First Recital

On May 8th, Ella had her first violin recital. She was thrilled, I was a little more apprehensive. She's only been in lessons for 12 weeks and has only been practicing on a real violin for about 8 of those. She did such a great job and was so proud. I was a beaming mommy and her daddy was pretty pleased, too. Way to go, Ella!

This is her "ready" position before she starts her performace. She did a little number that was narrarated by her teacher. It showcased her knowledge of the scales and chords.

Performing her pirate number.

Mrs. Melanie gave a little hand on the more tricky sections.
The class did a violin-in-the-round performance. It was really neat to listen to!

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RC's Nursery

Monday I was excited as a kid at Christmas! The fabric I picked out for RC's nursery came in.

(RC is short for Racecar Carlos. For those of you who haven't heard, my lovely children have picked those names. Until Erik stops avoiding the inevitable conversation and decision, we shall continue to call him RC.)

I found a bib at The Freckled Frog about 2 weeks before we found out we were having a boy. It was this great construction equipment design.

I immediately fell in love with it and bought it. I knew that if our "hunches" turned out to be wrong, I could always return it for a pink model! Once our suspicions were confirmed I started the search for the perfect nursery. Having had two girls, I knew I wanted something very boyish. I really wanted to avoid themes but wanted more than blue and brown. (which, btw, is very popular these days.)

We went fabric shopping in the big city and I ordered different swatches from some online fabric retailers. I didn't like anything I found and all the while I could not get the cute bib fabric out of my mind. So, I set out on a mission to find the construction fabric. Erik says its a bit predictable (the whole construction theme) but I love it. This is what I found:

The fabric plus three beautifully coordinating pieces to go with it. I am so excited! It's going to be a beautiful nursery and my head is swimming with ideas for it. Apparently RC is doing a number on my creative juices. I've got project ideas coming out of my ears! I actually had to buy a little book to jot everything down. Now just coming up with the time and money......

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Horrible Pics...Fun Times

These pictures were taken with Erik's camera phone, so the quality is not so great. (My camera battery is on the charging station!)

Erik went to Walmart on Saturday so that I could get some things done around the house. Sometimes it's smarter to send him because I'm more likely to pick up extraneous items that we don't need. Well, this time the story was a little different. He picked up the milk, bread, etc. And then I see it. A bag of kitten food and kitty litter. "What is this?" I ask ever so graciously.

Apparently he worked out a deal with my friend Leslie to arrange for 2 kittens to be dropped off at our house on Sunday. Without consulting with me first!! I'm not mad about it, but let's just say I'm not thrilled. The kittens have turned out to be very calm and sweet--much different from the last kittens we had. I just dread the first month or so when they have to stay inside because it is too dangerous for them to be outside without their mommy. We have too many wild animals and roaming dogs to just let 6 week old kittens run around unsupervised.

The girls are so excited and just love, love them. They can't get enough hugging, kissing and holding them. Like I said, they are very sweet and quite docile. Erik's whole reasoning behind the cat endeavor is that he needs mole eradicators. We have them something awful in our yard. Remember the post where Erik had killed a mole literally with his bare hands? Anyway..we still have them. Lots of them. He hopes these kittens will turn out to be lean, mean, mole-fighting machines. I just hope they last longer than our previous record. I think they longest we've kept kittens/cats is less than 9 months. I'm not sure the girls can handle more kitten disappointment.

Either way, I guess we will enjoy these little cuties as long as we can. Lucky for me, I'm pregnant so I'm on strict no kitty litter orders! Darn!

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There's a great Mom at our school who is affectionately known as "Ms. T." To us adults, she is Terri Turner. Mother extraodinare, caregiver of children and animal lover to-boot! One day during May she brought 2 chickens (they might have been hens or roosters or something) and of course Mrs. Joy made a learning adventure out of it. Have I mentioned that we loved having Mrs. Joy this year? Anyway, Lucy thought this chicken was really cool!

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First Swim of 2010

School is out, the weather is perfect and the water feels great! Let the summer begin!!

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Ella's First Sleeover

As a final farewell to the school year, Ella had her first sleepover. I planned several craft activities and fun food. We made ice cream sundaes, painted pottery and played outside until dark! Amanda stayed over late to make sure everything went well and to lend an extra hand. The girls did great and they were precious. I had dress-up clothes from one end of the house to the other! It brought back so many memories of the countless slumber parties I had growing up.

