Saturday, May 28, 2011

She's Crafty

I decided a while back that there was NO WAY I could keep hanging on to every little craft that Kennedy made. I would if I could because they are all just so precious and she's always so proud, but seriously - I just can't! So I purchased a craft box to save my absolute favorites and I take pictures of all the others before I toss em'. Gasp! I know, I's hard - but it's necessary. I take pictures of my favorites too and then when I create our family Snapfish photo book I can include her artwork in the album.  Here are some of her latest and greatest:

The above totally tickled me - shirt and shoes: done! Glad she's easy to please. Maile is a little friend in her class that she is clearly thankful for.
I am a sucker for anything made with her hands - aren't all Moms? The above and below were both made for Mother's Day. One was made by the MUMS childcare workers and below was made in Sunday school at church. Love it!
She's been bringing me home more and more drawing-esque projects lately. This is a first though - her attempt at a family portrait. So thoughtful...yet a bit humorous.
Apparently I have a giant fang or tongue (whichever you prefer) and when holding Avery I do so by dangling her by an arm - nice! Too funny!

This next item is not one she herself created, rather her teacher Miss Emily did - but it was awarded to Kennedy. Details below

It says: Mr. and Mrs. Taylor,
This picture was the example for a collage we did last week. I didn't want to throw it out and neither did the children. They all wanted to keep it. So, we had a competition, and the child who could write the words the fastest (and correctly) got this as their prize! Kennedy won this price (she is so smart!) I didn't know she could write words until now - we will work on this more now! ;) I hope you are all as proud of her as I am. Miss Emily
Isn't that awesome? I made such a super  huge deal over that. My baby wrote a word! Oh my. I asked her today what word she wrote and she said "bat". She then proceeded to sound the word out and spell it for me. When did this happen? I'm not sure truthfully but I'm proud!

On another subject matter entirely - we've been having a heck of a time with Kennedy waking up at night. In all honesty - Avery sleeps better some nights than Kennedy does and Avery's only 12 weeks old. That's just wrong isn't it? Well...I've been contemplating dropping Kennedy's nap but some days it seems as if she really needs it and so I'm torn. When I can, I try to ensure we've significantly worn her out in the hopes that regardless of what happens at nap time, she'll be ready to go to sleep at night. Enter the glorious contraption my neighbors recently purchased at a yard sale. It's free fun people and bonus: she gets a work out. Clearly - a workout:

I thought today I'd go ahead and tell her she needed to have quiet time but if she didn't fall asleep that was ok. If she gets no midday rest we have a melting ball of emotion by bath time and I cannot handle the drama of that so quiet time must occur! I told her she could sit in her room and watch a movie and I'd come and check on her in a bit. Well of course, I got busy (because the stars had aligned perfectly and Avery was napping too) and by the time I went to check on her this is what I found:
Herein lies my confusion about whether she needs the nap or not.
and don't even get me started on that blasted pacifier!

She spent the remainder of her afternoon helping Daddy do yard work and playing on her play set so my fingers are crossed that we will all sleep well tonight. Tim said when they were in the yard working she was cracking him up. Mainly because she's 3.5 going on 13. I'm not kidding. Even her mannerisms are proof:

Um...she didn't even realize I was taking those people! Heaven help me....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I suppose it was bound to happen....

As you all know - I am an office manager at a veterinary clinic. I am passionate about our clinic and even more passionate about my role in managing it. I have a lot of responsibilities and wear many hats as manager but one of the hats I wear is the "marketing" one.

Because we are a small practice in a somewhat still rural area we don't have tons of funds allocated to marketing; however, it is still something I know to be valuable and important for attracting new clientele.

Several months back, in my peer group of office managers we discussed ways to market our practices in an affordable way. As I'm sure you can imagine, Facebook was one of the things mentioned and they had a ton of ideas on how to creatively use your clinic Facebook clinic's office cat even had a page. Seriously!

I was resistant to creating a clinic page because I myself am not on Facebook and opening up that avenue (not knowing much about it) made me a little nervous. Enter this past months Journal of Veterinary Medicine article regarding having a social network presence in order to communicate more effectively with existing clients as well as appealing to prospective new clients. On the heels of that article came a study done by Bayer Animal Health stating that annual client visits are dropping and most practitioners aren't aware. The study encouraged each practice to do an "inventory" of their client visits which we did and our numbers were in support of the study. kind of was "HIGH TIME" if you will for me to "manage" this need to increase client visits and ensure our current clientele knows how valuable they are to us.

