Friday, April 30, 2010

Botanical Gardens

We went to the Botanical Gardens with my aunt on Leland's birthday. The weather was gorgeous and so were the gardens. The children's garden reminded me of a very upscale version of Boxerwood Gardens in Lexington. It made me miss my days hanging out there. (if you click on the Boxerwood link, the very bottom right picture has a 3 year old Leland in it. Oh how I miss that place.)

We enjoyed a picnic and strolling around seeing the signs of spring. The girls also found many places that became their stage to sing and dance.Leland kept posing for the camera. Zebra knows the right things to say to get her to act cute for the camera.

Charly was so cute peeking from behind the blanket when she woke up from a nap.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Lowe's 48 - Live!

On Thursday, we saw the Lowe's 48 up close and personal! This past weekend, NASCAR made its semi-annual visit to Richmond. In the three days before the race, many teams have showcar appearances in coordination with their sponsor. I was extremely excited, so I took a 2 1/2 lunch break from work to take the entire family to see the showcar. The retired couple who work for Hendrick Motorsports (owner of the 48, 24, 5, & 88), get to go around the country showing the car at different Lowe's stores. They loved our three girls - while I chatted up the man about the car, his wife scooped up Charly. The man loved us so much that he gave us an actual lug nut from the Lowe's 48. Leland and Lucy loved the day so much that they carried the lug nut around for a few days and insist on keeping it in their jewelry box. Of course, I agreed with their assessment of its value.

They had a race car simulation game that we all enjoyed playing. Leland took her driving very serious (Check out the bottom left picture of her yelling at Chuck).Ashley's addition - Chuck was giddy to say the least. When Chuck is excited about something he takes A LOT of pictures.

Later that night, Leland says to me, "I wish that the Lowes 48 car could come to our house.....and I wish Jimmy was inside it."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

5 years old. Really?

I know it's so cliche, but I can't believe Leland is 5! She is such a big girl. Registration for kindergarten was on her birthday. She is so excited to start school and ride a school bus. She is a wonderful big sister. Lucy wants to do everything she does and looks up to her so much. Charlotte loves playing with her and gives her the most smiles and giggles.

She still loves to sing and has such confidence. The Sunday after her birthday, our family was asked to speak in sacrament meeting at church. I asked her if she wanted to speak or sing a song for the program and her reply was, "I think I will do both." She did not seem nervous at all and was so excited to do it. Lucy sang with her and they sang Nephi's Courage. I was so proud of them. They did a fabulous job. Singing in front about 200 people with such confidence, it seemed to come so naturally. I was amazed and so proud.

For her talk, she gave an intro about our family and then bore her testimony. I had her write her own testimony for her talk and here is what she said:
I have a testimony of Jesus. He was baptized in the River Jordan. I want to be baptized like him when I am 8 years old. I want to choose the right. I know that Jesus and Heavenly Father love me. I know the prophet today is President Monson. My family loves each other. I know that if we all make right choices my family will be together forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

On her actual birthday, we had a big breakfast and we gave her a few presents (Connect Four and the movie Annie). The next day, she got to bring a birthday treat to preschool. She loved having her whole family at school and sharing her cupcake with her baby sister. That Saturday, we did our traditional family birthday dinner at Red Robin. See last year.
Her favorite song right now. She likes to sing it the top of her lungs when we are driving in the car. I love it.

We love our Leland so much and are so glad Heavenly Father sent her to our house to live.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fool for Art

The local community college and county put on a huge art and environment fair. We spent several hours making crafts, learning about taking care of the earth, checking out vendors, and dancing to music.
A photographer for the Chesterfield Observer asked if he could take some pictures of Leland painting on the large recycling bin. The next week Chuck picked up the weekly paper at the grocery store and there was his cute wife and oldest daughter on the cover and inside.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Springtime

I love Spring. It's my favorite time of year. The warmer weather, flowers blooming, birthday time for our family, I love it all. I have so many things I want to write down for journaling purposes. Our girls are at such a fun wonderful age. I love them all so much.

The night before Easter we were all in Sams Club. The Easter Bunny was there to take pictures. Next to the bunny in the hot costume, there was a large fan blowing. Poor Lucy was getting blown away when we first put them by the bunny for the picture. Chuck turned it off for our picture so that you could see Lucy behind her crazy hair. Her hair in this picture is looking especially lovely due to the fan. It's gorgeous and chaotic all at the same time. I'm in awe of her hair every day. I'm not used to such volume and curls.
We had one of Leland's friends stay with us for a few days while her parents were on a little getaway. I took the big girls on an outing to Maymont. We went all over, starting with the Japanese Gardens. The tulips were amazing, the river otters were especially playful, and the girls were so much fun. We ended our fun day with Lucy tripping in the parking lot, falling off the curve and slamming her face against the hood/bumper of a car. Blood gushed from the inside of her lip where her teeth cut her. Nice.
We recently went to a birthday party. The kids had such a blast in the bounce house and on the tire swing. In the hammock is Leland and Kase. She has a little crush on him. She talks about them getting married. Back at Christmas he asked her to marry him, and she said yes. According to Chuck, he was taking "engagement" pictures here.
Chuck was having fun with the camera settings taking pictures of the kids on the tire swing. Check out Leland's face in the bottom right picture. We ended our fun evening with Lucy walking into the line of fire of the tire swing, catapulting her little body into the air, busting her treat bag open like a pinata. Luckily the only battle wound was a scrapped up arm. I was worried about her arm, because the entire way home she was screaming holding her arm. Poor Girl.

