Monday, February 28, 2011

Not a needed vacation

On Thursday night, February 17, Chopper's dad suffered a massive stroke.  Friday morning, they called us and said the doctor had asked the family to gather by Monday morning.  In a couple of hours we had packed the car and the kids and were on a 2-day drive to Georgia where Chopper's parents had relocated about the same time we came to Texas.

Chopper's dad passed away on Monday -- President's Day -- the 21st and we blessed to be able to get there in time for Chopper to say good-bye and be there as he passed.  They decided to bury him in Quanitco Military Cemetery in Quantico, Virginia so we traveled another day north for the funeral and burial and then 2 days back to Texas.

It has been a very long 9 days -- 9 states -- and 5 of driving.  Both physically and emotionally exhausting.  But we know that Gary is well and whole where he is and that we will be able to see him someday again.  And despite the circumstances, it was a joy to see friends and family and spend time together.

 Megan was particularly pleased to see that Linus had made the move to Georgia safe and sound.  She spent a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa's house giving him rocks.  Don't ask me why but I suppose the natural reaction of a toddler who loves rocks is to share that love with all who will hold still long enough to appreciate them too!
 Abby was loved by all, but especially Uncle Billy.  He was awfully comfy to take naps on!
 These are all 7 of the Whittacre siblings.  From the left: Danny, Jeanette (hiding in the back with the blond hair), Joyce, Jeri, Chopper, Gary-David, and Jesse.  It's been a long time since they've all been together like this.
 Here we are with Grandma Whittacre and the flag presented to her at the burial.  This is an amazing woman. 
 My brother Jeff drove up from SVU for the burial at Quantico and Abby was the only one who would tolerate him.  In him defense, the girls at this point were so massively tired and displaced that they had a really hard time with anyone other than mom or dad.
 But when he does funny things with his lips, it gets interesting!

The funeral and burial were very nice -- I think that Gary would have liked them.  There were quite a few family and friends there and it was well done.  I don't really want to go into it piece by piece because it doesn't seem quite right.  It was very emotional though and there was a lot of love.

So how do you entertain a 3-year old and a nearly 1-year old through 5 days of driving time?  With snacks, movies, books, toys, and a lot of patience.  Megan and Abby enjoyed entertaining each other as well though so I didn't have to do it all.

This trip was a little too much driving really but Chopper and I enjoyed seeing things we wouldn't normally see:

 Now that is my dream come true -- a quilt shop and a book store next to each other!  Too bad it was in the middle of Tennessee . . . and neither one was open because it was a Sunday.  Although I guess I can't fault them there.
 I had to have this -- it was one of our favorite snacks when we road-tripped when I was growing up.
 You see some interesting things but I was NOT quick with the camera -- this pyramid was in Memphis I think, we also drove by Chunky, Mississippi (or was it Alabama?), saw one horrific fatal accident in Tennessee but enjoyed the scenery otherwise, hated the roads and the rest stops in Arkansas, and soaked up all the trees.  Oh and President Clinton's Presidential library and museum in Little Rock Arkansas really DOES look like a trailer home.  And nearly every church we passed was called the "first".  How can they all be the "First Church of Christ" or "First Pentecostal Church" (which was HUGE by they way) -- I want to know!
 We crossed the Mississippi twice -- impressive both times.
And came home to this -- a yard that desperately needs to be mowed (after only 9 days!) and a blooming willow tree.  I guess spring is in the air.

And oh yeah, Abby started crawling.  My easy life as I knew it, has now ended!

Oh and this is cute -- Megan discovered some game at Grandma and Grandpa's house that had little pegs that she decided were like microphones.  And we had to sing together.  Ignore my singing -- Megan's the cute one.

And we were able to stay with some incredible friends in Virginia and see others as well.  I am really grateful for friends -- even more so because it's been so darn difficult here to find good ones.  I know it will happen but I guess it's just not going fast enough for me!  The love and support that we have had through this (I say we but it's really Chopper of course) has been phenomenal.

Thank you -- we love you too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I forgot to put in the milestone marks from Megan's 3rd well-child check.  Megan weighs in at 28 pounds and exactly 3 feet tall -- both in the 25th percentile.  She's a bitty one I guess.  And they took her blood pressure.  I thought that was interesting -- Megan did not.

We've hit another milestone too actually.  Excuses excuses.  Megan is mastering the art of the excuse.  She often, when asked to do something, will say "I'm just reading a book".  Put a "but" in there and she's 13 years old.  Today when I told her it was time to get dressed after her bath, she picked her towel back up, wrapped it around herself, and said "but I'm a princess".  Well at least the logical thinking is coming along nicely.

