Monday, February 28, 2011

Aflac State Kick-Off!

I love Aflac stuff. It's always so fun to see everyone and I especially enjoy getting to see Zach up on the stage accepting his awards. He works hard ALL year and it's fun to see him get recognized for his achievements. This year Mom and Matt are part of the crew so they all went to Columbus for the big state kick-off meeting. Mom took my camera along to capture some moments and here are the pictures from the event (I had to convert most of them to black and white b/c the poor lighting of the banquet room!):

Matt, Zach, and Mom
(Mom's wearing the Jet Faceted Necklace from Stella and Dot!)
 Mom and Cathy ~ Bffs!
 Zach and Mike (our Aflac trip friend)
Mom with Ramsey who is the funniest guy ever and an Aflac state trainer
 Mom and Lara, the regional coordinator
 Zach and his proud MIL!
 Mr. Rusty, Mom and Zach
Tripp, the state coordinator, brought a little monkey out on stage!
 rackin' up the awards
 So proud of Zach! #1 Agent in Ga-South for the third year in a row!!!
 Mr. Rusty's district
After the meeting let out, Zach and a few of the other agents went to a Toga Party at Tripp's house. It was a prize for a contest he ran and sounded like it was a pretty entertaining evening! The Toga theme is to go along with the BIG trip this year to the Mediterranean. We can't WAIT! Everyone had to wear Togas and Zach, being Zach, didn't want to spend any money on one. They were staying over night in a hotel in Columbus so I suggested just using hotel bed sheets. Free, white, and perfect for a toga :) Some of the pictures of the event have been floating around Facebook and this is the only one I've seen of Zach hahaha. I did hear that one guys toga caught on fire...glad it wasn't his or else some lucky ladies probably would have had a free show :)
I'm so thankful that Zach has a career that he LOVES, where he is surrounded by friends and family, and that he's so successful with! We're so blessed :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Button!

I tend to resist change. But the time has come for some blog sprucing so I hope you like all the changes and I hope to only continue to grow and learn in this little hobby of mine :) I'm super proud of my NEW first-ever blog button! That I totally, 100% designed myself!!! I actually wrote-in to a couple Etsy sellers to get them to do one for me but today I felt inspired and thought I could figure this thing out. It was fun and I really like the end result! I hope you do too!!!

Here's the debut of my blog button:

What do you think??? I'll be so proud and happy if you decide to put my blog button on your blog to show your love :) If you don't know what a Blog Button actually is (coughKellycough) it is a cute little thing to add to your blog page that also provides a link to whoever made the button (in this case if someone clicks on my button they get taken to my blog! cool huh?) If you use Blogger here's how you do it:
  1. Go to the "design" tab
  2. Click "add a gadget" in your side bar
  3. Click "html/javascript"
  4. Then paste the code below my blog button (which, for now, is located in the upper right corner of my blog) into the empty space and save!

Want to make your own blog button to show off to the world? I learned how to do mine from Mandipidy and it was EASY! Here's her tutorial! Can't wait to see what you all come up with and hope to see my blog button on other blogs soon :)

Lorelai's 2nd Birthday!

It's so neat to me that we've been friends with the Mullican family long enough to have gone to two birthday parties! At Lorelai's party last year I tried to help out by taking a bunch of pictures and I did the same this year (you can see more of them on Robyn's blog entry). Aren't these invites adorable? The owl theme is mega hot right now for sure!
The plan originally was for Kye and I to spend the night with Robyn the night before the party as the guys were off at an Aflac event (post to come!). Then Kye got the flu and plans changed. I went ahead and went to the party on Sat solo while Kye napped and Zach would decide after his nap if he was well enough to come (after being on meds for 3 days and not having fever he probably wasn't contagious anyway!). I got there a little early to help finish up any last minute details but everything was already done! It all looked super cute:




