Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rickards Family Video Journal

I finally finished our family's 2007 video journal. I started working on it last December. Right before Christmas, we found out Jason's mom had cancer and wouldn't have very much time left with us. The project sat on hold for quite a while.

I made some time last month to start working on it again. It was hard at first. There were so many memories. I still can't believe she was so sick and we didn't know. We had on video Jason's call to his mom when we were on our way to the hospital when I was in labor with Ashlyn. I can't find the words to describe how it felt to hear her voice again. It still feels like yesterday.

I was struggling to find the right song to go with some of the video and pictures I have of Ashlyn's first days home from the hospital. After a few failed attempts, I came across a song that I loved! It's called Baby Mine by Alison Krauss. I played it for Jason to see what he thought. He listened for a minute and then, like a light went on inside him, said we couldn't use it. He choked up and said his mom used to sing that song to him when he was a baby. He was overcome with emotion. He still misses her so much.

I decided not to use the song for now to make it a little easier on Jason. I'm making a second version with that will use that song. I'm sure with time, Jason will really appreciate having it in our video.

Jessica is the narrator and wrote most of the script. She has such a fun personality and I really wanted to capture it. She is so smart for her age and has an incredible vocabulary. I can credit her love to read for that. I only had to veto a few things when she would get carried away.

You may want to pause the playlist on the right so you can hear the video.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to School

Yesterday was the first day of the new school year. I've been looking forward to work load getting a little lighter around the house, but I already miss the easy unscheduled days!

The kids almost popped out of bed when I woke them up. They were excited to meet their teachers and see their friends. Lauren was little bit nervous about being at school for a full day, but that was a small concern compared to the backpack dilemma.

"What if my teacher gets mad? Maybe I should find my Princess backpack," she worried.

I took the kids out a few weeks ago to pick out a new backpack. I knew if we waited until the week before school started, all the cute ones would be picked over. Lauren found a really cute pink one with wheels. She was really excited about it and couldn't wait to use it! She convinced me let her take it to Grandma's house a few times when she was having a sleepover.

Last week, we got a letter from her teacher in the mail with a list of supplies for her to bring on her first day. On her list was a "backpack with no wheels". I thought that was a strange request. Half of the kids at school have backpacks with wheels because they get so heavy. Hmmm.... What to do.... Well, we already bought a backpack with wheels and it couldn't be returned. It really isn't Jessica's style at all, so a trade wasn't going to work. Jessica doesn't want anything "too pink and girly." I decide to just talk to her teacher on the first day. If that is really what she meant, I would get her another backpack.

The morning was like a mad dash getting all the kids ready, lunches made, and backpacks double checked. Jason usually takes the kids to school, but I like to go on their first day and walk them to class. I like to meet their teacher and see what room they are in and just be there if they are nervous or anything.

We got into the car and checked to make sure Ashlyn's stroller was in the back. Austin, who will be starting 5th grade this year, said, "You guys don't need to walk me to my class."

"Oh, that's okay Honey. We want to, " I said. We were just down the street. I could already see the line of cars piled along the curb in front of the school.

"Uh, no really! It's okay! Can you just drop me off at the curb?" he asked a little more urgently.

Jason looked at me with raised eyebrows as if to say, "should we just drop him off?".

I shrugged. "Alright. Are you sure?" I asked as we joined the string of cars.

"Yep! Thanks! Bye!" his hand was already on the door, ready to jump out as soon as we came to a complete stop.

"Wait! Me too!" Jessica called already climbing over the seat.

Ah... sad... my kids are getting too big! I looked at Lauren as Jason was trying to find a more permanent place to park. She was looking out the window at the swarm of kids and clutching her backpack. Her eyes met mine. "Are you excited?" I asked her. Her eyes got really big and her voice came out almost a whisper, "Will you talk to my teacher as soon as we get there?"

I felt terrible. She was with me when we read the list. She loved her backpack and liked the idea of just asking her teacher if she really wanted a backpack without wheels or if she was just trying to say they weren't going to have to bring home heavy books. If I knew it as going to cause her so much anxiety, I would have bought her another backpack.

She seemed to forget about her backpack as soon as we got out of the car. She saw a few friends from her class last year and from church. We found her room and I introduced her to her teacher. (Austin had the same teacher for 1st grade.) I asked her teacher about the backpack and Lauren was relieved when her teacher said it was okay. She said the backpacks with wheels are sometimes too big for the 1st graders, but its okay if they wanted wheels. Whew!

So, this is the first year that I don't have a picture of all of my kids on the first day of school! I really can't believe how fast they are growing up!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Let Them Be Little

When I went upstairs to put Ashlyn down for a nap, I noticed that Jessica, Lauren and Drew had made a very elaborate fort in the loft upstairs. It was actually quite impressive. Ashlyn's room is just across the loft and I was worried they would wake her up, so I sent them to play outside. I let them leave the "fort" just how it was and promised them they could come back and play in it as soon as she woke up.

