Thursday, May 26, 2011

Milestones and Such

In case you didn’t know, my girl is growing up. Anna Kate is becoming so independent. It’s kind of scary.  Her vocabulary and grammar increase on a daily basis. I’m waiting for her to tell me that she is ready to read…well maybe not read, but learn her alphabet for sure!
Within the last couple of months Anna Kate has:
Swung in a big girl swing
Gotten strong enough to hold the camera up and purposely take a picture
Is becoming a beautiful dancer (what will we do when Aunt Casey moves away and isn’t teaching her anymore?)
Picked out her own outfits (rain coat, sun glasses, princess shoes and a cowboy hat)
Learned to use scissors (under supervision of course)
Gone Fishing
Has discovered a love for makeup 

Become a big helper in the kitchen 
Helped her baby doll learn to use the potty
Has found an intense love for all types of shoes
Eats almost completely unassisted (sometimes I jump in if i'm in a hurry)
Drinks out of a cup with no top (She LOVES to do this!)
Feeds and waters her animals (some of them anyway)

Successfully worn big girl panties through the night
Brush her teeth alone
Has started practicing hitting a softball
I'm so proud of my sweet girl. I have no idea where some of the things that she does come from, but she is smart as a whip! The other day I walked into my room and she had pulled out a drawer to climb on so that she could reach something on the dresser. As Kyle said, it might have been dangerous and stupid, but it sure was intelligent. I can't wait to see what we learn tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meet Tuff

Sunday evening we had a knock at our door, which turned out to be our friend Shane Bridges. I thought that something was wrong because of the look on his face when my sister Casey opened the door. Kyle went outside to talk to him while Casey and I stayed inside with AK playing and dancing. Casey eventually had to go and Kyle was still outside talking. (If any of you know Shane though, you know why he was still outside. He’s a bit of a talker.) AK and I started getting ready for bed and we decided that we needed to go check on Daddy.
What did we find when we went into the shop you ask? Shane had brought Anna Kate a new baby lab puppy.
He looked like he was just big enough to be taken from his momma. Anna Kate was immediately in love. She said that he needed a “Bwanket” to sleep on. We headed inside and picked a blanket to take to him. Then Kyle said we needed to get him some water. Anna Kate was more than happy to oblige.
Puppy went without a name for a while. Monday evening AK and I decided that he would be known from here on out forever and ever amen as “Tuff”. What do you know? Kyle actually liked it. When we got our last two dogs I wasn’t allowed to have a very big part in naming them. I was thrilled. It’s also super sweet to hear AK holler at Tuff. She calls him to come eat, and screams “No Tuff, det down” when he is jumping on her with his little puppy paws (not to mention his sharp little puppy nails).
AK has taken a very proactive role in tending to the puppy. We’ll see how long that lasts…
 Giving Tuff kisses
Screaming at Tuff to get off of her feet!
Side note: My baby sister is moving to NYC this Friday. I would be lying if I said I was excited about it. (Purely for selfish reasons) I know that she is beside herself and cannot wait to  be up there and begin her life as a starving artist. Ok, so she probably won't be starving, but she will be working like crazy and auditioning a ton too. I know that she will be an amazing addition to the city of a thousand faces, I'm just going to miss her. So here's to you baby sister. I'm so proud of you and just cannot believe that you're grown up and moving away. I love you and am thankful not only to call you my sister, but my friend.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Got My Makesup Did

