Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Sweet!

Ya'll my heart has been so touched! Two of my newest and sweetest blogging buddies Audrey and Rachel have been so sweet to give me an award.

Thank you so much, Audrey and Rachel, for thinking of me and totally making my day with this honor! If you haven't read either of their blogs yet, you should definitely check them out. Both of them are so cute and oh so talented. Audrey also has an Evan and has a background in helping children with autism, so needless to say she touched my heart immediately. I am convinced Rachel can do anything and is pretty much Martha Stewart (just a much more beautiful version). Oh, and they both have the cutest little boys! You should definitely stop by and visit them!

So, here is what I'm supposed to do...

1. Put the logo on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.

4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.

5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

I absolutely LOVE all of you on my blog roll. I check on you every day (sometimes two times...ha)! This time I'm passing it on to others I haven't sent awards to before. I wish I could send it to all of you, but I guess I actually should get some housework done today. :)

I pass on the love to...

1) Becky. Becky is adorable! I love reading her blog. She has a beautiful family and she and her husband are always on an adventure. She's expecting grandchild number three any day now.

2) Betsy. Betsy is so sweet and has such a great family. She is the mom of four great kids. She is the kind of mom I strive to be. Plus, she is a teacher and just SO CUTE!

3) Heather. Heather has to be one of the strongest women I have ever met. She shares her heart and I can ALWAYS relate to her and ALWAYS feel uplifted after I read her blog. She is amazing!

4) Kelly. I adore Kelly and have ever since we lived together at OBU. I know she has been like the most awarded blogger ever, and rightfully so. She has THE best blog! I admire Kelly so much. Her faith is amazing! I am so excited about little Baby H that is on his (I think she's having a boy) way! What a lucky baby to have her as his mom.

5) Melissa. Wow! I love Melissa's blog. She actually has two. One is about her family and the other is "Amazing Kids," a blog devoted to children with special needs. Plus, she has started a special needs ministry at her church, so I hope to learn a lot from her as I try to help our church with one.

6) Michelle. Michelle is my childhood friend. I have known her since I was five. Even though I still see her at least once a month, it has been so fun to check in on her through her blog. It's like seeing her every day! She has two cute kids and she is a great mom who always has fun activities planned for them. Plus, she home schools. Need I say more?

7) Traci. Traci is an amazing mom who also has a child with autism. I adore reading about her children and all the progress her precious son is making. She is truly an inspiration.

Love you all!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

She's a Dipper; He's a Streaker

Ella Grace is a fan of condiments. She loves anything she can dip her food in...honey mustard, ranch dressing, or her favorite, ketchup. Derek took us to eat Mexican food Sunday night and the girl put some hurt on some cheese dip. Actually, that is all she ate. I loved her concentration as she dipped her chip and then ran it across the side of the bowl so it didn't drip. I made some smaller chip pieces for her and put them on a napkin, but she was having none of that. She wanted the big chips. I guess as it should be. She is a big girl after all, as she now refuses to sit in a high chair at restaurants.

Evan has had THE best time with this Mickey Mouse sprinkler my mom and dad got him for his birthday. The other night, he was running and jumping through the sprinkler and then going to his trampoline to jump around and then back to the sprinkler. Well, when he was finished with the sprinkler, Derek put it away and came inside (I was out buying school supplies). After a few minutes, Derek looked out to check on Evan, and Evan was butt naked jumping on the trampoline. I guess his wet swimsuit was slowing him down. :) We have a privacy fence, but our neighbors sure would have gotten a sight as he jumped up, as you can see him over the fence. He was having the biggest time out there jumping around in all his glory! We didn't take a picture of his streaking. Nobody needs to see all that. Ha!

I had to include this pic, too. I sure wish I was this cute in a bikini! EG is not big on the sprinkler.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Blogging Connection

I just love blogging. I have made so many new friends I probably would never have met otherwise!

