Thursday, June 30, 2011

I attempted to blog last night and each time I hit save it read, "Error occurred while saving." It must have done this for about twenty minutes. I eventually gave up and just watched reruns of Law and Order. My hope was to upload some pictures today, but that didn't happen. Just like last night I am already in the bed, snuggled down and too lazy to head back to our computer/guest/storage room and upload pictures on our desktop. In lieu of pictures I'll just share some of the things that have been going on around these parts:

1. Tomorrow we are headed dowtown to attend the parade to celebrate the Gamecocks. The University of South Carolina (my alma mater) baseball team just won another National Championship. This makes two years in a row! We went to the parade last year and had a blast, so I'm really excited about going tomorrow.

2. I don't ever have the energy during the school year to deep clean and/or organize around our house, so it should go without saying that there is always lots to do. This summer I have found some energy and I am actually enjoying getting my house together. My project this week has been our closet. And it's a mighty big project. I have just two more things to do and I think I will be done. I am also excited to share the before and after pictures. Well, I'm not so excited to share the before pictures because they are just awful, but if I don't then you won't truly appreciate the after pictures.

3. I'm happy to report that Morgan Kate has been sleeping better. She hasn't screamed any this week. Thank the good Lord above. I hate to even write about it because as sure as I do she'll start screaming again. She's still getting up around 4 most mornings and crying because she's "scared", so one of us usually gets up to get her and she comes back to our bed and goes straight to sleep. It's actually been really nice because she's an awesome snuggler and I love to just have her beside me so peaceful and still.

4. I am not happy to report that we gave up on potty training, at least for right now. People, it was hard work and I just wasn't ready for all of that. I don't think Morgan Kate was either. She was so uninterested and nothing seemed to motivate her. She knows when she is going, she tells me, she holds her diaper while she's doing it and then she runs from me while screaming, "No get me, Mommy." Maybe I should have been more persistent. Maybe I should have pushed her harder. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But, I didn't. And I'm really okay with it. I'll try again soon. Maybe.

5. I'm just now realizing that in the next ten minutes it will be July 1st. JULY. I love summer, but it is going by so darn fast. This may just be one of my most favorite summers ever and I want it to slow down. SLOW. Every morning MK wakes up and says, "No go to work, Mommy." I just smile and hug her and say, "Nope. Mommy is not going to work today." It is going to break my heart into a million pieces when August rolls around and I have to tell her different. I know, I know. I should just chill out and enjoy that I still have quite a few weeks left, but my heart is a little anxious thinking about it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some recent, hilarious and not so hilarious, things that have come out of Morgan Kate's mouth. And dear friends, you can't make this kind of stuff up.

1. Earlier this evening we were at Lowe's getting some more things for my slighty obessive need for organization and as we were walking out Travis asked Morgan Kate to hold his hand. She was insistent that she walk like a "big girl" and we were insistent that she hold our hand while walking out of the store. Trav said something like, "Get someone's hand, Morgan Kate." She quickly folded her hands together, looked up with the biggest eyes and said, "Daddy, I have my hand. I'm holding my hand. I'm holding Morgan Kate's hand." Come on people, what do you do with that?

2. For months she has called herself "Ah-Kate", but just recently, like in the past week, she has started saying her name much clearer. She now says, "Moh-gen Kate". I love it.

3. If we discipline her or raise our voice in any fashion, Morgan Kate will look at us, stick out her bottom lip and say, "Mommy, you hurt my feelings" or "Mommy, you make me sad". Ocassionally, and I emphasis ocassionally, when she does something that requires a little pat on her bottom or thigh, she will say, "Mommy, you hurt me" or "Mommy, you no hit". Again, what do you do with that? I'm mean seriously.

4. Two of her new favorite expressions these days are, "Oh goodness" and "My gracious".

5. Earlier this evening I also got a small taste of what MK's teenage years might look and sound like. She loves playing with our alarm clocks. She loves the buttons and loves even more to turn on the radio and dance. She was playing with Trav's alarm clock last night and then this morning it never went off. Oops. Anyway, this evening she was playing with mine and I asked her to stop. She continued. I asked her to stop again. She continued. I asked her to stop again, except this time I asked a little bit louder. She turned to me, made this awful face and said, " I no like Mommy". Oh, it stung. Not something I was ready to hear yet. I mean I knew that obviously at some point in her life those words were going to come out of her mouth, but I was thinking I had a few more years. Travis was in the room and told her that what she said wasn't nice and that it hurt Mommy's feelings. Several minutes later she came over, hugged my legs and said, "Sorry". Less than an hour later she was snuggling in my lap and saying over and over, "I luh you, Mommy. I luh you." And just like that, I felt better.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Over six years ago when Travis and I were trying to pick out a wedding date we thought it would be a perfect idea to get married on or near the same date as my parents. One, we both admire the marriage they have. Two, we both absolutely love the summer. And three, we just thought it would be really special and sentitmental. And it was. We couldn't use their exact date as it fell on a Sunday and we wanted to get married on a Saturday, but we did go with the day before - July 9. At that time we saw no reason why this might not be the best idea in the world. Fast forward a few years and several anniversaries and a baby and we are learning that maybe, just maybe, we should have kept at least a few weeks between the dates.

