Friday, October 24, 2008

Clowns and Snowflakes

Tonight I took the girls for their Nutcracker pictures. We had a very rough afternoon with crying babies, fussy toddlers, and just bad attitudes all around (including mine)....I did apologize to the kids for being a mean mommy this afternoon. Anyway, we managed to get hair done and ballet clothes on to go the studio. I asked the girls to grab their ballet shoes, and I guess I assumed they had them. Needless to say, we were in the studio before I realized that we didn't have any ballet shoes. Thankfully, Jill said it was no problem and just re-arranged their shot to hide their feet.

Isabella is a clown this year, and boy does she fit the part! She was too hilarious in her unitard and accessories. They really make these clowns over the top! It's so cute! Abby is a sophisticated snowflake with a light blue tutu,an adorable headband, and a "Miss America style" snowflake sash. She was delighted at her appearance when she got dressed up. They took their photo together to save us money (I'm so frugal on some things), and it'll be a hoot to see.

The performance is coming soon, and Abby is getting nervous. She asks lots of questions about what I did when I was in performances and about what will happen if she makes a mistake. She keeps saying that she needs to practice, but she always says she can't remember the moves to practice. She does them well in class....maybe she needs the music to help her along. It's so sweet watching her grow up and start to think about things like that. I got great seats for both peformances, so I'll be cheering them on! I can't wait.

Official Notice!

Isabella officially declared this week that she is no longer Fancy Nancy, and that she is to be called Isabella Grace. We were riding in the car the other day, and she said, "I'm not Fancy Nancy anymore. I'm a regular girl, and you can call me Isabella Grace." I thought we were going to explode in laughter. Can our Fancy Nancy days be over as quickly as they began? I thought for sure we were going to have to be Fancy Nancy for the Fall Festival, but we're going as a butterfly this year. I'm still not sure where that idea came from, but we had to hunt for a butterfly costume for our little Isabella.

I'm thinking that Ali Kate may go as a football player. She was doing this head-nodding thing the other day that was so adorable. We'd ask her questions, and she'd nod very exaggeratively. We asked her if she was a girl. Nod no. We asked her if she was a football player. Enthusiastic yes. We laughed so hard. She had no clue what she was answering. I love her age (minus the public outbursts and temper tantrums).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First Day of Preschool

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Abby started preschool last Wednesday at Getwell Road. She was so excited and a little nervous to leave her mommy I think. Of course I was a wreck since she hasn't gone anywhere like that since her diagnosis. This was a HUGE step in faith that God would stand guard over her while she's away from me. We trained the teachers on how to care for her, and I am trusting that they will do a great job.

Abby has Ms. Leslie who is a mommy and teacher herself. She has two small children. Abby is in a class with five boys and four girls, and she made quick friends. Ms. Leslie told me that she introduced herself to kids as she played and made two friends very quickly. She said that Abby had a wonderful day. They worked on the letter E and the number 3. They are using the ABeca curriculum which I love. The former teacher in me loves its structure. Abby made an egghead that'll grow hair. She got a green light on her first day, of course.

We did get some photos of just Abby, but I think this one with Ali Kate in the corner is just too cute. It felt like the first day of preschool for all of us as we got packed and made our way to the classroom. Note: I am the only one I saw with more than three children. We got plenty of looks and comments (as usual). It's lots of work to get her there since I have to get four kids ready, but it's worth it. I know she needed the time with big kids and away from us. More posts to come on preschool, I'm sure.
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Fall at the Stine House





So I was on Lauren Busbee's blog for a few minutes the other day, and I loved the way she showed off her adorable fall decor. So since I've actually done some fall decorating this year, I decided to post mine too. I know this entry has nothing to do with being a mommy of four....but I wanted to post this anyway. It's okay to be a little off-topic.
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My new artwork


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I just had to post these pictures of what I did after the kids (and Matt) went to sleep last night. I made this adorable bow holder for Ali Kate. We always need more storage for bows! Now we just need Matt to get time to paint her room!
This fall picture I just had to make. I've been on a fall decorating spree lately, and I wanted to add my personal touch.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pirates and Princesses...and a gold star for Daddy

