Mine Emma Kathryn

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sometimes I can't believe how big my Emma Kathryn is getting. She amazes me every day with the things she learns and knows and comes home from school with. I knew she was getting to be a true "kid" and not a toddler anymore when she started talking about poop all the time. :) She now thinks its really funny to talk about poop and how yucky it is. And don't fear, Jack hops right on that band wagon and thinks its hilarious. Yup, he is going to be that kid teaching all his school buddies about poop.

Emma Kathryn cracks me up. For example, here a little snip-it of a conversation we had a few weeks ago...
          Mommy: "Emma, don't forget to brush your teeth this morning."

          Emma: "I won't Mommy. I haven't done my teeth yet this morning."

          Mommy: "I know sweetheart, that's why Mommy was reminding you."

          Emma: "I haven't done my morning toots either yet Mommy!!"

She is my princess. My morning toot, poop loving princess. :)

To My Emma & My Jackson...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

To my Emma Kathryn and my Jackson Douglas,

No, I'm not using your middle names because you are in trouble. At least not yet you little stinkers.
Growing up, my grandfather always called me by my first and middle name, Laura Michele. I was always Laura Michele. Sometimes I find myself following suit with you. Mommy and Daddy gave you those middle names for a reason. They mean something to us, and eventually, they will mean something to you as well.

Sometimes when I can't sleep, I think about what you will be like in the future. Will you be kind? Will you be happy? Will you still be best friends? I certainly hope so, and it's my job as your Mommy, to do what I can to make sure that happens. A while back, when you, my Emma Kathryn were just about two and a half, and you, my Jackson Douglas were only nine months old, I wrote you a letter. A letter about what I hoped for you in your future. I stumbled upon that letter a little while ago and it got me thinking again about your future and what kind of advice I should give you as you grow up. I started to think about it more and more, and finally decided to write you another letter, that someday you will understand.