Obviously I wanted to make sure that we did this correctly and as such I ordered a book written by an Office Manager called "Social Media for Veterinary Professionals". Yes people - there is such a book. It is a good book too - I devoured it in one day!

The Author, Brenda Tassava stated the following in one of the early pages of her book: You need to spend some time using Facebook on a personal level before attempting to manage a business profile for your practice. You will need to get used to common social media etiquette and spend several weeks, if not months simply observing, listening, and conversing on a personal level before taking it to the next level. Search out other veterinary practices and "like" these pages in order to stream them into your newsfeed. Search for your local animal shelters, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Associations, and even your state's medical association. You will find most, if not all to already have a presence on Facebook. Search for friends and family members and build your list of Facebook friends, interacting with people with whom you already have relationships before striking them up with existing and potential clients. The more you "practice" social media, the better you will become at communicating in this venue." a result, I officially have a Facebook page people! Now, I would like to address the fact that the reason I was not on Facebook prior to now (personally) was simply because I feared I would not have the time to allocate to it. Would it take me away from my kiddos, would I get too wrapped up in others lives, etc. etc. I can't say yet whether or not those things will occur. I can say that I've gotten a lot of good advice from those who have gone before me which pretty much includes EVERYONE aside from two of my three sisters. So...that's a lot of great advice! Furthermore, to not explore this avenue on a professional level for my clinic is kind of neglecting a potentially very valuable means of communication between us and our clients. It's truthfully an added bonus that I'll actually see pictures of my friends kids now and get to connect with people I've not talked to in ages. I'll know when everyone else knows now that my child's daycare closes due to inclement weather and I'll even be more up to date on my Mom's group happenings and church goings on. It is a MAJOR means of communication anymore - it cannot be denied. To be completely candid, it was getting harder and harder to not be a member. So..for those of you who have said to me "whatever you gotta tell yourself, you're using this whole work/marketing thing as an excuse to finally join the rest of us": well, it surely was a catalyst, you're right about that.

I'm already totally overwhelmed but I'm sure it'll get easier the more familiar I get with it. So...if we aren't already: let's be friends!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


As I mentioned in my last post, hubby was out of town for the weekend. Being alone with the girls (though challenging) wasn't nearly as difficult as I'd anticipated. We did pretty well if I do say so myself. It was pretty much a typical weekend though Kennedy was sick so we were nursing a bit of a cold, which undoubtedly she caught from Avery and I. I'm happy to report we are all well!

Anyhow - there was one extraordinary experience that I thought I should share because it's just too...well....extraordinary not to. Here goes:

Saturday evening I was bathing Kennedy and appropriately enough Avery was refusing to go down for her late nap. After attempting to lay her down twice I "threw in the towel" and grabbed the bouncy seat to place in the bathroom so I could keep an eye on her while bathing her big sister. After I got Kennedy situated in the bathtub with all her toys I walked around the corner to throw her dirty clothes in the hamper and heard the most God awful noise coming from the patio area off the bonus room. I checked on the girls real quick and then headed to see what all the racket was.

OH.MY.WORD Y'ALL.....Kirby (my outdoor stud of a cat) had a baby bird in his mouth and the "Momma and Daddy" WERE NOT HAPPY and were verbally giving him up the road about it! When I realized after a brief moment of shock that they were blue jays and not just your run of the mill mockingbird (who by the way eat Kirby's cat food rather than the bird seed I put in the feeder for them every day and so if he attacks them I say they bring it on themselves..I digress) I went into full out "operation save baby blue jay" mode. Not before taking a minute to process the irony that this was all happening while I had two children in the bathroom (Thank you Lord - your timing is impeccable, could you cut me a little slack here?!?).

