Monday, January 31, 2011

The Happy Sunny Weekend

For the first time in what has to have been months we put on light jackets and played outside this past weekend. The weather was absolutely beautiful. If only it would have stuck around for a couple more months. Today was cold and cloudy and the week's forecast is more of the same, except for a strange HI of 71 with slight chance of light rain in the middle of the week. I'm not sure what that day is all about.

I made a few discoveries while outside with the girls...

Gabrielle has without a doubt outgrown her tricycle and is ready for a big girl bicycle.

And Samantha is terrified of swings. This one really boggles me because Samantha used to love swings. I mean LOVE swings. For the first 6 months of her life if I was not holding her during the day, she was in the baby swing. It was the only way I could get her to sleep for any length of time and the only way I was able to do anything with Gabrielle or around the house. I wish I had counted the number of C batteries we went through with that swing! Even last summer she loved the baby swing on our swing set. It was the only way I was able to play with Gabrielle. In the swing I didn't have to worry about Samantha climbing on something and falling and getting hurt. I did not have to worry about her putting something completely disgusting and not meant to be ingested in her mouth. And she was happy. A few pushes here and there to keep her going and she would laugh and smile the entire time.

This time I put her in the swing, gave her two gentle pushes and then SCREAMING!!

"Out, out, out!!! Stop, stop, stop!!!"

Samantha does enjoy, however, climbing and sliding, climbing and sliding, climbing and sliding. I will definitely have to stay alert and on my toes this spring and summer.

Gabrielle may be too big for the tricycle but it is the perfect size for Samantha. I figure by her birthday she will have the pedaling part down. Then we'll have to work on steering!!

A little help from big sister.

Moon sand - definitely an outdoor activity.

Moon sand doggy.

Moon sand = messy, messy, messy!

Another messy activity but oh so much fun!

Gabrielle turned my dog into Rudolph. She definitely still has Christmas on her mind.

Chalk everywhere - clothes, shoes, hands and even faces.

At least Samantha is not eating the chalk this year. That's a plus.

Our family.


I think Gabrielle is going to love the swings this year. She was just starting to enjoy them last year and now she is strong enough and coordinated enough to actually pump her legs and keep herself going - somewhat.

Something else Samantha loves - her pockets!

"One Thousand Gifts" Trailer

I mentioned a couple of posts back the book "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" by Ann Voskamp. I joined the {In}Courage Bloom online book club which starts this Sunday discussing the book. I am about half way through the book and all I can say is this -

This is probably the most beautifully written book I may have ever read. And it will change you. Change the way you think. Change the way you notice the world around you. Change the way you live. Don't misunderstand me here. This is not a self-help, how to be happy, just follow these steps and do this kind of book. Believe me, it is nothing like that. But it does make you think. Or at least it has made me think. Think about all the little things we have to be thankful for, to start noticing all of the gifts God has blessed me with, even on the really bad days, the darkest moments of our lives, there is good and there are gifts to be thankful for.

Here is a trailer for the book:

Friday, January 28, 2011

This 'n' That

It's been quite a week at our house. For a couple of days I was down and out due to a nasty cold - one of those colds that completely drains you of all energy. Now my girls are unfortunately fighting the same nasty cold. They are not quite as energy-drained as I was but I think I would be incredibly worried if ever a sickness made them too tired to play and makes messes throughout the house.

Samantha had a not-quite-pbj sandwich this week. Whether it is due to a family history of nut allergies or our maybe a little more conservative pediatricians, neither one of our girls have been given the okay to try peanut butter or anything else with nuts until the age of three. After a few times of Samantha eyeing Gabrielle's pbj's and crying for them I decided it was time to give her a substitute. With Gabrielle we gave her sunbutter (made of roasted sunflower seeds) until she could try the real deal. This time I decided to try soybutter (made from roasted soybeans). Both in my opinion taste amazingly close to real peanut butter. Samantha enjoys it on a spoon but is not quite sold on the sandwich idea but she is really not a big sandwich person anyway, typically taking it apart regardless of its contents.

