Friday, May 27, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Elleigh at Two Months

Once upon a time, we were concerned with Elleigh's eating habits, but not anymore! At two months, Elleigh weighed in at 11 pounds. She gained three pounds in one month, which is half her body weight on the day we brought her home. She's also such a happy baby, and her new little smile is so lovely. This sweet little girl is such a joy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Glamour for Gracie's Ninth

For Gracie's ninth birthday, she opted to celebrate with a low-key day of glamour and relaxation. I don't know if all the busyness and upheaval in our family of late had anything to do with her decision, but when I presented the option of a day alone with me and one special friend, she jumped on it.

Gracie invited her school friend Jane to join the family for breakfast at The Snooty Pig where she opened presents and ate sugary cupcakes immediately after sugary pancakes. After breakfast, the girls and I ditched Dad, the brother, and the babies for some time alone. After a quick stop at Starbucks for even more sugar, the girls enjoyed mani/pedi appointments at a local salon geared for tweens. Once they were all gussied up, we caught a showing of African Cats at the Fork & Screen. (Note: a pregnant woman eating Thai Chicken Tenders while watching an enormous lioness rip apart a dead zebra will not finish her meal.) Though it would have been fun to have had a party with lots of friends and frivolity, I think the peaceful day of undivided attention was just what Gracie needed. She sure seemed to have a happy birthday.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Let Us Commence

After what feels like ages of hard work and long, late nights, school for me is coming to an end. Though I have nine hours to complete over the first two summer sessions, I was invited to participate in the May 2011 Commencement Ceremony at Texas Woman's University. Despite the hard work, I've really enjoyed taking classes. Adding more tiny children to our family in such rapid succession, though, has made the work more stressful, and I'm glad to be wrapping up this season. When all is said and done, I will graduate cum laude (with honors) with a degree in Sociology and English Literature.

It was very special to have my family at the ceremony with me. James took the morning off, we kept the big kids home from school, and my mom came along. Brystol and Elleigh spent the morning being cuddled by a few of my mommy friends. The ceremony was divided by college, so the process was short and sweet. A very nice reception provided by the university followed.

A couple of people have asked what I plan to do with this degree, and at this point, I plan to do nothing more with it than I did without it. I'm an at-home mom, and that's not changing. I just wanted to finish what I started a long time ago, both for the sense of personal accomplishment, and as a back-up plan. (After a couple of airline scares involving my traveling husband, I wanted to be proactive about completion while I had at-home support in case I were ever in a position to need it -- which I pray I don't, at least not in that context.) Perhaps since I no longer have to read and research for a class, I can do more reading for fun. Since I no longer have to write for a class, maybe I can keep up with this blog. I am planning to spend more time in Bible study, and in addition to baby playgroup, I'll be joining a mom's group in the Fall. I'll also continue to co-lead the Hopeful Hearts group at our church. Even without formal coursework, all these commitments plus parenting five kids (three of which will be age two and under) will keep me plenty busy for a while.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Making Mother's Day Memories

My mom came over to spend Mother's Day weekend with us. Since she now has terminal cancer, she's being very intentional about spending time with friends and loved ones, and spending Mother's Day weekend with me and with a large portion of her grandkids just fit. We went to church and dinner on Saturday night, then had a lazy Sunday morning opening gifts and going out for breakfast. I had flowers delivered to Mom's house before her weekend with us, and James and the big kids put together the "Grandma & Me" Hallmark Conversation Book for her to open on Sunday. Hearing the kids share special memories about their Nanny was precious, and Mom really treasured the gift.

James and the kids showered me with gifts and goodies, and Mom gave me the "Close to Me" Willow Tree figurine. The card insert read, "Let us always remain close. These figures stand for the bond that no distance can tear apart." She said when she saw it in the store, she just sat and cried, and when she gave it to me, I did the same. My relationship with my Mom hasn't always been perfect, but we've always been together, and the fact that she'll die sooner than any of us expected breaks my heart. I will miss her more than anyone in the world, and she insists that she'll miss me even when she's in Heaven -- though I seriously doubt that. Having Mom here to make Mother's Day memories with us was very special, but I sure wish things were different and we were together this year because we love to celebrate together, not because it might be our last opportunity.

Making Mother's Day Memories

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Summer Stylin'

My two little girlies were ready for some summer stylin'. Gracie had been growing our her hair for a long while, but decided at the end of the school year that she really wanted to have it all cut off. Because it had taken so long to grow, and because she loved fixing her hair so much, I made her wait and think about that decision for about a month before I set an appointment at the salon. When she was absolutely certain a short cut was the way to go, we made a girl's day of it. As for Brystol, she just needed to have all of her wispy baby hair trimmed and shaped, so she got to join in on the fun.

Waiting to See the Stylist

Look How Long!

Keeping Brystol Still by Making Fish Faces

Pretty Pixie Cut

Ready for the Big Cut

Plenty to Donate

Summer Stylin'

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Elleigh with Binky, by Brystol

Brystol is still absolutely smitten with Elleigh. She used her doodle pad to draw a picture of Elleigh with a binky in her mouth. Not bad for a toddler drawing!

Brystol -- 21 months

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