Today Matt asked me to pick up some treasure chest goodies when I went on my massive Target run ($200 for necessities....I almost croaked...that's what diapers, pullups, a car seat, formula, and a few other odds and ends adds up to really fast!)....I digress. Anyway, Matt drew a treasure map of our backyard. He hid the treasure in 3spots, one for each girl. Abby led the crew of pirates as they deciphered the map to find their hidden treasure. She actually understood his map very quickly, and let me say that it was not a preschool-level map. It took them about 10 minutes to find all of the treasures. Abby's was hanging from the roof of their clubhouse, so she had a hard time spotting it. The other two were easier. The girls loved the hunt and of course the treasure of jewels. Their treasure hunt then got their creative juices flowing. They came back inside, and we did princess makeovers to go with their new jewels. Everyone including Ali Kate got makeup and a new hairdo. They of course wore their royal gowns. I announced them all as they made their grand entrances into the living room. We played classical music for their royal ball. Such a fun afternoon. I wish I had pictures, but I was so caught up in participating that I didn't get a chance to grab my camera.

Things They Say

Some of the memorable things my kiddos have said in recent days....


While I'm driving the other day, Abby and Isabella were fighting the entire time. With them being on the third row, there isn't much I can do besides offer instruction and encouragement. At some point, I'd just stopped talking because it wasn't helping. Before I knew it, I heard Abby say, "Isabella, you were born in a stable." Trying to make this a positive moment, I said, "Do you mean like Baby Jesus was born in a stable?" Abby retorted back quickly, "No, I mean like animals are born in a stable."

Another day within the last two weeks we were in the car and Isabella was singing "She comes from Alabama with a banjo on her knee" over and over and over and over. You get the point. That was all she knew...and she was singing so loudly! Abby looks over at her and says, " I wish I had some earmuffs so that I didn't have to hear you." I could barely contain my laughter. Isabella....well, she just sang louder.

Ali Kate:

"I hongey"---I'm hungry
"I no lika da bloomers"--I don't like the bloomers (She said this when I was dressing her the other day and told her she was going to wear a dress....I didn't even mention the bloomers. She just knew.)
"No like that"
"Strawberry Cupcake"---Strawberry Shortcake
"Woo hoo"- She shouts this when I tell her it's time to eat! She's an eater if you can't tell.

Top Ten Things to Remember About Destin Trip 08

1. The M&M truck that we were beside in Mobile (Giant M&Ms rode beside us)
2. A-10 at Crystal Villas...They had just renovated the entire unit, and it was beautiful. We had the best view imaginable, and we loved the colors, decor, tvs, etc.
3. Isabella chased the sea gulls way down the shore...never looking back to check
on how far she'd gone. Several times. But to her credit, she only took off into the water once without an adult!
4. The teeny,tiny washer and dryer that drove Wendy crazy....I actually appreciate my standard size washer/dryer set after that experience.
5. Playing frisbee with Matt....I totally stink at it, but I had a blast just playing with him and not being Mom for a few minutes
6. Matt actually built a sandcastle with a moat by himself and had more fun than the girls did making theirs.
7. Our jellyfish friends that kept me scared to death while in the water
8. Isabella saying that every door we passed was not our hotel
9. Isabella asking what would happen if we slid down the roof (we'd have to explain this one with a picture....wish I had a picture)
10. Abby laying on the float in the ocean saying, "This is the life....oh yeah...this is the life."

Beach 2008


A total blast! That's the only way to describe our beach vacation that we took two weeks ago. We've never vacationed at the beach at the beginning of fall, and we've decided that this is the way we'll do it from now on. We had the most fabulous time. We drove down on a Wednesday and spent the night with my dad. He and Betty kept Grant and Ali Kate while we vacationed. Major thanks to them. It would not have been a vacation if we had taken the two babies with us. That was the first time in almost five years that I didn't have a baby with me for a few days. Wow...that's a vacation in and of itself.