Charlotte and her talented tongue. Chuck went a little crazy with the close ups.
video
Wonderful things only a silly daddy will teach you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Segway Fun

At work, Chuck was in charge of a public showcase called Transportation Innovation in the Richmond Region for his work. The event featured interactive displays on transportation technologies currently in use or planned for the Region, which included a hybrid plug-in electric automobile, an electric motorcycle, Segways, and a new GRTC bus. We were able to take a ride around the parking lot in a Segway. Chuck even led Leland and Lucy around on one. They are really fun to ride. The girls thought it was really cool.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

9 months old

Charly is 9 months old. Her personality is certainly growing, but her little body just can't seem to. Don't let those chubby cheeks fool you. We had a rough few days after her last check up. She dropped off the growth curve weighing in at only 14 1/2 lbs. That is what she weighed at 4 months old, then in the 75th percentile, now below the 10th.
After running blood tests, I was told over the phone that she was low in many areas that basically showed that she was malnourished and I needed to bring her in for another weight check and to review the blood test results. I was an emotional mess. Nervous for that next weigh in. If she had lost weight over the weekend, then I was told we would need to admit her to the hospital for more tests. Luckily my prayers were answered and she weighed in at 15 lbs. She hadn't gained any weight in 5 months, now in 5 days she gained 8 oz. I don't think she will stick with that rate, but at least she gained something.

My other 2 girls were with me for the 1st appointment. Lucy needed a physical for school (she starts speech therapy this week). The nurse commented on how it was nice to see my other kids, because obviously I didn't just have small kids. Lucy is in the 90th percentile for height and weight.

My original appt was with the nurse practitioner and now we were working with one of the doctors that reviewed Charly's file. She said that seeing Charly in person made her feel much less concerned for this baby. She looks healthy, but still tiny, and was smiley and playful during her follow-up appointment. We are continuing to monitor her weight and will go in again in 2 weeks. We also are planning on seeing a pediatric GI doctor next month. She is also still very constipated. She eats and nurses well and only poops every 3-4 days. I'm not sure where all that food is going?On to the other things...
  • Charly has a crazy talented tongue. It's long and she can twist and turn it into crazy positions. It's often hanging out too.
  • She'll give you a kiss if you ask. She'll lean in open mouth and slobber all over you.
  • She does not give her smiles freely to strangers. People at stores or even at church will try to get to her smile and she usually just gives them a blank stare. I feel like I need to apologize because some people try really hard to get her to smile and she just won't crack.
  • she's trying to crawl, but I'm just fine with her staying put for as long as possible. She can scoot herself in circles.
  • always interested in what her sisters are doing.
  • a momma's girl to the point of some frustration. I keep telling Chuck he's the one that has to help her get over that. She recently has starting getting really excited when Chuck comes home from work. It's cute to watch her trying to get his attention.
  • Chuck wants to try out Charlie instead of Charly. I'm not sure about it. I like the Y, it seems more feminine.
Check out pictures of my other girls at 9 months old here.

weight: 14lbs 8 oz - below 10th percentile
height: 26 inches - 10 percentile
head: 17 1/4 inches

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Spring Break pictures

When I am with my sister, I like to use her camera a lot. Here are some more pictures from her camera that we took over spring break. Sarah loved having a small real-live baby to play with. I'm not sure Charly enjoyed it as much.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Break

The girls and I headed to NC for a short spring break. We spent the afternoon at the McBride's house riding bikes and playing, then headed to my sister, Suzanne's house. My mom was there for the evening before flying to FL the next morning, so it was nice to visit with her too.

We played bubbles, checked out story time at the mall, and played at Marbles Museum. We were able to have lunch with an old friend, Brooks Ann who works down the street from the museum. I was bummed that I was only there for about 5 minutes of the lunch since I was hanging out in the parking lot most of the time because of the little accident I was in. It put a damper on an otherwise fabulous day.

I love, love children's museums and Marbles is at the top of my list. It was huge and we could have spent so much more time there if the kids weren't so exhausted. I can't wait to go back. There were a lot of areas we didn't even play in.

