Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy 32nd birthday to my main squeeze! 

In the words of Morgan Kate, "I love you too big!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'll admit it. I have a serious case of the "Beach Blues". I am so missing Folly Beach. And no schedule. And mornings and nights with family. And boat rides and sand and sun. Seafood. Cold drinks. Coffee. Taco Boy. Waiting on Owens to hurry up in the bathroom. Okay, maybe I don't miss that one part. I heart the beach. So much. And I love even more all of the time I get to spend with  my loved ones. Each year I tell myself that leaving will get easier, but each year it only gets harder. And I think I have passed that along to my baby girl. She wanted to stay almost as badly as I did.

Highlights from Beach Week 2011:

Getting to spend some time with Uncle Kyle. He could only come for one night, but MK enjoyed every single second with him.

Brushing Uncle Lewis' facial hair with Kyle's toothbrush.

ADORABLE bathing suits. Too bad after only wearing this one for about ten minutes MK had huge indentions in her side and shoulder. Apparently this 2T was a very small 2T.

Time on the beach with family, especially Kaka.

Sand, sand and more sand. I am still finding sand. Just this morning I found some in MK's ear.

Boat rides and hanging out with Aunt Ninum and Mama Jean. MK adores them and so do I.

Team Morgan Kate was represented in the Charleston Harbor. I think a different person each day wore one of these shirts. Go Team Morgan Kate! 

Being able to throw my hair in a pony tail, wear no makeup and just go. 

Spending good quality time with my girl. Love her.

Sunsets like this.

Spending time with two of my favorite people, my mommy and daddy. Morgan Kate also thoroughly enjoyed her time with them as well. Not only did she get to spend time with them during the day, but probably four out of the seven nights she slept with them as well. 

Burying Morgan Kate in the sand.

She loved it.

Countless photo shoots. The beach makes the best back drop. 

Even Uncle O wanted to get in on the photo shoots.

Spending time with my number one love.

Daily piggy back rides courtesy of Uncle Owens. MK insisted that Aunt Ninum ride as well.

Buying ridiculous sunglasses at the local Piggly Wiggly and then sporting them all week like it was our job.

This picture needs no explanation. However I will say this. This year we had two seafood nights. One on Tuesday night with just the people in our house and the second on Thursday with our entire clan which includes over thirty people. 

More photo shoots.

And another. She was such a good sport.

Getting to spend quality time with "my girls". Love them. Tren might technically be my "sister in law", but in my heart she is no "in law" at all. 

The boys also enjoyed their time together, minus ridiculous sunglasses from Piggly Wiggly.

More seafood.

Total beach babe. 

I could look at these pictures all day long. Love, love, love.

Morris Island lighthouse.

Blue crabs. Oh, so yummy!

Watching this little girl enjoy every single minute of beach life. We could so be beach bums.

Enjoying the week with my entire family. Not a week I ever take for granted.

If my calculations are correct, only 362 days until next year! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I've been trying to sort through and edit over 800 beach pictures. After deleting the blurry ones and the ones that were covered with a haze because of the condensation on my lens, and throwing out some irrelevant ones, I'm down to almost 375 or something. And I don't think the number is going to get any smaller. I just can't bring myself to delete pictures of Morgan Kate, no matter how similar the photos may be. Just. Can't. Do. It. I've also been attempting to work on a beach post, but have been quite distracted thinking about Morgan Kate's upcoming birthday and school starting back. Today marks exactly two weeks and three days before teachers report back. I think I may die. I don't even want to think about it. When I did devote a little of my thinking power to it earlier today, I ended up in tears. Literally. Travis walked through the door this afternoon and I sobbed in his arms. It was pitiful. Where has this summer gone? I am not ready for it to be over. Instead of catching up on laundry or blogging or even showering today, I just played with Morgan Kate. We had a tea party, we pretended we were at a store buying things, we watched cartoons and we just lounged in our PJs all day long. It was heaven. I think we may do all of those things every day for the next two weeks and three days. Seriously. 

