Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Quicky

This kid is going to walk soon.

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Yesterday, I swore it was going to happen. She got up on sturdy legs, stood there for over a minute, smiling, and I told myself, "She's going to take a step and you're going to cry." It didn't happen, but it's close and I'm realizing just how much I've loved having her little for so long. First Steps is the bridge out of babyhood. You know going into this special needs thing that your baby will most likely walk late and while for some that is difficult, for some not so bad--first steps seem to turn the page toward the next chapter. The first chapter has been so good and it's felt incredible to sit back and enjoy it. I will miss her crawl and yet I will applaud her moving forward.

You walk when you're good and ready, Sister.

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After waking early yesterday morning, we dropped off some goodies to teacher friends where I used to work. Nella, still dressed in her jams, sat at the reading table and neatly shoved powdered sugar donuts in her mouth with just a trace of powdered mess that followed.

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Yes, that's a hundred in her hand. Someone owed someone money, slapped it on the table and Swiper took it because she knows a good thing when she sees it.

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The Queen and the Sceptre

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We're working on Halloween costumes this weekend--turning an old wrinkled dress into Little Bo Peep and a onesie and a hat into a sweet little sheep. More to come.

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The week closes with the stomach-dropping rush of a good swing push and the squeals that follow.

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I miss old-fashioned parks with old-fashioned swings and wooden bridges and merry-go-rounds and climby things that don't look like space-age contraptions. Other than the swings and slides at this park, we kind of just stare at everything, wondering how you're supposed to use it. Which is exactly what I do whenever I go to the gym (which is never). I'm afraid I'll start pulling something with my arms that's meant to be pushed with my feet, and some hot guy will come over and tell me I'm using it wrong. This has happened. And it's funny, but what is funnier is that I'm talking about the gym like it's a part of my life right now when my exercise comes in the form of following these girls toward the places they go.

Photobucket Lainey's shirt (also works as Nella's dress) from the amazing, talented Kiki at The Measure

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Those places led us on a boardwalk path last night--around a lake, through tall cypress trees and straight into long rays of sunshine that cast tall shadows.

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I have a girl in cleats and shin guards waiting for her first practice tonight, and I will smile until my cheeks hurt.

Happy happy Friday.

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Friday Phone Dump:

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Third row, last picture: Nella fell asleep in the Target cart

And two I had to pull out of the collage because I loved them too much to downsize:

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Friday Phone Dump photos are taken on the Instagram Iphone app (free) and dropped into a 12x12 collage. I am etst on Instragram if you want to follow the feed.

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Listening to THIS (thanks, Meg) and THIS this week.


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Spark Energy drink giveaway winners are:

Comment #219, carrie: Fall is my favorite time of year. Cooler weather and the upcoming holidays around the corner

and

Comment #21, Christine Gottemoller: I love your use of "fall freak flag." Makes me laugh. And honestly, your girls are some of the best dressed cuties I have ever seen.

Ladies, please e-mail your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net with the subject line GIVEAWAY WINNER. Thank you!

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Tomorrow is October. I want to find a cornucopia, climb up in it and never come out. Fall Freak Flag--Find it, unfurl it, wave it high. And have a happy weekend.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Enjoying the Small Things

I was going to post earlier today--sneak one in while Nella slept and Lainey arranged her strawberry scented erasers on the carpet. But there were things to do, my mind was in a few different places, and I'm so glad I saved it for tonight because Pandora is delivering, candlelight is flickering, and I am happy. I like to write when my head is clear and I am happy.

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Night writing (not to be confused with Night Rider) is my favorite, for I unravel a bit more reflectively and tend to be more grateful when I'm looking back at the events of our days, and their images are blown-up on a screen that's reflecting candlelight. Or maybe that's just my badass rose-colored glasses. Either way, at the end of the day when the street outside my window is dark and the house is quiet, I gain more perspective.

So, in the spirit of fall and candlelight and good music streaming from my computer speakers, what's a girl to do? Deliver a good old-fashioned Enjoying the Small Things, of course.