They turned on the sprinklers and jumped on the trampoline. I switched the laundry and picked up a few things Ashlyn had been playing with. I heard the sprinklers turn off and checked on the kids. They still seemed content outside.

It was only 3, but I decided to start on dinner while I had both my hands free. I finished chopping my peppers and onions and was flipping through a cook book trying to find the marinade recipe, when I heard the facet turn on on the back patio. I looked up and saw this...

What is the world?.... So, I went outside to to see how Lauren got all muddy and found this...

Of course! Our unfinished side yard. I should have known they would find some way to get creative! At first I laughed because they were having such a good time. Then I saw in my head the mud trailing through the house, trying to get it out of their swim suits, a brown mud ring around the freshly cleaned bath tub...

I took a deep breath and reminded myself to "let them be little". I took a few more pictures and reminded them to rinse off and let me know when they wanted to come inside so I could make sure it was "safe". :-)

They made mud pies, took a mud bath and got into a mud fight! I wish I still liked mud...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Our little Ashlyn is 10 months old. Time is flying by so fast. A few days ago, Jason and I were laying on our bed playing with her her and he looked at me and said, "Hon, how can we just freeze her right where she is? I don't want her to change!." She makes us so happy!

She loves to snuggle and wrestle! She growls when she pretends she is "getting" us and squeals when we tickle her or wrestle her back.

She loves to play peek- a- boo.

She loves music! As soon as she hears any music, she grins and starts bobbing her head and moving her body! It is adorable!

She can walk with her walker or holding onto our fingers.

She loves the stairs! We bought gates for the top and bottom so she wouldn't get hurt. Sometimes she stands at the top and calls for the kids if they are down stairs.

She has four teeth and puts everything in her mouth! It's almost like she has a routine when she sees something new. She will pick it up, and then using only her wrist, twirl it around in the air, taste it, twirl it some more and then throw in back down.

She loves to eat, but she doesn't like anything sweet. She decided watermelon is okay and yesterday I was able to convince her to eat some pears. She loves "real" food. When we give her baby food, she just spits it out. We have a food grinder, so she pretty much eats whatever we are having. Barbecue chicken and green beans are her favorite. Here she is eating some Cheerios. Somehow she is the only one who doesn't get in trouble for eating in the living room!

She understands 4 signs (Baby Signs)! If she ever starts to fuss and I can guess using the signs what she wants, she will smile and stop crying because she knows I understand what she wants. It has been so helpful! She just started doing 2 of the signs back to us. A few days ago, I was at the grocery store with her. Her eyes were so big as we passed all of the food. Within a few minutes, she was doing the sign for bite and saying, "bu! bu!". I was so proud of her! I grabbed a box of Gerber Banana Cookies and gave her one before I checked out! She also does the sign for up when she wants me to pick her up.

She babbles a ton, but I am convinced that she knows what she is saying. She says "Mama", "Dada"- that always melts Jason, "Uh!Uh!" for up, "Bu!Bu!" for bite, and she very clearly said "hi" a few days ago after we said it to her. She can copy sounds and noises really well. It is fun to play with her and see what we can get her to do!

The kids still adore her and can't seem to be close enough to her. She is pretty patient. Lauren has a very close connection with Ashlyn. She truly loves her little sister. She isn't always as gentle as I would like, but there is nothing Lauren loves to do more than play with "Bun". Here they are in Ashlyn's room. Lauren was reading her a book.

She loves the water! If she hears the shower running, she crawls into my bathroom so fast and tries to get in. She loves to swim even more. She kicks her legs and moves her arms like she is really swimming! She could splash around in the water all day.
She hates to be hot and loves the cold wind on her face.
She loves electronics like her dad. Jason's l
aptop would be the toy of choice, followed closely by my cell phone. Both things we try to keep out of her reach! She loves the remote control and Austin's XBox controllers. She like to hear the beeps the telephone makes when she pushes all of the buttons. Her eyes get big and she starts to babble excitedly when the operator say "if you'd like to make a call..." This is what she looks like when we take any one of those things away!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


1. My Kitchen Sink

Nothing too exciting... the kids aren't home!

2. My Fridge

My quick reference guide to "Baby Signs"

On the inside...

3. My Favorite Pair of Shoes

I don't know that I can say I have a single favorite pair of shoes. I love shoes! They can change an outfit by just stepping into a different pair! I love these Jessica Simpson heels! They are part sassy and part classy. They are the perfect red too! I have a navy skirt suit that looks great with these shoes!

Most of my shoes have a heel because I am not blessed with height! I did find these flats this spring and I love them. They are great shopping shoes! Totally comfortable, but still cute. (They are Jessica Simpson too. She has such a great line of shoes!)

4. My Bedroom Closet

This could be scary!

