Monday, April 28, 2014

Traveling to "My-Bill"

The year I "retired" from working as a pediatric nurse, the doctor I worked for gave me tickets to see Wicked as a going-away gift. I had never seen it before but he always raved about it. So, Byron and I went to see it and a friend loaned us the soundtrack to listen to on the way there and home. If you have ever seen the show (which I HIGHLY recommend) you will know just how amazing the music is. Well, the soundtrack became a fixture in the car and Louisa requested it each and every time she got in the car. By the age of 3 she could sing the song "Popular" verbatim with all of the inflections, pauses, etc. spot on. The more I think about it, the child is a living Glinda (or Galinda if you prefer). She is pink and sparkly and girly and twirly and happy and passionate and as Elphaba described her, blonde. Anyways - that year for Christmas, Santa brought her the soundtrack so that we could return our borrowed copy and Louisa could listen to it to her heart's content.

To this day, this CD remains in Byron's truck. Just ask our neighbor who borrowed the truck one day only to get in it, crank it and realize there was a musical BLASTING at full volume. It just so happened to be Popular then too. I still giggle. Nash can now sing half of the songs by hear too.

Well, Byron saw that Wicked was going to be in Nashville for Louisa's birthday so we thought it would be a perfect way to celebrate. So, we got tickets and packed the car and headed to Nashville for the birthday girl to see her show. Clearly, she was so excited.

She loved the show just as much as we thought she would and even though it was my second time, I couldn't get enough. In fact, it is coming to Atlanta next year and I plan to see it again. Best show ever with such an amazing message behind the story. 

Anyways, when we told the kids that we were going, Nash started calling the town "my-bill." I am quite sure the town was named after him, right? ;) It was too cute and he even told the teachers at his school that he was going to "my-bill" for Sis's birthday. Nashville, my-bill, same thing. :)

Since driving in the car (which have I mentioned how it shrinks with each trip?) with my kids is the equivalent of poking my eyeballs repeatedly with a pair of tweezers, we decided to split the trip and spend 2 nights in Chattanooga and visit the aquarium. I cannot say enough about the downtown of this town. We had a blast. It was clean, it was kid-friendly, the people were friendly, it was safe, there was SO much to do and see, etc. The kids loved the aquarium, and Byron and I really enjoyed it too. I had always heard people talk about how crowded it always was and how you should go at this time versus this time, and yadda yadda. I figured that if we survived 2 years at Disney during spring break...we could do this. And we did. There were crowds and lots of field trips, but nothing that would deter me from going again.

There were 2 different areas set up that you could actually pet the fish, stingrays, sharks, etc. I found it really cool and could have stayed all day. The kids enjoyed it too and the rule was that you could only pet with 2 fingers. Well, I died laughing at this picture I caught with Nash and his triangle fingers steadily waiting for the baby hammer head to come back by to pet.

The second area that you could pet fish was in the river exhibit. There were huge sturgeons swimming in some murky water that looked straight out of the back woods South. I was so fascinated listening to the lady talk about sturgeons and how that was where caviar came from and this was why the sturgeons were facing extinction that I almost missed Nash leaning over the edge and drinking the water. Not kidding. I so wish I was. There he was, steady leaning over with his lips under the water drinking away. One lady saw him and she was so grossed out she almost fainted. Nash was fine, I made a mental note to get ready for the cha-cha-chas later and told him that was gross. I asked if he was thirsty (duh) but he informed me that he was fine. This child...oh my word. He is definitely from Mars.

After we explored and drank (ahem, Nash) to our content at the aquarium, we took the kids to the children's musuem which was in walking distance. That was one of my fave parts of this town, you could walk to SO MANY things just in a few blocks. Needless to say, they loved this place. And Byron and I loved that we could sit down, rest and just watch them play. 

Here is my child with his fascination of water again. He didn't drink from this one. He probably thought it was too dirty since there were kids putting their hands in it, not murky sturgeons. ;) For all of you Morgans reading this - see how he is holding his mouth just right?

One of my faves was the dinosaur dig. Nash's facial expression is priceless. I think t-rex was around the corner.

Here,  Louisa was confused as to what she was supposed to be digging for.

