Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Birthday wishes

In our family, we have a birthday almost once a month. It was Courtney's birthday last year that Jilly kinda got the whole "I have a birthday, and I get a cake and presents" idea behind a b-day party. At Jeff's dinner back in March, Jilly asked when her birthday was, and we told her it was right after Uncle Bubba's. And now that we have been talking about Russell's b-day dinner, Jilly has been reminding me that "my happy birthday party is next", and has been asking for random things for her b-day. The best was one day last week. We were driving back from Gra-ma's house, and there is a brick building in between the McDonald's and the Cactoctin Auto sales. Jilly said to me "I want those ponies for my happy birthday, OK Mommy?" It took us a few times of driving by this same spot and her saying the same thing before I finally got what she was trying to tell me. In front of this building (I think it might be a bank...I really have no idea!) there are 4 yellow posts that all have horse heads on them. They remind me of on old hitching post from a western know, something to tie your horse to. And now whenever we pass it, all I hear is "Pwease Mommy, I can have those ponies for my happy birthday?" I love the way this kid thinks...just cause it's her b-day, she should get what ever she asks for...oh, if only it were that simple.

I almost forgot!

OK, so blame it on being pregnant and hormones, or the lack of sleep as of late, but I forgot to let you all know about Courtney's report card. She had the best report card since receiving letter grades in 4th grade. For the first time ever she earned an A in math (which is quite an accomplishment, due to the fact that she inherited my "math allergies"). She worked very hard this semester, and it showed when she came home with an A in every subject, and a B in history. Jeff and I are so incredibly happy and proud of how hard she has worked. As with anything we do, it's not about the grade (or ribbon) but the hard work you put into something. We have always told her that as long as she tries her best, and asks for help when she needs it, that we are always proud of her.

We have always done something special when she makes the honor roll. In 4th grade, every time a report card came home and she had all A's and B's, we would take her and a friend to Chuck-E-Cheese for a night of games. That seemed to get boring for her, so we decided that if she could make the honor roll for all of last year, she could pick a friend and go to Six Flags. (She and Macy had an absolute blast, we got there about 10 am, and left about 9 pm!) So now we have to decide if we do that again, or go in a different direction.

There is talk about getting her a new cell phone (right now it is just talk and she has no idea) (it's more a necessary evil than anything else in my opinion) if she can keep A's and B's for this last report card of the year. Seeing as how we are doing mostly SOL review at this point, as long as Bug still works hard, I don't think she'll have any problems at all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sorry, I forgot

I forgot to let you all know that Cooper finally got the hang of crawling forward! She is so proud of herself, and I really think it won't be long before she is walking. She pulls herself up on anything she can get her hands on, and loves to stand. Jilly started walking with in the week after her 1st birthday, my guess is that Cooper will be walking before that. Who knows...I'm not trying to compare the two, I'm just trying to give everybody a reference.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Horse show

Courtney went to another horse show this weekend, and she did a great job. In Pleasure she got one ribbon out of the 3 classes (it was a blue ribbon and there were 21 kids in the class!). Most importantly, she learned a few good lessons. Fay explained to her why she did not pin in the other 2 classes, and it was things Courtney wasn't aware of. I love that we now have a trainer who explains what was wrong and how to fix it (and in a way that makes Courtney feel good about herself) and there is never any yelling. (We love you Fay!!)

Moving on to Short Stirrup, there were 16 kids in that class, and she took 4th in the flat class. Then she and Moose did a warm-up jump round, and it was picture perfect. Then they went around for the first judged jump round, and things started to fall apart. They went for the first jump, and Courtney was off her game a bit (keep in mind that by this time of the day it was about 90 degrees, and she was very hot). She sat up a little early, and when she does that Moose won't take a jump, and you can tell when they are about 5 steps away from the jump, so he refused. They took another pass, and he refused the second time because she got up too soon again. They go for it a 3rd time, and she sat and they went over, and also cleared the other 3 jumps for the round. For the second judged jump round, they went wonderfully and took first place in the class (again keep in mind that there were 16 kids in the class). Because of the good flat class and the great second jump round, they won Reserve Champion for the division.

In my personal opinion, I think that Courtney puts a lot of pressure on herself to win ribbons (we have always told her we are there to have fun, and ribbons are a bonus for hard work). As much as she hates when I say this, she is her mother's almost any decision I make, it comes down to "Am I going to disappoint anyone with the decision that I am about to make?" We are both people pleasers, and we put too much pressure on ourselves to perform up to other peoples standards. Enough about Courtney's and my personalities, it's time for bed and get ready to start another week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Well, our Little Miss Cooper went to the Dr yesterday for her 9 month check up. I have to say, I was wrong about how much she weighed...we all guessed at least 20 lbs, but she was only 19lbs 8 ozs. Dr Moore is very happy with how she is growing, she has 2 teeth fully out, and at least one more working it's way down from the top. She has figured out how to crawl forward now (she was going backwards and to her left for over a month). He wants her to have 3 meals of "food food" as Jilly calls it, with having meat twice a day (I thought that was going to be impossible, but Dr Moore said to mix it with fruit...and boy does she love it!) and more of the finger puffs and wagon wheels to fill in the gaps. She is 27 inches long, which puts her in the 50th percentile. Well, I think that fills everybody in on how Coop is doing, Jilly will go back next month for her 3 year...I wonder if by then Cooper will out weigh Jilly?!?!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blowing off steam