The first three years were fine. It was just us celebrating our anniversary and my parent's celebrating their's. The first year Travis and I went on a cruise. So much fun. The second year we saved money and spent extra when we visited Ireland in August of that same year. Our third anniversary was extra special as it was on that date that we found out our Morgan Kate was indeed going to be Morgan Kate and not a William or Harden or any other boy name we were contemplating at the time. My parents went with us to our ultrasound and then we all celebrated with a steak dinner afteward. It was after the third year that our anniversaries began to get a little complicated. For our fourth anniversary and first post baby, my parents kept MK for a few hours while we went to dinner. It was one of our first times out since having her and my parents were thrilled. Plus, I am pretty sure that during that particular year the 9th fell on a week day or a Friday, meaning that my parents could help us out, but still be able to celebrate their big day. Last year we decided to take a trip down to Charleston and spend our first night away from Morgan Kate EVER. Of course my parents were excited to be celebrating their anniversary that weekend as well, but they were even more excited to get their grandchild overnight for the very first time.

And then there is or was this year. I began to realize that while I was so excited to be celebrating another year with my love and while I still think it's so special and sentimental that our anniversary is just a day before my parents, that maybe I should consider the fact that my parents still like going and doing and that if Travis and I go somewhere every year for our anniversary and ask my parents to keep MK, then they can't go anywhere or at least not that same weekend. Which just reinforces the fact that maybe Travis and I should have picked another weekend in July or another summer month altogether. This year my parents are celebrating thirty five years of marriage and I happen to think that's kind of a big deal. A really big deal. I think any anniversary is a big deal, but thirty five years is amazing and it's even more amazing to still like and love one another the way my parents do. I thought it was only right that they get their anniversary weekend. They shouldn't have to share it with anyone or wonder what we might do or need. But, I still wanted to do something with my hunny and I still only feel comfortable leaving MK overnight with my parents, so we went this past weekend to Hilton Head and celebrated our sixth anniversary a few weeks early. 

We had a terrific trip. We spent two nights away from Morgan Kate, which is something we've only done twice now. I'd like to say it's easier, but it's not. We still miss her like crazy and we talk about her A LOT, but we know that trips like this are important. We took the back roads down to Hilton Head and it was so relaxing. We talked, we laughed and I made Travis listen to my iPod, which is something he usually refuses to do. We even stopped at a few places on the way down to "sight see". 
Our sight seeing on the way down - beautiful Old Sheldon Church

These trees were gorgeous
While in Hilton Head we stayed at South Beach Marina Inn. My cousins went a few weeks ago to celebrate their sixth anniversary and the pictures were amazing. I immediately googled this place and booked the weekend. It was beautiful and quaint and just perfect. 

Historic ruins on the island
Friday evening we dined at Salty Dog Cafe and then spent the rest of the evening on the deck watching the Gamecocks play in the College World Series. Saturday morning Travis had us up by 7:00 and I thought I was going to die. We went for breakfast and coffee and then toured the island. We forgot our beach chairs, so instead we spent the day at the pool. It was so nice and relaxing and now I really want a pool. Then, and I'm still not sure how I managed to do this, but I talked Travis into going back inland and shopping at the outlets. Crazy, right? He did happen to score some new clothes, so it wasn't all just for me. After shopping we came back to South Beach, had dinner and sat on the deck and listened to live music. Again, so relaxing. There were so many things I loved about this trip, but my favorite part was just getting Travis all to myself and being able to talk and laugh and just hang out.
Our room
The "locals"
Travis and the "locals"
And I'm sure my parents thought the same thing about having Morgan Kate for the weekend. I am sure they had lots of favorite moments, but the thing they enjoyed most was just having her to themselves. When we went to pick up MK Sunday afternoon she had all sorts of new clothes and new toys. She had even gotten a paint set and a new rake. She had spent both nights in their bed and napped there as well. Needless to say, she had a blast and they spoiled her rotten.

I swear that everyday I just don't feel like it's possible to love Travis anymore than I already do. But, each and every single day I fall more and more in love with him. He is my world and I feel like the luckiest girl in the whole wide world. Happy early six years, boo! I love you more and more.

Total side note here, but these little "pods" were everywhere on one part of the island. What in the world are these things and who designed them? There was an entire community of them. Strange little things.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear Morgan Kate,

Today you are thirty-four months old. In just two short months you will be three years old. Time please be still. I cannot even fathom that you are going to be three years old. But, before I go shedding massive amounts of tears and crying hysterically about that fact, I'm just going to stop. We can save all of that drama for August. Right now I want to focus on you still being only two years and ten months. I also want to focus on some of the amazing and not so amazing things (like screaming at bedtime) you are doing at two years and ten months.