After the children's musuem we went to watch an IMAX movie on great white sharks. I actually was a bit afraid that it may be too much to see those sharks so close up on such a large screen. However, it was so intense that Nash fell asleep. Seriously. It was actually a fantastic movie and I learned a lot about sharks and Louisa decided she wanted to help protect the sharks from becoming "ex-stinged." Yes mam, save those sharks Lou. Tell your brother there may be sturgeon-water involved and he's probably in to help!  :)

So Old She's Losing Her Teeth

 My first-born hooligan just turned 7. And by "just" I mean the end of March. Turnaround time on the blog sometimes gets the better of me. 7 is a big number, and a scary one for a Momma. I remember when she turned 5 it was huge because she was no longer my preschooler and would be starting kindergarten. That was a tough pill to swallow. 6 came and was fine although the thought of first grade almost made me want to cry. But 7. Ugh and then second grade. Next thing I know she will be asking to borrow my Honda and wishing I had a good stash of make-up she could get into. Sigh, where oh where does it all go?

This child has been the life of the party since the moment she was born. She is as precocious as the day is long and so independent and crafty that I almost can't stand it. We butt heads on a daily basis, but I have to sit back and admire her self determination and creativity. As a parent you spend so much time worrying and planning and hoping that your child grows into a person with manners and a kind heart and a good, strong head on their shoulders. I think it is in the time right there spent worrying and planning that they all of a sudden grow up on you. 

I am sometimes surprised that Louisa's first words weren't "I've got this." Because she does. And she always has. Here's hoping that this stubborn, independent, mind of her own, determined little Amy always does. I see so much of myself in her personality that it amazes me. I can remember my grandmother (who was small too) telling me that since I was small I needed to be fiery. I may or may not have taken her too seriously. I will let those of you that know me be the judge. :) But I passed that same piece of knowledge down to Lou. And I was talking with a teacher at her school one day and she told me how she overhead Louisa telling a friend at school that since she was small she needed to pack a punch. She said the friend asked what that meant and Louisa told her that it meant she was short and needed to know how to start a fire. So, at least I know she somewhat listens to me. Haha. I always think of Shakespeare saying "Though she be but little, she is fierce." My little fire-starting 7 year old.

If I had to choose one word to describe a theme of Louisa's life it would be this one...drama. She is no stranger to the dramatics. She is all or nothing, jumping head first into whatever she can get into. Events in her life don't just happen, they are experienced by one little girl that is quite possibly Oscar-worthy. A splinter isn't just a splinter, it is a bloody-murder scream with a stick the size of a tree wedged into her tiny little finger. A good song isn't just that, it is her FAVORITE and OH MY GOODNESS she could just listen to it all day. Her inventions aren't just tinkers, they are THE BEST IDEA ever. Pink sandals aren't just shoes they are THE SPARKLIEST BEST things her feet have ever seen. You get my drift, right? The child is passionate, without a doubt. And I love her for that. And deep down in my heart I hope that she keeps that love of life, just as it is.

While I am on the subject of drama, let's talk about losing teeth. Oh dear me. As a mom and a previous nurse, I can handle most of the ewwy-gooey-grossness that comes with the territory. However, I have never been a fan of the loose teeth. I can remember a little boy patient of mine that would tease me to no end twirling his teeth around by a thread hoping that I would lost my cool just once while drawing his labs. The hairs on the back of my neck stood just thinking about it. Gag. Well, Louisa loves the idea of having a loose tooth and wiggling it around and teasing me with it, but the thought of pulling it out makes her pull out her Oscar-worthy dramatics. Let's just talk about this front tooth that she actually has turned around backwards here. 

I mean, really. She was so proud of herself by the way that she couldn't stand it. Clearly, that tooth just needed to be pulled and I begged her to let me do it. Instead, she insisted on doing it herself. So, I sat there in the bathroom pale and wobbly-kneed as a reinforcement to wipe up any blood and make sure she didn't fall of the vanity.

At one point, she made herself so squeamish that she actually bit down and when her bottom tooth touched that top tooth it just fell out. Seriously, 30 minutes in the bathroom (after bedtime might I add) crying, carrying on and with my blood pressure almost bottoming out...the tooth came out accidentally. I had to laugh.

Seriously, that was just ONE tooth in that spot. Makes me a bit nervous to see what that permanent big girl tooth is going to look like. Makes me think she also got her Momma's big teeth. Whoops.