After a very long weekend, it was no surprise that all the girls needed to blow off some steam. They got into the left over face paint and went to town. Piper painted Courtney to look like a Dalmatian, Courtney then painted Lexi to look like an American flag, and gave Carlee some flowers on her cheeks. It was nice to see them just being kids after a long day of trying to impress the grown-ups.


Courtney got to ride in the Demonstrations that were put on by the Sunny's Corner Show Team during the Open House. She rode Moose around and jumped him to show how the Short Stirrup divisions in a horse show work. She had a great time riding, and was a HUGE help on Saturday cleaning up around the barn.

Paint A Pony

At the Sunny's Corner Open House on Sunday there was a pony named Joey that the kids could "paint" (the kids really just used washable markers to draw on Joey), and everybody had a blast. By the end of the day Joey looked like he was the "horse of a different color" talked about in The Wizard of Oz!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Outdoor fun

A nice afternoon with no homework for Courtney means only one of two things...pony barn or play outside. Well, we ended up blowing some bubbles in the front yard. It was about 4 when the girls headed out, and they didn't come in until 6:30. I played with them for a while, but then I headed in to do some dishes and make dinner. Cooper sat on a blanket in the front yard for a while, but really loved watching and soaking up the bigger girls blowing and catching bubbles. Oh, how I love the warmer weather.

Baskets, and hunting

The girls loved their baskets...well most of them. Jilly learned that she only likes certain types of candy, and lollipops are not what she likes! But she did enjoy the Hello Kitty that was in her basket. Cooper has really enjoyed all the toys, rattles and teething chewies that were in her basket. But Courtney...MAN! Did her face light up when she saw that cupcake decorating kit with cake mix and icing!!! She really loves to cook and bake, and she immediately asked if she could bake some cupcakes for Jilly's birthday. (I sometimes wonder if I can keep her this selfless and generous and kind-hearted for the rest of her life, cause in my opinion there aren't enough people like her in the world!)

We then turned our attention to finding our eggs that the Easter Bunny hid, and no matter how easy you think it's going to kids are many wonderful things, observant is NOT one of them. It took a good half an hour for them to each find a dozen eggs (and that was with getting A LOT of help from us!) That Easter Bunny is very tricky, he even hid one of Courtney's eggs on a picture frame on the wall.

As promised...

Every year we have dyed our Easter eggs. Well this year (thanks to an OOPS on my part) Jilly dyed hers, and Courtney painted hers. I got Jilly's because the kit had Princess stickers to put on after dying, and Courtney's was a glitter kit (but I didn't pay close attention to the fact that it was paint, but she liked it as much if not more than the dying...but she did use some of Jilly's left over dye on a few of her own!)
It was much easier this year because Jilly understood a little more what to do and was much easier to give directions to. She was able to do it all on her own (which is a little sad for the Mommy, she's not even 3 yet and so independent), and she had so much fun showing all of us the color as it was coming out of the glass. Courtney just kinda sat there, deep in concentration while she painted (I love watching my kids be crafty and creative I'm really looking forward to this summer when we get to sit down together and do fun crafty things, that is if Courtney isn't living out at the barn!!)

After a bath (more for a distraction while her eggs dried) Jilly got to put on her Princess stickers. A fun evening was had by all, and next year I'm sure Cooper will have her hands dirty in the dye as well!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

busy busy busy

I am terribly sorry that I have yet to get Easter pics up yet, but I am helping with an Open House for the Barn that Courtney rides at, so what little free time I've had recently, has been spent helping Fay get ready for this big event.

I promise that by this time next week (at the latest) I will have you all caught up with Easter and everything in between!

Friday, April 10, 2009


And here we thought that Jilly was a quick study, but it seems that Cooper just might have beaten Jilly to the "mimicking" stage. I was feeding Cooper the other day, and I was saying "hi" to her and waving, and now she will say hi (even though it sounds more like just 'I') and wave her little hand. If this is any indication of her learning speed, she and Jilly just might be graduating together!

Warm weather fun

The weather was just too beautiful to stay inside. We hit the playground at Ida Lee. It's great because we get to park at Gran-ma and Pop-pop's house, hit the bathroom, and walk to the swings. That is after all THE only reason to go...if you ask Jilly. We must have sat on the swings for a good 45 minutes. The different slides only interested us for
maybe 5 minutes, and then it was back to Gran-ma's for a
quick snack, and back home for some home-made "tac-tos" according to Jilly that's how you say tacos. It was a great afternoon, the girls had fun, got rid of some energy, and Jeff and I had a few minutes to catch up without being interrupted.