You are wearing mostly 2T clothes, although today you easily got into an 18 month pair of shorts. The last time we had you weighed, right before the end of school, you were 24 pounds. Your shoe size varies, we have fives, sixes and even one seven. The seven is crazy big, but the six in that same shoe seemed so small. Your hair is finally growing. It's so soft and sweet and your bows are staying in a little better. You are wearing a size 5 diaper and yes, still mostly diapers. You'll use your potty only when you feel like using it. It doesn't matter what I say or what I offer you. Kaka and I have even tried bribing you with money and you could care less. You know when you are going and when you are you say, "No get me Mommy". So I always know you are going, but you run like crazy and then just end up doing your business in your pants. I have seriously considered quitting this whole potty training business several times now, but for some reason I keep trying. Not sure how much longer that is going to last. You are eating so well, again, when you feel like it. Some days you eat a ton and other days you eat like a bird. You will try anything at least once and you like a variety of foods. Your favorites are yogurt, any kind of fruit, veggies, mushrooms, cheese, pizza, boiled peanuts, fries and nuggets and you really like shrimp. You've also really been loving some turkey sandwiches lately, too. Oh, and you love things like butter, mayonnaise and sour cream. I could throw up watching you eat it, but you love it. Your favorite drinks are still milk, apple juice (you call it appee juice) and water. You like swimming, but you don't love it and you are still really fearful of the water which is perfectly fine with me. You still love to dance and you love music, and any kind of music. You always ask for "mommy's song" or "daddy's song". You love playing outdoors and you adore Dora, Caillou and Ruby & Max (you say Max and Woobi).  You are really into band-aids right now and I find them everywhere. Some times you actually put them on your body, but mostly you stick them on the bathtub, the cabinets, the floor and the fridge. I know a lot of people would peel them off and throw them away, but I don't. I love walking around the house and seeing little pieces of you. You love Cash and Lola, especially Cash. You follow him around and hug him and lay on him. You've even nicknamed him "Cashie". You are just talking up a storm. You make complete sentences all of the time and you are asking questions. Some of the things that come out of your mouth just crack me up. Just today I opened the dryer only to find that I had dried all white clothes with a purple crayon. In the assortment of clothes were a pair of your pjs. The minute I opened the dryer door you put your hand on your hip and said, "Oh, gracious. Look at my jammies." I thought I was going to die. It was the cutest thing ever. Before bed you tell me "Four more seconds" and when I catch you yawning, you look at me and say, "No sleepy mommy, I wanna play." You are also saying words that I consider kind of big words, like gracious and backwards. You tell Daddy and I that you love us all of the time and you give us the biggest hugs. You're a pretty social little girl. It takes you a little while to warm up, but once you do, you are good to go. 

Right now, most everything you do is amazing, but let me share one thing with you that is not so amazing. This bedtime stuff. I'm not sure where it all came from and maybe I have myself to blame. Since the start of the summer you have been a bear at night and at nap time. Nap time and bedtime used to be pretty easy. When it was time for a nap, I just put you down in the crib. Some days you would whimper for a second or two, but most days you would just turn over and go to sleep. These days you don't whimper, you scream and for probably a good ten minutes or so. Maybe longer. I'm sure for some that doesn't seem like a long time, but it seems like an eternity to me because you've never done it, therefore, I'm not used to it. And bedtime. Oh. My. Goodness. It is awful. Just seconds after your bath you start with, "No night-night, No, night-night." We let you watch cartoons, we read books, we sing songs, we rock. Still, you are not happy. When I finally do put you in the crib you stand straight up and scream this scream that literally sends chills up and down my spine. It's awful. It's painful. It's heartbreaking. You scream and cry some nights for thirty minutes, some nights for fifteen. Just the other night you cried for almost two hours. You are killing me. I don't know what to do. You come up with all sorts of excuses - Mommy, there is a fly on my pillow. Mommy, there is an ant in my rocking chair. Mommy, I'm too cold. Mommy, rain scares me. Mommy, storms scare me. It was kind of funny and cute at first, but it's not anymore. I don't mind reading or singing or rocking you one bit. I would sing to you forever. You are the only person in this whole entire world that says "More" when I finish a song. I just don't want you to be afraid and I don't want you to hate bedtime. It's really not so bad. It makes you feel rested so that you can do more fun things the next day. I'm praying and hoping and wishing that this is just a phase and that you grow out of it. As soon as possible.

I love you so much, sweet girl. You are the absolute light of my life and I feel like the luckiest person in the world because you are mine. Your Daddy and I are so proud of you and we love you to the moon and back. Now, work on the bedtime stuff. For real.

Love you muches,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some of my most favorite blogs are the ones about home projects, especially any that involve before and after photos. I'm always looking for ways to improve our home, indoor and out. I've accomplished a good bit this summer already, but still have lots to do. I would share before and after pictures of my own, but let's be honest, my house is not always in the condition for pictures. Just ask my mom, grandmother and aunt who stopped by earlier this week. Talk about a mess. Toys all over the den floor. Cushions off of the couch because the covers were being washed. Dishes in the sink, bed unmade, cups lying around everywhere. I'm sure they thought they had walked into the aftermath of some natural disaster. I'll be the first to say that I am not the best housekeeper at times. Bless my husband's heart. I'm very, let's just say laid back, in that area. It's not always nice and neat and tidy, but hey, it's my life. And I'm not a slob, not by any means, I just don't freak out about having everything spotless and in pristine condition. It's much worse doing the school year because after I have worked all day I have absolutely no desire, whatsoever, to come home and clean. During the summer I have a lot more time and I actually want things neat and in order. And when I do get the inclination to clean, watch out, I am one serious woman on a mission. I want everything in it's proper place. I want every shoe, every candle, every pen to have a home. I want ultimate organization. (I'm slightly obsessed with organization.) I want the floors spotless and the furniture shining. And I want all of these things done in just a matter of minutes. I don't like waiting, I want instant cleanliness.