The girls had never been to the beach before, and they loved it all. They were taken with the sand more than anything else. We arrived late afternoon Thursday since we took our time enjoying the trip there. We ate Mexican at a place near Mobile where the lovebugs were in mating season. Hundreds on our bumper by the time we arrived in Florida. Gross!
Anyway, we put the essentials in the condo and checked it out before we headed in our travel clothes down to the shore. Abby and Isabella were so excited. I may have actually been more excited than they were. I love the beach, and it's been a while since we've been. Every summer I've either been pregnant or delivering a baby it we haven't been since 2004.

We spent our trip soaking up the sun in nice 80 degree weather. We splashed in the pool plenty too. Abby and I actually raced one another and swam laps in the pool together. So much fun. We were diverted out of the water for two days due to a large population of jellyfish that wanted to hang out by the shore. We saw several gigantic (at least gigantic to me) jellyfish. After about the fifth one, I decided to exit the water for the rest of the day. We just enjoyed looking at it until we got green flags on Sunday. The beach was busiest that day I think since people could get in the water.

We ate twice at Mellow Mushroom Pizza Co., one of our Destin favorites. We also dined at Fudpuckers, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Overpriced and not very good this go round. We cooked alot in the condo which was fun, and we rented movies one night. The condo had some very nice flat screen TVs, so the girls watched their movie in the bedroom while we watched ours in the living room. We never do that. We had pajamas and popcorn, a Stine family favorite. Everyone in our house loves that! We played LeapFrog games as a family, and we did a little outlet shopping too.

Matt and I really wanted to stay for so many more days, but I was dying to get back to Grant and Ali Kate. I knew they were in good hands, but I wanted them back for myself. I missed them so much! We did go back refreshed and recharged, ready to greet real world life again! Now we're recruiting volunteers to keep the babies next year so that we can do it again!
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The Picture I mentioned


Here's my failed attempt to get a shot of my cuties in their Ole Miss outfits. Matt was a good sport as he tried to get everyone to pose together, but it was a lost cause. They were still adorable though.
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Are You Ready For Some Football?


Itty Bitty and Co. had the most adorable little Ole Miss Rebel dresses that I just had to get for the girls. And of course, Grant had to have a coordinating little shortall to go with it. I attempted to get a picture of everyone together, and I'll post the results. Let's just say I didn't get a good shot by a long shot. Anyway, I loved this picture of Matt and Grant. Matt is so taken to him, and I just keep trying to tell him that Grant is going to be a mama's boy. I love my little man in such a special way that I can't even describe. Matt does too. He's so proud to show his son off to everyone. Matt actually approved of this football outfit to my surprise. He even let Grant "watch" a few minutes of football the other day. He said they were having their "man time." Too cute!
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Our entire crew!

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We rarely get a shot of all of us. In fact, this may be the first shot taken of all six of us together at once. We usually have a subset of our crew. I love this picture. To get 5 out of 6 looking at the camera is a major accomplishment! Aren't they so adorable?

Grant's Baby Dedication

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Three weeks ago we dedicated Grant to the Lord. We've done this with each of our children, and it's a very special time for us to proclaim our commitment to our son that we will train him in the way that he should go. Matt and I take the responsibility of raising Grant in the admonition of the Lord very seriously. God has blessed us tremendously with these four children, and it is our intention each day to point them toward our Lord and Savior. We oftentimes miss the mark, but we're always striving. Parenting means something different to each person on this planet because there are so many dimensions to this job. For us, leading our children to Christ is the most important aspect of this calling. Grant, we love you with all of our hearts. We entrust your salvation to God, and we pray for you constantly. We intend to please God in our words and actions as we train you in His ways.

We had a wonderful time after the dedication taking some family photos in the courtyard at church. We captured some sweet shots of our family including Matt's parents. Our girls did as well as could be expected during the ceremony. Ali Kate and Isabella ended up making quick exits toward the end to sit with Matt's parents. (Standing there quietly for that long in front of the entire church is a very tall order for toddlers and preschoolers. I was way too nervous about how they would behave, but they did well considering their ages.) Grant was quietly observing everything as he oftentimes does. After the pictures, we came back to the house and spent some time visiting with Granny and Pawpaw. The girls really enjoyed that.