I originally planned on writing a letter with the top ten pieces of advice that I would want you to follow as you grew up. I quickly realized that since I am your mom, I have WAY MORE then ten things I want you to to follow as you become young adults. I know, go figure. Feel free to roll your eyes right now. So, the top ten list quickly flew out the window and in no particular order, here is a list of some of the advice I can only hope you take to heart one day.
  1. Jackson Douglas, always be a gentleman. Hold doors open for ladies. Always treat women with respect. They are your equal, and should be treated that way.
  2. Emma Kathryn, always be a lady. Don't hesitate to hold your own. Be strong. Be independent. Be respectful. But always be a lady.
  3. Know your worth and your potential. Don't ever let anyone treat you in a way that makes you question your worth.
  4. Learn the value of money. You don't need to be rich to be happy, but you do need to be smart about how you use your money. Save it when you are young, because you're going to need it someday. Never live beyond your means.
  5. Jackson Douglas, when you put the seat up, put it back down. I can't stress that enough. Consider that invaluable advice that will help your future wife.
  6. Do not fear. I will introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum and broom. Please use them.
  7. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority,... work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.
  8. Chose your own religion. I know your Mimi and your Nanny will have my head for this one, but if Catholic isn't your bag baby, chose your own adventure.  
  9. Don't ever be a bully or ever start a fight. Defend yourself or your loved ones, but don't ever throw the first punch. Stick up for those that are bullied. Be their advocate.
  10. You'll understand everything I ever did or said when you are a parent.
  11. Don't ever take your knowledge and education for granted. That is something that nobody can take away from you. Pay attention to your education, it's important. I promise.
  12. Take pride in your appearance. Jackson Douglas, don't you ever wear your pants low enough so someone can see your undies. If you want people to see your undies, I'll take all your pants away and then they will REALLY see your undies. Emma Kathryn, keep it covered and classy. Again, know your worth.
  13. Be strong and tender at the same time.
  14. Always respect your elders. Say please, and thank you and yes ma'am and no sir. A simple polite remark can go a long way.
  15. Peer pressure is a scary thing, at least to your parents it is. Be a good leader and stand up for yourself if someone asks you to do something that you don't want to do. Even if you are afraid it won't keep you "cool". Others who are afraid to stand up for themselves will follow you.
  16. Jackson Douglas, bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea.
  17. Be kind.  
  18. Keep your sense of humor. It goes a long way in the healing process.
  19. Please choose your respective spouses wisely. Jackson, my daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren. Emma, my son-in-law better treat you like the princess that you are. A strong, independent, intelligent princess.
  20. Remember to call your Mommy because I might be missing you.
  21. Don't forget to share.
  22. Try everything once. Except bad stuff, like drugs. Try that, and I’ll still ground you no matter what age you are.
  23. Stand up for what you believe in. If it's not right, don't tolerate it. But do it in a smart and respectful way.  
  24. Get your heart broken, and I know you both will. It won't feel like it at the time, but you will be better off for it.  
  25. Make mistakes. Make lots of them. Lord knows your Daddy and I did growing up. The important thing is to learn from them.  
  26. Never get obsessed with your appearance. Nobody likes that.
  27. Never compromise your personal safety. Be smart. Make smart decisions when it comes to your safety.  
  28. Never give less than your best in everything that you do. You won't always meet your goals, and it sounds cliche, but if you do your best, that's all you can do.
  29. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up. Enjoy being a kid, because you only get to do it once.  
  30. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are not good enough.
  31. There is nothing you can't do.
  32. Your mother is always right. 
  33. No matter what, always call your parents. Whether you drank to much and don't want to drive home. Whether you know we will be mad or disappointed. Whether you are angry at us. No matter what you need to say. No matter what you think we do or don't want to hear. Call us when you need us.
  34. Don't ever forget that you are brother and sister. No matter what happens in your lives, no matter how big the fights are that you will get in (and yes, you will). Always remember you are blood.
  35. Be good to me and your Daddy when we get old. We are going to spend the rest of our lives giving you everything we have, so put us in a nice home when we get senile.
I think that's a pretty good start, so I'll stop at thirty five. Although I think there is probably hundreds more that I could tell you. I'll keep those in my back pocket for now. If I didn't, what else would I nag you about for the rest of your life?

I love you more than life itself.

Love always,

Project Playroom - Phase 2

Friday, February 15, 2013

In the beginning of December, I got that urge to do some painting and decided to tackle the Playroom. I wasn't really sure when we were going to actually start on it, but that was when I started to gather ideas. Fast forward to the week of Christmas. My intention was to work most of the week between Christmas and New Year's, but as soon as I came to work one day that week and realized that I only saw ONE other person all day, yeah, not.so.much. With my new found freedom from work for a few days, I decided to get things started. Before we get to see the results our Project Playroom - Phase 2, let's take a step back.

Beware, some of these pictures are pretty cringe worthy. :)

We moved into our home in 2005, just a few months before our wedding. I don't know what possessed me to do this, but one of the first rooms we painted was the living room. I decided to go bold and chose a dark green. Yup, didn't take me long to hate that color. :) I introduce to you, Living Room - Phase 1.

::: shutter :::

We then hired a painter to paint our kitchen, stairway and upstairs hallway since we have an open foyer and weren't about to shimmy up 16 feet in the air. We figured it was a good time to get rid of that awful green. Because I am a creature of habit, I had it painted the same color as everything else (although our family room wasn't painted at the time). Enter Living Room - Phase 2. Which also brought along with it some AWFUL curtains. Hey Laura, 1972 called and wants it's curtains back. 

Then came the babies. The living room wasn't going to last long so away it went, especially when we went from sending Emma to school to have both kids at home. We gave away the couches and eventually sold my piano (sob) to make room. Enter Playroom - Phase 1.

The extent of decorating we did in here was the six pictures you see below and the removal of the curtains. The room quickly filled up with toys and baby "stuff". It usually looked like this....

