Friday, August 19, 2011

The Beginning of the End: Sophia's 1st Day School

Time for school and all that comes with it - new teachers, new rules, new desks, a mix of new & old friends and new curriculums.  Sophia had a fantastic schoolyear last year, despite a rough start, but learned so many new & exciting things (writing/reading her own name...and even some other words), along with gaining an astounding amount of confidence in performing tasks in general (school-related or not).  The summer kept Sophia busy with VBS, Tennis camps/clinics, swimming lessons, vacation and even summer school!  Talk about a lady with a full schedule! 

Sophia, 4.5yrs old
August 17th, 2011
Because I'm a sucker for doing fun 'little' things, I decided that I wanted to make Sophia's first day of school memorable.  It was my way of repeating the memorable tradition my own mom started during my childhood of cooking a 'first-day-of-school-breakfast'.  I decided that I'd do something a bit different, by just making the breakfast table a fun/festive place...and Sophia even got a special gift...a new bracelet and tiny clip-on earrings (ooo, how fancy!).  The first day was a success and we can't wait to see what all Sophia accomplishes this year under Mrs. Holston's guidance! 
Good Morning Sunshine!
Sophia's PINK desk set-up at school :)

Sophia came home very excited and Mrs Holston sent one of the best little 'reminder' notes home that is worth could even be duplicated for mommies wanting to remind their own kids how important they really are to the family:

Dear Sophia,

I am so happy to have you in my class! The things in the bag will help you tell others about your new classmates.
The sticker is to remind you that we all stick together and help each other.
The puzzle piece is to remind you that we need you to make our group complete.
The cotton ball is to remind you that our class is full of kind words and warm feelings.
The apple is to remind you that we will learn something new each day.
The eraser is to remind you that we will all make mistakes, and that is okay.
The Hershey kiss is from me!

Mrs. Holston


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Once Upon A Dream...

I've always been a very musical person, playing both flute and piano by the tender age of 8 and singing since I can remember, putting on performances at home and on very stages in plays, musicals, recitals and concerts.  Now as an adult & mother, I treasure the gift of music so much more.   I dreamt of becoming a mother one day so I could experience that iconic moment of rocking my baby to sleep in their nursery as they are sung a sweet lullabye. 

Music is not only a large part of who I am as an individual, wife and mother - but it's an integral part of my communication with others. 

When pregnant with both of the girls, I found that I could show how much I loved them by singing to them.  Sometimes they'd respond by moving around, and other times it was just as special when they stayed still - as if I had lulled them to sleep.  Now I sing to them during our daily routines - getting dressed, bathtime, playtime and especially bedtime.  It's become a sweet tradition between us girls - I just hope they'll cherish it as much as I do and reminisce on it when they're older.  Even better, I hope they do the same for their children! 

When I was pregnant with Sophia, I was given one of my most cherished CD's as a gift....Miracle by Celine Dion.  This album speaks to every mother and even child - there are many sweet, sweet songs that I simply adore.  If you are needing a special gift for a mother-to-be, or even for Mother's Day, this is a great choice (buy it here). A perfect example of how I communicate through music is the lyrics (below) from Celine's Miracle album expresses exactly how I feel about both Sophia & Camilla - something I could probably never find the right words for myself. 

A Mother's Prayer

I pray you'll be my eyes
And watch her where she goes
And help her to be wise
Help me to let go

Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she'll be safe

I pray she finds your light
And holds it in her heart
As darkness falls each night
Remind her where you are

Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Need to find a place
Guide her with your grace
Give her faith so she'll be safe

Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she'll be safe

Sweet Sisters:  Sophia & Camilla
October 2010
photo by Suzanne Williams Photography

I knew my own love of music had been successfully inherited by Sophia when she took lullabyes to a whole new level the night before I went to the hospital to have Camilla...

"Mommy...shhh.  Close your eyes.  Close them tight and I will sing you a, what do you think of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'?"

"Sure. That sounds perfect!"

"Okay, close your eyes now Mommy, it's time to go night-night...."

