Lessons I've learned this week:

We've had a pretty busy but fun week. Below is a slide show, but I'll share a few interesting things about the pictures.

One day I was getting some things done (although my husband swears I have a phobia of cleaning. Um, no, it is called at three-year-old and a two-month-old) and I hear, "Ok, Elle, blue. See you have a blue right there." I then stepped out of the kitchen and found Sydney teaching Elle how to play a few games such as Colors Bingo and Scrabble (because they are both such great spellers).

Lesson learned: put games with lots of pieces higher than where you think your three-year-old can reach.

Friday Sydney, Elle and I spent the day making strawberry jam. I remember making jam at Nanny's house when I was a little girl and the smell still brings back a lot of summer memories. So, I decided that Sydney needs those same memories as part of her summer. She used her plastic knife to cut a few strawberries, but her favorite part was squishing the strawberries. Some people have a potato masher, but according to Sydney we have a squisher.

Lesson learned: Make jam and then mop the floors, not the other way around.

We went to a birthday party for a little girl in our ward on Friday night. I've really lost count of how many babies we've had born/adopted in our ward since the fall, but it is a ton. So, at the party someone decided it would be a great idea to line up all of the little ones and take some pictures. (I didn't have my camera, so thanks Rachel for the pics!) The five babies in the picture are really just a handful of the new additions. Elle LOVES sucking her hands (which her Daddy hates) and since she apparently couldn't get to hers, took the liberty of sucking on Addison's.

Lesson learned: If you can't get to your hands, borrow a friend's.

Saturday night we ate at Mad Pizza (I love all of their different kinds of pizza) and then bought some fireworks on the way home. We had to get the traditional rooster, tank, and sparklers. David couldn't leave without a few M-80's - he says there isn't a more fitting holiday for the U.S. than a holiday where you celebrate your independence by blowing things up. We shot off a parachute and it landed a block over. We went to retrieve it and some other kids had already found it, but we ran into our neighbors whose back yard faces our house. They ended up coming over and watching us shoot our remaining fireworks off and we shared some of our strawberry jam with them. Sydney also discovered fireflies, so we had to put a few of those in a jar.

Lesson learned (by Dad): Protect your goods while doing sparklers with a three-year-old who thought throwing a sparkler in Daddy's lap would be a great idea.

It's all about the monkeys

On Memorial Day weekend David made me the happiest girl on earth - he took me to see Wicked! So, we packed up and left our 3 week old baby with Grandma and Papa and headed to Kansas City. The show was AMAZING! I've been dying to see it for about three years now and this was the closest it was coming this year. I was infatuated with the monkeys, so our friend Mike chased one down for me after the performance. This boy was built, but after seeing how they climb around on the set I know why. Go to You Tube and look for Chistery and you'll see some videos of how these crazy guys can move. They have these HUGE wings and I really wanted to see how they were made. Mike asked the monkey boy if he could put his wings out for the picture, but he said, "I can't, they're clipped." I think I laughed at that for days...it isn't quite as funny now, but that day it was hilarious.


Secret Shames

Ok, so eight weeks ago Chay tagged me and I'm just getting to it. Here it goes:

My 3 Secret Shames

1. Hi. My name is Ashley and I am a Fabric-a-holic. Yes, there is no other way to describe my fascination with fabric other than an addiction. I love walking through the fabric at Hobby Lobby. I try to avoid Hancocks because I really think I could easily spend hours in there - rows and rows and rows of beautiful prints, all waiting for ME!! The worst part is that when I do buy fabric, I tend to stuff it in my designated fabric dresser. Yes, I have an entire dresser stuffed full of fabric that I'm afraid to use because it is too beautiful to mess up. I'm really working on that... I have projects in mind for pretty much each and every piece of fabric. Here is my current stash for which I have projects planned. (This is only a small fraction of my collection...yes, that is what I'll call it. Some people collect knick-knacks, I collect fabric.) I do actually have my sewing machine out and have earnest intentions to use it every day, it just seems the little tykes always have other plans. I'm sure my husband would love to see my sewing machine and all fabric magically disappear. Someday very soon I hope to start a store on etsy - which brings me to my next addiction.

2. I could sit and surf etsy all day. If you haven't heard of it, etsy is an on-line site where people can sell handmade goods. There is seriously ANYTHING you want on there. Anytime I find something I want I go and check etsy, and yep, it's there. Then, I look at the price and think, "Hmm...I could make that myself for a lot less." So, then I go and add to my fabric stash, um I mean "collection." But, I have managed to make a nursing cover, moby wrap and my very first self-made cloth diaper. So, go me, I did manage to use some of the fabric for it's intended purpose and saved us a little money along the way.

Yes, that ts Elle's bum, outfitted in the monkey diaper I made for her.