Here and there we would attempt to add more storage, so we bought a third bookcase from Ikea and then I sprung for a new rug from Overstock when it was on sale around the holidays. So this is pretty much what it looked like before we got started. Of course the spackling on the wall wasn't there quite yet, but I forgot to take a picture before I took down the pictures and patched the holes.

Another shot of the other side of the room, yup, pretty bland, nothing exciting so far.

Then, The Squishy stripped down to his skivvies and got to work.

Ugh, finally. It was about time he started pulling his weight around here.

Just kidding.

Emma did most of it.

I know. I know. I'm hilarious.

Don't quit your day job Mama.

Enter Playroom - Phase 2

Even after having three swatches of gray paint on the wall for a week, my "gray" turned out more light blue than anything, but I still like it. The funny part is, is that I have no idea what color it is. I got three samples from Home Depot, but they didn't add the name to the samples, just the color breakdown. So its something, from Behr. :) Although its "blue-er" then I originally wanted, the idea is to repaint all the other old beige/tan an actual light gray. So I think this color would blend pretty good.

Don't be fooled. The minute I let those little naughties back in the room, it took all of a half of a second to look like this....

Since Christmas we haven't done too much else outside of re-hang the pictures and we did buy our new Expedit Bookcase made bench. Just need to add a cushion to the top and we will be moving right along. So far, I've been sticking to my inspiration board (aka PowerPoint chart) but I think I'll make a few adjustments along the way. I'm rethinking the colors and may be leaving out the orange. This is usually where I get really stuck with a redecorating project because, well, I don't know how to decorate. :)

Stay tuned for Playroom - Phase 3...you know, in the year 2015.

Whooo Loves Ya Baby...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I know a lot of folks aren't into Valentine's Day, and for a while, I didn't really think too much of it myself. It was always nice to take a quick break from life to have a special dinner, and Wes and I always exchanged cards, but not much outside of that. Like every other holiday though after the kids come, it tends to be more about the kids (which is okay with me). So this year, I did a little Valentine's Day decorating!

I went back to one of my favorite websites Cocoa Mint (even though I've only ever bought anything there once before) and purchased some Valentine's Day graphics. For $5, you can't really go wrong. I then whipped up some quick little designs with PowerPoint, printed them on regular computer paper and threw them into some $5 frames that we already had. Voila! That is my kind of craft.  


I then whipped up four smaller graphics using the background paper and pictures I got from Cocoa Mint, printed two copies of each on regular printer paper, glued them onto some red cardstock, threw some red polka-dot ribbon through them and voila! A Valentine's Day banner for our mantel!

I actually don't have a picture of the whole thing together but you get the idea. The kids loved it, and for the whopping thirty minutes and $5 it took me, it was worth it.

Another little Valentine's Day treat was equally as cheap and as quick! I found this idea on Pinterest I think and eventually found my way back to the original website it came from, Cute Food for Kids. All you need is some pretzels (salted are the best), some chocolate to melt and sprinkles. This is where it gets very complicated here so pay close attention. Melt the chocolate. Dip the pretzel in the melted chocolate. Dip the chocolate covered pretzel into sprinkles. Take a sip of your wine while you hold it for a second to cool. Put the pretzel down. Shew. I'm exhausted. Check out the website for some tips on how to not burn the chocolate, and a couple other little helpful things. Enjoy! These things are delicious!! Oh, side note. When allowing two children to help, be aware that more chocolate and sprinkles end up being consumed then actually on the pretzels. Then allow for a good three hours of spinning, dancing, running in circles, yelling, screaming and literally bouncing off the walls.

Typical Saturday Morning

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Okay, so I couldn't help but post these pictures as my next "catch up" post. They make hysterical every time I look at them. Weekends tend to be pretty entertaining around our house these days. Weekdays are as well, but they tend to be filled more with tired babies and trying to squeeze in dinner and baths and coloring and snuggles all before bedtime. Our weekends lately have been pretty relaxing as I think we are all exhausted from the week.

