Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pigtails in the Park

We got inspired on Friday to try a new hairdo.  I think it was the sunny 75 degree day.  We were all in better moods, and it just seemed like the thing to do.  Cami was all about having her hair done,  which you know I loved.  She stood still for me as I tried three times to get these pigtails just right.
Ta da!  This is the best I could do, but I thought she looked precious.  And she loved them, too.  After her brother and sister got home from school, we gathered some old snacks and headed to the park. 

A girl on a mission.  Those ducks were all the way across the pond, but she was not going to let that deter her ability to feed them.

She stood at the edge of the pond and threw snacks into the water hollering, "ducky!" until they eventually made their way over to us.

This pleased her, no doubt.  Her favorite, though, was this little duck.  She yelled at him the whole half hour we were there. "Baby duck, come HERE!"

Still on that mission.  This time it was convince the baby duck to get out of the water.

A few of the more brave ducks did just that...until big sister spooked them back into the water!

It was such an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.  I need to hang out more with this guy:)

Eventually all the seagulls and ducks came to our party at the park.

My favorite little peeps and I were thrilled.  A perfect afternoon.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Goofy Girl!

A few days ago we picked up Maddie after school.  She rode in the back seat with J and Lila, so no one was sitting next to Cameron.  It was just a 5 minute ride to our house.  And sweet little Cami was talking to me the whole time.  I had NO idea what she was really up to.  Seems as though she had found some of Madison's hot pink lip gloss!
Imagine my surprise when I opened her door!  Oh my!  "Too much, mom?"  She was literally bathing herself in this awful lipgloss.  It covered her face, hands and was even in her hair!
Yesterday we had a little more tame time in the car, waiting for Lila to finish her dance class.  We did all sorts of things, but when we got bored, we decided to take silly pictures:)

Love this girl.

She's either going to keep me young or give me many more gray hairs!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In the Margin--it's where life happens!

Our latest series at church was on creating more margin in your life.  Our preacher really encouraged people to slow down, focus on our family and friends, because relationships can only grow and flourish when we tend to them.  It's simply not possible to give the people we love the most enough attention if we are always plugged in, and racing to a million activities.  As you might imagine, this really spoke to me.  I try every day to be a good mommy and a good wife.  I try to take care of myself by exercising and eating decently.  But some days I feel like I'm just making it through the day, not really taking the time to enjoy my life.  And you know what?  That's just not good enough.  I can do better.  These past few weeks I've tried to do just that. 
One day very soon, my sweet and sassy five year old will be done dressing up and asking me to do her makeup.  And her little sister will no longer think it's greatness to be wrapped up like a taco. 

I pray that these two are the best of friends, but their time snuggling in my bed and watching Sunday Morning cartoons is fleeting, I know.  I will cherish it while they still love to do it.

I have really dropped the ball on visiting my grandparents.  So many people my age have already lost their grandpas and grandmas.  I still have two who are living and in relatively good health.  I have taken the kids to see Papaw two days this week.  It's good for him, them and me!  By the second day, Cami wore her "Dr. Betty coat" and gave him a full check-up.  He thought it was fun and she thought it was hysterical when he jumped and hollered after every shot she gave him.

There was probably a time when I would have taken away the cookie from Jackson or Lila because it was (gasp!) before lunchtime.  You want a thin mint?  Who am I to deny you this small pleasure in life?  They are amazing little cookies!

This girl has been on top of the world the past few weeks.  She's lost three teeth all in a row, and gotten $5 from the tooth fairy each time.  Instead of being irritated when she woke me up at 4am as she was laying next to me, I was so happy for her.  I heard, "it popped out!" so I got out of bed, hugged her, and helped wash out her mouth.  We put the tooth in a safe place, snuggled up together and went back to sleep.

And finally, I love, love, love being more intentional about spending time with Cameron.  Yesterday we read books to her babies, rode stick horses around the house and did puzzles.  For the past few months, we have given Kindermusik a shot--it wasn't so much her cup of tea and it wasn't mine either.  We decided to check out a new thing this week--open gym!  It's so great, too.  Only $5 for two hours and you can do anything, from walk on the low beams...

to swing on the bars...

which is perfect for this little monkey girl.

