Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year...New Me?...

Happy New Year!!! It's time for resolutions. Or, as I like to call it, time to make promises that I don't intend to keep. Ha!

This year I have decided to take a page from my journals to create resolutions. Journals? Yes. I have three. One for each of my children. I write letters to them. Not every day or even every month. But periodically I write a letter to each of my precious children. Letters about what they are doing, their favorite toys, milestones that have been reached, about how much I love them. Things of that nature. Someday when I am gone, they can read these letters and know that I loved them with everything that I am and everything I hope to become. To me there is something so intimate about reading a person's thoughts and feelings in their own hand rather than in Times New Roman. Each of my children will feel the indentations in the pages that I scribed just for them and smell the smell of old ink doused in love.

I tell them how badly I want them to be happy. I tell them how much I want them to feel love. I tell them how each of them has changed my life for the better. I also try to impart little tidbits of advice. Two things I want for them are now going to become my two resolutions for the new year.

First, live big. Eat breakfast off the fine china on a Tuesday for no good reason. Iron clothes in your wedding dress. Embrace the good with the bad. Wear your finest peals to pump gas.This is the only life I have, so I have to live it big with no regrets. You can bring back memories, but you can never go back. Live it now, and live it big.

Second, be generous. Be generous with your time and your love. Be generous with your ears because sometimes other people just need to be heard. Be generous with your forte no matter what it may be. Give freely of yourself, and you will receive far more in return.

So that's it folks. This is what I hope to accomplish in the new year. A heart that gives and loves and has no regrets. A heart that my children might be proud of.

Oh What a Face....

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sex, There I Said It...

Sex. Is it a dirty word?

Not really.

I have to admit though, there are a lot of negative connotations associated with the word Sex. I am past thirty, and I can't bare to say the word sex in front of my mother. Clearly, everyone knows I've been having sex, or I wouldn't have three children. It's not like they were immaculately conceived. Or I can pretend that in front of my grandmother.

On occasion, my girlfriends and I will joke about sex or talk about the joys of sex after children. Don't even pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. "I'm really tired. Can I just lay there?" or right in the throws of passion, a child gets out of bed, knocks on your door, and declares that some one vomited in the middle of the night. Talk about a mood killer. I once even told the hubs he had 15 minutes. Not anytime minutes. No rollover minutes allowed. And he would incur roaming charges if he went over. That's what parenthood will do to a sex life.

Even though sex isn't something that is often blogged about, it's obvious that we've all been having it. A mommy blog cannot exist without first having sex to conceive a child or trying to conceive a child. Why is it such a taboo subject? Even the most religious of individuals has something of a sex guide.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—

for your love is more delightful than wine.

3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;

your name is like perfume poured out.
Song of Solomon

Oh yes, even in the Good Book, sex is a topic touched on more than once. So, I ask. Why are we hiding sex talk? I'm not talking about the nitty, gritty details. I'm talking about frank discussions on how sex changes throughout life. For example:

Early 20's before kids: Honey, it's raining. We can't go hiking. What do you want to do? Well, I guess we could have sex to pass the time.
20's trying to conceive: No, now. You have to have sex with me in the next five hours! I am ovulating. I don't care what football game is on. You have to perform. Now!
20's after kids: Holy cow! The baby is asleep. We should have sex. The odds of me being remotely interested in it in an hour are slim. Get it while it's being offered. And no, I'm not taking my top off.
30's: I had one too many glasses of wine with dinner. The kids are at your parents. Let's get it on. (in my best sexy voice)

I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Blog about sex. I will probably read it, or I will be in the witness relocation program after this post is read by all 5 of my readers and an angry mob comes for me. Either way, put it out there.

Family Game Night...For a Gift?...

When the children wrote their letters to Santa, Layton and Ella both put "Family Game Night" as one of the things they wanted. Obviously, they've seen the commercials for the games and heard the voice over talking about family game night. So, what was Santa to do?

I'm guessing we'll be playing some games in the future. As a family! Ha!

What, Did Donkey Say Something Funny?...

Gosh, I need some warm weather.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

What Cute Bags You Have....

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They're better to hold lots of Christmas goodies.