A while back, I met Becky. She and her daughter are friends of my friend, Jill. One day before Derek and I left for the mall, I had been on Jill's blog and visited a link to Cortney. Well, that afternoon at lunch at Chik-fil-a, guess who we sat by...Cortney and Becky. I told them I thought I knew them from blogging and sure enough we all recognized each other. I have been keeping up with them through their blogs and last night ran into Cortney at Target. I also got to meet Becky's other daughter Casey, who I felt like I had already met anyway because I had read about her. Ha! Becky and her girls are SO sweet and I'm so glad I got to meet them. Plus, I had been in this dilemma about if Evan was too big to have his backpack monogrammed this year for Kindergarten. Thank goodness Cortney helped me solve my dilemma right there in Target since she has one starting Kindergarten, too. We both agreed they are not too big for monograms! :)

Today, I went over to Jamie's house for a Chez Ami clothing party. I "met" Jamie first through blogging. She was a friend of Kelly's. Then, I happened to run into her at a restaurant one evening and recognized her right away from her blog! Since then, we have emailed some and hope to get our kids together soon for a playdate. She is also SO sweet and has the cutest little kids ever. I'm so excited about the outfits I got for Evan and Ella Grace for Fall. They will probably end up on a Christmas card! :)

I got this shirt for Evan with his monogram. I thought I could get away with this one without Derek freaking out too bad. Derek did not like it one bit when I put Evan in a Peter Pan collared shirt for his first Christmas. That is a whole other post. :)

I got this jumper for EG with her monogram in brown (instead of the apples) and the little striped turtleneck. I did not get the tights though.

I got this sweater for Ella Grace in pink with lime green monogram of "EG" on it, of course.

Ella had the best time at Jamie's because there were a lot of other children there. I snapped this picture of EG and A, Jamie's daughter. They were both pretty excited about seeing Barney. Thanks so much for having us, Jamie. We had a great time and I can't wait until Fall to dress E and EG in their new duds!

Shopping for clothes for my kids is my favorite thing to do! I love to plan outfits for seasons and holidays. How about you? Where are your favorite places to shop for the little ones in your life?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Just Some Old Pictures

I was going through this little album of old pictures my mom made for me recently. I always tease her that there are only eight pictures of me from when I was little. Maybe I exaggerate a little because I think actually there may be 12. Ha! I guess my mom was just a tad busy raising three girls.

I came across these pictures and they cracked me up that my sisters and I have these inner tubes on in a baby pool, especially how gigantic mine is.

I also just love this picture. My mom was (and still is) so beautiful. She was such a great mom. I think I kind of look like EG in this picture. I'm first on the left. :)

We are taking the kids swimming today and having a cook-out with my family. I hope you all have a GREAT Saturday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Puppies and Trucks

It's hard to believe that I'm already starting to plan Ella Grace's "bigger girl" room. I'm going to try to keep her in her crib as long as possible, but I have a feeling I better be ready in about 4-6 months for her to be in a bigger bed. Therefore, I'm starting now...planning on a sweet room for a sweet girl. My sister still has a chest from when she and I shared a room as little girls. It is a beautiful piece of antique that has a built in jewelry box at the top. When I was last at her house, she told me she was getting rid of it. I asked her if I could have it, and she gladly said yes. So, I'm going to get it repaired and painted pink or off-white depending (it is stained brown now). I think it will be sweet for Ella to have something of mine from when I was a little girl. I have vivid memories of that chest.

All of this planning, plus the excitement around Kelly and Sarah's new babies, has gotten me all sentimental about my own babies' rooms. I am extremely sentimental anyway, but when it comes to my babies growing up...oh my! I started thinking about Evan's little nursery. I loved that room. The theme of the room was puppies and trucks. We had an artist come in and paint trees and a puppy on the wall along with his name. She also painted some art for the wall above his chest.