I know I just need to suck it up and be a big girl. For goodness sake, most people in the real world would love to have just two weeks off, much less an entire summer. I should be thankful and just move on. But it's hard. I love, love, love being with my girl and it's so hard to think about leaving her to go back to work. It's funny because I am actually kind of, sort of, in a little bit kind of way, looking forward to this school year. I'm hoping to have the same students for a majority of the day (last year I had four different sets) and so I'm looking forward to getting to know them and building our little community. I'm also kind of, sort of, in a little bit kind of way, looking forward to teaching Language Arts and Math and Social Studies this year (last year I only taught Math and Social Studies). I definitely have things to look forward to and so does Morgan Kate. She will be reunited with Roddey and all of her "fins". In the last few days she has talked so much about all of them and she has told me numerous times that she misses Roddey and her "fins". And our big girl will be starting preschool. Wowzers. I think I might have just started the sobbing thing again. On that note, I'll leave you with a little sneak peek of the beach.

What am I going to do with this little girl? Almost three going on thirteen...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dear Morgan Kate,

Today is the first day of your last month as a two year old. Next month this time you will be our three year old. It doesn't seem possible that you will be three. Three years seems like a long time when thinking about school or careers or time apart, but your three little years have literally happened in what seems like a blink of the eye. Lightning fast. 

I remember when you were in the hospital and even when you first came home, I longed for the day you would turn three. I'm not sure what I really thought three would mean for me. I guess three seemed so far away and I thought that by the age of three, we would all be okay. You'd be okay and I'd be okay. And I wouldn't have to worry about things. And we are okay. We're more than okay. You are perfect and growing and changing and doing so many things. It's mind blowing. And I don't have to worry about things like oxygen cannulas and apnea monitors. I don't have to worry about inserting a feeding tube and reflux meds. I don't have to worry about countless doctor's appointments and therapies. But, I still worry. A lot. Just about different things now and sometimes some of the same things. And I'm so glad we are past all of that other worrying, but I do wish time would slow down. Now that the time is actually here, I don't want you to be three already. Tonight I was trying to think of ways that you were still a baby. Because I desperately still want you to be one. The only two things I could think of were, one - you still love to be rocked before bed and two - you still wear a diaper. I can't think of anything else. And those things don't necessarily make you a baby. In almost every other way you are a big girl. An almost three year old. 

There are several things I want to remember about right now.  
1. Whenever you tell us you love us, we ask you how much and you say, "Too big."
2. You fall asleep every single time we get on the boat or the four wheeler. Your favorite spot on the boat is the seat right up front and you always ask for a towel. I know that's just code for, "I'm ready to take a nap."
3. You fake cry sometimes and when we ask, "Are you faking?", you just laugh.
4. You have the most vivid imagination. You of course have your pretend friend, Dabba. You always want to pretend to be the baby or the mommy. You love pretending to bake things or make things. 
5. Anything scary is a "monsta". I have no clue where you got this because we don't talk about monsters in this house.

I love you so much, baby girl. So much so that my heart could just burst. While I'm sad about this last month of your twos, I'm also happy and excited for what your threes will hold. I have heard though, that the threes aren't so kind. I'm praying that's not the case for us, but with your strong personality, I'm guessing it might be. Either way, it's perfectly fine, because even a hard day with you is a good day in my book. 

Love you my almost three year old,

Friday, July 22, 2011

We've been enjoying the salt, the sun and sunsets like these all week. 
Can't wait to share all of our photos and memories with you all!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 This is the way she brushes her teeth,
 brushes her teeth,
 brushes her teeth.
 This is the way she brushes her teeth,
 morning and night.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Prior to having Morgan Kate I never saved cards. When I received birthday cards or anniversary cards or sometimes even thinking of you cards I would read them and then throw them away. I know it sounds awful and it makes me sound so unappreciative. But, it's the truth. Don't get me wrong, there were the occasional cards that I hung on to because they said something extra special or commemorated some special event, but most of them didn't make the cut. 

All of that changed when I was hospitalized while pregnant with Morgan Kate. I found this brand new appreciation for cards and words and thoughts. I clung to them, maybe because I was looking for anything to cling to. I found so much peace and so much joy reading what others had written. Those cards and those notes were some of my greatest encouragement and support. And I saved almost everyone. I saved all of the cards I received while I was in the hospital, all I received while MK was in the hospital and all I received to congratulate me on her birth or her homecoming. And I still have all of them today.
This is just one of the two baskets where I keep my cards. Now I save birthday cards, anniversary cards and thinking of you cards. I love to go back every so often and read them. Just the other day while I was cleaning out the guest closet I did just that. I began sifting through them and reading some. I got so excited going through them. Some I remembered so clearly and others had slipped by mind. They brought back so many memories and feelings and thoughts. I laughed, I cried, I thought, a lot. It was good for my heart and soul. When I finished, I put them back on the shelf in their safe little place. 

