Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Festivals/Halloween parties

We have now been to two Fall Festivals and one Halloween party...all before the official date is even here! We got some great pictures, though. At the end are pictures of Ham in her costume.

Here is Ham enjoying some balloons, which she calls 'balls.'

Bella got her hair spray-painted pink with white polka-dots while MIII got balls that sparked and applied his daredevil side by scaling the inflatable rock wall.

Here is Andy the Armadillo (????), which Ham just adored.

Ham on the Valleydale train. Ham's future husband.

Our friend Morgan was a fairy, too. Grandpa makes Ham fly!

Ham loves Aunt Sarah Grace!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ham's Birthday Party

Wow, what a great time we had! Thank you to all who were able to come out and celebrate a year of Ham's sweet, little life. The party could not have gone better and I know she had a blast. Hey, if she can stay up from 1-6PM without even fussing, and still managing to giggle and open presents, then I know she is having a good time.

The only thing that didn't quite work out as planned, was the cake. If you remember, I had said it was supposed to be a blue and purple butterfly. Well, when I got to Wal-Mart, they told me that the cake I ordered was under Disney copyright and they couldn't do it without all the Hannah Montana paraphernalia. Then they said, "Oh, and btw, we couldn't do yellow cake (didn't give me a reason why), so it's white cake instead."

OK. Yeah. Could've called me to tell me these things. I started to stress a little more when I saw that the cake was a GAUDY hot pink butterfly with weird purple markings and a black body with orange dots. It sat not-so-daintily on a brown branch. At least they did a cake, though!! I thought they were going to say, "So, we couldn't do a cake for you." Now that could have been a small coronary. (Please know that I'm kidding. There are much bigger things in the world to worry about, right?)
However, I decided that if I was going to let this stress me out, I just had better call off the whole thing because it wasn't worth the rising blood pressure.... That is to say, I just smiled at the bakers, said, "Thank you for your time and energy. I'm sure it will taste great (and it did)" and took the high road.

Let me just say, the old me would have not been so gracious. Knowing that Jesus is my Lord and that people really do the best they can (most of the time), and knowing that it would not fix anything if I blew my top, it just made letting it go a little easier.

Nevertheless, I am a paying customer, and my daddy taught me not to be a doormat, so I phoned the Wal-Mart bakery and told the head baker that a call to the customer is always necessary when making changes to someone's order. In turn, for my graciousness, they apologized and said I was right. They thanked me for calling this to their attention.

I really would have taken a gift certificate for $25 in groceries or something. I hope they know that. :) They did give me a 'baby cake' (one that Ham could mess up) for $.01, so that was cool. (I think they do that for everyone, though.)

Here are a few pictures of the day:

Ever since we bought our new mattress and got a Mylar balloon from Mattress King, Ham has loved balloons. And to think, she used to be afraid of them!

Enjoying the twins. I heard Ham was feeding them goldfish crackers.

She didn't quite know what to do with the cake. Mommy helped by placing her hand in it. Then Ham proceeded to try and feed it back to me. She seemed concerned about her hands being messy.

We greatly appreciated so many of our friends coming out to celebrate with us. I think our friend The Minister (the guy on the left) took as many pictures as Genius has in a year!

We were especially excited to see Andrea and Wendy, who were passing by to put a beautiful flower arrangement on their mom's grave. Thank you for even thinking about us! We pray for you all daily.

Ham was especially good at opening presents. (Must be from all the practice she's had with ripping up Mommy's magazines.)
Ham with a pink Mr. Hoot Hoot and a Kiss-Me Elmo.... I think she has already gotten the hang of the kissing part! And she kisses Mr. Hoot Hoot every night before bed. AWWWWWWWW.
And what would the party be without my 2-year-old niece instructing Ham in the many ways to eat candy? I'm not sure if my niece is tattling on her at this point or telling everyone that Ham needs a diaper change.

I am in the process of editing a video of the party, but for the time being, I hope you have enjoyed the pictures.

Thanks again, everyone, for making the day just perfect!
This is dedicated to my three moms, two dads, sister, Grandmom and Granddad McLeod, Grandmama and Dzia Dzia, Alicia for coming all the way from NASHVILLE, Allen and Nikki Moore for coming from Georgia with TWO kids in tow, my sister's and brother's-in-law (Can't wait for Ham's new cousin to be born!), my nieces and nephew, our macho guy friends who still like babies, Uncle Jeff for making homemade strawberry ice cream HELLO!!, and all the friends we love so dearly.
And to Gwen Brobst (Andrea and Wendy's mom).
She would have really liked being there.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Eve of THE Party

Well, today I had a few moments where I thought my head would explode. It's like I had everything filed away in my brain and a little sting would come and zap me and all the files would fly everywhere and I'd be standing there going, "Wha...? Um, whaaaa..?"

I need to report this to the Smallwoods officials. I don't think stings should be so far away from the watchful eye of Mr. Fox.

So, I got a bit disgruntled today, but it was OK. I have one fool-proof weapon against the blues, the sniffles, the outerspaceyness (emphasis on "spacey"), and the grrrrrrs. It's called Ham. We likes her. We likes her a lot.

Most everything that needs to be done for the party tomorrow is done. Balloons are all blown up with pretty hand-curled ribbon to don the pillars and tables around the Senior Center. LOL

Every thing is pretty much ready. Chicken fingers, chips and dips, veggies and fruit, drinks, and of course...the cake. Oh, oh, and party favors! I'm REALLY excited about the party favors. Kids get one kind and adults get something different. I hope everyone likes their partying gift. :)

I ordered the cake from Wal-Mart this morning and I'll pick it up around 1PM. I had no "theme" planned for the party. I went though the catalog to find something cute, but not a complicated design and ended up asking for the artwork from a Hannah Montana pull-apart (not the one shown--that's just so you know what a pull-apart 'cake' is--) on half a sheet cake instead of cupcakes. The colors are Hannah Montana's signature purple and blue and the art is a sweet butterfly (I asked them to leave out all the Hannah Montana propaganda). It will be yellow cake with white icing. I hope that will be satisfactory to all.

