen. This is the
only time she has been in there not
screaming and it only lasted for a few minutes.
I hope it is just because she doesn't feel
herself and that she will eventually
learn to love the playpen. This is also the first
time wearing shoes. She wears little booties all the
time but these are her first shoes - little pink tennis shoes - so cute!

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