Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Someone Special

Almost two weeks ago my grandfather was put in the hospital with pretty severe pneumonia. After a day or two in a regular room he was moved to ICU as his condition was just worsening. The worst part about it all is when his spirits get down he just seems to lose hope that he will ever get out of the hospital. When I went to visit him a few days ago, I was not prepared for what I saw. This giant of a man (in my eyes) was so frail and in so much pain. He had this huge respirator mask on his face that made it almost impossible for him to talk which only caused him more frustration. The mask kept him from wearing his glasses and his hearing aids, so the frustration just mounted. When I went up to visit he said he was not eating any more because he was just going to die right there in that bed. This was so hard for me to see and hear. What was so amazing was to watch my grandmother who is not in great health herself sit there and just rub his head and his arm trying to keep his frustration level down. She just kept saying positive things and smiling at him. She is my hero. I will have to write a blog about her later. Pepa is by no means a perfect man, but in the last two years I have made an effort to make my grandmother and him a bigger part of my life. Since I now have kids of my own, I have wanted to make sure that they got to know their great grandparents. I have tried to go see them at least once a week and try to take them dinner from time to time. I'm not trying to brag on myself, I just want to do whatever I can to help them out and bring them a little joy. Ava has become quite attached to her Mema and Pepa and they are so enamored with her! Even when they are feeling really sick they love to see her. They have always said that she is the best therapy. Every time we go over Taylor cleans their fish pond in the back yard and Ava just performs and puts on a show for them. She also has some books over there that she gets out and Pepa reads them to her every time. These times are so precious to me and I know that I will never forget them. I am praying for you Pepa! Get well soon so we can come over for a visit!

Ava and Pepa on Halloween.
Taylor and Pepa on Halloween.
This is my favorite picture! Ava and Pepa were taking a water break one day this summer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tomorrow and things to come...

Tomorrow I am going on a weekend shopping trip with my mom, sisters and Molly Kate. Alan is keeping my two big girls here at home. I can't wait! I have wanted to just get out of town for so long now, and going with my favorite peeps just makes it that much better. We have done this a few times, just a girls trip, but my most memorable one was a few years ago. The four of us (this was before kids) headed off to Dallas to find my wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses. I realize there are stores in Lubbock with these sorts of things, but any excuse to hit the road and Dallas malls, we take it! I found my dress pretty easily. We went to David's Bridal and I saw it in the magazine thing and just new it was the one I wanted. The lady kept bringing me other things to try on and I kept asking for the dress in the magazine. That's what I wanted! The bridesmaid dresses were not so easy to find. I just had my two sisters in my wedding party, so I was looking for something a little different than the usual bridesmaid dress. I happen to be an expert bridesmaid. I have been one myself seven times. I know that is a ridiculous amount. I am not that good of a friend, but apparently I either look really good standing up there next to the bride or people just really like me. Either way, I have quite an extensive collection of dresses. And let me just say that when a bride tells you she picked a dress that you can wear again it's not true. Where are you going to wear a hot pink, rinestone encrusted dress (Kelsey)? Adult prom???

Ok, back to the shopping. We looked a lot of places and after a while it just got very comical. One dress that I kind of liked, my sisters could not stop laughing in. Paige had to remind me that Pepa would be at the wedding and the amount of cleavage the dress was creating was not acceptable in the presence of my grandpa or anyone else for that matter. I just liked the color of the dress and didn't notice because they were laughing so hard and I couldn't figure out why. I know this weekend trip is going to be fabulous and full of more wonderful memory making moments!

And let me conclude by saying that I have loved being a part of every wedding I've ever been in. The girls all mean so much to me. And the dresses that each one picked were perfectly fitting for them and their weddings and I was so honored to be there for all of them.

Ok, the next blog I post, I'm going to try and make it a picture blog. Here are the pictures I am working on finding, just to give you something to look forward to.
1. The new haircut (see previous blog for more info.)
2. Some pics of me in these bridesmaid dresses.
3. The "Squirrel" collection (hopefully this will include me in my squirrel overalls, Ava and Molly Kate in their squirrel outfit)
4. Pics from our shopping trip!
5. Anything else I might run across that might bring you a bit of holiday joy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Queen of Denial?

