Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blessed Beyond Measure-Christmas 2010

I'm procrastinating putting the decorations away and still eating leftovers, not quite ready to kiss the holiday good-bye. It was a good one. Magical, to say the least. A & L's excitement and anticipation had me awake at 5:30 on Christmas Day. I lived my best holiday through them. A great benefit of being a mom, I guess. We had visitors and gifts and I'll surely rank their favorites on a later blog when I see which span the test of some time. I'll get to my thank-you notes, clean the fridge and edit some pictures, slowly ticking off the to-do list. However, my biggest hope is that the feelings revisit my heart and theirs again before next December.
The tree-taken at about 6:30 a.m.--just before the girls walked down!
Letter to Santa--written verbatim--gotta love the potty reminder!

Evidence that he had come and gone and taken that silly Elf on the Shelf with him!

Bedtime stories with dad!

Holiday walk in the snow with Uncle Joe

Christmas Eve before church--Daddy post-lasik! It's still weird seeing him without glasses! (Lilly, on the other hand looks like she might need them :-)

Picture from the Ash grandparents holiday card!

Picture from the Sadler holiday card (yes, A & L graced 3 holiday cards in 2010-we are really trying NOT to let the popularity get to their heads!)

Humbled to host this crew at our home for dinner every year! We feel the love!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Days...

A holiday post will come this week, but I needed to upload these pictures or I know I never will! We had a lot more snow than normal for December in Indiana and the girls love it (Addy more than Lilly). And a snowy afternoon spent with our neighbors makes the event twice as nice for A & L!

They didn't quite understand why I told them this was a bad idea...

Addy is always ready for a ride!


Our Neighbors...


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hottest Ticket in Town

No, we didn't score tickets to see Wicked this year or splurge on the coveted Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show. We did, however, manage to get 7th row at Addy & Lilly's pre-pre-school Christmas Program. I'm not kidding, it was pandemonium! People were lined up around the school, grandmas with walkers were left out in the hallway. They added a second show and managed to keep the angry mobs at bay, but man, it will be remembered as my first encounter with some serious paparazzi. It didn't help that I was trying to video and take pictures as we had a dad-down after LASIK that day, but I managed to document for prosperity, grab the kiddos and head quickly for an adult beverage around the corner with my folks. They did not dissapoint, but we were all a bit surprised at who got front and center and sang the loudest! Here's to the holidays!

The scene--it was also 90 degrees in this room...

All dressed up and ready to sing her little heart out!

Lilly was cute as a button in her pig-tails!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Sightings...

Okay, so there are a few things my kids don't like: green beans, dogs, cats and Santa. Who can forget the infamous mall trauma that happened in 2008?
So, when I left for Phoenix 2 weeks ago, my mom and mother-in-law and husband were under strict orders to NOT visit Santa. I didn't want to miss the memory and I certainly didn't want to traumatize them without their mama around for comfort. However, this cell phone picture circulated and despite Jeremy's best attempt at telling me that Santa just "happened" to appear in the community building where they went sledding, I was a bit skeptic. But, as you can see Addy LOVED him, ran right up and gave a hug and began her list. "Santa, I want a pink bear, a pillow pet, books and baby stuff." Lilly gave him the cold shoulder and clung to her daddy like white on rice. That goes down as Santa Sighting 2010 #1.

Santa Sighting 2010 #2 happened while Jody treated the girls, her mother and my mother to the Polar Bear Express adventure through the Parks & Recreation department in Fishers. We've read the book (perhaps not enough to prep for the event) and I sent the girls off in their PJ's while I attended one of 5 different holiday parties. They were beyond excited--trains, snacks, BOTH grandmas--it was their heaven! Until they saw Santa, "Santa's Wife"-as they call her, and the Polar Bear. Addy, again recounted her wish list and Lilly cowarded behind her sister. There are no pictures of the Polar Bear as both were in tears on a respective grandma's lap.

"Hey--fat guy--keep those hands where I can see them and don't get too close."

"Good thing I brought protection."

When I got home from my party, I went and tucked both girls in with kisses to each. Addy opened her eyes a bit and wanted to show me her new bear that she had gotten from "Santa's wife". I said, "I love it, Mrs. Claus is so nice isn't she?" Addy said, "Santa's wife is alright, but next time, can we go on the train without the Polar Bear?" Only my kids would want to take the Polar Bear out of the Polar Bear Express...

