The Thomas Family Blog

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

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends...

Whew... it's a Friday evening after a long 4th week of a new school year. All I can say is... wow! It seems like every year the list of expectations, duties, and requirements gets bigger and longer and more intense - and this year is definitely no exception! But... on the bright side - I get to take my baby with me to school every day now! Caroline has started kindergarten! She's now a seasoned one-month veteran of big girl school. I have been so very proud of her. That's not to say that we haven't had a few bumps along the road - a few tears, some battles of the two wills, and I admit that this week I had a morning I am not entirely proud of as I completely lost my temper with Caroline's snail-like pace of preparing herself to leave for school in the morning. Overall, though, it's been one of the best times of my life and it makes all the stress of work completely worth it to be with her. I am truly blessed to have a job that allows me to be in the same building with my daughter. I love to sneak past her room and watch her as she is hard at work, go down to the lunchroom and steal some sugar, and help her check out a new library book every day. She is just growing up! Today was "Horrible Hair Day" and we had fun fixing ourselves up this morning. Of course, Caroline, being only the slightest bit vain, changed her mind about the whole hair thing in the car on the way to school ("I did like it, Mommy, but I made up my mind!" Translation: I thought this was a really fun idea, but now I've decided it's not and I've changed my mind) but she still carried on and made it all work. Last night, while we were reading Green Eggs and Ham, she got to the part where the narrator begs to be left alone (LET ME BE!) and she stopped, looked at me, and said, "Mommy, that's what you should do. Just let me be!" This girl is crazy. One day this week, she came to the library and wanted to check out How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the second time. I told her no, that we have 20,000 books in the library and she needs to get a different one. She argued that she loved that book but I did not relent. Mrs. Baker, my parapro, said when Caroline dropped the book in the return basket so she could go make another selection, she was muttering under her breath, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy..." Crazy, I tell ya, crazy. But I am absolutely loving having her with me. Her teachers, Mrs. Burnette and Mrs. Campbell, are phenomenal, and have done a fabulous job with her. She's made tons of new friends and is eating it up. Have fun, Caroline! Steal the show!! Here are some pictures of the first day of school.

"You learn something every day if you pay attention." ~ Ray LeBond

Atlanta Summer Tradition

If you are a child of Metro Atlanta, then you more than likely grew up making many a summer evening outing to Stone Mountain Park to picnic on the lawn and enjoy the Laser Light Show on the carving etched into the side of the mountain. I can't count the number of times my family made the trek through the East Gate and over the bumpy path that led to the lawn. After all, I was born in Decatur and my parents brought me home to a little old rented house in the Stone Mountain Village. My mother, being without a vehicle as my father took it in to work every day teaching classes at nearby Emory and attending Emory Law School in the evenings, would strap me in the baby seat on the back of her bike and we would spend long, leisurely days inside the park - eating raisins and drinking apple juice! This Stone Mountain tradition continued throughout my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and Stone Mountain is one of the most pleasant place-memories I have. I love it. Everything about Stone Mountain is dear to me. As a mom myself now I love taking my own children to the park to enjoy some of the same sights and attractions that I, myself, have enjoyed for so very long.
 We took a neighborhood field trip to the park to watch the Laser Show recently and it did not disappoint! It's been revamped and is all new with the latest bells and whistles. It still retained its original charm, but was much more fun to watch! Being the conservative preservationist that I am, I hope that the new and improved Laser Show does not obliterate the charm and campiness of the old show... that remains to be seen, but we did have a great time. I hope that the Laser Show will be a part of our little family's traditions as it has been a part of mine!

"Among the delights of summer were picnics to the woods." ~ Georg Brandes

Monday, August 8, 2011

All I Want for Christmas...

Oh goodness... Emily has lost her first tooth -- wait, let me qualify that by saying Emily has lost her first TEETH! For some reason, I always thought that Caroline would be the first child in this house to receive a visit from the Tooth Fairy but she has been upstaged by her little baby sister! How did this happen? Well, to make a long story short, when Travis was little, he was diagnosed with a mild form of a very rare genetic abnormality called hypophosphotasia. Travis's parents first knew that something might be wrong when he was about eighteen months old (coincidentally, the same age as Emily is right now!) and he lost a baby tooth while eating spaghetti at the dinner table. His pediatrician referred him to the Emory University Genetics Clinic where a battery of tests were performed by pediatric geneticists. He was found to have this particular disorder and his prognosis was good with the exception of very weak bones and teeth. Hypophosphotasia prevents mineralization of calcium and phosphorous - so, basically, Trav's body doesn't know what to do with these minerals when they enter his body. No matter how much milk he drinks, his body will just flush the calcium out. This, obviously, would make anyone's bones weak and fragile. He went on to play contact sports throughout his childhood, teenage years, and college - and he definitely broke many, many bones - some of them severely! Other than that, he is fine and has had no other complications.
When Caroline was born, we were urged to watch her for the signs of hypophosphotasia. The only one she has ever shown is delayed dentition - meaning she got her baby teeth very late (15 months), but she has not other signs and the doctors have dismissed the late baby teeth as just late baby teeth. Thank goodness!
On to little Miss Emily! We first noticed that something might be wrong back in April when Mrs. Kayce called me at work one morning to let me know that Em had taken a tumble at her house and while the fall was mild, she felt like her two little baby teeth (the two bottom ones were the only two she had at that point) had gotten a little loose. I automatically though of the hypo. So, I called the dentist and asked them what they thought and they said don't worry about it - there's nothing you can do at this age anyway. They thought that with a little bit of time they might firm back up. They did - but they started growing in kind of jutting forward. When her other teeth started to come in you really noticed how crooked those first two were. Fast forward to July. All four of us were swimming at our neighbors' pool, and Emily was having a blast going down the slide. I was helping her up the ladder and then she would slide into Trav's arms at the bottom. On about her fourth trip up the slide she misjudged one of the rungs on the ladder and bumped her chin. It was a good bump - but nothing that would cause a normal tooth to become dislodged... but Emily does not have normal teeth! Her entire tooth came right out! It was awful for me! I felt so horrible - but I know that that tooth was going to come out sometime - I just hate it that it was on "my watch." The next week we were driving down the road and she lost her other one! It was crazy. So now she is our little snaggle tooth. The other teeth seem to be hanging in there just fine... the doctor has referred us to Emory Genetics (the same clinic that treated Travis in 1984!) and we are currently waiting on an appointment. It could be up to five or six months before we are able to get in. So... for now we are just going to enjoy our little jigsaw mouth!

