Monday, January 30, 2006

This is what happens when your husband carries a camera around!

I asked Mike for the camera because I knew he had taken some photos at Samantha's ice skating party. Well, I downloaded the camera this afternoon and not only are there birthday photos, there are photos from Christmas. While I have printed my Christmas photos, I haven't done the pages in my album yet, so I'm lucky. But, I thought I'd share two GREAT photos that I didn't know I had!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Samantha!

My little girl is 9 years old today. 9 years ago I had stayed home from work because I had the flu. I had been working lots of hours, but Samantha wasn't due for another 2 1/2 weeks, so I had a few little things to wrap up. But, the flu got the better of me so I stayed home for the 2nd full day to rest. We had had our office "Holiday Party in January" over the weekend and I felt like a big green pea in my green velvet maternity dress. By the end of the party, I was so uncomfortable, but when you are basically 9 months pregnant, you are uncomfortable all of the time.

So, its Wednesday January 22nd and I spend the day at home trying to get over the flu. I had gotten permission to take Sudafed for 24 hours to clear my sinuses. My 24 hours was long since past around 10pm that night, but my sinuses were still completely clogged. So, I spent some time hanging UPSIDE DOWN with my head hanging over the side of the bed, trying to clear my sinuses. All of a sudden, I felt Samantha kick (we didn't know it was Samantha yet, we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl) and then a pop. What was that, I thought? Well, it turns out it was my water breaking - I think more precisely, Samantha kicking and breaking my water. Well, that certainly jumpstarted my labor. I think I scared Mike half to death when I went down into the basement of the townhouse where he was doing laundry to tell him that I think my water broke. But, off to the hospital we were, after a quick stop at the office (of course)for the radio that we believed we would want in the delivery room - I of course expecting a long labor.

Once we get to the hospital, they check me into a room and want to check the progress of my labor. Lo and Behold the nurse said that the baby was breech. I actually argued with her because the baby hadn't been breech at my Drs appointment the previous week. They brought in a sonogram to show that indeed Samantha was feet down - no wonder I lost so much water when my water broke!! And, the reason I was so uncomfortable at the office Holiday Party is that Samantha chose that time to turn over and be breech - my mother says she was born a "princess"!! So, all of a sudden we were preparing for a C-section. Well, they were preparing - I was in awe because I WASN'T prepared for a C-section. But, they got me ready and wheeled me into the operating room and a short time later, at 1:48am on Thursday, January 23rd, Samantha Collier Stopper was born. She was the 8th baby born on January 23rd (yes, only 1 hour and 48 minutes into the day) and the 800th or so baby born since the beginning of the year.

But, she was all ours and still is.

But now she's 9 years old - we are still trying to find those 9 years.

She had her birthday party at the Ashburn Ice House yesterday with friends from school and the neighborhood. We had a great time!!

Happy Birthday Samantha.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Emma's photo below

I promised to post my monthly photo of Emma. Because I have been quite verbose recently, the post I updated has probably scrolled down the page. Look down - its there!


Its amazing to watch kids learn. I realized a little while ago that Emma had learned how to hear certain songs on her walker by spinning a wheel with colored shapes. I have definitely determined that Emma is learning.

We have a host of toys in her new playyard and most of them make noise (ugh!) We have a toy that we have had since Samantha was a baby. We call it the "radio". It has a big blue button that plays music. It has NO off button and NO volume button. Emma has learned that pushing the blue button will play a song. She has learned if she pressed it again that a different song will start. She has also learned that she can push the button and then go over to another noisy toy and she can have TWO toys making noise at the same time.

And, it is absolutely deliberate. She has LEARNED how to do this.

Babies are very smart.

Reflections Contest Winner

Samantha came running to the car today when I picked her up from school. She had received a letter notifying her that she won First Place in the Photography category for 3rd to 5th graders in her school (she's in 3rd grade). Her photograph is now being submitted to the District level for competition.

The theme this year was "I wonder why". We talked about it and she wanted to take a picture about "I wonder why water is wet?" We finally decided to take photos at the pond down the street from our house. Samantha took several photos and decided she wanted to submit this photo because she liked how the sun sparkled on the water.

