Saturday, December 24, 2011

Smile.


My Christmas wish came true! Pictures of the girls actually smiling.

Smiles.

Reflective smile.

Ornery smile.

Precious smiles.

Embarrassed by their parents smiles.

Hilarious smiles. Because I'm sure I said something funny.

And...well....I never said we were perfect.

Wishing you a very, very Happy Christmas with lots of laughs and smiles.


Love,  The Lashley Family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stella Ate It.

Is it a bad sign when your daughter takes a bite out of your newly purchased parenting book?

Or just a sign that you actually needed to purchase the book.

Either way...when the girls are misbehaving in public, and someone asks me if I've read any parenting books, I can honestly say,

Stella ate it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This is the way we go to church.

It's a question I will ask myself until the end of time. Why is it so hard to get ready for church? Not to be left out, this question also. Why are we always late for church? I would like to think that it's because I actually have to take the time to wash my hair and get dressed (which is probably the real reason), but I blame it on these two.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum and their entourage.

Before we can even think of getting in the car to go to church, we must have the following.

Christmas dresses-check.
Bows in hair-check.
Jackets-it's not that cold outside. Next time.-check.

Blanket-check.
Little Mermaid-check.
Belle with mangled hair-check.
Booger check-check.

Sippy cup-check.
Sleeping Beauty book-check.
Tutu that must go over and not under the dress-check.
Mama's sanity-check.
Mama's washed hair-check. Sometimes.
Photo-op-check.
Neighbor's that must think I'm insane-check.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum-check.
15 minutes late to church-check.

It's amazing that I even remember to pants on. But it's worth it for these two. 

I sure do love my little weirdos.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shake it Out/Drown it Out

So, I've never claimed to be the best mom of all time. 

But I'm no idiot either.

Except for when it came to stashing their Christmas toys in the back of the car and forgetting about them.

When I got the girls into car for church on Sunday morning (and yes, Stella did look like that. She won't let me fix her hair anymore. She says, "No, Mama! No, Mama! My heeeeeeeeeeeeer {hair}!!!!" So I have given up. She looks like a wild woman.) I had a moment's panic when I looked in the back and saw the toys sticking out of the back in plain sight.

But since we were running about 15 minutes late, I just let it slide. They didn't notice the toys in the back, so I would take care of it when we got home.

As we were driving, jamming out to our usual Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, I hit a little bump and heard- 

"Ring. Ring. Ring." (That's not exactly right, but it's the sound that all Tinkerbell toys make. A little jingle, if you will.)

I held my breath and gritted my teeth.

"Ring. Ring. Ring."

Chloe and Stella immediately turned their heads looking and asking for Tinkerbell.

This eventually turned into begging and crying for Tinkerbell.


I had two choices.

Show them their Christmas toys or change our tune.

I had no other choice but to change our tune. I turned off Twinkle, Twinkle, and jammed out to a little Florence and the Machine.

I turned up Shake it Out and sang at the top of my lungs.



And while I have to thank her for writing such an awesome song...a song that is really loud and allows me to sing really loud; I don't think her main intent when writing it was to drown out an idiot mother's poorly hidden Tinkerbell toy.

But it worked.

I couldn't help but write my own version... "Drown it out, drown it out, Drown it out, drown it out. Oh! It's hard to drive with Tinkerbell in the back, so drown her out. Oh!" 

That was bad. I promised myself I wouldn't share that. 

But I guess I share everything else. 

At least I wasn't writing about my panties. Right?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Never too late to be thankful.

Nothing excites me more than the craft projects the girls bring home from school. Especially when it has their sweet, little handprints. Awe, I just love it.

So when the girls brought home their Thanksgiving crafts I was nearly bursting at the seams. (Which was clearly last month, and we're almost to Christmas. Whatever.)

And of course, in the true nature of my children, there was something embarrassing and oh, so funny about their Thanksgiving crafts.

I present to you Stella, as a turkey-


So dramatic, and yet, I feel appropriate for the turkey type. Which she totally is. I'm just glad that I'm not the only one she doesn't smile for when a camera is pointed in her face.

And not to be outdone, Chloe's list of things she's currently thankful for-


And there  you have it.

Panties, of all things.