Granted, we will still have our crazy weekends filled with lots of errands or birthday parties etc, but lately I have been loving the fact that life has seemed to slow down for us, even for just those two days once and a while. On those days, Emma usually starts out by asking Mommy and Daddy to have "a jammie day". To which I never refuse. If you know me, you know I like my comfy clothes. About 10 minutes later though, Emma is usually asking to wear a "beautiful dress".

So much for jammie day.

Once Emma is in her "beautiful dress", the accessories start piling on. First comes the necklaces, usually followed by some of her princess rings. Then come the sunglasses and asking Mommy for a pony tail (that's my girl!). She recently got wind of some of Mommy's headband-thingy-ma-jigs, so those are now some of standard accessories.

Case in point. This was Saturday morning. We weren't going anywhere.

Of course, little manly is not far behind. He is VERY into whatever his big sister is doing, so without fail, on go the sunglasses and necklaces. And yes, on multiple occasions, he too plays dress up with his big sister. At least he wears the blue princess dress. Although the Snow White dress really brings out his eyes. :)

Case in point. This was also Saturday morning. At least Jack stuck partly with jammie day.

I pity the fool!!!

And yes, I am fully aware that his hair is outrageous. We actually went later in the day to get it cut, then back again on Sunday to get it fixed again. Ack.

Now is where it gets good. You can't have kids dressed up like this and NOT break out the camera. So Mommy usually runs around trying to find the camera, and hoping that she can get the settings right before the babies lose interest in smiling (sometimes, they are actually into it without Mommy having to bribe them)!

This time, they were into it because they were sitting on a Dora potty. Go figure.

After taking some shots of them sitting down, I asked Emma to do a pose. She usually sticks her left hand up in the air, but this time, I got the cutest smile. I seemed to be having some good luck with the kids and pictures so why not keep things rolling right?

So naturally, I asked The Squishy to do a pose. And I'm not kidding. This is what he did....

You can put the boy in as many dresses and necklaces as you want, but he will always be a boy.

I don't know whether he then was embarrassed, trying to eat what just came out of his nose, or blowing kisses.

I think I'll go with blowing kisses. :)

Christmas in February?

Monday, February 11, 2013

I've only had about fifteen blog posts "drafted" for two months now! I guess it's about time to start catching up! Turns out, I hit my limit for adding photos to Blogger. So I opened up a Flickr account. As soon as I uploaded some of the pictures from our little family photo session, I maxed out the monthly limit. DOH! Now that I'm finally all straightened out (I think), it's back to playing catch up! First up, Christmas 2012!!

Let's start off by taking a peak at the most awesome Christmas present ever from the hubster....


Yuppers. Mommy got upgraded.

::: giggle :::

Granted, I'm still learning about my new baby and still practicing so starting out was a bit rough and a lot of the pictures at the end of this post are proof of that (the Christmas Tree Farm pics are with my original DSLR). But hopefully things will get better as I learn more about my new 60D. So excited!!! Okay, here we go.

Like we have done the past couple of years, we continued with our tradition of heading to a local tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. This is such a fun tradition for us and it still seems new to me since I never did this growing up. In the beginning, especially with the kids, it was sometimes hard to figure out on big holidays like this, which traditions we were going to do. Wes and I had lots of different traditions we grew up with, so figuring out which ones we would do as a family was sometimes tricky. Having said that, I think we finally got the hang of it and I am absolutely loving taking both sides, smooshing them together, and making the traditions our own. I always have grand ideas on what this yearly trip entails (I know, big surprise there right?), but usually it ends up raining, or with a sick baby in tow. This year, we lucked out though. I snuggled up the babies with about 14 layers of clothes, only to realize when we got there that it was unusually warm. If that's the worst that happens, I call that a success. So as you can tell in the pictures, the kids starting stripping layers of clothes as the Great Tree Hunt of 2012 went on.