Thank you, Grandmother.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Pageant in Action...

Hadley reading the first 23 verses of scripture.

Ella reading her part. She had a lot of trouble with the word Bethlehem. Hadley leaned over right before it was time to say it and whispered it in her ear, so she would say it right. :)

And the littlest Shepard...
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Come, They Told Me...

Every year churches put on a pageant. You have probably participated in a few yourself. This year I decided to let my little nuggets be a part of the one at the Presbyterian church. That's where I go to church. When I go.

Hadley was a reader. So she sat in the choir loft and read scripture to the congregation. It would have been better if she had pronounced Nazareth correctly, but she's agnostic anyway so what does it really matter.

Ella also read scripture. The older kids get stuck with that job. Ella is definitely not an older child, but she could read well enough to make it work.

And Layton? Well, he was the world's shortest Shepard. Wait til I post the pictures of it!
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Piano Concerto...

Ella started taking piano classes in the Summer. She absolutely loves it and her teacher. A few weeks ago, she had her very first recital. She was nervous as could be. We got there a few minutes early so she could get the feel of the room and to take her picture with her teacher.

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Ella did a very, very good job and is excited to continue lessons in the Spring. I am thrilled that she wants to take lessons. My dad would be super proud of her, and it would have been something special for them to do together. Have I mentioned that my dad was a piano guru? He was. Anyway, I am just so proud of little Ella for her renditions of Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Word to Yo Santa...

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Christmas Program...Nope, I'm gonna Dance...

Layton's class had a program at school in celebration of Christmas. He didn't want to participate very much. He wanted to boogie. So he did. On the front row. Leaving me unable to get a decent picture.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


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Picture Layton with a staff....going after these guys....yep...nuff said...

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out...

Only a Red Rider BB Gun can make me say that...

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To Be Done...As Layton Says...

So, I have quite a few posts in the hopper waiting to publish. Including a post about sex that will probably make my spouse cringe. I decided to re-order the way the next few posts are going to hit just so I can get all the Christmas party shots out of the way before the big day this weekend. :)

So that means I have got a lot to get done over the next few days.....

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Layton made a list for me, so that I wouldn't forget anything. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Slumming For Content...

The good ole blog has been lacking in good posts lately. Is there anything that anyone would like for me to blog about? Any questions you'd like answered?

Oh, and keep your eyes posted for an announcement. My last post was a giveaway....and someone actually hit the nail on the head....and will be receiving a little goodie from me. The winner and prize will be announced soon!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Do You Think She Was Doing?...

What do you think Ella was doing when Layton snapped this picture on my phone?

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The person who answers closest to correct gets a prize. A big, honking enabling prize.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Which Card Did I End Up Using?...

Thanks to Shutterfly I actually sent Christmas cards this year. Which design did I go with?

This one...

Happy Holidays to you all!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ella and Layton with Santa at K-Mart...

So we went to K-Mart the other day, and pictures with Santa were being offered. I scanned the one we got of Ella and Layton (Hadley is far too old for Santa, in her opinion).

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He was a right jolly old elf. And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

He played the saxophone too! The little ones loved it!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Days of Warmth Are Gone...

It's cold. It's been really, really cold. I'm just not used to the temperature being as low as it is right now. I live in Alabama for crying out loud! :) I am longing for the days when I had to turn on the AC in my car.

Longing for the days of walking outside without my fingers turning blue...

Longing for days of sunshine....

Longing for days at the farm wearing shorts and brushing Mary Jane...

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The kids are longing for some warm days too. Layton keeps asking to play outside, but I have to tell him no. A girl that I went to high school with lives in Alaska now. Her kids play outside until it's below 30. Um, my kids play outside until it's below 60. HA!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Excuse Me While I Play Horse...

Hadley is obsessed with some game on the Internet about horses. She plays it all the time! She even used a chunk of her money to buy a bunch of passes for the game. This is what she looks like most nights after she finishes her homework.

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Does anyone else have a child obsessed with an online kids game?

Little Man in a Little Coat...

My mother-in-law saves everything. No, she really saves all kinds of things. For example, she has been hanging on to this coat...