  Today was the day…I took the plunge. I went to the mall and with the help of my makeup savvy sister (who also knows me pretty well, i.e. what I like and would actually stick to doing) I bought big girl makeup for the very first time. Yes, I’ve purchased mascara before. Yes, I’ve even attempted to do eye shadow, most of which was given to me by someone or a free sample that someone got from Clinique.
  Today however, I purchased my very own regimen. It’s not too involved or complicated. That was the first thing that the girl at the Clinique counter, Mallory,  asked (after can I help you); what will you realistically be able to handle every day. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to tell her. That’s where my trusty sister stepped in. All I wanted was something to help me not look like a tired old hag. I hadn’t thought of a way to tell a sales clerk that without sounding like a dummy. Casey told her that I have a pretty good skin care regimen; I just needed something for a little pick me up. 
Can you guess what her next question was? Is your face normally this red or do you have a sunburn? I had never noticed that my face was necessarily red, I just thought that it was my color and that’s how it was. She applied a mineral powder to my face with a powder brush to reduce the redness. She said that if I wanted to I could mix it in with my moisturizer in the mornings instead. I think I’m going to try that. What do you know? The redness was gone. Seeing myself differently is going to take some getting used to.
Next was eye shadow. She asked me what colors I wanted. I HAD NO CLUE!  WE stepped over to look at the shades. She pointed out about 5 different combinations that she thought would bring out the green in my eyes. Sure the color combinations looked slightly different, but in the end they were all light brown and brown to me. Therefore, I did what any sensible person making a purchase of something they know nothing about does, I let Casey and Mallory pick it out for me. We made our way back to the demo table. I told her that I don’t even really have a good grasp on application. She said that she was going to teach me and then let me do the other eye. Mallory applied the light base color to my whole lid. Next she applied the darker color about halfway through my crease and came down over the top of my lid next to my lashes making a kind of “v” shape. Then she blended and defined the “v”. I’m telling you all of this for my benefit, so that I don’t forget and if I do I have a point of reference. I decided to not do eye liner, I don’t think I’ll have the patience or discipline to do that every day. Maybe that will be something that I build to.
It was my turn next. I must have looked pretty stupid applying it myself because Casey sat on the other side of the table laughing hysterically at me. In the end I didn’t do too badly. Mallory came back and showed me how to do a little better job defining.  I felt a little sense of accomplishment.
Blush was our next topic of discussion. Casey said that I needed it, so Mallory applied a tawny blush to the apples of my cheeks in a sweeping motion. She said that I needed to stay away from pinks because my face is so naturally red. I concur.  W then concealed the heinous purple bags under and around my eyes. She suggested that I should put a little concealer on my top lid to reduce the purple look. I agreed with that as well.
Finally, we had to decide if I wanted a lipstick, gloss or pencil. I let Casey decided, but I already knew her answer. Casey suggested that I do a lipstick. (She thinks that it’s stupid to buy expensive gloss when cheap gloss does the same thing) Mallory brought back three colors to choose from. I narrowed the field to two and let them decide. I think that I might have either been the easiest or the hardest client that she’s ever tended to. Easiest because I wasn’t fussy and she got to make the decisions, hard because I couldn’t make up my own mind.

In the end it was a really good experience. It’s only the first day, and I didn’t apply it all, but I think that I can handle it. Casey said something to me that is easing my fear of makeup. She said, “LaRae, it’s just makeup. You can wash it off. Have fun with it and  play around.” So I will think that every time I brave the mysterious world of makeup.
What do you think? Not too bad I guess. I’ll have to get used to it.

Atleast I don't look that tired anymore!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What a Day!

I've been in a mood... For those of you who have to be around me, I apologize. I'm currently blaming it on lack of sleep and hormones. (Every pregnant woman’s excuse!) I don’t think that I really felt this insecure during my last pregnancy. Insecurities are giving me the blues. To top off the blues, I’M EXHAUSTED! Anna Kate doesn’t really care about that part. Something about her not being able to meet her basic needs on her own and me needing to be responsible, blah blah blah. (I hope that you sensed my sarcasm)

Today I did something accidentally that placed the cherry on top of my crap Sunday. I was attempting to take the time stamp off of my digital camera. I couldn’t figure it out so I was going through every category in my camera’s menu. I went into format, not realizing that I had moved the select button to change the formatting of my camera. For those of you who do not know, this DELETES ALL OF YOUR PICTURES! This memory card contained pictures from Anna Kate’s first Christmas until now…more than 3000 pictures. I immediately felt sick to my stomach.

Thank goodness for Auburn University’s amazing IT department! As we speak my sd card files are  being recovered by a freaking awesome IT guy! He saved me from having a nervous breakdown! I mean people, I was almost heave crying. I can’t compare this loss to someone who lost everything in a fire or a storm, but for a second I knew that scary feeling. I kind of felt like I had deleted my baby’s life right off of my camera.

Needless to say, this girl will definitely be downloading and backing up everything from now on!