Once the party got going we all got a nice surprise when my sweet Kye showed up (with his Daddy of course). He had napped great and seemed well enough to handle it! He was still rather lethargic and not his regular peppy, friendly self but at least he was there right?
 Here's fun moments from Lorelai's big day:

grubbing out with Robyn's mom
 Robyn's sister, Laura, and her son Ben
 Love Lorelai chowin' down!
 enjoying her birthday cupcake

 Kye loved the Minnie and Mickey toys!
 present time

 two excellent daddies :)
 proud parents!
btw I totally helped Robyn get Stella and Dotted up for the big bash! She's wearing: soiree studs earrings, chelsea necklace in hematite, clover key necklace, and bardot spiral bangle in silver
 we had to take turns holding the baby...I think he gave Robyn baby fever!
 Me...not-so-much! He was adorable but didn't make me want one!
 Zach made a new bff in a cute little boy, Grady...
 so there was a LOT of rough housing going on
 and Kye may have been jealous
 yay for good friends! 
I'm also wearing Stella and Dot (duh) and have on the la coco silver chain with the la coco silver pearl strand
 they gave out a cute little picture of Lorelai with her favors...isn't she adorable?
Thanks again Matt and Robyn for hosting such a fun event! I hope Lorelai had a great second birthday!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Captain Underpants

While putting away laundry Kye asked me to put on all of his cars underpants. Then, when we finished those, he continued to want on more and more until he ended up like this:
 all 14 pairs of underwear on at one time :)
doesn't he look like my own personal little mermaid?
 he earned even more "cool points" by modeling it for me
 can you say "hello dawwwwwling?"
have I ever mentioned that having a toddler is super fun? :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Drama at the Playground

Growing up we lived in a nice subdivision, much like the one Zach and I live in now. We had a neighborhood playground, social gatherings, and block parties. My family was very involved in those activities. My mom stayed home (until I was 9) and she was very involved. All of her friends were our neighbors and their children were my friends. I loved growing up that way. I loved having those friendships. Playing outside together. Watching our moms huddled together in gossip. It's what I know and it's what I wanted someday when I became a parent.

Here we are. I'm living my dream! I have a wonderful husband and son and am able to be that stay-at-home mom I always wanted to be. We live in a beautiful home in a very nice subdivision. But where are the friends? Where are the social gatherings? Where are the huddle mom-talk times I invisioned?

Oh...there they are. Those moms over there are huddled up talking. I'm just standing watching my kid play while SEVEN other moms sit and talk and not ONE even says hello to me.

I had a rather intense headache last night and thought that some fresh air would help this morning. I also seriously need to get back to our daily walks!!! I finally get the motivation to walk (which anyone who has ever quit any time of exercise routine knows that it takes SO much effort to push yourself back into that habit) and Kye and I ventured the the playground. It's the routine we had at the old house and it's one I need to continue now that we're getting settled in at the new one. We played by ourselves for awhile and it was wonderful. At least until they showed up.

This may sound totally conceited and snobby but I just do NOT get why these women don't include me. I pass them ALL the time when walking. I see them ALL the time at the playground. Occasionally I'll get a wave hello in passing but nothing more. The first time I met them all at the playground I acted like "typical Emily" and said hey and chatted 'em up. Asked about their kids. Where they live in the neighborhood etc. I'm used to being well liked by pretty much anyone who meets me. I think I have a decent personality and I have a cute kid who plays well with other children. These women were not very receptive. They were actually rather stand-offish and rude.

So today when they came trotting up I made a mental note to be patient. To not approach them. To not be "typical outgoing Emily." To see if even one of the SEVEN women would approach me. One made eye contact for like less than 30 seconds and that's the best I got. Really??? Last I checked we lived in the SOUTH and I thought we were all sweet and friendly???

I didn't want to force Kye to leave just because I was miserable so I waited it out and still left at the same time I planned on leaving. I was holding back tears. It straight up sucks! I want to be involved. I want to have friends. My whole life I've been liked and have never felt this friendship rejection feeling before. It's not fun. What's even more heartbreaking for me is that Kye suffers. The "crew" brought their kids with them and there was only one girl in the bunch. All the boys were right around Kye's age and he wanted to play with them so badly (not shocking they weren't too friendly either...). I want Kye to have the neighborhood experience that I had growing up. All the kids to play with and the fun times together. I know he's only two but is our outcast status going to stick???

