Monday, December 29, 2008

Sorry for the absence...

...we had a wonderful Christmas, but not so much after that. When we got home this weekend from spending the holiday with my parents, we discovered our house had been broken into (along with several of our neighbors.) My computer and a bunch a camera stuff was stolen. They also slashed the phone and cable lines, smashed our motion detector lights and crow-barred the window open so that it's damaged and we can't close it now. All out drawers were emptied on the floor and there were muddy footprints all over, so that was a mess too.

But we weren't there, for which I am grateful, and are safe now, which is the important thing. The possessions can be replaced. The only thing I am heartbroken over is that nearly every picture I have taken of Emma was on my computer. While I have printed many of them and have some saved on CDs, most are gone forever. It's sad...

Anyway, I'll be having a fun couple of days on the phone with insurance folks, the phone and cable companies, etc.

I'll try to post some of our Christmas photos from my work computer when I get time. Hope you all had a fun (and safe) holiday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow day

We got four inches of snow dumped on us last night, so Emma's school was closed...our first snow day of the winter!

I, of course, still had to get up at 6 a.m. to see if school was cancelled. I let HRH Emma sleep until 9 a.m. We puttered around all morning, cleaning house, baking cookies, making art projects, watching tv. Then after lunch, out to shovel the driveway (the fun never ends in my life!) While I was shoveling, Emma took advantage of the snow and the small hill in our backyard to do some sledding...

The snow has pretty much stopped now, so we'll no doubt have school tomorrow. But the forecasters are predicting an ice storm on Thursday (ugh!) so this may not be our last day home this week.

Hope everyone else is staying warm!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Six years ago today...

...I was in a hotel meeting room in Changsha, China and a woman handed me a scared little 9-month-old baby...

Honestly, has it really been six years?

Emma has been the most wonderful blessing in my life and I can't wait to see what the next six years will bring!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Just when you think your child is over being a girly-girl... go to the store and she picks out an outfit like this...

It is pretty cute, but a TUTU?! Where are we going to wear this? I'm usually the most practical of mothers and would have said no. But she was twirling around in the store and who can resist that? Not me, unfortunately.

We're meeting friends for pizza tonight and she's dying to wear it. I'm sure she'll get some attention in this get-up!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The first snow of the season

Last night we got our first dusting of snow. Fortunately, it was very light and didn't stick to the roads. I am not a big fan of winter AT ALL...but I have to admit that the first snow always makes things look so pretty outside (at least until it turns all slushy and muddy!)

Emma was very excited to see the snow but she was disappointed when I told there wasn't enough to make a snowman. I'm sure that snow will come soon enough...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday

This has always been one of my favorite photos of Emma...she was about two and a half. She loved this little kitchen and looks like such a little homemaker in this picture. I love that she has the oven mitt on!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hoping you and yours have the best Thanksgiving ever!

There are so many things I am thankful for, but none more so than...

Monday, November 24, 2008

The cardiac kid

Well, we had a little too much excitement at Emma's horseback riding lesson yesterday. After taking lessons for about 10 months, she got thrown from her horse for the first time. Back in February, she slid off her horse onto the ground while riding bareback, but the horse was barely moving. What happened yesterday was a whole different experience.

Her horse, Cinnamon, was a bit sluggish yesterday, probably because of the cold weather. But she just wasn't in the mood to trot. Emma had a crop and was using it, but Cinnamon would still slow to a walk whenever she thought she could get away with it. Emma's trainer, Sarah, went and got a whip...not to whip the horse, of course, but just to snap it to get her moving. It did the job pretty well for awhile, but then Cinnamon slowed to a walk again. Sarah walked a little closer to the horse and snapped the whip and apparently Cinnamon knew she meant business, because she bolted and started cantering at full speed.

Emma had never cantered before...the poor girl hung on as tight as she could while Sarah ran after them, but Emma eventually just flew off the horse and fell flat on her back on the ground.

I was screaming at this point. From where I was standing, I thought the horse had stepped on Emma. Sarah got to her first and picked her up. She was fine, although she had the wind knocked out of her. She wasn't crying - probably because she couldn't breathe. The older girls must have heard the commotion (aka me screaming) and ran in and chased Cinnamon down.