I jerked open the patio door and yelled something really appropriate and kind (right, right) to Kirby and he dropped the baby proudly as if to say "man, I am a perfect feline specimen - see my bounty?" Ugh! I pick him up and threw him into the storage closet off the patio. It's a cube of a closet really - barely fitting our mower, but I really didn't give a what. I ran over to look at the baby and y'all - it looked like someone had just picked it gently out of it's nest and placed it on our patio. Great, now what?! The parents (if they could) were using every profane word in their birdie language to let me know how they felt about me and my despicable furry feline. I grabbed Kirby's bed and gently placed the baby on it out of harms way. The parents continued from their perch on the power line to tell me how they felt about me and I'm pretty sure they were also saying " something! Don't leave our baby sitting there." I will be honest with you - had I not thought my neighbor would think me insane I would have verbally defended myself stating "Hi...single parenting...two kids in bath...I hate my cat right now too....back off and ps: Momma...I am so sorry - really I am".

I ran back inside wringing my hands the whole way (so true) and wondering what I was going to do with the bird. My face must have conveyed my worry because as soon as Kennedy saw me walk into the bathroom she said "What is is Mommy"? I'm a dreadful liar so I told her what had happened and she was COMPLETELY INTRIGUED and wanted to know what we were going to do with the baby. She may have asked me that once or five hundred and ninety two times between when I returned to the bathroom and when we were done with bath time all together. I'm not sure - I definitely lost count.

I did a quick internet search and found a seemingly reputable rehabilitation website that recommended you return "fledgelings" (oohhh..don't I sound official) to their nest. So...I moved Avery (poor sweet little neglected Avery) to the bonus room in her bouncy (oh how I love a bouncy....almost as much as I love parenthesis:) and big sister and I went nest searching in our back yard. Nary a nest was to be seen in any of our trees. I even climbed a fence post to look in the neighboring yards as well. Kennedy looked at me like I was the coolest mom EVER when I climbed the fence. Hey, can you blame her? Ha! The Mom and Dad sat on that power line watching me and waiting to see what we would do. No go - couldn't find the nest. Back to bath time - it was Avery's turn. Kirby was still in the closet and baby was still on the bed at this point. I needed more time to think.

With Avery in the tub I used my phone to find that trusty website to see if they had a next step if no nest was to be found and lo and behold they did. They said to recreate a nest and hang it in the closest tree where the fledgling was found. They recommended using a berry container which by God's grace alone I had just discarded earlier that afternoon. Next up: trash can diving. Man, my life is glamorous...not to mention stress free. I finished Avery's bath and placed her back in the bouncy and put Kennedy in charge of "watching sister" as I stuffed the berry container with grass and cotton as advised. Next up: tying it to the closest tree. Did I mention it was raining? Yep...totally raining. Awesome! Thank God for a glass door so I could at least try to attempt to care for my kids while trying to save another mothers offspring. I told Kennedy "stay right by the glass and knock if Avery starts to cry and whatever you do - don't pick her up" to which she replied "why not?" Thank God I threw that in there at the last minute or I may have saved a bird but ended up at the ER with my kiddos. Whew!

I got the nest successfully attached to the nearest tree with the baby bird and Kennedy reported once I was inside that she was a good big sister and that Avery didn't cry but she did smile at her. Sweetness. I put Avery right to bed and then got started on moving Kirby to a more permanent residence. He deserved the mower closet for sure but thankfully for him I'm a tad more compassionate than that. Kennedy was most interested in helping and a big help she was as we got him in an old dog crate in the garage with all the necessary items: food, water, litter, bed, etc. Lights out for Kirby and I was off to get Kennedy aka babysitter aka "helper deluxe" to bed as well.
 How fabulous is that stuffed berry container nest?
 Baby blue jay..."Parrot"
Kirby: the savage beast/hunter behind bars!

We prayed for baby blue jay who she decided then she'd like to name Parrot. A perfectly suited name for a blue jay, don't you think? She wanted to know if we could please check on Parrot first thing after she woke up the next morning and I told her certainly. Little did she know I was just as anxious to see if our "transplant" was successful too.

Well....our transplant was successful and a gentle tapping on the side of Parrot's berry container reassured us that he was indeed alive. When we ventured out into the yard to check on him, a blue jay flew out of the tree, so I assumed at that point that surely the parents had done exactly what the rehabilitation website said - they were taking care of both nests.

Kennedy was so excited that she wanted to call all of my sisters, her Honey and Chelsea to tell them all about it. If nothing else, despite the stress of the situation - clearly it was an experience that was exciting for her.

It rained on and off on Saturday and was cold, but before I went to bed on Saturday I checked on the baby again and he was still moving so I was really hopeful all would be okay.

