Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Avery's Birthday Party

Avery had a superhero party this year! Do you know how hard it is to find girl superhero party stuff? It's hard. The lack of appropriate girl superhero toys (and I mean, girls that are superheroes, not superheroes that are purple and pink) is atrocious. Three of the girls that Avery goes to daycare with where superheroes for Halloween, I am thinking they would like to have a cool party once in a while.
Anywho, she had a fun time! This was the first year I invited her friends from church and daycare so she had a blast!!
(Sorry Brooke, I love this picture so much)
And she had fun "opening" her presents. I actually opened them and at one point she just ran away to go play.

I got the kids little party favors and we decided to take a picture. Pretty handsome if you ask me!!

Such a cute picture, especially the fact that she is wearing her new princess gown with her black sparkly boots.


She has played with each and every one of her toys, all day yesterday that is all she did. She loves each one of them! Thank you all who were able to come!!
Yesterday, she grabbed her new laptop and went in to "work" with daddy in his office.

My sister got her this awesome bouncy thing and Avery literally spent about seven hours in it yesterday. She would take one toy at a time, go in there, and either bounce or just watch TV. Avery had a cough so we spent all day in our PJs resting and I think it worked.

Avery got to open our gifts on Saturday, her actual birthday. She got a new camera and the Tangled movie on DVD (we only had it recorded on DVR from ABC Family, so now she has her own copy!) By last night, Avery had taken over 300 pictures. Most of them were blurry or black, but a few we could make out! Especially the one where she took a picture of me in the shower, we have the frosty glass so you could actually make out what it was. So, maybe the whole camera thing wasn't a good idea. :-)
 Happy birthday again, Avery!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Avery!!!

Happy birthday, Avery! Every day, I look at you and can't believe how much you grow and learn. I had no idea how much you'd enrich our lives and how much I would absolutely love you.
Avery, you are growing in leaps and bounds every day. You love to write and color, you love to learn new things, you love to read and you love, love, love to sing. You can sing so many songs and it's your daddy and my favorite thing to do - listen to your beautiful voice sing songs. You sing songs to God so much and I know He loves the sound of your beautiful voice too. You love to dance and watch movies and play. You got a camera for your birthday of your very own because you love to take pictures. Maybe you will be a photographer when you get older!!
Your personality is really shining through. You are truly an extrovert and love to meet new friends and be around people. You love it when we have people over and are so friendly. You love to play games with new friends and get along with most anyone. You are definitely a leader, you have no problem bossing everyone else around (not always a good thing). You love affection and are definitely like your father, you love hugs and kisses and holding hands.
You love your family and always talk about everyone. You name your cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. You love being around your family, especially your sister. You two could play together for hours and hours and you would never get enough of her! You are also really starting to love the dogs and playing with them. It's fun to see.
You love going to school, you just fit in from day one in that environment and really enjoy being able to do fun activities there. They say you do really well with your teacher and other kiddos and I am so proud of your ability to adapt to new situations easily!
I just know you have a wonderful year ahead of you and I am so glad I get to spend so much time with you. Never in a million years did I think I would love being a mommy so much, but you make being a mommy the best job in the entire world. I love spending time with you, I think you are the coolest person in the world! Happy Birthday, I hope you have a great day!!!
Love Mommy


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Avery's Thanksgiving Feast at Mother's Day Out

I stole these pictures but thought I would post them on my site!! Avery had her Thanksgiving feast at MDO today. So cute!!!
Once again, all of the people who get 7-2 and 3 year olds to sit quietly have my mad props.

I also got a chance to have a mom's coffee time with other moms from the program and it was such a nice time! One of the other moms and I bonded because her son and my daughter are friends. I now know who Nicholas is when she talks about him which is always nice!!
I love women getting together and getting to know each other and encourage each other. It's so wonderful. We are doing this monthly and I am really looking forward to it. Thank God again for the blessing of being able to have time to participate in these events in Avery's life!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ashton, You Are the Problem, Buddy.