The judges indicated they were impressed with the quality and composition of her work.

Note: The Reflections Contest is an artistic contest sponsored by the National PTA. It has categories for photography, creative writing, music composition, and art.

Strange Signs

An online friend posted about an unusual sign she recently saw. She encouraged us to do the same.

Life is an Adventure: Strange Signs

The strangest sign I can remember is one that I always saw growing up. I don't have a photo.

We would drive down the highway and I would always see this sign:

"Picture Your Office Here"

and it had a nice drawing of a pleasant office building.

Well, that sign sat for years in front of a swampy pond. I always thought it was funny, but never wondered why an office was never built there.

There is one there now. If my mother is reading, she will probably remember this near Oak Grove where the Chinese restaurant is now!

Monday, January 16, 2006

One month to go...and counting

Happy Birthday Emma!! Emma is 11 months old today. Where has the time gone? In one month we will celebrate her first birthday - a major milestone.

Emma weighs 23 pounds at 11 months - whew!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Background Noise

I always need background noise on. People think we watch a lot of TV in our house - but in reality, we *listen* to a lot of TV in this house. I rarely do just ONE thing at a time. Listening to TV is one of the things I typically do - when I scrapbook, when I do emails, when I read blogs, when I'm doing LOTS of things.

I learned tonight - it really doesn't help to put on a movie with subtitles when you just want "background noise". I turned on "Dances With Wolves" to a section where the Sioux Indians were talking and then tried to proceed with my internet reading. Well, it was quite distracting because I didn't actually understand what they were saying because, of course, they were speaking Sioux and not English.

So, little tip - if you are turning on the TV for background noise, choose a movie in English.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

New Years Resolution: Clean House

I much prefer to have a clean house - no, a better description is a DECLUTTERED HOUSE. I know that I would have NO problem having a clean house, if I could just find what I need to clean through the clutter.

Well, in the spirit of the New Year, I have started to clean / declutter this house. It helped that our Christmas decorations were being taken down - its much easier to declutter when you have to pick up things to put them away because they had been moved for Christmas.

I am quite happy of what I accomplished yesterday - I cleaned up/out the office. Since its right inside the door, I'd like to leave the doors open when people come over, but alas, it has typically been the "Stash and Dash" room. But, it is perfectly cleaned out and organized now and I am quite pleased - and the doors are open.

Now I'm tackling the basement. I have managed to "almost" clean up all of my scrapbooking supplies, which has been nice because not only is it CLEAN, I actually can scrapbook faster because I can FIND stuff. Its quite nice. And, the kids are keeping their area "tolerable". The definition of "tolerable" is, "I can walk through and find at least a few spots of carpet." Not too bad. I'll finish up the basement this week.

Then I'll need to tackle the "Oh just put it in Mommy's room and I'll deal with it later" Master Bedroom clutter - isn't that always how it is? Put it in your room so that the kids rooms can be clean because having a messy kids room is much more annoying than your own room, right?

Home and Gardens we aren't - but decluttered and clean we WILL BE!

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Larry!!

Today is my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday Larry!! He lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Heather and (almost) 5 year old son Gavin.

Things are settling back to normal!

I haven't posted much recently because we have just been trying to get back to normal. The kids went back to school on Tuesday and I think everyone is just happy that we are getting back to a routine. Because Emma is crawling around a lot now, I feel like I spend all of my time either:
  • chasing after her
  • telling her "no"
  • blocking the family room opening so she can't crawl in the kitchen
  • picking her up and putting her in the pack-n-play so that I can do ANYTHING
  • vacuuming the floor to get all the little pieces of "whatever" up that Emma seems to find.

We are also trying to get ready for Samantha's birthday party. It always feels so rushed because I'm NEVER organized enough to try and plan it BEFORE Christmas and then I feel like I don't have enough time to think about it after New Years. Samantha wants to go ice skating with some friends, so we'll see how that goes with two parents who are NOT AT ALL talented on ice skates.

I'm also working tirelessly on my photo albums - with 3 kids, the photos pile up quickly. I am looking into ways to share my album pages with everyone so that you can see a complete chronicle of our lives!!