Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Four was so last year

The Girl is embracing her new age like nobody's business. She's reaching things she's never reached before. Who knew growth spurts happened only during the night before your birthday? Amazing.

The festivities were a-plenty and in the fashion of her coolio mom, she stretched it out about a week (though I prefer a month).

The day began with strawberry shortcake for breakfast, per request, served on Tinkerbell plates. Then, with all wrapped presents in sight, I relented and let her pick one to open up to last her until Daddy got home to see her open the rest.

Then a picnic and playground time with our favorite Mrs.Debbie.

Followed by a Mexican outing for dinner, per request.

Then the baby squirrel showed up to sing Happy Birthday.

And claw at our back door.

And eat our graham crackers that we may or may not have fed the little ball of fur who may or may not have been given the name Baby Leah.

And then the fur ball showed right back up at our back door AFTER being released into the woods by D-Daddy.

(Glad to say, Baby Leah is back home with her mommy and daddy. Either that, or Mr.Biggles escorted her into heaven. Yepper, that's Baby Leah sitting in the tracks of the sliding glass door, right under the nose breath of Sir Bigglesworth.)

Soccer ensued on Saturday and afterwards a little birthday par-tay with the team and their parents.

And heck yeah, I made this cake. From scratcherooskie baby! I completed this darn headache at 1:00am. It was a hit and turned everyone's teeth bright green, so I'd say it was a success. Though I shall bid adieu to my short-lived baking career and will gladly call Publix next time.

Fun weekend for the Girl. And there was no shortage of attention from these 4 g-parents who came in for the celebration weekend.

And now we sit at less than 3 weeks away until the Dynamic Duo turns 1. The fastest year in the history of the world.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


You’re the first one there. Five years old. As a matter of fact, you’ll be the first one to hit all the milestones.

You were the first one to make me feel a thousand new emotions I had never felt before. How can one little human make you weep, smile, laugh, gasp, come alive, weep again, and smile some more all in a matter of 60 seconds? That was at 9:05pm on March 24, 2005.

And we haven’t stopped smiling.

(Ok, maybe for a little while during your 3 months of colic when you screamed. A. LOT. And maybe a little more during year 2 when you learned the definition of “No” and used it against us…but other than that…)

I told your Daddy last night when we were talking about your birthday presents that I wished I could buy you the world because you absolutely deserve the world. Every bit of it. But since we can’t buy you the world, we decided to buy you your dream.

Every Tuesday night we let you and Buster Boy stay up an extra hour to watch American Idol. We started this tradition 2 years ago when your Daddy had grad school on those nights and Mommy here got a bit lonely. So it became our thing. Now, you like to watch it and critique each singer as if you were an honorary judge. Then you make us press “mute” during commercials so we can talk about what outfits we would all wear when we get on the show. (And I think it’s funny that you tell us, “I know you’re too old to be on the show, but if you were young like me, what would you wear?”) We also discuss what songs would best fit our voice and would gain us a ticket to Hollywood during try-outs.

Don’t you know your Daddy and me think these conversations are hysterical to have with a near 5 year old? We’ve been so used to having babies around our house, sometimes we forget you’re just a little adult. And you make us laugh.

We are continually amazed at how quickly you pick up things, but not only that, how hard you try to master whatever has been given to you.

If it’s soccer, you’re in the backyard every day practicing your dribbling and step-ups and goal kicks.

If it’s math, you take what I give you and add another digit or two to make it harder.

If it’s music, you will sit and hum a song and try every note on the piano until you find what’s right. Then you’ll start over until you can play the entire song. You tell us how much you want to play the piano when you get older. How much you want to be on American Idol. How many different songs you want to learn. How badly you want to play on a tuned piano.

So, Big Sis, happy birthday. We believe in you. We believe in every one of your dreams, the ones you know now, and the ones you haven’t dreamt yet. And every step of the way, we want to give you every tool we can to help you reach your dreams.

For your 5th birthday, your sweet Daddy set up his full-size keyboard with a brand new speaker to go with it. A speaker that has volume control so you’ll never have to stop playing just because the babies are sleeping. There are also 2 piano books to go along. And the coolest part about these books? Your Daddy is going to give you lessons once a week for as long as you wish to teach you everything in these books.