So, since I've already had a controversial topic once this week, why not try for another?
Of course, we've all heard about this Walmart situation, in which a Walmart held a food drive for its own employees, which has sparked an enormous debate about the clear irony that a company, which pays it's CEO multi-millions of dollars, has employees that can't "afford to buy themselves food." Weighing in on the debate was none other than Ashton Kutcher, calling Walmart out on Twitter to bring attention to the fact that they don't pay a working wage. Yep, Mr. Kutcher. Mr. $700,000 a week Kutcher. Mr. I-can-talk-a-big-talk Kutcher, who probably makes as much as that CEO does, yet doesn't pay hardly anyone with his own salary.
Look - I am not going to sit here and say that I agree that anyone in this world should ever make as much as either the CEO of Walmart or Ashton Kutcher do, no matter what you do for a living. There is no job to me that is that important to pay someone that ungodly amount of money. HOWEVER, I am a capitalist at heart and feel like people should earn as much as they can earn. I don't want someone telling me someday, when I start a business or write a book, what salary I can cap out at. If people thought about it that way, they wouldn't want anyone telling them that, either. The beauty of America is that someone's financial position in life can change in a heartbeat, both ways, and if you were to be poor one day and rich the next, I doubt you'd want someone to come by and say, "Well, I think you only deserve to make $30,000 off the sale of your highly-wanted book, the rest of it needs to go to the people who need it most." However, what makes me a Christian is that even though no one should ever impose helping others on you and cap your salary, it should be in your heart to do it on your own.
To get to the point, Mr. Kutcher is part of a section of Hollywood people who think that using their power and voice is calling out a company that employs the most people in the US for not paying people enough, when they themselves sit on a mound of money, in incredibly large houses and employ a team of people whose only job is to make them look good, get them out of trouble, and get them jobs. Well, I am guessing if the rest of us had that luxury, those Walmart employees wouldn't be working at Walmart. If you want to make a difference, then start a company with your large pot to draw from and pay people what you think they should make (considering you could employ 28 Walmart employees for one year off the money you make in one episode, oh exalted one), don't just sit on your high horse and shout down at those of us who don't meet your worthiness.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Abortion Isn't The Issue...

I know a lot of you won't agree with my stance on this, but I am going to put it out there because I think it's important. I was reading an article yesterday about a woman who has been a part of the pro-life movement for years and was discussing how that has changed over the years. By "that" I mean the ways they are allowed to protest abortions. Apparently, there have been laws in place to protect the women who have chosen abortions from overzealous protestors who've overstepped their boundaries when picketing abortion clinics. This particular woman who was the subject of the article said that she wishes they were still able to chain themselves to the front doors of abortion clinics because that would mean that at least one baby was saved from murder.
I have no doubt that these pro-life advocates are coming from a great place and have every good intention in them to save babies' lives. My problem is that sometimes we are so focused on the abortion procedure itself that we forget that these are actual women who are actually pregnant and even if we save them from following through on the abortion, they still have to remain pregnant for the remainder of their pregnancy, then raise a child for the rest of their lives. I personally think, and forgive me here, that we as Christians do a terrible job, on the whole, of supporting women who have chosen life and helping women who have chosen abortion. This is why I am a huge advocate of women who feel strongly about abortion should volunteer or give their money to a local pregnancy resource center. Not only is your money and time helping women through a tremendous struggle in their lives, your local pregnancy center rewards the women who choose life by giving them donated clothes and necessities they will need after that beautiful baby comes. If you can't donate money or time, donate old baby or maternity clothes. Diapers. Formula. Anything you can, will go to help women who have chosen life.
And for those women who've chosen to end their pregnancy, God can forgive them too. The choice they've made isn't one they feel good about or walk away from unscathed. Show these women the love of Jesus and pray for them that they can heal. More often than not, the guilt and unresolved feelings of inadequacy can lead to more damaging behavior like future unprotected premarital sex. Think about how much these women would benefit from love and support from the Christian community, instead of being called a "murderer" or someone who "uses abortion as birth control." (I hate both of these terms for women, FYI.) A changed woman after an abortion can not only protect her own future unborn children, but can also use her experience to help other women in the same predicament.
I've been volunteering at the pregnancy center now for several weeks and it's been an eye-opening experience for me. This "issue" of abortion isn't about the abortion, it's about women and their circumstances. Many of them are terrified to tell their parents. Many are mostly afraid of having the initial conversation and the feelings they get from people who will find out. It's a very temporary solution to permanent problem. They are scared and upset and don't know what to do. They can't see how a baby could ever be a blessing. They can't see how their parents could ever understand the position they were in. It's also upsetting to hear about women who are actually forced to have an abortion from their parents.
Just, take some time today and pray for women. Women are in a unique position than men and have to carry this burden, often alone, and make decisions that affect the rest of their lives. Also, take some time and give some money to our pregnancy center. $1, $5, it doesn't matter. We'll take anything we can get.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cindy Tamplin Tea 2014

