Friday, May 27, 2011

You all know how life happens. When it rains, it pours. This week has been quite the week. I am wrapping up things at school, which means lots of meetings, lots of paperwork, 5th grade graduation practice, actual 5th grade graduation/promotion/whatever, grades and the list goes on and on. Morgan Kate has had a virus of some sort and has been at home for most of the week. We started the week with no meds, thought she was recovering and are ending the week with the nebulizer, an inhaler and antibiotics. Oh, and a coughing spell here and there that induces vomit. And lots of it. My hubby has been feeling under the weather. And then Monday afternoon I walk out in the backyard only to find this.

I mean really?!? I don't do bugs. Or lizards. Or frogs. And I especially don't do snakes. They give me the eebie jeebies. Gross. (I did however get close enough to snap this picture. Believe me, I have a good zoom.) I'd like to tell you that I took care of it. That I sent this snake on its merry way. But, I did not. I didn't dare touch it. Just the thought of getting near it made the hairs on my arms raise. Seeing it on this computer screen kind of makes my skin crawl. I just watched it from the back door all morning until it finally slithered away. And for the rest of the day I wouldn't let Morgan Kate or the dogs or myself go outdoors for anything. I'll keep my eyes peeled in case he/she comes back. Hopefully then I can muster up the strength to do away with the snake for good. Until then, I hope he/she stays away! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I consider my husband to be a tough man. Nothing girly or feminine about him. He drives a truck. And a boat and a four wheeler. Loves to fish and hunt. Prefers to be outdoors. Watches shows like Deadliest Catch and Swamp People. Knows how to do just about everything when it comes to fixing things. And does an excellent job of taking care of his girls. However, behind all of his toughness, he does have a soft spot (other than MK and myself). Despite his love for hunting and fishing he has a tender heart for animals. A really tender heart. Always has. He hates to see animals in pain or suffering. He hates seeing animals mistreated. While driving he dodges squirrels and has even been known to stop and move turtles out of the middle of the road. And get this. He even swerves to miss frogs. Frogs?!?! 

There are many qualities and traits that MK has gotten from me, but her love for frogs and insects and all creatures outdoors, is all Trav. I have absolutely nothing to do with that. I squirm when I see those creatures. I refuse to touch frogs. I run from lizards. She does not, especially when her daddy is around. (She has just recently become a bit skiddish, but with a little help she warms right up.) Just last week she and Trav found a frog in our backyard. She was amazed and captivated. Of course Travis scooped it up right away. Morgan Kate was intrigued and wanted so badly to touch it, but it took her a few minutes to actually do it. She wasn't 100 percent sure.

Once she finally did, she was so proud of herself. I was proud of her. And of course her daddy was proud of her. I'm not sure what's more satisfying - the pride I have, the pride I see on her daddy's face or the pride she radiates. 

She was just so giddy. She cheered for herself. Jumped up and down. Cheesed, big time. And of course wanted to do it again and again and again. 

After lots of playtime with the frog, Travis decided it was time to let him go. The frog needed to take a "nap". 

MK was not impressed. At all. She proceeded to follow the frog into the bushes and when the frog finally hopped away she cried and cried and cried.

Hopefully she's going to grow up to be just like her daddy. Tough on the outside, but a softy on the inside. Maybe she'll even swerve to miss frogs. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Occasionally, and I emphasis occasionally, I get an inkling to cook. Usually it's because I've visited a blog and I've seen a really neat recipe. Or I have read a magazine and thought, "Wow, that looks kind of easy". Because let's face it, I want my life to be as easy as possible. It's funny because I tell myself that I don't like to cook, but when I actually do take the time to really do it, I enjoy it. Travis tells me that what I cook is really good. And I believe him. It really is pretty good. Most of the time. This one time I cooked some sort of enchilada casserole and let's just say, I will never, ever do that again. And if I do, Travis and Owens will remind me of why I should never, ever do that again.

