Thursday, December 29, 2011

M, You're Three!

M, you're three years old!  You're such a big girl and there are so many things I could tell you about yourself.

Here's a little about you at three years old:
  • You are spunk-y!  You are one sassy, independent little girl and you have been for a long time.  I hope that never goes away.

  • You LOVE Thomas the Train and all his friends.  You have several of the toys, you know all their names, and you play with them for hours.  You have never loved a set of toys so much.  
  • You're definitely a train girl, but you can be a girly girl, too. You love dressing up in tutus and dresses, and you love your princess dolls (Ariel, Belle, and Tiana).    
By the way, this is one of your very own outfit creations -  PJ top, tutu, leggings, and headband. 
(Wild, just-washed hair is courtesy of Mommy.) 
  • You love books and always have.  You grab a big stack of books, sit on the floor, and go through and read them all.  If someone comes over and tries to touch your stack, you move their hand away and straighten the stack back up.  You've memorized books, and the ones you haven't memorized you go through and make up your own stories.  

  • You know your full name as well as your daddy's and mine (and some relatives).  You know your birthdate along with the year, too.
  • We took you to your three-year appointment recently and learned that you are in the 60th percentile for weight and the around the 70th percentile for height.  And healthy!  

  • You love to sing -- especially when you're in bed for a nap or bedtime.  At home it's adorable as we listen to you on the monitor.  (At school when your friends are trying to go to sleep?  Not so much.  But you've gotten a lot better.)  As I type this during your naptime, you're singing at the top of you lungs in your bed, this song:
Zacchaeus was a wee little man

And a wee little man was he

He climbed up in a sycamore tree

For the Lord he wanted to see

And as the Savior passed that way

He looked up in that tree

And He said, “Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today
For I’m going to your house to stay”
  • You also like to sing, "I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy..." and "Trading My Sorrows" (and lots of other inspirational songs).
  • You love Justin Bieber, too.  I kinda introduced you to one of his songs over a year ago and you pretty much love anything he does. I don't think you recognize his new grown-up voice though, which is probably a good thing.
  • You still sleep in your crib.  Months ago we took out the springs and put your mattress on the floor to keep you from crawling out, but that doesn't matter because you still can climb out.  I guess it's time to convert your crib to a toddler bed.  I worry about that because it's going to be a fight to keep you in bed at night.  I dread it already.
  • Speaking of sleep, though you go to bed fine in your own bed (most nights), we usually come get you when we go to bed (long after you've gone to sleep). Your Daddy and I both feel your room is too far from ours, so we get you and put you in bed with us.  The truth is our house is not big enough for your room to be considered "too far away."  Your daddy and I feel you are safer in there with us are just a little obsessive.
  • I still love to watch you sleep sometimes like I did when you were a baby.  The two images are pretty much the same and they give me a warm fuzzy feeling.
  • You like to say, "Let's go eat something!" when we're out and about.  You like to go in restaurants and sit down and eat.  Doesn't have to be anything fancy -- sitting down in Chick-fil-A is fine with you!
  • You have a fear of smoke alarms and go through phases where you don't walk under the ones in our house unless someone is right there with you.
  • You've started biting your nails - yuck!  I've never bitten my nails, but your dad did when he was younger.
  • You're going through another nose-picking phase.  Only this time you've decided you like to EAT them, too.  We're working on that. :)

  • We have to tell you every night that there is NO monster in your room, and thankfully you believe us every time.  But we still have to reassure you.
  • Our bedtime routine:  Brush teeth, take a bath, do an activity (coloring, tracing letters/shapes/etc.,), and then read a story.  And with the story, we read it first, and then you insist that we "go back."  Going back requires us to talk about something on each page -- what the characters are doing, or identifying colors, or counting items, etc.  It depends on the content.
  • You have an opinion on your outfits now, and it's made for some very dramatic mornings.  Including the morning of your birthday party.  The bottoms were a little loose, and you did NOT like that because you thought they were leggings .You love wearing tights/leggings -- that actually fit to your legs.  You kept telling me you "didn't like it" -- the outfit we bought ESPECIALLY for your birthday. :-|

