Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Girls

I am lucky to say that I grew up with a great group of friends. Some of them I met in Elementary school and stayed in touch all these years through different schools, Marriages, moving, and kids. We normally try to meet up at least once a year but last year couldn't seem to make it work. This year we ALL made it and it was a blast like always! Kelley I've known since Kindergarten and Nadia shortly after. The others I met in middle school and a couple I went to Highschool with. These are the smartest funniest gals I know and I can honestly say that they helped me succeed in school and as a youth. Love them!

Left to Right: Laura, Andee, Ashley, Me, Nadia and Kelley (That's Albert in the front with the green scarf!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

I was looking at my pictures and realized that I skipped over Thanksgiving in my Blog. Ooops!

So here is our exciting Thanksgiving activities we had this year.
Both the kids had programs at school. Emma did a great play where she had a couple of lines to memorize and was dressed up as a Pilgrim. They sang great songs and had a fun time. I snapped a picture of her with one of her classmates Tomas. I think he is a cutie!! Matthew had a Thanksgiving "Feast" (AKA:Potluck) that had all the Thanksgiving fixings. We had Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and anything else you can think of. They opened with a Turkey song that Matthew continued to sing for weeks and weeks after. Below is a picture of him with his Turkey hat and the Thanksgiving placemat he made for us. I was so blessed that the activities for both kids were on the same day. So I just took the day off to spend with them and Ben. It was a great day!

Actual Thanksgiving Day we spent in Peachtree City with Ben's grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa Johanson were moving to Utah so this would be our last big get together before they moved. I invited my parents and we all had a lovely time. Unfortunately I was still having trouble with baby sickness but I tried to eat everything I could because it looked so good! We are going to miss our trips to Peachtree City so much.

I am Thankful for having such a wonderful family! And it looks like Matthew is too. When his teachers asked him what he was thankful for he stated the following: "My Daddy, My Mommy, and My Emma"!

I also had to add this picture of the Reindeer we went to see! It was pretty cool to see REAL Reindeer. They had it at the Learning Express near our home. The line to see Santa was around the corner so we just took a second to take these pics. Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I had been feeling pretty sick since the beginning of October. I had back pain some cramping and just felt yuck. After about 3 weeks of this I finally decided to go to the doctor. I had a large cyst removed about 10 years ago and thought that maybe I had another one that was causing all my symptoms. I spoke to the doctor who decided that it could possibly be a cyst but she was going to run a bunch of simple tests to rule out anything else right away. I sat there waiting for a little while and the doctor came back in the room and said...."well, it's not a cyst.....but you ARE preganant". Um what?! Wasn't really expecting that response! She said it was really early but the test definitely was positive. I went home and after Ben and I let it soak in a bit we were really happy and excited. We shared the news with our parents that day and waited till my first Pre-natal appointment to tell the kids. They are even more excited than we are. Emma of course wants a baby sister and Matthew says he would like a boy. We should find out what it is in February.

That is all the good news. The bad news is that I continued not feeling well and in fact got worse. I can't keep food down and feel sick all day. I am tired from not eating and have a headache constantly. Smells make me sick and food tastes just awful. Even things I used to love taste so different now. At my last doctor's appointment I had lost about 5 pounds and a test showed traces of Ketones. The doctor wasn't too thrilled about that and said if the amount were any higher she would have me admitted for IV fluids. Instead she gave me some medicine to try - a combo of Unisom and B6. It seemed to work at first but I started vomitting again the other day. I'm giving it a couple more days and if I don't feel better I will have to go back to see the doctor.