Anyway, after my mom, grandmom and aunt stopped by earlier this week, I got in one of those rare moods. Our den is a disaster. It's oddly shaped, we have large furniture and Morgan Kate has about one billion toys. Seriously. We don't have a playroom and our guest room already has a multitude of purposes, so about 98% of her toys are in our den. Like I mentioned earlier, the day they stopped by there were toys and stuffed animals and coloring books, even her potty, all over the floor. The two couch cushions were on the floor. MK's high chair was in the middle of everything. Our den was in need of a serious overhaul. And it's something we've been meaning to do for quite some time. A long time. So, that very afternoon we made a trip to Target to get some "organization essentials". After many hours of sorting and sifting through toys and books, as well as rearranging furniture (a BIG thanks to my mom for those rerarranging ideas) I was able to sit back and relax. Of course at that point it was almost two in the morning and the bed was seriously calling my name. I wish I had a before picture to share with you all. I think you would all be quite impressed. Just imagine a room with stuff everywhere and then take a look at these after pictures:

We have this little "nook" right when you walk in the front door that's kind of separate from our den and we're never really ever sure what to put there. It's now the perfect spot for many of MK's toys and books. I love this. And Morgan Kate thinks it's the neatest thing.

I have some serious issues with organization. I think that's part of my cleaning problem. If every little thing doesn't have a "home" then I get overwhelmed and I just give up. It took hours to sort through all of her toys, big and small, but I did and know every single toy has a home. And each home is labeled. I realize Morgan Kate can't read the labels, but I can and I heart labels. Just ask my coworkers. Everything in my classroom has a label. And the labels are really more for me than anyone. And these particular labels are probably what I am most proud of. They are made out of cardboard, from a diaper box and tied on with a thin piece of rope. Really durable, sturdy and I think they are really cute.

This is wall in our den that is too big for small things and too small for big things. Anyway, it's now MK's little learning and drawing and coloring station.

I was so proud of my work that I text pictures to my mom at midnight. I know, pretty crazy, huh? The best feeling was seeing MK's face the next morning. She loved it. She kept saying, "Mommy, these my books?", "Mommy, these MY toys?" Poor girl didn't know she had many of these books and toys because she could never find them. She's been so good about playing with one basket of stuff, cleaning it up and then moving to another. And she loves taking a book off the shelf, reading it and then returning it for another one. Travis was also quite impressed with my skills.
As I mentioned earlier, my mom gave me some really good tips on rearranging our furniture. She's so awesome at that kind of stuff. And she suggested putting these two large chairs on the same wall. I wasn't so sure about it at first, sometimes I just gotta see things, but once I did, I fell in love. On the opposite wall is our couch and two end tables with lamps. I would show the wall with our TV, but our TV is nothing impressive. We bought it when we were first married, which wasn't that long ago, but I swear it looks like something from the 80s. It's enormous.

Well, there it is. My first post, I think, about a home improvement project. Next time I'll be sure to take before and after pictures. You guys would have been blown away by the ones for this project. Next up - our closet or maybe the guest room or maybe the guest room closet. I have several options here...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There was no formal invitation. No detailed agenda. No dress code. Just a weekend, a beautiful weekend, where a family gathered in an old historic city - New Bern, North Carolina. And while this historic city is truly historic, it held much, much more history for one family. Aunts and uncles, cousins and grands, spouses and siblings, all connected by a common bond gathered to talk, to share and for some, meet one another for the very first time. The weekend in itself was history in the making.

It was in this old city that a great family was started many, many years ago. Two sets of couples, the Owens' and the Hardisons, not living far from one another, began their own lives and their own families. And from these families came two individuals, Margaret Owens, one of two children and Bill Hardison, one of seven. (Yes, seven.) These individuals were born (just blocks from one another) and raised in New Bern, NC. Individuals who grew up just two doors apart. Individuals who attended the same school, started their first jobs and then began courting. And it was in this great city that Margaret and Bill, also known as Hard Rock, were united as one. After marrying they moved to the small town of Orangeburg, South Carolina where they had four sons of their own. And it's because of these two invdivuals that I am here today. I'm so thankful for them and so honored to call them my grandparents. My Mammie and Poppadaddy.

Over ten years ago, after a major surgery and an almost seven month hospital stay, we lost my Poppadaddy. We lost a gracious and wise man. A kind and generous man. A man larger than life itself. A man whom I loved beyond measure and one who meant the absolute world to me. But what we didn't lose were the memories and the stories he left behind. And this past weekend I was able to see and experience some of those firsthand. It was a weekend that will forever be imprinted on my heart for so many reasons. It was a weekend that made me feel so full, yet so sad at times. A weekend spent with people nearest and dearest to me. And a weekend to meet relatives that I had never met before. A weekend I didn't want to end.

While Mammie and Poppadaddy are both from New Bern, it was Poppadaddy's family that we were returning to see. The Hardison side. We were gathering with all of the chidlren, grandchildren and great-grands from Poppadaddy and his six siblings. Many of my aunts and uncles and cousins and even my parents have been to New Bern before. But not me. It was my first trip. We, meaning my dad, all of his brothers, some of theirs spouses, some of their children and grandchildren and of course my precious grandmother, all left Friday morning for the five hour trek to New Bern, NC. My dad and his brothers were giddy with excitement, constantly calling one another to see who would arrive first and who was the caboose. And once we arrived in New Bern they swapped their cell phones out for walkie talkies. Such kids at heart.
We arrived with plenty of time and daylight to spare. Time that allowed us to visit a few local "hot spots", a gift shop or two, even a playground and then a tour of the city with Mammie as the narrator. A tour that took us to the house my Mammie was born in. And the houses Mammie and Poppadaddy grew up in. We rode by the elementary school they both attended and the Methodist church in which they were married. We visited two different cemeteries to see headstones of those no longer with us. We saw Riverside Iron Works, where my great-grandfather worked. It just felt right to walk down the same streets my grandparents had walked down as children. To stand in the yards of the houses they grew up in. To stand on the sidewalk in front of the church where they were married and think about what that day must have been like. And before the night was over we ventured to a local seafood restaraunt where Travis and I dined on steamed oysters on the half shell and a dozen blue crabs. After dinner some of us even braved the cold water at the hotel pool for a late night swim. Morgan Kate included.

