Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Birthday for Bill

The day before my Birthday, Joe Grigg and I went to a Microsoft event in Alpharetta - about an hour away from our sleepy town of Braselton. A 4GB Zune MP3 player was raffled at the end - and I won it out of about 60 people! That was my first big win at a Microsoft event. What a nice early birthday present.

Birthday morning, Emily made a grand slam breakfast. Lucky me.

By special request, I asked Emily to make pinwheel cookies for my birthday. My Grandmother Messer would make these. I haven't had them in years. They are my favorite cookies, however.

Also for my birthday, Emily arranged for me to do a "ride along" in a race car at Road Atlanta - a NASCAR race track down the street from us. It's a 2.54 mile, 12-turn world-class road course. I was intrigued by the idea but wasn't really excited about it. That changed when I strapped into the car and put on a helmet.

The car I passengered is a restored 1966 Mustang. I think it's a pretty cool car. It's owned and built by the driver.

My driver is an experienced race car instructor as a hobby. By day, he's a Web Designer and co-owner of a consulting firm. He's certified at level 4 - which means there are a variety of things he's allowed to do on the track that levels 1-3 aren't allowed to do. If you're level 1, then you can only pass another car on straightaways. So there's a scheme of priviledges meant to keep things safe and organized on the track.

Anyhow - we were in a group of about 15 cars that were a mix of levels 3 and 4. So all were very experienced drivers. The cars were a variety of makes and models. All were fast obviously.

We were lined up to get onto the track. We were third in line to go. Ahead of us was a newer Mustang model and in first position was a $400K car called a Ford GT 40. The car and driver recently raced at this year's Petit La Mans event and qualified - which is a respectable feat. The presence of this car affected the whole dynamic of the run.

My driver told me he wanted to try to keep up with the expensive car for a lap to see if it were possible. I did not object.

The race track consists of a long straightaway, a shorter one - and the rest of the track consists of s-curves, a z-curve and other nuances. The track is situated on rolling hills. So at one point, you go screaming downhill toward a sharp turn. At several points, the track climbs a hill and one can't see the track ahead until it's too late - so to speak. A driver really has to know the layout of the track - or else. road atlanta track

So we tear off the line to try to keep on the GT 40. I couldn't believe how fast a car could go around turns without flying off the road. Motivated by the challenge - my driver was able to stay with the super-fast car for three whole laps. During that run, we passed the Mustang in front of us and tailed the GT 40 directly. Finally we started passing the slower cars and got into traffic that slowed us down. We went all-out, squealed around turns and the whole bit. It was like being in a real race.

In summary, the quest was a bit insane - but I haven't had that much fun in a long time. Thanks Emily and the Caspers!

This birthday finds me sliding into the 2nd half of my 30's. Of course I want the 2nd half of my 30's to go well. I've got a few quests lined up that I think will make things interesting. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Sally Rose!!!

On the 13th of this month (I know, I'm behind) Sally Rose turned three! She is such a vibrant and fun girl! Here are some pics of her special day, also, good info about her as of late.

Here is our sweetie "whistling". this started because of an Air song that, well, includes a lot of whistling. I think she really believes she is whistling, however she is making more of a hoo sound. It's very adorable and it happens often. She also likes to sing, when she's in the mood. Her pitch can be pretty good, and it always makes me smile.

Here she is opening a gift on the morning of her birthday with daddy. Sally and Bill have a special connection- it is so fun to see them interact. She brings out a side in him that is so sweet. They are always playing games. I get asked very often what daddy is doing or where he is throughout the day. "Is Daddy almost home?" She just can't wait! She adores him and gets very upset if a hug is missed

Here she is opening a trunk of princess dress up clothes the Utah grandparents sent. She is SO into princesses right now! It's amazing how girly she is. I don't consider myself super girly, and I haven't pushed princesses or pink or anything like that, but she is all about it. Princesses, mermaids and ballerinas make her life complete. Her favorite color is pink and she spins a lot when she gets excited. We read princess book after princess book and there are countless tales of a dancing mermaid princess named Sally. When I fix her hair, I need to ask which princess she'd like her hair to mimic. I like it when she says Bambi (who, in her head is DEFINITELY a girl). Sally is definitely all girl.

Sally has been looking forward to her third birthday since she turned two. We have lots of pretend birthday parties. A couple moths ago, we received a birthday catalog in the mail. Sally became obsessed with it and took it everywhere- including Walmart, where it got left on a shelf. She was incredibly distraught over the loss of her "birthday book" and mentions it EVERY time we go to Walmart. She is very glad that another kid "bought" it from the store and is currently enjoying it.