She also jumped on the trampoline and then did this obstacle course many times.  We practiced front rolls, handstands and jumping off anything and everything.  It was perfect!  Next week we are definitely jumping into the pit.  I can't wait.

Jackson's Haiku

Baseball Boy
By: Jackson and Crystal Hays
Jackson Warren Hays
was born in February
two thousand seven
He was tall and smart
and loved the Texas Rangers
from the very start
Time he was four
he had his own ball and glove
like those he adored
Now five years later
he can throw his own pitches--
even a fader!
Never have I seen Jackson remotely interested in writing poetry. But when his teacher offered a "Get out of homework for all next week" pass for all students who entered the contest, he was all about it!We wrote this Haiku together and it was actually kind of fun.  Now I'm interested to see how we do in the poetry competition!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Friendly Weekend

6 Games, 1 practice and Date Night.  Whoever said that January was a slow month, was sorely mistaken!  On Friday night we were at PSA for Maddie's Blue Thunder game at 6:15.  They were challenged the whole time and ended up with a 1-1 tie.  We had to leave a little early to get to a quick dinner with friends, though, so that we could make it back in time for Jackson's 8pm basketball game.  The coach switched up their lineup and didn't play the #1 point guard or Jackson in the first quarter.  Not sure that was the best plan, because we were down 12-0!  Not to worry, though, these boys fought their way back in it and by the 4th quarter it was 16-14. 
Ben and Jackson were two of the key defenders and pretty much shut down the other team's offense.  Being tall is such an advantage, but they have hustle, too.  It came down to the last possession and we were up 18-17.  The other team got the ball and had one last shot with 2 seconds left.  He took it and Jackson fouled him, giving him 2 shots that could win the game.  The kid missed both of them, though, so the Mavs went home with the win.  Whew!

Saturday morning we were back at PSA for a three-game series.  Lila was up first.  She played so hard and her team won 4-2!  This girl has really stepped up her game this season--she listens when Coach Dad gives her constructive criticism and tries to correct her mistakes without getting her feelings hurt.  We can't wait to see her blossom in outdoor soccer this spring.

Right after Lila's game was over, Jackson's basketball game began.  It wasn't near as much of a nail-biter as the night before, and the Mavs coasted to a 25-10 victory.  These three stayed to cheer on Maddie and the Cheetah Girls, while I took Cami home for a nap.  They had the biggest win of the day.  Jared said it was at least 15-1, and Madison scored 3 goals!

After all that running around, it was SO GREAT to have a date night with some of our best friends.  We met five other couples for dinner in Rockwall and just had such a fantastic evening with them.  It's been too long! 

This morning, Jared took Jackson to his last game of the weekend.  Soccer at 9:30am in West Plano.  On a Sunday!  The girls and I opted out of this one, and are just going to meet the boys at church at 11:00.  Then Jackson's got his first official baseball practice with The Fury later this afternoon, and that will complete our weekend obligations.  A slow month?  I don't even know what that is anymore! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cameron's 2 Year Check-up

Two!  At two years of age, you get to stand on the big kid scale! 
Say what?  I weigh 29.2 lbs?!
Miss Cami is in the 75th percentile for weight.  The girl is SUCH a good eater!  I'm so thankful that she loves most foods and will try just about anything...especially if her daddy is eating it.

She's 34 1/4 inches tall, putting her in the 50-75th percentile.  Her height has slowed down a little bit, but I'm sure she will shoot back up pretty soon again.
Did someone mention getting a shot?  Oh no!  Yes, my baby girl had to get her Hepatitis A shot.  Although it's no fun watching your baby cry in pain, I am thankful that we have vaccines to protect her from getting all of these awful diseases.  PSA--get your kids vaccinated!  It infuriates me that a kid from Madison's school who wasn't vaccinated traveled out of the country over Christmas break, contracted measles, and then came back to school to spread it to everyone.  Unreal!  Measles.  A disease that had been effectively eradicated in the USA for many years, but is now making a comeback because some parents think that vaccines are unsafe.  I will stop there, and not write a full essay on this topic, but I feel so strongly about it.