And as I turned on my side, my sweet Sophia began singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in her most angelic little lullabye voice while stroking my hair.  I cried.  It was pitch black in our room, and poor Rod was sacked out, but I cried because it was such a pure love, shown through music.  If you know me well, then you know my passion for music runs deep - and now I could plainly see my own first-born shared that passion.

Sophia & Mommy sharing a quiet moment
just days before Camilla arrived
October 2010

These days, Sophia requests a lullabye (or two!) at bedtime after our prayers.  Below are some of our favorites for bedtime, naps and "just because":
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (lyrics)
  • Brahm's Lullabye aka "Lullabye & Goodnight" (lyrics)
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow (my all-time favorite song!) (lyrics)
  • You Are My Sunshine (lyrics)
  • What A Wonderful World (lyrics)
  • Ave Maria (lyrics)
  • Like A Star by Corinne Bailey Rae (lyrics)
  • Once Upon A Dream (from Disney's Sleeping Beauty - my very favorite Disney movie!)  (lyrics)

I'm even guilty of dancing around the kitchen with Camilla singing this song, right after Sophia had watched the movie - it's obvious I can't help myself! 

Caught in the act:  Mommy serenading Camilla!
August 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Bedtime stories are a staple in our house and even Camilla joins the nightly ritual!  I thought I'd share some of our girls' favorite stories - some were given to Sophia (and in turn, shared with baby Camilla) by Rod and I, and some were given to Sophia as gifts.  Either way you cut it, these stories are fabulous (that's fancy for 'super-duper great' according to Fancy Nancy!)

Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique
by Jane O'Connor

This book definitely gets the most mileage!  Sophia knows this one by heart and LOVES to 'read' it to us...she says that she is Fancy Nancy & Camilla is the little sister, JoJo.  If you love frilly, fancy, girly stories - Fancy Nancy & her stories are the cat's meow!

Big Sister, Little Sister
by LeUyen Pham
This book is quickly becoming the new coveted favorite at storytime...Sophia also knows this story by heart.  We picked it up at Pottery Barn Kids over Memorial Day Wkd and absolutely adore this story!  The plot/storyline is simple:  the Big Sister always gets to do things first, gets to stay up later and always gets the new clothes - the Little Sister is always playing catch up, wearing the hand-me-downs and trying to be big...just like her big sister.  The illustrations are priceless and crack me up each time we read it.  Want more proof?  Even Camilla claps with delight during this gem!

Bedtime for Mommy
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Given to Sophia by my parents, this little story is perfect for little ones to understand just how 'difficult' putting a little one to bed can be.  I just noticed that the illustrations are done by the author of Big Sister, Little Sister - which means we'll be looking for more books by her!  Ironically enough, Sophia does every single stall tactic in this book.  Better yet, she was doing them far before we ever received the book!  Sophia giggles as we read this story (again, knows this one by heart) and loves thinking that she is tucking ME in!  This didn't solve our bedtime-stalling issues, but only changed them to incessant question-asking (I might as well be sitting under the lone pendant light in an interrogation room - HA!) and requests for lullabyes.

Welcome to Your World Baby!
by Brooke Shields
Nana & Papa gifted this sweet story book to Sophia upon Camilla's arrival.  Sophia was completely delighted as she loved the idea of being the new BIG sister and having the job of showing her new baby sister everything in 'her new world'.  Very cute and touching...Sophia likes the idea of playing dress up and putting on plays/shows the best :)

Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss
If it's by Dr. Seuss, what's NOT to love?!  We gave this story to Sophia last Christmas and she digs the silly words, the repetition and goofy rhymes.  The exact same things the rest of us have loved about it during our childhood too!  Just beware: this book is much lengthier than the others I've highlighted.  I learned that the hard way one night...oops!

Sophia reading Green Eggs & Ham to Camilla

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet
by Theo LeSieg
Just realized that this is not written by Dr. Seuss, but apparently carries the coveted Cat-In-the-Hat type seal of approval (or something!).  Given to Sophia last summer by some friends of ours, they even paired the book with fuzzy/furry duck feet (aka slippers)!  Sophia LOVED the package deal and we giggle over the silliness of the whole plot - very cute!

So happy storytime from our casa to yours!

More Cute Beach Bunnies!

