Saturday, September 29, 2012

46 Weeks

 46 Weeks Old

 On Monday of this week we were traveling back from Arkansas.  Brad also started his new job.  He is now the CFO of VISN 16.  That means he oversees the finances of 10 VA hospitals in the southeast.  If you think I'm bragging, I might be.  We are so, so proud of him!  When I married him I never saw past him being a budget analyst at the Fayetteville VA.  Not because I didn't think he would be successful or could be anything he wanted to be.  Anyone that knows Brad knows he is capable of doing anything he sets his mind to.  That piece just didn't factor into my decision because he had all of the other qualities I was looking for in a husband.  I didn't care what his job description was.  He could still be a budget analyst, and I wouldn't care.  But 9 years later I continue to be amazed at what he has done in his career at such a young age.  He has been a budget analyst for the VISN, CFO of the LR VA, Deputy CFO of the VISN, and now he is a VISN CFO.  The youngest in the country, I might add.  I cannot even imagine what kind of pressure that must be and what stress he must endure.  But it has allowed me to be exactly where I want to be...home with my babies.  I only hope he knows how much I appreciate this huge blessing that I see as a luxury. And I hope I can make him proud by being just as diligent in my job as he has been in his.  Love you, babe!
What a mess!
 Tuesday after 2 doctors appointments, we got back into the swing of things.  I gave in and went to the doctor for a sinus infection I had been trying to kick on my own.  And I was concerned that Rhett's ears were still infected and they were.  Thankfully, he has done fine on the Suprax.  Armed with meds, we got on with our week and got ready for our company later in the week, my mom and Jenn.

 My mom and Jennifer arrived in time for supper Wednesday night.  We like to have breakfast for supper every now and then, and it was "B" week, so ME enjoyed bear pancakes with bananas and blueberries.
 Thursday we took a picnic lunch to the park.  Rhett really showed out on the swings.  He LOVES to swing!

Driving the firetruck

 Friday we shopped and had lunch at Corner Bakery.  We went to Monogram Express for the first time.  I think I'll be going back.  They have lots of cute gift items and boast having one of the largest selections of TOMS in the south.  As, you can see ME also visited her friends at Old Navy.  ME and Rhett were treated to new pairs of New Balances on our shopping excursion.  Thanks, Mia!

I had to tell her she couldn't ride the dog.

No fair weather fans here!  We still dress the part. What else can you do?

And I still make tasty treats on game day like these Reese's cupcakes.  The frosting tastes exactly like the middle of a Reese's.
 We had so much fun with Jenn and Mia!  ME played so hard, and Rhett showed off all of his new tricks.  They couldn't stay for the game on Saturday (please, what game? Rutgers?), so I had to break out our Arkansas Razorbacks CD and show them how the kids go crazy.  ME thinks she is a Razorback cheerleader and Rhett claps and bucks so hard it's impossible to hold him when the band plays the fight song.  He will put one hand up and say, "Ooh" in his deep voice when you call the Hogs.  Make no mistake about it, we are raising Arkansas fans in this Mississippi home.  Maybe we can turn it around by the time they are in college.  Ha!
 After Sunday naps, we made banana splits for "B" week.  Honestly if you could see our house in the afternoon it looks pretty much like this. ME just sleeps in panties for her nap because she gets so hot when she sleeps, especially when we have the air turned up during the day.  And sometimes she doesn't get dressed again until pj time.
My Mimi was a fearless entertainer.  Who has banana split glass plates? She did!  And I'm so proud to have them!