  • Though you're fully potty trained during the day (including naptime at school), you still sleep in a diaper at night.  I guess we should work on that.
  • For a long time, you've been able to spot tiny airplanes in the sky.  I mean TINY.  During the day you spot the oneS that look like they're a million miles away and are barely visible.  And at night, among all the stars, you can pick out that one "star" that's actually an airplane a ton of miles away (so far away that it only appears to be barely moving).  Amazes me every time.
  • You HATE loud noises.
  • You still call your daddy Da-EEY.  You pronounce everything perfectly but you've never pronounced the Ds in the the second part of Daddy.
  • I obviously have no choice but to take you in public restrooms all the time, but you and I both hate it -- for different reasons.  I am so afraid of the yucky toilet seat that I hold you above the toilet as you go (toilet paper isn't shielding enough for me).  And because you hate loud noises, those automatic flushes scare you.  So much that sometimes you refuse to go to the potty and wait until you're in a tight (luckily we've never had a public accident).  Most of the time to avoid upsetting you, I just leave out without flushing.  (So tacky, I know.) 
  • You're probably the most social kid in class.  You're a busy body who would rather stand at your seat than sit down and often goes to sit with your favorite friends in their chairs.  Your teachers are very patient as you explore your social and active side.

  • Speaking of school, you've learned quite a bit.  For a long time, you have known all the months, the days of the week, all types of weather, your alphabet, colors, and how to count to 20.  Months ago you learned to recognize all your letters and all your numbers (from 1-10), and you can count to 10 in Spanish.  You can also sound out every letter in the alphabet.  You're now in the very beginning stages of blending vowels and consonants.  You're in a great preschool that not only teaches you a lot, but they shower you with love AND teach you the Bible.
  • You always say "bless you" when someone sneezes (or coughs - ha! You don't know the difference yet).
  • You've always called me Mommy, but I've caught you saying Mama and "Moooom" (in a very tween-like way.)
  • Whenever your daddy or I put on something new/different, you notice.  You'll say, "I like your red dress, Mommy" or "I like your Alabama shirt, Daddy."
  • Speaking of Alabama, you recognize anything Alabama Crimson Tide. You love to say "Roll Tide!" and then "Beat those Tigers!  Beat those Tigers!" a cheer your PaPa taught you.
  • Speaking of traveling, you've traveled with the Tide for every one of their bowl games since you've been in existence.  In a few weeks, you'll be going on your fourth bowl trip (and second national championship). Your first trip was when you were three weeks old.  I thought I was a bad mom for doing that back then, and I pretty much  feel the same way to this day.  I took my newborn to New Orleans.  On Bourbon Street.  I wish I was kidding.  It WAS daytime, so it wasn't so bad, but I've got to plan my next pregnancy so that your brother or sister isn't so NEW around bowl season.  (Sad, right?)  You've actually traveled quite a bit in your three years.  You've flown at least three times (all with little drama, thank God!), and have been to several cities:  Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami, Raleigh, Nashville, New Orleans, and of course Atlanta.   You've been to several beaches, too, especially along the Gulf Coast.  You travel well, though I'm not surprised.  It's in your blood.  Your daddy and my in-laws will hit the road in a New York minute.  (Speaking of NY, you won't be going there until you're much older.  That city is way too fast and crowded for us to take you -- I'd be a nervous wreck.)  We recently got passports, so your first international trip is probably not too far in the future. Especially if your daddy has anything to do with it!
  • You can be a bit dramatic.  You have no problems telling us "I'm sad" or "I'm angry" complete with facial expressions and body language.  We do appreciate your willingness to express your feelings, but sometimes we think you're being a lit-tle bit dramatic.
  • You have this accent sometimes that's between a country gal and a kid from another country. I can't identify the accent, but it's hilarious.
  • I've always been a "don't cry over spilled milk" kinda girl, and I'm trying to teach you to be the same way (and that it's okay to make mistakes).  Sometimes it comes back to bite me because you'll intentionally do something mischievous, and when I get on to you, you'll say, "Mommy, it's okay." Like you're comforting ME because YOU did something bad! :)
  • You LOVE being outside.  Your Big Daddy bought you your first set of training wheels for your birthday, so we're in for lots of bike riding days!
  • Your favorite shows are Dora, Thomas the Train, Little Bear, Olivia, Chuggington, Little Einsteins, Yo Gabba Gabba, and The Fresh Beat Band.  We've bought tickets to go see the Fresh Beat Band live in the spring.  I'm so excited for you but I can't share it with you for months. You don't understand the concept of time yet, so I'll probably tell you a day or two before the concert.  You're going to LOVE IT!
  • Your favorite food is oatmeal, and it always has been.  And it's THIS kind (like Stage 2 baby food).  And you eat it EVERY morning.
  • You also love pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream, watermelon, and pasta.  You're becoming a picky eater, so I still feed you the Gerber toddler meals to be sure you get your veggie servings every day.  I've got to come up with something different -- and quickly.  You're THREE now, after all. :)
Funny things you've said lately:

