Sunday, February 19, 2012

Playing at the Park

Over a week ago we decided to go to the park one afternoon and get out of the house. We went to go play soccer, play on the play equipment, climb trees and just enjoyed being outside as a family. Lots of fun and what we live for here in time!

 Check out Graham's serious crawling face! What a goof ball!

John and Peyton decided to play soccer a little differently......


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bath Time Fun

Most of the time John does bath time with Peyton and Graham at the same time while I clean up after dinner, pick up their rooms and get everything ready for bed time. The other night we all decided to hang out in the bath room together during bath time...mostly because I wanted to play around with custom white balance on my camera and see what I could do in the awful bathroom lighting. 

Peyton and Graham both LOVE bath time. They  have so much fun together and play so well in bath time. I just love watching them and what a fun way to end our days. I know that this time won't last for too long and Peyton will be off having her privacy and so I cherish these moments that I have right now!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

Our actual Valentine's Day was nothing fancy and I started coming down with a cold/flu so that was no fun but Peyton was so excited about the whole day and we did lots of little things to show her how much we love her and so she had a wonderful day. 

The night before I made two Valentine's Day sacks of goodies. Other than buying some Valentine's at home for her to take to her class I completely forgot about buying stuff to give to the kids so I had to get creative. I made the bags and then filled them with stickers, candies, and other little treats that I found around the house and then wrote each of them a note about what I loved about them. 

I had a doctor's appointment in the morning so I wasn't there when they woke up but I was told that Peyton LOVED it. She was so surprised and loved everything and then had to make me one...more about that later! She also got a really cute handmade card from John which he worked really hard on.

John did great getting them dressed and tried to get some pictures of them for me but as always were not really cooperative. Peyton had a party at school and she was very excited to take her Valentine's to her friends. She had a great day and was all excited about "love day."

I was home by the time we went to pick her up and as soon as we got home she was so excited to show me the bag she made for me and John to share. To show us love, she thought that we would appreicate....juice boxes, coffee, strawberries, a lemon (because I put lemons in my water) and an apple. She was so excited and I though it was so sweet.

I spent the rest of the day laying on the couch counting down the minutes until John came back from work while Graham was a good boy and napped all afternoon and Peyton cuddled with me and watched movies. I spent the rest of the night in bed while John took care of the kids. 

I am so blessed with my two sweet Valentine's this year and it amazes me how much life has changed since last Valentine's Day and I am so thankful for Graham and how complete our family is. I am so blessed and am so in love with all of my loves!

Hope everyone had a wonderful day with your loved ones!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Love Story: Link Up

I was reading a blog that I follow, Blue Eyed Bride and she had this link up about your love story from another blog, From Mrs. to Mama, and I thought it would be a fun post for Valentine's Day.

How long have you and your significant other been together?
We met June 2003 and started officially dating August 9, 2003 so for 8 1/2 years. 

How did you meet?
We met through a mutual friend who set us up. We both went to the same high school, knew the mutual friend from high school and I knew John's brothers in high school but yet we never crossed paths until just before my sophomore year at the University of Texas.

If married, how long have you been married?
We were married 5 1/2 years ago on Friday, October 13, 2006. We had to plan our wedding around Longhorn Football and the Texas vs OU football weekend.
If you are married, where did you get married at? Big or small wedding? 
We had a medium sized wedding (108 be exact....John remembered since he was four people over on the estimate and apparently that still gets to him). We were married at Ashton Gardens in North Houston. We fell in love with the location and liked that there was a chapel and the reception site all at once place and in order to have it fit in our budget we got married on a Friday and then had a post wedding party Saturday night at a local BBQ restaurant to spend more time with family that came in for the wedding.

Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? 
John calls me, "bear," and I call him, "pants." I don't know exactly where that name came from but it started with my roommate in college saying it to him one time and it stuck.

Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
That he is loyal, trust worthy and works hard at everything...his job, our family, our marriage, relationships.

Tell us how he proposed?
This is such a long story but the abbreviated version is that he surprised me by flying up to Canada where I was visiting family, showed up, was on the dock on Morrison Lake with candles everywhere and asked me to marry him. It was everything I had wanted in a proposal and was perfect!

Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne, and rose petals?
He is such a mixture. He can be super over the top romantic and then just chill and give me sentimental gifts/dates. It all depends on what we need at the time and it is a nice balance.

Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
I love the beach so sunset dinner on the beach sounds wonderful but I enjoy quality time and if we can have that watching a movie then that is great as well. Living in Saudi has really made us stretch our idea of what an actual date looks like and see the main spend intentional time pouring into each other!

Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day. If you could do anything? Go anywhere?
If I could go anywhere it would be either Tahiti or Fiji. I want to stay in one of the huts over the water and just have a week of relaxing, being pampered and being alone with my love.

Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day.
We have no plans besides John staying home and watching the kids in the morning while I go to the doctor for my routine breast cancer preventative! We might pick up some food from or favorite Chinese or Indian food restaurant and download a movie and do dinner and a movie once the kids go to bed. We will probably do more for the kids and make cards and fun food for them.

Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
To work on updating/redecorating our master bedroom...although I was reminded that the wooden buffet that we recently bought was supposed to be my present. 

Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
Manage your expectations of your spouse, yourself and your idea of what marriage is supposed to be like and there will be highs and lows. Be intentional and spend time together regularly and have real conversations...that do not consist of talking about kids, work or house stuff but about who you are, who you want to be, where you struggle.

Show us a picture of what love means to you.
Photo taken by Jessica Clarkson of Clarkson Photography

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Movie Review Resource

With traveling so much whether it is driving to get groceries (an hour each way), flying to Oman or flying to the States....we have to keep our movie selection pretty current otherwise we risk boredom by both parents and child. One thing that I have been mindful of is making sure the movies we do download from iTunes are suitable. I use a website called, Kids in Mind. I have found that they are very thorough in their reviews and will even address short films/previews or other things that are shown prior to the movie such as silly little cartoon sketches. Some of the things that they comment on are a little extreme such as a rock falling from a cliff hits a character and that is considered violent but I would rather have thorough than be surprised. So far it has been a huge help and also gives an overall theme and discussion topics for the movie which helps with discussing it with Peyton later. For example, we were dealing with kids being mean to each other and starting to say mean words or excluding kids and so I bought a Bugs Life for Peyton since the storyline is about standing up to bullies, being a member of a team and standing up for what is right. I figure if she is watching something, I want it make it as much of a teaching moment as possible. 

Anyways...just wanted to pass along a resource that we have found incredibly helpful!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Midweek Ramblings

Another end of a week here in the Kingdom! 
  • This week Graham started making smacking noises with his mouth and saying "yum, yum, yum" whenever he is hungry. So cute. He is also into EVERYTHING and climbing on anything and everything. I found him in his new fort the other day....
  • Peyton received several "letters" from G which makes her day. My mom made these letters before we left and fills each envelope with a note, some stickers and then a picture of them either my mom or dad or both of them. Peyton LOVES them and they always help her when she is getting a little down and missing them. I am so appreciative of the time my mom put into doing them for her.
  • I booked our trip to Abu Dhabi at the end of the month to visit with my sister and also see my dad who is stopping there on his way back to the States from a worldwide business trip. When I told Peyton that I bought tickets to Abu Dhabi she was so excited to see Auntie Ashley, Max and her blue lovey (he left it there in September when we were there) and then when I told her Papa would be there as well her she was shocked and said, "I am so excited, I love Papa so much." I was really not wanting to fly by myself with them, deal with car rental and then being away from home but seeing her excitement is worth it.
  • I finished making some artwork for the kids bathroom. I brought the supplies back with my from the States, mainly scrapbook paper, and finally made some art to hang on the walls. I couldn't find anything to match/go with the ABC theme and this worked out great and a nice way to add color on the walls. I do have some wooden letters I want to paint and add in the toilet area and maybe I can finish that up this weekend.
  • Last weekend we visited our friends, The Perry's, who just had their third baby, and after two boys they have a baby girl! We were not able to see them while they were in the hospital but it worked out well since the kids got to play while we visited and held little Brooklyn.
  • Our weight loss challenge between John and I is in full swing and we have about three more weeks to go. So far I have lost 6 of the 10 lbs to my goal and am feeling great. I am starting to focus more on toning and am just feeling healthier, more energetic and my clothes are fitting better. I am not sure how John is doing or who is winning so we will see.
  • We build a tent with tunnels in the playroom and both of the kids loved it and played forever together. Peyton was the princess, and Graham alternated between the prince or the dragon depending on whether I was the dragon. It was lots of fun and something different. I don't know why the video will only upload a portion of it but you get the picture of what our fort looked like.

