Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fallin' in Love with Fall

I have never been a huge fan of Fall. Gasp! I am a Summer kind of girl, and Fall to me has always symbolized the end to everything about Summer I love...the beach, swimming pools, the park, suntans, green trees, green grass, watermelon, etc., etc. Plus, I can't stand to be cold. However, as I get older, I am finding myself enjoying Fall more and more. This could be due in part to the fact that having a savage tan is no longer my number one priority since I had children, and I am also finding myself looking forward to a break from all of the heat.

Fall does have one of my favorite holidays of Thanksgiving, but I have never been a fan of Halloween EVER. Even when I was a child, I can remember enjoying getting dressed up in a costume, which were always something we created on our own from things around the house, but I always ended up frightened while going trick-or-treating. To this day, Halloween is still not my favorite, but I am starting to at least like it a bit more. It is fun picking out costumes for Evan and Ella Grace. We usually go to a festival at church or just go trick-or-treating to the grandparents house, so there is nothing scary, just Evan and EG showing off their costumes and racking up on candy. Here they are last Halloween. Evan was a fighter pilot and Ella Grace was a fairy.

I have actually already ordered and received their costumes for this year. I have kind of shocked myself by already having this accomplished! Evan will be a doctor and Ella Grace will be a pumpkin.So, I think I am warming up to Fall and all it brings. I am looking forward to cooler weather, jeans and long sleeves, hot chocolate, and taking E & EG to the pumpkin patch and for a hay ride. I even told Derek was looking forward to football this year, and he about fell out! I think his exacts words were, "Uh uh. Really?" Ha!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Your Average Every Day Hero

Last night, Derek got called into work to rescue a man that had crashed his hang glider into a tree. He was about 40 feet off the ground and the park in which he was gliding could not reach him. So, they called in the National Guard and Derek and a few others went to get him. Derek was flying the helicopter in this clip (he is the bright spotlight). His missions are medevac and include a crew member going down a hoist to rescue people, which is how they got the man out of the tree. They also did this countless times during Hurricane Katrina, rescuing evacuees from the tops of their homes.

Speaking of heroes, the other one in my house, Evan (I believe anyone who has to manage autism every day is a hero of the largest proportion), got a special delivery. All of us Hortons received our shirts for the Tennessee walk in support of autism from Lauren, Meagan and Megan. How cute are these shirts and the little people in them...

Thank you to all of you who have given to this cause that is so close to my heart in honor of my Evan. We are so close to our goal. If you would still like to contribute, you can click on Megan, Meagan and Lauren's picture in the top right corner. Thank you for helping us kick autism in the rear! And, thank you Meagan, Megan and Lauren for the SUPER cute shirts. I don't think I could ever be more proud to wear anything! Love you girls!

I leave you tonight with what I found Ella Grace doing when I went in her room to get her picture. She learned to do "monkey arms" at Gymboree on the monkey bars, but I guess the side of a crib works, too.

I hope you are all having a GREAT week! Lots of love!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lucky Me

I'm so lucky because Saturday my sweet friend, Kelly, drove about three hours to come see me and some other friends for a visit. Our friend, Kandi, and I met her at Mimi's (of course) for lunch. We had the best time visiting, laughing about old times (some things I don't even remember...ha), and talking about what's new with our families, especially what's new with Kelly, Scott, and Harper!

I've decided Kelly is the cutest mom to be I have ever seen.

Me, Kelly, and Kandi

This is Kandi and her family. I've decided this is what happens when Barbie marries Ken and they have kids! Ha! Just a beautiful family!

I had the best time shopping for a little something for Baby Harper. I found this frame that I loved. I loved it so much I ordered another one for Ella Grace's new room.

Thank you so much for coming to see us, Kelly. I loved every minute of it!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

22 Months

It's hard to believe my Ella Grace is months from turning two years old, but for today, she is just 22 months and I'm holding on to every day.

EG is definitely the perfect mixture of sugar and spice. She is the sweetest little girl, but can throw in the sass in an instant! Ha! Here are few more things about my favorite girl:

  • She uses sentences (up to five words) like, "I want apple juice please," or "I sorry Edan (Evan)."
  • She asks questions like, "What's wrong Mama," (I'm kind of beginning to wonder why she is asking me this a lot...ha!) or "Where'd baby go?"
  • As soon as Derek leaves in the morning, she announces, "Daddy workin'."
  • She adores babies (real or baby dolls) and animals (real or stuffed).
  • She loves green beans but will only eat them right out of the can or cold. I know!!!
  • She is girly, girly loving make-up, purses, telephones, and clothes.
  • She can put her shoes on herself, although they are almost always on the wrong feet. I don't change them though because she is so proud of herself.
  • She stalls when it is bedtime by asking to be rocked. I am never able to turn her down.
  • She always wants to "show Evan" when she thinks she looks pretty or silly.
  • She adores Evan and loves to chase him around the house.
  • She is obsessed with owies and will point them out on herself or others.
  • She is such a little momma (mostly to Evan, bless his heart).
  • She loves to sing. Her favorites are "ABC's," "Barney's I Love You," "Wheels on the Bus, "Where is Thumbkin," and all the songs we sing while at Gymboree. Hearing her singing them is P R E C I O U S.
  • She has used the potty once already! Yeah!
There is so much more to this precious child that I can't possibly put it all on this blog. I just want her to know she is so special to Daddy, Evan and me.