Poppadaddy's house on the left and Mammie's on the right
House Mammie was born in, built in 1910

Church where Poppadaddy and Mammie were married

Saturday morning we all gathered at "The Meeting Place", which at one time was an old pharmacy. The name is quite fitting, huh? We spent hours meeting family members, sharing stories and pictures, eating, conversing and swapping memories. Of course I spent lots of time sharing my hearts, Travis and Morgan Kate. I met many of my dad's first cousins and their children and some of their children. My Aunt Rhonda put together an amazing slideshow for our entire family that included a family tree, many pictures and updates on everyone. My dad's first cousin, Marianna, shared  with us old pictures of my grandaddy and his siblings as children and young adults. And Mammie, being the only living spouse, had things to share with us that no one else could, as it is she that has known my grandaddy and his family the longest.
First cousins
Lane, Richie, Lewis, Corky, Loitton, Jimmy
Marianna, Barbara Jean, Ginger
Not only was it a weekend to gather with new faces, but more famliiar ones as well. There were only a few of our immediate family members who weren't able to attend. Two of those faces being those of my sibilings. (Let's not even get that conversation started.) While these faces are much more familiar, they are still not faces I see on a daily basis. So for me, this weekend wasn't just about spending time with "new" family, but "old " family as well. And that's something that make my heart so full. We were able to tour the city together, dine together, swim together, laugh together, run through the hotel together and even sit through a fire alarm together. Memories in the making.
Of course, no trip would be complete without a photo shoot of my best girl. Next to the Meeting Place was the railroad station and it provided the most perfect backdrop for some new photos of Morgan Kate.

A full weekend, indeed. Full of good times and laughter. Full of family and love. Full of old memories and new. Full of stories and tales. Full of smiles, especially Mammie's, that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. A weekend that made my heart so full, yet so sad because I couldn't share it with my Poppadaddy. A weekend that I will forever remember. I'm so thankful that I was able to share it with my baby and my hubby and my parents. I'm so thankful for all of my family that made the trip and got together. I'm so thankful for those that organized the weekend. I'm so thankful for those two families from New Bern long ago. And especially I'm thankful for my Mammie and Poppadaddy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm sitting on my couch trying to gather my thoughts in order to write about our family trip this past weekend. However, rather than gathering my thoughts, I am listening to my daughter scream. At. The. Top. Of. Her. Lungs. I'm trying to drown it out with Law and Order LA, but it's not working. This has been my life for the past two weeks.

Morgan Kate has always been a great sleeper and never really had a problem going to bed. When she was an infant we rocked her to sleep and more recently we have just rocked for a few minutes and put her down while still wide awake. She is able to soothe herself and drift off to dreamland. All of that changed about two weeks ago. The beginning of summer. Granted her schedule is completely different. She's staying up later at night and sleeping later in the mornings and maybe those things aren't really such a great idea. They seem like a fantastic idea when I'm able to sleep in until nine or so each morning. But when it's 10:20 at night and my child is still not asleep, it doesn't seem like such a great idea anymore. Instead of reading a book, singing a few songs and putting her down to get some shut eye, bedtime goes more like this lately:
Me: Morgan Kate, five more minutes until bedtime.
Mk: OK
Five minutes pass.
Me: Morgan Kate, it's time for bed.
MK: Four more seconds, mommy.
Me: Ok, four more seconds and then it's really bedtime.
Five MINUTES pass. (Don't ask me where she gets the four second stuff. I crack up everytime I hear it.)
Me: Ok, it's really bedtime. Let's go.
She goes willingly. Some nights. We read a book, sing numerous songs and say our prayers. I stand up from the rocking chair to put her in her crib and she clings to my body with every ounce of her being.
MK: Rock mommy, rock. Four more seconds.
Me: MK, it's time for bed. We have a lot planned tomorrow and you have to get your sleep. Lay down and let me cover you up.
She lays down, I cover her up, head for the door as she stands up and begins screaming. At. The. Top. Of. Her. Lungs.
MK: Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Come back! Mommy!
A few nights she has worked it out herself. A few nights Trav and I have both gone in and tried to settle her down. Tonight he's been in twice and I've been in once.

It's gutwrenching. Heartbreaking. She's so stinkin' sweet and I just want to run in and scoop her up and bring her to bed with us, but I know that's not a good idea. She'll expect that every night and well, then her daddy and I would never get any time together and that's not a good thing either. And it's not just bedtime. In the past two weeks she's probably slept the entire night in her crib three, maybe four nights. Every morning around four or so she wakes up screaming. I should probably let her cry it out, but I don't. One of us always pops up, runs to get her and she comes to bed with us. The minute she's in our bed, she's out and she sleeps for forever. Naptime has also become quite the chore. She doesn't fight it quite as hard at bedtime, but she still fusses and argues and cries for quite some time.

Along with this whole "I don't want to go to bed thing", she's developed this fear of everything. My little bug lover is now afraid of every bug imagineable, especially flies. It didn't help that there was one in her room last week and it woke her up from her nap. Let's just say she freaked out. She's terrified of storms and rain and any loud noises. Things that have never bothered her before, terrify her now. It's bizarre.

