The Thomas Family Blog

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

But, Mommy, I'm not tired!

Caroline has never been a good sleeper. It took six months for her to sleep "through the night" - and, even then, I think she maybe slept seven hours. I will never forget that night because she fought sleep so long and so hard and it was heartbreaking not to go in there and pick her up. Still, five years later, she is the same! She only sleeps well when she is with Travis or me. If she starts off in her room it's with lots of tears and she very, very rarely ends up staying in her room all night. Trav and I are resigned to the fact that we are just in that phase of life and won't get to sleep in the same bed night after night, all night long, for a very long time! That's okay, though, because there is just something very primal and instinctual about sleeping in the same bed with her. I sleep better, she sleeps better - and Trav sleeps better because he's snoring away in the man cave!!! There's no woman to kick him awake and make him roll over while he saws logs! I do love sleeping with her, though. She's so warm and snuggly and she talks in her sleep! One night, I thought I would melt with love when she said, in the middle of the night, in her sleep, "I love you, Mommy." Yep, I do like sleeping with her!! Since she doesn't sleep all that much by herself, I love it when she "accidentally" falls asleep on the couch or in her bed... or anywhere, for that matter. On these occasions, I like to take a picture of my little Sleeping Beauty. I would just love to know what she is dreaming!

"Sleeping alone, except under doctor's orders, does much harm. 
Children will tell you how lonely it is sleeping alone. 
If possible, you should always sleep with someone you love." 
                                                                ~ Marlene Dietrich

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Campbell!

Caroline is in LOVE with her teachers, Mrs. Burnette and Mrs. Campbell. I am pretty fond of them, myself, actually! They do such a great job with all of their students and show them lots of love, patience, and laughter. They are a blessing and we are so glad that Caroline is with them this year! Mrs. Campbell had a birthday recently and Caroline wanted to make her a birthday card. It was the sweetest thing to watch Caroline work so hard to make the card just perfect for her teacher. Emily, of course, had to be right in the mix, so she worked very hard on her own very yellow birthday card. :) I was able to get this adorable picture of the two of them working in the afternoon sunlight on our back deck. Could you just squeeze those chubby legs or what? And Caroline was in her very best big sister mode - calling all the shots!

"The only gift is a portion of thyself."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

How could you not love this job?

I have one of the coolest jobs in the world... and, on top of that, I get to do it in one of the absolute best elementary schools in the country. My students are the kindest, gentlest, most intelligent kiddos anywhere. It took me a long time to get truly comfortable in my new job (and I still have moments where I totally doubt myself and my abilities!), but I think I have finally arrived at a place and state of mind that allows me to enjoy the positive aspects of what I do every day instead of letting the negative parts (and, believe me, there are many, many negative sides to being involved in public education - it truly scares me sometimes to witness the way that things are changing in our nation's schools) bring me down. I've enjoyed this year so much already and every day I am grateful for work that allows me to draw on the best parts of myself, work with willing young minds, and be surrounded by books and my little girl! I captured this sweet moment one day last week in the library. Just look at those precious little girls reading their library books! These quiet moments are definitely rare in the library - we stay very, very busy, but it's instances like this that make me very aware of just how lucky I am to do the work I do!

"Children don't read to find their identity, to free themselves from guilt, to quench the thirst for rebellion or to get rid of alienation.  They have no use for psychology.... They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff.... When a book is boring, they yawn openly.  They don't expect their writer to redeem humanity, but leave to adults such childish illusions."
  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Graduated from the Pack 'n Play

Mrs. Kayce has blessed our family since Caroline was nine months old by being a home away from home and "second mama" to our daughters while Trav and I have had to work. I can honestly say that she is one of the people for whom I am absolutely the most thankful - not just as a caregiver, but as a friend, as well. We love you, Mrs. Kayce!!! A few weeks ago, Kayce sent me a text during the school day with a picture of Emily attached... she is always so good about calling me or sending me little pictures that she catches throughout the days. I don't feel like I miss a lot of the "little" moments when I am at work. Plus, the girls love being at her house and playing with all of their friends, so the guilt has faded away to nothing over the years. It's a wonderful thing to be away from your kids and know that they are 100% taken care of and happy. I don't know how I would be able to function at work if I didn't feel confident that my children were in a good place.
Anyway, the picture that Kayce sent me was one of Emily's first nap in the playroom - this means that she was able to get her to fall asleep on her very own mat and blanket on the floor with the other big kids! This is a big step for such a little girl! Up to this point, she has napped in a Pack 'n Play in another room. We are so proud of her! For now she is still in her crib at home - and as long as the 12 hour nights of sleep continue we are not going to be very inclined to change that for some time! Way to go, big girl!