I think why I loved this room so much, especially thinking about it now, is because it was before autism, before we had so many worries, before that terrible diagnosis. I just remember playing for hours in the floor of that room with my sweet boy without a care in the world. I loved watching Evan look out his huge picture window waiting for cars and trucks to pass by. We spent a lot of time in there. It was just a sweet, pure time. A time I'll always treasure.

These pictures really do not do the nursery justice. I scanned these pictures from Evan's baby book. Everything was inspired from his bedding. I loved that the puppy's collar said "EH". I never really noticed it before, but you can tell how well loved those wooden blinds were from Evan looking out of that window all the time. :)

I'm sure Derek would agree that it was a great nursery. However, when we got ready to move and the older lady that bought our house didn't have a need for a puppy dog on the wall, Derek came up with the rule for there to never ever be another mural on a wall. It was terribly hard to paint over for some reason.

One of my other favorite things in his room was this rocking truck. This picture was taken in the living room for a Christmas card, not taken in his room, but this truck sat in front of that big picture window that Evan loved and had puppies in it of course.

Evan age 9 months

If I had anything to tell new mommies, it would be to make your baby's nursery the one of your dreams. You will never regret it. It is such a sweet time and you will make a lot of wonderful memories there loving on your sweet baby.

Awww, I think I need to have another one!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week End Wrap Up

This week has been like a whirlwind! It has been busy and stressful, so I decided I would use the gift certificate Derek gave me for our anniversary and cash in my pedicure. It was really a relaxing experience. The salon has a private room, so I was the only one in there. I really wish I would have picked a different color. You know, sometimes it's just hard to tell from the bottle. This color ended up really dark and I'm more of a pink kind of girl. Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself, especially at the end where she poured wax from a soy candle and rubbed on my feet and legs. That was wonderful. However, I don't really recommend going to the mall after you've had your feet rubbed down with wax. It makes walking in sandals a bit challenging! I'm sure people were wondering what was wrong with me as I tried to walk without losing my sandals!

I went to the mall to shop at Gymboree, my favorite children's store, to cash in my Gymbucks. I got Ella Grace two new outfits and got Evan a jacket for Fall long with the rest of his uniform clothes and several shirts for Fall. I got a REALLY good deal. I got all of that and wasn't out much money at all, and for Gymboree that is good!

I had just enough time after that to pick up lunch for Derek and me (he had stayed home with EG), and then I was off to take Evan to a doctor's appointment. We were there FOREVER. Really, we were there for three hours and probably two and a half of that was waiting. It was terrible. Evan was a real trooper though, and thank goodness the office had just gotten new fish tanks. That saved the day!

Evan checking out the fish tank.

Then, after all of that, I had just enough time to get home and get ready for Girls Night Out, one of my favorite nights of each month. We had plans to go to one of the newest restaurants here, but it was packed, so we went to another restaurant that is also very good. The food was wonderful, but I enjoyed the company more. I laughed so much...I always do with them. Oh, how I needed it!

My girls...Suzanna, Tina, Michelle, Abby, Kim, me, Toni, and Abby. Morgan, we missed you!

After dinner, we went to see Mama Mia. It was really a cute movie. However, I think we all agreed that we rather see Pierce Bronson as 007 rather than singing in a musical. He was still pretty to look at though. :)

This is me and Tina in the movie theater. Tina was my very best friend in high school. There really isn't a memory of high school that I have that doesn't have her in it.

Derek had drill this weekend, so I was busy here at the house by myself trying to keep Evan and Ella Grace entertained. Saturday night our church was having the "soft opening" of our new campus. It was so beautiful and there were SO many people there. I am so excited about the opportunities that are going to be there for Evan and Ella Grace as they learn to love Jesus. I am also excited about the possibility of a special needs ministry there. I am going to start praying now for how I can help. Being a leader is definitely not my thing, but I can follow directions well and of course loving on the kids is the easy part. For so long, we have had such a hard time knowing what to do with Evan at church. Our new church instantly paired him up with a buddy, who just happened to be a speech therapist, who also just happened to be someone I already knew! That was such a relief! There is definitely a need for a special needs ministry. I know we can't be the only parents out there that have struggled with finding a church home that will also minister to our special needs child. I'm ready to dive in and serve.