The potty-training, not so much.  I don't know if it's normal in potty-training to go through 12 pairs of underwear in one day.  Well less than one day if you don't count nap time and the point where I just gave up.  Someday I will look back at this and laugh.  But not today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

After 2 weeks of cold and ice

It was nice to get outside and wash the car.  I like warm weather!
I think I'm already turning into a Texan if that's all I can handle.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I don't know what else to call it.  This video is of Megan reading Sandra Boynton's book Pajama Time.  The book is also a song that we have on CD and so Megan is getting the best of both worlds I suppose.  It's long and a little hard to hear -- I knew that once she saw the camera she would stop so I was hiding behind the couch -- but I hope you can enjoy it!

This girl loves her books!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Library Bag

My sister-in-law and I have been toying with the idea of going in to business together.  Although, as we've talked over the past few weeks I don't know that we can mesh our ideas -- so instead, for now we're going to be each other's motivational cheerleader!  So our task for February was to come up with 3 possibly marketable ideas.  This is my first: a library bag.  I had some leftover canvas from another project and wanted something roomy, sturdy, and with pockets.  It's designed after a reusable bag you can find in any grocery store but I added two pockets on the back, one on the front, and one of the side.  That way I can carry the girls' books in the middle without impediment but I have space to put the little things that we seem to need in the library.

I don't know if it's marketable but it certainly makes my life easier!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Repetition is the key

This is the "Ipod" she got from my parents.  She knows "twinkle twinkle little star" of course but notice how she's trying to learn the next song.  She's been playing it over and over and over since she got and can sing about half of the songs now.  Thank goodness for a volume button.

Oh and this is the outfit she wore to Target today.  We got lots of smiles and some laughing right out loud.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Party Weekend Begins!

We did Megan's birthday a day early this year so we could do a middle of the day celebration.  That works a lot better for us at this age than after dinner.  Chopper and I set up her presents on the fireplace for her to see when she woke up.  Doesn't she look excited about them?
 This is the look when I TELL Megan to smile for me to take a picture.  When I demonstrate rather than just tell her, I get this:
 Why does she tilt her head?  I tilt my head so she can see the smile behind the camera.  But it's cute.  A few of her presents weren't entirely wrapped so she got those right off the bat.  One was a feather boa in a bag which Megan was very excited about "the fluffy in the teeny tiny bag"
 And kept it near her during breakfast (in the bottom corner).  But when we pulled the fluffy out of the bag . . . 
 Whoops -- hi Abby!
 She DID NOT want to wear it.  So Chopper demonstrated for her.  It didn't help.  She still loves it in the bag, not around her shoulders.
 After breakfast and getting dressed, we made her cupcakes and then went ahead and opened presents before lunch.  I couldn't wait any longer.
 Megan did better with opening presents but it still took a while because she wanted to play with each thing as it was opened.  I think that's probably a cue to me to buy less presents . . . 
 Her princess cups 
 The ipod from Grandma and Grandpa -- that sounds worse than it is but it's a little music player that plays a set of kids songs and is DESIGNED to look like an ipod.  It's not really one -- the grandparents don't spoil her THAT much!  Abby really liked it too . . .
 The princess paper doll -- only it's not paper, it's wooden with magnetized clothing.  It's a Melissa and Doug product and it's awesome!  I wanted to play with it!  And Megan has played with it more than anything else.  We went out this afternoon (after 5 days in the house!) and she was asking to go home and get her "princess girl".

 I put together a box of dress-ups that included this great set of princess shoes on clearance at the Disney store.  They have little heels and lights when you walk and she has worn them all day.  
 That and her tutu.  Amazing what a little tulle and elastic can do.  When we first put the shoes on, she wouldn't walk, not that I blame her.  Heels are hard!  And I don't really go for heels for little girls, but try to find princess shoes without them!  She finally got the hang of it after Chopper helped her around a little bit but there has been no race car running in our house today (her latest thing is to run back and forth and tell us she's a race car.  She watches Cars way too much).  Just little princess steps in her shoes.

 So these are her butterfly cupcakes -- idea courtesy of FamilyFum magazine.  Sorry to say, I will not be doing them again.  They were messy to make and easy to break -- they're just candy melts so I shouldn't have been surprised.  I made just enough for the birthday girl and that's it!

