Friday, November 30, 2012

This week

This week there has been a lot of

Decking the halls

Christmas shopping

Holiday baking

Christmas book reading

Napping (not by me, mind you)

But very little productivity—cleaning and other responsible adult activities have gone by the wayside.  Christmas tends to bring that out in me.  I can spend an entire 2-hour nap time making intricate plans for what to do with our five boxes of holiday trinkets and forget that I was supposed to call and reschedule Frances’s upcoming dentist appointment.

So, this weekend I have big plans to vacuum the entire house, dust, and clean all of the bathrooms.  Exciting stuff, I know.  But of course all of that will have to wait until we trim our tree.

Priorities are important during the holidays.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Raising my spirited son

I love everything about this picture—his smile, his adorably large head, his long legs undoubtedly inherited from his father.  George is nothing short of amazing and there are days when I am so grateful to have such a sweet, loving son and so very thankful I get to be a part of his development.

But then there are the other days—those days when George’s energy and spirit seem to be used directly and purposefully to test me.  Because while George’s physical traits are mirror images of Will, his emotional ups and downs are 100% me.  George has such happy, excited highs and such distraught and hysterical lows with very little in between.  When I say “black” he says “white;” when I ask him to do something, his first instinct is to say “no.”  Or, more accurately, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  And on the tougher days, like yesterday, I find myself at a complete loss of how to handle him.  Frances was a dream child at three-years-old—on the off-chance I had to correct her with a firm word or merely a stern expression, she immediately corrected her behavior and all was forgiven.  Conversely, George is unfazed by disappointing me.  The only leverage I have is taking away a favorite toy, putting him in time-out, and (I’m not proud to admit) spanking as a last resort.  In five years I have never spanked Frances.  In the last five days I have spanked George at least three times.  Boo me.

My fear with George is that this defiant behavior, if left uncorrected, will produce an exponentially more difficult adolescent and adult.  He is (nearly) 100% my responsibility; if he goes astray, I have no one to blame but myself.  But an even greater fear than that (yep, it gets worse … at least in my head) is that I am not doing this parenting-thing right at all.  Because, so far, my techniques don’t appear to be working.  Maybe George’s personality deserves more than I know how to give.  Surely there is a better way to harness his incredible passion and turn it into something positive and inspiring rather than the daily downward spiral of a power struggle.  There has to be a more constructive way to handle him other than losing my cool and putting him in time-out for the nth time that morning.  It’s stressful; it’s tiring; it’s just not fun; and I’m constantly aware of how much it takes away from Frances.  George deserves better and no doubt Frances deserves a better parenting role model and a happier little brother.

I love them enough to know that I don’t know enough.  I’m deferring to the experts on this one and will gladly accept any advice from any of you.  If nothing else, I plan to read some of the recommended books about children like George and look forward to reporting back from the other side.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

Wow, what a weekend.  Has everyone recovered from the turkey-induced coma or did you all find yourself sprawled out on your couch Saturday night dozing in and out of HGTV’s Love It or List It, too?

We spent our holiday in Lynchburg this year, which meant lots of family, lots of food and lots of Bichons. 

My parents rented a plantation house in Bedford County (about 30 minutes from their house in Lynchburg) in the hopes of getting most of my rather large family under one roof.  The four Homillers still camped out at Casa Morrison, but we were able to come and go fairly easily.  The mountain views were nothing short of incredible:

(Panoramic shots from Will's fancy new iPhone)

And it probably goes without saying that all of the kids (and many of the adults) ran themselves ragged through the gardens, in the fields, and around the house.  It was an ideal set-up for everyone.

Frances and her cousin, Kasey

Johnny, Andy and Katrina

Even with that view as a background, boys will be boys

A boy and his dog

It was hunting season, so for added safety we wore orange vests. 

I know; that’s all I need is something else to worry about.  I’m fairly sure in this picture I’m saying, “Stop!  Wait!  Was that a gunshot??”

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Marshall getting on the dinner table.

On our way back to Richmond, feeling happily stuffed and a bit drowsy, we stopped at Will’s old stomping ground, Hampden-Sydney College, to let off some steam and stretch our legs.  We were lucky enough to catch the tail end of a basketball game (H-SC won!):

And Will showed the kids his dormitory from first year (I think?  See how much I was paying attention to the tour):

And now we are back home and back to routine (three cheers for Monday school!).  The Christmas decorations are down from the attic (thank you, Will!) and my favorite music of all time is playing softly in the background.  But before we get on to the next holiday, I think I’ll reminisce about the one we just had just a little longer:

Because, yes, it was that wonderful.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a two-day early happy holiday weekend because school is nearly out, we are heading to Lynchburg for three days, and I have yet to begin packing (but I have made a list of “THINGS TO TAKE TO LYNCHBURG” so I can at least trick myself into thinking I have been productive this week.  My brain cells are running on fumes; it doesn't take much to trick them these days).  There is a good chance my fingers won’t be touching a computer until Sunday afternoon.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday from our crazy family to yours!

