Monday, September 20, 2010

Officially a Soccer Mom

Isabella played her first soccer game this past Saturday morning. She is playing on the Upward Soccer League, on the "Little Cowboys" team. I think she is really enjoying it.

The league is a Christian-based organization that encourages the kids to learn a Bible verse each week about strength, perseverance, respect, or some similar virtue to coincide with their practices and games. Her coaches, John and Monica, are really wonderful and encourage having fun and not giving up.

Isabella receiving this week's Bible verse from Coach John

It took her about 15 minutes to figure out what it was she was supposed to be doing on the field. Once she realized that all she really needed to do was to chase the ball toward one goal, she channeled her dad's athletic nature and competitiveness and kept up with the biggest boy on the team.

She even received a star at the end of the game for "Best Effort." I was so proud of her, especially since she is by far the smallest child on the team.

In fact, she was only one of two kids who stayed in the game all the way to the end, even after taking a fall.

She's #9 - watch her go!

Grammy and Papaw came to watch Isabella play. They cheered for Isabella and helped me keep an eye on Sophia.

Sophia really wanted to play so badly. She would run out onto the field during warm-up and time-out to play, too.

After the game was over, Isabella was a little disappointed that she didn't score a goal herself.

She even said to me, "Mommy, I'm sorry I didn't play much good." It was all I could do to not cry when I heard this; it reminded me so much of myself.

I would love suggestions on how to keep her from criticizing herself and look at the game as a way to have fun. Be competitive, yes, but take pride in doing her best, too. Anyway, we are looking forward to rest of the season and seeing how she's going to grow and gain confidence over the next few months.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2009 Year-in-Review, Part 1

Well, it is officially February, and so far I'm still not updating my blog as frequently as I'd planned to in the new year. I think part of my problem is that there were so many events that took place last year that I didn’t write about, and now I feel guilty going forward. (Yes, my obsessive-compulsiveness is more a hindrance than a help). My solution is to do a series of entries, each of which will include a number of events or milestones from 2009, so that I can feel free to move ahead with 2010. So, here goes...

To begin, 2009 was a big year for Sophia. She turned 1-year-old in March, so obviously she had her share of milestones. To begin with, she became quite good at playing by herself.

Here she is at 11-months-old. She already loved feeding her baby dolls.

At twelve-months-old, she already loved a purse and makeup. I can't deny that she's mine!

Sophia also learned how to walk, and my life hasn’t been the same since. She was about fourteen-months-old when she decided she was ready; she never looked back.

This was just before her first birthday. She loved any toy she could walk behind and push.

By Mother's Day, she was ready to take on the world.

One of the hardest milestones for me was the last time Sophia rode in her infant carrier. I knew she was getting too big for it. I knew she was bored facing backward. And, I knew the front-facing car seat is much easier and more practical. However, just knowing that I wouldn’t be carrying around an infant carrier anymore was really hard, especially since I had carried one since September 2006!

Here she is on the day after her first birthday. It was her last rear-facing ride.

Isabella also had a few milestones of her own last year. The first big one came when we transformed her crib into a toddler bed. We knew it was time when she began climbing out of her crib, but I chose to ignore the obvious next step; I just didn't want to see my baby grow up. At first she only climbed out occasionally, but soon she was doing this...

pretty frequently.

We knew it was time, so we decided to make the change to a big-girl bed. This was a hard day for me. Especially when she did this...

Isabella saying good-bye to her crib.

This was her last night in the crib.

Once it was done, I think she liked the change. Now there's more room for her books. (I can't deny that she's my baby either).

Mommy and Daddy also had a "first" of their own last year—we took our first overnight trip without the girls. Phillip and I went to Asheville for our sixth anniversary in March. We only stayed away one night, but I really missed my girls.

We're at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. Phillip proposed there in 2002. We even had dinner at the same restaurant.

We also ran into John Boy (i.e., "John Boy and Billy" on the radio) who was at the Grove Park for the Annual Comedy Classic. He's not the first person you expect to run into at a super-fancy resort, but it was fun to meet him and he was really nice to us.

I think this first year-in-review will have to end here. Isabella and Sophia just woke up from their naps, so my "free-time" is now at an end. I'll continue with my next installment of 2009 highlights soon. I know you're on the edge of your seat! :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Days are the Best Days

We received an early Christmas present last Friday--eight inches of snow! We were truly very fortunate, as our neighborhood was one of the few around that didn't lose power. We were able to enjoy the beautiful snow and stay warm at the same time.

When I saw how quickly the snow was falling, I placed a big bowl on the deck to collect snow for snow cream. It was the first time my girls had been able to have it. I think they liked it...

The next morning, Isabella was so excited when she woke up and saw that the snow was still here. She has been anxious to build a "Snow Queen" for weeks and is utterly enamored with Frosty the Snowman. So, after promising her we would go out and play later in the morning, we started the day by baking a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake for Christmas. Isabella and Sophia stood on stepstools to help me pour and to watch the mixer work its magic.

