Monday, August 31, 2009

"Seeees so yittle"

That is Emma Kate speak for "She's so little." She being Laura Elizabeth. Mom, Emma Kate and I had a whirlwind Saturday making many visits across the state. We started in Alabaster, to meet this little girl who was leaving the hospital for the first time.
Emma Kate loves her.
She loves me.
What can I say, I rock at being an Aunt. Just ask these guys. Then we headed over to see those guys at their house as they anxiously awaited their baby sister's (and mommy's) arrival home. Then, we ran over to MeMe and Hoppy's for a quick hello. We said good bye to Alabaster and headed south to Tyler, Alabama to see these folks. My grandmother (My Ma-Ma, EK's GiGi) has been ill on and off for a year. On Saturday, she looked great and even came outside to watch EK swim in the pool. It made my heart happy. My grandfather and I fixed supper and we had a great visit. We watched the Kennedy burial, which was poignant, since my MaMa is a Kennedy and my PaPa is a white-haired, red-faced Irishman. I see a lot of my PaPa in that man, minus the scandals. We are not sailors, but when those grand kids told stories of how they knew their grandfather loved them deeply because he had such a giving spirit, but, he could scare the beegeebees out of them when he yelled at them on the sailboat, I could relate. My grandparents are of that same mold. They are Irish-Catholic with the large family to prove it. They have big hearts, and give plenty, but do not talk about it or brag about it. Every time I see them, I learn a different lesson from them. When I was younger, it was how to swim or saddle my own horse. Nowadays, it is how to be a good person.
Anyway, we left there and headed home. It felt like we had been around the world and back. My heart was full because we had spent a little time with most of the people I hold closest to my heart. The only one missing was Mikey T, and he was waiting for us when we got home. I could tell he missed us, too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Laura Elizabeth Thompson

Two of my favorite people in the entire universe are my big bro, Danny and my sister-in-law, Melinda. Danny met Melinda in High School. The same high school where I met MikeyT. Melinda and MikeyT were in the same class, smack dab in between Danny and me. Every time we are all four together, someone is sure to say, "When we were growing up, did you ever think that Melinda and Mike would be madly in love with the same group of kiddos?" Nope. Looking back it seems so crazy. We all stomped the same grounds. We all attended the same prom (Wonderful Tonight, flashback to 1993). We all graduated, although in different years, wearing the same bright red cap and gown; we were all Warriors. It's just funny.
Melinda and Danny are really good at making really cute little boys. They have made three of them. They are my three favorite little boys in the entire universe. Mike loves them, too. Ashley adores them. Emma Kate thinks they are on this earth to entertain her. But, you cannot blame her for that, they are really good at that job.

After Sean, we thought they were done making babies. But alas, they would try one more time. I was sure they would end up with four boys. I had no doubt it would be a boy. Everyone, EVERYONE, that I know that has three boys and tried just-one-more-time for a girl, ended up with four boys.
So, imagine my surprise when we found out it was a girl. Buddy, I sprang into action. I had clothes to box up, pink boppies to clean and girly toys to hand down.
So, without further delay, I am pleased to introduce you to my one and only niece,
Laura Elizabeth Thompson.
I am in love.
I am going to meet her in person on Saturday, but I have already skyped her multiple times. I am squirming in my seat at work, just thinking about holding her. Saturday cannot get here soon enough. Until, this will have to suffice.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New School and the Three Stooges

If you are a reader of this blog, you probably think something is odd about the title of this post? New school? Whose new school?
I have bragged and bragged on this blog about Emma Kate's school. And, I still feel that way. I love that place. I loved the curriculum. I loved the cute decor and the cheery gals that greeted us every morning. I loved that they fed Emma Kate a hot breakfast and they fed the parents every morning, too. I loved it.

Only one problem.