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Homemade Chicken Noodle
The good mood inducing dinner of champs. Plus, parsley makes me happy. I hope my kids talk about my chicken noodle soup someday. I don't know why this is important to me, but it is. How horrible is it if I say I can't wait until they have colds some day just so I can bring them this soup in bed and make it all better?

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Chipped bowls are good luck.

Moving on.

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Bathtime.
If watching fish swim in an aquarium is considered relaxing, then beholding your kids in a tub is hypnotically calming.

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During any particularly chaotic or stressful day, our white flag is raised in a bathtime declaration and, while baths are usually associated with night time routines in our home, the midday bath is making a comeback.

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Nella's giving the "Quit looking at my butt" face.

I love the opportunity in the middle of a day to sit on the toilet (stop visualizing, the lid's down) in the bathroom, listen to the water and watch my girls knock Happy Meal toys off soap dish diving boards. Which brings me to the bath toy issue. We don't really have bath toys--the ones that are specifically designated for proper tub use. Other than the last remaining foam letters that haven't disappeared (we can spell WUJX, XJUW, and SUJX), our bath toy bin is a sad hodge podge collection of headless dolls, happy meal toys, container lids, and strange junk drawer whatchamacallits. Oh and a duck. We have one rubber duck that has miraculously survived.

I like when Sister actually thinks she's gonna bail the tub and make a getaway.

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Bend it Like Beckham
I've reacquainted myself with a past love from the 90's. Remember styling sticks, those bendy rods you use to twirl your hair? I didn't even realize they still made them, but during one of those dangerous throw-crap-in-the-cart Target trips, I found them. I used only four of them on my damp hair in the morning, pulled them out 45 minutes later and, voila--flowy shampoo commercial hair. Lainey says it's beau-fi-tal.

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The Return of the Dollhouse.
It was Santa's big gift a couple years ago, and I've never admitted that it didn't go over as well as I intended. I've contemplated giving it to Goodwill, but it always seemed Lainey's little friends were drawn to it whenever they visited, and Lord knows I love having the fun friend house.

Suddenly though, it's made a comeback. Both girls have been playing with it for weeks--arranging furniture, dragging it into the bedrooms, carefully positioning dolls in bathtubs and on tiny plastic toilets. There are doll house characters--a dad whose left leg Sophie chewed off, a mom whose skirt has a knack for falling off, a son, a daughter, two babies, and a horse trainer. Yes a horse trainer, and don't ask about the story Brett created about the drama she causes that poor family because it's a real dollhouse soap opera. She's scandalous, that horse trainer.

Regardless, I love walking past to see this these days:

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Game Watcher.
I don't know how Nella knows that it's best she not try to swipe the phone, but she does. When Lainey's playing a game, Nella just watches--bending right into it and intently following along. But my sweet girl keeps her hands to herself and lets Lainey play alone.

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Back to the Lake.
An impromptu walk today, and it was divine.

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It's not miserably hot any more, so outside trips are more enjoyable. Add a bit of a breeze and the shady canopy from the big lake tree, and you might even forget you're in Florida.

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I told Lainey fifteen minutes; we stayed an hour.

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Long enough for Sister to take a cat nap...

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...and Lainey to pick flowers, gather bleached-out snail shells, and brave the muddy edge of the water to pretend fish.

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We'll be back.

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New sponsor, Advocare Independent Consultant Jessica Norris, joins Enjoying the Small Things this month in sponsorship. Advocare is a premier health and wellness company that offers a wide range of nutritional products including vitamins, nutritional supplements, energy bars and drinks, weight loss products, skin products and more.

Their popular Spark energy drinks are refreshing and come in a variety of flavors. Austyn stole them all because he's very into the energy/workout/nutrition thing right now.

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Two commenters on this post will be randomly selected to receive a free box of the new Mango Strawberry Spark drink, courtesy of Jessica Norris' Advocare store.

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This weekend initiates the blessed October, and my fall freak flag is whippin' in the little wind we have. Someone said it's supposed to be "cool" this weekend, and when you hear the word "cool" in Florida after a hot summer, you take it and run.