Santa Sighting #3 was a bit better orchestrated. Instead of standing in line at the mall and plopping them on a lap, my parents signed us up for Breakfast with Santa at a local country club. We did a lot of preparation for this visit. I knew stage-fright might overcome them, so we decided to dictate letters to Santa the night before so we would remember to ask for everything on our list. Complete with each of their own signatures! Lilly's read something like this:
"Dear Santa, I've been a good girl and I share everything with
my Daddy. I want books and toys and puzzles and toys and a doggie pillow pet.
Don't be late."
Addy's letter read:

"Dear Santa, You already know I want a pink bear and books. I too want a dolphin
pillow pet and clothes for my babies. I will share with my sissy."

So, dressed to meet Santa, we arrived and the good-lookin' couple read both letters aloud while the girls listened and nodded, reassuring their own words.

Before breakfast, Lilly kept a safe distance and declared that "No one could touch her."

Perhaps time to delve into the concept of "stranger danger" with this one--a candy cane offering and she was SOLD!

Then we sat down for breakfast, the girls were chatty as always, but I could literally see Lilly's wheels turning. She said, "All these kids sat on Santa's lap and they aren't scared." and "Do you think if I sit on Santa's lap, he'll remember me?" Man, she is her mama's daughter--totally over-analyzing the situation and boosting her own confidence. Then, she made the decision. "Mommy, if you hold me doll and daddy watches me, I want to sit on Santa's wife's lap, but you can't make me sit on Santa's." So, that's what we did and THAT is the story of our first "no tears" picture with the Claus Family! As always, in Lilly's time....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not Raising the Next Mia Hamm

Our first attempt at organized sport. We enrolled the girls in a local program for a month of soccer lessons. Grandma Linda was anxious to see them play as my side of the family watched A LOT of soccer games with Uncle Jon playing for many, many years. They didn't disappoint and were fun to watch, but I think I can safely say that we don't have Olympic Soccer players in our house. The first practice, dressed in pink from head-to-toe, we headed to the facility where everyone was in their 'uniforms'. I was a bit too cheap to buy them since I wasn't sure if we'd play past the month mark. They were unsure of themselves, didn't pay any attention to the coach and used the time to run around the indoor field (fine by me, we went home tired). The second class, Grandma took them and upgraded their outfits to the uniforms. All of a sudden, their skills improved and they took some advice from the coach. Proving, once again, sometimes the right outfit will change the experience....

Pretty in Pink on Day 1

Addy running with the ball-she loves the big open field

Lilly trying to keep up with Addy--they have both gotten really fast!

Rocking the new uniforms and feeling a bit tougher...

Addy showing off her muscles

Sisters with evidence of their 'make-your-own-pizza' night on their faces!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guest Blogger: Daddy's Boot Camp

Abandoned for six days last week our matriarch left for a work conference and I was left playing zone defense.

That's right....Dad was in charge this week and it was "survival of the fittest".

She attempts to send a detailed report, itemizing each day's activities (see below) over email to Gaga Jody, Gaga Linda, and I.......the bottom line was she wasn't here and my regime took over. I'm not going to lie, the girls routine stayed in place for the most part and we did not stray to far off the "chiefs" agenda. Up at 6:15 to 6:30, naps around 1:00 and bedtime around 8:00 p.m.
However, I do admit that some things did indeed change. On on my watch, there was very little discipline (except for threats about our new elf on a shelf "Bubba-Fiji" telling Santa if the girls had been bad), fairly under par eating choices/habits (ate out three times and served our first batch of chocolate pancakes), and terrible hair maintenance (I took rubber bands to school twice for teachers to do their hair). Moms are especially good at those items.
One thing is for sure, we missed MOM immensely and I don't know if we could have survived much more than 6 days. The Ash household is NOT the same without Aimee here.

I also want to thank my Mom and the Best Mother-In-Law everfor their help with the girls and actually allowing me to work a little this past week too.

Excerpt of e-mail from Aimee titled "TRIP AGENDA"

Saturday (I fly SW1415): DADDY DAY, 5 p.m. - Linda Here
*Mom if you can throw in a load of laundry or 2, I'd be forever grateful! (I actually told Jeremy NOT to do it as he can't be trusted), Bath Night, I'll arrives late
Pictures that I took on my phone and texted Aimee through out the week with my own little comments that were sent with each pic!