Anyway, Emma was fine and when we all got calmed down, she got back on Cinnamon and finished her lesson (no more cantering!) It was kind of sweet, because the older girls all made a big deal out of officially welcoming Emma to the club - because you're not an official cowgirl until you've been thrown from your horse.

Still, I would have been happy had she not become a member of that club for a little while longer. Hopefully she won't fall off again for a very long heart just can't take it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Emma and Santa 2008

Emma and I made a trip to the mall today (a place I usually avoid like the plague) with the express purpose of seeing Santa. We only had to wait in line a few minutes and I snapped a couple pictures while Emma filled the jolly guy in on what she wanted this year for Christmas...

A few of Emma's friends are already skeptical about Santa, which saddens me. Emma said one of her friends at school told her there was no way Santa could visit every house in the world in one night. Emma said she explained to her friend that when it was daytime here, it was dark in Africa and China and that's when Santa went there. Then when it's dark in China and Africa, he comes here. Which is an entire day...totally do-able, in Emma's opinion.

I just hope she believes for a long time...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emma and her horsey friends

We spent another long day at the stables today. We usually get there at 2:30 or so, Emma has her lesson at 3 o'clock, but we seldom leave before 6. After her lesson, she always wants to hang out and help the older girls feed and water all the horses. I don't mind and I just sit in the lounge reading.

Emma absolutely adores these girls and they love her too. They are all much older than her...Katie is 10, Sophie is 11 and Nicole is 16. But Emma seems to feel these are her peers and likes nothing better than running around the barn with them. I normally would not let Emma hang out with girls this age at school or anywhere else. But all these kids have a common love (horses) and would spend their entire lives at the barn if they could.

I snapped a quick photo today of Emma with her posse...

I just love this's just a weird thing that what little light there is in the stable is shining on Emma. What I love more is the light shining in her face because she's having fun with her horsey friends. You can see she is in heaven.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Emma...child model

Some of you might recall that a couple months ago, I was contemplating whether to let Emma sign with a modeling agency. A photographer friend of mine, who works with a number of really good agencies in town, had suggested it after seeing a picture of Emma.

Anyway, long story short, Emma and I met with three of the agencies that Gabe (photographer friend) recommended and we ended up signing with one of them. I know...I can't really believe it either. But Emma says she really wants to try it. And it would be a nice way to add to her college fund or pay for her rather costly love of all things equestrian.

So last week, Gabe took some photos of Emma for her composite card (a big postcard that the agency sends out to clients.) Here are some of my favorites...

Even though there was no obligation to do so, I've signed Emma up for a couple of modeling classes with the agency so she can learn more about photo movement, acting, runway, etc. I know...RUNWAY! How hysterical is that? I guess kids are booked for a lot of bridal shows and stuff. Her first class is tomorrow after school. I'll let you know how it goes...hopefully this won't end up being a colossal mistake on my part!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lord, please let this be true... least for a few more years!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Flashback Friday

When Emma was just about 2 1/2 years old, we decided it was time to tackle you can see from this photo, she had a little trouble with the concept at first.

Fortunately, she caught on pretty quickly and was potty-trained in less than two weeks!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween...

...from Minnie Mouse and her mommy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Emma's first horse show

Emma is entered in her very first horse show on Saturday. I was not really keen on her participating, to be honest. She's been riding less than a year and she's so much younger than the other girls in the competition. But she really wanted to do it and her teacher said she thought she was ready. So I was overruled.

She'll just be riding in one class...a walk/trot class for kids 10 and under. I don't even know if I can watch. I honestly don't care if she wins (she won't) and she says she knows she probably won't. My only concern is that she'll make a mistake and feel horrible about it - she's such a perfectionist.

I know it's a valuable lesson for kids to learn that they aren't always going to win and always excel. I'm just hoping is she does her best and has fun, whether she wins a ribbon or not.

Wish her luck...I'll let you know how she did!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's apple pickin' time!

Saturday was a glorious fall day and we went apple picking with some of our friends. We had never gone apple picking before and I have to say, it was just wonderful. We traveled to an apple orchard about an hour away. Here are the girls (Emma, Jenna, Christina and Kimmie) just before we set them loose to pick apples and run wild...

Here's Emma wielding the apple picker...frankly, with four six-year-olds running around with these, I can't believe there weren't a few serious injuries...

