Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I have very few pictures of the kids and I, mostly because I'm always the one taking the pictures.

So, I asked Ryan to take a few pictures of us, none turned out that great, but at least I have picture documentation that Luke and Aubrey do indeed have a mother.

Aubrey doing a little blogging of her own

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mr. Chatterbox

Luke has become quite the chatterbox lately.

Most of the time he talks in complete sentences
and loves to ask questions.

Although he's a fairly accomplished conversationalist,
he still mispronounces several words
and all his "L's" sounds like "W's".

I've been taking notes of some of my favorite things
that he says:

"Mommy, watch Cars on the pooder(computer)"

He says the word "pooder" at least 10 times a day and I love it every time...this might also be an indication that I am on the computer a little too often during the day.

When Aubrey is crying, sometimes he will go over to her, crouch down to her level and softly say,
"what's wrong, Aubrey, what's wrong?".
He's such a sweet big brother...most of the time.

Luke is NOT a fan of eating, mainly just at mealtimes
when he has to eat something nutritional.

Lately when I tell him dinner's ready, time to come eat, he responds, "No, mommy, not time for dinner...
maybe way-ter(later)".

On the rare occasion that Luke is actually excited about eating, I've heard him exclaim, "It's tasty! I wike(like) it!"

We've started teaching him his full name (well sort of, technically his full name is Christopher Luke Sparks, but that's a bit much for a 2 year old to remember).

Last week at dinner Ryan was asking him to say "Luke Sparks" and Luke repeats it, then looks around the table pointing at each of us and saying,
"Aubrey Sparks, Daddy Sparks, Mommy Sparks".

Anytime we are getting ready to go somewhere, I tell him where we're going and try to make it sound as exciting as possible, even if we're just going to the post office, and he almost always responds with, "Oh BOY, that'd be FUN!".
(We're still working on our contractions)

We've been very serious about teaching him to stay out of the street, so anytime we're outside near a street, he says,
"Don't go street, that's dane-drous(dangerous)!".

Luke LOVES all things cars, trucks, machinery,
basically anything with wheels.

A couple of months ago when we were at the library Luke checked out a book about tractors and was mesmerized by it.

He wanted to read it at least 20 times a day, and he would sit very still as I read about any and every kind of tractor you could imagine, many of which I had never heard of, like combine harvesters, cotton & rice strippers,
crawlers, and seed drillers.

About a week after we'd been reading the tractor book we were in the car and out of no where he shouts, "combine harbester!" (sometimes his "v" sounds like "b").

Now he can point to each kind of tractor
and tell you what they are.

One day last week when Ryan was getting ready to leave for work Luke asked him where he was going and Ryan responds that he's going to work, so he can bring home the bacon.

This morning as we were sitting at the table eating our breakfast, Luke sees Ryan leaving in his car and proudly announces, "Daddy's goin' get bacon!".

My most favorite thing Luke says is at bedtime.

After we read our Bible story and say our prayers he says,
"I wuv you Mommy!"
and my heart melts every time!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Lazy Saturday mornings are the best!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fashions of Easter's Past, Part I

With Spring in the air and Easter just around the corner, I started thinking about Easter fashions, specifically the
Easter fashions that my sisters and I sported.

Although my mom was a tomboy at heart (she grew up with two brothers), and instilled many of those tomboy traits in each of her 4 daughters, she always made sure that every Sunday her girls were dressed in frills from head to toe.

Easter, being the mecca of frilly holiday apparel, was her chance to adorn us in more lace, bows, bonnets, and
smocked dresses than you can imagine.

As I was reminiscing, I began to go through some old
Easter photographs and compile a list of things that were
essential to an Alfano girl's Easter outfit:

1. Bonnets are a must...the bigger, the better

Close up of the above dress (sans bonnet),
2. Smock is highly encouraged, along with
a very bright & colorful bracelet

3. Your bloomers must be color coordinated
with your smock and your hair bows

4. You need to match your smock with your cousins' smock,

And finally, Easter Fashion Couture

6. Make sure your hair is rolled Saturday night
with sponge rollers

7. You need a hand made white flowered "halo"
to help your curly poof lay down

8. Ruffled socks assure that even
your ankles look fashionable

9. White, lacy dress must come with puffy sleeves

10. The Easter look is NEVER complete without
white lace gloves

While some may think that this look is a little "over the top",
I think we looked adorable...
for the late '80s/early '90s anyways.