It's amazing what covering up some gray hairs will do for you! Yesterday, I got my hair cut and colored and I don't feel like an old lady anymore. It was getting really bad and had to be done. It's a little darker than I thought it would be, but I know it will fade out a little bit after some washes. The cut is the interesting part. I didn't want it any shorter, so we just did a little trim, but I took the plunge and went for bangs! Not just sweep it to the side, long bangs, but full on bangs! I haven't had bangs since the third grade. This was back in the day of the forward and backward curl followed by lots of teasing to achieve maximum bang height. The reason I gave up on bangs at the ripe old age of eight was because of my cow-lick. (I don't know if this is how you spell it, but I spell it like this because my dad told me I got my "cow lick" after a cow licked my head when I was a baby. I don't know what else to believe or how else to spell it, so just go with it!) The cute, poofy, super-teased bangs were cute on most girls, but not so much on me. Because of the before mentioned cow lick, my poofy bangs were always off to the side. Ok, back to the new cut. The bangs are working and not going off to the side. Thank God for straight irons! After the cut, I got mostly positive reactions. This always makes a girl feel good. I did however, get three comments that it looked like a wig. Now, normally I would just stick with the positive comments and ignore the wig ones, but all three wig comments were from family members, so my thought is this. Does it really look like a bad wig and my family are the only ones being honest with me? Are all of these people who are giving me positive feedback lying to me? Are these people really my friends???
Here are the wig comments:
Dad: "Ooo, cool. Cleopatra wig. Didn't you ever see Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor? Cleopatra wig!"
Taylor: "You got your hair cut. It looks like a wig. At least the gray hairs are gone."
Alan: (shocked look on his face followed by an attempt at a graceful recovery) "It's different. I like it. It almost looks like a wig." (more attempts at recovering from shocked face and previous comments) "I mean a nice, expensive wig. Not a cheap one."
What is that? Sheer honesty is what I think it is. So all of you so called friends out there who said you liked my hair, I don't know if I can believe you. My sister did tell me that she did not think it looked like a wig, but she could be lying to me. She knows I'm in a hormonal postpartum state still, and maybe she is trying to salvage my feelings. Regardless of the comments (good or wig-related) I like the hair. I think that's all that matters, and if not, the bangs will grow and we can all go back to normal some day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Loving to cook

I have had cooking/baking fever lately. The only problem is that it is almost impossible to cook anything in a house with two little kids at home all day! Ava wants to help, but there is not much a two year old can do and it's still too hard to gauge Molly Kate's nap times which is when I try to get all the cooking out of my system. I realize I should be using this time to clean or do some laundry or napping myself, but I just gotta get in that kitchen and cook! Yesterday I made Cake Balls. I got the recipe from my friend Marla's blog. She got it from another blog. Anyways, they were such a huge mess to make that I nearly gave up and just pitched it all in the trash, but I perservered! So now today I am finding reasons of why I need to go eat another cake ball! It was definitely worth the 24 hours of red-stained hands from rolling the little balls. Luckily, I sent most of them with Taylor to school. She had to bring treats for her class today. And tomorrow is my grandpa's birthday, so I'm taking some to him this afternoon! Which brings me to my next cooking endeavor. My Pepa's favorite snack is Jalapeno Poppers. Not the frozen ones you buy at Sam's in a jumbo box of 4 dozen, but real, homemade ones. He will fire up his grill at 3:00 in the afternoon just to cook 2 or 3 jalapeno poppers. So, I made some for him today. Again, this is not a great thing for Ava to help with, and of course she wanted to. It's hard to explain that the seeds I'm scraping out are very hot and she can't touch them. And then I have to explain to her why she can't eat raw bacon. We are just wrapping the peppers in it to cook.
Two nights ago, I cooked Chicken Fried Steak for the first time in my life! Alan thought I called his mom and asked her how to make it. He didn't believe that I just knew how to do it! Actually, I owe it all to my dear friend, Twila. Twila used to stay with us when we were little when my parents went out of town. My mom was quite the health nut when we were little so I had never had Chicken Fried Steak, or at least never seen it made in my house. So when Twila came, she introduced us to the world of high-calorie, high-fat foods! So, Tuesday night, I did it! Homemade gravy and all! It was really good too, surprisingly!
I have many more items on my cooking wish list this week, so I'll let you know how it all turns out. If you have any fabulous recipes I need to know about, let me know! I love to try making new things.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Tag