I'm hoping and praying and hoping and praying that this too shall pass. That this is just a phase and that if we can be strong and resist our urge to run and get her, then my easy bedtime girl will return. I can't handle this screaming stuff. It's hard on my heart.
We had an awesome weekend that I just cannot wait to blog about. I'm still getting all of my thoughts together and trying to sift through my three hundred and some odd photos. Until then, here's a sweet picture of my precious girl...

I have been laughing hysterically for the past ten minutes. I was looking back at some of my previous posts, specifically this post. It's funny how things hit me after the fact. There were two errors in this post. One that my brother so kindly pointed out the minute he read it. Might I point out that this brother is the same brother who asked me to help write all of his papers in college and now he is attempting to proofread my posts. He sent me a text the minute he saw it and I, after laughing until I cried, went back and fixed my error. I had written -Hindsight's 50/50, right? Sounded good when I wrote it. And it sounded right. Owens informed me that it's not 50/50, but rather 20/20. Oops. I knew this. Really, I did. But 50/50 sounded right at the time. The second error I just caught myself, literally like five seconds ago. I was trying to use an example within my post and I wrote "point in case", rather than "case in point". It is "case in point", right? I'm still laughing at myself. I guess I got so caught up in the post that I didn't realize the things I was writing. Who knows? At least I can go back and edit and revise. That's what good writers do. Ha. Good thing I don't embarrass easily because I'm sure I make mistakes in my posts every single time I write. Forgive me. Just like my writing, I'm a work in progress.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Morgan Kate loves, loves, loves music. She sings and dances all of the time. Really. She knows how to turn on her daddy's alarm clock so that the radio plays. She sings along to many of the songs on the radio and of course has her favorite nursery rhyme songs memorized. She is also constantly humming songs. She's pretty amazing. One of her favorite nursery rhyme songs is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". Last night Dora was singing the tune and MK joined in. This video cracks me up because at one point she gets a little confused and right after that she covers her mouth and says "I messed up". She doesn't finish the song because the love of her life at this point in time, our lab Cash, distracts her. But, it's still pretty cute...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I feel like I'm a good mix of both my mom and dad. In my opinion I got my mom's sense of organization and financial planning. I was blessed with her legs and knees and smile. Unfortunately, I didn't get her height or natural curls or perfect teeth. She passed on her independence and strong will. Her creative side and maternal instincts. From my dad, I got his sense of humor (we both find really silly things to be quite funny), love for animals and at times the ability to be laid back. I got my nose and my lips and one of my ears. My love for anything and everything water related came straight from my dad. I didn't however get his "fix it" genes. The man can fix just about anything. Nor did I get his patience. And today I realized he passed along something else. I realized for the first time in my whole life that I also definitely acquired my dad's grocery shopping skills. I use the term skills rather loosely.
As a child and even a bigger child in college, I loved grocery shopping with my dad. When I grocery shopped with my mom we had a list, we didn't deviate from the list and we were in and out in a timely manner. But, with my dad, we took a list and we used it to remember a few things, but we mostly just bought whatever we saw on the shelf that caught our attention. There was no order to our madness. We went down one aisle, then to the back of the store, back to the front - wherever our tastes and desires took us. We tried all the latest cereals, purchased candy like it was going out of style, took hours moving down the ice cream aisle and picked up every different can of Chef Boyardee imaginable. If there was any new product then we were sure to buy it. We could easily take two hours in the grocery store and spend several hundred dollars. When I was in college I would go with my dad at least every other Sunday to the grocery store. He would buy the groceries for their house and then buy groceries for me. Please keep in mind that I had a meal plan, a very expensive meal plan, but I still felt like I needed full fledge groceries. What if I didn't like what the Russell House was serving? What if I was running late and needed a quick breakfast? Or a midnight snack? I had true concerns regarding my daily nutritious intake and my dad made sure they were taken care of. At that point in my life I had no clue about the cost of groceries or the cost of feeding a family of five plus. If we wanted something we just threw it in the cart. Fast forward about twelve years and I get it. It now makes sense. Hindsight's 20/20 right? I realize that mine and my dad's behavior while in the grocery store may have been a bit reckless. And it may be the same reason I don't enjoy grocery shopping as an adult. 
When Travis and I were first married we shopped together. When we first brought MK home I went - it was my only two hours out of the house in two weeks kind of thing. Once I went back to work Travis started going solo. And the crazy part? He really enjoys it. I thought I did, until today at least. I realized today that I don't enjoy it at all. And, that I shop just like my dad. Point in case. I go with a good list. I really do. My good friend, Jessica, taught me several years ago about weekly menus and grocery lists and I have stuck to them. Seriously. But, I purchase the things on the list, along with a lot of other things. And I mean a lot. I deviate considerably. If I see something interesting or new or fun, I buy it. I make up reasons to buy things. And while in the grocery store, I am seriously all over the place. Up one aisle, down the other, to the back, up another aisle, to the front. All. Over. And I spend lots of money. Which is quite ironic because I handle all of our "finances" and I'm pretty darn good at it. The other ironic part is I had no problem paying almost $6 for nail polish, but thought $6 for four razors was absolutely ridiculous. I'm still hot about those razors. Today I only bought things we desperately needed, like toilet paper, paper towels, milk and nail polish. Okay, maybe I didn't desperately need the nail polish. And when I walked out I had $155.79 less than I had when I walked in. Trav can shop for two weeks and gets lots of dinner ideas and snacks and even some cold beverages and come out cheaper. It's crazy. 
I think I've always shopped liked this. Matter of fact, I know I have. I got it firsthand from my daddy. But today was an "ah-hah" moment. I was in the middle of the store with this very detailed list and when I looked down I realized I had been in the store for almost thirty minutes, had a pretty full cart, but had nothing from my list. I was also only on like the third aisle or my third spot in the store. I was looking at everything and analyzing all of the prices. I began to feel really overwhelmed. I could not get my self together. I called Travis right there in the middle of the store and told him that I was no longer allowed to come to the grocery store alone. Ever. Today I realized that I do NOT need to be the one grocery shopping. I am clearly not a responsible grocery shopper.

