Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Orleans

Yes, I am basically the luckiest person in the world. Please don't hate me.
Hughes goes to the ASA (Anesthesiologists...America...something) every year in October, and I always get to tag along. We have been to DC, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and now New Orleans.

I didn't even think I liked Italian ice, until I tried this bit of frozen heaven in a cup from a little stand in the French Market. Seriously, this was probably the best part of the trip. The man selling them just had a little booth and it looked like he was selling snow cones. We had a long talk with him about marketing ideas, because this was absolutely delicious, and nobody could tell what he was even selling. He was precious. 


The real reason I am so lucky? Because we have so much family who love our girls. Sissa and the Pieces in a selfie. My parents not only agree to watch them...but are EXCITED about it. 

Sissa took Lily to build a haunted house with Anderson while Mom watched the two terrorists Max and Reese. 

How amazing is this?!?!?! It was $250, so I obviously did not buy it, but I was practically drooling over it. They had a Democrat version, but I barely glanced at it, of course. I probably spent an hour just staring at this and imagining where I would hang it. I even went back the next day to stare some more. 

Anderson got to go to the UT game and get ON the field! This has nothing to do with New Orleans, but it happened while we were there, and it has to be included. 

A few of Hughes' partners came, too, so I got to hang out with the wives. This is Candy, and I LOVE her. We had so much fun every day on our adventures as we tried to figure out where we were and not get lost in NOLA.

Meredith= one of my favorite people, ever. 

Meredith and her husband had to leave early because of a family emergency, which was so awful. Meredith ties with my mom as being the most positive people in the world, so she handled it with the expected "it's going to be okay" attitude associate with her. But, their sudden departure made the rest of our trip feel little sad and lonely without them. 

Cafe Du Monde...because it has to happen. 

Sissa texted me this one of the babies eating push pops for lunch. 
Also, as Sissa pointed out, Science is a lie. Our kids, who are genetically half siblings, look NOTHING alike. 

Bourbon street!!! 
We walked down it for about 30 seconds, but...well, New Orleans is HOT, humid, stinky, gross, and filled with drunk people. I got the picture of the sign and then moved on to more exciting areas...

Like the WWII museum!!!!!!!!

When I go on these trips with Hughes, I live and breathe Trip Advisor and Google Maps. For several of the years, it would just be Hughes and me. He is usually in classes from 8-5, so I had to just figure out the city on my own. Since I have been known to get lost driving Lily to school (the same one where she has gone for over 2 years), this is a really terrifying thought. Directions are not my strength. 

The WWII museum was ranked #1 on Trip Advisor, and it deserves that ranking. It was definitely my favorite activity we did. 

My favorite picture of the week- Anderson patiently and gently brushing Reese's hair. I love that they  have their own special cousin bond. 

18 weeks pregnant. Yes, with only ONE baby. I feel huge.
Also, I can't feel it move very often, but it is clearly growing. Shouldn't I be feeling it move more often?

The only picture of Hughes and me from the entire time. He HATES, DESPISES, LOATHES pictures. Especially selfie pictures that end up on social media. We are so opposite in some ways.

Again...luckiest person in the world. My awesome friend, Jenn, and I carpool, so she took Lily to school while we were gone. She sent me daily texts, videos, and pictures to let me know everything was going great! Pictures like this definitely lessened my mom guilt at leaving them for 6 days!

We ate at fancy restaurants, which were delicious, of course. But, this was a hamburger dive and it was probably my favorite meal. Port of Call. It is 6 am, and this picture is making me crave a burger. 

Candy and I did a cemetery tour, which was really interesting to hear the history of the cemeteries. 

Hughes and I actually met (well, sort-of...we semi-met one other time before, but it was really brief and at an 80's roller skating mixer, and I am pretty sure he doesn't remember) in New Orleans! We did an Alternative Spring Break service trip thing with UT. It's a long story, but it's basically when I realized I was going to marry him, even though we didn't start dating until a year later. 

This was our FIRST picture together! In a cemetery in New Orleans...we were cleaning out a cemetery. I remember Hughes made me climb into this rusty wheelbarrow. I was skeptical, because I thought he was going to tip me over. I wish we had taken more pictures on that trip, but I am so grateful for this one!

More Italian ice. We rode the street car and bus to get to this place, and I know we were BEAMING with attempted-nonchalant pride when we finally found it. 

My parents (and Sissa) had the girls over the weekend, and MeeMaw and Granddaddy drove up to get them on Sunday night until we got back Wednesday. Again, not only were they willing to watch them, they kept THANKING US for LETTING them watch the girls. 