Jackson's first trip to the tree farm was when he was just about 8 months old (seems so long ago). He was strapped to Mommy with our Baby Bjorn and holy moly did my back hurt after carting around that 20lb toddler. Needless to say, my back quite enjoyed the break this year. The kids weren't exactly interested in picking a tree, but they sure did LOVE running through all the rows of trees. Jack was having a blast playing hide and seek, especially when he found 'baby trees'.

Just like last year, my Emma Kathryn was more into jumping on and off all the little tree stumps that were left in the ground. Once Jack got wind of what his big Sissy was up to, he was all over the tree stumps as well. Although he isn't the most coordinated toddler (God love that little man) and usually ended up tripping over them and landing on his rear end. That seemed fine to him, because he could then just roll around in the mud.  

Seriously. How beautiful is my baby girl?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while Mommy was on baby duty, Daddy was hard at work cutting down the tree...

Although these trips involve all four of us, we usually seem to have to split up most of the time. Daddy takes care of the tree, while Mommy tries to keep the babies from, well, everything. So while Daddy was busy hauling the tree to the car and tying her down, the babies and I headed back up to the farm for some cold weather treats.

Here is where Mommy thought "OH! This is going to be the best picture ever! Both kids, sitting by the fire, trees in the background, etc" Yup. Not so much. Despite the strangers cruising around in the background, Jack would look at me, Emma would refuse. Emma would look at me, Jack would refuse. Mommy would then burn her rear-end on the giant bonfire behind me. Maybe next year. :)

After sitting down for all of 30 seconds, we headed over to the snack barn to grab a cup of hot chocolate and apple cider. Luckily, Jack was open to the apple cider since Emma wasn't a big fan and decided the hot chocolate was hers.

Then it was back to go watch the tree gets its grove on (i.e. get put in the shaker to shake the dead needles off). I did manage to catch this picture though. It may not be perfect, or at the right angle, but I absolutely love it. The babies were holding hands, Jack's hair is sticking up (LOVE) and they are stinky and sweaty since Mommy dressed then like it was 20 degrees out and it was probably in the 60s. Every time I need a little reminder about what really matters in life, I look at this picture. How is it possible to love two tiny little things so much?

Okay, so back to Christmas. We were a little late getting our tree this year, so we only had a week or so until Christmas...can you tell Emma was getting excited? Oh, and notice that chunky little hand gripping snowman in the background? Yup. The Squishy LOVED the Christmas tree. Needless to say many ornaments got rearranged multiple times this year. But he only broke two! That's not bad! :)

So far, our strategy for Christmas has been to buy the little crazies one big present for the both of them, and then buy them each the smaller things. Of course Santa usually takes care of most of the gifts, so this year, Santa lost his marbles had a great idea and brought the kids a brand new Mustang! Wowza. Is it wrong to be jealous of your kids Christmas presents? :)

I took a ton of pictures and videos of the kids driving around in their new car from Santa, and hopefully I can post a few. But for now, here's one quick iPhone shot. For now, Emma's the driver since Jack's a bit too little to reach the peddles, which seemed okay with him. He was happy as a clam to just be along for the ride. Luckily, Christmas Day was sunny and relatively warm so outside we went!

What still amazes me about the kids is that even though they got a MUSTANG for Christmas, they were more excited about their little boxes of goldfish that Santa brought them in their stockings. They wouldn't let go of those little goldfish all day.

As Emma was busy ripping through her presents, Jack just wanted to chill in his new ride. It even has cup holders for his milkies. :)

Santa, once again, overdid himself just like usual. The kids had an absolute blast though and were EXHAUSTED for days afterwards.

Emma modeling her new Dora slippers. :)

Jack kissing Rex. :)

Every year, I keep saying that "this year" is going to be the best Christmas ever. And every year it seems to top the year before. I can't help but get sentimental and think about how awesome Christmas next year is going to be. I am so incredibly blessed, and Christmas is the perfect time to remember that.
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