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Good things in store.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

On Weekends and Bowling

The weekend began, as good weekends do, spilling sunshine from blue skies. We went out for breakfast--my favorite out-to-eat meal--and dabbled in the art of weekend nothingness.

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My Saturday gift came in the form of a trip to the hospital where I sat in my friend's room and held her sweet new girl--seven hours old--and studied her features, ran my fingers over the cowlick of silky hair that hugged her perfect head, and inhaled the rare opportunity to experience the miracle of really new life. I speak fluent newborn, you know. And I could have sat in that room holding that baby all day.

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Welcome to the world, Rowan!

But other babies called.

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And today? It was gray. Not mysterious gray or depressing gray, but soft and calming stay-in kind of gray.

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And while there are many different kinds of rains here--loud and thundrous downpours, beach storms, scattered showers--today, it rained soft and steadily. And it was cozy.

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I can't say the same for last night's dramatic downpour that slammed windshields in blinding sheets and pounded roofs in a turbulent roar.

We braved the storm last night to head out to a bowling alley after one of those itches hit me out of nowhere. "Let's go bowling." Similar but less successful spontaneous itches in my past have included "I'm going to color my hair platinum," "I'm going to sell Mary Kay," and "I'm going to apply for a job at Victoria's Secret." These ended in purple fried hair, a closet full of make-up I never sold, and getting banned from ever being hired by any Limited company forevermore, respectively.

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But bowling? Bowling delivered.

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Lainey took right to the three-fingered grip of a bowling ball and quickly mastered the art of delivering a roll that would produce the least amount of momentum necessary to keep a ball moving. It took like three minutes for the ball to make it to the end of the lane, and then pins fell in sloooooowwww motttttiiiiiooon, one by one.

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Insert victory dance.

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But it was fun--being all holed up, literally, in a dark alley, while it rained and thundered outside.

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Sister wanted only one thing--to break free from the shackles of her walker and high-tail it down the lane.

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She got close once, but struck out, no pun intended. Okay, totally intended.

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And I discovered some very important things one needs to know about bowling.

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Things I Discovered About Bowling:

1) That alarm that beeps when your foot slips into the slick, waxed surface of the bowling lane? It's there for a reason. You will fall. Hard. Like arms in the air and legs parallel to the ground kind of fall. Just ask my friend Andrea.

2) If you forget socks, you can buy them at a bowling alley. From a vending machine, and they're only jacked up six times the regular cost of socks.

3) Bowling shoes are adorable. Keep telling yourself that.

4) Unlike golf, low scores don't win. Shoot.

5) No matter how many times you try and will the music control guy to stop playing Nickelback, he won't.

6) Wow, I really do know all the words to Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight.

7.) Not everyone thinks it's funny when you talk in a Southern accent all night and holler "Halleluia, sweet Baby Jesus" after anyone strikes.

8.) Waving your arms like this to make the ball go to the right does not make the ball go to the right.

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9.) If you throw the ball so cockeyed, it bounces in another lane, someone will get it for you.

10.) Brett's serious bowling stance is funny. Like I couldn't stop laughing at my camera screen every time I caught him in a Neanderthal stretch.

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11.) While waiting for your next turn to bowl, you can kill time by choreographing spare and strike victory dances, giving fake bowling lessons or impersonating Bowland tour guides even though there is no such thing as a Bowland tour. But if there was, it would begin with "Here at Bowland, we..." In a thick Southern accent, of course.

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So there. Bet you're glad you know that now. Bowl on.

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Congratulations to the Scentsy holiday warmer winner, Comment #180, the doc:<em> Big laughs tonight? Gathering with 2 friends at a university reunion remembering our college crushes and piecing together where they are now - some info real, some imagined. So serious at the time but a few decades out it is giggle-worthy!

doc, please send your contact info to
kellehamptonblog@comcast.net with "GIVEAWAY WINNER" in the subject line. Thank you!

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If anyone's up for some Naples travel (does this entice you?), Bonita by the Beach is offering 20% off listed pricing from now until December 15th.


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And that leaves us at the end of this Monday night where I am wishing you a very happy week indeed.

We shall bake tomorrow. We shall bake and proclaim our love for a good fake Florida fall.

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