Yummy!  Banana splits always make me think of my Daddy Law.  He used to take me to Dairy Queen, and we'd split a banana split.  Maybe that's why Mimi invested in banana split glassware. ;)

 And a few of my loves in their Sunday best...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Interview with Mary Ella at 3

What is your name?  Mary Ella
How old are you? 3 years old
What is your favorite color? pink
Who is your best friend? Emma
What is your favorite animal? kangaroo
What do you want to be when you grow up? Cinderella
What is your favorite movie? Sleeping Beauty
What is your favorite book? The Grouchy Ladybug
What makes you happy? music
What makes you sad? dinosaurs
What is your favorite food? cereal Lucky Charms
What is your favorite song to sing? This Little Light of Mine
What is your favorite game to play? the merry-go-round

Thursday, September 27, 2012

3 years

 Mary Ella,
I cannot even believe I am writing about you at 3! I think I've been putting this post off on purpose.  It doesn't even seem possible that you could be so grown up or that I could even be a mother to a 3 year old.  But you are, and I am.  I'm tearing up right now just thinking about how much I love you and how much I wish time could slow down.  Part of me wishes I could just keep you in a little bubble of safety and love just the way you are now, but that's not realistic or healthy.  And I do love watching you learn and grow, so, so much, so on with it we go!  It's just so hard to think about having you home with me for only 2 more years, so I'm writing this to try and remember what life was like for us with you at this age.  I wish I could remember every single thing...
  • You are 34 lbs 6 oz (75th) and 38 1/2 in (90th).
  • You are still a very picky eater. If you love something you will eat a lot of it, but if you don't we only get a few bites in you. You recently decided you like chocolate milk. This seems like a small victory since you haven't drunk milk since you stopped taking a bottle.
  • You still take an afternoon nap and sleep all night in your big girl bed. You wake up around 7 and start yelling, "Mommy!" You have been sleeping in panties for several months and have only had a couple of accidents.
  • You love your new extra-curricular activities: gymnastics, ballet, and tap. You always say, "Mommy, I listen to what my teacher says."
  • You love going to preschool story time now, but still enjoy baby bookworms just as much as you ever have. It's perfect for you and Rhett!
  • You love, love, love to read books! Your favorites now are longer picture books. You like anything girly like Fancy Nancy or Pinkalicious or Princess stories.
  • You know too many songs and nursery rhymes to even begin to list. You also like to make up your own songs and sing as you go.
  • You constantly talk, talk, talk. About any and everything. To me or yourself. It's like having a little person with me all day. I wish I had recordings of some of our conversations. You really understand so much and, you're vocabulary is truly amazing. You use funny words like perhaps or actually or perfectly or "yes, of course." I make a conscience effort to answer all of your questions, even the "whys" that could drive me batty. I want you to know that I am always here to talk and listen, and I want you to feel big enough and important enough to deserve my time and concentration and the best answer or advice I can give. I also never want to squash your curiosity or inquisitiveness. Some of our best conversations happen over breakfast or lunch or in the car. You come up with some crazy stuff in the backseat. It's so neat to watch your face as you are thinking about something so seriously.  And some of the stuff you say is so funny!  You make me laugh every single day!  

  • You still love all things Disney. Princesses, Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse, and your new love is Doc McStuffins. Disneyworld and the Bippity Boppity Boutique were absolutely fun and fabulous for you at this age!
  • You play really well independently most of the time. There are so many simple things that entertain you. Puzzles, playdoh, blocks, books, cooking in your kitchen, "babysitting" your babies...
  • You love to help me in the kitchen or fold clothes- you try to help me with whatever I am doing.
  • You love to play outside. Sidewalk chalk, hopscotch, riding your tricycle and scooter, blowing bubbles, swimming in the pool, playing in your playhouse, going to the park...
  • You also love to color and draw and write, stickers, stamps, paint, anything artsy-crafty...
  • You love to dress up and dance and twirl and play all of your instruments.
  • You are so, so smart! You know all of your letters and sounds! And you can write many letters too. I can only take a little credit for teaching you. You have known M E H for a while, and then you learned how to spell MARY and picked up those letters. Then, you started showing interest while we were reading books. You learned O and S and noticed that a W was an upside down M. I decided a couple months before you turned 3 that I wanted you to know your letters. So, we got a puzzle. And I put a letter app on my phone. And I broke out the Leap Frog DVD that Julie had given you who knows when? After watching that about 10 times to and from Orlando, you learned all of the sounds. And the app helped with matching the upper case and lower case letters, and it lets you practice writing. Thanks, technology! I guess Mama should put my training to use and teach you how to read now! ;)
  • You are loving our "letter of the week" activities. I think you will love school!