Anyway, last week or maybe the week before that, I saw this recipe for lasagna cups. It made me stop, ponder and then I decided to be brave and actually try them myself. I love lasagna and these were like little tiny bites of lasagna. And they seemed pretty easy and pretty quick. I was definitely intrigued. I scribbled down the recipe, sent Travis to the grocery store and one night last week I cooked them. I followed the recipe exactly, except it called for wonton wrappers, which we couldn't find. Therefore, I used filo dough. (And no, I didn't think of that on my own.) 

This is how they turned out:

Now, they may not be as eye-pleasing as the ones Amanda (And no, I don't know her personally.) cooked up, but I promise you they are just as mouth-watering. People, these things were amazing. I could not get over how delicious they were OR how easy they were to make. I was pretty darn pleased with myself. Travis loved them and even MK took a few bites. Definitely a recipe I will file way in the "Must Try Again and Again and Again" folder. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I am a teacher. A fifth grade teacher. And I enjoy teaching for many reasons. One, I love learning. From a very early age I told my parents that I was going to be a student as long as I could. I feel like being a teacher enables me to do that on a daily basis. I am constantly learning. Two, as cliche as it may sound, I do enjoy working with children. Most days. I enjoy having conversations with them and watching as the little wheels and gears in their heads turn. I love when their little light bulbs light up and I live for those "Ah-hah" moments. Three, I enjoy teaching. I truly enjoy sharing my learning with others. I enjoy teaching about our past and where it all began. I love reading books and sharing stories. I even enjoy teaching long division and addition and subtraction of fractions. (I told you, I'm always learning.) And four, it's no big secret, I also don't mind having my summers off. I enjoy the break. I need the break. The breaks keeps me going. 

My "summer break" officially starts next Friday, but for the past two days I have gotten a little preview of those warm days. I have been able to turn off my alarm clock. Stay in my PJs until lunch time. Eat breakfast and lunch with my baby girl. Play and read with my baby girl. Nap with my baby girl. And oh, how I have missed those naps. While all of this sounds so delightful, there is a downside. I'm getting this preview because I am at home with a sick baby girl. She has a virus of some sort. A virus that brings fever, coughing, sore throat, irritability and sleepless nights. She is just not herself and it breaks my heart. And while I absolutely hate with every ounce of my being that she is sick, I am thoroughly enjoying our time at home together and I am longing even more for "summer break". 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I love these people. So very much.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

True confession. I'm a slacker. 

Morgan Kate stopped taking a night bottle a little over a month ago. (I know she was like thirty-two months. I don't care.) While she may have given up the bottle, I didn't exactly get rid of the bottle(s). They have been sitting on our counter ever since. Bottles. Parts of the bottles. Bottle brush. Drying rack. All there. Just sitting. I didn't touch them. We didn't use them. She didn't need them. They just sat there. And every morning and every night I would just look at them. Briefly.

Late last week I made a big step. Huge progress. I threw the bottle brush away. I bagged the bottles up and put them away. I folded the drying rack and stuck it in the cabinet. In it's place I put a beautiful, silver crab dish and a wooden block with a palmetto tree. 

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I often debate in my mind what's more painful - actually experiencing something myself or seeing someone close to me experience something. Something that is so painful. Something that can't be controlled. Something I can't do anything about. A year ago today I had to watch loved ones very near and dear to my heart experience something that broke my heart in half. Something that made me so incredibly sad. And so unbelievably angry. Something that brought back some painful memories. Something that made my question why and how. Something that made me doubt things I believe in. 

For me, it's sometimes much harder to watch other people deal with painful things. I don't pretend to be this strong person who has it all together, but sometimes when it comes to myself I put up this wall. I feel like I have more control over things. I try to turn certain feelings off. I try to pretend that I am strong. When I see others hurting it's harder for me to pretend. It affects me differently. It breaks me in half. I don't like to see people hurt. I don't like to see people experience pain. I don't like not having control. I don't like feeling helpless. I don't like not being able to make things better. 

A year later, while I still deal with those feelings of anger and sadness, I have also seen and witnessed other things. I have seen those people be so brave. So strong. So faithful. I have seen them grow in ways I never imagined. I have seen them change other people's lives, including my own. I strive to be more like them. I have learned once again a true lesson in patience and the fact that we don't have control over everything. That even the best planners can't always plan for everything. That God's timing is the only timing. They have taught me so much about perseverance and about hope and about faith. 