On Sunday after church and getting both girls down for their afternoon naps I went out again to check on Parrot and I'm sad to report that he was no longer "with us". I'm not sure what happened....was it the weather, a poorly constructed nest, were the parents not actually taking care of it as I thought? Who knows but I felt so bad thinking it may have starved. I've tried to rehabilitate birds before...feeding them around the clock, etc - it is RARELY successful so I'm still glad I gave nature first opportunity. I'm just bummed it wasn't successful. I gently disposed of Parrot and the nest and proceeded to let Kirby out of his "holding tank" since there really was no need to keep him up now. When Kennedy woke up I told her that Parrot died. She was clearly saddened but only momentarily (thank you Lord) and we went on about our day.

About an hour after she woke up and had begun playing I heard the blue jays again and terror struck through me. "Oh no, not again" I thought. I ran over to the patio and much to my dismay the dispicable furry feline struck again! Oh yes......again. That darned cat went straight back to the nest and got himself another baby. He figured 2nd time was a charm I suppose. This time the baby was "gone" before I got to it and when Kirby saw the force with which I was charging him he ran off and rightly so because I was ticked and so, so sad! Poor parents. I know it's just nature and Kirby was/is just operating off instinct but it still stinks! I wish I could've tied this story up with a big happy bow but I can't. I can say it was neat to nurture the little baby and let Kennedy learn from it, even if only temporarily. According to what I've read at this point - Momma and Daddy blue jay will be wiser about where they "nest" next time around. Let's all hope so!

Before we said "good bye" to parrot I had Kennedy tell the story of how we found him. Pretty cute:

Now for some fun and uplifting items, guess who is giggling and squealing?
You guessed it! My sweet Avery Cate.

The Proof:

She's crazy about her big sister and I'm loving it.

Big sister is crazy about her too - don't you wish you could bottle this laugh? I sure do!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Odds and Ends

Last week Kennedy and I were playing in the yard while Avery took a nap. We were swinging and she looked over at me and said "I want to go inside now". Trying to maximize this time we had together outdoors, I asked her if she wanted to do anything else before going inside (thinking tricycle riding or skooter riding) and she said "well, I guess we could play like hide and go seek, ring around the rosie or tag or something. What do you wanna do Momma?" I just stared at her, wondering if I'd blinked and she'd turned 9 or 10 somehow. We've never played any of the aforementioned games together, which is why I was so surprised at those options. Nonetheless, I chose tag so we proceeded with taking turns counting and finding each other. She corrected me after my first turn counting becuase I didn't loudly declare "ready or not, here I come!" before I began my search. Clearly I'm a bit rusty! When it was my turn to hide she promptly shared her feeling about my ability to hide saying "Momma, you're not a very good hider". Personally, I feel that has more to do with the fact that she counts with one eye open rather than my inability to find a proper hiding place but regardless we had a fun time playing. Once we did return indoors, I was making her a snack when she came up next to me and said "here Momma". I looked down and she had her little hand balled up into a fist. I looked at her and said "oh...what do you have" and she said "no" and grabbed my hand and started trying to get me to make a fist. Y'all - my 3 year old wanted to fist bump! Not only did she proceed to fist bump but she then blew it up with the full out sound affect! Seriously! I was crackin' up and asked her to do it again because I couldn't really believe that had just happened. I mean, Tim and I have never done that so she's clearly gotten it elsewhere though I've still yet to determine where.

Fast forward to the next night at the dinner table when she (out of the blue) made the "I'm watching you" gesture. As with the fist bumping incident, I asked her to repeat what she'd just done and she did just in time for me to get it on video and then show you all her fist bumping skeeels too. Too funny! I don't know where she learned either but clearly kids are sponges - she observed and soaked these things up somewhere!

I'd hate for Avery to get less "air time" than Kennedy so here are a couple clips of her talking to her Nana and kicking in her bouncy seat. She's changing so fast! Before you grandma's worry about Avery being cold in the second video clip, let me just reassure you: it was 900 degrees out and she was sweating in her sleeper!

Here is one more picture from our Mother's Day weekend. My girls love their Nana and Pawpaw.