Gabrielle has in the past week plus a few days grown quite fond of and attached to her 18" doll Sandy. She received Sandy as a birthday gift from Meemaw I believe on her second birthday. Gabrielle will occasionally play with her baby dolls but I've always thought she favored her stuffed animals instead. I'm not sure what caused this latest attachment, maybe because little sister has laid claim to most of Gabrielle's baby dolls, or if she is just now at the age when her dolls are like friends as much as they are toys. Regardless of the reason Sandy has gone with Gabrielle everywhere - church, in the car to and from school, at the table for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and most certainly to bed. Sandy changes clothes several times a day, depending on the occasion, and even plays games with Gabrielle. And now, not only do I have a 4 year old crawling in bed with me in the early mornings before the sun has even risen, I also have an 18" doll joining me as well!

As I was going through a pile of old mail one day I came across an American Girl catalog that had arrived the first of the month. I am fairly certain Gabrielle looked through the catalog when it first came but showed little interest. This second time however was much different. She is now begging for an American Girl friend for her Sandy. She has picked out the particular doll, chosen earrings and outfits, accessories and even a pet. Anyone who is aware of American Girl dolls know what an investment these dolls are, not to be given to just any aged child but better for the age when they can truly take care and appreciate the doll. So we have told Gabrielle to put this new friend on her birthday list and as long as she takes care of her things and shows us she is a big girl then we'll see what we can do about getting her the doll.

Although I am always looking for a "deal" I am not one who often is lucky enough to just come across a great sale. Yesterday at Target was the exception. Each time I have been to Target since Christmas I browse the toy department, checking out the after Christmas clearance. Nothing really caught my eye as being something I could not pass up. But yesterday, yesterday I happen to notice a couple of sleeping bags. Gabrielle has been asking for a sleeping bag for a couple of years. These were cute and according to the sticker marked down 50% off to $7.48. Not a bad price so I put one in the cart. There was only one remaining and even though Samantha is not old enough for a sleeping bag right now I knew she would want what her sister has, if not now then soon. So I grabbed the remaining bag and headed for the price check scanner. I decided if the sleeping bags scanned at a lower price I would get them both. Jackpot!! The sleeping bags were actually marked down 75% making them only $3.74 a piece. So I came home yesterday with two sleeping bags. I wish I had had my camera ready when Gabrielle walked into her room after school to discover her sleeping bag laid out on her floor. She was so excited. And so instead of her warm, soft, cozy bed she chose to sleep on the floor last night. But I am pleased to say, instead of crawling in bed with me this early morn, she stayed in her sleeping bag the entire night!

Other than more dress-up not much else is going on around here. I wonder if every little girl loves dressing up as often as my girls. I'm certain there are plenty who do but it still tickles me each time Samantha walks into the room sporting her layered look of pink and fancy and "pitty" (pretty) and the fact that Gabrielle is wearing a ballerina or princess dress sometimes even before breakfast and changes throughout the day to match the theme of her activity, whether it be playing Barbies, watching a princess or Barbie movie, or some other game she has imagined.

I suppose I have spent enough time this morning in front of the computer, catching up on blogs and our week. Time to get busy with the day. Another family night tonight - more pizza, board games and sweets to look forward to.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Week One - Me

* I started writing this post on Thursday. Then life got busy and I never got a chance to come back, edit and publish!

Today I have officially been on Weight Watchers for one week and I am very excited about the results so far. Last year I set a goal to lose about 20 pounds, some of which was baby weight from Samantha and some of it baby weight from Gabrielle that I was still carrying around. I did fairly well on my own, watching what I ate and exercising regularly. I lost 10 pounds last year but unfortunately gained about 5 pounds back over Christmas. All those cookies and snow days being stuck in the house are not good for a sweet tooth girl with little willpower. I really want to get this weight off and keep it off. Even though I did pretty good the beginning of last year on my own I decided to try Weight Watchers this year, hoping to get some new healthy recipes for my entire family and to get a new healthy perspective on eating a balanced diet without necessarily giving up completely all those foods I love.

