Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mother Daughter Girl's Day!

When I was young there were a few dreams that I had that I always prayed would come true. The first one was: the day my dad would walk me down the aisle and give me away to the man of my dreams. Check, done. The second one: the gift of children. I so look forward to carrying a baby, and feeling it kick inside of me. I prayed for the days that we would get to run and play, and pretend. And oh how I have always looked forward to the days that I would be able to have girl’s day with my daughters.

Emma Grace is really getting to a great age to do things like this with (aka – take out in public). There was a time that I thought I would never be able to take this child out of the house to interact with the rest of the world. But now that she is four years old she is really starting to listen well, and make great choices (as long as older brother is not around).

Saturday I really just needed some time out of the house away from the babies. I love my babies but they are a ton of work right now. So in an effort not to leave Ryan with 4 children I took Emma Grace with me. It was also her reward for not having accidents during the week. I think the new move to Atlanta and into a new house has caused lots of anxiety in her little body because she had been having lots of accidents, and I think it is probably just an “attention getter.” Therefore; her reward was a day with mommy!

We started off at the DMV where I got my new GA drivers licenses.  Next we had lunch, and then went to the mall where this little girl shopped and shopped.  Emma Grace loved Pottery Barn Kids and playing with all of the kid kitchen sets.  We rode the Merry Go Round.  Where Emma Grace picked a lovely horse to ride, she said it reminded her of the farm!  We stopped by Godiva where she ordered $13 worth of chocolate covered strawberries, and then proceeded to eat every single one of them!  We sat in the Lovesac (aka - giant bean bag chair, that mommy really wants for the playroom).  We shoe shopped, and tried on bathing suits which the results were not good in that department.  But we made up for that disappointment by having manicures and pedicures.  Emma Grace just absolutely loved this experience.  She was so sweet enjoying the massaging chair!  We have our toes and hands done and now we are ready for the beach.

Giving thanks today for dreams coming true! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Coble Art Time

I have seen this project on Pinterest a couple times, and knew it would look great in the play room I have always dreamed of!  I can't wait to show pictures of my play room when it is all pulled together.  It is in bright primary colors much like this project. 

The kids and I recently took a break from unpacking and did this art project.  The kids had so much fun organizing old crayons and sorting them out, and arranging them by rainbow colors.  They really enjoyed watching me melt the crayons. 

The only thing I would have done differently would have been heating the crayons from the back of the canvas.  I don't think I would have gotten as much oil on the wrappers had I done so. 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wheeling and Dealing

I said a few post ago that I wanted to write this post, so here goes. I have had so much decorating my new house, and I am trying to be realistic and extra thrifty when doing so. My husband would disagree given the barstools and patio furniture that I ordered, but sometimes you just can’t sacrifice! Back to my story. I have become a pro at Craigslist and I love all of the things that a big market has opened up to my addiction! I think I love the art of making a deal. It is really just a game at the end of the day. I love negotiating for things, especially things to decorate my house with. Sometime if I want something bad enough we were willing to pay what they were asking, but it is so much fun to see what we can make a deal for.

For years I watched my dad make deals with car dealers and for stuff that he found in the newspaper classifieds. I will never forget all of the little yellow highlighted stocks of classified ads that adorned our living room tables after he was done browsing the Sunday paper. I can also remember that when he wanted something he was never afraid to ask for what he wanted and if they said “no” or offered a higher price he was never afraid to negotiate or just flat out walk away from the deal. I loved to watch this process!

Here is a look into some of my recent deals:

This is my $800 jogging stroller that I got for only $400. The owner was asking $450, and I offered her $350, and we settled for $400. The stroller was only used one time, and she decided that her 4 year old was too big to riding in a stroller. I love it, and am very happy with my deal!  I really love my Bro/Sis stroller, and it is great for in store activities.  But we needed something for the parks and trails that we have fallen in love with. 