This is Evan's rocking chair, and she loves to get in it and rock herself or "Baby."

Here she is hanging with her peeps, "Buddit" and "Baby." You can see she got her first skinned knee last week. This was traumatic. She kept saying it was "broken."

"Pee pie" is still one of her favorite games. Here she is playing it with "Baby."

Happy 22 Months, Ella Grace! You make life fun! I you so much!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Speaking Spanish & a Sleeping Angel

Evan had another great day in Kindergarten today. I was so worried because he didn't eat his lunch yesterday, but he ate his entire lunch today. He is settling in just fine. I forgot to mention this yesterday, and I want to document it so I don't forget. When we saw one of his teachers on the first day of school yesterday. He said, "Good morning. Buenos Dias." His teacher was quite impressed. I'm telling you, watching Dora has payed off. Ha!

If you were wondering what an angel looks like when she is sleeping, here she is:

"Buddit," EG, and "Baby"

I also want to send a BIG congratulations to my sweet friend, Kelly, on finding out the wonderful news that Harper Brown is on her way. I am SO happy for you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Our First Day

First of all, you guys are the best blog friends a girl could EVER ask for. I know you were praying for us, and I truly felt your prayers. I was very calm today...very un-Leigh Ann-like I must admit, and I know it was because you all were lifting me/us up, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We (Evan and I...ha!) made it through our first day of school. EVAN HAD A GREAT DAY!

I was feeling rather tender this morning while I was getting ready. However, as the morning progressed, I got so busy and I think that was a blessing. I didn't really have time to be sad.

Evan ate his favorite breakfast of waffles (he ate two). I dressed him in his uniform, and he looked SO handsome I could have just eaten him up. He was happy all the way to school, and when we arrived he just walked in his room like such a big guy. He didn't shed one tear! He didn't cling to me. He was ready! He got busy playing right away. I went over to get one last hug and then his teacher was showing him his place at the table, so I slipped out of the room. I did get rather teary once back in the car. Derek told me he was very proud of how well I was doing. I think he expected me to lie face down in the middle of the courtyard crying. Ha! The hardest part of the day for me was actually the waiting to go pick him up and hear about his day. All in all he had a great day. He did have some difficulty in the cafeteria, as he has never been in one before, so he didn't eat much of his lunch, but I know this will get better with time. He loved the playground and did well with his counting and alphabet today. His teachers all seem so sweet and wonderful, and I am truly grateful for that! I am just so proud of my little man. The sweetest part of the day was when he saw me this afternoon. He gave me the biggest hug...arms around my neck and legs around my waist. It was a full body hug. Ha! Oh, I loved it!

My Kindergartener

Evan and his very proud Momma

I love you, Evan, and I'm so proud of you!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Heart Hurts...A Lot

I can't believe it's here. Tomorrow I take my baby to Kindergarten. It's such a strange feeling. I am so proud of Evan and the fact that he is ready and going to "big school," but my heart hurts. Time has gone by much faster than I would have liked. I have spent the last two nights lying in bed with him watching him sleep and listening to him breathe and smelling the sweet strawberry scent from his shampoo. I'm excited, anxious, nervous, and sad all at the same time.

We took Evan by his new room on Thursday. There was no one around. We just wanted him to see it before open house the next day, so that it would be more familiar to him.

Evan outside his Kindergarten classroom.

Ella Grace wasted no time. She immediately found one of her favorite books and made herself right at home at a table.

Friday night was "Open House." There was an assembly where they introduced all the teachers, went over information, and I had a chance to join the PTA. Once we were dismissed, we headed over to Evan's classroom so we could drop off his school supplies and meet his teacher. There are two children Evan already knows that will be in his class, so that was a good feeling knowing he already has friends. He got to meet his teacher, and I was so proud to hear him say, "Hi, Mrs. Ross." So cute! While I visited with his new speech therapist (I am going to love her), he was busy playing with toys. I think he is going to do just fine.

Evan and Derek outside waiting to go to Open House.

You sure need a lot of stuff to start school. I don't remember ever having to bring all of this to school. Do you?

