The Thomas Family Blog

"And wherever we are, Home is there, too."
~ Jack Johnson

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cubbies Date Night

Coan invited Caroline to "Cubbies" at his church, Henry Baptist, a couple of weeks ago and, of course, she went. Cubbies is a program held each Wednesday evening throughout the school year during which the kids learn songs, Bible verses, and play together. Caroline had so much fun the first week that she has continued to go each week with Kayce, Coan, Clark, and Danielle. Well, this week was the end-of-the-year finale and Caroline was invited to participate. She did very well - especially considering she had two short weeks to learn what the other kids have been working on all year! (Yes, that is a gratuitous boast!) She stood front and center with her little blue Cubbies vest and went to town on the songs, motions, and verses! She did her Auntie Bean Bean proud! Caroline was awarded a certificate of participation and a really generous goodie bucket!
After the program, the church had a mini-carnival for the kids. It was really cute and the kids loved it. Thank you, Johnson family for being like family to us and for loving our girls so much. You are a blessing!!

Never shall I forget the days I spent with you. Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours. ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

A Trip To Truvy's

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Angela Hoover, is also my hairdresser... she's also one of my funniest friends. We affectionately call her salon "Truvy's" after the hair salon from Steel Magnolias. Going to Angela's is always a hilarious event - I am talking laugh-til-your-cheeks-hurt hilarious. Another of my best friends, Amanda, also usually comes along and we all relax, catch up, get pretty, and have lunch. We've all been friends since high school and have seen each other through thick and thin. Between us, we have five children. Angela has two girls, Molly and Emily, and Amanda has a little boy named Brady. Caroline and Molly are buddies, and Angela's Emily and Brady were born three weeks apart, so there's never a dull moment when we are all together.

I have been cutting Caroline's hair her entire life... well, there was that one trip to Great Clips - but I'm not going there right now... anyway... she is terrified of having someone else come near her with a pair of scissors (although it really is me that she should be afraid of with a pair of scissors and hair). I have been trying to reason with her for the longest time in order to convince her to let Angela give her a real, professional haircut. She will not even hear of it! The funny thing is that she adores Angela, loves going with me to watch me get my hair cut, and always talks about how she's going to have hers cut, as well, "next time."

I took Caroline along with me this week for my regular haircut and lunch date - and she let Angela cut her hair! She was very resolute about it (kind of like when Shelby got her hair chopped off in the movie!). I was so proud of her! She stood perfectly still while Angela worked and the haircut turned out great! Yay Caroline! You are now a member of the Truvy Club!

Hair is vitally personal to children. They weep vigorously when it is cut for the first time; no matter how it grows, bushy, straight or curly, they feel they are being shorn of a part of their personality.
~Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography, 1964

Impromptu Portrait Session

Sooo... today I made an impromptu appointment at our local Target Portrait Studio for the girls and I to "capture some memories." I usually prefer to take our pictures myself, but I am not very good at the whole self-timer thing (huge distraction!) and so I very rarely end up in the pictures. Since Caroline just turned four and Emily is right at three months, I decided to try it and see how they turn out. I am a picture snob and think most department store studios are a little on the cheesy side, but I was pleasantly surprised with what we ended up getting... especially for the price.
Caroline is a huge ham and did absolutely great posing and smiling for the photographer. Emily did pretty well considering it was naptime and she was a little freaked out by the entire process. Here are a few of the shots we were able to get. Enjoy!

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
~Eudora Welty

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Emily Kate - Three Month Check-In

My, how time flies... Emily Kate is now officially three months old. I can hardly believe that three months ago I held her for the first time, stared into her blue eyes for the first time, stroked her petal soft cheek for the first time... she is such a special girl and I still marvel each and every day at how lucky a mama I really am to have these two blessings in my life.

I am trying to remember to take a picture each month of Em next to her favorite stuffed bunny in order to document her growth. I forgot to do it at one month (chalk it up to newborn lack of sleep), but I did remember at two and three! Here's her three month picture:How beautiful is she? She's still holding the title of "easy" baby in our household - although her big sister did not make it very hard for any subsequent sibling to accomplish that! Every day Em does something new and wonderful and I have enjoyed every moment of my maternity leave with her. The upcoming week is my last one home with her before I have to return to work. I am going to relish it!

Our daughters are the most precious of our treasures,
the dearest possessions of our homes and the objects of our most watchful love.

~ Margaret E. Sangster

Happy Birthday, Foopy Girl!

Yesterday was Caroline's fourth birthday party. We had originally planned to celebrate at Noah's Ark, but the weather did not cooperate! It rained, and rained, and rained, and rained. And then, when it stopped raining, it rained some more. It's become somewhat of a tradition to have Caroline's party at Noah's Ark every year, so I was disappointed for her - but, in reality, I was probably more disappointed for myself at having to figure out how to entertain a bunch of preschool-aged children inside my house all afternoon at the very last minute! As it turned out, my fears were unwarranted, and the party was absolutely wonderful! So many people pitched in to help me at the last minute and Caroline has the sweetest friends who braved the rain and bad weather to make sure her day was special.