Emma Kate did not love it.
When we first put her there, she did. She loved everything that I loved about it. She loved her friends (as well at one-year-olds can love their friends). She loved her teachers. She loved it.
Then she was promoted. I was so excited. I was so proud. I was so happy.
She......was so miserable.
She did not like her new teacher, and they later fired that teacher because she was "mean." She did not like her new classmates. Most days, I picked her up and she would be in the corner, playing by her lonesome. She refused to be potty-trained. She got belly aches--a lot. She was bitten. She bit back. She. Was. Miserable.
When I finally admitted to myself that the school of my dreams may not be the school of her dreams, I realized there was only one other place she could go.
Remember these cuties?

Emma Kate's best friends, Mary McKinnon and Ella Grace. They go to school together at University Day Care here in Auburn. They are Emma Kate's age. WHY does Emma Kate go to some other school?? Suddenly, I knew what I had to do.
Emma Kate has spent two weeks at this school and she is a different child. She LOVES school again. Loves her teachers. L-O-V-E-S her friends. And LOVES using the potty. Yep, in two weeks, this school has her 99% potty trained with LITTLE TO NO help from me.
So now, the only question is, What the BLEEEEP took me so long?
Thanks to my friend, Allyson, for making the decision so easy and thanks to my friend Alicia for hugging my child every day ;-)

PS: Yes, Marsha, they paint Aubie on the wall at the daycares here. No Big Al in sight. Just thought I'd let you know.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Photo Shoot That Almost Wasn't.

Every time Ashley visits I am sure to do two things. First, I personally take loads and loads of pictures. I have to make up for all the times in-between visits that I do not have pictures. Second, you can be sure I will schedule a family photo. Sometimes, I plan it for Portrait Innovations, my favorite photography "shop." Sometimes, I round up my favorite part-time photographer, Crystal Lamar. Crystal is a friend-teacher-photog-mom-florist-fellow crafter-galore. The first wedding she ever did was on June 25, 2005 (our wedding). Nowadays she is in high demand, but I still can talk her into spending a day in Auburn to take some pics and eat at Niffer's!
This time, however, we were trying something different. A few months back I stumbled upon this blog. Immediately I was in love. I loved the way that she capture kids and families--really captured them. I could see she was not just a photographer, but an artist and I dreamed of one day being able to afford her. Then one day, she posted a contest. Email her in 250 words or less why you or someone you know deserved a free photo shoot with her and a free CD with all the pics she takes of you. I was so excited I could have screamed, but I was at work, so I didn't.
The sister in me, however, would not let me write to Grethel and tell her why I deserved the photo shoot. As soon as I opened the "compose new mail" screen, my fingers started typing away before my mind could object. My brother, Danny and his wonderful family deserved the photo shoot. The are loving and kind and they have three gorgeous and quite photogenic little boys. I do not think they have ever had a family photo. On top of that, they have el numero quatro on the way. A little girl. Finally. What better baby present to give than a photo shoot with this amazing artist???
Weeks went by and I forgot about the contest. Grethel is quite popular, so I was pretty sure the competition was fierce. Then, one day, I opened the email that told me that I had won. Or rather, Danny had won. She loved the story and could not wait for baby #4 to get here so that she could take their pictures. I. Was. So. Excited.
What could make that even better???? Since I wrote the winning letter, I too was rewarded. I got $150.00 credit to GVE Photography. SCORE.
So, early this month we headed up to Birmingham on a Wednesday morning for our late afternoon shoot with GVE. Although MeMe and Hoppy were not home, we were going to get ready at their house and then head over to the Old Town Helena Park for our session.
We were going to all get ready in color-coordinated clothing, brush our pearly whites, comb our perfect hair and frolic in the meadow while GVE took ge-or-geous pictures of our happy family. Right?? RIGHT? Um, negative.
We were late leaving Auburn, so I agreed to let everyone just take their clothes and we would get ready at MeMe and Hoppy's, shower and all. On the way up, Emma Kate refused to nap. We got stuck in roadwork in Clanton and it pushed us back an hour. When we did get to MeMe and Hoppy's we had an hour fight on whether Ashley needed a shower. I won the argument and in the shower she went, with only 30 minutes left until we needed to leave. Emma Kate was still a wild child and Mike forgot his belt in Auburn. When Ashley got out of the shower, we realized that MeMe had taken her hair dyer on her trip. Mike realized he forgot his razor and had a 2-day-old shadow on his face. Emma Kate spilled juice on my white top. Ashley decided to do her own make-up. I forgot my make-up brushes and attempted to apply it with smashed up toilet paper. GREAT. We were going to waste a perfectly good session with the photographer of my dreams.
I was devastated. Mike was grouchy. Ashley was sulky. Emma Kate was exhausted. We were in for a disaster. Right? RIGHT?
Nope, somehow GVE got some pretty great shots of us. Especially the girls. She captured Emma Kate's personality. She captured the way the girls adore one another. She even captured the way this non-traditional family loves each other, even on the bad days. I love them and now my only problem is staying in budget!!
This is just a sampling of the 60+ pictures I have to choose from!!