Sunday we played while Derek was at drill, and then, while he was on his way home, our power went out. It seems to goes out a lot! Urgh! It was 103 degrees, so the house heated up REALLY quickly. We went out to dinner to return home to power. It was only on for about an hour and then it was off again until about 10:30. It is so frustrating. As difficult as it was for us, I couldn't help but think about all of the neighbors around ue that have newborns and had no way to warm a bottle, plus the heat! I can't imagine how miserable they must have been. I sure take AC for granted!

What a week! Here's to what I hope is a more relaxing one! I hope you are off to a great week, too!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Did It!

First of all, I want to thank you all for your prayers, love, and support this week while I got ready for my little speech at the capital. Today was the big day. With Derek, in his uniform, and Ella Grace all dressed up and by my side, we arrived at about 10:00 this morning. The meeting started at 10:00 but I was told as long as I was there by 10:30 that should be plenty of time for our turn on the agenda. Um, yeah, right.

I haven't been to the state capital since I was 12. In the sixth grade, I was a page, and had a great opportunity to learn about how our legislature works. Well, that was a long time ago and I have pretty much forgotten all that I learned from that experience. I just remember getting my picture taken with then Governor, Bill Clinton. I wish I had that picture to show you. :) I love our state capital. I really think it has to be one of the most beautiful in the nation.

To be honest, I was pretty much in freak out mode before we left the house this morning. My friend, Leslie, who is Co-Chair of this Autism Task Force told me there would be about 25 people there. Well, when we arrived, there were A LOT more than 25 people in that room. I thought I might hyperventilate! Derek stayed outside and entertained EG, and I went on in to listen to other items that were on the agenda. I must say politics is pretty interesting to me. There was one Representative that got pretty fired up when they started talking about supporting senior citizens. I think this Rep. said he was 80 years old! He was so passionate about this subject that he had to be called down for using a four letter word too much. I was astonished!

Two hours later, (yes two hours later), at 11:55 I was on. I was actually feeling a bit more calm as I sat in the meeting realizing these were all people from my state that were all there to talk about something they believed in...just like me. However, as I approached the microphone, I got a little nervous again. I introduced myself, Derek and Ella Grace and began my speech. It all went okay until I got close to the end and I did it...I cried. I cried, not once, but twice. I just couldn't help it. Two of my autism mom friends were there with there hands on my shoulders to support me the rest of the way through. I was a bit embarrassed for my display of emotions right then and there, but it just happened. I guess you can practice a speech 100 times but there is no practicing just being real. As I sat there trying to gain my composure, I heard this little voice, "Momma?" Isn't that the sweetest thing? I guess EG was making sure I was okay.

After my speech, I looked up and all of these Representatives were standing and applauding. I couldn't believe it! I KNOW it did not have anything to do with me though. I won't bore you with my entire speech. Here was just my closing remarks:

"In closing, I want to mention I have two heroes in my life. One fought for freedom for our county and one fights for freedom from autism every day."

All I can say, is getting through this experience has been by God's grace and all of your prayers. Thank you so much!

I got zero pictures today. I thought this was going to be a great day to take pictures of Ella on her first visit to the state capital, but I didn't. I guess with the excitement of it all, I just completely forgot. I have to mention she was such a trooper. She walked the halls and stairs to keep busy while we waited, waving to all the old men and stealing hearts. I think she was a big hit! Ha!

Since I have no pictures from today, I thought I would include this picture. This is Derek flying his Black Hawk over the capital for Legislative Days a couple of years back.

Oh, and I thought this was funny. My mom asked me if I saw the Representative from her town. She said, "You know...His name is "X" and he has gray hair and always wears a black suit." I was like, "Um, Mom, you just described every man that was there. That is what they all looked like. That doesn't help me out too much." We both laughed and laughed. Ha!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Heart Tarjay!