The kids had a sidewalk chalk art contest, story time (I am a children's librarian, after all!), a dance-off, and played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey and Simon Says. We had lunch, ate cake and ice cream, and then watched Caroline open all of her presents. Barbies were the order of the day and she is now the proud owner of five! All of the little pieces that go with Barbie scare me for Emily, so I am sure at some point I will have to figure out an alternate arrangement for Barbie's shoe, handbag, and jewelry collection, but for now, Caroline is having a blast.

At any rate, the day was wonderful! Caroline asked me this morning, "Mommy, is it still my birthday today?"

I can't help but be a little bit nostalgic at this time of year, so I've posted pictures of Caroline at each of her four birthday parties so far. She's growing into such a beautiful young lady.

I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
~Nancie J. Carmody

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Future Entomologist

During my senior year at UGA, I had to face the detestable fact that I still had one more science course left in order to fulfill all of my degree requirements. I was not a great science student and wished the requirement would magically transform into an extra English course. I even contemplated submitting a request to the Dean of Franklin College in an attempt to convince him that a course in the Naturalist Writers could expose me to a love of and appreciation for the great outdoors and the biological underpinnings of ecosystems, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration as much as a Biology course. After all, has there ever been a greater outdoor laboratory than Walden Pond?

To make a long story short, I asked around and the overwhelming opinion on campus was to take Dr. Karl Espelie's Intro to Entomology course... the study of insects. I heard that all the football players took the course... and, no offense to the football players, but we all know what that's supposed to mean. So, I registered for the course and prepared to be bored for the rest of the semester.

I was so wrong! Dr. Espelie is a genius and, in all honesty, REALLY loves bugs!!! I learned so much about the environment, the earth, even our economy, and - of course - more than I ever desired to know about bugs...ahem... excuse me, INSECTS! The class really was amazing and interesting and completely fun.

So, ever since then, I have had a deep appreciation for bugs (with the exception of the cockroach - Order Blattodea) and think twice before I squoosh one. Caroline loves them, too, and today we decided to go hunt caterpillars. You know the big hairy ones from when we were all kids...

We got our Mason jar all ready, grabbed her magnifying glass, and set out. We found three. They are going to sleep in Caroline's room tonight. I just hope I don't wake up and find an empty Mason Jar. Ick.

Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as
valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.
~Bradley Millar

Monday, April 12, 2010


As each day passes, I am more and more amazed at how much Emily looks just like her big sister. There are moments, flashes, really, when I look at Em and see Caroline - it's uncanny! Em does have some adorable chubby cheeks that Caroline never fully developed, but, other than that, they could pass for twins. Several "veteran mom" friends of mine have chided me to write names on the backs of all baby pictures because when they are grown I won't be able to distinguish which child is which. At first I thought that was crazy, but now I am starting to understand their advice! Here are some pictures of the girls, see if you think they favor each other as much as I do.

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double.
~Toni Morrison

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sojourn in Savannah

As most of you know, I am a Savannah girl. Just dump me off smack dab in the middle of downtown, deposit my fanny anywhere on Tybee, set me adrift on Lazaretto Creek, or give me a cold drink, a book, and leave me be on a blanket in Forsyth Park. McDonough is merely temporary exile. One day I will return to Savannah - permanently - even if it's in a pine box! Caroline takes great pride in being able to say she is "from" Savannah (she was born there) and she enjoys our visits as much as I do these days. She squeals with excitement at her first glimpse of Spanish Moss, oohs and aahs at the old buildings, and inhales deeply when we cross the Bull River Bridge and smell the salty marsh air. (Okay, so she may be simply mimicking me - but I hope it sticks and she loves the Old City as much as I do!)

We took a much needed trip to Savannah last week. We stayed at the Carey Hilliard's Sauce Plant courtesy of our wonderful friends, the Stanfords. The "Tree House," as it is affectionately called, is an apartment that the Hilliard family carved out of the building that used to house the BBQ sauce plant and also served the restaurant's dock directly across the street on the Wilmington River. We had the best time hanging out at all of our old haunts. Emily soaked up the sun during her first visit to the beach, Mama ate waaaaayyyyy too many raw oysters after being denied them over the past year, Daddy shopped for boats, and Caroline even had the pleasure of driving one of the horse-drawn carriages all by herself (she charmed an off-duty tour guide into giving her a two-block ride!). Savannah - thank you for the memories! This was one trip we'll never forget!