But I guess that we should be thankful for everything. I've been thankful for my panties on many occasions. Especially when I was four months pregnant, living in Chicago, wearing a flowy empire-waist dress on a very blustery day, walking into work, the pathway fully lined with professors and other professionals' windows, right as the workday was beginning and everyone was in their offices or walking on the pathway, and my dress decided to fly up over my pregnant belly and meet me in the face.

I was thankful for my panties.

And I was thankful for the skirt covering my bright red face.

And I'm thankful that no one ever said a thing about it.

And I'm thankful for my girls. That they keep me on my toes. And that in spite of their tendency to make my face turn bright red, that they make me laugh.

That's what life is all about.

It's what makes me very, very thankful.

And only slightly embarrassed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Abs, From all Angles

I'm not one to post pictures of midriffs on my blog, however, I read this awesome snipit in the latest Women's Health and I couldn't keep it to myself.

Here's what it says.

"Planks and crunches are surefire ways to build core strength, but they're not enough to whittle your middle, says a new study. Volunteers did seven different core-strengthening exercises five days a week. After six weeks, they had stronger ab muscles, but they didn't lose fat or inches. To zap body fat, you have to train all of your major muscles groups, which increases your resting metabolic rate so you blast more calories all day long, says study author Sachin Vispute, M.S.Ed., of the University of Illinois at Chicago. To lose the flab even faster, add cardio and watch your diet."

I believe in this whole-heartedly. And this is why in my own workouts and when I'm training clients, the emphasis is on total body strength-training, not ab exercises. In fact, we spend very little time on abs and the time time spent on abs is mainly spent in some variation of the plank. 

And the results are there. 

After having the girls, my abs were pretty obliterated. I mean, you can't blame them. I was pregnant for basically two years. After Stella, I picked up my running mileage and managed to drop most of the weight pretty quickly. But I had a few stubborn pounds and a gut that just kept sticking around. 

Running alone was not cutting it.

My sister passed along this book to me and it changed my body completely. After just a couple weeks of strength training my sister looked at me and said, "Your body is starting to look like it did before you got pregnant." I thought I heard angels singing in heaven. That was the best encouragement ever.

The best thing about the program I followed in the book was the fact that it had very little ab exercises, yet my abs were coming back into shape. Dare I say, somewhat flat. When you place the emphasis on strengthening your entire body, your abs manage to tighten back up.

And while I can't say they're perfect, I can say that the new normal is pretty good.

So my advice, buy the book, follow one of the programs, clean up your diet, lift like a boy and you will see results.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yum.

I had one of those days today. 

A great day. A busy day.  A fun day. A productive day.

But one of those days.

Where you feel like if you spend one more second inside with your children you might combust.

Jason worked late tonight. The second he walked in the door, I made a lame excuse to run to the store.

I needed "groceries".

Mommy really needed a break.

So I went to Crest. Scoured the store for the necessities. As I was headed to pick up milk, Jason called. I answered. And he asked me if I was okay. I said yes, but I just needed to get out of the house for a little bit. He said that he completely understood and that I could take all the time that I needed. He had it all under control.

I stood in front of the milk section and tears came to my eyes. That was quite possibly one of the nicest things he could have said to me. Something I needed to hear. After a few seconds of realizing that I probably shouldn't be wiping away tears in the store (at least my own) I meandered. 

And I meandered right on over to the nut section. I felt a little more at home there.

And I found these babies. 
I figured if I couldn't drown out my day with one of my favorite vices--chocolate covered almonds of any kind--I would drown my tough day with the next best, nutritionally more responsible thing.

After I checked out, I headed to my car, dug the almonds out of my purse, sat in the driver seat, opened the lid and enjoyed the cocoa roast almonds.

I've been praying to God to help me find more balance in my life. To not be so busy. To slow down and really enjoy life with my ever-growing children. I miss blogging. I miss really documenting their lives. But I decided to really hold off with the blog until I felt true inspiration. Never thought I would find it in a canister of nuts. 

I thought that things would get easier as the girls got older...and in many ways that is right, but in many ways I was oh, so wrong. I mean, they have opinions and big personalities and lives that need true shaping.

I don't want to miss out on any of that.

So as I sat there eating my delicious almonds, I decided to head on back home. 

Not because I really, really wanted to, but because I had to.

I had chocolate ice cream in the back seat and I didn't want it to melt.

I never said I was perfect.