She's still just the sweetest, cutest thing!!!        

"Listen to the wisdom of the toothless ones." ~ Fijian Proverb

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Caroline's New 'Do

For many long and tedious months, Caroline has been growing out her hair. She wanted to be able to have a "ponytail" and we waited for what felt like years for it to get long enough to put in a ponytail (or a "tailpony" as she used to call it:) ) Wouldn't you know that basically as soon as it got long enough to actually put in a ponytail and doll it up with all kinds of cute ribbon that she would suddenly want it short again?? I was happy that she wanted it short just because I prefer it short - she has incredibly beautiful, thick, soft hair and it is so bouncy and pretty short - it just falls in the prettiest waves around her face... anyway - I would have preferred that we not have to go through the growing out stage if she was just going to turn around and want to cut it off again! The drama of washing long hair, drying long hair, combing tangles out of long hair - I can live without it! So, we went to Angela's and had her cut it into an adorable little stacked bob. It's precious and we are all happy! Even Travis who begged us not to cut it off!



Who needs Ken Paves????
"I think that the most important thing a woman can have 
- next to talent, of course - is her hairdresser." 
~Joan Crawford 

Georgia's Jewel

I am finally getting around to posting some pictures from our trip to Jekyll Island in July with our good friends, the Browns. We had a great time. We rented the same house as last summer and it was wonderful again - so much space for both families and super comfortable. We are actually going to stick with this one for a while - it suits all of our needs and the price is very reasonable. Jennifer, Gardner, Josie, and Drayton made great traveling partners! We were lazy and beachy and relaxed all week. We took the kids to the water park, rode our bikes, played on the beach, ate ice cream, watched 4th of July fireworks, and took some jaunts over the bridge to St. Simons for shopping. The guys played golf twice and I took some great runs and long walks. One night I walked over to the historic district by myself and watched the sun go down. Walking back among the old cottages and ruins in the dark was creepy in a very cool way... I definitely did not feel alone! We are now in the five week countdown to our fall trip back and we can't wait!!

"Once your feet touch the sands of Jekyll Island, you will forever come back." 
~ The Legend of Jekyll Island

Hooray for Hollywood

It was a series of firsts -- I finally took the plunge and flew out to Los Angeles to visit Kathleen and see her little corner of the world. I have wanted to go for a long time, but have just never been able to make it happen before this summer. I was a little... okay, a lot... nervous about flying alone, but with the help of my dear friend, Kendra, who was able to get me a non-rev ticket, I made it through all of the check-ins, security lines, gates, and trams! It was a long flight, but I had my Kindle and was able to keep myself occupied. I even watched the in-flight movie. I know, I know, flying is no big deal, but this was only my third flight ever - and definitely the longest - and the only time I had ever flown alone. I must admit I feel very cosmopolitan after it all!
 So, the flight was an adventure, but it was not the highlight of my experience! I absolutely loved Los Angeles, and  I completely understand why my sister lives there. It's a very interesting city. I know that I was only there for four days, but I feel like I got to at least sample the "vibe" and it was very cool. The weather was gorgeous and we had the best time just hanging out and doing the things that we enjoy - drinking wine, eating good food, shopping, beach bathing, watching TV while vegging out on the couch,spending time outdoors, and laughing. It was the most fun I have had in a long time and Kathleen spoiled me totally rotten with her wonderful hospitality! I can't wait to go back to visit. Some of the places we visited included Roberts Ranch and Solstice Canyon, Little Next Door Restaurant, The Grove, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, The LaBrea Tar Pits, Lechuza Beach, Ken Paves Salon, and so many other places that I can't even recall. I had a blast. I want to go back.

Lunch at La Piazza at the Grove

Driving to the beach

Hiking in Solstice Canyon

Malibu Beach - aaahhhhh...

Right after my salon session

Mid-Afternoon snack at Stark Bar at LACMA
Kathleen's pool

The view from Kathleen's balcony

"Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood
Where any office boy or young mechanic can be a panic
With just a good looking pan
And any barmaid can be a star maid
If she dances with or without a fan."
~Johnny Mercer