There isn't any question but that, being in Savannah, being a loafer here, seeing red rivers and red lands, starts something down inside me singing again.
~ Sherwood Anderson

Emily Katherine, Emmy Kay, MK, Em, Emily Kate, Emmy Kate, Tweet Tweet

Are there words to describe the way that a mother feels about her children? I'm not sure that there are, and I am no exception. I wake up everyday amazed by the grace that allowed me to be the mother to these two beautiful children. Emily Katherine made her debut on January 22nd, 2o1o weighing a whopping 9 lbs., 5 oz.! She sure didn't seem that large - and, due to a respiratory complication, spent her first three days in the NICU. Despite her dramatic entrance, she's become our "calm" baby - NOTHING like her big sister!!

Tweet Tweet - looks like Foopy Girl's baby sister's nickname is going to be Tweet Tweet - we get points for originality with our nicknames (if not cool points!). Tweet Tweet evolved from Sweet Sweet. Go figure. We're weird!

It's hard to believe she is almost three months old. She's growing so much and learning new things every day. Emily fills our days with smiles, giggles, coos, and lots of sweet sugar. She is purejoy and we don't remember what life was like before God sent her to live with us.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
~Elizabeth Stone

Sweet Caroline

Although if you are a reader of this blog, you most definitely know Caroline, I thought a more formal introduction to our sweet girl would be fun and informative. So, here we go.

Five Things You Simply Must Know About Caroline

1. Her nickname is "Foopy Girl."
What? What kind of parents give their child a nickname like that? Well, to make a very long story short, Caroline was our "little fruit loop" when she was born. I don't even remember how that got started, but it evolved into "Foopy Girl," - and it stuck. Most of the time it's abbreviated to "Foop." She's cool with it. But, then again, she's just plain old cool anyway. She rocks!

2. She LOVES to dress up.
From a very young age, Caroline has shown a penchant for dressing up, and, I must say, she has true fashion sense and flair. Her outfits are never boring and she is very precise about what "goes" and what doesn't. In spite of the enormous amount of laundry that her little habit generates, it really is a joy to behold and she's reduced her Daddy and I to tears (of laughter) on countless occasions when she's strolled into the living room in one of her ensembles.

3. She is the best big sister in the world.
Caroline wanted a baby sister more than anything in the world. When we told her she was going to become a big sister, she immediately began telling everyone that mommy had a baby girl in her tummy and her name is Emily. Travis and I weren't sure how we were going to break it to her if the baby turned out to be a boy and/or if we decided not to name him/her Emily. Well, as chance would have it, the baby did turn out to be a girl and her name is, of course, Emily! Caroline is a natural and loves her sister so much. She is patient and nurturing and gentle and intuitive with her as only a sister could be. Caroline sings a song to her: Emily, Emily, Emily Kate - Your sister thinks you're really great - You're smart and you're funny and you're pretty, too - Little Emmy Kate, I Love You! Em is one lucky girl!!

4. She is in a long term relationship.
Caroline has a boyfriend. A legitimate, for-real, steady boyfriend. Her Dad's even cool with it - although it did take him a while to accept the fact that he might not always be the one and only man in her life! Caroline began going to "school" at Miss Kayce's when she was nine months old after I went back to work. Miss Kayce has a little boy named Coan who is four months older than Caroline. From day one, these two hit it off and have been like "peas and carrots." For Coan's birthday this year, he asked his mom if he could take Caroline on a date - so he called me and asked me if he could take her to Chick-Fil-A and then the bowling alley. They have other friends - but to each of them, the other one is number one. It's one of the sweetest things I've ever seen - the innocence and simplicity of enjoying someone else's company just for the sake of the company.

5. She is incredibly precocious.
...and I'm not saying that just because she's my daughter. I've spent a lot of time with a lot of children as a teacher. Caroline is in her own universe. She does things her own way and, a lot of the time, trumps my own old, addled 32-year-old brain. She constantly surprises us with her astute nature and mature worldview. Her vocabulary is busting at the seams and she has an uncanny gift for mimicry. Academically, she's already writing her name, sounding out short words, knows all letters, their sounds, and some blends, and can add and subtract on her fingers. I'm very proud of her and feel absolutely no compunction about boasting.

A little girl can be sweeter (and badder) oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves, yet just when you open your mouth she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head, and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot.

~Alan Marshall Beck

Finally Making the Commitment!

I have aspired to begin blogging for several years - partly out of a selfish desire to indulge in writing again, but mostly out of a more altruistic desire to document our little family's memories and moments in the fervent hope that, one day, Caroline and Emily will look back on these entries and remember what it was like to be young, unhindered, and totally carefree. I am not sure how this blogging adventure will progress and evolve, but I invite you to read, critique, make requests, and enjoy this little window into our hectic, hilarious, and (mostly) happy home!

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.
~ Tony Robbins