  • You randomly say throughout the day, "I love you, Mommy." Or sometimes you just call me mom. Yeah, I don't like that. I started a little game about how much I love you, and you picked up on it brilliantly. I'll say something like, "I love you as deep as the ocean" or "as colorful as a rainbow" or "as bright as the sun" or "as busy as a bee." Then you say one back to me, and we go back and forth. I'm amazed at what you come up with and how spot on it is. You say things like, "I love you as tall as a giraffe" or "as high as a kite." It's so sweet, and I don't want to forget the emphasis you put on "as briiiggghhhht or as hiiiiggghhh as" whatever.
  • Every night before bed we read atleast one book and say our prayers. I go first and then yours goes something like this: "Deawa Dod, Fank you fo dis day. Fank you fo all da many bessings dat you dive to us. Fank you fo da food dat we ate today. Fank you fo da tlothes that we wowre today. Fank you fo all da many bessings. We yuv you. Dood night. In Jesus' name, Amen" Then I ask you 4 questions, and you always give me the same answers. I ask, "Do you know how much God loves you?" And you say, "too much." "Do you know how much I love you?" "Too much" "Do you know how proud I am to be your Mommy?" "Too much" Do you know you can be anything you want to be?" And here's where you say, "Cinderella" ;)
  • You love going to Bible class and are so good during church service. You know the stories of Noah, Daniel, Jonah, David and Goliath, and more. You know we go to church to sing and pray and read the Bible. You know reading the Bible is how we learn about God and Jesus.
  • You can recite the golden rule. You point your finger and say "tweat udders da way you want to be tweated." I can't say that you always do that, but at least you know what we're going for. Ha!

  • I think you could drive the car and get us to church or dance or swim lessons or the library or wherever we are going. You are good with directions, and you know your left from your right. I have no idea where you learned that!
  • You are starting to see your brother as a playmate...when you're not trying to be his mother. ;) You love to hug and kiss him and are really very patient with how rough he can be. You are not good at sharing just yet.
  • You have quite an imagination. So, much that you've come up with a couple imaginary friends. Or maybe they're just puppets. I've seen you talk to yourself in the mirror, but you also talk to your hands and they talk back! Your left hand is named Yoyo. He is a boy or the "brother." Your right hand is named Princess, and she is a girl or the "sister." Yoyo seems to be a little bit of a troublemaker. Or atleast you say that princess is the nice one, and yoyo is the mean one. Let me just say when all of this started it freaked me out! But from what I've read and from talking to people, apparently, imaginary friends are actually a sign of creativity and intelligence. Let's hope so, because I was beginning to worry about multiple personalities. Ha! And it really troubled me that there was a naughty one, but that is common too. Thankfully they're not always with us, just occasionally. I definitely try to down play it, but I don't know what I should expect. I remember specifically having 2 imaginary friends when I was little, and I turned out okay, right? Ha! Maybe it's a firstborn thing?
  • You ride your Mickey Mouse car around the house about 90 mph! And you hoard random things under the seat.
  • You are such a great swimmer! You can jump in and swim to me, swim back to the side, and climb out all by yourself.