Oh, I love Target! This morning, Derek watched Ella Grace and I went on a few errands. I took a little time to go to Target to browse. I just love that place. I really didn't know what to do with myself, actually being able to look around since I was by myself. I wasn't making a mad dash with a list. I had no list and nothing in particular to get.

I have been wanting to get Ella Grace a purse. I ran through the Toy Department and saw this and knew it was perfect for her. It included all her favorite things...sunglasses, makeup, cell phone, and keys. She loved it, and I have had the best time watching her carry her little purse around with all the treasures inside. It made me think about my mom telling me how much I loved my purse when I was little and whenever she had to discipline me all she had to do was take my purse away. She said it was punishment enough because being without my purse would break my heart. Isn't that funny?!

It won't be long until I will begin potty training Ella Grace. She is already very interested in it and sits on her little potty a lot. My sister gave Ella Grace all of my niece's old baby books and there is a book called "Bye Bye Diapers" that features baby Miss Piggy. It has a picture at the end with Miss Piggy wearing big kid pants. Ella is all about pointing out Miss Piggy's panties. So, I bought these today. EG LOVES dogs and cats, so these are perfect. I think they are about the cutest things I have ever seen.

I am trying to get Evan interested in board games. Right now, he is enjoys computer games more. I picked up this game for him. I think he'll like making the hippos eat the marbles. I have vivid memories of playing this game with my best neighborhood friend, Tracey. I loved it. Maybe Evan will, too.

So, I used my time alone at Target to buy toys for my children! Ha!

I want to thank you all for your encouragement and prayers this week. Tomorrow is the big day and I'm starting to feel a little freaked out. I keep trying to tell myself it is just me telling about Evan, one of my favorite people to talk about, to a group of people that need to know about him. It's helping a little, but as the time draws near I am feeling more nervous. I practiced it a couple of times today, and I cried both times! Now, I'm kind of worried about that. I just don't want to do the "ugly cry" where they can't understand a word I'm saying. Oh, good grief! Ha! I just want to make the most of this opportunity. Thank you all for being so sweet to me. I'll definitely give an update tomorrow.

My friend, Abby, sent this to me today, and I thought it is pretty funny, especially when I think about how many times I've told my mom while taking care of Evan and EG, "Mom we don't do THAT anymore," and her reply is always something like, "Well, I'm surprised I was even able to raise three girls and you all survived." Ha! Maybe you can relate to some of these, too.

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's & 80’s!!

  • First, we survived our mothers who took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
    Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

    We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took

As infants &children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster
, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because:


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms.......
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They
actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good ..

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and
lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pray for Me Please

Please pray for me. One of my closest autism mom friends called me this morning and asked me to testify at a hearing in front of legislators on the need for ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy for children with autism. The big deal about ABA is many children have gotten significantly better when ABA is taught at the earliest of ages (like around two) and intensely (8 hours a day). Insurance presently does not cover ABA services and it is so expensive no one can really afford it out of pocket. Several moms of children with autism have formed this task force to get this changed in hopes that insurance will cover some of this therapy and children can get the help they need. I am so proud to call these moms my friends. They have worked tirelessly trying to get attention for the autism community. What she told me she needed me to do was to just "tell Evan's story." Wow! How can I put into words what autism is like for my sweet child every day of his life? When I think about all Evan has to struggle with, words just seem inadequate. Public speaking scares me to death, but for some reason, I am not as panicked about it as the day has worn on. I'm feeling more like "what a gift!" I get the undivided attention of these legislators that could actually change things to give our children the chance at a life! I haven't even begun to write what I am going to say. I have just been spending some time in my thoughts first. I am praying God will give me the words to say that will make the biggest impact with the little time I will have with the legislators. I am praying for these legislators to have a tender heart toward us moms that are bearing are souls in front of them. Will you pray that, too? Thank you so much! And, if you think about it, I should be shaking in the State Capital at about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday if you would like to say a prayer for me then. :)

Oh, and I wanted to share this with you. This was the Arkansas sky last night from my front side walk...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is This Really Happening to Me?