Bartell Curse

As most of you already know, my maiden name is Bartell, my Daddy is Ray Bartell...but there is not a drop of Bartell blood in my veins. This is the biggest support for nurture vs. nature. There are some things that we consider "Bartell family traits". When we eat cereal, we pour the cereal in the bowl, then pour lots of milk, and once the cereal is gone you keep pouring more until you have used up all the milk. Another trait is when we are concentrating we stick out tongue out one side of our mouth. This is something I picked up years ago from my daddy, Bug has done it for ever, Jilly does it from time to time, and now Cooper is carrying on the tradition.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Girly time!

Today, we went up to Chantilly and met Gran-ma and Aunt Amber for lunch at Red Robin. When Jilly found out we were going to Gran-ma's work for lunch, she about jumped out of her skin! The food was great, all 3 girls were well behaved (Jilly had a few "not listening" moments while waiting for her food, but nothing major), and everybody had a wonderful time. I have to say, I love my family...all of them, but sometimes it's nice to be "just the girls"! :o)

Results of the horse show

Courtney and Moose had a fantastic day at Sandstone on Sunday. In the short stirrup division (jumping over fences) she placed 2nd, 2nd and 1st, and won Reserve Champion. In the pleasure division, she placed 1st, 1st and 2nd, and won Champion. She was only in 6 classes, and placed in all six (the smallest class was 13 riders) and of those she placed no lower than 2nd. Courtney, Moose, and Fay make a great team, and I think the three of them have a bright future ahead of them.

Baking with the girls

I just love spending time in the kitchen with my girls. Yesterday we made "just because" cupcakes (Jilly even got to dip some in sprinkles!). Two weeks ago we made "Daddy's happy birthday cake" and, yep, you guessed it...Jilly added sprinkles to it. Jilly even took a stab at spreading the icing on the cupcakes, but she found that she preferred scooping and plopping the icing and left the spreading to Courtney and me.

Courtney is a great little chef. She can chop, dice, saute, and bake on her own. She never hesitates to ask a question, and she is just like a sponge when it comes to soaking up new info and techniques.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Happy (early) birthday

Aunt Sara, Uncle Billy, and Blake took Jilly with them to see Dora Live in DC today (it was for their birthdays). I was very happy that Jilly and Blake had a great time, and didn't have any melt-downs, but I think I'm happiest about Jilly actually GETTING to go. The poor kid has been so miserable with just getting over the flu, and I was worried that she was going to be a handful. But it sounds like everyone had a wonderful time.

Instead of getting t-shirts as souvenirs, Aunt Sara let the kids get "Rescue Pack". Jilly loves hers so much it was hard to get it off of her to take a nap, and as soon as she got up, she put it back on.

Jilly cracks me up! If you straight out ask her what she did today, or even start to ask more in depth questions, Jilly replies "I don't know." and then 2 minutes later she'll blurt out something like "I saw Swiper today with Blakey" or "Baby Jaguar says 'meow-meow' with Dora". I sometimes wonder how her little mind works!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happiest housewife EVER!

With all the sheets, blankets and clothes we've been through in the last 2 weeks with being sick, it figures that my washing machine crapped out on me. And when I was trying to vacuum yesterday, it totally died on me...I mean absolutely stopped while I was in the middle of trying to get the first pass done on the living room so I could clean the carpet. As of last night, I was the most miserable housewife in America!

Ahhh, but when you wake up and start a brand new day, things can change drastically. Russell came by this morning and fixed my washer (damned thing came unplugged...I know, how stupid do I feel?!?) Then after using my Mom's vacuum last night, Jeff gave me clearance to go buy a new one. So now I have a new toy, and a TON of laundry to catch up on. But I'm not complaining, I'm just happy that everybody is feeling better, and I have the necessary tools to do the cleaning that I haven't had time to do with caring for all the sickos around here! :o)

Friday, April 3, 2009


So, we have spent the better part of the last 2 weeks sick...and I mean sick as dogs! I realised why I could never be a nurse...bring on the broken bones, the guts, the blood...but for the love if I ever have to hold hair back while someone gets sick again it will be too soon!!!

Everyone is feeling better, although Cooper does have a bit of a runny nose. We have just passed 24 hours of Jilly not getting sick and we are hoping to get her all better for Sunday. Her Aunt Sara and Uncle Billy are taking her and Blake to see Dora Live in DC. All I can hope for is no reports of projectile vomit from my kid.

Poor girl asked Jeff last night (Bug and I were at the barn to get ready for the show this weekend) if she could go to bed at 6:30, and he put her to bed. We didn't hear from her until 5:45 this morning. She got some much needed sleep that she had missed since Monday.

As for me, all I need is a 3 day nap and a visit from the cleaning fairy...wish me luck on those ever happening!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Well, after some questions (which I must say did make sense) Bug's biological father has decided to sign off on Jeff adopting Courtney. Now all we have to is wait for the paperwork. With the consent of the biological father, it is now just a matter of dotting i's and crossing t's.