I'm 13 weeks now and just pray that I will be over that first trimester Funk soon!! I have a baby to start getting ready for ya know.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family Photos

A while ago I entered the kids in a photo contest and Emma won. She had the most "likes" on Facebook and so we got a discounted photo session with a great local photographer (and a friend from church). She takes great pictures and I was so excited to see what Barefoot in Bluegrass Photography could do with our little family. We scheduled a day for the photo shoot at a nearby park and spent a couple hours taking multiple shots. The kids did great and we had a ton of fun. Melanie said she took about 200 photos. Unfortunately later that night she found out that her camera had malfunctioned (something that she has NEVER had happen in her many years of picture taking) and our photos were lost. We scheduled another day for photos. The boys were not too thrilled about having to take pictures again and Matthew was having a lot of trouble cooperating. Emma of course is always ready to be the center of attention! Melanie worked her magic and got some really great photos even with the grumpy boys. I put some up on the main blog page but here a few more of my favorites. I recommend you book your next family pictures with Melanie!!

I have to add this last photo too! The photographer texted me and told me she couldn't finish editing the pictures after coming across this picture. She said it was the funniest thing she ever saw and couldn't stop laughing. She even put in on her website (so embarrassed!!). She said it was her favorite picture. The story behind it is that grumpy Matthew would not smile for the camera and when he did he would close is eyes. So here is Emma helping him out.....
What a crazy beautiful family I have. Love them!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Mermaid, Pirate, Dinosaur (Trunk or Treat)

The Girls

Me as a boxer

I didn't get many pictures from Halloween this year. I don't know what happened! But we still had a good time.
The Saturday before Halloween I took the kids and Angelina to the church Trunk or Treat. Emma decided to wear the mermaid costume that Aunt Rachel mailed to us. Grandma Jett had it made it a few years ago for Natalie. It was a little snug on Emma but she was EXTREMELY determined to wear it, so I let her. Matthew didn't want to be anything other than a dinosaur so we used the same costume I made him last year. We added a dinosaur head that we got at the dollar store to make it even better. Only problem was that when he put the hoodie on, it covered the dinosaur's eyes. SO, I thought it would be a good idea to put eyeballs on top of the hoodie. BIG mistake because it made Matthew look like a frog or alligator. But oh well, he still had a good time roaring like a dinosaur. My costume was a boxer - I had a black eye and all!

The Trunk or Treat was great as always. The kids favorite was the homemade donuts and rootbeer that the Snyder's made. They had dry ice with the rootbear so it made it look like a witchy potion!! Pretty cool.

On Halloween night we continued the tradition of going to my brother's neighborhood. The kids enjoyed it and the weather was perfect. Emma wore the princess costume she got for her Ballet Recital earlir in the year. It fit better than the mermaid costume and was easier for her to walk around in .Ben helped them move along to all the houses so it moved pretty fast. We have more candy than we will ever eat and will most likely be giving some away. Another fun family holiday! Can't wait for more to come.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October Fun

I love the fall. I love the cooler weather and the beginning of a string of fun Holidays. We started the month decorating for Halloween. Grandma Jett sent us a cool door decoration and the kids and I carved pumpkins. It is a ton of work for me since they can't carve too much right now. But it's still fun to pick out the patterns we want and scoop out the pumpkin "guts"!
We also went with a friend to downtown Woodstock where they had a little Fall Festival. There was music and activities. I had a Caricature (SP?) done of the kids and they got their faces painted. They also had a dance party, played with sidewalk chalk and won prizes in a bowling game. It was a fun night that was also free so everybody was happy!!

Emma painted as a cat with the purse she won!

Mariah won the purple necklace she is wearing - cute!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Lake

Our good friends Tim and Robin bought a condo on Lake Weiss last year. It is a cute condo called "the Alabama Bell". It looks like a River Boat from far away but the rooms have all been remolded and modernized. The Marshall's bought two units and have done an incredible job making it look like a million bucks! We were invited to stay a couple days and although it was a too chilly to go swimming or ride the wave runners we had fun playing Wii and chasing their new dog Max. We love the Marshall's and are so grateful for their friendship.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Soccer Time

We put Emma is soccer this fall. She's been very excited about it! Her Papa plays soccer and her cousin Angel plays soccer too. My brother played soccer growing up and so did Ben. It's pretty much in her blood. Although she can usually hang with boys pretty well, she is mostly my girly girl. I wasn't sure how much she would like an activity that didn't involve a leotard or ballet shoes, but she couldn't wait to start.