I just want to apologize to my mom for all the years of those absurd grocery bills. I am so sorry. And to my dad, I'm so thankful to have gotten your sense of humor and your nose and many, many other great qualities, but I do NOT want your grocery shopping skills. You can have those back. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know that I went back to work this year. I'm a teacher and after being out for two years with our little bundle of joy, we decided it was time for me to return to the classroom. It was not an easy decision, nor an easy transition. However, it did get better and it continues to get better. I'm not sure if it's ever easier, but it gets better. Several people, considering returning to work themselves, have asked for my opinion about things. How has it been? Was it hard? How much time do you really get to spend with MK during the week? The same sort of questions I was asking myself last summer. I, by no means, pretend to be some sort of expert, for I am by no means an expert. But, I thought I would give some of my tips to help those who are considering it or who have already made the gut-wrenching decision. 

1. Make sure the decision is a family decision. It can't be a decision that you make alone or one that your husband makes for you. It has to sound good and feasible for both of you. When we started talking about my return to the classroom, we talked about it together and we shared many of the same feelings and thoughts. It was something that we both agreed upon. I will say that Travis kept saying, "We can do this, you can do this, we will be fine." And most days I agreed, but others I kept saying, "It's going to be hard, I don't know if I can do this, I will not be fine." 

2. If you are having to leave a child or children, as I was, then make sure you feel 110%+ comfortable with the person in which you will be leaving your heart with. If you are not 110%+ comfortable then it will make the transition infinitely more difficult. Leaving Morgan Kate with Roddey has been so good for my heart and I have not worried one single day about her. And that my friends, has made the biggest difference in all of this. The hardest part about leaving MK was actually dropping her off and driving away. But, Roddey always made that easy as well. Each morning when we pulled up, she would come outside to get MK. It made MK feel special and it made my heart hurt less. 

3. Make sure you have a good support system. I don't necessarily mean people who can help you physically, although that would be terrific, but people who are willing to listen and build you up and encourage you and even share a glass of wine or two. If you are anything like me, then you are going to need those go-to people who will listen to you moan and groan and even cry. And believe me, there are going to be days of tears or at least there were for me. People that are going to reassure you that your feelings are normal and to remind you that people have been leaving their children and returning to work for thousands of years and they have all come out on the other side okay. 

4. It's also pretty helpful if you like the people you work with. This too, can be a huge deal maker or breaker. I was blessed. I got this awesome fifth grade team, with uniquely different personalities and each person contributed to my success in some way this year. I think what I love most about my team is that we are all quite different in some way or another, but we all get along, we make each other laugh and at the end of the day, regardless of our philosophies of education or our teaching methods, we all want what's best for our kiddos. They make me laugh and they push my thinking about school and children and learning. And, I need that. Each one of them has been patient and kind and has listened or pretended to listen to all of my MK stories. We laugh together, moan and groan together and eat together. Sharing a love for eating is vital in any school setting. 

5. Realize that there are going to be good days and bad days. Days where your heart feels good about the decision you made and then days where it feels like your heart is being ripped out. Days where you do get the dishes done and the laundry put away and days where you feel like you are drowning in dirty dishes and you can't see the floor because of all the dirty clothes. Days where your heart is content with the amount of time you got to spend with your children and then days where your heart is broken because you barely saw them at all. Accept that in the beginning and it will make things so much easier. Accept that you aren't supermom - maybe some of you are and I applaud you, but I am not, nor will I ever be. 

6. And finally, it may be a good idea to check into your vacation/sick/personal time. Having a good bit of that is always helpful, too. Hee, hee! 

I have had really hard days and I know that I will have more of them, but overall, I think it's been a great decision for my family and I'm thankful for that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

 Dear Morgan Kate,
Ten months ago our worlds changed drastically or at least in my opinion they did. My world. Your world. Your daddy's world. And people who were so kind to listen, love and tolerate - their worlds were changed too because I sure did need them to listen, love and tolerate my good and ugly days. A lot. Really, it was probably only my world that truly changed, but I like to think that I wasn't alone. Ten months ago I gave up no alarm clock mornings. I gave up days of nothing but you and I. Days of play dates and naps. I gave up days of reading and puzzles and snuggling with my best girl. Days of kissing you whenever I wanted to. I gave up my time as a stay at home mom and went back to work after two heart filling years at home with you. Those two years were indeed heart filling. They weren't years that I ever thought I would get, but I did and regardless of the circumstances or the situations that brought us to that point, I am so, so very thankful. My heart was so full and when I did have to return to work I didn't think my heart could or would ever feel the same. 
August 12, 2010
Last August was tough. There's no better way to explain it. It was hard. I had really good days where I felt okay about my decision to return to work. And then I had really awful days where I cried a whole lot and begged your daddy to let me stay at home again. Which I might add is quite hysterical thinking back on it because your daddy didn't make me go back to work and if I was really that unhappy I know without a shadow of a doubt that we would have worked it out so that I could stay at home. It was a decision we made together, for us, for you and for our little family of three, well five including the pups. But it made me feel better on those days that did bring tears to beg him to let me stay home. I guess I was hoping he could wave a magical wand and make it all better. 

