Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

No words are needed, just some beautiful pictures of our family.  Thank you Michelle Standerfer for capturing each of our personalities.  She also created a very touching blog post about our shoot.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Not So Scary Kids on Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!

Every year I dress the kids up for Halloween and take pictures of them in front of our house.  It is a tradition and there is no way they are ever getting out of it.  This year was no exception. 

Sophia was dressed up as Rapunzel from the recent Disney movie Tangled while Tallen was dressed as Captain America.  I love his little fake muscles and his serious pose, he is serious about saving America. 

You would never know from this picture that Sophia was grouchy and whining the entire time she was getting ready.   She is getting over an upper respiratory infection and I was afraid that she might be too tired to go out Trick or Treating. I tried to be patient while she complained that her dress was itchy (solved by putting a white t-shirt under her dress), her hair was in her face (solved by pulling the sides back into a barette), and that she wanted her pink pumpkin bucket instead of the orange one.  We had no idea what she was talking about until she convinced Trey to climb up into the attic, where he found both pink and blue pumpkin buckets. 
Tallen only kept his mask on for pictures, then he took it off so he could see better to go door to door for candy.  He only lasted about a block, maybe eight houses before he said he was tired and ready to go home.  His favorite part of the night was tasting different candy, then giving me the leftover piece when he decided he didn't like the taste.  Apparently, tootsie rolls and three musketeers are not his favorite. 
I hope you all had a Happy, Safe Halloween night!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm Not Ready for This

I thought I was ready for this.

But I'm not. 

Since January, we have been talking about this day.  Trying to prepare Sophia for what lies ahead.  We spent so much time trying to make sure that she was okay that I guess I forgot to think about how I would handle it. 

We even put it off an extra year.  Last year she was so young and we knew she wasn't ready.  I have to admit, I wasn't ready either.  I still don't think I am. 

As I was leaving for work this morning, Sophia told me she was scared and she needed me.  I smiled and gave her a hug, then patted her on the back and told her she was going to have fun.  I would be there with her the first day, holding her hand as we walked through the door together. 

Keeping my face free off the worry and anxiety that I felt inside, I leaned over to give her a kiss and told her to enjoy her last day at home with her daddy.

Tomorrow is Sophia's first day of kindergarten. 

I am not a stay at home mom.  Sophia has been in daycare, Montessori school and pre-school for the last six years while I have worked full-time.  Yes, she has had her summers free the last few years and she is used to going to a classroom each day.  But this time it is different.

She is growing up, starting school for the first time and there will be no going back.  No staying home just because she wants to have a fun day with her daddy.  No going to daycare with her brother when Trey has an audition.

It is the beginning of making new friends, wearing a school uniform, finding a friend to sit next to in the lunchroom, report cards and school programs. 

Too much is changing right now and we both feel it.  Last Sunday she started her new class at church and we had to navigate our way up the stairs to her classroom.  Surrounded by much older kids, Sophia looked so small to me.  I forgot that she is small for her age.  She clutched my hand tightly was we asked where her new room was located.  Tucked in the corner of the large room was the entrance to her classroom.  I watched her as she walked right in, not looking back and putting on her brave face.  She hesitated for a moment, then sat down next to another girl in her class.  My vision blurred for a second and I quickly turned and walked away before she could see my tears. 

When I was putting her to bed one night this week, she told me she wanted to stay six years old and in kindergarten forever.  Her fear tugged at my heart and I resisted the urge to tell her I felt the same way.  We talked for awhile, me rubbing her back while we lie side by side in her twin bed.  Her hair was tickling my nose, which made her giggle.  I wonder how much longer she will want me at to do her bedtime.  When will she be too old for me to read her a bedtime story, lie next to her in bed or rub her back?

Tonight I give her a bath, dry her hair and help her pick out her outfit for tomorrow.  I will read her a book, probably the one about Sister from the Berenstain Bears starting kindergarten.  Then I will rub her back while I sing her a song and we talk about our day.  Hopefully I can calm the butterflies in my stomach and try to get some sleep. 

Because tomorrow is a big day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I have a three year old little boy who does not stay in his bed at night, refuses to potty train, holds up his hand when I lean in for a kiss and wipes them off if I manage to sneak one in.  Despite all of this, I told my husband, Trey, that I love Tallen so much that just one glimpse of his smile makes me swoon.  Then Trey asked me what "swoon" meant. 

swoon   /swun/
verb (used without object)

1. to faint; lose consciousness.
2. to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy

Apparently, I need to give my husband some pointers on how to make me swoon.

(hint: a candlelight dinner and a foot rub would be a great place to start).


Putting Tallen to bed is easy, getting him to stay in bed is not.  Everyone in the house (parents, Sophia and the dog) has the responsibility to be on "Tallen watch" beginning around 8 PM each night.  Even through we have a bedtime routine that includes reading books or watching a few minutes of a movie on Trey's phone, Tallen will still get out of bed about five minutes after we leave his room. 

This is how we know that Tallen is out of bed:
1) We hear him open the door to his room, we yell for him to go back to bed and we hear the door shut.

2) He manages to open the door without us hearing him, he sees Harley (our 65 pound lab) standing guard in the hallway so he shuts the door and runs back to bed. 

3) If Harley is not around, he may get the door open and walk into the hallway.  Sophia is watching from her bedroom, so she sees him and yells at us "Tallen is out of his room!"  Tallen hears this and runs back to his room and shuts the door.