  • I could go on and on about all the sweet and wonderful things that you do and all the joy and happiness and pride that you bring to our family. But let me be real, you are sweet and sassy and smart and spunky all rolled into one. Let me talk for a minute about the sass and spunk. I have loved every.single.stage of your life from 0-3. It has been a breeze being your Mommy. But honestly, this age is challenging! Three seems very different from two...I could see it coming before your birthday. You can go from sugary sweet to what the heck in 2.5 seconds. You can be moody and downright cranky. You vocalize every thought you have, good or bad. You can speak with nasty tones and make ugly faces. And let me just say, you have some faces. You have always been so animated with big expressions, and that can go a number of ways. You tell me "no" or "I don't want to" or "let me do it." I have to say, "you don't talk to Mommy that way" a LOT! I feel like some days are spent doing nothing but trying to correct you and make you be sweet. Every now and then, and especially after we travel I have to have what I call a no tolerance day. You have usually gotten away with more than you should, so I have to make up my mind not to bend one little bit. You've heard of "picking your battles." Well, this would be the opposite of that. Sometimes it's all out war, and I already know who is going to win every single battle. And after a day like that, you get back on track. And manners? I so badly want you to have good manners, but I feel like I constantly am correcting you without it coming naturally to you. It can be exhausting! Maybe you act out because you are jealous of the attention I give Rhett. I don't know, but 3 has been a little bumpy. Dr. Smith adores you and asked at your 3 year old check-up if you are always so happy and compliant. I said, "Yes, you are usually happy and usually mind very well. But, sometimes I wonder where my compliant child went." And he said that anyone that ever spoke of the terrible 2s hadn't had a 3 year old. But he said 4 is as good as gold. We'll see about that. And I'm not saying that you are noncompliant, at all. You are generally well-behaved and happy and sweet. It just may depend on whatever little 3 year old mood you are in. There, I said it!  Moving on..
  • We love you so, so much! Everyone loves you, Mary Ella! You truly know how to let your little light shine for the world to see! We are so proud of you!

Here's a little flashback of each year that has been blessed by you...



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rhett's 8 month portraits

 Rhett's six month portraits turned into eight month portraits because we had to re-schedule twice.  But Jeanelle worked her magic, and it was all worth it.  Thankfully, she doesn't mind doing some of big sister, so these doubled as ME's three year portraits.

Can't believe we'll be doing his 12 month photos sooo soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

45 Weeks

 45 Weeks Old

 This week was spent half in MS and half in AR.  These pics were taken on Gigi and Papa's porch Sunday morning before church.  How cute are they?  Let's back up to Monday...
 Cooler temperatures meant more outside playtime

Love this pic, and I love special times when it's just me and my girl.  Rhett was inside napping.

We practiced letters with sidewalk chalk.  She can write many on her own, but likes tracing Mommy's too.

And we played hopscotch
 We are pretty much tied up in the middle of the week with dance and gymnastics.  And we go to story time twice a week.  I have to say I'm really loving that we have a more structured week.  We decided (with the Mullises) to start doing a letter a week.  So, we started with "A."  ME was loving "A week."  I always tell her to "listen to her teacher" when she goes to dance and gymnastics.  So, when we sat down to talk about the letter A and write words that start with A on the markerboard she said, "I listen to my teacher."  That would be moi.  ;)  Ms. Lizzie helped us check out books about alligators and ants and apples and so forth.  I don't plan on doing any sort of strict lessons or really anything structured.  We'll probably just do some art projects or fun activities like eating apples with caramel dip.  Anyway, we stayed in town until Thursday, and then headed to NWA for Reese and Eli's 5th birthday party and the Alabama weekend (ugh)!
They chose to celebrate with dinner at Jose's.  Ha!

Kid table

Look-alike cousins

Then we went over to Fun City for some "fun"...ME loved it!

Sharing my surprise chocolate mess at Marketplace with ME
 I forgot to mention that this was my birthday week too.  Turning 32 is so exciting, y'all!  Ha!  It was actually on Wednesday, and Brad came home with flowers and a cookie cake.  And Nathan and Lauren ordered pizza.  I had already ordered my bday present first mommy purchase from Lolly Wolly Doodle...we'll see how that turns out!  But, I had more birthday money to spend, so on Saturday, Joe and Rita kept the kids and I got to shop ALL by myself for MYSELF.  It was sooo nice!  Thank you, thank you!  The day went downhill from there when we got completely embarrassed by Bama, but we still had fun at Mike and Julie's with the cousins.  Sunday was church, Marketplace lunch, a visit with Nancy and Leonard and church again. 
I shared with all the little critters ;)

Monday, we had an uneventful drive home.  We stopped for lunch at Sonic, and I let Rhett stretch and play in the car for a while.  Poor boo boo came home with more snot.  His ears are still infected.  So, we're having to try an antibiotic that Dr. Smith wanted to avoid.  It's related to the penicillin family, so please pray he doesn't have a reaction!
And this pic was from last week's lunch with Miles...I stole it from Kristy's blog

Little sister and little brother lunched too