Thanksgiving 2007

Miss F's first Thanksgiving (all of 11 days old) where we managed to get not a single family picture.  (But can I just say how much I miss kissing that sweet little perfectly round head.  She was simply the best).

Thanksgiving 2008

Finally a shot of the three of us
That was actually lifted from a family picture.

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 was such a crazy time we didn't even get a picture of the family from the actual day--these were taken that weekend.

Which was also the same time that Marshall had knee surgery.  Looking back, I'm not quite sure how we survived 2009.

Thanksgiving 2010

Looking a little more put together.  As all mothers tell themselves repeatedly during those midnight feedings, it's amazing what a difference a year can make.

Thanksgiving 2011

Note to self: try to get a repeat picture of 2010 for this Thanksgiving.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas card outtakes

Is it wrong that I am thrilled that this is my first official Christmas post of the 2012 season?!  I may be going out on a limb here, but along with what appears to be 95% of the US population (and 100% of all retail stores), I can’t get enough of the Christmas holiday—the music (my favorite), the baking, the decorating, the kids’ activities.  I usually try to have some semblance of a Christmas card idea before the Thanksgiving weekend because it seems like once Black Friday hits you’re already halfway through the Christmas season (which I used to think was on the early side until my college friend announced on Facebook this morning that her Christmas cards were addressed, stamped and ready to be mailed.  Jen, I hope you understand that I both love you and hate you for this).

This year, Will came up with a great card concept and while I don’t want to spoil it while we’re still in the early stages I can’t resist sharing some of the outtakes from our recent Christmas card picture attempts:

Will and Frances testing out the camera's automatic function
Marshall was being an incredibly good sport for this one considering he's, well, Marshall
Holy cow, I love this kid.  And please note that George played for the rest of the morning wearing his prop glasses and hat.
This would have been a good one with the exception of the GIANT leopard head.
And ditto for the gorilla.
Exuding the Christmas spirit
That's a little better.
Admittedly that last one wasn't meant to be a Christmas card picture, but I just loved it so much I had to include it.  This morning, the kids found the hidden baby gear I had stored away for Goodwill.  I get a little misty-eyed remembering that Frances was maybe 10 months old when I bought that princess hat for her, having no idea how much of a princess-loving little girl she would become.  Not to mention such a sweet big sister trying her best and using her hand to help her little brother smile for the camera.  Sometimes he does need a little help.

And sometimes he does just fine.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bits and pieces

Frances’s dance teacher accidentally on purpose left the door open the other week during her class.

Little brother was mesmerized.  I can’t blame him though; I was, too.


My first race after my latest knee issue.

Richmond Half Marathon

Not fast, but I was thrilled to pieces to finish without so much as a knee twinge.  And the recovery since the race has been so far, so good—no swelling or pain.  But I’ve learned the hard way never to take my health for granted, so I’m thankful for every run hereafter.


We had house guests last weekend.

JD and El

As you can see, they were very popular with the kids.  And popular with us adults, too, because they might just go down in history as the “Easiest House Guests Ever.”

Will and JD have been friends since college, which may have also been the time that Will’s legs grew to the length of an average pair of snow skis.  Sheesh.


Sweet Marshall.

This is how Marshall spends 75% of his day--sound asleep nestled deep into one of the many throw pillows on our sofas.  The other 25%?  He now spends reverting back to puppy-hood by chewing up (and often eating) the children's plastic toys.  I take pictures like this to remind me how much I love him on those days I find myself locking him into the mudroom to the background music of Frances frantically crying over the loss of yet another stuffed animal's eyeball.


George and me on an average day:

Checking out the mall’s Christmas decorations

Pretending to ride the kiddie car

Getting a much overdue haircut

Enjoying as much as we can of the outdoors before it turns too cold (although I'm beginning to realize that it is never "too cold" for an active three-year-old little boy)

And, along with Marie-Grace, waiting for Frances to get home from school.

Because that’s when the fun really begins.

Happy Thursday, everyone!