After the cake came out of the oven, Phillip and I dressed up the girls in their warmest clothes and took them outside to play. It was their first time playing in the snow.

After awhile, Sophia became cold and irritable, so Phillip took her inside.

She was much happier once she was warm and dry.

I stayed outside to play with Isabella. We set to work building our Snow Queen.

Here's another view of "Frostina." Isn't she lovely?

Later, I taught Isabella how to make snow angels. She surprised me by already understanding the concept, thanks to "Max and Ruby."

She had so much fun that day. She cried when it was time to go inside.

I made it up to her by promising that she could decorate the birthday cake for Jesus when she woke up from her nap. That did the trick; apparently, there's nothing like green icing and "spinkles" to lift a little girl's spirits.

Here's the finished product.

We arranged the candles like an Advent Wreath and talked about the significance of the five candles before we blew them out.

Aside from worrying about our parents who were without power (my parents for more than 60 hours, Phillip's parents for about 40), it was a really fun snow day. I just wish our parents had come over to enjoy the fun.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Bumble Bee and an Angel Go Trick-or-Treating - All Week Long

Halloween has been and gone, and for my little girls, it was a week-long event.

I had a difficult time with costumes this year since I really wanted them to dress alike. If I had had my choice, I would have dressed them either as little pirates or as Southern Belles. (I am nothing if not random). Unfortunately, however, Isabella's preschool was having a candy parade with a theme: each costume had to either be one of God's creations or a person from the Bible. Since I thought I might have some difficulty passing Isabella off as King David or John the Baptist, I decided both my girls should be angels--how perfectly appropriate, right? Sure, we'll go with that.

Anyway, I bought two lovely angel costumes, but from the moment Isabella heard about it, she adamantly refused to even try it on. She wanted to be a "skerwee" (i.e., "scary") vampire. I was beginning to worry about the preschool requirement that costumes could be neither scary, nor gruesome, so I told her she could be an animal. I suggested she be a bumble bee. For some reason, this excited her more than a Max and Ruby marathon. I took her straight to Halloween Express, darted through the "skerwee" mechanical props in the entryway with my hands over her eyes, and marched her straight to the back where there was exactly one bumble bee costume left, and it just happened to be in her size. What do you know? A Halloween miracle. I looked longingly at the preschooler pirate and Southern Belle costumes and instead tried the bumble bee costume on my eldest child. She was beside herself with joy. She refused to take off the antennae the rest of the day and "buzzed, buzzed" everywhere she went. So, finally with two appropriate costumes, we readied ourselves for a very busy week.

On Monday, Isabella's dance class had a costume party. This was the first time she got to wear her costume. Don't all bees wear ballet slippers?

Another little girl in her class was also a bumble bee. Here is a picture of sweet little friends sharing a hug, a kiss and a costume. (Sophia was excited to see all of the little girls dressed up, too).

On Wednesday, I made jack o' lantern cookies for Isabella's class. This was more difficult that I expected. After burning one batch and letting black icing (yes, black icing) melt all over another batch, I had an acceptable number decorated, bagged and tied with orange ribbon. I wish I had made a picture with a phone other than my cell phone. (Sorry the quality is so bad; it's a picture of a picture).

Friday was the much anticipated Candy Parade. Sophia and I accompanied Isabella's class on their march through the church where parents and preschool staff were stationed at intervals handing out candy. Here is Isabella and her precious teacher, Mrs. Linda, just before the parade began. Isabella's little friend, Anna, was yet another bumble bee. Apparently, bees were big this year.

The next day was Halloween. Phillip and I took the girls to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then to mom and dad's house to show off their costumes. Mom had treat bags for each of the girls filled with everything from candy to princess wands to Hello Kitty socks. Here is my little angel, Sophia, with her sweet "Moostie."

A precious bumble bee and a perfect angel share some Halloween cookies.

My little Sophia loved her angel costume. I was so proud of her.

When we got home, I put the girls down for their naps and carved our jack o' lantern. Here's the end result after nearly two hours of work. Think Indiana Jones reaching for a diamond in a haunted mine--or something like that.

After their naps, I got the girls ready to go trick-or-treating. Here's my little bumble bee, green plastic jack o' lantern in hand, ready to get the show on the road.

Sophia is ready, too!

My little girls, loaded up in their wagon, and ready to go.

Grammy and Papaw came over to see the girls in their costumes and to give them candy before we left.

Daddy with his two not-so-"skerwee" girls at a neighbor's house.

On to the next house!

Double-fisted candy-eaters. Oh, I could have kept them out of their goodies before we got home.

The rain started back a little while later, so we headed home. I made dinner and Phillip sat on the porch handing out candy. Even after we returned, we still had over 150 trick-or-treaters who came by in the rain.

My girls had such a fun week. In addition to all the Halloween fun, the girls got to meet their first baby cousin. My sister-in-law gave birth on the 28th to a BEAUTIFUL baby girl, Avery. My girls were amazed by her, although Isabella thought the baby would already be a big girl like her and ready to play. I know they are going to be such good friends as they grow up. What an exciting week!