Unfortunately they were so busy I was not able to snap many pictures. I did want to post these two so we could remember what a fun night it was!

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My Desire...

is to start this summer off on the right foot. I have recurring nightmares of our new brother getting here and life spiraling out of control. Being at home is not easy. Just ask any mom who does it on a daily basis. I will be the first to admit that my home has been more tightly run and even cleaner since I went back to work. When you are home all day with small children the house never has a clean moment. You prepare three meals a day in the kitchen, plus snacks. You spend the majority of your time entertaining your children either outside or playing games. In the summer we desire to be outside as much as possible so that really leaves us little time at home. You can typically find us at the pool!

But all this leads to a very unorganized and chaotic home. At my very core, I love order. I thrive off of routine and I NEED a plan. For everything! I like weekly meal plans, cleaning schedules, organized grocery lists and strategic timelines for every minute of my life. Since having children, however, I can't seem to make it all work. Most days (especially when I was staying home) I felt like nothing ever got accomplished and I stayed a mental and emotional wreck.

Reality is setting in that in roughly 20 weeks we will welcome baby #3 to the fold. As excited as I am about this new adventure it literally scares me to death to think about going back to 3 more years (at least) of chaos. I just can't do it. I won't do it. I am going to spend some time next week making some organized to-do lists that might help with the transition. Erik warns me not to set unrealistic expectations and I will try my best not to. However, I've got to meet this challenge head on! No holds bar. I will win this fight!

I found this article today and thought I would share it. Hope you enjoy:

1. Routines. Organized moms serve dinner at the same time each night, have strict bed times, have after school routines with homework and socializing. If you want to be an organized mom, you have to have a routine you stick to. This might mean that you get your child up at the same time each day, and expect them to get dressed and make their bed before they come in to breakfast. You may have a few different routines, such as your morning routine, your after school and evening routine, and your weekend routine. A routine helps you, the mom, keep things on track, and helps your children to know what to expect, and what is expected of them.

2. Meal plans. Organized moms do not spend extra time in the grocery store, or standing in front of the refrigerator trying to determine what to prepare that night. Organized moms take a few minutes once a week to create a meal plan for the week. Monday: Soup, Tuesday: Chicken, Wednesday: Pizza, Thursday: Hamburgers, and the list goes on. The idea is that if you know what you are going to make you can be prepared throughout the day. For example, if you are going to roast a chicken for dinner, you will need to get it out of the freezer in the morning in order for it to be defrosted by dinner time.

3. Rules. Organized moms have rules or guidelines for their families. They may be simple like dinner is at 5:30. Or they may be more complex like, no friends, television, or snacking until your homework is completed. A mom can’t keep the whole family organized without some participation, so rules, and guidelines are helpful. Make them clear, and enforce them.

4. Time off. An organized mom does not let herself get overly stressed, or overwhelmed because she knows when to say no, when to de-stress, and when to take a break. She knows that when she is starting to lose her cool, that letting dad take the kids to McDonald’s rather than fixing a nice meal, is sometimes better, even if it is not the healthiest option. The organized mom knows when she needs a break, and figures out how to take one.

5. Organized home. The organized mom has an organized home. She creates a place for everything so that school mornings are not spent hastily trying to find shoes, backpacks, pens that work, etc. Instead, everything has a place, and the kids know where things go, and contribute by being sure to put their backpack on the hook, in the cubby, or whatever the case may be, the night before.

6. Back-up plans. Organized moms always plan ahead, and prepare for the worst. They carry a spare outfit, some cash, and phone numbers of friends and family, just in case. They take things in stride. So, for example, if your tire goes flat while driving, and it is your day to do carpool, the organized mom has the numbers of the other carpool moms on hand, and knows which ones can typically swap days. So, have a back up plan.

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Carlos Racecar

This is our baby boy. Our baby brother. Or as he is affectionately known around here, Carlos Racecar. Ella has come up with the name Carlos. She absolutely loves it. She's so proud of the name and I think will be really disappointed when we do not name him that (which we aren't...for the record.) Lucy decided upon Racecar some time ago. Racecar being his middle name, Daddy being his first. What can I say?

