Friday, March 26, 2010

Birthdays Are Forever

What can I say?? Priceless!



We have this rule in our house that your birthday lasts until your birthday balloon hits the floor. This is a rule that Kevin made up. One very important thing to remember is that KEVIN MUST ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAVE A BIRTHDAY BALLOON!! I didn't get him a balloon one year, and I will never live it down. Funny thing is, this rule obviously doesn't apply to me because I don't get balloons on my birthday. Huuuummmm. That doesn't seem fair, does it?

Well, Olivia has adopted this rule as her own. Her balloons go where she goes, and she has a lot of balloons. This one is holding on strong! At this rate, we'll be celebrating her first birthday right through Christmas! And then when Kevin's birthday comes in June, this process will start all over again. What will I do with these two?? Only time will tell!

Sincerely,
Leigh

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Follow-Up for "Definitely, Maybe"

Allison, Randy, Sarah and Bradley made it to South Carolina. It wasn't the smoothest trip ever--let's just say that one baby boy peed on Allison's pillow when he was getting a diaper change--but they all made it home in one piece! The icing on the cake is that they were able to be here for Olivia's party. They'll be leaving on Saturday which doesn't give us a whole lot of time to spend together before they hit the road again.

It really is unfortunate that Kevin and I live so far apart from our families. Sarah and Olivia are 6 months apart, Bradley and Olivia are 10 months apart, and Anna (our niece that is Kevin's oldest brother's youngest daughter--did you get all that??) and Olivia are only 5 weeks apart. Olivia has all these great playmates, but we all live states apart from each other. Sad.

There's something to be said about growing up in a small town where all of your extended family lives, too. I have such fond memories of growing up with my cousins. I rode bikes through the woods and back-and-forth on Cavins Road with Gina. Went swimming on Wednesdays with Kaci, Tara, Gina, Randy and Allison at the Leek's (or Leak's??) house during the summers. You know how swimming makes you have to pee a lot?? We would always get out of the pool and pee behind this one bush when we had to go!! I bet we killed it! We had countless spend-the-nights at Aunt Phoebe's house where we played dress-up (Aunt Phoebe had the best jewelry and high-heel shoes!) and we would lay out sleeping bags in the living room and watch Young Frankenstein.

Then, of course, there's the Knight cousins, Wayne and Andrew. It was always the two girls--Allison and me--against the two boys--Wayne and Andrew. I always wanted to watch Sesame Street and Mister Rogers after school, but Wayne wasn't having it! He forced me to watch He Man, so I would cry and pout--I hated all that boy stuff. And Allison and I would force Andrew to play Ken and Barbie with his GI Joe men. He would cry and pout. Oh, what fun times!!

So, I'm glad that Sarah and Olivia will have a few days to play together and make memories together. Here's some pics of their time together at Nana and Papa's this past Sunday.


Sarah and Olivia reading stories.





The two girls playing outside.




Mr. Bradley. This is what Bradley did the whole day!!


Sincerely,
Leigh

Olivia is ONE!!

I've really been slack in my lack of postings recently. Last week was a whirlwind with all the preparations for Olivia's birthday party on Saturday. Here's some pics of all the fun!


This is Olivia blowing out her candle on her cupcake. She didn't eat a bite of it.

Opening presents. She got sooo many precious things!

Here's Kaitlyn and Megan checking out all the fun!


Kristina thinking, "I missed my soccer game for this??"
Kris, you're such a good aunt!

Nana, Olivia and cousin Sarah.
Nana needs more hands!

I'm realizing now that we didn't get nearly enough pictures of the party. I actually wanted to get a group shot of everyone that came, but somehow that didn't happen. Time flies when you're having fun!

At least we got a shot of Papa's bald head!
Classic!

Thank you to everyone for making Olivia's first birthday such a spectacular day!

Sincerely,
Leigh

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This Time Last Year

Here's my peanut. Olivia's first birthday is just one week away. Where does the time go??

I was thinking about what life was like at this time last year. First of all, I was huge and miserable!! I didn't sleep--couldn't sleep. By 3:00 every afternoon my feet were swollen to the size of my head (bigger, actually.) Uuuuggghh. I waddled. Oh how I waddled. And my stomach rolled with this little munchkin inside cutting her back flips!

Kevin and I sometimes ask each other what we did before Olivia. We must have been really bored! I mean, what was there to do?? Stare at each other?? Now our time is filled with crawling around chasing a little girl, reading stories about Mickey Mouse, having tea parties and singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Life is certainly more hectic these days, but it's also much fuller.


Sincerely,
Leigh

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Definitely, Probably



My sister and brother-in-law and their two children are coming home next week! YEAH!! Well...they're "definitely, probably" coming home. That's what my sister, Allison, said when she told me about their travel plans a few weeks ago over the phone. The "definitely" is because they are definitely making the plans to come. The "probably" is because they will probably chicken out and stay at home. See, they live in Texas, and will be traveling with Sarah, my niece, who's 18-months old and Bradley, my nephew, who's 6-weeks old. 1,000 miles and 16 hours is a big road trip for two babies.