As I was leaving (tears ready to flow) I ran into a friendly face! Kori stopped and talked to me and I couldn't help myself. I immediately asked her if she's friends with these people. I told her how mean they have been and how much it hurts me (I probably totally scared her away as a potential friend haha). She was super sweet (all the while she was most likely thinking I'm a nut case) and did make me feel a little better. She mentioned that sometimes you have to work to get in with people. As I was walking back home I kept thinking about that. Do I want to work to be in with that crew? Do I really want to continually put myself out there to continue to be rejected? I (obviously) don't handle rejection well. I said it in my blog party entry, I like you if you like me. It's that simple. If you don't like me then why the heck would I like you??? And especially why would I try to get you to like me???

I called Zach and, thankfully, he answered and I cried the whole way home. It all sounds stupid. Childish. I know. I get that. But I'm a girl who thrives with other girl friendships. I love girl time. I love meeting new people. I love hanging out with people. And I especially loved my childhood and the way I grew up. What's wrong with being disappointed that I don't have that now? That I took all the right steps to have that same life but yet I can't because I'm not in the "crew"? No one likes to feel stupid, lame, and unwanted and that's how I feel right now. I'm embarrassed.

Honestly, right now I never want to show my face at that playground again. I want to hide out at the house and just stick to my friends and avoid them. However, I am me. I will get over this feeling and will most likely attempt to win them over. Make them see the coolness that they are missing out on by rejecting me haha. Dress cute each morning and head to the playground with my head held high. Bring some awesome toy that their kids can't resist. Go right up and talk to them! Make them like me! Or...I may just not try with them and instead try to make new friends another way. Get involved in the community. Join some kind of group or something. Either way I simply refuse to go on feeling like a reject. Either I'll somehow get them to like me (which would obviously not include having them read this blog now...) or I'll find some other "crew" to join. A better, nicer one at that!

I know half of you are reading this and rolling your eyes. Silly Emily and her small life problems. I told you I'm embarrassed! But this is me and in this blog I promised myself to always be me. So here you go. I hate being rejected and I hate feeling unwanted and un-liked. Anyone want to comment and make me feel better for being so lame? ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

23 Months Old!

For the pictures this month I used images I took but didn't get a chance to use anywhere else (mostly they are ones I took for my photography class but didn't submit for critique!) Using What to Expect the Toddler Years as a guide here's where Kye is at compared to the "norm" with development.

Kye can do everything a 23 month old "should be able to do" especially since it's only one thing and that is:
  • kick a small ball forward
*note: if you use my monthly blog entry as a guide for your own child please mention it to your pediatrician if your child is not able to kick a ball yet or doesn't use symbolic play and words.
Kye is also able to do everything a 23 month old "will probably be able to do" including:
  • combine words
  • identify 6 body parts by naming
  • use 50+ single words
Kye can do what a 23 month old "may possibly be able to do" and that's:
  • put on one article of clothing
He can do one of the things a 23 month old "may even be able to do" and that is that he can identify four items in a picture by naming.  He cannot, however, quite do the other thing that a child his age may even be able to do and that's use prepositions when speaking.
The first thing this chapter discusses is the use of one hand over the other. We were actually just talking to Zach's parents about this last night so I thought it'd be interesting to look into. The hand a child will favor is genetically determined so trying to force them into using one hand over the other won't help and could hurt them. Handedness is not apparent until at least age three.  During these years it's common for children to appear ambidextrous, freely switching back and forth between hands until they decide which is best for them. You can sometimes see indications of future handedness even in young toddlers. Some clues (the hand a child uses to throw a ball) are better predictors of handedness than others (hand he uses to hold a spoon).
A lot of this chapter focused on issues with disobedience issues, which we don't deal with. I did enjoy reading the sections on vocabulary though. Kye will say things grammatically wrong at times and also still mix-up his pronoun usage (calling himself "Kye" rather than "me" or "I" for example). I never gave any thought to it but it's good to read that it's normal and that I shouldn't be correcting him. Right now any language use is a great thing and should be encouraged. By correcting him on his "mistakes" I'd risk making him afraid to say new things. We'll worry with correct grammar when he gets to school ;)