So if you’re done with piano by age 5 ½, that’s ok. If you stick with it until you’re 18, that’s ok too.

But today, March 24, 2010, your dream to play the piano as best as you can is coming true. Hope you enjoy your gift of music.

I cannot wait to see what dreams are coming…

I love you.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

America's Best Dance Crew

Dancing machines from Suzanne Akins on Vimeo.

I've got a little show-out on my hands.

Didn't you love their matching outfits? I put those together myself.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Adjusted Preemie Time

That's my excuse for everything.

"Oh, the twins? Yeah, they're not on real people food yet, you know, with that adjusted preemie age and they might choke and what have you."
REALITY: It's a heck of a lot easier and quicker to grab 4 jars of baby food than to cook something separate. For now.

"Are the babies walking yet?"
REALITY: Giving them freedom to try out their walking skills doesn't happen often. Small house + 5 people in it during the day + the falls (doubled) = it's easier to keep them confined. Bouncy seats = Good. High chairs = Good. Uh, yeah, they're preemies so they've can't walk yet, right? he.he.he.

"Why do you still have your Christmas wreath on the front door?"
REALITY: If we claim adjusted preemie time, then it's kinda like being 3 months behind, so it's still Christmas at our house. In March.

I wonder at what point I'll have to stop owning this right to preemie-dom.

17 years from now: "Ma'am, the balance is due for your all 4 of your children's college education...today."
THE "DON'T THINK I WON'T TRY THIS" REALITY: "But, Mrs.Financial Aid, we're on adjusted preemie time so I don't actually owe you any money just yet. Let's talk about it when they adjust to their average ages. Say, in 15 years?"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guest Blogging is so 2010

Which means I am so 2010.

(This is where you just hush and let me be prideful for a mere second!)


So I met this guy, Russ, in college. He came over to my apartment for a Bible study where about 20 of us gathered each week to dig through the Bible together. We became better friends when I decided to extend my college career an extra semester and all my real friends graduated. Thankfully, young Russ was still around and befriended my lonely self. Now he's all growed up, married to his best friend's little sister (who, thankfully, is WAY cooler than he is), has a cutie patootie daughter (who, thankfully, looks just like her mama) and works in young adult/college ministry at Church of the Apostles in the ATL.

He's also got a coolio blog, "Lies I Overheard in Church". I'm on there today so go check out my 2010 self.

Friday, March 12, 2010

They don't call me Grandma for nothin'.

Coupons + circulars + a buggy + a drugstore = G.R.A.N.D.M.A.

This formula was created by my own husband who is now referring to his wife (me) as Mamaw (of which I'm honored since that is my great-grandmother's name - though I don't think he's given me the name out of honor, but whatevs....)

He began calling me Mamaw when it got so dadgum cold in these here parts of South Georgia that I had to whip out my floor-length long-sleeved 1987 Charter Club red and black velour robe. I liked to pair this beauty of a robe with a couple of large crocheted rubber bottomed toastie socks. I thought it was a good representation of the beauty I possessed as a 32 year old housewife. However, he thought it screamed "the morning of Mamaw's 97th birthday". Again, whatevs, I say. Whatevs.

So last night I made a trip to the local CVS, sans kiddos, with necessities in hand: the weekly circular, my list, and coupons for EVERY SINGLE ITEM on said list. I grabbed a buggy at the storefront and began my journey. The music played softly. Gentle voices of the elderly were heard throughout the aisles. And as I strolled, I thought Why have I not been here before? This is the most relaxed I've felt in years. A cup of joe and this mama may not have made it back home. It was that good.

I made my transaction, saved $7 in coupons, spent $45, and got $8 CVS bucks in return.

And that, my friends, is the LAST time I will use US currency in that store.


Working the circulars, coupons and CVS bucks (also called Monopoly Money), I will never spend real dollars again. Fun games with pretend money. Love. Love. Love.

The first 4 letters of FREEDOM spell FREE and that is what this mama likes.

The new formula now looks like this:

Grandma + circulars + a buggy + coupons + drugstore = F.R.E.E.