Here are Emma and Kimmie...I love this photo, even though the girls were squinting into the sun...

We were out in the orchard for nearly two hours, picking apples and eating apples. Even this late in the season, the orchard had like ten varieties of apples still on the trees. It is amazing how different they all taste. Emma pretty much liked them all...

I don't know if it was because we were outside in the crisp fall air, but the apples tasted better than any I've ever had before. Of course, that's probably a good thing because now I have a bushel of apples sitting in my kitchen and we can't possibly eat them all. Looks like I need to break out the applesauce and apple pie recipes!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Emma and Biggie

This past weekend, we traveled to St. Louis to visit my parents. Emma loves her Biggie and Papa so much. Yes, "Biggie" is the name that Emma somehow came up with when she was a baby to call my mom. I think it has something to do with the fact that my mom's oldest grandchild, my nephew Ryan, called her Gobey. And Emma, hearing all the other grandkids calling her Gobey, somehow got it turned around a little and has called her Biggie ever since. It's quite a source of mirth in our family.

Anyway, it was a nice weekend with my and eating and eating and shopping. We did manage to make our annual fall pilgrimage to Grant's Farm, which is always great fun.

Here's a picture of Emma and her Biggie at the farm...

We have a lot of exciting things going on right now...too much to write about in this post. I'll try to fill you in sometime this weekend when I have a bit more time.

Have a nice weekend, y'all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback Friday

Some bloggers on their Friday posts have started posting pictures of their children from years gone by, so I thought I'd take my turn. Here's a picture of Emma taken four years ago right around this time.

This was taken outside a hotel in St. Louis where we had met my parents for a fun fall weekend. We're meeting them at the same hotel this weekend...hopefully it will be just as much fun!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The pumpkin patch

This weekend Emma and I made our annual trek to the pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins. We've gone to the same place every fall since Emma was two. I don't know if it's tradition or if I'm just too lazy to scope out a new place. Either way, it was a lovely day and we had a nice time...

Excuse the crummy pictures...the battery on my good Canon camera is having trouble holding a charge and I had to order a new I was stuck with the old point-and-shoot. Hopefully I'll get the new battery this week and will be back in business soon!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Zoo camp

Nothing of great importance going on here...busy weeks and busier weekends it seems.

Emma and her friend Amy spent part of their Saturday this past week going to a day-long zoo camp. They got to learn a lot about animals and rode camels and the zoo carousel about 30 times. A lot of fun, but probably not enough to inspire a career in zoology.

Here's a picture of the two adorable girls (taken by Amy's mom)...

I bet this is probably just about the GREENEST picture you've ever seen! They are just so darn cute, though, it warms my heart!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Little Emma on the Prairie

Emma's Brownie troop had a field trip yesterday to this historical museum. The girls had such a blast dressing up like children 150 years ago. Here's a picture my friend Beth took of Emma with her friend Madeline...

I didn't get to go on the field trip, unfortunately. But last night, Emma regaled me with facts and tales about life in the 1800's. She told me that the parents ate dinner first and then the children. She also mentioned that the children were often responsible for emptying the chamber pot. She said "Boy, kids had it rough back in the olden days!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A girl and her kitty

I really don't have anything spectacular to write about. All I have is a picture of Emma with her beloved cat Sami...she loves her kitty so much! And despite the rather pained expression on her face, Sami loves Emma too!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Catching our breath...

Ever since school started in the fall (or late summer), we have been insanely busy. I mean INSANELY busy. It's not that I have Emma signed up for 100 activities or anything. It's just that the few things she is involved in have swung into high gear.

This weekend was especially crazy. We started off with a Brownie meeting on Friday night. Saturday morning, we had to get up early to participate in the ALS charity walk (my employer was a corporate sponsor.) Then we rushed off to catch a big youth horse show downtown. We left that early so we could make it to our local FCC chapter's Moon Festival by late afternoon. We left home at 9 am and walked in the door at 9 pm, both exhausted. Today was a little less hectic...just church, going to a big local art fair and horseback riding lessons. Next weekend looks slightly less hectic, but only slightly.

Emma and I both like being busy, but this is a little too much...I hope it slows down a bit. But looking at our calendar, I don't see it - at least for the next several weeks.

