Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Real School" is here!

Sydney started Kindergarten yesterday. Every time I think about that, I absolutely cannot believe it. I found her first school picture from daycare (in March 2010) with the sweet Ms. Jan and did a side-by-side to this year's open house with her Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Hartman. Can you believe this? I remember the day we took her to daycare like it was yes-ter-day!!!!!

Randall and I were talking over the weekend about the many adorable baby and toddler moments that feel like just yesterday. Of course we recognize she has changed and grown so much, but the memories of those first few weeks are crystal clear. She was the easiest baby ever --- maybe parents with difficult infants don't remember those first few weeks as well!

Yesterday was very exciting. And Collin was not to be left out - he started a new class yesterday, which is more like "real" pre-school. I'm really hoping he grows as much during his time in the Pre-School II class as Sydney did. It was her greatest year of growth, both socially and academically.

I'm not sure they could've looked any cuter, but that's a mama talking. Sydney had picked out this outfit - head to toe - during a recent shopping trip, and it was absolutely killing her that it had to hang in her closet until this special day. I really think it helped her overall confidence going to Kindergarten that she felt awesome in her fabulous new dress, larger-than-life headband and shoes (which kind of hurt her, I later found out, but it was worth it for the first day, I think). Collin felt all-powerful in his Spiderman kicks. What else does a 3-year-old boy need?!

(Side note -- I always hate when I see articles saying you shouldn't tell your daughter she's beautiful. It counts for a lot when girls feel confident. We also tell her she's smart, funny, kind, etc., but what is the harm in feeling pretty, too? I dare say a lot of the dumb decisions girls make as they get older are because they struggle with self-esteem, so if I can help with that even a little bit, I'm going to. UGH. Drives me crazy!)

So, the moment Sydney got on the bus, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Not like I was sad, but she just seemed SO BIG at that moment. The bus is a very big deal. I always rode the bus, but watching my daughter do it was entirely different. She was so brave. It didn't hurt that her driver, Ms. Shirley, is about the sweetest woman I've ever encountered. She even let Collin come on and see what it was all about.

The recap of the day was exciting. I could not wait to pick her up from her after-school program to get the play-by-play. We have staggered entry, so there were only a handful of classmates there yesterday. The whole class will be there Friday. It was perfect for Sydney to ease into the whole thing. Her school is huge, and I was worried about it feeling overwhelming, but she was completely comfortable.

This is the child who was as shy as could be 2-3 years ago. It has been so enjoyable watching her personality evolve. I know she will make many new friends in the coming weeks, even though she misses her pre-school gang. I had hoped at least one of them would be in her Kindergarten class, but I actually think this may be the best thing --- force her out of her shell even more.

Last night, the teacher sent every parent a note about their child. She had the nicest things to say about Sydney --- how she was so fun and outgoing and "a very smart cookie." We will have to make sure she stays challenged academically, but I think this teacher is very aware already and will make sure all the kids are doing work to suit their ability. She already made sure of that yesterday. Sydney told me after she did some work in her assessment, the teacher looked at her and said "Lord-a-mercy!" Sydney telling that story was hilarious.

All we really learned from Collin's first day is that he made a happy plate at lunch and they got to explore their new classroom. I guess that's what you get when you're three.

It's going to be a great year for both kids! Collin is already asking when he gets to ride the bus. Two years feels like a long time, but I know it will fly by. He misses his sissy already!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Fabulous 4th of July (and a look back through the years)

I absolutely love the 4th of July! It's such a fun, family, wholesome holiday, and I love how cute all the kids look in their red, white & blue at neighborhood and community festivities. This year, we spent the first part of the day at Latta Plantation feeding horses and taking a [rainy] hike. It was a lot of fun - just humid and a tad wet!

In the evening, we went to a community celebration at the Kannapolis Intimidators ballpark --- they have a little league game and activities for the kids. We went last year and decided to make this our "go to" spot on the 4th whenever we're in town for it.


One of my favorite things to do is to take a trip down memory lane and look back at how our kids have changed through their red, white & blue attire. Nothing is cuter! 

2010 - Sydney's very first July 4th. She enjoyed being at a baseball game with friends in Arkansas and especially adored the fireworks. It's been nice enjoying fireworks with the kids --- they have never been scared of them!

- The next year, she was still an only child, but we knew by this point this would be her last 4th of July without a sibling. :-)

- Our first year with two little firecrackers! This picture cracks me up. His shirt said "I love BBQ."

