Monday, September 30, 2013

4 years

 Oh My Dear Mary Ella,
I know how cliché it sounds to say, "I cannot believe you are 4."  But you have been for almost 2 months now, and I still can't.  I tell you all the time, and I mean it, you are the smartest, sweetest, and most beautiful girl in the world to me.  You and your brother are God's greatest blessings in my life.  Being your mommy is the biggest and best job I have ever had...and let me tell you, year 3 you were a challenge along with the fun!  I can already feel that 4 is different, as each year has been with you, and it keeps getting better.  Here is a snapshot of what you are like right now:
  • You weigh about 40 pounds and are 38 inches tall. 
  • You are finally drinking milk (chocolate), but you still take vitamins because you are a terrible eater.  I mean if it's not pb&j, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, cereal, or raspberries, it's a challenge.  I still push the fruits on you, but vegetables are a fight every time, even for a bite.  And eating out so much this summer hasn't helped our situation in the least.  When we get all settled I'm coming up with some kind of positive plan to get you to eat.  I swear I hate myself for needing a behavior chart for my own daughter, but think timers, sticker charts, and cheesy rewards.  You WILL be a better eater by this time next year.
  • You still take a 1-2 hour nap in the afternoon and sleep great at night.  The only time I hear from you is if you have had a bad dream or need to go potty.  You will have a room upstairs soon.  It will be the farthest we have ever slept from you...I hope that goes okay.
  • You like a good routine.  You want to know what we have planned for the day, and what's next, and then what, and what are we doing after nap, and what are we doing in the morning...until I run out of plans to tell you. 
  • You love dance and gymnastics, and you're really loving going to school for the first time.
  • This summer, especially early summer was tough.  We all had an adjustment period for the move, but I think it was especially difficult for you. You were okay as long as we stayed busy, but if there was any down time, you would say things like "I miss Mississippi.  I want to go home.  I don't feel like myself.  This was not a good idea."  But you love playing with your cousins, and you are feeling more secure in some new friendships.  After such a crazy, busy summer, I think we are ALL looking forward to some downtime.  A day where we stay home all day and do nothing will be fantastic!
  • You still miss your friends, Braydon and Carson, most from Mississippi.  But new friends here are: Madison, Fender, Thomas, Caroline, Hudson, and Attiya.  You're pretty great at making a fast new friend on the playground, but you're slower to warm up to kids in a group, like in gymnastics or dance...maybe because you're focusing on the teacher?
  • You are so into writing and drawing and coloring right now.  That has come in very handy in our small hotel space.  You love to ask me how to spell words and right them.  I got you some new pencils and lined paper, and you're doing pretty darn good at learning to write on the lines.  Recently we started working on word families...nothing too stressful, but my plan is to have you reading soon!
  • I couldn't really say what your favorite toys are right now, because they're all in storage, but you have recently been into Barbies and ballerinas and, of course, princesses.  Atleast once a day you say, "Mama, where is ____?"  I say that it's packed, and you say, "in a box?"  And, you're okay with that.
  •  You also like to watch and talk hunting with Daddy and practice shooting your bow.
  • There's nowhere you'd rather be than outside playing or swimming or digging in the dirt.  Lately, you've been saying that you want to climb a tree.  And you want to climb mountains and go fishing with Daddy too.
  • You love to ride your tricycle, and I'm excited to get you back on your Barbie bike and see what you can do.  Papa's yellow corvette is fun to drive too!
  • You could swing all day long!  And at 4 it's time to learn how to pump!
  • You are becoming very independent.  When I need to, I can count on you to brush your teeth and put your clothes and shoes on.  You still let me pick out what you wear, but I try to give you as many choices as I can stand.  Some days you have stronger opinions than others.  It can be very pleasant fixing your hair or it can be dramatic...ya never know what you're going to get!
  • Speaking of you never know, attitude can be a problem.  With 3 came ugly faces and sounds and stomping feet and back talkin' sass.  I'm sooo thankful that 4 is looking consistently sweeter.  Most of the time you are sweet as can be, obedient, helpful, and respectful, but you certainly have a strong-willed and stubborn streak that blows my control freak mind.
  •   You love Bible stories, going to church and Bible class, singing worship songs, and just talking about God and Jesus and heaven.  I got you a new storybook Bible one day while you were at school, and you are so proud of it.  We are reading from it every day, and it amazes me how much you remember and understand.  We both look forward to our devotional time and prayer together.  I'm just so proud of your interest and enthusiasm!  I pray that these early years of Bible training are leaving their mark on you.  And I'm so thankful that we have access to the school we have here!
  • You are all about snuggle and talk time after we read and say our prayers.  You still say, "I want a little snuggle" or "can we snuggle, Mama?"  And you're not happy about it if we have to cut it short!
  • Your absolute favorite cartoon and Disney character right now is Sofia, hence the Sofia the First birthday party.  You still say you want to be a princess when you grow up. ;)
  • You are my sunshine, little lady.  I am so proud of the big girl you are becoming!  You are a sweet big sister (most of the time ;), Daddy's little girl, and Mommy's heart.  We love you so much!