This is my Pottery Barn train table that was originally $200 that I got for $115.  This was part of Emma Grace’s birthday gift.  I was supper excited because it was brand new, and almost never been used.  I found this lady’s ad on craigslist.  I am going to order the big bends that go underneath them, so we can store our toys. 

This is my favorite deal! A $2,500 Pottery Barn couch that I got for only $300. (Not a great picture, but look behind the train table.) I bought it from the same lady that I got Emma Grace’s train table from. This lady had the neatest things in her house, and of very high quality. When I was buying the train table she asked me if there was anything else that I needed. I told her I was looking for a queen bed and a couch for our play room and guest room. She told me she could help with the couch. She was trying to clear out her house, so they could move. The lady was asking $500 and I told her I would give her $300, and she said “OK”. Yay for me!!!

I don’t know what I am going to do when Ryan finally trades in the truck for the car he has been eyeing. The truck is my means for hauling all of my finds in the big city!

Another big deal for us was our house!  We got the house for about 10% less than what they were asking for.  We negotiated back and forth a few times, but finally came to an agreement.  Then we had our inspection done (on top of the sellers already done inspection), and ours came back with additional things that needed attention.  The sellers offered us $500 towards the cost of closing to have them done ourselves.  I knew that Ryan and I would not be able to do them ourselves anytime soon, because we have so many small children.  Plus we don’t own a saw or a really tall ladder, which both were needed for the projects.  So that would have cost us at least $500 to get the tools to do the job.  I was thinking it would cost us at least $1,200 to have it hired out.  So we asked the sellers for $1,800 towards the cost of closing, and they came back with $1,500.  Now here is the good part:  I had all of the work hired out and it only cost me $450.  It really pays to find a great handy man, and not to be afraid to ask for what you want.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Birthday Dinner

For Emma Grace’s birthday we hired a babysitter for the twins and had a special dinner out with the big kids. Emma Grace got to pick the place, and with the help of her brother they picked the Melting Pot. It never fails that when you bring kids to the Melting Pot they take you to the very pack of the restaurant and seat you in isolation. I guess they don’t want you to interrupt others dinners! It really was not the kids that they had to worry about for I was the one that spilt my wine glass on the floor where it shattered all over their walls. My kids did great. Taylor found a new love for fondue when him and Aunt Emily when to Chicago for their early summer adventure.

The big kids appreciated the special time alone with mom and dad. I don’t know that the Melting Pot is a great place for 4 year olds. The meals seem to take about 2.5 hours and while Emma Grace did very well she did get very sleepy at the end of the meal – just in time for the chocolate. I did not mind eating her portion!

Can you tell how much Taylor loved it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

11 Months Old, and Giving Thanks....

I can’t believe that this time next month we will be celebrating a Addison and Preston’s 1st Birthday.  I have no idea where this year has gone, or how we have been bless beyond measure.  I love this picture of my babies, but as I have posted many times before: one of them is always crying.  Usally it is sister, as you can see from this picture brother is pretty easy going!

Addison Update: Addison this picture does a lot of justice to our overall personality right now. You are my most precious blued eyed angle (I can say that because you are my only blue eyed baby), but if something is not going your way this is the expression you will give. You will arch your back and throw yourself right to the ground and throw the biggest fit. I think this trait is going to take you very far in life. From what I can gather so far you are very independent. You like to do everything yourself and it makes you so mad when anyone tries to help (especially your twin brother). You love to eat solid foods all by yourself. You love to pull up on everything and look around. I love to watch you pull up to the window in your bedroom and look out. You are such a wonderful little strong willed girl! I love you baby girl.

Preston Update: Preston you are the happiest most go lucky child I have ever met. You could do without naps, and really much sleep at all, but over all you are a very sweet little mommy’s boy. You greet me every morning when I walk in your room smiling and jumping up and down in your crib, and it really warms my heart. You still love to nurse, and you prefer for momma to feed you your solid foods. You are crawling really well, and pulling up on everything. I really thought you would be walking by now, but I don’t think you are as interested anymore. You got your first hair cut this week, and you look like such a little boy and not a baby anymore. I love you my sweet little boy.