Now I am sure, actually I know, that I do not keep every single card I receive these days. If it only has a name or two or three words, well then, I read it and I am thankful for it, but it doesn't make the basket. On the other hand, if the person sending the card has taken the time to share something with me, encourage me, support me, etc, well then, that card is going straight to the basket. And it will be waiting on that little shelf for me. 

(I also realize that it would be nearly impossible to keep all of the cards for the rest of my life. Things like that could land me on a future episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive. But, for now, while I still have a tiny bit of extra space, I'm keeping them.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

I am sure this may be hard to believe, but occasionally, this little girl misbehaves. 
She has been known to say, "No" very sternly when asked to do something or when asked not to do something. She has been known to swat at her mommy or daddy when things don't go her way. She's also been known to run from her mommy and daddy in hopes to avoid being punished. When those things do occur, she usually finds herself here.
This is our timeout corner. The place where Morgan Kate sits for about two or three minutes to ponder her actions and behavior. It's where she sits perfectly still wriggles around and hollers out, "Mommy! Daddy! No do this." Once her time is up she apologizes and she gives us a hug and a kiss. I have no clue if this is the right way or wrong way to do things, but it's our way. And so far it works. Most of the time. She's two, going on three, she's going to do things that drive us crazy and things that we don't approve of. Heck, she's going to do those things until she's a mommy one day, probably even longer. I'm pretty sure I probably still do things that drive my momma crazy. My point is, when she does things that we think deserve some sort of punishment, then she ends up in the timeout corner. It's a place for her to cool off, think, reflect and it gives us a minute or two to do the same. When she does things that might harm her little life like run down the street from us or she deliberately defies us again and again, well then, she gets a little pop on the thigh. And I do mean little. I have learned time and time again to pick my battles. I also try to think a lot about her behavior, what caused it, why did she do it, etc. If she's coloring on the walls because I'm too busy talking on the phone, well then shame on her and on me. If she deliberately colors on the floor while we are coloring together, then a big shame on her. Anyway, I apologize. This was not supposed to be a post about our discipline techniques, it was supposed to be out the timeout corner and the doors. Yes, doors.
You see so far this corner has worked perfectly. Remember, our house is the size of a shoebox, so we don't have a lot of extra space for timeout, etc. I never wanted timeout to take place in her room because I wanted her room to be her safe place, her fun place. And it is. I didn't want it to be our room because again, I wanted her to feel completely comfortable there and I didn't want to associate it with punishment. The den and the kitchen are too busy and the bathrooms, well they are bathrooms. Gross. The only other places were this corner and the guest bedroom. I wanted a place where I could see her if I needed to, but also a place where she was somewhat confined. I can't see her in the guest bedroom, therefore, this corner became the spot. We would close all of the doors, sit her in the corner and close the baby gate. (Side note: That baby gate isn't even for our baby, it's for our dog.) (Also, just so there is no confusion, I use the term corner very loosely. We don't sit her in that same spot every time with her nose in the corner or anything.) She would serve her time in that seven foot hallway and then she could come out. We could see her, she could hear us. She wasn't completely confined, no doors were shut and it worked perfectly. Until early last week. 

Early last week she learned how to open the doors. All of them. We now have to keep all doors leading outside locked and the deadbolt on. And when she needs to do her time in the timeout corner we now have to lock all of the doors in that hallway, otherwise, instead of cooling off, thinking and reflecting, she's instead playing, dancing and singing. Earlier today she was playing with a glass lantern in my bedroom. I asked her to stop two or three times and I told her why she needed to stop. Total safety issue there. She looked at me, said "No" and then swatted as if she were going to hit me. I calmly grabbed her by the hand, told her where she was going and why, sat her in the corner and started to close all of the doors. Then it occurred to me that she could easily open all of those doors. In my haste I decided to lock all of the doors and then I walked away. Fifteen minutes later when I need to use the computer I couldn't get the door open to the guest room. We do have these little stick key things that we got when we first moved in, but it literally took me about ten minutes or so to get it to work. I then spent the next twenty minutes opening her door and the bathroom door. Maybe locking them was not the best idea. But, what am I going to do? My perfect little timeout corner is not so perfect anymore. Hopefully, she'll just be so well behaved that we never have to use it again. 