Now if you talk to Anna or Kathleen they might have a totally different opinion on our attire :)

I'm sure my youngest sister, Jeri, isn't saddened in the least that she came along years later when the rest of us
were too old to wear so many frills.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cozy Coupe

A couple of weekends ago, before we had yet another freezing cold spell, the weather was perfect for Luke to get outside and take a drive in his Cozy Coupe.

We had one of these cars growing up, but I never remember
it having such a fancy name, we just called it
the red & yellow car.

My sisters & I received our red & yellow car
for Christmas circa 1989

Little Tikes has made several upgrades to the coupe
since our days of riding it.

First of all, the days of just the plain red & yellow Cozy Coupe are long gone, you can now get a
Ride & Rescue, Tikes Patrol, or Princess Cozy Coupe.

In addition, there have been numerous
cosmetic improvements made to both
the inside & outside of the coupe.

The new coupe has eyes & a smile, which were missing from the original version, who knew it was necessary
for a toddler car to have a face?!

Our coupe wasn't furnished with a door lock and cup holders, so if we wanted to keep intruders out of the car or have a cool drink of water, we were simply out of luck.

We also missed out on the yellow removable floor for the younger toddlers/babies; if we weren't old enough to use our own legs to make the car go we actually had to lift our feet up off the grown so some one could push us,
you can only imagine how difficult that was ;)

A new feature the coupe has that I, as a parent, really enjoy
is the handle on the top of the car,
so I can easily push Luke around.

Aubrey is able to enjoy riding in the coupe
because of the nifty removable floor

My mom said this is the way that we used
to ride the coupe...on the hood

Luke enjoys riding in the coupe, but his favorite thing
to do is put gas in it.
He would fill up on gas after each ride up & down the driveway, the Cozy Coupe must get terrible gas mileage!

Ryan took the kids outside again today...

Aubrey drove the coupe
Luke rode his tractor

Then they had a little race

Aubrey only suffered a slight whiplash from the crash :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tournament Weekend in Pictures

Aubrey & Kellen getting pumped up
about their first tournament
The youngest wildcat fan to ever attend a tournament

Bigg with Luke and Aubrey

Mama and Luke

Granny, Kellen, & Holly...Kellen was in mid-cheer
when he fell asleep

Reagan's baby sister, Stella
Because I couldn't resist including a few more pictures
of Aubrey & her pretzels

This is for me?!?

I was so glad we beat Tennessee, so we didn't have to hear Rocky Top one more time!

Somehow Parker was able to take her naps during the games

It takes a manly man to wear a sleeping baby

The championship game was a bit nerve-racking,
to say the least

Bigg & Mama with all their grandkids

Aubrey got to ride home in a big girl carseat,
she thought she was the "stuff"

Cheering for the wildcats all weekend long
really wears you out!

Monday, March 15, 2010

UK Wildcat Fan Top 10

We returned home last night from a wildcat weekend of fun
in Nashville at the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament.

Ryan's family has long held the tradition of taking their
family vacation every year in mid-March
at the SEC basketball tournament.

Being from the heart of college football country I never really had much interest in basketball,
whether it was pro, college, high school, or little league,
they all seemed pretty boring to me... until about 6 years ago
when I attended my first SEC basketball tourney.

Much to my surprise I not only enjoyed watching
11 basketball games in 4 days,
but I really got into cheering for Kentucky!

When you find yourself in an arena that holds about
22,000 people and 21,563 of them are
wearing royal blue and shouting C-A-T-S,
you can't help but cheer along with them!

I know I'm supposed to be an Auburn fan, but
down on the plains we don't really care that much
about basketball, so I figured it would be ok for me to cheer
for the wildcats during basketball season.

If you've lived a basketball-sheltered life and don't know much about Kentucky basketball, let me just say that their men's basketball program has just as much legacy,
if not more, than Alabama's football program.

Kentucky is number 1 on the all-time wins list, has 7 national championship titles, countless SEC championship titles,
and one legendary coach, Adolf Rupp.