Before the season started we purchased her shoes and shin guards. She was so excited to try them on and start practicing right away. She had pretty good control of the ball and her kick is not bad either. I think if she keeps working on it she will do a good job in the sport. I just really hope that she has fun. So far she has had a blast!

She is taking soccer at the Outdoor Cherokee YMCA. She is on a co-ed team for ages 6-8. Their colors are orange and navy and Coach Adam namesd them "the Tigers". We had bad rains and storms the week before the team's first game so they didn't get a chance to meet before they played. You can tell they needed that practice because during the game the kids were a little unsure about what to do. But little Miss Emma did a great job going after the ball and running the field. After the game, Coach said "Emma you get the hustle award today! Even though you were the smallest one on the field today, you were always on top of the ball. Way to go!" I was a proud of her hustle too and hope she keeps it up throughout the season.

Trying on her soccer shoes....I love the frilly socks!!

Game Time. Emmas is #20

Somehow the only uniforms left were Youth Large. My little girl is petite for her age so the shirt was like a dress and the shorts went past her knees. She still looks awesome though!

Go Tigers!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Detective Work

One day out of the blue, Emma called me to her room and said:

"Mom, so like the Easter bunny and the Easter baskets and all that stuff.....that is all you right?" I felt like a deer caught in headlights. Ben wasn't home and I didn't know how to react. Finally I just said "Well I don't want to lie to you so....Yes Honey. I do all those things". Thinking I was done I started to walk out of the room and then she said "AND Santa Clause...that's you too right?!" I looked at her face. She was so proud of herself for figuring it out. I asked her if someone at school told her or if she saw it on television but she said she just figured it out on her own. She was so happy so I told her the truth but also let her know that Christmas was special and that it was still fun and important to believe in the Christmas spirit.

Well, after that conversation I shouldn't have been surprised that when she lost her first tooth she said it again...."Mom, the Tooth Fairy - it's just like the Easter Bunny and Santa right?!" This smart little girl is growing up too fast. I love seeing her grow and although I get a little sad when I see her looking older with a missing tooth I also see what a beautiful intelligent girl she is growing up to be too. And well I'm just so proud of her!

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Days of School

Emma started 1st Grade! She didn't have many friends from last year in her class but I knew she would make new ones fast. And she did! She is also keeping in touch with some of her friends from last year so she has a great time seeing everyone at school. Her teacher is Mrs. Beattie and she seems very sweet. We will get to know her better as the year progresses. Emma started the school day at the bus stop with our neighbor Ashton. She had nothing but good reports for her first day. Her only complaint was that they didn't play outside. The heat has been so bad lately that outdoor activities are restricted until it cools off a bit. Or at least until the temperature is below 100!! Emma looked beatiful her first day, dressed in pink of course! Her favorite part of her outfit was her shoes that lit up when you walked. Emma started school on August 1st. Matthew started a week after. I was so extrememly nervous for Matthew to start school that I stayed home from work. That way I could take him to class and pick him up. And honestly how productive would I have been at the office thinking of my little man all day?!? Before he even left for school he had me in tears. Emma and I were leaving to catch her bus and she yelled so sweetly to her baby brother "Matthew have a good first day of school!" and he replied with love "Ok Emma, thanks! I will miss you!!" and then as we closed the door I heard him yell it again "I'm gonna miss you!". MY GOODNESS! How sweet my children can be to eachother. My heart just melted. Then we made it to school and Ben was helping him get settled. As I was sneaking out so he couldn't see me leave I stopped to make sure the teacher knew he was on medication - "yes, yes" Mrs. Mercy said. "We saw his file and know all about him". I know he is in good hands in Pre K. He has the same teachers Emma had and they are great. They remember him from 2 years ago and I think they even requested him in their class. I saw him grab a book and go sit on the circle in the middle of the class. He did not look afraid, he did not seem to even notice I had left. That is when the tears began again in my eyes. Wow - when did I turn into such a softie!