Anyway, here are a few pics from the weekend. This is Emma at the horse show, indulging in one of her favorite activities...

Here she is at the Moon Festival, hanging with her friend Hope...

And this is Emma deep in the creative process while painting at the art fair today...

So because we've been gone all weekend, the house is a mess, the lawn needs mowing, and I only got about half the laundry done. I did manage to squeeze in a trip to the grocery store so we wouldn't starve this week. But that was about the extent of my accomplishments. Better luck next week, right?!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's homework time!

When your child enters first grade, suddenly there is this thing called homework. Emma received her very first homework assignment today. She was very excited at first. Then reality kicked you can see from these photos!

She only had about ten minutes of work to do...just some vocabulary words she had to copy. They give the kids homework on Tuesdays and Thursdays which isn't too bad. But if she's this exhausted from doing ten minutes of homework now, what are we going to do a few years from now when she has two hours of homework every night?!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Emma, Emma, quite contrary...

I don't know if it's being in first grade, if it's just a phase, or if I'm just a lousy parent, but Emma has developed a real attitude of late. Could it be that she is coming to the realization that her mommy is not a dazzling genius who knows everything about everything? I was hoping she wouldn't find this out until she was like 30.

Anyway, we're going through a rough patch. Maybe it's just adjusting to the start of the school year or something. She's always been this incredibly sweet and compliant child - we didn't even really have terrible twos - but she's been so whiny and pouty all week. Nothing horrible, but a lot of contradicting me and arguing over every little thing. It's wearing on me.

Plus, it took her all of four days of school to get in a little trouble. She got put in time out in school today for talking. Emma had a real problem in kindergarten with talking in class when she wasn't supposed to. We had her pretty well back in line by the mid-year point. But I can see now that we (meaning her teacher and I) will have to keep on her. So I told her she couldn't play on the computer the rest of this week...and if she got another time out, no computer this weekend. She really loves playing games on the computer, so I think this got her attention. We'll see...

I don't want to make it sound like I've got a spoiled brat on my hands...she's still very sweet like 90% of the time. But that other 10% is testing my patience right now!

Anyway, here's a picture of my little angel...let's hope our week gets better!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First day...first grade

Today is Emma's first day of first grade. Here's a picture of Emma with her friend Amy in their new clothes and maryjanes on the first day of school...

And here's my happy little girl...she's so thrilled to be a first-grader at last!

I indulged in my usual first-day-of-school ritual...I dropped Emma off in her classroom and then burst into tears on the way back to the car. Even though you go through this year after year, it's still hard to believe how fast your child is growing up. The first day of school just brings it all into focus for an intense moment.

UPDATE: Just to reply to a couple of the comments...yes, Emma does go to a French immersion school. After one year of kindergarten, she's pretty's amazing to someone like me who struggled with through three years of high school Spanish and still never really was comfortable with it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer's last blast...

Emma starts school tomorrow (finally!) I wanted to spend a little time with her before the official end of summer, so I took the afternoon off and we went to visit one of our favorite places, a local farmstead. I don't have anything spectacular to report...we had a nice time on a beautiful late summer afternoon. I did take a few pictures, of course...

This evening we went to the school's open house to see who Emma's teacher is and who is in her class this year. Much to my relief, her best friend Emme is in her class again this year. I met her teacher briefly. She is a new teacher from Belgium...I hope we end up liking her as much as Emma's kindergarten teacher.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Teething again

The older your child gets, the more you seem to forget about her baby years. For example, I know I changed Emma's diaper thousands of times, but she's been potty trained for so long, I really don't remember the dirty diapers. She sat in a high chair to eat for at least two years, but I don't have any real tangible memory of it and I don't even know what happened to her high chair (we probably sold it or it's down in the basement somewhere.)

I also have only a vague recollection of Emma cutting her baby teeth. I mean, I sort of recall the drooling and fussiness and low-grade fever. But she's had all her baby teeth for so many years, that memory has faded as well.

So when Emma complained yesterday that her mouth was hurting, I thought maybe it was a cut or a sore or something. So imagine my surprise when I looked into her mouth and saw a tooth way in the back of her mouth peeking through her gum. It was pretty inflamed and even bleeding a little. But a little ibuprofen seemed to help and she hasn't complained about it since.