  • "Mommy, look at the "Miracle" flag! (American flag.)
  • Your daddy coaches basketball, too, and we were at one of his games.  You hate the loud horns.  You asked me what it was and when I told you it was a horn -- maybe you didn't hear me correctly, but you told me (pretty loudly), "Mommy, turn off the _orn!"  You replaced the H with another letter that would certainly turn heads.  Luckily the game wasn't crowded.
  • "Mommy, I'm broken.  I need to go to the doctor.  Can he fix me?"
  • After getting the flu shot (and wimpering for all of one second):  "Mommy, I feel better."  (You weren't sick!  Dramatic!)
  • You think everything around here belongs to Mommy.  You call it "Mommy's house," "Mommy's bed" -- Mommy's everything.  When I ask you where Daddy lives and where his bed is, you tell me you don't know. People are going to think your daddy doesn't live with us and that we don't sleep in the same bed! 
  • When your Memaw looked at you one day and said, "You're so precious," you told her, "I'm not precious, I'm..." and then stated your full name.
  • One morning as we were getting up, I asked you to find your slippers.  After looking for them for a few minutes, I told you to help since you often know where your own things are (duh).  But you told me, "Mommy, YOU find the slippers and I'LL go play with my trains, okay?"
  • One day I was in the other room and you were in the living room playing with your toys, and I asked you to come here.  You yelled out, "I went to the bathroom!" as in I'm busy, I can't come right now.  But you were totally playing with your toys in the floor.
  • You wake up at the same time on the weekends (though we let you go to bed later!), and I recently tried to stay in bed as long as possible.  You told me, "Mommy, it's not dark, it's daytime...we can get up!"
  • You ask to play with my phone, and one day I told you no because you didn't have a job that makes money to replace it if you broke it.  You thought for a second and said, "I want a job!  Daddy, may I have a job, please?"
So funny!

I am leaving out quite a bit, I'm sure, but this is just a snapshot of who you are at three years old.  I can't leave out the fact that you're also very stubborn and strong-willed.  You can also be very impatient (I actually remove your Barbies' shoes before I give them to you because you get pretty mad when they fall off so quickly -- yes, it's that bad).  We still have the occasional tantrum in the store, though they are few and far between.  And occasionally you'll forget who the authority figures are in the house.  But I'm seeing a lot of these qualities lessen a bit as you get a little older.  Thank goodness! :)

Overall, M, you are a COMPLETE JOY.  You have given me enough happiness in your three years to fill a million hearts.  I love watching you grow, smile, laugh, eat, sleep, make mistakes, learn from them, and simply come into your own.  Mommy loves you more than words can express.  As I tell you all the time, YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE.  And you always will be.

Love, Mommy

P.S.  Here a video of you "reading" one of favorite Thomas books.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Making Memories - Christmas 2011

Christmas isn't over, if you ask me.  My tree is still lit, my stockings are still up, and I'm still playing Christmas music.  And M and I still have Christmas crafts to do.  (So maybe that last one is a little weird, but it's true.)

Christmas was so sweet this year.  For a few reasons.  Morgan is at an age where she's beginning to understand a little more.  And my mom stayed with us and did fun "Santa" things with Morgan.  And I cooked my very first Christmas feast.  

They read a classic Santa story.

They baked cookies for Santa.

They were sure to leave him some milk.

They even left food outside for the reindeer.

Complete with fake snow (my mom is so funny).

After M finally went to bed, the present wrapping began.  I listened to this over and over while working.

It's really important to me that Morgan knows what Christmas is about, so the only thing I've consistently talked about regarding Christmas is the "Baby Jesus" story.  She really didn't know that Christmas morning could involve presents.  So she was surprised Christmas morning when she woke up and saw the presents under the tree (it's been bare under our tree the whole time).

Naturally most of her presents involved a little blue train and his friends.

For a while Danny and I thought we'd be buying a big train table for Christmas.  But we were surprised when some friends of ours offered to give M the one their children had outgrown.  So we didn't have to buy one (thanks, E Family)! Danny set it up for her on Christmas Eve.

We had white chocolate s'mores and hot chocolate for breakfast.

Well, let me rephrase that.  M did.  DK and I were smelling this (made by yours truly)...