I vividly remember a Friday afternoon last August where I called Kaky and cried my eyes out. I told her it was hard and I didn't want to do it and I didn't understand how people did do it. I told her that I didn't have time for anything and I felt like everything around me was falling apart. The funny part here is that the important things, like you and your daddy, weren't falling apart. It was the small things like laundry and ironing and cleaning and grading papers and doing lesson plans that were beginning to get overwhelming. She reassured me that things would be okay and that we would all get through this. She's always so reassuring and encouraging and her talks always make me feel better. I hope I do the same for you one day. I then hung up with her, walked in to Roddey's to pick you up and cried to her. Crying usually makes me feel better.

The truth is the laundry was piling up. Dishes were lingering in the sink. The floor hadn't been swept in days. I didn't have any pressed pants for work. Your daddy hadn't worn a clean shirt to work in days. Lesson plans were being neglected.  But you were okay. And your daddy was okay. I was struggling, but you guys were okay. For starters, your daddy can handle just about anything. He is definitely my rock. He just constantly reassured me that we would get through this and that he would do whatever needed to be done to help me. And he did. And you? You were probably better than anyone because you were in the absolute best care all day long. You were in a place where you were loved more than I could have imagined. You were in a place where you were taken care of.  A place where you were learning and growing. And boy did you learn and grow. You have made gigantic leaps and bounds this year. So while I wasn't sure if my heart would ever be full again, I learned it could be and even more so. Knowing that there was someone out there who would love you and care for you like I did made my heart even more full. Roddey holds a very special place in my heart and she always will. 

Ten months later we have survived. I caught up on the laundry. I even ironed a few of your daddy's shirts. I found time for work, for you, for your daddy and even a little for myself. I figured out how to get my schoolwork done and still have afternoons for us. I learned that some things will be okay if they don't get done and that I don't have to cook dinner every night. (Who am I fooling, I've never done that anyway.) I learned to appreciate my weekends even more and to once again, slow down and savor every second with you. You are my heart. My girl. My baby. And I love you so, so very much. 
June 13, 2011
Ten months later I'm finding our new. A new routine. A new way of living. And I like it. We've only had a few days of summer break and I have this new found appreciation for it. I'm so excited about what this summer holds for you and I. This summer I am going to savor every minute. I'm going to enjoy our days of just you and I. And I know in August my heart will hurt again to let you go, but I think it will be so much easier this time. And I'm thankful for that. 

I love you,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fall Back Friday

Fall Back Friday has returned for the summer. In case you haven't noticed, I have blogged every single day this week. And it feels good. I have time to blog. I have time to read and write and play with Morgan Kate. I have time to even just sit and watch my favorite trashy TV shows. I am in heaven. 

June 10, 2009
June 10, 2010
June 2011
Hmmm....let's see. What do I notice? I notice more hair. More teeth. And from 2009 until now, I am sadly noticing that she no longer really looks like a baby. She's a little girl. Not sure how I feel about this.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I am seriously loving this summer break thing. It literally cracks me up because this is not my first rodeo. I have done this before, for several summers. However, those were during my BMK days. Days where I just slept late, piddled around, cleaned a bit here and there, watched countless hours of television and desperately waited for Travis to come home from work. These days, right here and right now, are much, much more desirable. It's only day four of our summer break and I am just in heaven. The past four days my baby girl and I have both slept in until at least nine, some mornings later than that. She definitely gets her sleeping habits from moi and I am so thankful. Two of the four mornings she has managed to somehow weasel her way into our beds, which means she and I are left to snuggle, snuggle, snuggle and she is an awesome little snuggler. We have leisurely ate our breakfast, I have sipped my coffee and we have played, played, played. We've put on make-up, read books, watched Barney and Dora, danced, sang and swam in MK's new pool. Okay, maybe not swam, because I can barely sit in it, but you know what I mean. We've even already had play date numero uno of the summer. Tuesday afternoon/evening Raven and Melissa came over with their precious little ones, Nolan and Caroline. And a good time was had by all. 

The kiddos swimming
My water bug
Sweet Caroline
Precious Nolan
The kiddos played outdoors for a long time, while the big people tried to have conversations. We laugh and joke around about how just three short years ago we all talked about having babies, but none of us had them and our nights together were all about talking, talking, talking and really eating our dinner. Tuesday it went more like watch the kiddos, talk for two seconds, help with a sharing situation, talk for three seconds, watch the kiddos, push MK in the car, push Caroline in the car, grab Nolan as he dives head first into the pool, watch the kiddos, "Wait, what were you saying?" The kiddos were really great with one another, but of course there were the occasional "I don't want to share, why do you have that toy" episodes. But what night that involves children of any age would be complete without a few sharing disputes. After all, they are human. Dinner was eaten in shifts and I'm not sure any of us really remember what we might have eaten. But, it's so worth it. We now have these precious, precious children whom we love so dearly and we couldn't imagine our lives any other way. 

The girls being SILLY
Trying to get a picture of all three, Nolan wasn't nearly as excited
Melissa reading to the girls - so sweet!
MK giving Nolan his night time bottle 
I'm already scoping out my calendar for our next play date. And we're wide open for any other takers?!?!