Either way, we are proud to show off this beautiful baby. I am doing some major nesting around here. It's insane. I have never nested this early before. My friends keep reminding me that it's because my body knows that once he's here I won't have any time to get anything done! Life around our house is not going to stop just because baby gets here.

School is officially over for me and Lucy. I've done better than I thought I would. I was concerned that I would be really sad. I love my job and I know I am going to miss it, but I think the excitement of the baby coming is enough to overshadow any sadness about leaving my job. I am slowly starting to mark off some things on my ever-expanding to-do list. I've obviously not tackled any of the big projects yet, but just getting some little ones done makes me swell with a sense of accomplishment.

I have picked out the fabric for the nursery and simultaneously found fabric to re-do Ella's room. It is SOOO cool. I am excited about both to be real honest. I got a killer deal on Ella's and it is going to be one awesome room. My mind is swimming with ideas. I can't wait to get started so that I post pictures. Ella's room makeover is what she wants for her birthday. My little girls has decided that her sweet pink room is too babyish!

These sweet girls are so excited about their baby brother. This is a picture of them in the waiting room before our big ultrasound. The tech was not too thrilled about them coming in, but she was amazed at how well they did. I was so proud of them. Did I mention we are pretty pumped about Carlos Racecar? Well, we are.
Now we just have to get Daddy to nail down a name. I'm still fighting for my original suggestion, but we might have found a compromise....

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Congratulations John Paul

Well, my baby brother did it. Not that anyone was surprised. He's so smart. John Paul received his BS in Civil Engineering with a minor in Business from the University of Tennessee. I'm so proud of him and wish him the best of luck. As we all know, the job market is pretty tight right now, so graduate school may be in his near future. Could be worse things, though.

Congratulations, John Paul!! I love you and I'm very, very proud of you!

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Mother's Day 2010

This year, as usual, we spent Mother's Day at my parent's house. We had a great time visiting with family and it was so nice having a baby in the house. I couldn't keep my hands off Maddie with the anticipation rapidly growing for my own baby. What a wonderful Mother's day it was for me. Knowing that I was already a mother to 3, although only 2 were present at the time. God is so good!

This is my sister and her husband. Aren't they a beautiful couple? Me and my mommy sharing a kiss!

Ella and my grandmother, her great-grandmother. I love having these pictures of them together. I know these will make for wonderful memories one day.
I love this picture..
As an aside, the girls (and later mom and I) took a ride around the lake in the Hydratrek. The girls love riding in it, so Pops took them for a wildlife tour.
We found several duck nests full of eggs. You can always find them on the island this time of year. It was a wonderful way to end a great day!

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Tickled Blue!

***no pictures yet. Waiting on them to be scanned by Erik***

It's official. We are having a baby boy. What's most important is that he seems to be healthy. All screening during the ultrasound came back perfectly. Thank you Lord Jesus for forming this child in my womb. I feel so blessed to be able to carry him and be his Mommy.

The ultrasound was so much fun. I was so worried the girls would be upset when they found out it was a boy, but they weren't. In fact, they were really excited. We even did a little shopping for him after we left the doctor's office. And all I have to say is that once I start feeling all the baby's moves I'm in for a real adventure. He was all over the place during the ultrasound. I couldn't believe it!

Now comes the hard part....the name. This is going to be a battle I am quite sure. I have a name picked out, but Erik does not like it....AT ALL! I have told him he better come up with a doozie if he wants me to change my mind. I love the name I have chosen. We'll see.

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Flooding in May

Someone forgot to tell May that April showers bring the flowers. This first weekend in May brought with it more than showers. Flooding of astounding proportions. Last I heard we had 10" of rain by noon on Saturday and the rain did not start until late Friday night. The flooding is unlike anything I've ever seen. Seriously. Granted, we don't usually get a lot of flooding (or any for that matter), but it was crazy!

Yes, through it all. McDonald's was still open!!!

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Recent Makeovers

Not of my house (like on my baby nesting to-do list) but rather of children. 6 to be exact. All unbeknownst to the 8 adults in the house. We were watching the Derby and grilling hamburgers. Ladies outside on the front porch, men in the living room. We're great parents all right! There was makeup on the mirror, all over the counters, on the door facings and clearly all over the girls. Lucy is MIA. She was downstairs playing with the boys. Imagine that!

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