Anyways, a happy belated to the sweetest, smartest, best daughter I have ever had. I love you and all of your dramatics, and there will be a day when I will miss the blood-curdling scream that occurs when a poor, pitiful bug just so happens to find it's way into our house. :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

For the Love of Lasagna Child, Say Cheese. Please.

Do you ever wonder why I post many, many photos of this sweet little child sleeping?

Is it because he sleeps often? HA. I almost fell off my chair on that one, children don't sleep. Neither of them. The only sleepers in this house are Momma, Daddy, Lucy and Murray. And Murray the striped kitty has it down to a science. That cat sleeps 23 hours out of the day. Not kidding.  PS - when I just searched for pictures of Murray, I'd say 3/4 of them are her sleeping. The other 1/4 her ears are flat and she is mad at a kid. Haaaa. Rough life, tabby cat.

And quite possibly my all-time fave...

No, I post photos of this child asleep because taking photos of him awake is equivalent to poking out my own eyeballs. First of all, as the mother of any boy will understand, he doesn't sit still. Ever. Louisa I can bribe for photos, and I actually have to do that on a regular basis for brownie-goose. She doesn't love it, but at least she half-way cooperates. Nash on the other hand, no. Just no.

Take for instance this one day. I really wanted pictures of him in his "gophers." The child has the fattest Fred Flinstone feet known to man, so shoes for him are a struggle. Never judge when you see my child wearing Crocs to a black-tie event, okay? So, when I saw these adorable little loafers and found I could actually stuff all that foot-fat in them, I was so excited. And believe it or not, he loves them. Granted, he calls them "gophers" but you know this Mom never corrects. ;)

So, here is a recap of the photos and what the patient annoyed crazed lady behind the camera had to say.

Nash - look at my camera. Like look with your eyes into the black circle.

Fail. Oh good, you found my camera. Keep looking at it but not so intensely. Now, Nash smile so I can see some teeth. 

Well, good job showing me your teeth, but this time look happy about it and form a big smile.

Ummm, well that is close, but you look angry. Try to be more excited.

Yeah, that's not it either. And then he was just done. Stick a fork in this one.

Now, every now and then (read blue moon) I can get a halfway decent, cute shot of him. But, it never fails that it winds up in a very non-photographically-pleasing-place. See below.

Cute face, but lunch is in the way.

Now, photos of both of my children. Lawsy. I almost need a drink to write about it. 

The other day both kids were playing Legos together so sweetly that I almost ran away for a while. Just kidding. Maybe. They built a throne for Captain Morgan (he has a story and I thought for sure I have blogged about him but cannot find it, he's been with us since we got married and his head falls off, just a minor character flaw) and were so proud they wanted me to come and take their pictures with it. I thought, awesome. Certainly they will cooperate for photos. I may or may not have thought about changing their clothes to get a good picture and photoshopping the Legos out later for next years Christmas Card. Well, thank goodness I didn't because this is how it all worked out.

Enough with that one. Louisa (who looks way too old for my liking in this photo) refused to get her hair out of her face, and Nash...well, I don't even have the energy to go there.

Take 2 of both kids together photos. Have another glass. I thought for sure the other day at church when they looked halfway decent (this was before the above photo shoot with Nash and his gophers, I should have known) I would snap a few outside of church. Well, that went over swimmingly.

The most decent one I got captured both of their personalities. Nash, as always has this grin that makes you wonder what in the world he is up to. We should probably be afraid. And Louisa, well...never underestimate the personality of a precocious little girl that learned how to pose from Aurora at Disney World. I clearly cannot thank Sleeping Beauty enough.

Now, with all of this said, I must confess. I used to work for a pediatrician who is quite possibly the smartest person ever. He seems to always be right in that way that you almost don't want to ask his opinion sometimes because you just don't want to hear the truth. Anyways, there is something he repeatedly tells me as I raise 2 hooligan children. He says, "Amy, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." And you know what, darn that man...I am afraid he is right again. See evidence below.

I mean, good gravy people. Thou shalt not bring your "no mam" finger out on church property. And one should hide the booze from Daddy before photo shoots. Just kidding y'all. There was no booze or reprimanding involved in this photo shoot (disregard evidence to the contrary), only a 7 year old hooligan behind the camera. ;)

On that note, say cheese everyone!