Friday, we checked Evan out of school early again to take him swimming. I wish I had my camera ready when Derek came out of school with him. They were holding hands and Evan was smiling ear to ear. I could tell he was thinking, "Is this really happening to me?" It is a priceless expression. Next time, I'll have my camera ready.

My sister is the luckiest girl I know. She and her husband's best friends built a house right next door to them and also put in a pool. So, my sister's family has unlimited access to this beautiful pool (with none of the great is that), and her friends have been so sweet to include the Horton's in this invitation. We have been so thankful for this generosity because our community pool (as wonderful as it is) has a "10 minute adult swim" time that does not go over well at all with my 6-year-old son, who, at our last visit there, was at the top of the water slide for his very first trip down when the whistle blew for adult swim. The lifeguard would not let him take his turn, and let's just say this did not go over well. Derek and I were literally having to hold him in the lawn chair to keep him out of the water for ten minutes. So, when this invitation came to use the pool by my sister's house, we jumped on it. It has been wonderful. It is never crowded and I get to spend some time with my sister and nephew, which I always love. So, we spent Friday afternoon playing in the pool with Millicent and Stone. Ella Grace even stayed in the water the entire time, and she loved it! She hasn't been that crazy about it until now. I think she wasn't crazy about the colder water. Now, that it is 90+ degrees, the water is warmer and she enjoys it a lot more.

Ella and her Daddy

My nephew, Stone, and Evan. Stone was lifting Evan up and Evan loved it!

Stone playing with Ella Grace. EG loves Stone and he is so good with her.

Saturday, my mom called and asked if my kids could come over so Derek and I could go out to eat. Now it was my turn, "Is this really happening to me?" We jumped on the invitation and took the kids to her house and went out to eat. Derek's parents had given us a gift certificate for our anniversary that had the choice of Olive Garden or Red Lobster. Neither of those are my favorite places, but I was thankful for the gift nonetheless. We decided on Red Lobster because Derek loves crab legs (he could eat his weight in them), but everyone and their dog was at Red Lobster, so we went to Olive Garden. It was crowded, too, but we only waited 10 minutes and were seated. We had a really good meal and then headed to the mall. (Note to self: DO NOT go to the mall on a Saturday night EVER! UGH!) We had a great date night. It was that much sweeter since it was unexpected. My mom is great that way. Derek makes me laugh so much, and I love that. He's my best friend.

Today, we haven't done much of anything. I have caught up on laundry and done some light cleaning. In between loads, I kept flipping channels between two movies..."Steel Magnolias" and "Hope Floats." Those are two movies I watch over and over. Derek is taking some online courses and finished that up. The kids have had an "unplugged" kind of day where the computer is off and they only watched one video. They played a lot in Evan's room. Ella Grace took a long nap, and Evan is having a ball right now in the backyard running around in his swimsuit, jumping in the wading pool, then running to the trampoline to jump some more. Plus, he's getting to eat his dinner out on the patio as a picnic. He thinks that is a big treat. He should be one tired munchkin tonight.

Evan and Ella Grace played a long time in Evan's room together today. Ella loves this tunnel. Isn't her hair getting long?! Somebody get this kid a hair bow ASAP! If only she would KEEP it in! :)

It is very fitting that this is a monkey themed wading pool, as the biggest monkey of all is in it! :)

I love summer. I love shopping for school supplies, but I get kind of sad when I see all the ads in the Sunday paper of stores that already have them out because it's a sign of the end of summer. We'll keep enjoying every day and soaking it all in. Next week is another busy week with hopefully some more summer fun squeezed in.

I hope you and yours had a terrific weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just Life

The last few days have been pretty uneventful around the Horton Household. Life has just been happening. Derek worked a 17-hour work day yesterday, so I was busy, busy with Evan and Ella Grace.

