Friday, December 08, 2006


As most of you know, Lydia is seldom without her special stuffed dog, Pup. She really loves that animal and sometimes I'm a bit jealous as he gets loved on more than Ben and I do! This week I caught her "pretending" (or at least I think she was pretending) with Pup. She was eating some goldfish and decided to share. She carefully placed a fish on Pup's stitched mouth and waited a couple of seconds before she started saying, "Mmmm, mmmm." Then she snatched the cracker back and popped it in her own mouth with a giggle. I have also seen her attempt to share a drink with Pup. And if you read Liz's blog I left a comment there about how she reacted to seeing Kate's little stuffed dog. It was pretty funny.
Lydia hasn't quite grasped the phrase, "I love you." We tell her that a lot but her response is always, "night night" matter what time of day or night it might be.
Another cute thing she does is related to Auntie Liz and baby Kate. When we ask her, "Where is baby Kate?" or "Where is Auntie Liz's baby?" she will usually toddle over and pat Liz's belly. Occasionally we even convince her to give baby Kate some loves...and she gives Liz's belly a hug.
It seems that she learns something new everyday. It has been so much fun to watch her grow and learn.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


I thought I'd post some pictures of things we've been up to in the last couple of weeks.

Becky and Elias both had birthdays this month and we celebrated at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Our server brought out these hats along with a complimentary dessert when he found out the occasion. They were then serenaded by about 7 waiters.

Lydia loved her cheese tortilla.


My gramma with her three youngest grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. By next summer there will be three more great-grandchildren!

Guess who's going to be a big sister next summer?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


It seems hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away! I'm looking forward to seeing some aunts, uncles and cousins that I don't get to see very often. We'll gather this year at my parents' house...which is still not quite in order from the move! It should be interesting. I think Mom FINALLY decided on the furniture and has probably just placed her order this week. (We're hoping it might arrive just in time for Christmas!!)In the meantime we grumbled a bit about how there is nothing comfortable to lounge on upstairs...and reminded them that sofas and chairs would be a must if they were going to host the Thanksgiving meal. So last Sunday when Mom had her sons and son-in-law captive after a delicious meal, she pleaded with them to bring up the extremely heavy and unwieldy leather sectional sofa that was waiting to be set up downstairs. Since it was too big to fit up the stairs, they loaded it onto the trailer on the 4-wheeler and Dad drove it up to the front of the house to bring in through the double doors. I wish my camera had been nearby. "You know you're a redneck when...."
Though I don't often get pictures of anything else, you know I have plenty of this little girl -

What better way to show your true love than with a bite on the nose?

Filling her purse with the chess pieces

Lydia Lou Who?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Another Wedding

This past Saturday I played another wedding. This one was quite different from the last. For starters, it was indoors at a church. The bride originally hired us as a duo - violin and cello, but when we got into her musical preferences, I knew we were going to have to get creative. She wanted all of her ceremony music to be from the movie "Love Actually." Now, I never saw that movie but I was pretty sure she wasn't going to achieve her desired effect with a violin and cello!(It is kind of amazing to me how many people hear strings in music and think that one or two instruments can somehow sound like the full orchestra version...) We had several discussions about how to choose appropriate music that was still meaningful to her and also unique. Thankfully our cellist is also a pianist, so we were able to play a prelude of cello/violin duos and then Kelly moved to the piano to facilitate the movie scores! We covered "Love Actually," "The Sound of Music," "Quest for Camelot" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Quite a range there, and although it wouldn't be my style for a wedding ceremony, I think it turned out quite nicely.
We only had a couple of minor incidents this weekend.
1. Even though we talked very specifically with the Aunt who was directing, she still sent the mothers down on the wrong fact I really don't know how she got so confused. She was supposed to give us a wave and then wait for us to get to the piano. We were still playing prelude music (violin/cello) which we had to wrap up mid-song and scramble to the piano so at least 1 of the 4 mothers could walk in to the song the bride had chosen.
2. During the sand ceremony/communion we played a song that also included the groom's step-sister on the flute. She was really pretty accomplished but she was extremely nervous and thus she played it very differently than she had in our practice sessions beforehand. Unfortunately for me, my A string went flat and I didn't realize it until the song had begun. Imagine putting your finger down to play a note and having the note not be the one you were expecting. It was challenging, to say the least, for me to try to play in tune. It was such an odd feeling only to be partially "in control" of the music I was producing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lydia the Leopard

We did not go trick r treating, nor did we go to any festivals on Tuesday. But in keeping with last year's tradition, I found this costume Tuesday morning for just a few dollars and decided to have fun dressing Lydia up. We did stock up on some candy and open the door for the kids in the neighborhood. I had to teach late so I missed most of it, but according to Ben, Lydia had a blast! She loved hearing the doorbell ring and would beat Daddy to the door most times. She figured out how to grab the candy and put it in the kids' treat bags. Then she would say, "bye bye" when they left.