...and couldn't wait to dig in (Mama left before lunch to go spend time with the other grandgirls for Christmas).  Usually when you hear "good homecooking," I've had NOTHING to do with it.  But I really wanted for my husband to have a meal like this for Christmas.  So I called my mom and aunt up and they told me what all to get at the grocery store.  With a little help from my mom, I prepared this pretty awesome mini-feast.  She let me do most of it, and I really appreciated that.

I was most proud of my dressing.  Dressing is my FAVORITE holiday dish and I just knew it'd be the hardest thing to make (and that my first attempt would be a disaster).  But it turned out to be SO GOOD.  I refused to go out and get some cookie cutter recipe online (though I do it for everything else - ha!), so I just went by the help from my mom.  This dressing was made using absolutely no measured ingredients (which is GOOD for me), and it was AWESOME.

Okay, so this pic was supposed to be a quick pic of my mom and me before she left Christmas morning, but someone ran over and posed with us.  So funny!

Anyway, my MOM is the best.  All the time.  She is so patient with me (despite the fact that I'm not always very patient with her) and her unconditional love for me is evident all the time.  I've gotten a lot of my parenting skills from her -- she is THE most kind-hearted person I know.  My thoughts used to be, "that's what moms are SUPPOSED to do..." but I've learned with age how blessed I am.

And then my dad?  He makes me feel like the smartest, most successful, most loved girl in the world (and I'm sure he makes all three of his girls feel that way), and then I have the BEST in-laws a girl could ask for. We've been blessed with amazing parents who are here on Earth with us, healthy, and who support us in every way.

Last, but not least, these two... 

are my world!  My little family is just the light of my life.  God blessed me with this amazing guy for a husband who I would marry again in a heartbeat, he's blessed us with a perfectly imperfect marriage, and then REALLY blessed us when he gave us this little ball of spunk to raise together.

Christmas just makes you count all your blessings.  The best gift on Christmas is faith and trust in the Lord.  I have a nontraditional view of "religion," but my love and commitment to my Savior is undeniable.  Every day I strive to be more like Jesus, and it's a journey where I'm learning more and more every day.  I thank Him for His love, grace, and mercy, and am so thankful for this beautiful holiday celebrating His birth.

I hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hey, guys!

Just checking in.  :)

Had a GREAT Christmas.  Of course I'm gonna tell you about it -- I just can't seem to get anything posted.  I actually have THREE different posts that I haven't finished.  I hope to have them all up before 2012.

I'm REALLY enjoying my break.  I'm not sleeping in as much as I planned (I have NEVER been able to sleep late), but I AM relaxing.  I've even started a book.  Reading has always been my favorite hobby, and the past few years I haven't had time to read much at all (that wasn't a kid's book or grad school reading).  I went to the library the other day and grabbed some things for myself.  Most of our library trips these days are for M, so it was nice to grab some goodies of my own. 

We took M to the children's museum today to see a Christmas movie in the IMAX theater.  We did a little bit of the museum, too, since we were already there, and of course she loved that.  

She had a fit when it was time to go (as usual) despite the promises of ice cream when we got home.  She loves that place.  :)

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

Card created at
Special thanks to Cousin Jazzy for snapping these shots one cold Sunday morning!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Away in a Manger

M came home singing Christmas carols several weeks ago and I thought it was the cutest thing ever.  I soon learned that her class would be holding Christmas Carols and Cookies in their classroom one afternoon where they would sing for their parents.  I could not have been more tickled.

So the day finally came (a couple of weeks ago) and I'll admit, I didn't know what to expect.  Would two-year-olds really get up there and sing Christmas songs in front of a crowd?  And when I realized they'd be marching in after the parents were seated, I thought for sure the kids would freak out when they saw that crowd.  Would the kids see their parents and run over?  Would they be shy?  Would they really sing that whole time?  But most of all, would they SIT STILL?

And it was about what I expected.  A couple of kids saw their parents and ran right to them.  At one point they were all in their own little worlds (thankfully not at the same time).  A few got up and walked around during the program.  I would have been worried if they didn't act like the two-year-olds they were up there.  So I was relieved (and of course extremely tickled) when they did all this.

When the class walked in and M noticed all the parents, she immediately looked for us (DK had a game, so it was just me).  I could see the relief on her face when she found me.  I was worried she'd run over and want to sit with me during the program, but no, she was a big girl.  I waved at her and she went right to her seat.  They sang several songs including Jingle Bells, Jesus Loves the Little Children, and Twelve Days of Christmas.  M's part was "and a partridge in a pear tree..." in which she would hold up the picture of the partridge in the pear tree.  Cutest.  Thing.  Ever.