Emma was pretty proud of her little brother!

Matthew sitting down in the circle, ready for school!

Of course, they both survived their first days and were ready to return the next day!

Friday, August 5, 2011's a bi-polar experience.

I love this article from the Huffington Post! Everything it says and the charming way in which it says it. Wanted to post here so I could remember it.

The Best Parenting Advice I Never GotJD Roberto.Writer and TV Host, How To Get The Guy and Outback Jack

I got a lot of parenting advice before my first child came into the world. I think people feel obligated to bestow their wisdom on expecting parents and, overall, I guess that's a good thing. Still, the advice I got - though well meaning and thoughtful - was almost entirely useless once the actual odyssey of being a dad began. Phrases like "life changing" and "wonderful adventure" came up repeatedly, but no one bothered to tell me I should go see a movie. These days, going to a movie involves two weeks of planning and forty bucks worth of babysitter -- and that's before you pay fourteen bucks for a ticket and six bucks for some Twizzlers.

Sleep was high on the recommendation list. "Get as much sleep as you can!" is what they tell you, but that particular pearl of wisdom seems entirely backward to me. What you should really be doing is training yourself to function on less sleep or sleep that is frequently interrupted. I guess you could try to stockpile sleep but, trust me, when you're up all night with a sick four month old, knowing you got a solid nine hours back in June doesn't help.

A few times, kindly grandparents summed up their parenting philosophy with something along the lines of, "Just shower 'em with love!" It's a heartwarming sentiment but I have yet to figure out how an exhausted parent is supposed to apply such sage counsel when his two-year-old is howling, spread eagle in the grocery store because he won't buy a pair of Elmo shaped oven mitts.

The most common phrase I heard in the run up to parenthood was the seemingly benign, "It's a tough job but it's all worth it." This is both true and diabolically misleading at the same time. Something about "it's all worth it" suggests a proposition where some small majority of the time things will be blissful. "Yes," you're led to believe, "it's going to be tough forty-nine percent of the time, but don't worry because the other fifty-one percent it is great." Guess what, it's not. The ratio is frequently twenty percent enjoyable to eighty percent aggravating. Some days clock in at fifty-four percent bearable with thirty-five percent maddening rounded out by a dash of bewildering. I've been through entire weeks of eighty-seven percent exasperating, and experienced good-night cuddles that are one hundred percent ecstasy. It's not balanced, it's bipolar. It's worth it not because it's easy as often as it's difficult, but because the perfect moments are so overwhelmingly sublime, you somehow forget the maniacal pajama tantrum you endured the night before.

If I could go back and give myself some more practical advice it would look something like this:

1. When they nap, you nap. Don't send emails, don't catch up on work. Nap.

2. Travel with your children when they are very young. At six months old it's just as easy to keep them entertained in Cozumel as it is in Cleveland. You might as well get a tan out of the deal.

3. Buy a rechargeable, cordless hand vacuum. Your floors and cars will thank you.

4. It's perfectly acceptable to make an entire dinner in the microwave.

5. In every parent-child relationship someone has to be the grown up. Try to make sure that someone is you. A two-year-old has the right to act like a child, you do not.

6. Take everyone who volunteers to babysit up on the offer. Repeatedly.

7. Buy everything you can second-hand.

8. Make time for the other relationships in your life -- seeing you in the role of good friend or devoted spouse teaches your kids way more than a Baby Einstein marathon.

9. There's no such thing as using too many wipes.

10. There will be times when you're sure you are a terrible parent and, secretly, wonder why you ever had kids in the first place. This is normal. Forgive yourself these occasional moments of self-doubt and, from time to time, let yourself mourn your life pre-parenthood. Then have a healthy glass of wine, get some sleep and get back to work. After all, as you've no doubt heard, it's a tough job, but it's all worth it.