Cutest pirate. ever.Leland playing hockey. I was amazed at her confidence to just jump right in and go at it.Surfs up.Concentrating hard.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Never would have thought

If you would have asked me five years ago if would do any of the following things, I would have said "No Way!" But I will eat those words and now admit I feel like a hippie. I use the word hippie because that's the only word I can think of that stereotypically these things are associated with in my mind.
  1. We eat rice cakes and fruit leathers instead of potato chips and candy. Not that we are against potato chips and candy, but I just try not to have them around my house mainly because I have no self control. The other day Chuck was so sweet and bought each of the girls a small bag of M&M's from the grocery store checkout. I can't figure out why, but neither of the girls wanted to finish the whole bag and gave them back. A little crazy, but I was so proud of my little girls for not devouring all the chocolate goodness. 20 years ago when my "hippie" aunt would come to visit with her kids, she would bring her own all-natural peanut butter, rice cakes, carrot sticks, and dried fruit to our house so her kids would have snacks while visiting. I always thought it was a little crazy. But now I get it.
  2. I let my girls dress themselves. They come up with some crazy things, but usually not over the top. Before I was a mom, I totally judged those carefree mothers who I would see in the store with a 4 year old in boots, polka dot skirt, a striped shirt and unkempt hair. I used to think, "Did she even look at her daughter before they left the house?" I love my girls unique style and sense of creativity. Leland over the last few months has become more interested in what "matches", so the crazy outfits have simmered a bit.
  3. I "wear" my baby in a baby wrap. When Leland was born 5 years ago, I saw moms with them and thought they looked ridiculous. Now, I can't believe I carried 2 babies around in that uncomfortable Baby Bjorn. I love my wrap even if people think I look ridiculous.
  4. And now for the BIG clincher that thrust me into the hippie world - I now cloth diaper and absolutely LOVE it. Cloth diapering is not the same as it was when our parents did it or even just 5 years ago. After doing a trial of a few different kinds, I decided on one-size Bum Genius. They are really easy to use and they are good for 7-35lb babies. One of the accessories that are suggested by those that cloth diaper is a toilet sprayer - think kitchen sink sprayer attached to the back of your toilet. I suggest one of these for every mom. You can clean up throw up or potty training accidents by spraying off right into the toilet. It's awesome. Cloth diapering is an investment. Adding up everything I purchased to start off equals about 8 months of disposable diapers. I have at least 2 more years of diapers for Charly if she potty trains the same time Lucy did. Those 16 months I estimate will save me about $600. Theoretically, I could use these with another child, then even more savings. The money is what made me decide to do it, not the environmental aspects of it. Now I feel so self reliant, not dependent on Wal-Mart to have the diapers I want in-stock and on sale. It's been somewhat liberating to actually go shopping and not have diapers on my shopping list. They have been on my list for the last 5 years.
Next thing you know, I may be having an all-natural home birth, but don't count on it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Egg Hunt at the State Capitol

Chuck found an Easter Egg hunt that was going to be on the lawn of the State Capitol for our family to attend. A historic church across the street from the Capitol put on the hunt. There weren't a lot of kids there so it was fun for the girls.

We couldn't have picked a more gorgeous day. The flowers on the grounds were beautiful.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Girls are Cows

I am going to try to tell a series of hilarious conversations that occurred between me, my 7-year old nephew Dillon, and his dad Wayne. For any of you that know Dillon and Wayne, I'm sure you might be able to picture this happening. This may be embarrassing for me to tell, but I think it's hilarious and since I would be the only embarrassed one, here goes. I'll try to do it justice. These may not be exact words, but as close as I can remember.

When were walking around the tidal basin in DC checking out the cherry blossoms, I stopped to take a break with Charly. I sat down on a bench to nurse her. I, of course, was appropriately covered with a nursing cover.
Dillon sits done next to me and says: Whatcha doing?
Me: I'm feeding Charly.
Dillon: What are you feeding her?
Me: Milk that my body makes for her.
Dillon looking at me skeptically: Really? How?
Me: Its the way Heavenly Father made mommies so we could feed our babies.
Dillon, with a sly grin: That's not true. Your not telling me the truth.
I laughed, then he walked off and I continued to nurse Charly.

Later, Wayne (Dillon's Dad) told me about a conversation he had with Dillon. I can't remember the exact words, but the following is the basic idea.
Dillon asks him if I really have milk in me that the baby drinks.
Wayne: Yes. You know how cows make milk.
Dillon: Ashley has squirtters!!
Wayne: Well, not exactly ones as big as a cows, but kind of.
Dillon: What? Girls are cows!?!?

Then that night, I was again feeding Charly.
Dillon says: So, I don't believe you are really feeding that baby. My dad says you need to show me where the milk comes out.
I burst out laughing and can't stop. Dillon waits just staring at me, I think waiting for me to "show" him. Not gonna happen.
Nice Wayne, real nice.