I recorded a the whole thing, of course, so I'll share a snippet (of them singing Away in a Manger).  M is on the left wearing the red and white polka dot snowman dress.

It was just so adorable, and I commend the wonderful teachers for having the love and patience to do this.  It was a treat for the parents, for sure.

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

M Meets Santa

Last month (before the crazy crowds) we had M's pic made with Santa.  We're not really big on the Santa thing (in fact, M didn't even know who he was).  And she doesn't hear about Santa at school because they focus more on the meaning of Christmas.  But when I saw the infamous mall Santa pic on Groupon, I thought, "Hey, why not?"  My kid loves taking pics with characters, so I knew she'd love this, too.  Look at her face!

I grew up believing in Santa and looked forward to showing my children the "magic of Christmas morning."  And I did the first couple of years of her life (though she was obviously too young to understand).  But the older M gets and the more inquisitive she becomes, the more I've tried to keep the focus of Christmas off Santa.  It's not about him, and I really want her to know that.

Now I'm not anti-Santa, and I certainly can't avoid all the Santa thrown around during the holidays.  But I will be sure she knows that while Santa is a fun guy that likes to hang around at Christmas, Jesus is why there is a Christmas (and she knows exactly who Jesus is).

So here's M's very first Santa pic.  Her fake smile has become infamous. I've come to appreciate it just as much as her real smile because of all the effort she puts into it. :)

Hope everyone's had a great start to the week!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Family Time!

The older I get the more I crave family time.  And it's not that I never liked family time, but when you're younger you take that stuff for granted.  When you're older and have a family of your own and live far enough away from your folks that you can't see them every day, the time you do spend with them is precious.

I love when my mom's around, my dad, stepmom and sisters, my in-laws, and both mine and Danny's aunts, cousins, etc.  And over the past two weekends, we've spent time with some of these very people.  This is what it's all about, I tell ya.

This past weekend, we had a holiday gathering at my aunt's in my hometown. As usual, we did food, fun, and games. Simple good times.  Between my mom and me, there were a lot of pics.  Unfortunately only about a fourth of those came out decent.  Maybe I can talk my husband into us investing in a new one once the holidays are over.  I already know which one I want... :-)

Guess who won this game?

The hubby and me!  As much as I love our family games, I never win them, so I was super excited.


Aunt L.

Cousin C.

Cousin M and her SO.

Cousins K, R, and X.

M and I played (kid) Bingo for the first time, and she caught on well. We Bingoed once!

Favors!  (...and a few gifts for the folks with December birthdays and anniversaries).


Cousins J and X.

Aunt L and my mom.

Aunt MF and her SO.

With Cousin L (he's tall and I'm short so this is what you get).

With Cousin C.

Sister-in-law A.

Mother-in-law P and hubby on the right.

Aunt MK and Baby K.

We didn't get any good pics of the kids at all.  There were several more there.

Grandma (on the left) with her brother and sister who were both visiting from out-of-state.

Last, but not least, my sweet Aunt D.  She and her three daughters hosted this fun gathering.


Have a great week, everybody!

Stuff I Talk About

2011 30 day shred age update AKA animals anniversary appreciation aquarium around the house art museum Atlanta baby/toddler sleep issues baking bama football beach birthday birthday party blog awards blog buddies blogher books camping causes celebrations celebrities cheer days childhood children's museum children's theater Christmas christmas card class reunion college days concert conference cousins crafts dance date night dating days deals decluttering dentist Disney dk easter engagement facebook faith fall fun family family fun fashion father's day favorite blogs field trip field trips football friday flashback friends fun event funny pic Gaylord Opryland genealogy girl scouts goals god grad school grateful graves' disease Halloween health holidays Hollywood honeymoon instagram Iron Bowl key west kindermusik learning letter to my daughter library Los Angeles m me miami mlk day morgan is three museum Nashville national championship game natural hair nature new look new orleans New Years nyc out on the town parks parties phone fun pinterest play days at home playdate playground action pregnancy professional development Race for the Cure raleigh ramblings reading Recipes relay for life school program shows singing skating snow soccer social networking sorority spring break spring fun stress summer summer fun summer reading summer to do list teacher life technical difficulties terrible twos Thanksgiving the girls the park theme park thomas and friends three thyroid tragedy trains traveling tricycle trips twitter valentine's day video walk for autism water play we love being outside wedding wordless wednesday work wrapup Yo Gabba Gabba zoo
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