Oh, and go see a movie while you still can.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pre School Bound

Emma was So very excited to start school. She couldn't wait. Matthew is the extreme opposite. He does not want to start school at all. All he wants to do is spend all day with Emma. He has loved having her home for the summer. Matthew is so attached to his sister that sometimes I worry it is not normal. When they go to the playground, Emma is busy making new friends and Matthew is busy trying to find where Emma has run off to. He rarely likes making new friends and definitely doesn't like Emma playing with others.
He can't sit still too long to watch a fun movie and hates taking turns with most games. He prefers playing with his blocks or train tracks on his own but his favorite thing to do is to pretend to be a chef. He "cooks" for us all day long. His favorite recipe is Chocolate Blueberry Soup. He does not like to color, cut or paste. He just prefers to Doodle in his notepad. He doesn't draw much just make circles and lines.

With all that said, I've been nervous about him starting school in August. I can't see him doing crafts at school or trying to make friends. I can't see him trying new things (he isn't big on change) or taking turns with his classmates. But as the summer has gone by he has surprised me. I took them to a craft class at a local toy store and he did a fantastic job listening to the teacher and following directions. He even made a friend in the class. Also, in his Sunday school class he has been cutting and pasting more regularly with his fantastic teacher. The most recent sign that he is growing up is when I took him to a birthday party for Emma's friend. They said I could bring him along but I was nervous of how he would behave. It was a gymnastics party and he would have to share his Emma with the birthday girl. But once again he did a fantastic job playing with everyone and even tried the Zip Line they had set up.

I have to not worry so much about my little boy but it's so hard for me to do. Emma has been Miss Independant since birth, but Matthew with his early struggles is more clingy and needs some toughening up. Ben has been doing a great job of this at home. Now I need to learn to worry less about the little things. I am trying to be more confident about him going to school especially since it is only a couple weeks away!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Summer for Little Emma

It has been a big summer of accomplishments for Emma. It started the last few weeks of school when we went to her last skate night for the year. As I've written in past posts, she loves going to Skate Night at Hot Wheels and received her own personal pink skates for Christmas. She would get better everytime she went. She started only on the carpet and slowly went to the slippery rink where she would hold my hand. Well this last time she decided to let go and she did pretty well going all around all by herself! But even more to my surprise she decided to do the Kindergarten race that they do at the end of the night. We had talked about her maybe doing that next year but she said she was ready. She started off slow but was doing great when around the second turn she fell. She got embarrased and skated off to the side but I was so VERY proud of her for her brave attempt!

The other BIG thing for the summer is that she can now swim without her floaties!! She has been working hard with her Daddy and had great success this year. This is huge considering not long ago she would not even get her face wet in the water. She can also jump off the diving board (with her floaties) and jump in the shallow end without anyone catching her (no floaties). She is quite the little water bug.

Another thing that happened this summer was that we took Emma fishing for the first time. She begged for a fishing pole for her birthday and bought one with her birthday money. We went to our friends lake house and she was so excited to try her fishing pole. Not long after she began she caught a pretty decent sized Brim. Some friends went fishing later on and said they could not catch a thing! She also has been working hard in her Summer Bridge Book and has improved in her reading and math and even in her ability to work with money.

So proud of my girl and can't wait to see what else she will learn this year!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Big 10


Ben and I dated for 6 years before we got married. We spent most of my highschool and all of my college years together. Then we were married in June 2001. I have been married to my best friend for 10 wonderful years. I am the luckiest woman I know! He is handsome, kind, patient and so very loving. What more could I ask for?

We aren't the type to celebrate big dates in a big way. His birthdays, Valentines Days and Anniversaries usually consist of flowers and cards and maybe a favorite meal cooked at home. But this year I thought we MUST do something special!!