Picture of the Princess from MeeMaw.

The ONLY picture I got with an actual grandparent. 
MeeMaw had done the laundry and cooked us dinner, and kept everything picked up. It was WONDERFUL!!! 

I was trying to unpack several suitcases, sort the 427 handouts Lily got from school, dealing with Reese refusing to get off of my leg, trying to cram 6 days worth of to-do list items into a few hours, etc... So, I barely talked to my fantastic in-laws at all. But, they were so understanding and so helpful. 

They left Halloween gifts for the girls. I didn't  get a picture of everything, because Lily ran off with all of the crafting supplies, stickers, and candy. But, how ADORABLE are the little candy bags she made? The pumpkin and candy real life, they are even cuter, if that is possible. 

We are so lucky. I cannot even believe this is my life. The truth is, going out of town requires HOURS and HOURS and hours and hours of planning and of recovering after. It will take me weeks to get caught up. BUT, 6 days in NOLA without my kids?!?! While they are getting spoiled here?? Definitely. It was awesome. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lily's books.

Lily is OBSESSED with making books.  It started a few months ago- I think my mom taught her how to make holes and tie yarn through? She ties them with yarn, staples, them, uses a binder clip, uses rubber bands. She makes tiny books, huge books, colored books, books with words, books with pictures. Constantly. I am a saver/hoarder, but I only save about 15% of what she makes at home. About 98% of what she does at school gets thrown away. 

Here are a few of the pictures I have taken JUST of books made over the last 6 days. 

She set up a school with some stuffed animals. Nothing like a free prescription notepad added to our craft supply stash. 

LOTS of books for the new baby. She puts them in a special overflowing box. 

Aunt Paula gave the girls (Reese) a new little car, and Lily spent hours Sunday writing me notes and sending me the car. I had to write back immediately (or else).

This was maybe half of the books she sent me on Sunday. 
"Mom Book," by Lily H. 

Here is what I love about Lily. I spent all year trying to get some of my students to remember to write their names on their papers. And, they were in middle school! Lily has another Lily in her class (she is Asian! It's hilarious to me), so she has to write Lily H. on everything. Including, apparently, everything she makes at home. Sometimes she writes my name as "Mom H."

These were little. It's hard to tell, but they were cut out from a coloring book and stapled together for her dolls. 

Reese did the cover page and a few others. 

She brought home all SEVEN of these just yesterday in her backpack. During "free time," they can choose what they want to do. Lily always picks crafts or pretend playing Mommy (they act out delivering babies, that is probably interesting). Yesterday, she made 7 books. I threw them all away. I have to be very selective about what I save, or we would have to designate one of our rooms just to save her crafts. 

Inside a few of the books. This one was for the new baby. 

Bug page. 

Math problems. Who is this kid?

On Sunday, she said, "Mom, I need to start doing chores. I am going to make a chore book."

I am a terrible mom and should have jumped on this chance to teach her responsibility and yada, yada. But, that just sounds like a lot of work for ME to be honest. Lily is insanely responsible for a 5 year old, too. But, mainly it is just my laziness preventing her from having regular chores. 

Anyway, here is what she wrote in the book. She spelled a lot of it herself, but obviously I helped her with some words. I love how she wrote "get dressed," which is not really a chore but something that has to be done each day. This is basically like how I have started writing, "take shower" on my to-do list just so I can actually mark something off each day. 

If the words were too long or hard, she drew a picture. 

She even drew the lines herself. 

The two pictures on Thursday are "feed Reesie" and "give Reesie a bath while YOU stay downstairs and don't come up at all, Mama!"

I love her.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lily and Soccer

Lily did the YMCA Soccer for the last two years, and it was pretty miserable for all of us. I love our Y, but the kids' soccer was CHAOS. Hughes and I are desperate for Lily to play a team sport, so we decided to give soccer another chance. (Mainly we are desperate for an activity that doesn't involve hair spray, multiple recitals, and expensive costumes). She is now playing for the Bristol Soccer Association, and it has been WONDERFUL!!!!! Lily is on the Saint Anne's team, and she is loving it.
 Lily is loving soccer. 
I never thought that would be a sentence I would type!

Her precious little team after their first game. 

Lily, Georgia Kate, and Lauren love impromptu group hugs. Their coach is really awesome (I credit Lily loving soccer in a large part to him), but he has 3 boys. I think that the amount of girl hugging and giggling really caught him off guard at first. 

I was cracking up later when I realized I got pictures of him breaking up one of 800 group hugs.