One can dream, can't they?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Morgan Kate has a very special friend. MK calls her Dabba. They play together often. They have tea and color. They talk non-stop, some days on the couch and some days over the phone. Morgan Kate shares many, many stories with us about Dabba. And occasionally she will even blame things on Dabba. Dabba has been known to shred a styrofoam cup to pieces and even break our home phone. 
There's just one small problem. We've never, ever seen Dabba. She is Morgan Kate's imaginary friend. No lie. Morgan Kate has talked about Dabba for quite some time, probably a year or more. For months Morgan Kate would just say Dabba and then a bunch of gibberish. Travis and I couldn't wait until she was old enough to tell us more about Dabba. Was Dabba a toy or a place? We never imagined that Dabba would be a friend. About four or five months ago, once Morgan Kate could really talk, we asked about Dabba. The conversation went a little like this:

Me: Baby, what's Dabba? Or who is Dabba?
MK: My fin.
Me: Your friend?
MK: Uh-huh.
Me: Is Dabba a boy or a girl? 
MK: A gul.
Me: Does Dabba go to Roddey's with you? (Knowing full well there is no child with a name even close to Dabba.)
MK: Mommy, no.
Me: Well where is Dabba?
MK: Mommy, right here, play wif me. (Like duh, Mommy.)
Me: Ooohh. Dabba is here with us?
MK: Yeah. We are playin
Me: Okay.
MK: Mommy, shhh. Dabba is sleepin.

I immediately run for the phone and call Travis. I tell him about my little conversation with Morgan Kate and he is relieved. He is so excited that we finally know who or what Dabba is. I, on the other hand, am not sure what to think. Is this okay? Should Morgan Kate have an imaginary friend? Is this normal? So, I do what any good mother would do. I google children with imaginary friends.

These are some of the things I found:

Don't worry, your toddler is not only normal, she's also very creative. Her burgeoning imagination fuels this wonderful fictitious creation, someone who accompanies her as she explores the world. Firstborns often have imaginary friends, as do very bright kids. It's one way children learn to make distinctions between good and bad.

Okay, Morgan Kate is a first born. And you better believe my girl is bright. I can definitely see that she is creative. Maybe imaginary friends aren't so strange after all.

Children with make-believe friends tend to be more imaginative, have richer vocabularies, and are better able to entertain themselves. Singer also discovered that children with imaginary friends get along better with classmates.

Again, this sounds great. More imaginative, richer vocabulary and better able to entertain herself. I can totally live with all of those things. Dabba needs to come play every single day. All day.

One researcher claimed that children who created companions needed more time with other children or help in getting along with them. As the research mounts, the theory that only children have invisible friends to compensate for their loneliness has little credence.

This person is stupid and has apparently never read the other research I found. But, I do agree with the last sentence. Amen.

According to Dr. Marjorie Taylor, Ph.D., author of Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them and Professor and Head of Psychology at the University of Oregon, children with imaginary companions tend to be less shy than their peers and are better able to focus their attention and see things from another person's perspective.

This woman is smart. 

Imaginary friends are an extension of pretend play, which is a normal, healthy, important part of a young child’s development.

I couldn't have said it better. 

Regardless of the research, the more I've thought about it and reflected upon my own childhood, I've decided that I'm perfectly okay with Dabba. It's fine for Morgan Kate to have an imaginary friend. And it's perfectly normal. As a child, I don't remember having an imaginary friend, but I do remember playing and talking with people that weren't really there in that moment. I pretended a lot and I used the names of real friends that I already had. And that's just what Morgan Kate is doing, except she's smart enough and creative enough to come up with a new person, a pretend person. She talks a lot about her real friends, but when they aren't around, she doesn't pretend that they are.   

If Morgan Kate wants to talk with Dabba, then I am perfectly fine with it. If Dabba wants to come over for a snack and to color, that's fine too. If Dabba needs to nap, because she does quite frequently, then I'll lower my voice. Dabba can even go on trips with us. But, I draw the line when Dabba starts coloring on the walls and breaking things. Dabba has to learn the difference between right and wrong.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Last Friday Morgan Kate's great-grandmother (Travis' grandmother) and great-aunt (Travis' aunt) came for a visit. It's been awhile since Morgan Kate saw either one of them, but you would have thought it was just yesterday. She ran to their car the minute they arrived and gave them both big hugs. 
They were so sweet to come and came bearing gifts for all of us - lots of goodies for Morgan Kate and sweets for Travis and I. Aunt Jan even made a homemade blackberry cobbler. We spent the late afternoon and evening talking, eating and of course, playing. I am sure Aunt Jan slept well that night after all the playing she and MK did. 
There are so many things that I enjoyed about their visit, but two of my favorites would have to be watching Morgan Kate and Aunt Jan playing together and sitting on the back porch talking with Mama. I loved hearing all about how she grew up and how she met Travis' Papa. It was a special afternoon/evening indeed and we can't wait for them to come back!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I promise this will be my last home project post for quite some time. Well, unless I do something really spectacular to another room in my house that I really want to share. Seeing as if there are only about four weeks left of summer, I doubt it. The only spectacular things I plan on doing from now until then involve loving on my girl, playing, sleeping, relaxing and playing some more. And, those are all things I plan to share about anyway. 