UK wildcat fans are just as numerous, just as dedicated, and many times just as crazy as Crimson Tide fans.

As a matter of fact, while we were at the tournament this past weekend I began to take mental notes of the many
out of the ordinary things we, as Kentucky fans, were doing
in the name of UK basketball.

I compiled my notes into a top ten of sorts, I'm calling this the Top 10 Ways You Know You're An
Over The Top Kentucky Wildcat Fan

10. You started planning for this year's tournament 51 weeks ago (the week after last year's tournament).

9. Your father-in-law(who lives in Indiana) gets up way before the rooster crows, drives 5 hours
to Birmingham to pick up you and your kids,
then turns around and drives 3 more hours to Nashville
in order to make it to the first game by noon.

8. Each member of your family has more than enough
UK attire for all four days of the tournament,
and included in our Kentucky paraphernalia are
monogrammed hats, blue and white bows,
wildcat tattoos, and a Kentucky diaper bag.

7. You teach your toddler how to play games on an iPhone,
so you can be left alone to watch the game.

6. You buy your 8 month old a soft pretzel in order to
keep her occupied until at least half time.

5. When you go out for a celebration dinner after a tournament game victory, you cram 20 people
into a 15 passenger hotel van.

4. You wear a shirt to the game that says
"In Kentucky We Like Our COUSINS"
(DeMarcus Cousins is one of the stars of the team)

3. So as not to leave out any member of the family, you cram 21 people (including 3 babies, 2 toddlers, & one 8 year old) into 15 stadium seats for the championship game.

2. During said championship game you change your toddler's diaper in your seat during a time out so
you won't miss one second of the action (or annoy
the rest of your row by climbing over them to exit).

And the number one way you know that you are indeed
an over the top UK Wildcat fan...

1. You bring your 3 week old newborn to the
fun filled tournament weekend!

Not only did baby Kellen come to Nashville, but he took his first airplane ride to get to the tournament and
he attended (slept through) most of the games!

The brackets are set for the Big Dance (National Tournament), games start Thursday,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Random February Happenings

February was a busy month with our trip to Houston, Valentine's Day, and Birthdays, so I didn't have time to post about our snow days and a few other random things.

With the 70 degree weather we had today, it's hard to believe that it was snowing just a couple of weeks ago

All Luke wanted to do in the snow was ride his tractor

Aubrey enjoying the snow from the comfort of her swing
There's something about nature covered in snow that really makes me pause and think about how beautiful God's creation is

All the freezing February weather called for lounging around the house in our warm footed pj's until at least lunch time

I had to include this picture of Aubrey...
because it reminded me so much of this picture of Luke
I haven't thought that they looked anything alike until recently and especially when I look at these two pictures

Monday, March 8, 2010

Adventures in Houston

We had a great time in Houston visiting
Uncle Andy, Aunt Holly, Parker, & new baby Kellen.

While Aubrey and I were helping out Aunt Holly with baby Kellen, Uncle Andy took Parker & Luke on a toddler tour of Houston, I'm pretty sure they visited every fun kid thing
that Houston has to offer.

First, they went to the park and did some
climbing, sliding, and swinging

Next, they went to the zoo (they actually went the the zoo twice during our visit)

Taking a milk break inside the fish tank...the zoo has a tunnel that goes inside the fish tank and you can see
the fish swimming all around you.

Then it was off to the children's museum where they:

Drove & sat on the engine of an old mustang

Did some grocery shopping

and performed a puppet show

And of course the kid tour of Houston wouldn't be complete without some souvenirs...
rolling animal back packs from the zoo

Uncle Andy also took us to this place called Stomping Ground, it was a huge indoor playground for the kids and a coffee shop for the adults! I thought it was an awesome place, the kids played while we had sipped on lattes!

I'm pretty sure Uncle Andy wins the award for
the most fun uncle of the year!

Aubrey's big adventure in Houston was
trying broccoli for the first time
Although you may not be able to tell from her expression,
she really did like it and cried when I took it away!

After a long adventurous day, the kids were happy to relax in front of the TV and watch some Mickey Mouse

Welcome Baby Kellen, we're so glad to have you in the family!