Anyway, in my first week I lost 4.5 lbs!!! I know these results are not typical for week 2 and beyond but it makes me happy to have a good start at least. Not to mention now that I have lost my "Christmas weight" I am so much more comfy in my jeans. :)

I am also trying, again this year, to read through the Bible in its entirety. I started last January but once I fell behind I found it hard to get caught up and keep going. I am going into this year with a new game plan and new perspective. Last year for my birthday my sister gave me the One Year Chronological Bible. I am using that for my daily reading and also following along with Wendy Pope's blog/group. She posts video lessons Monday through Friday for each reading and then the hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of other women who are also following along post comments and discussions on the readings. I am keeping a daily journal of the things I learn from each reading as well. Already, just a little half way through January I have gained so much more this time around from my daily reading. Instead of my daily reading being just another item to mark off my to-do list it is something I look forward to doing.

The other thing that I think is going to help me this time around is taking Wendy's advice from the very beginning which is we are not striving for perfection but perseverance. "Life happens" as she says and there will probably be days in which getting my reading in will be impossible. That doesn't mean I should quit. Write down the day I missed and later, when I have time, I can go back to read it. The important thing is for me to keep going.

I have a list of about 23 books (so far) I want to read this year, a wide range of subjects and types. "The Last Song" by Nicholas Sparks, aka my fave author, was going to be the first on the list but then just a little over a week ago I heard about this book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I ordered it from Dayspring and received it yesterday. This afternoon I read chapter one and never, NEVER, has the first chapter of a book moved me the way this one did. There is no way my explanation of what this book is about would do it any kind of justice. If you haven't heard of this book go here or here or here to read about it.

The weather forecast for the next week for us is not looking that great - at least in my opinion. Maybe for those who love cold weather and snow and being stuck in a house for days with restless and hyperactive toddlers and preschoolers the weather forecast is a dream come true. But for me, personally, as one of the teacher assistants at Gabrielle's school so perfectly said "I'll be glad when I can complain about the hot weather!" Maybe if I can get my act together, I can figure out some fun art projects for the girls and some good inside games and activities and then tomorrow make sure we have all the necessary supplies. If I keep the girls happy and busy then maybe I can also get a few moments of peace and quiet to sit cozied up under a warm blanket with some hot tea or coffee, reading more of my books. And maybe, just maybe, we'll get through those couple of days being cooped up in the house with some fun, happy memories and not cabin fever.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Lil' Potato Heads

There's just something about Mr. Potato Head's glasses...

Samantha, January 2011, age 20 months

Gabrielle, April 2008, age 20 months

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two by Two

Over the past couple of days I have come to a realization - we need two alike of everything! The girls have spent two days in a row fighting over baby dolls, doll carriers, dress-up clothes, shoes and more.

It's going to start looking and feeling like Noah's ark around here!

"Hi Maw-maw"

Out of the blue this morning, while Gabrielle was at school, Samantha came out of her room where she had been playing with her blocks and was insisting for me to do something - I just could not figure out what she wanted. She finally grabbed my hand and said "up" and then pulled me to the front door where I finally understood what she was trying to say. She wanted to go to Meemaw's house! I had to tell her Meemaw was too far away and we could not go today but that we would plan a trip soon to go visit.

She seemed to accept that answer easy enough but then put her hand to her ear and said "hi mawmaw" (she can't quite get Meemaw out yet but pretty close). I dialed her number and let Samantha talk to her Meemaw.

She talked and talked Meemaw's ear off for a few minutes. I had to pry the phone from her hand which she did not appreciate too well. The girl loves her Meemaw and loves to talk!!

More Curly Q's

Yesterday's "after" photo of Gabrielle's curlers was not that great of a photo. I had just taken the curlers out and had not yet brushed through the curls. As the day went on and the curls relaxed her hair was just too cute!

Here is a photo from the end of the day...

In her Snow White dress of course!

She wanted her hair curly for school again so once again we rolled her hair last night. This morning I think it turned out even curlier!