I'm not sure where this energy to clean and purge and organize has come from. Maybe from sleeping until 9 or 10 everyday. Regardless, I am enjoying it and my hubby is as well. I've already warned him, come August 11, it's all over with because I go back to work. I do hope to be better at housekeeping this coming school year. Last year this house was my last priority. Between going back to work, being a mom and just getting back in my groove, cleaning and organizing were the last thing I thought about. This summer I have been able to devote a lot of my energy and thinking to our house and I'm so thankful for that. I feel like it's our home again and I keep coming up with ways to make it even better. Our house was never nasty dirty, just not in the order in which I like things.

I affectionately call our house my little shoe box. I really do love it. It's the perfect size (okay, maybe not perfect), has the best porches (front and back) and it's where we started us and our little family. I would love a room over or another bedroom, but such is life. I call it my little shoe box because we have three bedrooms, a den and a kitchen. That's all folks. Oh, and a garage. No dining room, no formal living room, no FROG, no extra storage. Which means our third bedroom is multi-functional. It serves as a guest bedroom, a storage room, our computer room, Trav's workout storage room and anything else that doesn't have a home ends up in this room. It also happens to be the smallest room in our house. I'm still working on the actual room, but for the past three days I tackled the closet. At one time, actually several times, this closet was cleaned out and in some order. However, since going back to work, it's been quite neglected. Much like our master closet. Oops. I basically just throw everything, and I mean everything, in that closet so that no one sees it. Sunday afternoon I had the itch to fix it. Like I said, I have had this organizational/cleaning/purging itch all summer long. And I promise people, I am not nesting. No chance in heaven. Anywho, I began on Sunday and about an hour ago I finished. Take a look. And remember, no judging. I am being real.
Everything, every single little thing, now has a home. Ahhh. I love when everything has a place. I bought several Rubbermaid boxes from Wal-Mart, five to be exact. I think all five, one big and four medium size, cost me like $25. I had already cleaned the entire closet out and began to sort things into piles. I had a pile for pictures, cards, camera stuff, gift wrapping stuff, old bills, etc. I already had six Rubbermaid containers from the first time, years ago, that I organized the closet. I did a little rearranging of containers and all was well. I also purchased this shoe rack thingy from Wal-Mart for $6, therefore, I suppose my total closet transformation was $31. I have tons of ribbon from Christmas, showers, parties, etc. and they all fit perfectly in this shoe rack. I love it. This is probably my absolute favorite part.
These are some of the containers I already had. I store things like stationary and note pads in these. It's the perfect size and anytime I need any of those things I know just where they are. 
 A little close up view of my shoe rack. LOVE IT.
I also had room for my glue guns, markers, paint sticks, etc. I love to be crafty, but it's hard to get those creative juices flowing when you don't have a clue where anything is. Now, I do.
At one time I was really into scrapbooking, that's why you see like four scrapbooks standing and in the far left there are about five more on their sides. Yes, I'm a slight dork. That big green bag is our lake bag and we use it often, like every single weekend, therefore, I wanted it in a spot where it was easy to grab. Do you see that big basket under the green bag? That basket is FILLED with old bills and Explanation of Benefits from when MK was in the hospital. What do I do with those? Shred them? Throw them away? Keep them? I don't have a clue. What do you do with old bills or old insurance stuff?
I love how it turned out. I told Travis that I might start looking into a job as a professional organizer. Ha. Just joking around. That bag in the front on the floor is my school bag. Again, another bag that I need easy access to, but I definitely don't need it right now and I needed a place to store it. Those tubs on the floor still needs labels, but they house camera stuff, items from when I was pregnant with Morgan Kate and party paraphernalia. What I like about the party paraphernalia tub is that when I do give a party or help with one, I can just grab that entire tub and take it with me. Easy breezy.