The evening could not have been better! I wanted to go to Atlantic Station since I've only been there a couple times during the day to run my Susan G Komen 5Ks. Ben had never been there. We started the night off watching Transformers-3(Darkside of the Moon) in IMAX 3D then had a nice dinner at Fishook Grille. We like to eat seafood when the kids aren't around since Emma is not a big fan. We walked around for a little bit. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at Atlantic Station. There seems like so much to do and see there - pretty cool! We then went down to midtown to Loca Luna. I had wanted to go see the Latin Band they had playing there but there were gone by the time we got there. There was a great DJ there that played current music and popular Latin music so we still had fun dancing!! We then met up with my brother and sister-in-law downtown to meet some other friends. It was an all round perfect night, with perfect weather and perfect company.

Atlantic Station

Happy Anniversary to me and my love!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Emma and Matthew say a bunch of things that make me smile. Emma has always impressed me with strong questions and keen observations. But Matthew has his little sayings that he says that I will carry in my heart forever.

First of all he calls his sister "MY Emma". "Where is MY Emma" , "Have you seen MY Emma", Even when they are fighting it is "MY EMMA pushed me"

He also notices when we chuckle at him (or even at other things) and with his somewhat comical angry face states "It's not fun-ny". Which makes everyone laugh more of course.

One of my favorites sayings came when the entire family was debating how much we love eachother. I love you inifinity stated Emma. Well I love you infinity squared I battled back. Then Matthew thinking hard concluded with, "I love you inifinity CIRCLE".

This past weekend Matthew drank his drink super fast and was proud of himself. He looked up at me and said. "Mommy, did I drink that pretty good.......or handsome good?"

I wish I could remember some of Emma's sayings right now but there are probably too many to recall. With Emma it is not always what she says, but HOW she says it. She talks with her hands and makes the most animated facial expressions!! I don't think she can tell a story without moving her body/face.

Love these kids to pieces!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Birthday Pics 2011

I usually get the kid's pictures done around their birthdays. This year right before Matthew's birthday he busted his chin open at Home Depot after falling over a pallatte that was left in the ailse. So I had to wait a little longer for that to heal up before taking their pictures. They came out pretty good as usual but what do you expect when you have gorgeous kids like mine!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

SUMMER is here!

Summer has officially begun and that means POOL time. We think Emma might learn to swim this summer without her floaties and at the rate Matthew is going, he might learn too. They love Mami Yoli's pool and swimming with their cousins!

Friday, May 27, 2011

End of Kindergarten

Hard to believe how fast the year went. Emma finished up Kindergarten and had a great year at Bascomb Elementary. She had a fabulous teacher and made some good friends. And most importantly she learned a lot! They had a Completion Ceremony the last week of school where they sung several songs and received recognition for making it thru the year. Below are some videos. Excuse the shaky picture. I had to tape it on my phone and am not the best at recording!

After the ceremony we had a small party in Emma's classroom. Matthew was excited to be there with his big sister but wasn't thrilled to have to share her with her classmates. Hard to believe he will be in Pre-school next year and she will be in first grade!!

Ms Waldrop

Mrs. Scherholz

For the summer we are working in Emma's Bridge Book and helping her to improve her reading. For Matthew, we are working on getting him to write his name. This is of course in-between play dates and pool time!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Recital 2011

Emma had her Spring dance recital on Ben's birthday. Her costumes were amazing and she looked so beautiful. Her tap dance was my favorite. They danced to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Michael Buble. My favorite part is when they put their hands on their heads for the "crazy" part! Miss Alie does such a great job with these girls. For the ballet number they danced to "True Colors" by Phil Collins. It wasn't the best run thru but I think they were all excited and nervous to dance in front of a crowd. And of course they were still beautiful dances. So proud of my baby girl. And Matthew was so proud too! You could hear him saying her name and cheering her on throught the recital. You can see him at the end of the ballet song in his chair - it's pretty cute.

She thinks she wants to try soccer in the fall so we might possibly take a break from dance and start back up next spring. I don't know if she'll like soccer as much as dance but I'm sure she will do great at whatever she chooses to do.

It takes so long to download videos on my blog so I have just added the YouTube links below. Enjoy the show!! (ballet) (tap)