4) Sometimes he waits until Sophia is asleep, Harley is downstairs and we are busy reading or watching TV to get out of bed.  Then he can sneak out undetected and lie in the hallway unnoticed, until he falls asleep on the floor waiting for someone to catch him. 

5) Or he can just work his charm like he did last night when he came into my room five or six times while I was reading.  Each time it was just to tell me "I wuv you, mommy" or "I just wanted to give you a hug" or "Can I just lay with you in bed for a little while?"  I couldn't yell or even get mad at him.  So I let him give me a tight hug and he flashed me that sweet, gap-toothed smile.  Yep, the one that makes me swoon. 

One Sunday, I was busy picking up the house, doing laundry and cooking.  My usual Sunday routine even though the Sabbath should be a day of rest. I'm working on it but the demands of life continue to scream for my attention.  Maybe that is just the screams of my children that I hear, but they are still demands.

Tallen had been playing in the study, keeping himself company and managing to not argue with his sister while I was testing out a new recipe for my other blog.  Suddenly he came running in the kitchen and grabbed me by the hand, trying to drag me away from whatever I was doing.  I followed him to the study, then he turned to me and said.  "Mommy, stop working.  It's time to sit down and read a book."

He handed me the first book he pulled off the bookshelf and told me to sit down in the wing back chair in the corner of the study.  "Now read," he demanded. 

Then he sat down on the floor beside me, holding my signed copy of My Reading Life by Pat Conroy upside down but still pretending to read.  We sat there for awhile in silence, reading together until the timer on the oven beeped and I headed back to the kitchen. 

Some moments in life are unexpected.  Sometimes you just need to follow the advice of a three-year old, especially when he tells you to stop working so you can sit down and read a book. 


This morning I walked into my bathroom and Tallen started to follow me.  I tried to close the door and told him that he needed to give me some privacy so I could go to the potty.  Since we are still potty training (and failing multiple times a day), I explained that I needed to go to the bathroom.

Then he started to cry and asked, "Mommy, where is the privacy?" 

"What?" I said to the semi-closed door.

"Mommy, I want to give you the privacy." he said.  "Where is it?"

"Tallen, apparently we do not have any privacy in this house." I replied.  "It is gone."

A few minutes later, I walked out the bathroom.  Tallen was still standing there and asked me again, "Where is the privacy, Mommy?"

I tried to explain that I just wanted to be alone in the bathroom and he got upset again. I asked why he was crying and he replied, "I really wanted to get you the privacy Mommy."

Me too, Tallen.  Me too.

*All pictures of Tallen sleeping were taken when he spontaneously fell asleep on the floor or on our bed, usually in the middle of the day while watching Scooby-Doo or Team Umizoomi.  I have no actual pictures of him sleeping in his own bed.  I actually have no proof that he has ever even slept in his own bed.  In the past week I have found him asleep in Sophia's bed, on the floor of the hallway, on the floor of my bedroom curled up next to Harley and nestled into the curve of my back while I am lying in my bed.  But never in his own bed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Early Birthday Visit to American Girl

This weekend is Sophia's birthday party and she is turning 6 years old!!!  She wanted a pool party so we have invited all of our friends to our neighborhood pool to cool off in this 100+ degree heat.  At least the party is early in the day so it may be closer to 90 degrees.  But before her big pool party, we were able to celebrate her birthday a few days early thanks to Grammy...

Grammy sent Sophia a very generous gift card to the American Girl for her birthday so she could pick out her first American Girl doll.  We are lucky to have an American Girl store in Dallas, so I made an appointment with a personal shopper last Saturday afternoon. 

Sophia was very impatient when we arrived because the personal shopper was late meeting with us.  Then she was annoyed that I wanted to take her picture.  This is her annoyed face. 

That all changed once she picked out her doll, the 2012 American Girl doll of the year - McKenna!  Sophia recently started taking gymnastics, so she really liked that McKenna is a gymnast and comes with a sparkly leotard.  She also has two other gymnastics outfits and Sophia immediately wanted to change her clothes and shoes.  I convinced her to wait until we got home to start stripping down her doll. 

We had reservations for a late lunch in the Bistro but we were a little early so we played with her new doll while we waited.  Did I mention that we also took McKenna to the salon and got her ears pierced? 

My favorite part of the whole American Girl experience was having lunch in the Bistro.  They have little booster chairs for the dolls so they can sit with your little girl at the table.  If you forgot to bring your own American Girl doll, they even have loaner dolls available!  Sophia ordered pink lemonade and our waitress brought out a cup for McKenna too.  Since it was Sophia's birthday (and she was extra patient while we waited for our reservation), the hostess brought her a balloon for her doll. 

Sophia was worried that McKenna was thirsty and hungry so she made sure she had enough to eat and drink at the table. 

The star shaped fruit and cheesy macaroni was a big hit with Sophia.  I think McKenna had a few bites too.  However Sophia told me she does not like "green canteloupe" (aka honeydew melon).

I adored all of the pink, girly decor in the Bistro and the petite portions of dessert.  We saw mini ice cream cones and sundaes at most of the tables, but Sophia and I were too full to order dessert. 

I tried to take one last picture of Sophia during her birthday celebration but she was tired of me taking pictures by this point.  At least I got a good picture of her new favorite toy, her first American Girl doll, McKenna!  Happy Birthday Sophia!