This picture is from this same week last year. I remember so looking forward to picture day this time last year. I was on bed rest (we were deemed a high risk twin pregnancy at 25 weeks gestation, and I was put on 100% bed rest at 27 weeks), and picture day was the same day as my weekly check up. It was the only time that I was allowed up to shower, shave, put makeup on, and sometimes my mom would take me to breakfast before my appointment.

As you can imagine being on bed rest gave me lots of time to think, wonder, and worry. This time last year I had lots of questions, lots of concerns, and lots of doubts about how we were going to manage life, and just overall what we had gotten ourselves into. It has been so amazing to look back over the last year, and see exactly how God has been at work in my family’s life. This has by far been the most challenging year of our life, but as always He has not forgotten us, but carried us through the hard and scary times. I am just so thankful today looking at my 11 month old babies and praising His name. Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

There, I've said it....

It’s real.  We are officially Georgian’s now.  It did not really feel real when we signed the papers for our new house, or when we unloaded about 9 million boxes into the house.  I think I have still felt in my mind that we could go back to Arkansas at the drop of a hat.  I could go back to working at WhiteWave, and Ryan could go back to Wal-Mart, and we could be close to our family and our friends once again.  A impromptu Saturday cook out at the lake was still feasible. 

But today it all feels real.  I enrolled my little precious 3rd grader into Georgia schools.  This move still feels like vacation, we play every day.  None of us (except Ryan) have to get up and go anywhere in the mornings.  In the evenings we go to the park, or the pool, or to get ice cream.  But August 13 is closely approaching us and Taylor will start school at Rocky Mount Elementary.   He is very excited about it.  This morning he wanted to see everything and know everything about his new school.  He is so very excited about joining the After School Chess Club. 

When we were at the school filling out the papers Emma Grace started crying and saying she "wanted to leave and go home", and I felt like breaking down just like her and running out and driving back to Arkansas.  Arkansas, where my friends are all just right down the road, and where my sister and I would sit on the swing at the farm under the big sycamore tree talking for hours and watching our kids play.  I have said this many times, and I will stick to it.  “I do love our simplified life in the big city.”  But life without family and BFF’s right down the road really sucks.  There I have said it. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Baby Pool Time

About two weeks ago I ran up to Wal-Mart and grabbed this baby pool for the kids to play in while I am in the house working (and when I say “kids” I mean the big kids and not the babies).  But the other day we had a break in our activities and I let the babies go out there and we all played.  They had the best time splashing in the water.  I am sure that my neighbors think that we are white trash because I have this baby pool up on my deck, but a girl has to do what girl has to do in order to get the house unpacked and put together.  I am sure then also think I am crazy because with the purchase of our house we are also part of the really nice HOA swim/tennis just a few feet up the road.  But I can’t manage 4 kids up there by myself, and I can’t unpack the house like that.  Speaking of unpacking the house – I am down to one room left with boxes in it.  I don’t think 1 out of 17 is too bad. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Twin Pictures

The other day I packed up all of my beautiful children and we headed to McDonald's with an indoor play place to play.  I usually hate these things because they are dirty, but my kids had been stuck at home for 8 days and we really had not gotten out any with all of the unpacking and new home projects.  But since it has been raining for 6 weeks straight in the great state of Georgia we had to settle for a place that had lunch and playing.  The kids did not care that it was dirty, so I let them play play play, and then we came home and took a bath!  The twins did not get to play, but they sure did enjoy the cheese burger and french fries.  I think Addition will be a french fry junkie! 

These pictures are not from McDonald's but from the twins that afternoon playing in their room.  You can see the evidence of McDonald's on Addison's shirt.  Not really sure that these pictures belong on this blog post, or that the above blog post belongs with these pictures. 