Thankfully, warmer weather is here and I can lose the robe and toasties because it looks like Mamaw is sticking around.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Child Prodigy

Ok, so we've all borne one. Or, at least, those of us who have borne a babe. And it seems to be our first. Maybe because they're the first one to do everything and by the time child 2, 3, and 4 hit any milestone, it becomes so last year since Child Prodigy #1 did it 12 months earlier.

Big Sis is good at most things she tries. I mean really good. She's got great penmanship. She's reading books with big words like "sometimes" and "through" and "Snuffleupugus". She's naturally athletic. She has perfect pitch when she sings. She is a great laundry folder. She demands organization.

And now she's taken on the piano, just like her daddy.

She sits at our PAINFULLY out of tune piano and picks out songs by ear. She started with simple songs like Twinkle Twinkle, Happy Birthday and Mary had a little lamb.

Carter makes her play on the higher keys because it makes his ears bleed to hear anything out of tune and from middle C and lower....OUCH! So she plays everything on a higher key to make it sound better.

Her cousin Tanner taught her "Superstition" at Christmas time, maybe one time?, and she whipped that out, out of the clear blue sky, the other day. What a breath of fresh air to hear Stevie Wonder throughout the house. Finally, something besides Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!

Today, Carter and I were hanging out with babies in their room while Sis was tickling the ivories. That's when we heard it.

"Did you just hear what I heard?"

"Um, holy cow, yes."

Then we laughed hysterically.

Forget nursery rhymes.

Forget Stevie Wonder.

The paparazzi has arrived and the bulbs are flashing. Lady Gaga has made her way into our home via the almost 5-year old. WHAAAAAATTTT???

(Let me warn you...if you are not a family member, you WILL be bored by my lack of creative filming. Just sayin.)

LK Piano from Suzanne Akins on Vimeo.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coupons are for the birds.

Rich birds, that is.

A few weeks ago I was standing in line behind a lady at Publix when the cashier gave her the total: $192. (Note: that price is not at all shocking to this fam-o-6!). Then she gave this smug little smile and handed over her coupons. After about 20 minutes of scanning (it seemed), the cashier smiled and told her the new total: $76.


My jaw hit the floor and I wasted no time in squeezing past my cart to get right up on her. "How IN TARNATION did you just do that?"

Oh, she was proud. Very very proud.

"It's an art, really. I'm a couponer. I clip clip clip and print print print and consider it my full-time job to save money for my family," she says with a smile from here to Texas.

I gulped.

I have prided myself on the fact that Carter's job is to make the money and my job is to make the money work for us.

Except with groceries.

I, of course, look for good deals, and of course, use store brand when applicable. But I like to eat well so I just figured I'd put the stock of our money into groceries so we could all eat well.

I just didn't realize we could still eat well but for LESS MONEY!

So I have ventured, oh so slowly, into couponing. And good grief it ruined my Sunday afternoon. We raced around picking up newspapers and weekly fliers so I could sit down with my laptop and papers and get my list figured out.

FOUR HOURS LATER, I had it figured out. And if you've seen my family, you'll understand that FOUR HOURS IS WAY TOO MUCH PRECIOUS TIME TO DEVOTE TO COUPONS!

Then I went shopping. FOR TWO HOURS. It takes serious concentration to get the most bang for your buck. Stacking coupons. Doubling coupons. BOGOs. It's like I'm in a foreign country trying to speak their language and it's taking forever to figure out the best deal on cereal when I have 47 coupons to choose from.

But I made it out alive.

And the SIX HOURS I devoted to saving us some cash did pay off. I saved $56. FIFTY SIX DOLLARS!!!! And the more I get the hang of this new language, the less time it should take (dear goodness, it better!) and the better equipped I'll be to breeze through the aisles.

Here's just an example of the glee I felt at the conveyor belt. Hunt's tomato sauce: 3 for $1. I handed a coupon over for $1 off of 3. They handed me back the 3 tomato sauces that I just got FOR FREE!! And that's just one of the many deals I figured out like that. FREE.

Me likey free.

If you've got any great tips, send them my way. I'm a sponge for this right now.

www.southernsavers.com (major source)
weekly fliers in newspapers and store racks
specific websites for products that I cannot budge on or use store brand (i.e. for us: Similac formula, A&H detergent, Blue Plate mayo)

Stay tuned!