Saturday was the Cindy Tamplin Memorial Tea. This is the 14th year, which means I've been going since I was 19. Every year, this tea has meant the start of the holiday season for my family. I remember going all those years during my 20's, watching people come get married and have babies, not being super interested in charity, not appreciating what my mom and her friends were really doing and the work that went in to this event. This year, God has put the opportunity in my life to do more charitable work than I have in the rest of my life combined and I am so glad I got a glimpse into how much planning and work something like this takes.
I saw those lollipops at Hobby Lobby one day and was inspired to do a fun, candy or "sugarplum" table and have a plate for all of my kids and nieces and nephews. Either that, or I've seen Wreck It Ralph one too many times and was inspired by Venelope Von Schweetz.
All of the kids that came couldn't wait to get their hands on those cookies, marshmellows, and cupcakes. I had a free for all after the event was over. :-)

This year's tea was also the first without our beautiful Miss Kay.

My mom's table

My sister's table

They are still taking your donation as well! Melissa Tamplin is auctioning off a trip to New York, which includes the lodging and airfare. For $25, you get entered for a chance to win!! Drawing will be December 8th, raffle stops December 6th. Make your $25 count today by allowing it to be used for a very good cause!!
Visit http://www.brightertomorrows.net/ to buy a ticket.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Donuts with Daddy and What Do You Send With Your Toddler In Their Lunch?

Today, Avery's MDO had Donuts with Daddy. What a cool idea! So Daddy got to take her to school and spend time with her for breakfast! Next Thursday, the moms get to have coffee and hang out. I am excited.
I also need to ask you all for some ideas - what do you send with your kiddos in their lunch every day? My daughter's class is peanut free but she loves PBJs. I am going to try Sun Butter and see if she will like that, but her lunches have really been hit or miss. Does anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Avery's Year In Review

Avery is two weeks away from turning 3 and it's showing everyday!
Apparently, 2 years is a rough time, but 3 years is even worse. I can say that in the case of my daughter, that's been evident in some ways and not evident in others. She is just progressing in her little life in leaps and bounds. Her vocabulary is quite extensive, she can color in a very controlled way, she is not shy with other kids, she follows directions very well, she can count to 20, and she has a memory like an elephant. Talking with her and hearing what she has to say is so much fun, I just love having actual conversations with her!!

So far, we are at my most favorite and least favorite times in her little life, and ironically, they are both for the same reason: she is getting older and learning more. I wasn't quite prepared for how turning 3 would affect my happy child's sweet disposition. She has thrown more temper tantrums in the last month than she has her whole life, and most of them are for no reason whatsoever. It's like you are dealing with a live grenade and have no idea when you are going to set it off!! The other day, she literally threw a fit and started crying - when I asked her why she was crying she said, "I don't know!" Yeah, that's pretty much right.

She gets mad if you help her brush her teeth, if she isn't ready for you to change her clothes, if she doesn't get candy without eating her dinner, if she doesn't get a drink right away, if you make her get in the car, if you make her get out of the car, if the sun is in her eyes, I mean, you name it, she's thrown a fit about it. It's nuts!!

On the other hand, though, with all of that growing up, she has certainly been fun. She will just walk up to me randomly and say, "Mom, I love you!" And I love that. She walked up to my dad the other day and told him he was "an interesting man." I thought that was pretty funny. She never asks me to play with her, she just always says, "You can play with me if you want to..." She is also the bossiest little thing I've ever seen in my life. It's been a challenge to rein that one in, for sure. It must be a first-born-girl thing.

Here are some pictures of Avery throughout the last year. 10 more days and I will have a 3 year old, I just can't believe it.

First time to leave Cookies for Santa by herself...

Avery got a big girl bed...

...and learned to go to the potty.

We figured out she likes games but hates Chuck E Cheese...

We celebrated Easter...

We had a road trip to Roswell...

...where she also became my mini-me.

We had big girl pictures taken...

...and we celebrated our nation's birthday.

She learned how to be silly for the camera...

...and how to take pictures of her family.

She had her first game night as a big kid...

...and went to her first Vacation Bible school and also got to pet her first goat!!

She had her first water-gun fight with her cousins...

...and got to go to the beach for the very first time!

She also spent lots of time with her cousin...

Photo: Cousins :-)

...and some time with her mommy, who gets to see her a lot more often now.

She got to be a super hero...

...and go to her first day of "school."