All in all, I feel really good about Evan's class, his teachers and the others that will work with him. I am still anxious over some other issues, but I am praying those things will all work themselves out. I know tomorrow will be difficult (mainly for me), but I'm ready for a new chapter and ready to see all Evan will learn. I have been a little teary the last couple of weeks. I'll even admit I have been tearing up at this Wal-Mart back to school commercial. Ha! It features the mom talking about how she "won't be there to show them how great he is." That is exactly how I feel. Evan is such a great little guy and I want them all to know it. I don't think it will take long for everyone at school to figure it out though. :) He's pretty easy to fall in love with.

Please pray for us tomorrow, especially for Evan. I pray that he adjusts to his new school, surroundings and teachers easily, that he is calm, and that he has fun. I'll definitely keep you all posted tomorrow on how the first day goes. Thank you so much. Hugs!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Week Of FUN

I decided not to send Evan back to preschool this week. This was his last week anyway, and they were only going to be there Monday-Wednesday. So, I decided it would be a good idea to have the last week before kindergarten to spend time with my baby having fun. Since we didn't go on a vacation this Summer (EG is just too small we decided), Derek decided to take the week off and that we would have a "staycation."

So far on our staycation, we have eaten out, gone to Gymboree, gone to the park, played endlessly in the backyard jumping, swimming and running through the sprinkler, gone to the zoo, and stayed up late and slept in (I am so going to regret this Monday...ha). It has been great! Tomorrow we plan to go to the Jump Zone. All in all, it has been a great week. We have had lots of fun and been able to sleep in our own beds. :)

One thing I am really excited about that I got to do this week is start on Ella Grace's "big girl" room. We had our first episode today when she climbed out, so that is just confirmation to me that I am not starting this too soon. I have picked out her bed and nightstand and went today to firm up her bedding.

This is her new bed and night stand. It doesn't have the posters though.

This is the new duvet. I am loving damask right now. The designer that helped me assured me it would not go out of style. She said it is like toile and will always be in style. If you disagree, don't tell me! Ha! I am like the opposite of all things trendy, and I tend to try to go for things that will be around for a while.

These are the swatches from my original plan. However, when I went to return them today, I nixed the pink polka dots. The bed skirt is now going to be a fluffy organza, and the Euro pillows will be smocked organza. The stripe will be two regular sized pillows and then there will be a boudoir pillow with a coordinating ruffle of pink and green polka dot fabric I picked for the drapes. And of course, the boudoir pillow will be monogrammed because I am a NUT for it.

I loved Ella's nursery. It was kind of shabby chic, but I never felt like it was "finished." Between Derek being gone due to deployment and Ella Grace arriving early, I never got a chance to paint the room or do all of the finishing touches I wanted. This room is opposite of what I did before. It is still pink and green like her nursery but the colors are a lot brighter this time and it includes all the "sweet" touches from the organza, and it just fits the personality that is my Ella Grace! I have also talked Derek into painting her room a bright pink. Now, I can't wait for it to come in, so I can pull it all together. I promise I won't cry when she colors on it 30 minutes after I get it all together. Ha!

Next up, Evan will get a bigger bed and a new duvet. I wish I would have gotten him a double bed instead of a twin in the beginning. There is always something on my list. Are you like that? Do you constantly have something you are working on for your home? It's fun, but it's a lot of work! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Ella Grace has pouting down, and she can turn it on and off like a light switch. These pictures were taken in the span of about one minute.





On again

I have no idea where she learned this. Seriously. I didn't teach her this (I don't think). Derek and I have a hard time not laughing. It really is hysterical.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fly Girls

Whew! Saturday was a busy day! Derek had drill this weekend (that included Friday night, Saturday and Sunday), which always makes things a bit more busy for me. This was one drill I could not wait for. Since Derek has been a pilot, I have only seen Derek fly from the ground. I have sat in the helicopter with him, but I have never had the privilege to actually go up in one. That all changed this weekend. This is the first time they have allowed the spouses to go on an "Orientation Flight."

I could not have been more excited. Not only was I going to be spending the morning with some hunky men in uniform (I mean, lucky me), I was actually going up in a Blackhawk UH-60. They would not actually allow the pilot to be your spouse (I guess in case of an accident), so since I know most of the pilots and Derek trains them anyway, it was the next best thing. I knew I was in the best of hands.

We got to sit in a briefing and then we were off for our flight. Derek somehow arranged for me to have a really good seat. I sat at a door by myself with no windows. Yikes! I'm also known for getting motion sickness but they assured us the Crew Chief would have little baggies if we needed them. :)

It was SO fun! We got to see beautiful Arkansas from the air. We got to see lots of familiar places like the Arkansas River, our very fancy new baseball park, the Alltel arena, and mountains all from a aerial view. It was GREAT!