I love her hair with this loose bouncy curl but there is no way I am going to start the trend of rolling her hair every night. Somehow I have the feeling she will be a little unhappy when I refuse to tonight.

Monday, January 17, 2011

...and After

Now I've gotten myself in trouble because she likes her curls so much she wants to keep them! I told her we could roll her hair again tonight so it would be curly for school tomorrow but there is no way I can take the time to roll her hair every night! Not to mention she was so nervous about her curlers falling out last night she woke up several times during the night with concerns about them coming loose.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Gabrielle and I are both anxious to see the curly results tomorrow morning!

And of course lil' sis did not want to be left out so just for the fun of it...

Of course I did not leave Samantha's one curler in for bedtime but fortunately she did not seem to mind. She did get a big kick out of Gabby though.

Friday, January 14, 2011


It is cold here! Very cold and windy. After being stuck in the house for a couple of days earlier this week due to the ice I really looked forward to getting out. After a couple of mornings in a row of being out and about running errands I have to say there is nothing like being in a nice warm toasty home!

For some reason in the past couple of weeks I have been hit with how much growing up both of my girls are doing. Time just goes by so quickly! And for the past couple of weeks I have noticed more just how much they are becoming little people and not so much babies anymore (although they will always be my babies of course).

Samantha just talks, talks, and talks. When out in public she pretends to be really shy but as soon as we walk away from someone she is waving her little heart out, yelling - and I do mean yelling - "Bye!! Bye bye!!" Occasionally, like today in the BJ's parking lot, she will yell across quite a distance to tell someone "hi." At home she is constantly telling on "Dabby" (her name for Gabrielle, maybe it will eventually become Gabby but for now Dabby it is). She isn't always tattling on Gabrielle, sometimes she just really wants to tell me what Gabrielle is doing, sort of a play-by-play of their day. She asks lots of questions and likes to "repeat" what I say and even copies my hand gestures. Her favorite word to say is "honey." She calls me honey, Gabrielle honey, anybody and everybody "honey" and sometimes she'll just walk around saying "honey" in this sweet, sympathetic southern way.

Samantha also loves her books! For a while now I've been reading to her at bedtime but over the past couple of months she will ask for certain books and forget trying to skip that part of the bedtime routine; she cries out for her books if you try. And her attention span for books has gotten a lot longer. She will sit through an actual story and usually requests two or three books. I checked out several board books from the library at our most recent visit and all week she will bring books throughout the day and say "ree" for read.

Gabrielle is also growing up a lot. In general she acts more mature. I'm not sure that is the right word when describing a four year old but compared to age 3 I would say she does act older. She likes to ask a lot of very serious questions about how things work and why things are they way they are - those impossible questions for a parent to answer! She also talks about Jesus and God frequently, talks about how God made her (with her Daddy's help according to her because she has been told she got her pretty blue eyes from her daddy) and talks about how God loves her and she loves God. Her favorite activity is to play Barbies. Yesterday in fact she sat in her room and played Barbies for 2-1/2 hours!!! She didn't come out at all - for anything! If it weren't for the fact I could overhear the drama going on in Barbie's world I would have been very concerned.

One activity both girls absolutely love - dress-up! It is not unusual for them both to have dress-up clothes on first thing in the morning, right after breakfast. And sometimes they will stay in dress-up clothes for the majority of the day, even if they are not playing dress-up. They will watch tv, color, play Barbies or with the dollhouse, all in fancy dresses or tutus, heels and jewelry.

From My Little Sunbeams

My big project for this year is to get the house organized, starting with the closets. So last week I spent two days cleaning and organizing the girls' rooms and closets. I wish I had taken a before photo but I probably would have been too embarrassed to post it but here is Gabrielle's closet currently:

From My Little Sunbeams

I am amazed we have kept it so neat this long! But I think by weeding things out and putting toys in boxes it has made clean-up much easier and quicker for all of us. But Gabrielle's favorite part of her "new and improved" closet is the dress-up stuff.
From My Little Sunbeams

Before the clothes, shoes, and accessories were crammed into a toy box and a basket. We could never find matching shoes and whenever a dress ended up at the bottom of the box it was forgotten so the same one or two dresses were always being fought over. Gabrielle and Samantha both love being able to see everything hanging up and pick what they want to wear.