loves for auntie liz and baby kate

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Windy Wedding

This afternoon I played an outdoor wedding with a string quartet at the Windermere Club House. It was held on the lawn overlooking a small lake where a few weeping willows were drooping by the lake's edge. Quite beautiful. Unfortunately, although it was a gorgeous day, it was extremely windy! I've played some very interesting weddings at some equally interesting locations, but as far as struggling to get through, this one took the cake. Talk about battling the elements!
I like to be organized and try to prepare for all possibilities. That is why I take things like sunglasses, hair clips, clothes pins (to hold the pages open) and a heavy duty music stand. However, I don't think there was anything else I could have brought that would have helped today. It was so windy that our music stands were being blown over by the wind! Really. This was a first for me. I thought just keeping the pages open to a certain piece of music was going to be the challenge. I never imagined that the wind would actually blow the stands holding the heavy 3 inch binders to the ground. Once, while in the middle of a song, the wind blew my bow off of my strings. It was ridiculous!
So there the four of us were, sunglasses on, spitting out strands of our hair, our feet pressed on to the legs of the music stands (trying in vain to hold them to the ground), while trying to make beautiful music with numb fingers.I don't think all four of us were actually playing all at the same time for about half of the music! As soon as we started a piece, one person's stand would blow over. As soon as she got it back up, someone else's pages blew to a different song...etc etc. There were a few moments during the ceremony music where two musician's had to quit playing to hold down the music of two others - this way at least the music (be it a duo instead of a quartet) could go on!!!
And of course we weren't the only ones struggling. Two of the nearby6 foot tall iron candelabras with glass votives blew over and smashed to bits. The flower arrangements fell off the pillars, the tablecloth upon which the unity candle was placed(yes folks, they still tried to light a unity candle) was blowing up and around the glass covered candle, and of course the rose petals that were scattered along the aisle blew away about 5 seconds after they were dropped.
So. That is a peek into my afternoon. I think it will be one of those wedding ceremonies I don't soon forget!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Another Update

With our dear, long-distance relatives in mind, here are a few Lydia updates...

This is one of Lydia's favorite spots to "hang-out" in the house. Her toy chest is right next to the stairs and she loves to sit on the bottom step and swing her legs. I think most of you know she is obsessed with phones...the more realistic, the better. I gave her my old cell phone several months ago, but it was quickly discarded when she realized that the rest of us had flip phones, while she was stuck in the dark ages with a regular one. She has about four different toy phones too, but nothing beats the real thing. And she knows where to find them too! If a purse is open and within reach, she digs through it looking for treasure and if a man has one clipped on his belt, she makes it clear what she wants!

Despite the huge mess that is always created, Lydia is allowed to play in the tupperware cabinet. Just yesterday she decided it would be the most fun to take everything out and sit inside. After she had cleared the cabinet she scooted all the way inside and closed the doors saying, "Bye." Notice her partner in crime, Pup, who is never far from her side. (If anything I think she is getting more attached to that dog. When I get her out of the crib in the morning, she hands him to me first before she will let me pick her up.)

New words she can say:

No (she has mastered this one!)
Soo (shoe)
ME-muh (Gramma)
pane (plane)
gway (grapes)
Hi-ee (she is particulary fond of this one and she says "hi" to strangers any time we are out)

Everyone tells me she is at the fun stage, and I admit it is fun! Everything is exciting to her and it is so much fun to see her learning and experiencing new things.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Ben to Lydia during bathtime:
"Lydia, what is the square root of 1? Can you say, '1'?"

"Lydia, can you say 'buns'?"

Lydia to Pup as she placed him in a laundry basket:
"Nye Nye" (night night)

Lydia to herself as she was playing in the kitchen:
"no, no NO Leedl-a" (That is the best phonetic spelling I can render of the way she says her name right now.)
Over the past several days I have heard her telling herself "no Leedl-a." Sometimes she is about to do something she knows is a "no-no" and sometimes she just says it while she is playing!

Just the other day she discoverd that this cabinet is the perfect size for her to sit in. She has had a great time opening it, sitting down, trying to close herself in, getting out, shutting the door etc. etc.

Dance With Me

Chances are if you know about youtube, you have seen this guy's dance moves. For those of you who have not seen it, enjoy!! It is quite entertaining!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Here are some pictures and brief update of thing around here during the last couple of weeks. I am too tired to write much of anything....
The weekend of our church ladies' retreat, Liz received a call from her youngest sister telling us that she was engaged! I think they are planning the wedding for this Spring...When they came to Buford to get the ring sized, Liz make a very yummy meal (complete with a fresh flower arrangement) to celebrate.

Becky and Elias

Monday morning, one of my old housemates from college called me out of the blue (eight of us lived in an old house in Athens affectionately known as "the white house"). She is a middle school teacher but had jury duty that day and decided to spend her lunch break catching up with me. Unfortunately she had trouble getting to the house so our chat time was all too short.

Robin and me
(I tried my best to hold the camera and tilt my head in such a way to avoid that lovely triple chin that you get when you do the extend-o-arm shots...alas)

Monday night, Liz volunteered to come cook dinner at our house. Who would refuse that kind of offer? Since Monday is my late day at work, I don't get home until almost 9pm. Ben was happy not to worry with his meal and I was thrilled not to have to stop for fast food. (I never thought I would tire of Chick-fil-A...but I am dangerously close!) Earlier that day, the boys picked up our new mattress set and also did some shopping for camping and fishing gear. I couldn't resist getting a few shots...