Today, we rested up. Derek and I actually took a nap while EG was down for her nap. It was wonderful, but I always end up feeling guilty when I do that thinking there was something I could have gotten done in that time. I never sleep that sound anymore (well, since I had kids). I guess I always have an ear open in case one of them calls me. However, I slept hard during my nap today, so I guess I really did need the rest. Anyway! This afternoon I ran an errand and drove by the newest retailer in our little community.

We recently got a Wal-Mart Super Center about six miles from our house, and now we have a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market about three miles from our house. Soon, they are opening a Super Kroger (ever heard of that?) next to this Neighborhood Market. We don't live in a very large city, so I am worried that these companies think it is a city that will grow a lot in years to come. I am thankful for the conveniences, but I sure don't want us to lose our hometown feel.

Tonight Derek took us to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, The Marketplace Grill. It's a little bit of a drive from our house but so worth it. I discovered this salad the last time we were there, so I ordered it again. It is called "Chicken Berry" and it has lettuce that is covered in grilled chicken, bacon bits, strawberries and cashews, and is served with a blueberry dressing. It is delicious!

It was difficult to get a good picture of Evan because he was busy doing this. I really can't blame him! :)

Ella Grace sat for the first time in a booster seat in a booth and she did great. However, she was a little sassy putting her sandals on the table and not appreciating it one bit when I told her to stop. She thought she was big stuff with her newfound independence! She is so funny now when we take her picture, saying "cheese" and moving in with her little head to pose.
So funny!

After dinner, we went to buy some shirts for Evan's new school uniform. He is going to be too, too handsome! I am so excited. I have had the best time shopping for the uniforms and look forward to buying all his little school supplies and his little backpack. I'm a geek that way, but I can't help it. It's just true Leigh Ann-ness, plain and simple!

On our way to dinner, we got some sad news. Former, and very well-liked, Arkansas Razorback quarterback, Matt Jones, was arrested on felony charges for cocaine possession. He now plays (now probably formerly played) for the Jacksonville Jaquars. I'm sad for all the kids that looked up to him and are STILL wearing his jersey with his name and number on it. I wonder if Evan was old enough to understand this, what I would tell him. This is a reminder to me to get prepared for conversations such as this. It's amazing to me those that are considered to "have it all" seem to throw it all away and let so many other people down in the process. Maybe the pressure is too much? I don't know. When I hear about things like this, I also think of how disappointed and hurt his mother must be. I just can't imagine. Why is it that sports stars and actors are put on such a pedastal and not people that really make a difference in the world? Sometimes, it seems like the world's perspective is upside down.

Nothing like your head shot for the stat book being replaced with a mug shot. I have a feeling he's not as proud of this picture.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Horton Salon & Day Spa

Wow! Last night was CRAZY! That seems to be how we roll these days.

Monday we took Evan swimming. He was SO happy to be checked out of school early to enjoy is most favorite activity. I hate that Evan is in school this summer, but I wanted to be sure his skill level stayed up for his transition to "big school" that is right around the corner. This will be the last summer he has school all year around, and I know he will be so happy next summer. I've already found myself a bit stressed thinking about how I'll be able to keep him busy. I've been telling Derek that the problem would be solved if he would just put a pool in our backyard. Yeah, it's that simple, right?

After our trip to the pool, I made spaghetti for the kids, fed them, and then started on mine and Derek's meal. Der grilled steaks for us and we had a baked potato and garlic bread. It was SO yummy! I needed to eat a good meal so I would have my strength up for what lied ahead of me...a haircut for Evan!