Today is Friday which means our second family night. Pizza for dinner and board games!! Woo hoo!! Better get the pizza in the oven so we can get the party started. Ha!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Family Night

Ed and I decided we really wanted to start a family night - one night every week set aside for just fun family stuff. Friday seemed like a good night and tonight was our first of hopefully many, many, many family nights.

From My Little Sunbeams

We had lasagna rolls and salad for dinner - yummy! While I was cooking dinner Samantha and Gabrielle were coloring and drawing - Samantha mostly drawing on herself. We also played a little of Guitar Hero/Band Hero on our Nintendo Wii. The girls may not be able to do too much seriously with the game yet but they certainly have fun trying. Samantha and Gabrielle especially like singing with the microphone and hearing themselves over the tv speakers.

That last photo of Gabrielle and Ed was from a couple of nights ago - some fun daddy-daughter bonding.

After dinner and baths for the girls I warmed up some cookies and we played some board games. First we played Play-Doh Toy Time Race game we received for Christmas. The girls absolutely love this one, for obvious reasons - what kid doesn't love making a mess with play-doh? After I put Samantha to bed we let Gabrielle stay up a little later than usual and the three of us played Memory. I am always so surprised at how well Gabrielle does with this game. Tonight she and I tied for the win. The girl has an amazing memory - she really does not forget much, or let me forget too much either!

After Gabrielle went to bed Ed and I played a few more Guitar Hero games. I imagine it would be pretty hilarious for anyone watching, Ed on drums, me on guitar or bass, trying to be rockstars. Ha!!! Earlier while dinner was cooking we all played Taylor Swift's "Love Story" song with me on vocals. I have no problem being completely honest with saying I cannot sing - at all. I love to sing but believe me it is painful on the ears. After belting out my best of Taylor Swift's song my throat hurt and I was hoarse. I mean how embarrassing would it be to have to explain to everyone I lost my voice singing - or rather trying to sing - a Taylor Swift song on Guitar Hero???? But I have to admit, it is fun and it is very addicting.

I think the next game we should purchase is one of the dancing games - now that would be entertaining!

Now that we are all rocked out, the girls are in bed and even Ed has turned in for the evening, I think I will change into my pajamas and maybe read a little in the rare peace and quiet. Tonight was fun and I think everyone is looking forward to next Friday.

And I get to go to bed thinking about all the smiles and laughter that filled the house tonight.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bundled Up

and ready to take Gabrielle back to school. The girls love their new scarfs and hats from Meemaw.

Samantha's New Trick

Someone has decided it is fun to remove the sink from the kitchen and crawl through the microwave.


Only problem is, she hasn't figured out how to crawl out by herself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rock Band Christmas

Watch out - there's a new family rock band in town!! On Saturday we went to my sister's house to have the Guthrie Christmas get-together. For a good part of the time after lunch we were all upstairs playing Rock Band on the Wii. It was really fun and entertaining! It was so much fun in fact my older brother and my husband were convinced each of our families needed this game as well and both have been on the hunt for it since.

From My Little Sunbeams

If only I had had my video camera with me!!!

Almost a White Christmas!

Christmas evening it started to snow. We were not sure exactly how much we were going to get so I did not mention the possibility to Gabrielle. I did not want to get her hopes up and get her excited for nothing. When we all woke up the next morning to more than enough!

From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams

It was a really good excuse to lay around for a couple of days which is exactly what we did for the most part.

By Tuesday the girls were not running a fever at all so we bundled up and went outside but only stayed out for about 10 minutes. Since they were both getting over being sick I didn't want them to catch something else but I also hated for them to not get a chance to play for a few minutes at least in the snow.

From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams

After we came in we enjoyed some nice warm cookies and some delicious hot chocolate. Mmmmm!!
From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams

From My Little Sunbeams