2013 - Our first 4th of July in North Carolina. We left for the beach right around this time, so I don't think we did anything organized for the 4th. That's probably why I didn't get a picture of them together!

2014 - Last year, we went to the Kannapolis Intimidators (local baseball team) community celebration for the first time and decided that would be our "go to" event for this holiday.

2015 - Our sweet American boy and girl --- going to school on July 3 and then at the baseball game on the 4th. I'm so grateful to raise them in the USA! They looked SO GROWN UP (and so stinkin' cute) to me this year. It's amazing the change from year to year.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It's Tuesday, and I'm at work on the last day of Davidson's fiscal year. Randall's at work, preparing to go on a work trip tomorrow. The kids are at school, playing with their friends. Everything is normal. But the past two days have been a whirlwind, and it reminded me to hold people dear, every single day.

Randall was in the hospital the past two days with heart issues. It was diagnosed as atrial fibrillation (or "a fib"), and he is on medication to regulate his heart rhythm moving forward. He is fine, now. At the time, however, we weren't sure he was fine. Was it a heart attack? Were the treatments going to work? What does this mean?

As they rolled Randall out of the room to shock his heart yesterday morning, a million thoughts about single parenting and insurance policies raced through my head. Were they going to roll him back in? How would I tell the kids? How would I function without him? Realizing now that this is a fairly common situation, those thoughts were crazy. But, I was alone in a hospital room with nothing to do but worry.

There isn't a ton of information about why irregular heartbeats happen, but we know that healthier lifestyles can never hurt, so I promptly went into the kitchen when we got home from the hospital and got rid of everything we don't need. We love healthy foods, but we also like the bad stuff, so we need to focus on the good stuff for meals and snacks alike.We each weighed this morning (Randall and me, not the kiddos!) and are off to the races to get healthier! Nothing like a big ol' wake-up call, right?

It was a not-so-gentle reminder to (a) get healthy and start now, and also (b) love your people, and tell them often. We get so busy with life, I don't always show appreciation as often as it is deserved.

I'm lucky to do this life with Randall, and we need A LOT more years with him! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

After a LONG Hiatus - We're Back!

I haven't blogged since December of 2013. That's CRAZY. It also tells you what our lives have been like for the last 1.5 years. It's all my fault, but my work was insane, and I just didn't make the time to keep up the blog. But I will not let it go again. I love having this as a record of our lives, and it's an outlet to share thoughts and updates in a longer form than social media allows. It was a 2015 resolution to get back to it, so here we are.

So, what's the latest?

Randall's work wasn't great when we first moved to N.C., but now it's all good! That's the best news. From my perspective, it's like the client had to believe he was the best person to run their account, and now they know he's the bomb. I think that's a super simplistic way to look at it, but it's my summary. He has flexibility and isn't stressed all the time - win.

All is well at Davidson College --- now. I had a rough fall with some gigantic work nuttiness, but things seem to have settled back down, and I'm glad I stuck it out. I have wonderful colleagues, and some have become actual friends (like, friend friends, not work friends). That's always been so important to me, and it took a while to figure out how that was going to be here. We launched a $425M campaign last fall - yeah, just one reason it's been nutty at work! - and it's exciting to add some of that new work to my plate to liven things up. I also enjoy a great deal of flexibility when needed, which makes the whole working mom thing doable.

SYDNEY: Sydney is five going on 15, and she starts Kindergarten in August. She's SO done with preschool, both academically and otherwise. She reads on a 2nd grade level (my best guess based on what she's reading), and is now into chapter books. It's pretty phenomenal, and I take zero credit for teaching her how to read. She's a focused kid, and once she decided she was going to read, she did. Just like swimming. If she's into something, she's INTO it. If she's not, forget it. She may have training wheels on her bike forever. And guess what? She couldn't possibly care less. She just completed her second year of dance, and plans to add gymnastics to the list of activities in the fall. She has become quite a little person --- Love talking to her and getting her input on things. She's going to thrive in "real school" and whatever teacher gets her hit the jackpot --- in my humble opinion!

COLLIN:  Collin is three, and he is all that that might suggest. He's our wild man! He's also the most loving kid I've ever seen. His teachers can't decide if he's the best or worst kid in the class, because he doesn't really listen or sit still, but he's so stinkin' sweet. What's a teacher to do?! Collin loves everything active. He loves to swim, ride bikes, play anything sports-related (a favorite being basketball right now), go for walks ... but if you expect him to sit for a complete book or work on coloring or tracing, you're wasting your time. Once in a blue moon he'll surprise us, but for the most part, anything that smells of academia is not on his radar yet. This is not to say he isn't smart because I think he is, and I get so tickled when he surprises us with new knowledge from school. I think he is listening, but it's his little secret. :-) The only still activity he likes right now is movies. He loves to curl up in our bed with the whole family and spend time watching a show or a movie on a Friday night. And I love that time together, too.