For your enjoyment (and mine!).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Potty Training Princess

Anna Kate started asking to go to the potty when she was 11 months old. If you’re doing the math, that was about a year ago. Back then she would ask every so often to (at least once a day). Nowadays we’re doing much better and Anna Kate only has one (if that) tee-tee (sorry Ollie) accident a day. Kyle wanted to start using a reward system. When she goes in the potty she gets a piece of candy. Some dr.’s agree with this method, some do not. It’s workin’ for us, so I can’t really complain. We have been so proud of Anna Kate and her progress in potty training.
Now when it comes to the other bodily function that becomes a mainstay in your day as a mom, also known as pooping, we haven’t truly mastered it. We’re lucky if AK will once a day. Usually she goes and hides behind a chair or door to have a private moment. If you look for her and you find her having her private moment, she holds her hand up and says “No,no…more.” As in, Mom, don’t mess with me I’m not done. Kyle handles this better than do. He tries to find her to begin with and just makes her sit on the potty. My approach is to let her finish her business and in her own time she will want to go in the potty all the time. I don’t want to traumatize her.
That being said, sometimes AK’s accidents are funnier than others. If she somehow gets her diaper off, or is in a situation where she doesn’t have a diaper on, she turns into an un-potty trained dog. She’ll go anywhere she good and darn well pleases. A couple of Saturdays ago the girls and I were having lunch at my momma’s house for one of our get-togethers. We ate out on the patio by the newly installed pool. For any of you who do not know my daughter personally, she LOVES water. Bath water, rain, sprinkler, pool, the girl is part fish. Drandaddy came home from cutting grass and AK told him that she wanted to get in the pool. My father, who thinks that this precious perfect child should have whatever her little heart desires, was more than happy to make her dream come true. No swim suit or swim diaper was brought with us that day. What’s a girl to do? My little nudist strips down and heads on into the crystal blue water for some fun in the sun. Everyone thought that it was so cute and then conversation picked back up.
Picture Courtesy of "Aunt Wee Wee"
I’ll bet you’re wondering what this has to do with potty training. If you’re smart or a currently/veteran potty training momma, you know where it’s headed. The next thing I know, my momma had grabbed Anna Kate and is rushing upstairs to the potty. She was in a hurry, but was able to shout out “AK has to poop, she was squatting!” I turn around to the pool not knowing what to expect. What do my unsuspecting eyes see? Anna Kate has gotten out of the pool…squatted down…and there in all it’s glory is a little treasure that she had left just for me. I’m not saying that she should know better, but she should know better. Are human beings born with absolutely no shame that we think it’s ok to pop a squat and take care of business in front of people. Oh who am I kidding! It was one of the funniest things that I had ever witnessed and I just felt bad for those who it might have made squeamish.
Needless to say, we’re still working on it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

This weekend started out in an amazing way… I was off on Friday! My glucose tolerance test was scheduled for Friday so I took a day and hung out with the coolest girl I know, Anna Kate! I felt so lucky to be spending the day with her (and that she let me sleep until almost 8:00 a.m.) She was an amazingly well behaved little girl in the dr.’s office (I was so proud). She also kept me very entertained which made the hour long test pass by quickly. When it was time to have my blood drawn she was so excited to watch. This is yet another example of how much she is just like her daddy. After our dr. appointment we headed to have lunch with Aunt Casey. What in the world is better than Chick-fil-a after not eating for several hours?  Anna Kate loves her Aunt Casey to pieces.
Saturday morning Anna Kate slept until around 7:30 a.m. again. The Lord was smiling down on me this weekend... He knew that I had reached my limit on sleep deprivation. We started getting ready for one of the most fun days of the year, Cotney Cousin’s Day. We loaded up and headed to the Cotney River Farm for a day filled with family, fun and FOOD!  It was amazing seeing so many of my family members that I really only get to see at the farm.  We hung out and ate some of the best Southern Cookin’ known to man. Later on we loaded up on the back of a couple pick-up trucks and headed down to the river. Anna Kate had such a blast playing in the river sand/dirt and in the water. She was a little shy when it came to playing with her cousins, but I think that she really enjoyed her time on the farm all in all.
This picture came shortly after Anna Kate tried to peel open Casey's closed eyes!
All of my generation's cousins

On the ride back to the farm house from the river Anna Kate gave up the fight!
When we returned home Grammy and Pops were getting ready to boil some gulf shrimp that they picked up on the way home from the beach on Friday. Anna Kate was amazed watching Pops dip the boiled shrimp onto a screen to drain. She also liked eating them!
Riding over to the "big house" with Grammy on the cart.