Back to my precious girl!
As was expected, she got a glowing report from her doctor.  Dr. Betty told me that she speaks as well as a 4 year old!  She can very clearly pronounce almost every sound.  She also was able to complete 9 out of 10 tasks that are expected of a 3 year old.  Smart girl!

Three year old tasks:

1.  Speaks in 3-4 word sentences?  Yes, often longer ones, though.
2.  Able to understand 75% of her speech?  Yes, more like 90%.
3.  Understands the difference between boys and girls? Yes, got it.
4.  Knows her name when asked?  Most def.
5.  Knows her age when asked?  Yes, she says "two" and holds up her pointer fingers.
6.  Begins imaginary play?  Yes--she takes care of her babies, feeding them and picking them up when they are crying.  One of the cutest things I've seen in a while was when she sang "Jesus Loves Me" to her baby doll the other day.  She also plays with her horses, making them hug and kiss each other.
7.  Copies a circle?  Not yet, but she does hold the pencil correctly!
8.  Jumps up and down?  Yes!  As of a few months ago she can lift her body off the floor when she jumps.
9.  Washes hands?  Oh yes!  This kid can often be found in a bathroom, up on the step stool, just washing away.  More times than not, we have to go change her clothes afterwards because they are soaked.  Yay for personal hygiene, though!
10.  Knows two colors?  Oh my, she's got this one by a mile.  She knows black, white, red, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange and brown.
No wonder the kid is so smart--she even does her own homework already!  The big kids were doing their homework after school this week and Cami ran up all excited, hollering, " Do my homework!"  She had colored an old checkbook all sorts of pretty colors.  Good Job!
While our little lady doesn't yet go to school, she has enjoyed her Kindermusik class on Wednesdays.  She's pretty shy when we get there and sits in my lap for a while, but about halfway through she comes alive...
and can be found running, twirling and dancing about!
She has liked having her own "dance class" and I'm sure will be a model student whenever she starts MDO in the fall.

While she gets excited about going to dance class, it doesn't begin to compare to how happy she is about going to "my friend Nash house."  These two just LOVE each other! We went to his house yesterday afternoon and played for two hours.  That still wasn't enough, though, and she cried the whole way home.  She is smitten with this boy and has already been making plans with his mama to go to the beach this summer.  No joke!  She asked Miss Tara "when go to beach?"  Tara said, "let's go this summer."  Cami said, "OK!"  Tara said, "how are we going to get there?"  Cami answered, "in your car."  She's got a plan!

We are so proud of you, Miss Cameron Nicole, and can't wait to see all of the new things you will learn this year!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cheer Girls

Since the kids were out of school on Monday for MLK day, we decided to take a little road trip to Fort Worth.  Their cousins were competing in the ACA Nationals at the Ft. Worth Convention Center and we thought it would be fun to go cheer them on.
Shelly's friends saved our party of 6 some really great seats right up front.  First, we watched Bella's team--she's the youngest and just turned 9, but she flipped with the rest of the girls and did good!  Go Snipers!

Half an hour later it was time to watch Hannah--she was hamming it up the whole time, and totally owned her front and center spot.  She's the flyer in the front in this pic--Go Seabees!

Both teams did well, but since Bella's team didn't have any competition, they automatically won.  Letter jackets and all!  I'm not sure about that, but I do love this little chick.  She's soooo sweet with her cousins and they just adore her.

Hannah's team did have lots of competition and they came in 3rd place.  She was happy about that, and thrilled to see Jackson, Lila, Maddie and especially Cami!  Hannah is the little mommy of their trio and will soon run the Baby Sitters Club of Houston.  If they lived closer, I'd hire her in a few years!  She's only 10 right now:)

Lila left that day and said, "I want to do that!"  She was definitely inspired to work on her gymnastics.  I'm all for tumbling classes, but I just can't go there with the cheerleading--for quite a while at least.