Happy 4th Birthday My Sweet Emma Grace

Dear Emma Grace,

I have no idea where the past four years have gone. I have no idea how I was blessed with such a special, strong willed, independent, beautiful little girl who looks just like her daddy. I love you more and more every day. I love that you and I have so much time to spend together now days, and that you love being home with me and do activities (art projects) with me every day. I love that lately you have loved to organize! And that the other day you pulled all of your cloths out of your drawers, and closet, and wardrobe and organized them in the new shelf I had bought for you to put in your closet. I love that yesterday you and I made a birthday cake together to celebrate your 4th birthday. I love that you love to hang out and annoy your big brother and that you love to help me with the babies. I love you so much and so enjoy watching you grow up.

I learned yesterday that the OB doctor that I used to see, and who cared for me while I was pregnant with you passed away. He was a wonderful man. Dr. Cole was his name, and today my heart is heavy knowing that only 4 short years ago that you were still in my belly and that he was caring for us. He was an older doctor, he actually was your Nene’s doctor when she was carrying your daddy. He was 78 years old. I never really knew that he was that old, but he was the most caring doctor ever. Just over night it has made me realize how fast time flies and how quickly things can change. I look forward to cherishing the next many years with you baby girl, and spending so much more time together.

Love, Mom

This is Emma Grace's Birthday Balloon.  She was so excited when she woke up this morning and found it in her room tied to her new birthday lamp.  Yes I tried to be really practical this year and got her a lamp for her birthday to match her new room design.  I will show pictures when the room is complete. 

You can say that this year has really helped cure me of my OCD.  Taylor and I went birthday shopping last night at 7:30 when Ryan got home from work.  Talk about waiting till the last minute.  When we got home it was after 10:00 p.m.  I sat down had a snack pumped and asked the boys to help me wrap.  Old Laura would not have let my kids bake cupcakes for their birthday, and I would have made sure the packages were extra perfect with lots of ribbon.  I do have to say that Emma Grace could have cared less this morning when opening her gifts.  And Taylor was so proud of the job he did!

 Emma Grace's Homemade Birthday cupcakes!

 May all your birthday wishes come true!

This was Emma Grace's big birthday gift.  It is an art table/train table (remember I said I was going to be practical this year).  I have about decided that if I unpack one more box of toys or books I am going to loose my mind.  My children have more stuff that they ever need!!!  So practical we are.  I did let Taylor pick out some gifts for Emma Grace last night, and he thought she needed some more train accessories to go with the art/train table.  She love it all, and not quit playing with her train all day long. 

I think I am going to write a post on all of my wheeling and dealing I have been doing next.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

4th Birthday Preparation

Yesterday when the babies went down for their afternoon nap the big kids and I made cupcakes to celebrate Emma Grace’s 4th Birthday.  I was so excited to make a birthday cake with Emma Grace.  I was thinking back yesterday and I don’t think that I have ever made a birthday cake with any of my children for their birthday.  We have made plenty of cakes together, but not for their individual birthdays.  I would usually buy them from Ricks for the Cookie Company (for Taylor).  I think that is because I never had time to make cakes with my children.  I love this new simple life that we are living!  I love making cakes and messes with my children! 

Emma Grace got to pick the type of cake that she wanted and she wanted pink strawberry!  It remaindered me of her Nene, when I first met Ryan his mom would always make pink on pink cakes for birthdays! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Bow Project

I love a good craft project (when I can find time to do one).  I knew I had to do something with this pile of bows before I could keep unpacking this bathroom and putting things away. 

I found these two frames at a local thrift store for just a couple dollars each.  They were gold when I got started but I took the pictures and glass out of them, and spray painted them a high gloss turquoise, and super glued ribbon to the back of them to hand the bows on.  It was a lot of fun and only abut a $20 investment. 

Ryan said "it looks great, but what are the boys going to think about using a bathroom decorated in bows."  My response "I guess it will motivate us to finish the third full bathroom in this house."  Right now we only have 2.5 bathrooms, but we have a stub in our finished basement that just needs to be built out.  So for now the boys will have to live with the bows. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pretend Play…..

Please excuse the messy hair, strawberry stained mouth, and PJ’s. We are just trying to get by right now!