I'm trying to make good on my late-night promise on adding more beach here they are!  Forgive me as some are grainy/blurry/not-so-great...but they were snapped on the fly via our iPhones.  We've come to realize that documenting a fun family vacay is virtually impossible with a crazy-busy 4.5yr old and a 9mo old - oh well, at least we have these!

Sophia watching a movie en route to Destin
(Thanks to Patricia for letting us borrow her ride!)

Miss Thang posing before dinner

Camilla enjoying the sun tent on the beach

Look at that happy beach baby!

Sophia the Pool Ballerina!

La Playa...Lopez Style!

It's August, which means that the Lopez clan is 'Destin-ed' for their annual beach trip to Destin, FL!  Last year (2010), I was very pregnant with Camilla (just shy of 5mos), but showing enough to have quite the baby bump.  It was great to wear a bikini (sans baby bump) and run along the beach with Sophia and not tire so easily :)  However, because it was deathly hot, we all tired very easily!  Our first (and, wait for it...our ONLY) day spent on the beach was on Monday - it was ridiculously hot and as a Mama with an infant, I worried myself sick over keeping Camilla out in the hellacious heat/sun.  Both kiddies were slathered with sunscreen, and forced to wear everything but a wool sweater!  Luckily, we did remember to bring the fun little sun tent and it worked great for Camilla to sit & play in.  Until the heat was too much - so I whisked her away to cool off in the A/C inside the nearby restaurant (Finz) on the beach.  Ahhh...not going to lie, the a/c was happily enjoyed by both mommy & Camilla.  Rod, Sophia & his parents stayed beachside to swim, dig, snack & play.  After that, we vowed that the pool was the way to go for the remainder of the week.  When you have little bitty babies, you go to the pool rather than the beach.  No matter if the entire point of the vacation was to "go to the beach".  Heat index down there all week was basically forecasted for 110 degrees.  Beach? No thanks.  Pool?  We're on the way!

We enjoyed dining at some of our favorite restaurants in the area like Vin-tij Wine Boutique, Bistro Bijoux and a new favorite, Cuvee Bistro.  Yum!  I'll let the photos tell the rest of the was had by all...and both Rod and I were SOOOO excited to be able to remove ourselves completely from work and relax!  We both adored the fact we could completely unplug and give the girls our undivided attention - it was the absolute best.  It made me simultaneously sad to realize that I miss so much of their sweet little lives each and every day while I all of you moms that can stay home with your kids (big or small), know that moms like me envy you and only wish we could have days like yours (good, bad and/or ugly)! Cherish it.

We had so much fun, it should have been a crime!

Camilla our newest beach babe

Sophia + Beach = shady snack time!

Sophia finally got to do the
bungee-jump thing in Baytowne!

Daddy, Sophia & Mommy
(Camilla was busy snoozing!)

Sophia also got to try out the "Hampster Ball" - hilarious!

Abuelito, Sophia, Daddy & Camilla

Camilla had a case of the crazies...
just look at that 'do!

I could just snuggle this chunky monkey ALL day :)

Mommy, Camilla & Sophia basking
in the rays at the pool

Just us girls: aren't we cute?

Mommy's GIANT peanut butter cup from the sinful candy
shop in Baytowne...and it was devoured in under 15mins!

Camilla fell fast asleep after Sophia sang
a sweet lullabye one afternoon

We have more C-U-T-E photos to come since Rod & I both snapped some on our stay tuned...Beach update #2 will post soon!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch, er, Brunch

Honestly, I cannot even believe that I've been blogging this frequently! I gotta say though, it's much nicer to be able to just share a tidbit tonight, rather than a crazy-long update.  Ahh...

I can breathe a bit easier now that a big event I'd been planning at work has been logged in the history books (and was a huge success, might I add!) - so working late afforded me to be able to take Friday off. 