  • We are hoping to take a trip to Kuwait in a couple of weeks to explore another country around us and also visit Pottery Barn. I am wanting to update our master bedroom and move away from the cool tones of blues and greens to something warmer and more vibrant to give more color in there. And the closest Pottery Barn is in Kuwait....or Riyadh but I don't feel like going on vacation and having to cover more of myself as I would have to cover my hair if we went there. 
This weekend I am going to take some newborn pictures of our friend's baby girl which I am excited and nervous about and hopefully eating at my favorite Indian restaurant in the area that they live and then just spend the rest of the weekend relaxing and working on getting things together for Graham's birthday party which will be shortly after we return from Abu Dhabi so I am trying to get as much done beforehand as possible. I still can't believe he is 11 months today!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

One of those days.

Today was one of those days when at the end of it you just doubt everything you did and your ability to parent and just pray that you are doing things right...and then your toddler tells you that you were "mean" and you feel like poop. 

Here is how I earned the mean mommy award today...

I made Peyton go to school. She loves her school and has fun once she is there but EVERY SINGLE DAY she wakes up, tells me she is not going to school, fights me to get dressed, eat, putting her shoes on and complains the whole way there. She gets out of the car, whines walking to the door and as soon as the door opens hides behind my legs and starts to cling on for dear life. I start talking to her about what fun she will have, what do you want to do after school and eventually the teacher pries her off of me kicking and screaming and I leave. EVERY SINGLE DAY! The only day she ever walked into school with no crying and fits was the day she randomly woke up and said she wanted to go to school...she went because it was her idea.

Then tonight we had ballet. Peyton loves ballet. Loves her outfit, loves her friends and loves class. BUT EVERY SINGLE TIME she tells me how she doesn't want to go and how she wants to do ballet at home with mommy and only after I tell her we need to get ready for ballet. Since we have just started she has only done one class where I left the room like the mom's are supposed to. The teacher doesn't want parents in the class as it is distracting. The time that I did leave she was fine (for some random reason) but was not good. She started whiny, crying, holding onto me. I tried to tell her how much fun she was going to have, bring her over to her friend, distract her and finally I just started counting and told her if we got to three then she was going home. We got to three. I took her out of the room and she flipped out. We talked, and I told her she could try again but no crying and she had to walk into ballet. We go to the door and she flipped out. That was one. We did it two more times and on three I just carried her screaming to the car. We came home, I told her to immediately get out her ballet clothes since she loves them so much and once she calmed down I explained why we left and what was the appropriate response for next time and how we will not participate in ballet if she can't follow the rules and let me leave. We hugged it out and then tonight she told me that she thought I was mean for taking her away from ballet. We talked it out again and she told me we were friends again. And then I left her room and just wanted to cry. 

These two situations combined with the daily battles of eating lunch at the table, brushing your teeth, being nice to Graham and just battle of the wills on EVERYTHING...just make you want to cry. Why is it so hard with her? Why couldn't she just go in and sit in the square and be still and quiet like so many of the other girls at ballet? Why is every day non stop discipline and always getting to two or constant time outs? Why is she so DETERMINED, so INSISTENT on her way, and so INDEPENDENT....

And then I remembered a blog post that I read the other day on Kelly's Korner on how her oldest is also strong willed, opinionated and how as much as we both see our kids as tremendous blessings and sweet girls BUT they are challenging and daily make you hope and pray that we raise them to love God and others. Kelly linked to a post she read by Lysa TerKeurst called, "I Don't Want to Raise a Good Kid," and it was exactly what I needed to read that day, today and tomorrow and then in six months from now. I encourage any moms to read it and especially those moms who like me have spirited children that daily challenge you and your parenting. 

So tonight like many nights...I am praying for God to HELP ME raise Peyton. I pray that I give her the right balance of firmness and grace to grow into an adult that loves God, serves Him, follows Him and is used in extra ordinary ways for His Glory!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Midweek Ramblings