 Birthday Flashback:



Thursday, September 26, 2013

He needs an intervention.

Some of these pics go way back.  How sweet is this sleeping babe?
So, Rhett has a problem.  A blankie and paci problem.  He has always taken both to bed for naps and bedtime, but he doesn't run around all day with a paci in his mouth and dragging his blanket behind him because we leave them in his bed.  Until...we moved and lived in a hotel all summer and he slept on a mattress in the floor until we got a crib set up and had access to "papis" and "blankie" all day long.  And then he ran around with a paci in his mouth and drug his blankie around behind him all day long.  And then we got a crib and tried to go back to the old way and Mommy felt sad when he begged for it and because everyone was kind of crazy and dealing with anxiety and insecurity issues from the move, she just said, "Ok, take your paci and blankie if it makes you feel better."  We have since all calmed down a bit, and there is light at the end of the "living in the hotel" tunnel, and paci and blanket have gone back in the bed after morning cartoons.  But here is a compilation of photos of Rhett and his beloved blankie.  I'm amazed that I never find it randomly to the side in his bed.  He is always, always touching it.  And ME has never been attached to any object or slept under covers, so it's very different with this boy and his blanket...

It can double as a paci and blanket.
It watches Mickey Mouse with him.

It prays with him.

It goes camping with him.

It travels well.

It comes to Mia's house.

It even comes before snuggling with Mommy ;)

It feels so good draped on his head.

All wrapped up in it
More TV time

Just hanging outside the bathroom while Mommy gets ready.

Climbing on furniture to try to get to blankie in the bed

Playing "bo boo leep" (go to sleep) with Bunny and Froggie and blankie

And it can be a cape!

Ahhh...sweet comfort

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Family Portraits

My friend, Jessica Ritchie, took another round of family portraits for us.  This is just our sneak peek!  She is so amazing, and especially great with the kids.  She got oodles of smile from them, so it is going to be so hard to choose!  I liked what Brad said when he saw them, "This is going to cost me some major money."  Yep...especially with a new house to decorate!

Monday, September 23, 2013

End of Summer Wrap-Up

 This weekend was the last official weekend of summer.  Brad's boss had a party at his house, and we went over to eat and watch the Razorback game.  Here are a few pics from the day and a few more randoms from my iphone. 
We took some sweets from Rick's.  ME had already eaten the pig's nose.  It's a good thing because we STUNK it up losing to Rutgers :(

They had a blow-up slide in the backyard.  Rhett was shy at first, but after doing it with Mommy a few times, he was ready to go!

Friday night movie night

Silly girl

Last trip to the pool

Get Well card she made at story time

Hammontree lunch

Our view as ME climbed the rock wall

Ta da!

He thinks it's funny to slide down on his tummy.

Farewell summer...fall can start when we get moved in and get our fall wardrobe out of storage AND when I get some pumpkins in the new house!