When two girls are on the sidelines together, they will bust into some cheerleading moves and cartwheels.

Reesie. Oh, sweet Reesie.
She is the reason why I have not actually watched very much of soccer and have taken only a handful of pictures. The girl is at a crazy, terrorist age. She doesn't understand she can't go ON the field. But, she will say, "Yay Lala!!!" and clap her hands. And, she is adorable, so it's fine. 

Lily and Lauren having a serious discussion during one of their break times. 

I was really nervous before the first practice. Really nervous. Lily has never really shown any interest or skill in anything athletic necessarily. I am just being honest. I mentally braced myself for lots of tears when she got her feelings hurt, if she fell, if someone else touched the ball, if she had to sweat, etc... 

But, what was I the MOST nervous about? 
The shorts. Lily does NOT wear shorts or pants. Period. She has only worn dresses for the last 3 years, despite many, many attempts on my part to convince her otherwise. We talked about how she "had to wear shorts and a tank top to soccer" for WEEKS in preparation. And, she did GREAT! She even said, "I love these shorts. Can I wear them, again?" I am positive my mouth fell open, and I was speechless. 

I am not saying Lily is the MVP or that she is even above average at soccer. But, she is definitely not terrible. And, she likes it! Lily likes soccer. Many of the traits that make Lily so difficult to parent- aggressive, bold, independent, strong-willed- are POSITIVE traits in soccer. During the first practice, I only caught a few moments here and there (I was chasing aforementioned terrorist), but she was PLAYING hard, trying, and one hundred percent unafraid.  She was sweating! After the first practice, Hughes and I were both sort of glowing with surprise and happiness. We barely talked about it, terrified we would jinx it. She has cried a few times, and she will desert the ball if there is a chance of an on-field group hug. But, I could not be happier with how the first few weeks have gone.  She is doing her absolute best.

My phone was zoomed in, so I cut out the ball. She looks like a little athlete here!

I didn't get great pictures of the second game, despite my mom being there on Reese duty. BUT, Lily SCORED TWO GOALS!!!!!!! She was GLOWING. I'm sure there was a little bit of luck involved, but we will take it! 

She isn't even near the ball here, but look at her in SHORTS and with her ponytail swinging. 

I loved everything about playing soccer in school. I will be thrilled if Lily keeps playing! But, I am just happy she is enjoying it now. And, I am elated that she is wearing shorts!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reese, 18 months.

She is actually 19 months, but I just got a chance to take her for her 18 month check up. We had to rearrange and cancel 3 times, because playdates and swim opportunities came up. #priorities

- WEIGHS: 22.4 pounds (40%!!!!!!!!!!)
- HEIGHT: 30.5 (8%)

Reesie at 18 months: Chatty, happy, silly, full of personality, outgoing, thinks she is 5, a bit of a diva, flexible, will not let me out of her sight AT ALL. 

She pretend plays MUCH more than Lily ever has. She was very matter of fact about feeding Baby and Melmo some of her oranges. Somebody has to take care of these babies. 

- She is a better talker than Lily at this age. Lily never played the "repeat" game, but Reese will repeat most words. She is VERY chatty. She has a really varied vocabulary. I love that she recognizes and names: markers, scissors, crayons, pencils, glue, glue stick, and sticker. She even tries to make short sentences, "Mama eat booberry." "Lala's shoes." "Reesie lotion belbow!" She has eczema and it is worst on her elbows so I am always chasing her with lotion. 

- She LOVES Sesame Street, especially Elmo. She knows all of the main characters and will flip out if she sees them on the overpriced little kid granola bars when we are at the grocery store. "Bi Bir! Gover! Errie! Melmo! Cookie Mosser!"

 Unfortunately, her relationship with TV is hit or miss.  She will watch Sesame Street off and on and LOVES Elmo. She gets really excited about Barney, but won't watch it for long. I think she is starting to like TV more as she gets older. #fingerscrossed

How do babies always wind up in just a diaper?

She loves to color, make dots with markers, eat glue sticks, destroy Lily's artwork, and put stickers all over the wall, people's feet, and other places they don't belong.

She goes to Mother's Day Out on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. She LOVES it, and I KNOW she is the favorite. It has been SO good for her to be around kids besides Lily and for someone else to take care of her. My girls both are so attached to me that it is borderline unhealthy. I do feel a little ridiculous that my baby goes to MDO, but on days she doesn't go, she is in the car 2-4 hours every day. My mom guilt at putting her in so young greatly outweighs my mom guilt about her being there. I did think that I would have all of this time to just go home and lounge and read, but that has not been the case at all.  I have actually only gone home ONE time in the six weeks since she started. Her school is right by Lily's school, so it's an hour round trip back to my house and just not really worth it. Plus, I always have meetings and appointments or am volunteering at Lily's school. It's really fun to get to do the fun parts of being a SAHM. Room Mom!