And I love them so very much. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

If you have read this blog for any amount of time then you will know that when it comes to parenting skills and moving forward with new ideas/skills/concepts/milestons, etc., I am quite the procrastinator. I have several notions of my own about why I procrastinate with these things. One, it's just my nature. I don't act on things right away. I don't make big decisions right away. I don't even do small things right away. I'm more of a thinker. I think about why I want to do something, how I'm going to do something and what that might look, sound and feel like. Thank goodness that Travis is my total opposite in this regard, therefore, we balance each other out nicely. Two, I try so hard to let Morgan Kate just be Morgan Kate. I try to let her tell me when she's ready for things. I don't watch and compare her to every other two year old. I let her do what she's ready for and so far that's worked pretty well for us. And three, sometimes I can't help but wonder if she will be our only baby. And if so, then subconciously and conciously I hold on to some things a lot longer. A lot.

There are lots of things I have procrastinated with when it comes to Morgan Kate and one of the more recent things has been potty training. It seems like it would only make sense to do it sooner than later. Sooner would mean less diapers which would mean less money, but that really doesn't bother me or motivate me. It is what it is. It's one of those things where again, I'm just procrastinating. Last fall my plan was to work on it during Christmas break. Christmas break rolled around and I pushed it until Spring break. Spring break came and went and I pushed it until summer break. (Summer break begins in three weeks. Yikes!) She has her own little potty and every now and then I'll ask her if she wants to use it. If she brings it up or asks to go, then of course we go right away. But, that's really it. A few days ago she told me she wanted to take dance. Roddey teaches dance and two of MK's little friends take dance, so she really wants to participate. I told her that she couldn't take dance until she used the potty. (By the way, that's the "dance rules", not mine.) So, in the past few days she's been a little more interested. She's peed in the potty several times and of course, we've made a tremendous deal about it. But, she's never poopied in the potty. She's more of a "hider". When she needs to go she runs to the nearest hiding spot, does her business and then comes to tell me.

All of that changed today.

Today, she did big girl business in the potty. I wasn't there to witness it, but I received THE best phone call with one proud girl on the other end. "Mommy, I poo-pooed in the potty!!!!!" She was so excited and I just had the biggest grin. I was so proud of her, but the best part was how proud she was of herself. You could just hear the pride and excitement in her voice. And of course, I had a few sad tears in my eyes. Sad because my baby really is growing up. But, those only lasted for maybe 5.2 seconds and I was over it. My next thought was what was I going to get her for being such a big girl. After all that work you definitely need a new toy or something.

Side note here, but how awesome is it that I wasn't there when this happened, but Roddey is so fabulous that she stopped everything she was doing to call me and let MK share her news. My heart couldn't be happier about where MK is everyday!

I know this doesn't mean that I can just give up all diapers, but this is such a huge step for her and for me. I'm so, so proud of her!

Way to go, Morgan Kate! Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Random things that I don't want to forget:

1. Morgan Kate can't say "Morgan", so she calls her self Ah-Kate. If we teasingly call her a different name or even call her Morgan, she will say, "No, Ah-Kate".

2. Whenever she talks about someone that she thinks a lot of, she will wrap her arms around herself and say, "Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm".

3. She wants to wear a band-aid all the time. She calls them "Am-baids".

4. Her favorite thing to do and say right now is to walk away from us, turn around and say, "Be right back". It's the cutest thing. She throws her hand up like she's waving and says, "Be right bok". Love.