Just a little more balanced.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My One and Only Football Post

And really it's not about football. It's about earthquakes. And the earthquake we had last night. 5.6 and I felt it. I was dead asleep when I was woken up by rumbling. I ran through the house and found Jason. He hugged me and I said,

"That's the first one I've ever felt!!!!!"

I was a little excited. 

I forgot about the earthquake until I checked facebook this morning. It made me want to ask, "Was there an earthquake last night? I'm not sure. No one posted about it."

One of my friends had this on their page.

A video of Kirk Herbstreit in an interview during the earthquake.

Now I'm not a huge football fan, but a Kirk Herbstreit fan.

Yes. Yes. and Yes.

Here's the video. (It happens in the first few seconds. Stick through all the football talk to hear his comment at the end. It's really funny.)

 

And for an even better and more hilarious shot. A still of Herb's quake face.

I guess if you're ever going to get me to mention football on my blog it will have to include two things.

Earthquakes.

and

Kirk Herbstreit.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cinderella, Cinderella

Last year, Halloween was simple. The girls were animals. We walked around our street one time (mainly to take pictures), went to a party and then went home and put the grumpy little animals to bed. 

And I think they were asleep by 7:00 PM.

This year, however, it was Halloween full force. Nothing is more exhausting than the number of times we wore our costumes the week before Halloween...to school, to Story Book Forest (except that it was rained out and we never made it), to the Y...and by the time actual Halloween rolled around, the costumes were a bit of a mess. So the majority of the pictures I will post are from their first time wearing their costumes to school.

And yes, they were both Cinderella. It was just easier that way. And that was what they both wanted to be. 

(I miss the fuzzy animal costumes. And the 7 PM bedtime). 

Here's Cinderella.

And Cinderella.

And Cinderella.

And five seconds later. Crazy-haird Cinderella. And her sister who is trying to escape out the front door.

It's amazing how quickly the wheels can come off with these two.

Their costumes survived school, but they did not survive the next trip. As we were getting ready to go to the Story Book Forest that never was, Stella jumped off of Chloe's bed and broke her crown. Not her head. But her princess crown. There was no way to repair and when I went back to the store to look for a replacement, they were all gone. So I had to buy a monstrosity of a crown. And Chloe, being the sweet girl that she is, decided to wear it because she thought it looked so awesome. I didn't have the heart to tell her otherwise. 

Here it is. A couple of girls with a couple of funny head pieces. But by the end of trick-or-treating, Chloe somehow ended up wearing Stella's crown and the big crown was nowhere to be found.

Mysterious.

The girls had a blast trick-or-treating.

Here they are at our Aunt Nancye's house.

And Stella pretty much looked like this the entire time. Not because she didn't want to trick-or-treat, but because she learned that people have dogs in their houses. And nothing scares her more than a dog. 

Not even that scary skeleton, or a guy dressed up as a zombie that jumped out at us or spooks or ghosts or goblins could scare this girl.
Just dogs.

All in all, we had a great night. The girls had a blast. But I don't think that anyone had as much fun as Jason and me. There's nothing like watching your kids experience all the great things that childhood has to offer.

It's the best, right?

For sentimental value, Chloe's first Halloween.

Friday, November 4, 2011

No! Not Again!

 This is how Chloe looks after I take a shower. Let me repeat. When I take a shower. Completely and utterly soaked to the bone. 

I dread taking a shower while they're awake, which is why I try to squeeze one in before they wake up or during naps. But if I have to take a shower while they're awake (and let's just be thankful that I'm showering everyday) it becomes this huge ordeal.

I try to distract them with toys or snacks or Bubble Guppies, but the second they hear the water start running and the shower curtain close, I can hear the pitter patter of little feet. 

Then I hear, "Oh no! Mommy! Nooooo!"

And the shower curtain is ripped open.

And it is freezing and I start feeling a little exposed.

And when I think they're distracted, I slowly creep the shower curtain back closed, only to hear those feet running towards me again with Chloe screaming in the most terrified voice, 

"NO MOMMY! Oh no! Not again!!! Not again!!!!!!!!"

Drama.

And the shower curtain gets ripped open again.

And she gets soaked.

And I'm freezing.

I mean, showers shouldn't be this dramatic. As far as I know, they've never seen me go into the shower and not come back out. I don't think they know about the secret passageway in our shower that leads to a faraway land. I mean, seriously. Girl needs to get a grip.