Here, Sally is so happy! Her emotions tend to run high, (I wonder where my little drama queen gets it from?) which makes it exciting to deal with her. She can get upset easily and sometimes shows some teenage-esque attitude, but also gets VERY excited and can be sweeter than cotton candy. When she's happy, she is very affectionate and loving. She's funny too!

Later that day, Daddy and Grammy took Sally to the park. (I had to go to Nashville) Now, I wasn't there to see first hand, but I've been to the park with he plenty of times to see how social she is at the park. The world is her friend. She'll ask anybody to play and expects that everybody will see her as the amazing girl that she is. I'm continually impressed by her confidence and willingness to meet new people. She is like that everywhere we go. She is taking a dance class (yes, it is the cutest thing ever) and LOVES it, yes for the dancing, but she loves the social interaction she gets. It is so fun to see her hatch into this social butterfly.

Yay for swinging! And can you see Alice here too? (Sally can almost pump, which is exciting!) I know in Alice's birthday post, I said a little bit about their relationship, which is fun, but I'd like to say a little more. She can be very thoughtful of her little sister, and often serves as her voice. If Alice is babbling away, Sally will do a high voice and "interpret." My favorite is when Alice "says" things like, "I think me and Sally need a cookie." More often is cute sayings like "I love dada!" Being a parent of two can be so rewarding and fun!

I LOVE this picture! It embraces the essence of Sally. She is such a smart fun loving girl. I love the things she says, like "You have a choice. You can have a time out, or read me this book". I love the way she cuddles. I love to watch her evolve and grow. I love to see her smile and laugh. I love to see her dance and sing. I love to see her imagine and explore. I love to hear her pray. I love everything that is Sally Rose. It's amazing to me that she is already three, and yet, it's hard for me to really remember life without her. Things were just...different. Things have so much more meaning now. Things are better because I have my little Sally Rosebud.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Alice!!

Yesterday, or I suppose now 2 days ago, Alice celebrated her first birthday. My mind is having a hard time comprehending that my little baby has been here for a full year. It has gone by WAY too fast. The following are some pictures taken throughout the day, plus some fun Alice info.

You can see her cake caked little face, although pink frosting doesn't show up very well. Trust me, she was covered. Especially her bare belly. Alice has always been an excellent eater. Sometimes, she'll eat more than I do at a meal. She loves everything, (except goat cheese and will come) and lots of it. She'll let you know in no unsure terms when her tray is lacking. Often, you'll catch her putting food in her mouth with one hand, then the other, then the other, with barely a breath between. Food, it seems, is serious business to this little one.

Alice held onto this balloon through the whole cake eating process- there was no way she was letting go. Alice also has a hard time letting go of her "silky". My Grandma Barnes made these fantastic silky blankets for all the grand kids and great grand kids, Alice was lucky to get the last one she made, though my awesome mother has continued the tradition. Alice LOVES it! It soothes her swiftly and helps her sleep. She loves to play peek-a-boo with it and just feel it on her skin. I love it that she loves it.

This is perhaps my favorite picture of the day. She's so happy! Alice has always been a very easy baby. She has had very few inconsolable sessions. even as a newborn. She smiled early and has been a smiley baby ever since. She sleeps the night, and is dream to put down, (just make sure she has her blanky and her binky). She is pretty laid back, (except when eating) and is just such a complete delight.

This is her ghetto cake. I'm only showing it because of it's ghetto charm. One day she might care. Today is not that day. Sally, however, talked to her Grammie (who is here now- yay!!) about the cake's beauty.

Doesn't she look sweet? Alice is the epitome of sweetness. She loves to cuddle and give big open mouth kisses. She will crawl with excitement into open arms and has the softest angel skin. She gives the biggest Halloween treat bag a run for the money when it comes to sweetness.

Sally and Alice have an interesting relationship. They are both very interested in each other and usually very nice. Alice likes to follow Sally around sometimes and play all kinds of things with her. Sally likes to give all kinds of love to her baby sister and sometimes likes to help. Other times, she likes to slam doors in poor Alice's face or restrain her from pushing buttons or getting into things by laying on her. Alice is pretty much a champ through it all. She will whimper for a moment and then all is well for this little one. They really do love each other.

Okay, maybe this is my favorite. She is just so beautiful! Alice is starting to say some things. She can say mama, dada, muh (more), uh-oh (this is ADORABLE), bubble, do a fishy mouth and a lizard mouth. It is so fun to see her progress. She also babbles quite a bit and makes the cutest sounds. I even like one of her cries that almost sounds like a siren (if you are in my ward, you're well familiar with it) It's actually very cute.