5. One of her favorite foods is macaroni and she calls it "Maka-wicki". Oh my goodness. I love to hear her say. 

6. She sings ALL. OF. THE. TIME. She even sings herself to sleep at night. Some favorites are: ABC, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Jesus Loves Me, Paddy Cake. All time favorite would have to be: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April of 2010 proved to be a very busy month. Two March of Dimes walks, a baby shower for one of my besties and a wedding for a dear friend. (Three of those events took place in the same weekend.) April of 2011 proved to be just as busy, if not busier. The month started with a party for Owens and Trenholm, our March for Babies, then a bachelorette weekend, a week in Florida with a trip to Disney, Easter Sunday and finally my brother's wedding. Needless to say, we've been busy. And I had all of these great intentions and all of these wonderful ideas for posts. Just last week I had written three different posts in my head, but they never made it to the blog. One was going to be about my brother's upcoming nuptials and how my heart was so full for he and Trenholm and how I was looking forward to the wedding and had so many emotions. I was even going to offer up a little advice. But, none of those posts ever happened. Matter of fact, days went by where it felt like I never sat down. But, such is life. This week has been much slower, even though this week in itself has been full of things to do. I have had a few moments to sit down, browse and even write. And those moments have brought forth this post. The post about our amazing weekend and the absolutely beautiful wedding for Owens and Trenholm.
The wedding festivities officially began Friday morning with a bridal brunch at Four Moons (a restaurant in Orangeburg). It was so beautiful, so thoughtful and so yummy. The centerpieces on each table were made of gorgeous flowers that were tucked in silver teapots all having once belonged to Trenholm's grandmother. We ate She Crab soup, quiche, shrimp and grits, fruit and ended with the most delicious cake from Chocolate Nirvana. (We also had the most refreshing mimosas.) Trenholm was so relaxed and so beautiful. Morgan Kate was thrilled to be at a "party" and even more thrilled when she opened her gift from Trenholm. A silver, monogrammed bracelet. She was just beside herself.

The bride-to-be with her two "mothers"
Morgan Kate opening her bracelet
Just being silly 
My mom, Mrs. Jackie and myself left the brunch and headed straight to the rehearsal party venue to begin decorating. My mom had this terrific, beautiful, amazing vision and Mrs. Jackie and I followed directions pretty well. We didn't leave our "decorating job" until almost 4:30 and we were supposed to be at the church for rehearsal at 5:30. No worries. We move fast. Most of the time.
Owens and Morgan Kate right before rehearsal
After rehearsal we headed over to the Funny Farm for the rehearsal party. And it was a party indeed. We had the best time!
Just one of my mom's masterpieces...I told you she was amazing
Just the three of us

Having a little fun...okay, maybe a lot!

The rehearsal party was a blast. My parents did such an amazing job with the venue, the decorations, the food, with just everything. (Okay, it was mostly my mom, but I know my dad had some insight in there somewhere.) It was an unforgettable night and so memorable for everyone. 

In the blink of our eyes it was time for the BIG day. Saturday morning my parents, both of my brothers, Morgan Kate, Travis and myself sat around the breakfast table leisurely eating, sipping on coffee and reminiscing of the night before. The boys spent the early part of the afternoon just hanging out and doing boy stuff, while MK napped and mom and I had our hair done. It was such a relaxing morning. (These are the things I will remember for a lifetime.)

Around 4ish or so we headed to the church to begin getting ready. Even getting ready was so much fun. It was all of Trenholm's family and so many of mine. Both of my grandmothers, my aunts and even a few cousins were there to help us zip those zippers, fix those shoes and touch up our makeup. 

I love this picture!
The wedding was simply beautiful and my entire family got to participate. I was a bridesmaid, Travis a groomsmen and Morgan Kate a bell ringer. She pranced down the aisle, ringing her bell and headed straight for Kaky. It was the most precious thing ever. I was so proud of her! 
Trenholm with her flower girl and bell ringers
And so, so proud of my hubby as well. The guys all wore white dinner jackets and my hubby was one good-looking man. 

The groom with his beautiful grandmothers
I thought this was such a sweet moment...

Of course, I cried the entire time. But I assure you, they were tears of joy. Sincere and true joy for Owens and Trenholm because I know they have "it". True love. And maybe, just maybe those tears were a little sadness because I realized how old I'm getting and how everyone, even my brother, is growing up so darn fast. And I just don't deal well with all of that.
Mr. and Mrs. Loitton Owens Hardison, Jr
 Hunter was also in attendance, although I think he slept through most of it. He was still so cute and brought so much joy to that day.

My girl
The reception was a blast, but I didn't carry my camera. I was more interested in having fun and enjoying every minute of my brother's wedding.