Okay, not too bad. Jason has almost as many pairs of shoes as me! (I have a box under my bed for fall shoes. There aren't very many. Mostly boots.)

This is my side. The tubs on top hold all the clothes that I haven't gotten back into since I had Ashlyn! Grrrr. I guess I should get back to the gym...

4. My Laundry Room

Sadly, this is where I spend most of my time! If Ashlyn doesn't see me in the living room with her, the first place she looks in is the laundry room! This week, there isn't as much because my big kids are out of town visiting their dad.

I have three months of calendars on my wall. I don't use these as much as I used to. My phone keeps track of every one's appointments and sends me reminders.

5. My Bed
6. My Bathroom

Not much to say about it... It's just where I get ready for my day.

7. My Hallway
I have two hallways and they are both upstairs. This hallway goes into the kids loft and Lauren and Jessica's room. My favorite part of the hallway is this shelf. Most people collect key chains or magnets or spoons- we collect picture frames from the places we go. It gives me a good excuse to shop around the little shops while we are out of town to look for a frame. Jason likes to pick them out too, so we have to find one we both like and doesn't look the all the rest. Some of the frames are sadly waiting for me to print out a picture.

8. My yard My pots are waiting for their topiaries... It is still too hot and we were gone so much this summer. I was afraid they would die. Phone book on the porch... I want to pull out those rose bushes...

The back yard...

Needs some serious TLC... I can't look any more. I guess I have some yard work to do!

9. What are my kids doing right now?

Ashlyn is asleep... Isn't she sweet?

Austin, Jessica and Lauren are visiting their dad in Arizona. I tried to send Austin a text message a few minutes ago but I think his cell phone died. I'll have to call when I am done here.

Jason (He's kind of like a kid!) is still at work, but this is what he looks like when he brings his work home! It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it is one of those funny reminders to me that we are grown ups now!

He's cute too, huh?

10. My Favorite Room.

Hmmm. Tough one. I think, Ashlyn's room because it feels so peaceful in there. When Lauren was a baby, her room made me feel calm too. Maybe it is just a baby thing. If I take too many pictures, she may wake up. Here are some I took before she was born.

My second, favorite room is the guest room. It is not the most decorated or finished room in the house, but I love what it is. When we were looking at houses, we made sure we found one that had a guest room for Jason's mom. We wanted her to be able to have her own space when she would come visit. For a long time we called it "Mom's room", "Ronna's room", or "Grandma Ronna's room". We even put a picture that I took of her whole family, in a frame next to her bed, so she could look at it when she was away from them, visiting us.

After each visit, I would think of things that we needed. I really wanted to find a chair to put in the corner. Jason wanted to put a little entertainment center in the corner where I wanted the chair. The argument continues... Do guests need a tv in their room? I think no because they didn't come to hang out in their room and watch tv. They came to visit with us. Right? He thinks guests need a tv in there room in case they want to stay up and watch tv after we go to bed. I think he is just looking for an excuse to buy more electronics! :-) What do you think? I'll set up a poll. VOTE! The corner is still empty...

Since Ronna has been gone, the room makes me a little sad sometimes when it sits empty. It has only been used twice since she passed away. I think I need to make it into more of a guest room. I think I will take pictures of people who come to visit and put them up on the shelf above the bed! Come for a visit!

11. My Most Recent Purchase

I met Jason at lunch and went over to Best Buy to get a new computer. I'm not sure if this counts as my last purchase or his. Our computer works fine, but he says this one will be better for my video editing. I guess my other computer doesn't have enough something???? I don't know. Computer talk is like Hebrew to me. Electronics... see the trend?

If that one doesn't count for me, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few necessities.

12. My Dream Vacation

That's hard... I would love to go every where eventually. If I haven't been there yet, I don't know what I am missing. So, I think I would have to say that I would like to go back to Italy. Last time I went, it was summer time and hot and humid. I would like to go in the spring time and see more of Italy along the coast.

I would like to go to New York in the fall too. I hear that it is beautiful that time of year.

13. Self Portrait

Not loving this part... I went to teach a station at a PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) class this afternoon. I had forgotten about it and decided this was a good week to start back on OBAGI. ( It's an amazing skin care line, but it destroys your face the first two weeks. It turns red and gets a little puffy and then peels off! I have pretty bad sun damage on my face and this stuff works wonders! ) I think I mostly covered up the redness, but my face is still puffy. I thought I would just hide out for a week! Lucky you!

Okay, I tag Jen, Rashelle, Lindsay and Danale! Here's what you have to do: stop what you are doing and go get your camera! Leave everything as is and start snapping pictures! There is only 13 so it shouldn't take too long! You don't have to post it right now if you don't have time, but at least get you pictures taken! Oh yeah, I tag my silent stalker from Florida too! Yes, you! You'll have to send me the link so I can "peek" back! It's only fair!