After all the sight seeing, the pilots took us back to the places they train doing maneuvers (I call them "tricks"). They hovered and turned circles and did sharp turns. I have to admit I thought about the baggie around this time. My favorite "tricks" were when the aircraft was sideways and they could fly it forward and backward even from the side. I also thought it was very wild when they gained speed and suddenly stopped like a car (in the air). I had no idea the Blackhawk could do that! It was very, very cool.

I have always been so proud of my husband and proud of his hard work and dedication to our country and the National Guard. Every time I watch him in an air show or just flying over our house on a routine mission, my heart swoons (and my eyes tear up, too). However, something about being inside the aircraft and seeing what they do and seeing what they see made me "get it." I totally understand now why he loves it so much.

I loved seeing Arkansas from the air. We really live in a beautiful state. We saw tons and tons of trees, lakes, ponds, mountains, and the river. There is no surprise why we are known as the "Natural State." It really is breathtaking in areas. Even as I enjoyed my flight, at one point, I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be in a combat zone flying low and fast trying to avoid being shot down. It made me sad a bit. There is no way I could possibly understand what Derek and his fellow soldiers felt or saw during those missions. I am so thankful and so proud.

Here are a few pictures from the day (warning: there are several)...

Derek and me in his office before the flight.

The wives going on the first flight.

The two Blackhawks ready for us.

The Crew Chief. He is in charge of securing passengers and cargo and providing maintenance. He also slipped us a note that read, "This is the best smellin' flight I have ever been on." I guess most crew members and pilots don't wear perfume and delicious smelling lotions! Ha!

Derek got me all strapped in my seat (which I loved). I was ready!

I was right behind the cockpit!

My hunky husband seeing me off.

The girls I flew with.
Tonya, if you happened to read this, I just wanted to tell you I thought about you the entire flight and was wishing so badly you were experiencing it with me!

A popular mountain that people hike. I could actually see people at the top.

A popular lake in Arkansas.

During one point of the "tricks," we were flying right above the treetops.

I can honestly say this was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I am so thankful I had the opportunity (finally), and I'm so glad I made it without the baggie!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Note to Self...

"ALL" drawers need baby locks ASAP.

This is Ella Grace trying out mascara!! I am SO lucky it only got on her face! Just a side note: She was in Daddy's care. :)

Now, Self, consider yourself lucky and also remember this episode! You need to get to Wal-Mart quick before she gets into the good stuff, the Estee Lauder!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Power is Out...Again!

I don't know what is going on in my subdivision! For some reason, the power keeps going out for hours at a time. Now, this probably wouldn't be as big of a deal if (1) Ella Grace wasn't needing a nap, (2) Evan wasn't throwing a fit because he didn't understand why his DVD player wouldn't work, and (3) It is THE hottest day of the summer. For some reason, the power has gone out three times in the last month and it ALWAYS goes out at the worst possible times like Sunday afternoon when EVERYONE is home or at 2:00 on a weekday when it is 102 degrees. I guess there is no "good" time, but 102 degrees??? Come on!

I toughed it out until Ella Grace woke from her nap. Every time we called, the estimated time the power would be restored kept being pushed back an hour. Urgh! I went to get Evan from school, stopped by Sonic to get a cool drink for the three of us and was HOPING the power would be on when we got home. As I pushed the garage door opener, I realized there was nothing. I was SO frustrated! If this had been the first time or if we had been given some sort of explanation as to why this continues to happen, it wouldn't have been so bad, but since it has continued to be a problem, plus it is H O T, and furthermore I have two small children, I was frustrated!

I ran inside and grabbed swimsuits to go to my sister's house for a swim. I was at a loss for anything else for us to do. As I was coming out of the house, the mail man was bringing a package to me. It was a package from Faith, and it totally made my day...

How stinkin' cute are these? I needed a birthday gift for a friend's daughter. I wanted something very special, and since I adore anything monogrammed, I instantly thought of Faith. I just love how they turned out, and of course while I was ordering, EG needed one, too. Thank you, Faith!

Then, before pulling from the driveway, I noticed a box by the door, and it was...

My baby's Kindergarten lunchbox!

All of these goodies totally put me in THE best mood and made me forget the frustration of the power outage.

Then, as I drove, I began to think how silly I had been to be so upset about the power outage. Right then I was reminded of an e-mail I got from a friend about a week ago that was titled "Unhappy? Complaining?" These images were attached to that e-mail, and I suddenly could not get them out of my head...

I started feeling so selfish and ashamed of myself and thankful all at the same time. How dare I complain that my house with a roof on it doesn't have a steady stream of cool air running through it at ALL times? How dare I feel inconvenienced that I have to take my fully clothed and fed children to a pool of clean, clear water to play in, let alone drink! What was wrong with me? There is so much suffering in this world, and I and my family are so blessed!

Do you ever have days like this...a day full of frustration that turns to joy that turns to a lesson?