Evan HATES to get a haircut. I have only taken him twice to get it cut by a professional. His very first haircut went very well. He was an angel. The next time we took him, I thought it would be a great idea to take him to an old fashioned barber shop. Oh my word! He got the biggest bowl cut you have ever seen! It made my heart so sad. I seriously almost cried going to the car. Plus, Evan did not enjoy that experience one bit. So, since that whole episode, I got my own clipper set, and I do it myself. I usually cut is pretty short because the entire event is equivalent to wrestling an alligator. Derek wrestles and I trim. It's quite the scene, not to mention all the screaming and crying going on. So, after my yummy steak dinner, I get Ringo (seriously, Evan was starting to resemble one of the Beatles) ready for his haircut.

Ringo before. Check out those chops...

Here he is after. As you can see from his expression, he is not very happy with us. We can now see our beautiful boy again...

The madness didn't stop there though. After this, both children got their nails trimmed. It was ugly! They both hated it! Is this your experience as well? I really don't get what the big deal is. Anyway, they are all groomed and pretty now. I've already started thinking about next time...I'm tired already!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Funny but Driving Me Crazy

Whenever this commercial comes on tv, my children run from whatever room they may be in to see it. Ella dances around with delight and shouts, "Funny!" Evan immediately grabs the "clicker" as he calls it and begins watching it over and over and over again. They L-O-V-E it! I admit it is a really cute commercial, but after about the 12th time, I'm done. Plus, by that time, I can't get that song out of my head! I do so enjoy hearing their laughter as they watch it though!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July is one of my very favorite holidays. It always has been, and may be even more so with having recently gone through deployment. I am so thankful for our freedoms and for the men and women who have sacrificed so that my family may enjoy them.

We had a great day. My family came over to our house for barbecue. Initially, we were going to grill out burgers, but we had that whole e-coli beef recall in our state, so we opted to play it safe and get take-out from Corky's instead. I made brownie sundaes for dessert. It was all delicious. We had planned for lots of fun outdoors for the kids, but it sprinkled off and on, so we just had a good time indoors.

This was the most exciting event of the entire day...

Ella Grace got her toenails painted for the first time! She was so proud of her toes!

This is my niece, Sarah. Isn't she just beautiful?!

This is how Evan spent most of the day...roughhousing with my dad. This picture makes me laugh because my dad's hair is messed up from all the playing.

E & EG were so tired from their big day, they didn't even get to see any fireworks. I have caught glimpses from neighbors shooting them. I don't know how the kids are sleeping through all the noise. They MUST be exhausted. I hope you had a happy and blessed 4th!

God bless America!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Anniversary Day

Today, Derek and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. I was just a baby when we met...15, and a baby when we married...21. I'm so thankful God brought Derek into my life at such a young age. We have had a wonderful 14 years together of being married and a wonderful 20 years of being best friends.

Here we are leaving our wedding July 2, 1994

Here we are on our honeymoon at Disney World. This was taken on July 4th.

This is me today wearing around my wedding veil. (Wow, I look tired. I guess 14 years and two children can do that to a girl. Ha!) I never got my wedding dress sealed (gasp!). I just knew if I ever had a daughter she wouldn't want to wear it. So, every year I have gotten my veil out on my anniversary and worn it around the house. Derek and I affectionately refer to it as the "anniversary hat." (I know what you are thinking, that I REALLY am a dork...ha!) Of course Ella Grace was all over it, too. :) As Derek watched her walking around, holding it on her head, he said, "That day will be here all too soon." He is so right! It seems just like yesterday for us.

Happy Anniversary, Der Bear. I love you. Thank you for being such a wonderful husband and more for being such an outstanding father.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Never Would Have Thought

Jamie had posted her celebrity matches on her blog. I was so curious to see who were my celebrity matches. I never thought I had a resemblance to First Lady Laura Bush! Ha! What do you think?

Happy Birthday, Lauren!

I want to wish my friend, Lauren, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Lauren is one of my dear friends who lives in Tennessee. She is so beautiful and probably one of THE most hilarious people I know! She also has the cutest little baby boy that I can't wait to get my mitts on when I go for my visit to TN.

Happy Birthday, Lauren. I hope you have a FANTASTIC day! Hugs to you!