We have missed our friends in Arkansas since the move, but we also are very happy to be closer to family now. You just can't have it all, and the move here was the right decision for sure. We are lucky to have had visitors from Arkansas and to have made a couple of trips out there (more R than me), so we're staying in touch. So grateful for social media and email, too! 

We look forward to keeping up the blog (this time), and I'll be sharing thoughts on a variety of topics, including more info on our family!!! Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 23, 2013

BounceU Birthday Bash

Last Sunday, we celebrated Sydney's 4th birthday a little early. We figured since her birthday is between Christmas and New Year's, we might have a hard time finding a day that worked for her friends, so we bumped it up. We had it at BounceU, a pretty awesome place in Charlotte that was worth every single penny. They took care of everything; we only had to show up with cupcakes and favors. Needless to say, we had a very excited little girl on our hands!!  (You can see this place does just a FEW birthdays every weekend. Ha!)

I love the picture of them lined up because Sydney was supposed to be at the front and she let Collin sneak ahead of her. Cuties.

We had 19 kids total, including most of her pre-school class and a couple of neighbors. They bounced like crazy for an hour, and then we had the party room for 40 minutes where we did cupcakes and drinks followed by presents. I was so impressed with Sydney as she made eye contact and thanked each child for his/her gift --- and she wasn't even prepped to do that! 

 This picture makes me think of a teenager pose. I can just imagine these two precious blondes in about 10 years --- or sooner!!
Collin hung in there with all the "big kids."

They were ALL OVER her while she opened the gifts. I love that all the kids were just as excited about her presents as she was.
She's still making her way through all the gifts (perhaps the only downside of having so many kids), and of course Christmas is only two days away. She is a bit spoiled in December! I put a few of the bday gifts away so we can pull them out later. Check out the spread --- and I must say, she got GREAT gifts.
At the park yesterday (enjoying the 70+ degree weather!), she said that Santa probably didn't need to bring her much since she already got so many gifts. I almost cried. So sweet. Of course that won't be the case, but I am going to encourage her to choose a few of her older/less used toys to give away. Maybe next year Collin will understand this whole idea, too. :)

This Friday, Sydney and I are having a mom/daughter day to continue the birthday celebration. We're going to see Frozen, and I'm waiting to be told what else she wants to do. And as soon as we close our December, we'll be gearing up for Collin's 2nd birthday in mid-January --- busy time of year in our house!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween through the years

Halloween isn't a holiday I cared about too much before having kids. Now, I'm crazy about the costumes and watching them have so much fun. It's probably my favorite day on Facebook, too, because all the kids look so adorable.

This year was our best yet! The kids are SO into it, and Collin had the cutest "Dank Yoooo" as he ran from house to house. At least he used his manners. :)

I thought it would be fun to take a journey through our first four Halloweens as parents. I must say - we do a dang good job choosing costumes! I can't even stand the cuteness. The wheels are already turning for next year, but it's different now that Sydney says what she wants to be (and means it!), and I know Collin may have his own opinions on this topic by next fall.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall is in the air

Yesterday was a little rainy and chilly, which meant it was the perfect pumpkin farm day to ensure limited crowds. Boy, were we right :)  It was a lot of fun, and we didn't have to race to score a wagon; in fact, each kid got one to keep the peace!

After we chose our two big pumpkins and played around the hay bales, we went over to see the farm animals that were outside and the ones that were in the barn. We were so glad they moved the pony rides --- actually huge horse rides! --- inside the barn. We didn't think Collin would be steady on the big horse, and he didn't seem all that interested anyway, so we opted to pay the hefty $10 ride fee for just the big kid :)  I think she may want to ride as she grows up, and our piggy banks are not going to be happy about that. Ha!

Check out how much our two cuties have grown since last year! Our visit to this same pumpkin farm last year was the week after we moved. It turned out to be a great choice; I think this will be our annual destination for pumpkins and ponies.

Following our damp fall adventure, we went to Target and added two small pumpkins to our porch display. Sydney insisted we get one to represent each of us, and the farm didn't have any kid-sized ones. We are just about ready for Halloween!