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This coat belonged to my father-in-law when he was a little boy. Layton loves to put it on and prance around. I think he might be a reincarnated member of the Rat Pack though. He loves to wear his "tuxedo" to school. And sweater vests? Oh, he rocks them out! I've been thinking of buying him some spats and a fedora. He'd probably wear them all the time. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Article to Think About Before My Next Post...

Early Childhood Education – Certified Early Childhood Education Fills the Gaps

While there are still some parents who can stay at home with their children, our reality today is that most parents are forced to send their young children to some type of to child care facilities or preschool.

Those who are fortunate enough to stay at home to raise their children naturally wish to take full advantage of this opportunity by attempting to give their children a head start on learning; reading to them, engaging in educational play activities, encouraging them to read, and more. Unfortunately, very few parents can do it all.

However if you are forced to or want to send your children to a preschool, the decision you make about which program to send them to can either benefit or hurt them. This is where young children can greatly benefit from attendance a certified preschool, operated by trained, certified early childhood educators. While preschool teacher cannot replace a parent, the experience of learning in a school setting during the early years can be a valuable supplement to a child's experience at a time when the brain is being shaped and developed.

One area that a certified early childhood educator can fill the gap in is the developmental stages.

There is arguably no substitute for a loving parent-child relationship and daily interactions – but scientific methodology has an important place. There are five equally important areas of a young child's development that must have special attention paid to, also known as "SPICE" – Social, Physical, Intellectual, Creative and Emotional.

Social development includes the way a child relates to others and functions in a group setting. Particularly for those who come from a family where they are the only child, but also for those children with siblings as well, it is important to see how they interact with those who they are not related to. The importance of socialization in a structured environment becomes apparent.

Physical development refers to building motor skills, from the gross (such as walking and running) to the fine (such as holding a pen or pencil).

Intellectual development is achieved through structured play, and of course means development of language and math skills as well as the child's innate sense of curiosity and wonder; Intellectual development is central to success in school later on.

Creative development addresses artistic talents in visual arts, music, storytelling and even theatrics. It is the foundation self-expression and problem solving and something that children need to explore early on.

Emotional development is also frequently overlooked, even by the most devoted parents. Yet, without a sense of self, including self confidence and the discipline to deal with one's own emotional responses, a child will have difficulty functioning in society later in life.

The Professional Advantage
It is likely that most parents are aware of these developmental domains on an instinctive level. However, certified preschool educators are trained in the scientific theory and methodology that can make the difference between a child succeeding – and succeeding brilliantly.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Atlanta child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose educational child care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Self Portrait...Layton Style...

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The Tuxedo..

Layton insisted on wearing what he calls his "tuxedo" to preschool yesterday. It's actually just a dressy suit that he wears to church. He asks to wear it all the time though and wants me to buy him more.

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I couldn't resist getting a little pick on my cell phone. Tuxedo time!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Breathe In...

Do you have any favorite memories from going to camp as a child or young adult? Love to camp or backpack? Enjoy the outdoors?

The area where I live is not exactly a big city. That might be an understatement. There are lots of tractors on the road during cotton season. I know as many farmers as I know lawyers. I cannot imagine growing up in a big city where grass is a luxury. My best friend, who is from Connecticut, was surprised the first time she came to visit Alabama. I remember her making the remark that all the houses had "grass all around them." The proof? The hubs in a field at the farm house....

Sometimes I take it for granted that we get to spend as much time as we want roaming across acres of land having fun. My children are blessed to be able to ride four wheelers and RTVs and play in the creek.

Can you imagine for a moment that you live in New York City? In an underprivileged home? Many of those children never have the opportunity to run through fields or smell fresh air. Or see the stars without ambient light corrupting the view.

The Fresh Air Fund has been affording underprivileged children the opportunity to experience fresh air since 1877. There are host families all over who invite these children to spend time in a rural area. More than 1.7 million (since 1877) disadvantaged youth have been given the blessing of fresh air through this wonderful organization. If you have the time, please visit their website and consider making a donation or becoming a host family.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Not Too Much...

Not too much has been going on lately. I don't have much to blog about. Hopefully, I will get some good pictures of the children soon. :)