8: 37 a.m Saturday - "Last morning with Dad at the helm
deserves Hershey chocolate pancakes! "God Bless America"

8:55 a.m. Saturday - "Both of them have consumed 6 pancakes and are working on # 7. WOW! Could be a record setting morning! Kobayashi (Addy) vs. Joey Chesnut (Lilly). This sounds crazy but they keep dipping their pancakes in their glass of water to make them go down easier. Are we raising future eating contest champs of the world?"

9:08 a.m. Saturday - " Action Photo. Lilly stole the pancake and Addy attacked like a starved grizzly. Fist fight ensued. On our way to hospital as Addy just cracked a beer bottle on Lilly's head"

6:04 p.m. Friday - To Aimee : "Casler's Monkey Act"

6:06 p.m. Friday From Aimee :"Have you eaten at home this week?"

6:49 P.M Friday - "Uncle Johnny working with Lilly on south paw writing skills"

6:58 p.m. Friday - "Verbatim message from your ladies!!!
Mommy, I miss you, I love you, I kiss you!"

12:18 p.m. Friday - "Riding a goat on the carousel wasn't my first choice Dad!!"

12:13 p.m. Friday - " Hi MOM....we miss you! Come home soon!"

10:55 a.m. Saturday - "We have moved up to the triple black diamond sledding hill mom! Aren't you so proud?"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My 3-Year Old Lilly

Lilly continues to be a little firecracker. She is a happy, curious, intelligent 3-year old. I'm probably underestimating when I say she asks at least 100 questions everyday ranging from "Where do we live?" on any map we see (globe while shopping, map on the back of a semi-truck or our atlas at home that she 'plays' with) to "Why don't people have camels instead of dogs?" She's a daddy's girl and a lot of the 100 questions she asks in a day are something similar to "When is daddy coming home". I'm thankful to report that MOST of her separation anxiety has lifted and the odd breakdown she has at my departure or daddy's are mostly for attention and don't last long. Unfortunately, she takes after her parents and most of the foods she loves are bad for you, totally illustrating the nature vs. nurture debate, because Addy is the opposite and they've always been fed the same things! Ask her what she wants for a meal and it typically involves french fries, pancakes, syrup (she calls dip), cookies, chips or anything with peanut butter or nutella. The only vegetable she eats without too many complaints is carrots which is ironic because I used to eat BAGS of them when pregnant. Her temper has calmed slightly over the last 3 months or so, but when she's mad, she still gets red-faced and shakes a bit. We are working on using words and not getting violent, but when it comes to Addy, she usually hits or pushes first. A quick time out leads to a remorseful little girl and she's quick with apologies and hugs.
During our parent-teacher conference, her teacher gave us glowing comments about Lilly. No major concerns, she's very social and frequently dominates 'circle time' but no one who knows Jeremy and I are surprised by this. She LOVES to learn--colors, shapes, numbers, letters. Last week a conversation with Grandma was teaching her the difference between an octagon and a hexagon. She loves to read and could sit for hours to listen to books. Her teacher expressed some concern about her writing and we think this may be some confusion between left-handedness and right-handedness. She shows preference with her left, but all her role-models are right-handed (and all the other kids in the class are), so most of her real attempts at writing are done with her right hand. We've been trying to work on this, but she gets frustrated easily and ends up drawing abstractly and not holding the writing instrument in any correct way. She'll figure this out and I'm sure when she does, there won't be any stopping her.
Speaking of stopping her, she has A LOT to say and never stops. She talks to herself when no one else is listening. I'll be in a separate room and hear her laugh at herself, then say "Oh, Lilly, you are sooooooooooo silly!" She's a girly-girl and loves wearing skirts and dresses, she's usually my ego boost in the morning, frequently telling me that I look beautiful when dressed for work. She loves playing with her friends at the gym, talking on the phone to anyone who will talk to her or singing Christmas carols at the top of her lungs (will tape for a later post). She's a riot and we are so thankful that she's ALL ours!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Princess Video

Okay, I know I'm biased, but this is hilarious! We enrolled back in dance class for the fall and the girls LOVE it. Now granted, they take a while to warm up and I think they have my same idea as far as a musical beat, but seriously, could it be any cuter? Be on the look-out for the number of times Lilly tries to hold Addy's hand and Addy totally blows her off. Also, note how difficult it is to spin around without letting go of your friend's hand :-) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Three-Year Old Addy

Dancing Queen!