And her momma needs a shower.

Which we should all be thankful that I'm taking.

Everyday.

I'm so proud.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Even Cinderella Needs a Schedule.

Can I just go ahead and say that I thought that I was going to have to abandon ship (this blog) with this new interface thingy? Confusing! But I think I've figured it out.

Today is Halloween. To the world, it's also the day Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from Kris Humphries (shock) and Jessica Simpson announced she was pregnant (even bigger shock).

But to Chloe and Stella, today is the best day ever. Because it's Halloween. Because they get to dress up and go trick-or-treating. And because they finally understand that Halloween, dressing up and trick-or-treating go together. And it's the best day ever for me because I get to witness their excitement. And mainly it's Chloe's excitement for Halloween and Stella's excitement because Chloe's really excited.

When Chloe woke up this morning, I heard her open her bedroom door, go through the toy cabinet, and walk into the living room. She sat on my lap with her pumpkin, gave me a good morning kiss and hug and said, 

"Mama, I wanna go outside."

"Baby, we can't go outside. It's dark and only 6:45 in the morning and I still need at least 3 more cups of coffee before I would even contemplate such a thing."

"Mama, I wanna get in the car."

"We can't get in the car, Chlo. It's too early in the morning."

After much thought, "Mama, I wanna go trick-or-treating."

"Not until tonight. We have several things to do today before we go trick-or-treating."

"Okay."

For the next hour, repeat the above conversation every five minutes.

So being the brilliant mom that I am, I came up with an even more brilliant plan. I made Chloe a schedule. Now, if I were a super-creative and crafty-type mom, I would've come up with an elaborate, picture-coded schedule with magnets and stickers and bells and whistles and things.

But I ain't crafty.

And you won't want to pin this. But it has worked like a dream.

I present her schedule....

And I know what you're thinking. It's pretty uncreative and not very useful for a 2-year old who can't read. But it has worked. And she's never been more excited to complete the tasks on her schedule. And I've never been so happy to see that my daughter loves a schedule as much as I do. 

And so when this little Halloween fanatic asks when we're trick-or-treating, I just point to her schedule and we count all of the activities until the big event.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Halloween and I can't wait to see pics of all of your kids.You know that I'll post about 652 of mine. And they'll probably all be blurry because I haven't used my camera for a month of Sundays and apparently you have to practice to get great shots. So...I'll be practicing tonight. While my girls are living out their Halloween dreams. "Cinderella with a Schedule" style.

Monday, October 17, 2011

31.

I am 31. Officially. It is my birthday after all.

And it's been a good one.

The celebration started this weekend. All of my family came in town for my birthday dinner and we spent it at Othello's. Good food. Good atmosphere. Great company. 
 

I got about 50 pictures of Stella planting big kisses on her cousin Jack. Can't wait to show them these one day. Maybe on each of their first dates.

Chloe was not into the kissing. Not in the least. She taught him other things. Like ignoring your baby cousin.

And drinking out of a straw. All very important concepts.


 This was our side of the table. A bunch of winners if you ask me. Especially this one.

And these two as well.

After dinner we headed outside and stumbled across a block party. So of course the girls had to dance. 

And dance. (I have to tell you that they each got a set of dance skills from one of their parents. I'll never tell you which one got their dad's acceptable skills and my, well....I don't even know how to explain my dance moves.)

And even little Jack got in on the action. 

We took quite a few group shots and these are the best. I promise. I'm not kidding. Group pictures is really not our thing.

See what I mean? 

But in all honesty, my birthday weekend was awesome. I love being with my family and we had such a blast.

While I had major reservations about turning 30, 31 has been a breeze. I'm happy to be 31. Happy to be right where I am. 

Today has gone great. I knew it was going to be a good one when Chloe and Stella sang me Happy Birthday this morning. The best rendition I've heard yet. I had a nice 6.5 mile run, ate the rest of my birthday cake for breakfast, trained a few clients, spent the afternoon with my girls and I'm about to spend the evening with my guy. Can't beat that.

Here's to hoping for a great year! 


Friday, October 7, 2011

If your Dad is going to teach you to golf.

It's best to do it in a pair of sparkly heels.






At least that's how we do it around here.

I hope all of you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!