3. I LOVE Sonic, even with their styrofoam cups. I feel pretty hypocritical buying drinks from there with everything else we're doing trying to be eco-friendly. We cloth diaper, use cloth napkins, try to watch our energy usage and recycle like a mad man, but I can't kick my Sonic addiction. I won't buy styrofoam plates or cups, but put a Sonic drink in it, and you've got me. Sydney and I go there usually once a week for Happy Hour - you can't beat half-price drinks.

So, now I tag Jessica M., Kelly, and Crystal.


Knockers no more

Every time it rains I hear from the backseat, "Mom, turn on the knockers." The first time she said that I have to admit, I was really curious where she had heard that. Now, it took me a while to figure it out, but what Sydney really means if for me to turn on the windshield wipers. I get a laugh out of it every time. Sadly, when it was raining on the way to drop her off at school yesterday she asked me to turn on the windshield wipers.


Expanding her vocabulary...

Today we got up a few minutes later than I meant to, so we were rushing to get Sydney to school. When Sydney and I got out of the shower Elle was crying, so I gave Sydney her clothes and told her to put them on (which she is perfectly capable of doing) while I went and settled Elle down.

M: Get your clothes on.

S: But I can't.

M: Yes, you can. Hurry.

S: I'm freaking out here.

M: Just get yourself dressed.

S: But, MOM. I'm FREAKING out here.


Elle is smiling!

She has been doing this for a couple of weeks, but we finally caught it on camera. It is so heart warming to finally see those precious smiles! Of course the first ones were for her Daddy, then for Sydney. Once again, I've been demoted to food source.

To the Father's in my life...

When I sat down to write this last night it was storming and the power went out. Just before that David, Sydney, Elle and I had been outside watching the storm in the distance. I love the smell of a summer rain and was glad I had a few moments to stand in awe of the creations of my Heavenly Father whom I love dearly. Each day I'm grateful for the people he has put in my life.

First, I must say thanks to the father of my children. We're so blessed to have two beautiful, healthy babies here on earth and another that although we did not have a chance to meet in this life, I know we will get to hold some day. David is a wonderful father and is definitely the "fun parent." Any given evening after work he can be caught playing the role of Prince or Hercules or dinosaur or lion while dancing or roaring with his little princess/ Megara/ dinosaur/ lion. (I usually gets stuck being the bad guy, if I'm allowed to play at all.) He has also been submitted to countless hours of coloring, blocking building and tea partying and I'm sure many more to come in this house of girls.

Thanks for always doing what you think is right (even when you're wrong - you're slowly learning that I'm always right!) I'm glad you are the one I get to attempt to figure this crazy parenting thing out with - I can't imagine this journey with anyone else. Thanks for doing everything you can to make me happy. Whether it is buying me a dog (even though the official aparment policy was no pets), eating shells and cheese with green grapes or the 10th hamburger that week (you did a great job making a pregnant woman happy), or dancing just to make me laugh when it is the last thing I feel like doing - you always have what is best for me in mind. Thanks for all you do to make sure us girls have everything we need (and then coming home to help me clean the house afterwards!) I love you.

And because I'm already bragging about him, I'll let you all know that David was named Faculty of the Year at the University of Phoenix . I'm so proud of him!

Second, I have to say thanks to my dad, better known as "Doddy" in these parts. I'm not really sure where that came about, but it has definitely stuck. I'll always remember the monster mask you kept in the hall closet to scare us, even though we knew it was you. Then there was the "big talk" at Pizza Hut when I was in the second grade when you told me the truth (because I asked) about the guy with the white beard, big black boots, and eight tiny reindeer. One of my favorite memories is the many years sitting on the bank of the Arkansas River guessing what time it was and how long until the Riverfest fireworks began. I'm pretty sure that mixed in there with the "what time is it" game I learned most of the random things I know. I'll also never forget the time you took us to see The Little Mermaid and while waiting for the movie to start, taught us how much fun it is to tear us Starburst wrappers into tiny squares, put them in your hands and cough.

Mostly, thanks for always listening and giving advice, but not making my decisions for me. Instead you taught me how to make my own decisions which has helped me grow into the person I am today. Now that I'm a parent, I'm beginning to understand how difficult it is to sit back and let your child learn not only from their good decisions, but also the bad ones. I hope that when my babies are grown I will be able to sit back and feel confident they will make the right decisions because they were taught how from the beginning. Thanks for always letting me be who I am and not forcing me to be someone that I'm not.

Oh, and thanks for teaching Sydney to fish, since she apparently thinks Dad and Mom are no good. For those who haven't heard the story, Papa took Sydney fishing one Saturday and they caught 11 fish in two hours. The next Friday David and I took her back to the same spot and caught a grand total of zero. In the car on the way home Sydney says, "I think my Papa needs to take me fishing...Mommy and Daddy don't know how." The picture above is of Papa and Sydney right after she hugged him and said, "We're best friends."