Alice is getting to be such a big girl! She can cruise along most anything and LOVES to walk with things (thank you Grandma for the cool "walker"- she loves it!) she can stand for quite a long time and has stepped with her right foot a handful of times. Sometimes, even two steps (both with the right foot, making her rotate around) She'll be really walking soon. I'm pretty impressed by the way she rarely gets hurt. She seems so aware of herself and her surrounding- she hardly ever bonks her head on anything. Bill said it nicely here, "One facet about Alice to note is her remarkable caution - which takes patience, focus and awareness - all traits that she shows daily. She hardly ever gets into accidents. I'm really impressed at her ability to do things like learning how to walk, do crawling to sit-up transitions, climb the stairs and to explore safely."

We went to the indoor play area at the mall and Alice LOVED it. She is a good size for all of the fun "toys" they have. She had a blast going through all the tubes and standing up to everything and cruising. She also went down the little slide about 2548 times. Now, she seems to be a "safe" baby, but she still likes to explore. She loves seeing new things and seeing what could be inside everything. That is evidenced in some movie cupboards we have. She loves to see what's inside the cupboard, and then what's inside each case. I'm constantly picking them up. Same goes for CD shelves, kitchen cupboards and any drawer she can find.

Alice adds so much to my life. From her pensive expressions to her huge grins. From irresistible laughter to funny whimpers. She makes me feel so... warm. Like drinking steamed milk with a caramel shot, only so much more intense. She warms me even deeper than the marrow, to the place science has yet to discover. If only they could play with Alice for a little bit they would have no doubt there is so much more to us and to life. Her birthday is the day before mine and I am glad. I always know I have the greatest birthday present a person could have. A sweet, loving, happy, playful, adventurous, beautiful, fun, overall wonderful little Alice Marie.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

It's been raining in Georgia. A lot. This afternoon we had small rivers on either side of our house. Sally and I took the opportunity to go run and play. And get soaked.
She loved it!
I got out the umbrella to take pictures and we ended up dancing all around with it. Sally thought this was a grand idea.

Thogh it was bigger than she is.

We played a game where we would send a flip flop of mine down the "river". The other would have to catch it, because the current picked up in the gutter. Luckily, I still have two shoes.

It was really moving.

You can see some of the speed here against her feet. She started with boots but opted for bare feet when she saw me without footwear- mine kept coming off with every step.

Sally's skirt was so wet and weighted down it was falling off her little bum. We had so much fun, and were out there for quite a while. It was great to play like this with my special big girl.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bombarded by Pictures

I haven't been awesome about keeping up. Much has happened- a trip SLC, and a trip to Florida- those posts will come. This, however, is all about the everyday greatness that has been the last month or so. Be prepared for the bombardment.
I think she looks pretty here- she's about to scale the mountain

She's climbing it- can you believe the altitude of that mountain? Laundry can get crazy.

Alice is pulling up to everything and cruising when highly motivated. She can stand by herself for 15 seconds or so- I think those first steps are coming very soon.

Sally can be SO happy sometimes!

We tried to go to a water park and this is what we got.

These are our friends JK and Naybi. We'll have to try again.

This is what Sally wore to her first dance class- she LOVES it! We now have more proper attire, but are back to finding a class. They are all SO expensive and have crazy hidden fees. She absolutely adores going, though.

She loves playing with my wallet. I love looking at her eyes.

Sometimes I wonder if Alice's hair will curl. You can see the little curl ups by her ears here.

Such sweet sisters.

I love these girls SO much!

Cute little Alice was so pleased to play with Sally's new rain boots.

She's on her way down from a jump off the pig.

Sally and Naybi- I think they are being butterflies.

I LOVE this picture- she is so beautiful.

Sadly, this is the most action all these cute undies get. She runs away and screams if I ask her about the potty. It will come.

Alice found a cozy spot.

She is so cute I can hardly stand it! I love that her tongue is twisted here- very true to life. She has enjoyed playing with her tongue from day one. If you ask her what a lizard says, she'll dart it out quickly. She'll also do a fish mouth.

I love this little retro top Alice is wearing. I need to find some good thrift stores around here.

They both think Daddy is a playground. He is so great with them.

Here's Sally in her full Ballet gear- I lOVE it!

She is always doing "princess twirls" and tippy toes. She is such a girly girl. I am not what I would consider terribly girly, but it is fun to indulge that side of myself with her. It's all about the pink and princesses and ballerinas with her.

There are two videos back to back. The first is Sally singing one of two Alice Marie songs that are sung A LOT in our house. The second, is Alice dancing adorably.

Well, I'll bet if you made it this far, you are Nicolich girled out. I'm not, though. i can't wait to play with them in the morning. I love being a mom to these amazing children.