I just can't put into words how special the entire weekend was for me. It's a weekend I will never forget. It was a weekend that was good for my mind, my heart, my soul and my body. I was so proud to watch my handsome brother marry the love of his life and to know that they are so happy. And I was so warm inside knowing all of our family and dear friends were there to share in that special day.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Exactly two weeks ago today we left for a week in sunny Florida. Travis needed to be there for a few days on business, I was on spring break and we decided it was the perfect time to tack on a few extra days and take our baby girl to Disney. It was an amazing trip and we had the absolute best time.

Monday morning, way earlier than I like to get up, we gathered our belongings and headed to the airport. It was Morgan Kate's first time in an airplane and while I was a little anxious about how she would do, she proved to me once again that she can do anything. I'm not sure she ever even knew we were flying. She didn't cry or complain or act scared. She was way too interested in the tray thingy in front of her to worry with any of that stuff. My heart was hurting for the poor lady in front of us who probably had whiplash by the time our plane landed because MK kept taking the tray down and then slamming it back up. Whewh.

While Travis worked the first few days, MK and I enjoyed the pools at the hotel where we were staying. We also enjoyed sleeping in, taking naps and just relaxing. It was so peaceful and so nice. 

Wednesday, late afternoon, my parents arrived. MK and I begged them to come earlier in the week and enjoy the sun and the pools, but it was Wednesday before they could come. (Not everyone was on spring break.) Travis and I wanted them to be there for MK's first trip to Disney. When I was younger, and on my second trip to Disney, my grandparents went along with us. I vividly, to this day, remember them being there. I remember how excited they were, how excited I was and it's a memory that has stayed with me for a very long time. And it's a memory I wanted MK to have.

Thursday morning we set out for Disney. And we literally made a day out of it. A long day. We arrived around nine that morning and didn't leave until well after midnight.

One of the first things we experienced when we arrived was an onstage performance by Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and all of the princesses. We were all captivated, especially Morgan Kate. She was captivated by the performers on stage and we were captivated by her expressions and reactions. Below she is signing "more" and cheering for the performers to come back. Can you say, melt my heart?

She loved all of the rides in the Magic Kingdom, well except for the Pirates of the Caribbean. Not sure why I thought that would be a good idea. She now has a definite fear of pirates. My parents were awesome sports and rode all of the rides with us, some even twice. By the way, my parents are always awesome sports and have the energy of teenagers. 

And I don't think any trip to Disney is complete without a chocolate covered set of ice cream Mickey ears. As we were all enjoying a set, my parents were sharing with us the story of how we snacked on them years ago when they brought me. It was moments like that that brought tears to my eyes.

We learned at Disney that MK doesn't like pirates, nor does she like Donald Duck. We watched this awesome 3D movie and Donald Duck was one of the main characters. From that moment on she has disliked Donald Duck. Greatly. Not sure if it's the sound of his voice or the fact that in 3D it seemed as if he was flying towards us the entire time. The rest of the week, and even still, MK says, "No Donah Duck" and "No piras". Too funny.

We also learned that every two year old needs a nap and that when one is so desperately needed, that said two year old will fall asleep anywhere, including the line for It's A Small World. And then sleep through the entire ride. No worries. We took her back on that ride later in the evening, much later, and she thoroughly enjoyed it.

She loved every part of Disney. The rides, the food, the people, the characters, the parades. Everything. (Well, except for Donald Duck and the pirates.) It just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see her with my parents and with Travis. It was also his first time at Disney and I felt so honored to be with he and Morgan Kate on their first trips.

I loved every minute of our day at Disney and I especially loved the night parade and the fireworks. Talk about making the hair on your arms stand up. There were so many moments that day that will forever be etched in my mind. Memories that will last a lifetime and memories I pray I never, ever forget. One of my favorite memories would be sitting with my hubby, my baby girl and my parents in the middle of the Magic Kingdom, watching the fireworks, which were breathtaking, while munching on nachos and corn dog bites. The perfect ending to a perfect day.

And sixteen hours later, when we finally did decide to leave the park, MK was racked out, hopefully dreaming of all things magical.

A big thanks to Travis, Morgan Kate and my parents for making me day absolutely, without a doubt, completely magical. And giving me memories that will last a lifetime.