After lunch, we walked back to see Emily compete with her squad.  They were good!  Really good.  Emily is also front and center for jumps and has a few featured tumbling runs of her own, too.  I was impressed, and so were all of her little cousins.  Her team got 1st place, too!  We are looking forward to watching them at NCA Nationals in Dallas next month. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chef Jackson

Our oldest has been pretty darn successful at life so far. He has exceeded our expectations at school, averaging a 98 in all of his subjects this year.  He recently came home with another first place ribbon for the Competitive Math League, too, which means he and three other kids in his grade got the top score on their latest math test.  That means that he beat out 116 other kids--wow! He was so proud of his ribbon, and so were we.  He's had a great run at sports, too.  J's baseball team got bumped up to AAA and is currently ranked #9 in the state.  Wow!  He has improved as a pitcher and third baseman, and has really emerged as a leader on the team.  He led his football team to consecutive championships and is gearing up for another winning season next month.  His basketball team only has one loss, which they suffered during overtime last weekend, but they are already looking forward to beating the Dragons in the 3rd grade tournament.  And his soccer team has held their own against Academy teams that practice multiple times a week--not bad for a team that has no practices! 
While all of these are notable accomplishments, I also want him to learn other things.  He now makes his bed before school (most days) and has recently started helping in the kitchen. 
A few days ago, I taught him how to make cinnamon toast and scrambled eggs.  Being able to cook is a fabulous life-long skill

I'm positive that his future wife will thank me one day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cami's Birthday Party--Family Style

It has taken me three children, and one with a birthday right after Christmas, to learn that they just don't need a lot for their birthdays. Especially so young.  Cameron does pretty well with a few people, but large groups just overwhelm her.  She's also the third girl, and there is almost nothing that she doesn't have.  Baby dolls--check.  Strollers--check.  Barbies--check.  Shoes--double check.  The girl has got it all!  Now that I've given her a small family party, I still have my sanity, too.  A win/win!
Saturdays are always busy for us, and this one was no different.  Lila played at noon.  We ran home to eat a quick lunch and Cami fell asleep.  As she rested, we ate and then the boys ran back up to PSA for Jackson's basketball game.  It was delayed, which meant Cami got to sleep a little longer.  Lila and I woke her up at 2:00 and hustled to make the start of big brother's game.  Madison was playing soccer at 2:30, too, but we missed all of her game.  We got home around 3:30 and all I had to do was pick up the house a little.  So nice!
A little before 5, the doorbell rang.  Aunt Lyndsie and Uncle Scott had arrived with the cake!

We loved it!  So, so adorable, with a chocolate layer on bottom and strawberry on top.

The big boys got to visit while the kids played.
We opened some wine and everyone just got to relax.

Then Jared started cooking the spaghetti.  I gotta say, having a chef was such a bonus!

Our birthday girl had not forgotten about her cake.  She kept climbing up into the barstool so that she could get a better look, and told me many times, "mine cake."  I was pretty surprised that she never poked a hole in it or grabbed the 2!

This sweet girl was so very tired, and just wanted to snuggle with Gigi.  She perked up when I set a big plate of spaghetti in front of her, though, and ate every single noodle.  The kid loves some Italian food!
Soon after, it was cake time!

Happy birthday to Cameron!!!

Happy birthday to you!  She blew out her candles...

and smiled for the camera. Such a big girl!

After cake, it was time for our last activity of the night--presents!  Maddie and Lila were on hand to help out the guest of honor.

She got some fun gifts, including this Care Bears night light and walking/talking puppy dog from Gigi.

She also got two purses from Memaw and did a little modeling for us, unprompted! 
She's a natural:)

We just gotta work on sitting like a little lady!

Boom, Gigi and Madison all loved celebrating with their favorite 2 year old.

The same for Memaw and Poppi...

Aunt Maria and Uncle Scott.   The other two stayed longer and I didn't get a pic of them with just the birthday girl, but she loves her Aunt Lyndsie and Uncle Scott.  They called to wish her a happy birthday the night before and she talked to them for over 5 minutes.  Then she told me all about it at least 3 times before finally going to bed that night.  Her daddy and I love that so many people think she's as special as we do.  She got a birthday present in the mail from Cali--thanks Leslie!  Birthday wishes on the phone, birthday cards in the mail, and friends that came to play at the park, too. 
It all made her 2nd birthday really great.  I think this might just be her best year yet!

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