Sigh. My big girl.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Walking Dead - Four Episodes Deep and I Can't Get Enough

(source: therealmcast.com)
I just can't wait for this show to come on each week. It's really my guilty pleasure and I absolutely love it. This season, my slight obsession is still going strong and it's been such a good four episodes thus far.
So, just a little recap of where we are going in to tonight's episode (if you have anything DVR'd, this will contain spoilers!)
-Daryl, Machone, Tyrese and alcoholic-guy-who-is-willing-to-get-everyone-killed-for-a-liter-of-liquor are still in a little danger and are unsure if they will get back to the prison in time with the meds to save their friends.
-The last we saw the prison, Hershel was giving everyone herbal treatments in hopes it will help treat the infection and buy everyone a little more time.
-Not one word has been said of the Governor thus far.
-As of two episodes ago, we heard what sounded like a radio signal. We also saw hundreds of walkers that had completely blocked the road out.
-Rick totally bypassed everyone else's opinion on the matter and left Carol to fend for herself in the middle of a suburban neighborhood for murdering two people at the prison infected with the mysterious virus.
Have I mentioned I love this show??
I know the whole Team Rick/Team Carol thing had all of us fans split all week, but I thought this was yet another genius move on behalf of the writing staff. This show works so well because you just never know what is going to happen. I didn't see that coming the whole episode, and I personally think Rick decided to leave her right at the very last minute himself. Genius. And I don't think we've seen the last of her, either.
I am really curious how Rick is going to communicate her absence at the prison upon his return. He could easily say she was attacked or lost and not own up to the fact that he was the one who did it. Although, it would be a really interesting storyline to see how Daryl would handle Rick's decision to dump his kind-of-sort-of love interest on the side of the road. Although, in this last episode, I kind of saw some sparks fly between Daryl and Machone, am I wrong? I love Daryl but not sure how much I'd love him as one-half of a love story.
So, at this point, we only have a few characters remaining from season one - Hershel, his two daughters, Rick, Carl and Glen. Right now, they are kind of running out of characters to kill off and haven't really given us many new characters to root for. I've heard Tyreese in the comics is some sort of bad-mamma-jamma, but so far, all I've seen is a timid, emotional wreck of a guy, not really anything I've liked about him. And that weasily alcoholic guy, there is nothing about him that is interesting to me now.
I am kind of interested in seeing something else happen with the actual walkers and some sort of story line involving other survivors. That radio signal really had me interested and now I'd like to see if there are any others out there. Hopefully, we will see that soon.
30 more minutes, pretty stoked!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nostalgia and Some Random Thoughts

Today, as I was sweeping my front walk way of leaves for the hundredth time this week, I was overwhelmed with this feeling of nostalgia for my grandparents house. We used to rake leaves on their very big yard during the fall. We would go down to their house during Thanksgiving and it was in the country, so someone was usually always burning their piles of leaves and there was always this wonderful smell of fire and smoke. Not sure if it smelled good, really, or if it was just the smell of my grandparents house. We would swing on their tire swing with our coats and ride our bikes in their driveway and play and play with each other. We would walk in to their house and smell Thanksgiving lunch cooking...and it smelled wonderful, even the peas and broccoli, which only ever smell good on big-meal holidays.
I wish my grandparents could have met Avery. They would have just loved her to pieces and she would have loved them, too. I just find myself this week thinking about that, the circle of life, new traditions and what my daughter will remember about her childhood and what she will write on her blog in 30 years or so.
Here is Avery, one year ago today. I love this picture.
Sophia and I participated in the three legged race at our church's fall festival on Sunday. We didn't win, but did pretty good I think!!!

Jordan and Sophia practiced ninja training over the weekend. You'll be happy to know that Sophia advanced 6 levels and is now a red and white striped belt. I have no idea what you have to do to advance to the next level or how many levels there actually are, but I just loved this so much because it's pretty much the only time I've seen them play together for longer than two minutes since 2011.

I am getting ready to celebrate Avery's 3 year old birthday in a few weeks. I just love this age she is at. While it is really challenging (or she tries to be challenging), I just love the things that come out of her mouth. I love hearing what's in her brain because it's pretty entertaining up there, apparently. She is becoming incredibly obstenent and very disobedient, but that's her job as an almost 3 year old, right? Christmas is going to be so much fun this year. She actually knows what is going on and what is going to happen, and we get the other two munchkins this year. I always love it when all of the kids are around me that week.