So far, they haven't chickened out!! And it's a good thing because I told Allison yesterday that if she doesn't bring that baby (Bradley) home I'm going to have to come get him because he is sooo darn cute!

I haven't officially met Bradley yet. Sarah was born in SC, so I was able to be there when she popped out! But Bradley was born in TX, so I haven't even held him. Not once. Allison and Randy (my bro-in-law) are really good about sending Flips and pics, but it's just not the same as the real thing. Oooooooo! I can't wait to EAT HIM UP!

And then there's Sarah who is just such a big girl now. She's so grown up. She calls me "fun Aunt Leigh." (Well, to be honest, that's what I force her to call me!) We do fun things together. I let her do what she wants. Hence the name.

I'm counting the days to see them all! Drive safe!

Sincerely,
Leigh

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

YUMMMMM!

This is GOOOOOOD! The recipe is from the March 2010 edition of Southern Living. It's called Oven Chicken Risotto. The recipe calls for deli-roasted chicken and fresh basil which I tweaked a little. Deli-roasted chicken doesn't agree with Kevin's stomach (and we'll leave it at that) so I used chicken breast. I cubed it and cooked it in a little olive oil and seasoned it with seasoning salt, pepper and dried basil instead of fresh. It was still scrum-diddly-umptious! You should make this!

This is the disaster after cooking. I've said before that I'm not in love with my kitchen, and this is why--THERE IS NO ROOM!! I like to spread out when I'm cooking, and this kitchen doesn't lend itself to spreading out. I tend to try to do everything all at once when I'm cooking. I'm seasoning chicken, cooking risotto, chopping cucumbers and carrots for the salad and steaming peas, and this, all of this, is going on simultaneously! My only saving grace is that Kevin was on clean-up!

Olivia helped. She's such a big help. It's very important to have metal bowls banging on a tile floor as you cook. That's my girl--always lookin' out for her mommy!

Sleeping, Sweet Little Feet

I love these sweet, little feet. I'm more obsessed with Olivia's feet now that I was when she was a baby-baby. I'm not sure exactly why.

After her baths, I rub lotion on her feet while she lays on her changing table snuggled in a towel. I lightly rub across her toes--just enough to tickle a bit. She smiles and laughs. This is one of the few times these days that I catch a glimpse of a "baby." She's such a big girl! That's why I peeked in her room and took this picture--her feet are crossed like a baby's, and I know her "baby" days are numbered.

Sincerely,
Leigh

The Biltmore House Conservatory

I wanted to share more about mine and Kevin's trip to Biltmore. We tried to do and see things that we haven't done or seen in the past. This trip we didn't even go in The House because we were just there a short time ago--in October for our 5-year anniversary--and took a very thorough tour inside.

We did visit the conservatory. We hadn't been there in many years, plus it was frigidly windy outside, and the conservatory offered a warm escape from the wind. (I didn't know hurricane- force winds could strike the mountains!)


A sweet little "nook" inside the conservatory. Hyacinth were blooming. I love hyacinth!

Once inside I forgot all about the winter blahs! It's like being in a lush garden on a mild summer afternoon. It cured my spring fever (if only for a moment!)

Oooohh...tulips. I love tulips (even more than I love hyacinth.)

Tulips mean spring to me. They make me happy. They remind me of Easter Sunday as a child. We (my sister and cousins and I) used to hide Easter Eggs inside the blooms at Granny and Papa's house.

It's most definitely worth the short walk from The House to the Conservatory. You kinda forget where you are. It's like being instantly transported to a tropical island. You certainly forget that you're in the mountains...in the winter...in the cold! What a wonderful, wonderful place!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Biltmore House



Kevin surprised me with a trip to one of my favorite places ever--The Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. This was my birthday present, and it couldn't have been better. If you've never been, GO! Pictures just don't do it justice. We normally go every year in the fall. In fact, we were trying to remember just how many times we've been, but it's obvious that we've lost count. This was our first time visiting in the winter. I would say that there are definate pluses and minuses going in the dead of winter.

Plus: You have the place to yourself! Not many people want to brave the mountain winters to visit the Biltmore House. You can truly take your time and soak up all the beauty and history without the hustle and bustle of crowds.
Minus: Everything is gray. You can't get the sense of the lush beauty of the Estate in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees and no flowers in bloom.

I never get tired of the Biltmore House. I even said that to Kevin as we were driving up to the house. "This never gets old!" When time travel becomes possible, I want to travel back to 1900 and be a guest of George and Edith Vanderbilt in the Biltmore House. I want to travel to Asheville by train. I want Mr. Vanderbilt to send a horse and carriage to the depot to fetch me and my things. I want to dine in the Dinning Room and retire to the study. I want to sleep in one of the exquisitely appointed guest rooms. I want to experience The House when it was a "home."