Liz and I gave Josh a hard time about these sexy, right?

Lydia enjoyed "helping" set up the tent.

Lydia likes to climb in and out of the stools and push them around the kitchen.

Inside the tent...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Recommended Reading

Before Lydia was born, one of my student's mothers gave me a book on mothering. I didn't get a chance to read it before she came and it was many months later before I picked it up to give it a closer look. That book is A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming. I highly recommend it to anyone who is or would like to be a mother. Sometimes I feel like these types of books written by Christian women portray this impossibly perfect picture of the saintly woman and mother who has the perfect smoothly managed Christian home. She never has to raise her voice, she rarely gets discouraged, she homeschool her children, she probably has her own garden, bakes bread daily and sews all of the family clothes. (Ok, maybe I'm getting carried away!) I don't mean that this isn't something to be esteemed or to strive for, but sometimes I think, "Come on! Where does real life with all of the struggles and challenges fit in in this example?"
A Mother's Heart is truly encouraging, practical and insightful. When I finished it I felt in some ways as if I should just go back to the beginning and read it again!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lately Lydia has become increasingly aware of things that I do. All kinds of things - folding clothes, brushing hair, loading the dishwasher etc. Just various task she is observing that make up daily life. She of course wants to do the same things.
When I water our potted plants, she watches what I do carefully and when I set the watering can down she grabs it up and repeats the chore.

Another thing with which she is enamored lately is utensils - particularly forks. I've discovered that the novelty of using a fork will ensure that she even eats the foods she doesn't really like - for instance, green veggies!! I'll usually let her begin to eat without the fork and then when I give it to her she gets so excited. She really tries hard to stab the food, but struggles to get most things to stay on those pesky tines. I'll help her spear the food and then she wants to do it all herself as she guides the fork to her mouth. She is still working on that hand/eye coordination and usually puts the fork in at the wrong angle - causing the food to fall off. When she gets frustrated with the stabbing motion, she'll pick up a piece of food and lay it on the fork before putting in her mouth. Of course those pieces only make it into her mouth about 50% of the time too!

She can finally move the truck using her feet.

A night of sleep with two pups is double the love and joy.
It is just so cute and also funny how much she loves Pup. She "discovers" him among her toys throughout the day and promptly races over to give him his love bite on the nose. She frequently carries him around in her mouth. She also loves to suck on his ears and tail when she is tired. Her attachment to this stuffed animal kind of reminds me of the book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Have you read it?
I distinctly remember when I first discovered this book. I was not really young, but I loved it immediately. I was with my cousin Erin and Aunt Ginger in their old blue van (which I thought was soo cool because it had a digital display). We were returning a book that they had given as a gift but found out that the child already had a copy. I flipped it open on the way to the store, commenting that I had never read The Velveteen Rabbit. Neither of them could believe it and Aunt Ginger said that I must have a copy - so she gave that one to me. Over the years that copy disappeared. This is a book I definitely plan to add to our childrens' collection of books.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Best Banana Bread

Ok. Best is hard to qualify...but the recipe is really easy.

3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 T. milk or buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
2 cups self-rising flour

Here is the "best" part about it. Put everything but the flour into the blender until mixed well. Stir in the flour and bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 for 50 minutes.
I often use only half the amount of sugar. When the bananas are ripe, I don't miss it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


While I do love to buy shoes, I had hoped that Lydia's foot would not outgrow shoes so quickly. She has needed three different sizes over the summer. She has been going barefoot to church lately since outgrowing her white sandals - or wearing her sporty pair of Tevas. (Very stylish with those pretty church dresses!) I had a hard time justifying those baby Tevas in July, but she needed something waterproof before we went on vacation to the lake! Unfortunately (size wise) they barely lasted a month. (Before resorting to the Tevas, Liz and I looked everywhere for something cheap and water friendly to get her through the hot months - but to no avail.) We are at a size 5 (wide) right now and that leaves a little room to grow. I'm hoping we can use the couple of pairs I bought at least through Christmas!
The poor girl seems to have a rather chubby foot. When I had it measured recently she was right in between regular and wide widths. So some regular (i.e. cheaper) styles fit, but in others she needs wide. Here is a pair I found at Marshalls in a wide! I paid less than half the price that the kid's shoe store wanted for a pair of tennis shoes.
Today we went to a park with Amy and Emma and Auntie Liz. We moms wanted some exercise and boy did we get it pushing those strollers up and down the hills on the walking path. Lydia had a blast exploring and finding such treasures as rocks, pinestraw, pinecones and tree bark.

The swing was lots of fun!
I went in the grocery store to pick up a couple of things on the way home. Lydia was wearing the blue shirt and khaki shorts. Inside a kind woman waved at Lydia (who was waving) and said "He is quite a cute boy." I hesitated only a moment before answering, "thank you".