I didn't actually get a "first day of school" picture with the sign, because... that is just not my thing for some reason. (Why not? It really seems like something I would love to do- make a cute sign- but it always feels like a huge chore). But, here she is one day when I remembered to take a picture. Pigtails. Love her. 

One day when I picked her up, her precious teacher had fixed her hair. They ADORE her. I am so fortunate that my girls have such wonderful schools! 

She recently discovered ketchup, and there is no turning back.

"Daa-eee's soos" are her favorite toy, ever. 

- She still loves to dance and sing. Her favorite songs are "Two Little Ducks" "Twinkle Twinkle," and "Old Mc Donald." We are working on "Rocky Top." 

-She drinks about 0 - 3 ounces of milk a day.  3 total is probably her max. Lily loved milk, but she has never been a huge drinker of anything else. My girls just aren't thirsty. She eats most of what she tries, but it depends on her mood. Her favorites right now are oatmeal, yogurt, pretzels, blueberries, and coooookkkkiiies!!!

 She sleeps from 7 to 6:45/7 every night and takes about an hour nap. I had heard these rumors that I assumed were urban myths, but apparently it can be real. 12 hours at night. I just stopped for a full minute and stared at the screen, because I honestly don't even have words for what it is like to not have her waking up at 5am. Reese is my proof that sleep training is one huge lie, because I SLEEP TRAINED LILY! I started at 4 months ate was HARD CORE. With Reese? She was still waking up every 3 hours at 11 months. I did have to make her cry it out for about 3 weeks, and it was not fun, but it was NOTHING like the boot camps I had to do with Lily just to get her sleeping until 5am.

7am. I can't even. This beats winning any lottery!

She always sleeps with one hand twirled in her hair, just like Lily. Unlike Lily, she adores her lovie from Aunt Manda. She literally squeals when she sees it at bedtime. 

She isn't a huge cuddler, but she will do whatever it takes to be close to her Mama. She does not let me out of her sight, EVER. She wants me to hold her every single second of her life. #exhausting #ijustwantopeealone

She seriously thinks she is the same age as Lily. 

Her favorite towels are the frog towel ("fog towl!") and  a Cookie Monster  ("mosster towl!"). I let her choose which one she wants. 

We went to a Frozen birthday party, and one of the activities was to play with ice. It sounds random, but the kids loved it. The big girls were sticking their feet in the ice and squealing and Reese joined in the fun. 
I can't believe I ever felt sorry for her when I was pregnant that she was going to be the second child. She is living the life!

For example. 

 At another birthday party for Lily's friend- this one was at a farm with the sweetest dog, ever! Reese is obsessed with animals. 
Even while looking at this picture, my instinct is to run into the picture and grab that coke can before Reese spots it and zooms for it. Even when she is not with me, I find myself scanning random places, like Target, to quickly pick up anything she may try to eat or destroy or shove down the toilet. 

She LOVES stickers. Markers are her real favorites, but we have to be careful letting her have those, obviously. 

Hanging with Daddy.

I was trying in vain to get a picture of her in the big sister shirt, and she was running around with such purpose. I keep having these moments where I pause and think- "you're going to be a big sister?" It's precious and unbelievable. 

There have been a few more moments like this over the last few weeks- where they are just enjoying being sisters. Lily being gone during the day was the sanity break we all needed. Lily is just SO MUCH every second and loves Reese so much that it is suffocating.

I realize this picture looks so sweet and innocent, and it WAS for the 2 minutes it lasted. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my day is spent trying to scrape Reese off of my leg or keep her from destroying every single thing we own. This age is so crazy. She is into everything at full speed. My whole body hurts at the end of the day, just from keeping her alive. It's a hard age, but it is such a FUN age, too. She is so silly and sweet and full of personality. 

Also, I want to run into this picture and grab that remote before she sees it! Haha. I can't believe I let it get that close to her! #dangerzone

Lily at 18 months. They are looking less alike but definitely still like sisters. 

Also, I realize the amount of toys in this room is ridiculous. An embarrassing level of ridiculousness really. BUT, I remember this day, and I had just been to 2 consignment sales and had unloaded my loot. So, see, there is justification for the excess of crap. 

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