Kyle had to work on Sunday, which meant that we celebrated my Mother’s Day on Saturday night. Anna Kate toddled over to me with the sweetest card smiling from ear to ear. She also handed me a sweet porcelain angel that she had picked out that said “Love with all my heart”.  In the card was a gift certificate for Dillards and an appointment at the makeup counter to have a “teaching” session. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not do makeup. The only time that I’ve ever really worn it consistently was when I was a member of the SU Sound. Even then I didn’t apply it myself (Thank you Ollie!). Kyle is the kind of person that you have to watch what you say around. He listens to things that you say that you want throughout the year (no matter how stupid or hypothetical you are being) and that’s how he decides what he will be giving for a special occasion. This time, I think that he did pretty well. The other day I told him that I am just tired of looking tired. I constantly (especially now that I’m pregnant) look like the poor bag woman on the corner pushing a buggy full of her most treasure possessions who also has to stay awake for days at the time protecting said possessions. (A little dramatic?) My momma hasn’t ever really consistently worn makeup that I can remember, so I just never learned. Well the time has come my friends. I am tired of looking like a worn ragged working mom. I am going to learn. Kyle’s only request is that I don’t come home looking like a hooker. I told him that I probably wouldn’t ever take enough time to make myself look that way so he didn’t have to worry.
Mother’s Day was spent traveling from Kyle’s family to my family. We made a concrete paver with AK’s hand prints in it for Nana and a picture frame that AK had picked out just for her. We went in with I think Katie to get AK’s Grammy an elephant yard statue for her newly constructed flower beds. For my mom we all went in for a family portrait session. Mom had been trying to get everyone together for a new family portrait for quite some time. Now, maybe everyone will feel obligated to do so! At my mom’s house AK decided that she needed to test out Dranmama and Dranda’s newly constructed swimming pool. I think that this new facility is going to provide hours of summer entertainment! She had a blast, and I think that the whole family had a wonderful time watching her.
This is the picture that AK's Sunday School teachers had made for me for Mother's Day. Doesn't this picture of AK look a bit like a mug shot? I love it, and it's SO her!
 AK with Dranmana after she became so cold that she was shaking as she was walking. 
Dranmama playing in the pool with my naked baby. Have I mentioned that I think my little girl is a nudist?
AK playing out by the pool.
Jesse opening his birthday card: he got a Mac Book Pro. Lucky dog!
Side note: Happy 19th Birthday to my wonderful little brother, Jesse. Can’t believe that you’re about to graduate and start college. I am extremely proud of you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I’m Such a Slacker

I’ve been a bad… bad blogger. I have been so exhausted lately that I just haven’t written ANYTHING. Today I vow to you (and my Aunt Ruthie who is upset with me because she checks my blog every day) that I will do better. 
A lot has transpired over my month “break” from blogging. We decided not to build our house for at least a year and a half until we get some stuff paid off. The potential for us to have to send both of the babies to daycare is becoming a reality, so we didn’t want to add a house payment to the budget just in case we have to pay for daycare (which would be a mortgage payment in itself). So we’re going to hang out in the little house for a while.
Anna Kate thoroughly enjoyed her second Easter. She was totally exhausted by the end of the weekend but I think it was well worth it! Saturday we went to our church’s Easter egg hunt. AK played with her friends and was having a wonderful time…until…the Easter Bunny showed up. It was over with after that! She wouldn’t take her eyes off of that bunny for fear that it would actually come near her. Even when she was hunting eggs, she was looking up scanning the area just in case she needed to escape the clutches of that menacing “wabbit”.
AK ran to her Grammy to get away from the scary Easter Bunny!
After the egg hunt, Dranmama, Drandaddy, Uncle Buddy, and Aunt Casey came to the house for some more Easter fun. We hunted eggs in the front yard (and as shameful as it is, I used the eggs that she found at the church…bad momma!). After the egg hunt we all went down to the pond for some cat fishin’. AK finally got to put that princess fishing pole to good use. She had a lot of fun watching people catching the fish. When it came to her getting near the fish though, she wasn’t too thrilled. We were out by the pond until close to dark and then the fam had to return to the wonderful land of Linevegas.