I have decided to start my own little game of "blog tag" with a Christmas theme!
1. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night
2. What is your favorite Christmas album? Harry Connick Jr. "When My Heart Finds Christmas". The new one is good too, I just haven't gotten as into yet.
3. What is your favorite Christmas gift you have ever received? Cabbage Patch Kid when I was six
4. What is your favorite gift that you are giving this year? I am giving Alan The Office DVD board game. I really wanted for myself, but I figured I could give it to him and I could also enjoy it that way!
5. Favorite place/location to look at Christmas lights? Our old neighbor's tree on 80th Street!
6. Favorite Christmas treat/candy? homemade caramel corn
7. What is your funniest Christmas memory? Probably the first Christmas I was married. I had told Alan that I wanted to start a Christmas tradition for our family and all get new Christmas pajamas to open on Christmas Eve. He said he would buy some for me. So, on Christmas Eve night we got home from our family party and went to open our Christmas pj's. Alan realized that he forgot to get me some pj's. I was very upset. At this time in my life I was a bit more of a control freak and not as in control of my emotions as I am now! I then realized that there were no presents under the tree with my name on them. Taylor had presents. Alan had presents. No presents for Leslie :( I was obviously very upset. So Alan decided to run out to get me something. Since it was Christmas Eve and about 11:30 pm he found himself at Walgreen's. It was the only place open. So that year I got a watch and a bottle of perfume. I don't wear perfume and the watch accidentally got thrown away with the pile of trash from all the presents because I left it in the sack it was wrapped in and Alan gathered everything up and threw it all away before I realized it. I did get some pj's that year though. Alan went and found these two old red t-shirts he had from when he umpired Little League baseball. He somehow cut them and tied them together to make a long gown thing. Looking back on it all now it is pretty funny and he hasn't forgotten to get me a Christmas present since then! On a side note, that same year, Taylor got a rabbit that she accidentally killed in less than 48 hours. Long story, sad Christmas.

Ok, now I tag....everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Yesterday, Molly Kate her first official photo shoot with Aunt Paige. Paige is the unofficial photographer of the family for many reasons. 1- She has the best camera. 2-She actually remembers to bring her camera and use it at family events. 3- She really is a great photographer. 4- My pictures usually end up with someone's head cut out of the picture or all blurry because about the time I'm about to click the pic Ava either runs out of the picture, runs through the room doing something crazy, etc. So all that to say, here are some pictures of Molly Kate!

Now that you've seen my little angel, here's a little update about life with three girls! It is quite an adjustment! Not only are Alan and I now outnumbered, I can not figure out how to get anywhere on time! No matter how early we get started, it seems that something comes up and keeps us from getting out the door when we need to be. I guess it's all a part of the learning curve, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Taylor is such an amazing big sister! She helps me so much with the little ones. Ava is doing a really good job of adjusting to no longer being the center of everyone's world! She really loves her baby sister. Molly Kate is so easy!! I could not have gotten an easier baby! She rarely cries. She just kind of grunt/squeals when she's hungry. That's it! So easy! My girls are so wonderful!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's finally Christmas time here!

We finally put the tree up at my house! After weeks of thinking about it and days of saying we were going to do it, it is actually up!!! And miraculously Ava has not ripped off every ornament within her reach! I guess my lessons in manners are paying off because today she asked if she could break one of the ornaments. I of course said no and she replied with a really sweet, "Please, Mom?" I really love my tree and I'll tell you why. It's not a really pretty tree. My mother always has the most beautifully decorated, amazing tree. My sisters have both inherited this decorating sense for their trees, but mine is not so much. It's a fake tree with lights, and little bit of ribbon and then the ornaments. This is what I love so much about our tree. I put up all the ornaments, even the semi-ugly ones the kids have made because they either have their pictures on them or just because they made them! Then we have our snowmen. Beginning the Christmas right after Alan and I got engaged, I bought a cute ornament with two snowpeople in love. The next year, our first Christmas as a family, I bought a little snow family ornament. I have continued the tradition and it made me so happy to see all my little snow families! This year I get to buy a snow family of 5!!

Today was Ava's Christmas program at "school." I have a little video I thought I would share. She did such a good job! While most of the kids in her class were crying, she was doing the motions and semi-singing. My little girl is growing up!