"Naps are nature's way of reminding you that life is nice-
like a beautiful, softly swinging hammock strung between birth and infinity." 
~ Peggy Noonan

Monday, September 26, 2011

Potty Party!

Emily made her first successful trip to the potty on September 20, 2011! We were so proud of her! She's made one more trip since then... but in the past few days has taken greater pleasure in saying, "No!" when we ask her if she would like to go and sit on her potty than in actually using her potty. I'm totally not pushing it, because she's not even two years old yet and I know that she will learn it when she is ready. I don't know why people are in such a hurry to have their kids make these milestones! I will be sad (but relieved and glad for my wallet) when she is potty trained - don't get me wrong - but I am not going to push my 20 month old daughter to control her bladder when she's not ready to do it 100% of the time. It's more fun than anything else, really, to watch her reaction when she realizes she has actually done it! Here's a censored picture of Emily after her very first big girl potty trip!

"One year, I’d completely lost my bearings trying to follow potty training instruction
from a psychiatric expert. I was stuck on step one, which stated without irony: 
‘Before you begin, remove all stubbornness from the child’."~Mary Kay Blakely

She's got that certain je ne sais quoi...

Emily has reached that adorable age when she loves to dress herself up and accessorize. As we all know, Caroline was the undisputed queen of creating fun and unique ensembles when she was that age (and she is still pretty particular about her apparel!), but it looks like we may have another Vivienne Westwood in our midst! Emily is funny, though, because she is more of a minimalist. Caroline would try to put on as many items of clothing, pieces of jewelry, and cute accessories at once as possible, but Emily is more likely to choose one bold, statement piece and rock it to the fullest... well, except for the hairbow "incident!" Here are some of Emily's earliest fashion statements! We should all take notes and up our fashion quotient by imitating this darling diva!

Saddle up!!

She dressed for dinner.

This was the night Emily had over 40 hairbows in her hair at once. She just kept bringing them to us and asking for "mo."

Love the zebra print scarf and the pink heels!

She may be the only one year old who owns a leopard print catsuit. In velveteen.

 "I don't do fashion. I am fashion."
~ Coco Chanel

Monday, September 5, 2011

Caroline's New Room

This is really old news... I have had this post in my "drafts" since April and haven't had the chance (or occasion when Caroline's room was actually clean) to be able to take the necessary pictures. Anyway, as part of her 5th birthday present, we moved her into the biggest of the extra bedrooms and completely overhauled it in a beachy theme. We painted the walls a pretty blue color (it took many swatches to get it right), added lots of little beach and coast-inspired details, and an adorable new quilt for her bed. One of my favorite features of the room is a beautiful, weathered piece of driftwood that Caroline and I found one morning on Jekyll Island. We brought it home and draped it with Spanish Moss. It's now hanging over the big window in her room and it looks awesome! It has been fun scouring my favorite stores for little items to put here and there (and always, always at deeply discounted and slashed prices!). I've discovered that I prefer to decorate hodge podge-style - I don't like things to be too matchy-matchy. It's so much more fun and personalized when you take the time to go for it and really find those pieces that make you feel good and reflect who you are. The piece de resistance of the entire room are the absolutely breathtaking, handpainted watercolors of a baby sea turtle, a cabbage palm, Spanish Moss, and a sand dollar created for Caroline by her very talented and generous Great Aunt Elizabeth - who is an accomplished nature artist. Check out her work here. These four watercolors are breathtaking and are the perfect finishing touch to Caroline's room. I am still contemplating how I want to have them framed. I'm leaning toward framing them individually with a very neutral matte so that, in the future, they can be displayed together or separately depending on their placement. They are honestly one of the most special gifts we've ever received and we love them. Thank you, Elizabeth!!!!! Caroline is enjoying her room very much. Now, if we could just get her to actually sleep in it...

Caroline's "found" driftwood.

Handpainted "Caroline" art - a gift from Grandmama and Granddaddy when they visited Hawaii.

Great Aunt Elizabeth's beautiful gift!