We got one!
She was very scared of the fish once they had it reeled in!
The first fish that she and Drandaddy caught with her princess pole.
Chasing Dranmama
Sunday morning AK woke up to her Easter basket. We had to convince Anna Kate that the Easter Bunny was not there, that he loves her and just wanted to leave her a present. She wouldn’t get out of her bed and kept saying, “Bunny, hurt you!”. We would then say, no, the bunny is sweet and loves you. He would never hurt you. She finally decided that it was safe to emerge from the comfort of her bed (or her momma’s arms). She loved her new Easter shoes and couldn’t wait to put them on. I think the thing that caught her attention the most was the candy. She loves Starburst Jelly Beans (SO much like her Daddy) and carried the bag straight to her proud papa to open them as soon as she spotted them. After seeing what the bunny brought we all got ready and headed to church.
Easter Sunday started with Sunday School and Church EARLY. I kind of like church being that early. I had to sing that morning, which is a little harder in the morning time. I think that it went ok. After church we went home to boil and dye eggs for  my families humongous Easter egg hunt/meal. Kyle always gets excited about this family gathering because he thinks that our babies will always have such a blast hunting eggs with so many of their cousins. (When I say huge Easter egg hunt, that is no exaggeration, my mom is one of 8, and each one of her brothers and sisters had at least 2 children (most have more), and their children have children, and now some of their children have children…did I say huge?). Anna Kate loved being in the woods and getting to see all of her cousins.
Sweet baby in her Easter Dress
Easter Family Photo
She was so excited about the big Easter egg hunt that we couldn't hardly get her to focus on the task at hand: hunting eggs!

 After we left the big egg hunt we headed to Daviston to Kyle’s grandparents house. Upon arrival we were informed that over 40 eggs had been hidden there for Anna Kate to find. We thought it was a little overkill at first, but AK’s Aunt Katie loves to hunt Easter eggs and is so glad that AK has come along so that she can hide and hunt again. After about 45 minutes of egg hunting AK was pretty tired. We hung out with Nana and Daddy Gaines for a while more, just long enough for AK to strip completely naked and run around the yard. This kid becomes a bigger mess with each day that passes I’m telling you. We left Daviston and headed back to Marcoot  for a late evening visit with Grammy and Pops to see what the Easter Bunny had left Anna Kate at their house. We played and played until it was time to head home and get ready for the upcoming week. AK was so exhausted that she passed out leaning over a table in the living room. Kyle and I felt the exact same way.
Nana had to catch her after she stripped down in the yard
Sharing her new "wip stick" with Pops
Going through her loot with Grammy
Tired little monkey!
We celebrated the birthdays of Kyle’s mom and dad the week before and after Easter, respectively. AK was pumped for their birthdays because she got to sing her version of her favorite song…Happy Birthday.
Then a day that the citizens of Alabama will never forget… April 27, 2011. Tornadoes and harsh weather struck our state in a catastrophic way leaving many residents of the State of Alabama homeless, possession less,  and hopeless. Kyle was at work that night, AK and I were home alone. I have to admit that I was frightened. Storms have never really scared me. Lightning has always intrigued me and if I weren’t such a worry wart I think I could have been a storm chaser (not really, but they are cool to look at). It’s amazing what having a child will do to you though. When I was in high school I went to a youth retreat that Josh McDowell was the speaker at. He said that true love means that you are willing to love someone else more than you love yourself; That you’re willing to do for someone else in spite of your own desires. When I met and fell in love with my husband I knew what he meant. Now that I’ve had a child, it has taken the idea to a whole new level. In times of uncertainty, fear, or trouble my children and family members were all that I could think about. I don’t know how to express the feeling that I had during the entire storm, but I knew that God was with us. We say our prayers after we have gotten our pajamas on for bed. That night AK told me that she wanted to pray again. She does this often, so I didn’t really think anything about it. During her prayer (most of the time prompted by me) we said “Thank you God for our family and friends and keep them safe”. Before I could tell her to say amen AK said one word “Daddy”.  So we added a little more to the prayer, “and please keep Daddy safe, Amen”. Kyle was never in any danger. I guess that you learn what true love is even earlier than I thought. AK didn’t act very scared, she just worried about her daddy. I felt the same way about her. We didn’t have any damage. The neighboring communities in our area weren’t so lucky. We have tried to do our part in terms of relief efforts, but the damage and need across the state is SO overwhelming.  The victims and relief workers remain in my prayers. If you want to help, there are many groups that have organized donation drop offs all over the state/U.S. Toomer's for Tuscaloosa has an undated facebook page for further information and I believe their own website now: Also the Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse, Red Cross are a few other options.