My little Martha....

We had to document the first successful attempt at her name back in October!

(The blue writing was mine, red--all hers!)

Addy is a sweet soul--she is a loving, happy 3 year old. She loves cherry tomatoes, black beans, hard-boiled eggs and expensive cheese. She makes up words and then laughs at herself and how silly they sound. She then gets her sister and anyone else listening laughing as they laugh at her laughing, it's all quite funny. I've said it before, but she is going to break some hearts with those eyes. She's a mama's girl and holds grudges towards daddy any chance she gets, but the deep-down love shows through. She's begun singing Christmas carols already and makes up most of the words as she goes along. She HATES not getting her way and we are constantly working on 'sharing' and not 'taking', speaking and not yelling, 'I would like' over 'I NEED'. Every morning she asks if she can wear her hair in pigtails. Her most important decision of the day is typically what animal, cartoon or princess will be on her panties--she takes this very seriously, lays out all the options and works on this for about 5 minutes EVERY day.

Last week, we met with her teacher for our first "parent teacher conference". They adore her. Apparently, so does some kid named Joey (Daddy's working on tracking down this kid's last name). They have no concerns over development--she's hitting her milestones--gross motor, fine motor, social-emotional, cognitive--the whole list. Not much (besides Joey) surprised us in our conversation. She LOVES craft time and is pretty content coloring, cutting or gluing something. She has impressed her teacher about how engaged she gets doing 'dramatic play'. She goes from a tiger at the zoo, to a fireman, to a doctor to a mommy all pretty quickly. She still hoards and has done this forever (items will change obviously). I'll go to pick her up from school and she'll be carrying around pieces of her day (crackers from mid-morning snack in her pocket, a crayon from craft time in her hand, a baby blanket she napped with, all while going about her business). She's not a fan of 'circle time' and gets bored, again not surprising, she is her father's daughter. She loves puzzles, but gets frustrated when she can't do them on her own. The teacher said she's polite and plays hard and typically crashes hard during nap time too.

She's usually too busy for pictures, but I caught this back in September and it's a favorite! Who would say no to those eyes?

Sweet face!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halloween Hangover...

Not sure where October went, but the final weekend was occupied by a Hayride & Picnic with our twin friends, a costume/birthday party for a friend, neighborhood gathering & parade, and trick-or-treating with both grandparents here celebrating our chicken & egg. Now, I'm trying to wrap my brain around November and rid the house of any evidence of any Halloween candy.

The week leading up to Halloween, EVERYONE asked the girls what they were going to be. Most anticipated hearing "princess" or "fairy" or "ladybug." I was afraid the girls would be swayed and would want to go as princesses instead (because don't get me wrong-they love princesses), but they were troopers, each time proclaiming proudly that they were going as a chicken and an egg! Overall, they were great trick-or-treaters and tolerated Daddy driving them all over town to show them off before getting to do any actual door-to-door action.

During the neighborhood gathering & parade, we realized we hadn't quite prepared them for the 'scary' costumes. Lilly took one look at some kid draped in black cloth (head to toe) with a bloody stump on top of his head and FREAKED. Girlfriend had to come back to the house and ran upstairs insisting that she'd rather go to bed than participate in Halloween. It was so sad, but after some coaching, she rallied. With her daddy by her side, she braved the neighborhood again. The grandpas' recounted a couple of times having to cross the street to avoid the "scary" guys". Luckily, we had no long-term side effects of the trauma.

Addy was a doll and told anyone who asked that her Ga Ga Jody had made her costume. She has a new-found love of NERDS and I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing as she eats them one-at-a-time, so a mini box can occupy her attention for up to 30 minutes. She adored watching the older kids and idolize our neighbors, so any holiday that means she spends time with them, she's on board!

Enjoy the pictures!

Lilly on the hayride

A wind-blown Addy on the hayride

Braving the big-hill slide at a park nearby during the twins club picnic

Mom's turn!

Addy-layered and ready to go! (it was a chilly Halloween night in Indiana!)

Lilly-ready to fill her bag!

First stop: GiGi's and Wild Bill's house (great-grandparents)

Grandpa Dave, Grandpa Ian, Ga Ga Linda, Ga Ga Jody, Daddy, his chicken & his egg!