Little Baby Girl Thompson will be here on Thursday and I cannot wait for GVE to work her magic with them!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hoppy Birthday!

Yesterday was Emma Kate's favorite person's birthday. Emma Kate told him that for his birthday present, she went on the potty four times at school. I wish Hoppy's birthday was everyday so I could stop buying diapers.

Happy Birthday Hoppy (try and say that 4 times fast).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Last chance

Here are some pictures of things that we did this summer. While I had every intention for blogging about each and everyone of these pictures (because there were perfectly good stories to go along with them) time just went by too fast and now they are just memories. Enjoy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me Monday

So I too have been following this blog forever and now I am inspired to join in on the "not me" Monday blog carnival.
I did NOT wake up late on the first day of fall semester AND the first day of Emma Kate's new school. I certainly did NOT send her to her new school having barely eaten a crumb for breakfast. Nope, not me.
I did not almost hit a freshman who has not yet learned where the proper pedestrian crossings are on campus. I did not laugh when I watched them scurry across the street when I failed to stop. Nope, not me.
I did not lay my child on a middle school bathroom floor at a basketball game this weekend to change her diaper (I think that it is still a good thing that there are no diaper changing stations in middle school bathrooms. I think.). I did not laugh uncontrollably when changing said diaper, my two year old said, "WHAT did I EAAAATTTTTT?" Yeah it was that bad.
I did not forget my umbrella on the same day that the first Tropical Depression of the season pours down on Auburn and I did not go "borrow" one from the lost and found box in our office. Nope, not me.

This picture really has nothing to do with this post, rather, just wanted to show you what a 2yo self-portrait looks like. My, what big nostrils you have at this angle.

Leavin' on a jet plane........

Emma Kate knew that it was getting close. We stayed up later and got up earlier. Anything to squeeze in just a few more moments of being a family of four. Emma Kate held on tight.

But it was inevitable. Time keeps on slipping and so we sent Ashley back to Florida on Sunday. She is ELEVEN now, and a MIDDLE SCHOOLER, so she flies by herself.
But thanks to a very generous MeMe and Hoppy, that middle schooler returns to Florida with a new Mac Book.

And since that Mac Book has a built in web cam, last night, Ashley was able to read Emma Kate a bedtime story via Skype. By the miracle of the internet, that long distance between sisters just got much, much smaller. At least in this 2 year old's world.

Thank you, Skype.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For Marsha....

If you work here, like me.......

Or just love this place in general like my family, most of my friends, and my birthday twin, Momma Roach.......Then you know it is close.

See, I can hear that it is close, because, since I work HERE to be exact......
I can hear them practicing.................

They are getting ready, as I am, for this................

Soon it will be time to be one of these folks heading to Tiger Walk..............

And then onto this place..........................
More specifically you can find me here...... I will watch this.......................

and then this............................

And hopefully, when it is over......I will do this.
All because I believe in Auburn and love it.

War Eagle.