{insert huge sigh of relief here}
Friday brought Camilla's 9-month well check up (seriously!?) and here's our growing baby birdie's stats:
  • 16lbs 12oz  (15%)
  • 26 3/4 " long (25%)
  • 17 1/4" head circumference (45%)
  • and a painful stick to the finger for the CBC test (hate watching finger sticks, but it runs a close 2nd to watching your 4 week old get their PKU test)
Camilla's growing perfectly and reaching all of the typical milestones - however, she is also the pampered Princess too.  She's most content to be carried, or snuggled up with you - much rather than rolling over, crawling, etc.  I'm okay with that (as is the Doc), as this sweet time will only last so long...we are savoring every single bit of it.  She's pretty excited to drink water from a sippy and I'm pretty sure she's even said "wa-wa'' in conjunction?!

Today brought us a very tasty and fun ladies brunch with our dear friends Katy & Kristen.  We enjoyed an excellent spread and Sophia loved getting to see some of her favorite people and friends (& so did mommy!).  I even got some very sweet photos of the girls in their coordinating outfits (from Janie & Jack)!

We're mad about plaid...and each other!

Don't forget to accessorize with bows!

Ooo, Sophia! I like your shoes! Can I have them?

Everyone say "Brrrunnnchhh"!

Camilla, you gotta get your bow straight...

All you need is Love.  Love is all you need :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

90 to Nothin'...

...and no signs of slowing down anytime soon!  The whirlwind indeed continues for this workin' mama since my last post.  The last week brought my usual July trip to market in Atlanta, where I buy many of store's goodies for the next spring season (yes, Spring 2012!).  While at market, I'm trapped inside 3 buildings, each of them about 18-20 floors chalked FULL of product.  Luckily, after 6yrs of buying, I've learned how to navigate the whole circus (trust me, it can be a circus!) without too much stress. 

That's a whole lotta shopping to do...
and that's just ONE building!
(America'sMart Atlanta, Bldg 1)

However, it still  means that Mommy is away and that alone can stab you in the heart.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job and how exciting it can be, however, I always miss my babies and the daily routine.  Pre-school attitudes, poopy diapers - the whole enchilada.  I miss it all when I'm away.

Shout out to Rod for becoming such an excellent Mr. Mom over the years!

While I was away, Rod & the girls had quite a big time.  Our church is undergoing the daunting process of building a school campus on the church grounds, which means Sophia's class will the very first graduating class to have started in Kindergarten at the new school and have made their way thru to the 12th grade.  There has been years of fundraising and we're finally starting to see the fruits of labor (hooray!).  Saturday brought a fun groundbreaking ceremony, which allowed Sophia a fun opportunity to be with the big kahunas (since my dad is one of the parish council leaders) and literally "dig in" breaking ground on her new school:

Sophia gets an A+ for effort on her new school's groundbreaking!
(July '11)

Summer has also kept Sophia busy with MMO every Tues/Thurs, and even has had some weeks devoted to VBS, art camp and now? Tennis camp!  She's w-a-y into it and proudly carries her 21" purple Maria Sharapova racquet while strutting around in her Nike hat & tennis skirt...I've yet to capture this on film, so hang in there, I'll snap a photo soon & post.  She also loved VBS and art camp (painting several pre-school masterpieces!) - but seems to especially dig tennis.  It seems to be her kind of 'racquet'.  Haha. Racquet...get it?  Oh, too much?  Let's move on then...

Here's a few more photos to help make up for the lame pun....enjoy!

Lake Lounger: Camilla giving her new PBKids chair a whirl
(May '11)

Father's Day...I'm feeling how Camilla looks in this photo...huh?
(June '11)

Sophia strutting her newfound pool skills -
watch out Michael Phelps!
(June '11)

Father's Day at Nana & Papa's house
(June '11)

Camilla loving the bongo drum
 (insert Matthew McConaughey joke here)
(June '11)
She could ask for a Ferarri & with this face, who could say no?
(July '11)

Art Camp: Sophia's lovely Flamingo facepainting
(July '11)

Sophia's "Royal Tea Party" in honor of Kate & William!
(April '11)

Frosting away at her birthday "bakery" party...lots of fun!
 (March '11)

My in-laws have been banned from buying loud gifts
 (I kid...sort of)
(March '11)

The girls LOVING their new playhouse that was built in one of the spare
 rooms at Nana & Papa's house
 (Feb. '11)

Nighty Night everyone!
(Jan. '11)