I haven't done these posts in awhile but it seemed appropriate for this week because so much random stuff has happened...
  • Sunday....Peyton went to a birthday party at the horse farm and was able to ride a horse. She LOVED it which made me feel horribly guilty that her former equestrian mommy is depriving her of this experience. I just don't think she is ready to understand that it is a serious thing and she needs to be still and listen BUT she listened incredibly well at the party and walked up to the horse, followed the grooms instructions and did great SO...maybe we need to look into riding lessons next fall? 
  • Then after the party....things got interesting and not the good kind of interesting....Peyton had an potty accident and she was waiting for me in the bathroom, she decided to get her by herself and when I started walking towards the bathroom and saw her,  I yelled at her to stop, she turned to look at me and then fell forward hitting her head on the soap dish and then fell backwards hitting the back of her head on the side of the tub and then was on the bottom of the tub just still with no response. She was conscious but I was screaming her name over and over and nothing. Finally, she responded and started screaming and crying and sat up and as soon as she did started bleeding out of her nose. I grabbed a towel, picked her up out of the tub, ran and found some pants since she was naked and then searched frantically for a phone (which of course were not in the right place), John came home at that moment and I just yelled that we needed to get to the ER. He asked why, Peyton looked at him and he saw the massive bruise on her forehead and the blood and he went and found Graham who was still playing in the playroom oblivious to what was happening and he drove us to the ER. The whole ER experience was great. The doctor and the nurses were calming, good with Peyton, good with me and very proactive and did everything that they could and should. I was really impressed. BUT the experience with Peyton was awful, she didn't want anyone to touch her or come near her, she was so scared and it was just awful. Finally we were able to calm her down to do some tests and an x-ray and by the time we were done with observation she was playing with me in the bed. We were released with instructions to wake her every 2-3 hours, keep her home from school and watch for all the serious head trauma signs. She did fine throughout the night and the rest of the day and was cleared at her 24 hour follow up. She does have a massive and nasty bruise on her forehead, on the top of her eye and a swollen nose/eye area. She finally agreed to get into the bathtub last night but only my bathtub and not the one in the kid's bathroom where she fell. It was awful and I still start to get teary and shaken up. When we got home from the hospital and she had fallen asleep for the night, I just sat there and started sobbing and shaking. I knew she was fine but I hadn't cried since it happened, I had to be strong for her, sing songs and be silly and it just hit me. I pray that we never have anything more serious with her. So thankful that she is fine and despite some nasty bruises will be alright.....I am still shaking thinking about all of it. Here is her bruise almost three days later...she still her funny silly self which makes me feel better.
  • So...we spent the rest of the week home from school and cuddling but we did manage to have a baby play date on Tuesday morning and it was nice to have Graham's friends here and for him to have some play time. Peyton was a wonderful hostess since she wasn't at school and was so sweet. She answered the door and said welcome to everyone and would tell Graham his friends were here, she would give the babies toys and then when people would leave she would walk them to the door. That afternoon a couple of her friends from school came over for ice cream sundaes and she loved being able to see friends after being stuck at home.
  • My left eye has been twitching for three weeks now and it is getting worse. I know it is sleep, stress related and I can't get it to stop. It is so annoying and draining.
  • Graham waves and says "bye bye" now and will also say "hey" 
  • Swimming lesson sign ups have started and I am so excited! I am hoping Peyton can do the class without me in the water and if that is the case then I am going to try and do the Mommy and Me class with Graham.  
  • Our house closes on  Monday. My dad signs our papers as our power of attorney on Thursday and then it is all done on Monday. At first I was sad but now I am glad we are done and that it isn't just sitting there. It was a wonderful house but it is no longer our home...Saudi is our home and it is a nice feeling to know that we don't have one foot there and one foot here.
  • Peyton's class had a field trip to the duck pond. I didn't know that there was a duck pond here so it was a nice surprise. It was incredibly windy but the kids still had fun and then we went to the Golf House restaurant for french fries afterwards. I love her school and her teacher and am so thankful that we were able to find something here for her.
  • After months...we started when we moved....we finally found a buffet piece for our dining room. When we moved I purposely didn't bring something for the dining room because I wanted to buy something here and then when we got here our house had the perfect spot but I couldn't find something that I liked. Last weekend we were doing errands and decided to look at a store called Anteak Factory and as soon as I walked in I told John that I found what I was looking for....I also so an old wooden door from Afghanistan that I liked but I could only have one or the other! So, we bought the buffet and of course it was delivered while we were in the ER. Luckily it was after all the craziness, x-rays and John could leave with Graham and it worked out better so Graham wasn't having to sit there and just wait. The buffet has pieces of old Saudi doors on it but most of it is a new piece built to use the doors as accents. The flash made the glass look lighter but it is actually a really dark brown glass that blends in with the wood.
  • Not sure what we will be doing this weekend but I am looking forward to some rest! Hope everyone has a wonderful rest of your week or start of your weekend depending on where you are!