 (this picture is when we went to church to prepare the Lord's Supper...Kye enjoyed practicing being a server one day!)
One section of the chapter talked about children this age who know their ABC's, 123's, and even do some reading. Kye will count but it's not correct counting. He understands when there is more than one of and object that we count it but he doesn't understand what the numbers he is saying means. He does not know his ABC's in really any form and doesn't read at all. I did the Your Baby Can Read program and I can see how people would assume if my kids not reading it didn't "work," but I honestly didn't have the mindset that he would learn to read from it. I know, as a parent, that I'd need breaks and I'd be tempted to plop him down in front of the tv. Why not go ahead and invest in a learning program so when I need those breaks at least he's watching something semi-educational, right? I will use it again with baby #2 someday and will probably use the cards and such a little more often, but I know that Kye is developing on track and that's fine with us :)

The book says that many children at this age may be counting, identifying letters, even beginning to recognize words but that this rampant precocity in today's toddlers is not a sure sign of giftedness. More often, it's a sign that these tots have been watching a lot more tv. Some of the kids are actually picking up prereading and number skills while others are just mimicking what they see on their tv shows (which is a big critique I've heard of the Your Baby Can Read program actually!). Of course tv isn't the only way children learn these skills - intellectual nurturing in the home and innate ability are factors too. Although there's probably nothing wrong with this kind of head start, there's nothing necessary about it either. While children who have had some letter and number experience before school may enjoy a temporary edge, studies show that they don't retain it, as other students quickly catch up.
Tips to build self-esteem in your toddler:
  • lay on the love (humans can't feel good about themselves unless they know they are loved)
  • lay on the attention (talk to your child and really listen when he talks - I ask Kye at dinner each night what his favorite thing was about the day and we enjoy hearing him tell us about it, even if we can't understand him!)
  • provide plenty of space (let them figure things out for themselves and don't hoover over them)
  • hold your toddler in high esteem (make them feel like valued members of the family - one whose thoughts, feelings, and desires are given equal consideration and are never belittled)
  • hold yourself in high esteem (be a model of self-respect to your child)
  • be fair - don't compare (don't compare to others in a negative way, or a positive way either)
  • watch your language (don't use derogatory names or labels like "stop being a baby"; don't stir up guilt; and don't say "always" or "never")
  • balance expectations (find the right balance of what to expect from your child, don't push them to do too much too soon or don't expect too little of them either)
  • make limits and expectations clear and consistent (knowing what's expected makes a child feel confident and secure)
  • validate your toddlers feelings (teach your toddler to express their emotions in socially acceptable ways, rather than criticizing or trying to stifle them)
  • let your toddler make decisions (give choices when feasible)
  • criticize contructively
  • criticize the behavior, not the child
  • keep criticism under control (don't constantly be looking for things to criticize)
  • give your child the gift of empathy 
  • nourish the body as well as the ego
  • make success a cinch (provide situations where your child has to work hard to succeed but where success is reachable)
  • put your toddler to work (by assigning chores around the house you help them feel useful and give them confidence in their abilities)
  • learn to take it slow (don't rush your toddler to get the task done or take it over and do it yourself as it'll lower their self esteem)
I think there were some GREAT tips on helping Kye have a great self-esteem. I think Zach and I do a good job with most of them but what parent isn't guilty of hurrying a child along? I want to develop a chore chart and have him start doing chores each day. I thought we could have a "chore time" each day and complete one of my cleaning chores together. Kye LOVES to help and this would help him build self esteem and help me get some cleaning done ;)

One more month until the months don't matter!!!
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