 Megan is still not a fan of he birthday singing and the candles.  Not sure why . . .
 Chopper had to blow out her candles for her and this was her reaction when he did.
 But then she wants to lick the candles off and of course, eat the cupcakes.  You are correct when you assume that this is the only thing she ate pretty much all day.  Well, you only turn 3 once right?
 More princess stuff from her dress-up box -- costume picked up at Target after Halloween for a great deal.
We really enjoyed the day.  I really enjoyed the day!  I love her girly-girl-ness but I really love that we know what she likes and can watch her light up.  There are frustrating times of course but the older she gets, the better she gets!

I tried to get some videos of Megan through the day but she was so focused on playing with new toys that she would barely talk to me.  But I got a few cute things!

Friday, February 4, 2011

So Grandma Won't be Sad . . . .

Apparently I am just not updating enough -- especially with video.  It is fun to watch the girls do their funny little things though and I have wished on more than one occasion that I had some kind of glasses that could record the little spur-of-the-moment things that I love -- but I don't.

So this video gets a pretty good look at Abby moving around.  She really is inching her way to where she wants to go -- and that usually means that there is something on the floor she's not supposed to have.  I think that any day now she'll figure out it's faster if she'll coordinate into a crawl but for now, inching and reaching does seem to work.

Megan is so funny in her speech and the way she talks about things.  We've had some really good snow here as of 12 hours ago and I thought it might be fun to play with it rather than play in it.  We did go out in it, but the cold and the snowsuit hamper things a little bit so I brought some inside and Megan got a big kick out of making snowballs and putting the babies with their mommies and I think there's something in there about a walking, talking snowman . . .

And then there's the raspberry competition:

I've tried to take a few more pictures too of my funny girls and their funny faces: 
 This is Abby's scrunch face -- it usually happens when she's complaining but sometimes she'll do it just for fun too.  Look at those teeth!
 One of Megan's favorite things in the world is for Chopper to "have both my girls".  And that's how she says it -- "can daddy have both his girls?"  He's a lot better at holding them both than I am and usually it ends with Megan getting dropped on the couch -- which she loves.  Whenever Megan wears this shirt, she has to have the "hat" up.
 Megan has three pairs of pajamas.  Depending on what she is wearing she is either a mermaid, a flower girl, or a super star girl.  And yes she runs out of the bathroom after her bath saying "Megan's a super star girl!"  It's really cute actually.  She's gotten really funny about her clothing choices.  The day after laundry is done and all her clothes are clean, she will without fail pick the blue shirt, blue pants, and blue socks.  She loves to be all blue.  Then the day after that is usually the purple pants and shirt, and the day after that is pink.  After that, she doesn't have enough clothes of similar colors so darn it, we have to coordinate instead.  We're very monochromatic in this house.
 This is the snowsuit that Megan got from Grandma last year.  It's a 24-month size -- and it still fits with room to spare!
 We've gotten a few inches of snow this morning and our wonderful winter weather continues.  We played outside for a little bit but it turned into mommy carrying Megan so it didn't last long!
 This is a very impressive amount for Dallas!  All the Steelers and Packers fans here in town for the SuperBowl are upset that the weather is just like their hometowns and not warm and balmy.  Apparently the average temperature this time of year is 57 degrees and about 10 years ago was their record high of 85.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Storm of the Year

I don't have any pictures because if you look out the windows at what's on the ground, you'll laugh me right out of the blogosphere.  There's barely an inch on the ground but we have been housebound for going on 3 days now and the Dallas/Fort Worth area is counting the hours that we've been below freezing.  Currently we're around 52 hours.

It's amazing what qualifies as extreme weather here.

Not that this is a piddly little storm and we're running circles around it after living in Idaho and Montana.  No, the roads are solid sheets of ice because we have no snow equipment to scrape and what we did borrow from the Texas panhandle has been focusing on major highways but not using ice.  Just sand.  Doesn't do much when your temperatures are in the teens.  Plus, our entire area is pretty much all electric.  We've had rolling blackouts since yesterday because a few major power stations were thrown off-line by the storm.  We've been very blessed to just have intermittent blackouts of about 15 minutes each but other areas have been pretty hard hit.

Not the Dallas Cowboys stadium area though.  They have a point -- there are too many people to have a blackout -- it would probably cause a lot of dangerous panic.  But it's a little irritating to watch on the news the reporting on all the Super Bowl parties that are going on while regular people are cold in their homes.

We're supposed to get some more snow tomorrow night. -- come to think of it, we had that major snowstorm in Virginia last year right on Megan's birthday too!  Well I guess we know when to be prepared then!