Yesterday while I was trying to get some work done around the house, the big kids were going crazy and complaining, and picking on each other. So I had to give their little idle hands something to do. I had remembered that I had just put up band aids and badinages and medical tape. So I gathered up all of my supplies and two dolls and came running down the stairs screaming,” hurry, hurry there has been a terrible accident. Emma Grace quick get your Dr. Coat on (old white button down shirt).”

These two had more fun pretend playing and fixing up their babies. Taylor only wanted to work on the animals, because he preferred being a vet, and Emma Grace worked on all of the baby dolls. We checked their heart beats, their temperatures, we gave them medicine and fixed them up with badinages and band aids. Not only did they have a wonderful time playing doctor, but I noticed the rest of the afternoon they were very creative and fantasy like with their play. I love that we have time to relax and play.

And “yes”, I am trying to convince one of them to be a doctor! Got to start young.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wow a lot has been going on and I am way behind on blogging. I am going to use this week to catch up and try to stay caught up next week. Who knows how successful that I will be, especially since I am sitting in the bathroom, blogging while watching the babies play in the tub. One: they are cranky and won’t nap so a bath helps everything. Two: while in the bathroom I am in front of the mirror and suddenly I realized how old I am getting. With four kids it is hard to take time to sit and glare at yourself. I have no idea where all of this grey hair has come from, and when my cheeks feel so far down.

Anyways back to my original post. We have been in our new house now for 2 weeks and 2 days. And I have to say that I am very pleased with our decision to buy a home in the neighborhood. The people around are fantastic. We have been welcomed with late night home baked goods, BBQ, help looking for our lost dog, and offers to help with our lawn while we are trying to get settled. Boy do I love southern hospitability! I only wish my family was closer and we would have it made!

We are starting to get settled in. All of the kid’s rooms are unpacked. The den and kitchen are unpacked. Our room is unpacked, the laundry room is unpacked. The garage is coming together. The dining room is getting there. I will feel really good when the basement/playroom all comes together! That will probably be where we spend 90% of our awake hours. I really had no idea how much stuff (arguably junk) we had. I have no idea how we fit this all in our last little house. I am trying get rid of stuff as I go.

This weekend we ordered patio furniture and bar stools. I never knew Amazon.com could be so much fun. I am an Amazon mom so I get free shipping on a lot of things and this purchase made that worthwhile. I don’t have a lot of time or energy to get the kids all out to shop so this is the next best thing.

We think that we might be on the verge of finding a church home. The kids all had a blast at our last round of VBS at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, as did I. In order for Emma Grace to participate I had to volunteer, and the babies got to do it as well. It was a great way to meet people. Our goal was to come to Atlanta and be open to finding a church, our only criteria is they had to have an awesome children’s program. I grew up Methodist, and Ryan grew up going to a non denominational church. We tried a Methodist church but did not enjoy it. And we have looked everywhere but can’t find any nondenominational churches in the area. So we tried the biggest Baptist church that we could find, and we feel in love. We are still trying to feel it out a little bit, but we have been very pleased so far. They have an awesome children’s program, and the praise and worship has been amazing. We don’t know anything about being Baptist but we are going to give it a try.

Taylor starts school in four weeks. He is getting very excited. Emma Grace and the Babies are enrolled for preschool/MMO for the new school year at our church. We were able to get Emma Grace a spot for 3 days a week for only 3.5 hours a day. We thought this would be great socialization time for all of them, and it will be my outlet to work a few hours a week.

We are taking a family beach trip in 2 weeks and 5 days, and I can’t wait to see my sisters and my parents. And in four weeks Nene and Poppy are coming to visit and Ryan and I are going to sneak off for a few days to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

Tonight is girl’s night out with the local mothers of multiples club. I am looking forward to meeting some new ladies and having dinner out.

You can say overall we are loving our simplified life in the big city.

That is it that is all I know.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My biggest helper...

I have no idea what I would do without the help of Emma Grace!  She loves everything baby right now. 

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Thursday, July 5, 2012