It sort of slipped my mind that kids cut more molars at around age six and usually another set around 12. I do think Emma's dentist is correct when she said there just wasn't going to be enough space in Emma's mouth for those additional teeth. I can't imagine two more sets of molars fitting in that tiny mouth. Orthodontia is definitely in our future, I'm afraid.

The good thing is that Emma has become kind of obsessed with oral hygiene of late. She brushes her teeth diligently and swishes her mouth with fluoride rinse. Then she spends about five minutes flossing her teeth (just like her mom - HAHAHAHA!) I am glad she wants to take care of her new teeth...let's hope she keeps it up!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anky's golden!

Emma and I have been completely enthralled by the Olympics...we have both thoroughly enjoyed the swimming, diving, gymnastics and beach volleyball. But the sport we have both been looking forward to the most is the equestrian competition. Unfortunately, it doesn't get a lot of coverage, but the Oxygen network has been playing the highlights every afternoon, so I've been DVR-ing it and we've been able to catch the eventing and jumping competitions.

Emma's very favorite is dressage, though, and her heroine is Anky Van Grunsven, the brilliant equestrian from the Netherlands. Emma has spent countless hours watching videos of Anky and her magnificent horse, Salinero, on You Tube.

Well, I was so thrilled that Anky came from behind to win her third consecutive Olympic gold medal in individual dressage today...I can't wait to tell Emma and watch it with her when we get home.

I'm sure this will be of interest to about zero people out there, but here is Anky and Salinero's golden performance at the Olympics today...maybe this will be Emma in 20 years? You never know!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A little housekeeping

Since she was a little girl, Emma has always been eager to help me around the house. She was always begging me to let her dust the furniture or sort the laundry. She would beam with pride when she had straightened her room and put all her toys away.

However, I am beginning to think her enthusiastic attitude toward house cleaning is waning. I came to this conclusion on Saturday morning when, as I was furiously scrubbing the bathroom floor, Emma yelled from the living room, where she was watching TV, "Mommy can you stop that long enough to get me some juice?" GGGRRR!!! You can imagine what my answer was. Instead, I snapped off the TV, ordered her upstairs to clean her room. After about three minutes, she came downstairs and said she was done. I went up to check and found that she had merely moved one pile of toy clutter from one side of the room to the other. I strongly suggested she give it a little more effort and eventually her room met my not terribly high standards. Needless to say, I know one child who will not be getting her allowance this week.

We did have some fun this weekend, however. On Friday, we went to see Momma Mia! Emma absolutely loves Abba, but I was hesitant to take her because it was a PG-13 movie. But I checked on one of those movie sites that reviews films for parents and they said with the exception of a few "Oh my God's" and a shot of a man's bare behind, it was pretty tame. Needless to say, Emma loved every minute of it - she had a big smile on her face the whole time. I'm so glad we went. I downloaded the soundtrack on ITunes when we got home and we've been listening to it all weekend.

On Saturday, Emma went to her friend Macie's 6th birthday party. Their good friend Pacey, who moved away a couple months ago, came to the party too and it was so wonderful to see the girls together again - they've known each other since they were 1-year-olds in preschool...they seem like such young ladies now!

And we squeezed in a trip to the pool this afternoon - I suspect our last of the summer. The water was really too cool for me, but Emma had fun perfecting her cannonball jump into the pool.

Hope everyone had a great weekend as well - enjoy your week!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Notice anything different about me?

Need a hint? Look a little closer. See those tiny golden balls on my ears? Yeah, my mommy let me get my ears pierced this weekend! Can you believe it?! I never wanted to get my ears pierced before, even though a lot of my friends have pierced ears already. But last week, I decided I DID want pierced ears and asked my mommy. She said I really needed to think about it for a week because it's a big decision and that I would have to use my own money to do it. So I thought about it some more and still really wanted to do it. So on Saturday, we went to Libby Lu (my favorite place in the world!) and these two nice girls pierced my ears (they do both ears at once.) I didn't even wince a little! The girls said I looked 10 times cuter than when I came in (I think they have to say that!)

So I love my pierced ears and I'm always looking in the mirror at them. I can't wait til I get some new earrings in six weeks!

Between my mommy letting me do this and her actually considering letting me do some modeling, I pretty much think she's lost her mind - but I like it!