We discovered that Ham does not like chocolate cake (we did various test to confirm, but the one that sealed it was when she reached her whole hand in her mouth to retrieve an unwanted bite of devil's food cake.) (Weirdo.)

She will have her own little mini-cake to demolish, devour, or disgard, in any way she pleases.

We've been singing "Happy Birthday" to her for days so hopefully, she won't freak out tomorrow. Ham's not a big freaker-outer, so, we're probably good. But I've even been putting a cupcake infront of her with a lit candle (supervised, of course) and singing to her and then blowing the candle out. She clapped 2 out of 5 times. She danced the last three times. So, we'll see.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wanna do shots? Oh, wait...NOOOOO!

So, I took Sophie to her 12-month check up and poor baby had to get five shots on her birthday!

She did pretty good, though. Because she loves music so much, I played her Stray Cat Strut from The Stray Cats on my phone (Thank you, Genius!) and she was dancing and clapping through most of the visit.

Then two scrub-wearing nurses came in, laid her down with her feet dangling over the table. She was shaking the phone joyfully when they said, "Mama, can you get her hands, please," and then it hit her....

Five sharp things were slamming into her tender flesh (I'm not kidding, these women are brutal fast) and she LOST it. I mean, not break-your-heart, whimpers (although it did break my heart), but MAD, get-the-heck-away-from-me, sobs. She was kicking at the nurses and I even had trouble holding her little hands down. I felt so sorry for her on one hand and on the other hand, I thought, "Wow. She isn't going to be pushed around."

However, 60 seconds went by and she was fine.... Grabbing lollipops out of a plastic Frankenstein head that screamed and cackled when she stuck her hand in to get the candy. Her mouth would drop open and she would laugh out loud, basking in the attention of all the adoring, clapping, ooh-ing and ahh-ing nurses...with big fat tears still hanging on her cheeks and two huge Halloween Band-Aids stuck to each of her tiny thighs.

I am so in love with her.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday, Ham!

Our little lamb is a one-year-old. Some would say she's not a baby anymore...yeah, say that to my face. I dare you. This is how I see her...this is how I will always see her:

Hubby, Ham and I went over to my dad and stepmom's house last night to celebrate a birthday for Ham and my stepmom, Gugu (pronounced gŭ-gŭ, like in the word must). It had been planned for several days and I thought it would just be the five of us. (Before anyone thinks I'm complaining, I'm not.)

So when we pulled up to their house and I saw my sister and brother-in-law's cars, I was stumped. I looked at hubby and asked, "Is that my sister's van? Did you know they were going to be here?" He didn't. Then I said, in all my intellectual glory, "I wonder if Dad and Gugu know they are here." Duh.

It was great. Dinner was perfect, Dad and Gugu. The kids were hysterical. My sister had Ham doubling over laughing.

She got a great Pound-a-Ball toy that all the kids wanted to whack. Ham was content on letting her cousins hit the balls and was just cracking up at them. She has been playing with it all morning. She loves it.

I was so glad my sister was there because the day before, she had explained to me that she couldn't come to Ham's party this weekend. I knew she felt awful about having to work that day, but I tried to reassure her that it was OK. However, I am so so glad that they planned to be there last night. It made all the difference to be able to share that with all of them.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blinded by the light

I made an eye appointment for Ham last week and she went to see my optometrist a week before her first birthday. Is there something wrong with her eyes? No, thank goodness. Does there have to be something wrong with a baby's eyes before going to the eye doctor? Goodness, no.

My doctor, Dr. Hammonds (the coolest optometrist, ever), is part of an incredible and generous program called InfantSEE. (Please click on the link and it will help you find a doctor in your area.)

This FREE program is for babies from 6 months to one year (so make that appointment NOW). It's FREE. Did you hear me? FREE! Yes, I wrote that correctly. FREE. No copay. Nadda. Nuthin.'

Now, I'll say this. Ham is not big on anyone messing with her eyes. I guess no one really is, right? She didn't cry when they put the patch over one eye (so cute) to test her vision or dilated her eyes. However, once her eyes were dilated, she did NOT want a light shown in them.

So, the experts at Eye Care Associates, Hoover were amazing at getting her to cooperate. They used scientifically proven methods like turning her upside down, using every toy imaginable, and finally, two eye care techs, Dr. Cool and I sung, "See See My Playmate" at the top of our voices (not to badly...although we didn't know all the words). I wish I had video taped it. That's what it took to finally get her to sit there happily humming along shell-shocked at our genius ridiculousness. Besides, she loves music.

This program must be taken advantage of before your child's first birthday. And let me tell you, it's not dumb to take a baby to the eye doctor. Studies show that many eye problems can be corrected if caught early on. Just ask my aunt, my nephew and my cousin! Or your eye doctor.

So, get out there and get your little one an appointment. Or be proactive and tell your friends and family about this program. You can't give an excuse to FREE!

BTW, I think the first time I saw Dr. Hammonds was when I was sixteen, on the week of Halloween. I had my hair in a bazillion little braids, wearing a floppy purple, crushed velvet hat, and yin-yang earrings. Yeah. I'm not sure what I was supposed to be. A hippie maybe? Probably.

However, Dr. Hammonds said, "Cool earrings" and I felt immediately accepted. That was huge for a scrawny little girl who felt like a complete outcast in her teenage years....

Um, no wonder with outfits like that, huh? LOL