 I am trying really hard since having Avery to get into a new normal routine. On my days off prior to having her, I tried to do one special thing with Kennedy on each off day but it's been hard to do keep up with that. Now that Avery is a bit more predictable schedule-wise I am going to start trying to do that again. So...on Tuesday of this week, Kennedy wanted to go and feed the ducks . Unfortunately the ducks weren't very interested. It was so weird - it's like they were all full or something. I know that sounds crazy, but usually at this particular pond they'll meet you at your door with their mouths practically open and on Tuesday they just kind of stared at us. So...any avian experts out there? Does duck feeding have a season?  

 I think she was so unhappy about them not being hungry that she decided to throw the food AT them rather than TO them. As soon as I noticed that is what she was doing (because I saw bread bounce off the goose's back) I said "Kennedy - if you keep hitting that goose with food he's going to bite you or drag you into the pond". I was teasing her of course just being silly.
 She was amused by the teasing:
 Since Kennedy was little bitty, I have always done so good capturing her "firsts" on film. I can already tell with 2 thats going to be a bit more challenging. I did get Avery's first duck feeding documented though:
 Yesterday was Avery's well check up. She is in the 50% for height, weight and head circumfrence. She's weighing in at a whopping 11 lbs. 12 ounces now. Too bad 0-3 month clothes still swallow the poor child whole - we're getting there though. I'm sure they'll be too small before I know it. She had to get three shots which Kennedy was most upset about. Mommy was pretty upset too. Poor peanut!

Tim is away on a camping trip with my brother-in-laws for the weekend. He was giddy with excitement so I'm sure he'll have a blast. This will be the longest stretch I've "flown solo" with both girls but thanks to Courtney I have some scheduled friend time for tomorrow which I'm looking forward to. As fate would have it, Kennedy got sick last night with Lord only knows what and Avery was crazy fussy after having shots and not enough naptime. Lucky Daddy is missing it all. Isn't that how it always goes? Oh well, sick babies typically want their Mommies anyhow, right? So...we've been home today in PJ's resting and trying to recuperate. Luckily the weather is going to be nasty all weekend so we won't feel like we're missing out on much.

I had to get pretty creative in planning something for Kennedy and I to do today. She enjoyed making home made play dough.

Avery already adores her big sister. Everytime Kennedy talks to Avery she grins. It's the sweetest thing:

Monday, May 9, 2011

In light of the fact that Mother's Day was yesterday I thought I'd share some "motherly" videos I've received via email from non other than my Mothers. Although it's a bit belated I assure it will give you some Monday morning giggles!

The first is from my Momma and once you see it you'll think it even funnier knowing that little tidbit. Mom - I'm not sure where you found this but thanks so much for sending it along! I love Anita Renfroe but hadn't had the good fortune of viewing this until forwarded it to me. Enjoy!

This next video is from my Mother in law and I just love it to pieces. Every time I watch it, I laugh a little more. Being a mom to one baby is so hard and I can't even imagine having double or even triple that. This would make it pretty fun though:

Now for an update on my Mommy-front. After Avery's first week in daycare she got a cold - SERIOUSLY! I felt so bad for her because she had a fever and don't we all hate a child with a fever - they are so pitiful. Luckily her fever broke pretty quickly and she's been rapidly on the mend. Last week was her first almost full week in daycare and she did really good which has helped ease my anxiety a great deal. Wednesday she seemed to figure it out and hop onto her normal routine. When I picked her up she was all smiles that evening and it just did my heart good. Unfortunately kiddie germs are super powered and by Friday I had a full blown sinus infection which I presume was secondary from the cold she shared with me. I'm happy to report that on my 4 out of 5 day treatment with a Z-pack I'm almost back to normal! Yay! We've tackled our first daycare sickness. Fingers crossed that the next is far in the future.

Tim's parents were in town for the weekend because we dedicated Avery yesterday at church. We weren't the only ones who dedicated a child - 28 babies were dedicate yesterday. That's right - 28! What a wonderful experience to have and share with them on Mother's Day. She did great during the service and even made it through an insanely long wait and lunch at a Mexican restaurant.

We were so happy to have Tim's Dad with us for the service. Because he's a pastor it's hard for him to get away. We always love having his Mom in and it was extra special to have them both. Here are some pictures taken during and after the dedication.

 Elizabeth kindly stayed after to snap some pictures for us and I couldn't resist getting another of these buddies in their Sunday best: