Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This past week (Tuesday-Tuesday) Morgan Kate was the Special Person of the Week at her school. Last Tuesday she got to take in five of her favorite pictures and talk about them during circle. She also got to take her favorite snack, she chose pink cupcakes. And she got to take her favorite book, she picked out (on her own) Just in Case You Ever Wonder
Not only did she get to bring stuff in, but she got to bring stuff home. She got to bring home Porgy the Pig, his bag, his book and his toothbrush. She and Porgy have been connected at the hip ever since. Seriously. I am dreading his return to school.
For the past week we have taken him with us everywhere and documented, as best we could, all of our adventures. He has eaten pizza with us and spent time in the swing with Morgan Kate.
He has played outside with us and even went for a ride in the wheel barrow.
He went with us to Kaka and Gator's for the weekend and got to help bake cookies.
Porgy even got to visit with Uncle Owens and Uncle Kyle for a little while.
We have had a big time with Porgy and we are sad to see him leave. However, we may be getting a Pinky to keep permanently. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bedtime didn't go so great last night, but I am hopeful we will all sleep soundly tonight. Because.I.am.dying.to.get.some.sleep.

The sound machine I purchased yesterday was not a big hit and my girl asked me to turn it off, but I left it on and enjoyed the rainforest myself.

At midnight last night our girl was still wide awake and "thrashing" around in her room, but I know that consistency is key and we've got to stick with it. Even if it kills me.
I slept on the floor in Morgan Kate's room for two hours last night, but woke up with a new appreciation for my bed. And a crink in my neck. 

Exactly four minutes before my alarm went off this morning my baby girl was standing at my side of the bed poking me in the face, but I was thankful to awake to her sweet voice rather than the "bonking" of the alarm clock.
I've been rather cranky today, but did manage to smile a few times as I watched my girl slide down the slide at Chick-fil-A. The nuggets made me pretty happy as well. 

There have been times today where I have felt so totally overwhelmed and frustrated, but I know tomorrow is a brand new day and we all get a fresh new start. Right?!?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

If you asked me, I'd tell you I had a really good weekend. A weekend full of family.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that today I let my child sleep late and did not let her nap in hopes for a smooth bedtime.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that lately, I absolutely dread bedtime.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that sometimes I feel like the - Worst.Mom.Ever.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that seeing Morgan Kate in her dance "gear" puts the biggest smile on my face.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that watching Morgan Kate and knowing that she is a part of me and a part of Travis overwhelms my heart. In a good way.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that the weekends go by entirely too fast. 

If you asked me, I'd tell you that the "threes" are way harder than the "twos." Twos were easy, breezy. This three stuff is no joke. 

If you asked me, I'd tell you that I want so badly to learn how to get it all done.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that I really, really, really want a Mac laptop. Really bad. Just so I can blog in bed.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that tonight I purchased a sound machine in hopes to make bedtime easier. At bedtime Morgan Kate told me to turn it off. I didn't.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that I get giddy thinking about my morning cup of coffee. 

If you asked me, I'd tell you that I am afraid of a lot of things. Some silly, some not so silly.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that my hubby makes me smile. Big.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that I got this "if you asked me" idea from another blog.

If you asked me, I'd tell you that for the past ten minutes my daughter has been soundly sleeping in the room right across the hall. So far - no tears, no screaming, just the sound of rain (from the machine she wanted me to turn off, but I didn't).

If you asked me, I'd tell you I have lots to do to prepare for Monday morning. Ugh.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This past weekend my parents came in to town for a few hours and we met them for a play date at the mall. It worked out perfectly because there is this great little play area, there's a food court with endless options and there's Build-A-Bear.
My mom had the most terrific idea to have Morgan Kate make a "bedtime bear" to help with her bedtime issues. Hunter came along and he too got to make a bear or rather a monkey. My mom even got in on the action and made a puppy. I'm not sure who had more fun!

I'll be honest. We've walked by Build-A-Bear probably a million times, maybe more, and we've never stopped. It's crossed my mind a time or two, I mean who can resist those adorable stuffed animals, but one look into that place and all of that chaos completely turned me the other way.
My mind has changed though. Saturday I learned that it really is pretty cool "chaos". Yes, there is lots going on. Yes, there are lots of options. Yes, there are lots of small children. But, it's so much fun. I really wish now that I would have made one. Ha! Morgan Kate was really into making her bear and I was just as into as she was. We had the best time picking out the bear, stuffing the bear, adding the heart and then picking out just the right clothes. Of course our bedtime bear needed bedtime clothes - PJs. I am so thankful my mom thought of this. MK named her bear Sassy. Surprise, surprise?!? 
Each of the different stops was so child friendly. I think MK had the most fun stuffing the bear. Hunter, on the other hand, was scared to death. He was more interested in banging on the computers where you register your bear.
After some play and time building our bears we headed to the food court area for lunch. However, it wasn't long before the two little ones were ready to play again.
I'm happy to report that Sassy has slept with Morgan Kate every night (and nap) since Saturday morning. I'm a little sad to report that the crying only stopped for the very first night. Regardless of the bedtime issues, it was such a fun Saturday, but then, any day spent with my family is a fun day for me. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

I was looking through old pictures Friday night. Most of them from Morgan Kate's first year. There were so many that really made my memory feel fuzzy. In some ways there are things about that first year that I will never ever forget, but in other ways a lot of it seems like a blur or a fog. It's so hard for me to remember her being a newborn. One group of pictures really caught my attention. There was nothing fuzzy or foggy or blurry about what I remembered. It was perfectly clear. I remember the day, I remember the feeling,  I remember the wait. It was a group of pictures from the first time my dad ever held Morgan Kate. And they were dated January 23, 2009. She was a day short of turning six months old and my dad was holding her for the very first time. Ever.
Of course I was overcome with emotion as I looked at the picture. I called Travis in and he said, "Even today, your daddy still looks at her like that." And he's right. My daddy does. He loves our little girl so much. It made my heart swell to see that picture and to know I had captured it for a lifetime. It's definitely a memory I will never forget, but it's nice to have a more material form as well. It brought a smile to my face to see my daddy holding his baby girl's baby girl. 

But it also made me sad. 
Morgan Kate was six months old and my daddy was holding her for the very first time. It's not something he chose. It's not something he was "just getting around to". It was the first time because for so long we had had to be so careful. We brought her home in December. With oxygen. In the dead of winter and in the middle of RSV season. We didn't want her to get sick. We didn't want her to catch anything. We were scared to death. So, we followed all of the rules. (Maybe we went a little overboard at times, like whenever an article of her clothing would touch the ground I would immediately wash it, but looking back three years later, it definitely paid off.) And as much as we followed the rules, my dad followed them even more. You see, my dad is a serious rule follower in some ways. In others, not so much, but when it comes to health and safety and morals, he always follows the rules. He's also really particular about rules in hotels, but that story is for another post. Anyway, my dad doesn't typically break the rules and Morgan Kate was no exception. He wasn't going to hold her until he got the okay from us and from her doctors, all four of them. It didn't mean he didn't want to hold her. It didn't mean he wasn't longing to hold his first grand baby. It didn't mean that it wasn't breaking his heart. But, he did it. He did it for us. And he did it for her. And I know there is nothing in this world that he wouldn't do for all three of us.

While I am thankful to have that picture, I am even more thankful that it's January 23, 2012 and we are well past all of that. We can love our girl, be with our girl and hold our girl and we're not breaking any rules.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A friend of mine did this survey with her three year old and I thought it would be fun to do it with Morgan Kate. I added a few questions of my own. It was not only fun, but interesting. Oh, and note to self - do not ask questions while said three year old is watching Tom and Jerry. At times I thought I was talking to a brick wall. Here goes...

What is your favorite color? Ummm...pink.

What is your favorite toy? Ummmm...robots. (She doesn't even own a robot.)

What is your favorite fruit? Ummm...gapes (grapes).

What is your favorite TV show? I like Daddy cartoon. (Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes)

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? S-getti.

What is your favorite outfit? I like to wear dresses.

What is your favorite game? I like to jump.

What is your favorite snack? Toast. (Whatever, the girl never asks for toast as a snack. She always wants yogurt or applesauce or spicy Cheez-its.)

What is your favorite animal? Jaff (Giraffe.)

What is your favorite song? Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

What is your favorite book? Animal book (Not sure what book she is talking about.)

What are you thankful for? My fins (friends), Roddey and my baby dolls.

What is your favorite cereal? Your cookie cereal. (That would be mommy's Cookie Crisp. Hee, hee...)

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play and run.

What is your favorite drink? Appey (Apple) juice.

What is your favorite holiday? Summertime. (She's my girl.)

What do you like to take with you to bed at night? My lobies (lovies).

What do you want for dinner on your next birthday? Cupcakes.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A please man (policeman) and a witch. (Nice combination, huh?)

What's your favorite thing to do with Daddy? Watch cah-toons. (Cartoons)

What's your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Read books.

What's your favorite thing to do with Kaka and Gator? Play hide and seek. Everything with Kaka and Gator.

What's your favorite things to do with your uncles? Hug them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Before the holidays, my cousin and his wife (that sounds so formal to call them my cousin and his wife, they are so much more to me than that, more like additional siblings, anywho...) had an adoption fundraiser. Be sure to read here to learn more about that amazing story. One of their many, many (and I mean many) items they had for sale was this tall pine buffet/hutch type of furniture. I really have no clue what you call it, but at first look, I fell in love. I loved the look and I already had ideas swirling in my head. It was completely unfinished, no color, nothing, just pine (at least I think it was pine). Anyway, we purchased it, brought it home and it sat in our garage for months and held Christmas decorations and cases of Diet Coke. I had ideas, but those ideas had to marinate and really form a picture in my mind before I would do anything. 

Fast forward to about two weeks ago. My parents gave us a duvet cover one year for Christmas and I love the colors, very soft, neutral and relaxing. I knew that I wanted the buffet/hutch thing to take on one of those colors and I knew I wanted it to go in our bedroom. So, I did what any person would do. I took our pillow sham to Lowe's and held up about thirty different paint swatches before I found the most perfect one. That's what people do, right?!? After a coat of primer, two coats of paint and some new hardware, I present to you one of my new favorite pieces...
I am in love. I could just in my bedroom all day and admire this beautiful piece. 
My hubby did all of the work, I only touched up a few places, and I'm so proud of him. He does a great job with everything, so I knew he could totally handle this and not disappoint. 
We found these great little glass knobs at Lowe's as well. I love that place. I found that little chalkboard when we were out this weekend, but I can't decide if I like it there or not. Still thinking.
Now that that's finished, I can start a new project. Hee, hee...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This little girl, this sweet little girl, is sometimes not always so sweet. I know. Shocker, right?!?
You see, she's three. And at age three a monster invaded her body. Some people warned us of a monster invasion around age two, but that didn't happen. There were absolutely no monsters at that age. We are told that this monster could stick around until the Morgan Kate's four. It might possibly stay longer. We just aren't sure. 
There are some things we are sure of. One, this monster appears daily, sometimes multiple times a day. No lie. Two, this monster does not like rules. It does not like to be told what to do or what not to do. When you try to tell this monster what to do or what not to do, it will sometimes make MK throw herself on the floor, sometimes run from us, sometimes scream and yell and cry. It's not pretty. Three, this monster whines an awful lot. If we don't come right away or help with something right that second, then the monster will make MK whine and whine and whine. We've asked the monster to use "big words" and "calm words", but it doesn't always understand that. Four, this monster is very up and down. One minute the monster might be calm and content and smiling and the next minute the monster is flailing MK's arms and legs in every direction and saying, "No, no, no!", over and over and over. It's wild. And five, this monster does not care where we are or who is around. It will show up in the most inconvenient places, like the middle of Target or the middle of a restaurant or the middle of our neighborhood park. And it will appear in front of us, in front of our neighbors, in front of our family and friends or in front of complete strangers. It is not choosy.
We know it's a monster. We have no doubts. Because we know our precious, sweet, baby girl would never really act like that otherwise. We are praying that this monster decides to leave sooner rather than later. We would very much like our girl back.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This little girl had a fun filled weekend with her Kaka and Gator. Lots of building and baking and playing. 
And while she was enjoying one on one time with her grandparents, I was enjoying one on one time with my main squeeze. And it was very much enjoyed.
We spent the weekend at home with no real plans. We went to dinner each evening, went out for lunch on Saturday, did some shopping and enjoyed having no schedule or set plans. There were so many things I enjoyed about our little "staycation", but I most enjoyed getting to really talk with my hubby. One of my most favorite parts of the weekend was riding to Newberry Friday night to eat dinner. We took the back roads and had the best time talking and listening to music. 

We made plans for MK to visit my parents early on in the week, but as Friday got closer, I got more anxious. Or maybe I should say I felt more guilt. I felt guilty for wanting some time with my hubby. I felt guilty for wanting a night to ourselves. It was really, really eating at me, but I knew that I would enjoy it and I knew that I needed it. And I was right. We all had a terrific weekend. She got time with my parents all to herself - which she loves and they love. And we got time for us - which we love. It was a win-win situation. 

It felt like our weekend flew by (thank goodness for our day off tomorrow), but we were both so looking forward to getting our girl back and spending some time with her!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Saturday night as I was getting Morgan Kate ready for bed it occurred to me that we were out of pull-ups. The "diaper holder thingy" was completely empty. I had three options at this point. One, run out and buy another package of pull-ups. Two, use one of the swimmy diapers from this summer - which I have done before and yes, I'm still trying to figure those things out. Or three, just let her try the night with big girl panties on. I chose option three. It was super close to bedtime, Trav and I were both in our PJs and I thought it would be a good night to test her big girl skills.

I am happy to report that she passed her skills test with absolute excellence. And I am also happy to report that we still have not purchased pull-ups. Our girl has gone four nights without a pull-up on and we have had zero accidents. We are so proud of our girl!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You know it's a Monday when...

You can't get up and you hit snooze at least a dozen times.

It takes more than your normal dose of coffee to keep you going.

You yawn until at least 2ish or so.

All day long you seem to be in a fog.

You have zero patience for anyone or anything.

You've spent at least an hour on the phone with phone/cable/internet people  and you are ready to explode. And you end up, all of a sudden, with great cable, but no phone or internet.

Your new recipe flops. Big time. And you end up eating Cookie Crisp for dinner.

You are in bed and fast asleep by 8:45. Drooling, perhaps.

You blog about Monday and don't actually post it until Tuesday. Or Wednesday.

Thank goodness for new days.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bedtime blues.

This whole big girl bed business is wearing me out. My girl is having some serious issues with bedtime. I haven't figured it all out yet. And I'm not sure if it's the big girl bed, her age, getting back into her routine or what, but it's killing me.

I'll give you a brief look into our nights recently:

Start the bedtime process. Read two to three books. MK begs for more. I put a limit on three because otherwise I would be reading all night long. We rock for a few minutes at MK's request and because frankly, it warms my heart. I sing her a song and I put her to bed.

The minute my hand hits the door knob to leave the crying begins. The screaming follows. The wailing starts. It's awful.
"Mommy, I no tired."
"Mommy, I love you."
"Daddy, come get me."
"Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy!"
"I want to sleep with mommy and daddy!"
"Daddy, come here. Hold me!"
"Rock me, please, rock me!"

I walk into her room. Conversation plays out like this:
Me: Morgan Kate, you need to go to sleep. It's late and you are going to be tired. Now please lay down.
MK: No, rock me. Please. Rock me. Please. Rock. Please. Please. Rock. One minute?!?
Me: Morgan Kate, we have already rocked. Please settle down and go to sleep.
MK: No, rock me. Please. Rock me. Please. Rock. Please. Please. Rock. One minute?!?
Me: Okay, I will rock you for one minute and that's it. Do you understand that?
MK: Uh-huh.
We start rocking. I start thinking of techniques and strategies to make bedtime  easier. I rock for what I feel like is a sufficient time and then I put her in her bed.

I touch the door knob. It starts all over. 

Some nights this lasts until around 9, other nights until 11. It's awful. And painful. And exhausting. And I don't have a clue what to do. She's tired, there's no doubt about that. But, she WILL NOT give it up. And she is impossible to reason with. I offer rewards. I bribe her. I fuss at her. NOTHING. HAS. WORKED.

Needless to say, these long, tiresome nights make for hard, tiresome mornings. Our mornings are much like our nights with the crying and screaming and wailing, but in the mornings she's crying because she's tired and wants to go back to sleep.
MK: No, get up. I tired. I sleepy. I sleep in my big girl bed. I want my big girl bed. 
And this nonsense occurs until we walk out of the door or until I say in my meanest momma bear voice (cause it does come out sometimes), "Morgan Kate, enough. I don't want to hear it anymore." (Real grown up and mature, huh?!?)

What's a momma to do? Any tips or suggestions?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A precious student I teach lost his dad earlier this week. My heart aches for this student. My heart aches for his older brother and older sister. My heart aches for his mom. My heart, in general, just aches. 

Death is so hard for my little mind to comprehend. I just can't grasp the finality of it. It makes my chest hurt and my mind wander and I have to take really deep breaths. Death makes me think of my very own loved ones. I know it sounds rather awkward to think like that, but it's the truth. Whenever someone dies, whether I personally know them or not, I start to think about those I do know personally. Our school guidance counselor talked about this some when she came around to each classroom to speak with students. She talked about how death and pain and suffering is upsetting to so many that aren't directly affected because we try to put ourselves in the shoes of those who have lost. What would we do? How would we feel? How would we cope? I do that. I did that earlier this week. I'm doing that now.

All day long my heart ached for my precious student. My heart was broken that he wouldn't be able to see his dad again or talk to his dad again or ever go on another family vacation with his dad again. I thought about my own child and how my world and her world would just be turned completely upside down if she had to experience and endure the death of a parent. And then I thought about his mom and how she had lost her husband, her other half, the love of her life. And that's when it became too much and I thought my chest might just explode. Just the thought of that happening in my own life makes it hard to breathe. I literally have to stop and catch my breath. I can feel tears filling my eyes and that lump move up my throat. I have to stop and remind myself that it's not happening to me. 

Things can happen in an instance. Things can happen even when we are busying doing the things we cherish and love the most. Things we don't understand. Things we don't expect. Things we aren't prepared for. It's moments like these that rattle us and make us really think about things. And it's moment like these that are harsh reminders to appreciate what we do have and those who are with us. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A few more updates. Just cause.

1. Morgan Kate has two new imaginary friends. 
Yep, I know. I'm not so sure what to think about it either. Actually, I happen to find it kind of cute. She has an extraordinary imagination. Seriously. Dabba, her first friend, is still very much present. Some days Dabba is a boy and some days Dabba is a girl. Some days Dabba is a mommy and some days Dabba is a baby. And Dabba is sick a lot. Her two new friends are Mimi and Connie. I have no clue where they came from or why these names, but Morgan Kate talks about them and to them all of the time. 

2. Dancing queen.
The girl is a serious dancing diva. No kidding. She's always moving and swaying and twirling. And she's got some mad skills. She's really pretty good at dancing and has pretty darn good rhythm. Travis says she gets it from me. I think he's just trying to crack jokes. 

3. Bed time adventures.
Bed time in a big girl bed has become quite an adventure to say the least. Just last night Morgan Kate got up two or three times before actually falling asleep. She came into our bedroom (yes, we were already in bed before 9 - don't laugh) and said, "Mommy, I did it. I sleep in my big girl bed. Now I sleep with you and Daddy." She thinks because she spent like ten minutes in her bed alone that she actually "slept" in it and now she can just "wake up" and come to bed with us. Uhhhh. Not so much, sweet girl. Before actually coming into our bedroom she just stood in the doorway and all we could see was her tiny outline. It was comical, yet kind of freaky at the same time. 

4. Sassy.
Sassy is a name she uses for everything. Every doll, every animal, ever single thing that needs a name becomes Sassy. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In this new year...

In this new year I hope to become a nicer person in the mornings. I just don't do mornings.

In this new year I hope to read more books.

In this new year I hope to take a few long, hot baths.

In this new year I hope to lose a few pounds.

In this new year I'd like to start running. Like to being the keywords here.

In this new year I hope to keep my house more organized and tidy.

In this new year I hope to worry less and trust Him more.

In this new year I hope to blog on a more regular basis.

In this new year I hope to spend more time with family and friends.

In this new year I hope to go on more dates with my hottie hubby.

In this new year I hope to savor every single moment and minute with my precious baby girl.

In this new year I hope to get as many hugs and kisses from her as humanly possible.

In this new year I hope to overcome some serious fears that I have.

In this new year I hope to give more. 

In this new year I hope to slow down and really appreciate all that I have. I am so incredibly blessed.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Just an Update

I feel like lots of big things have been happening our way and I haven't blogged about them. Or maybe I did blog about them and I have just forgotten. I've now been back at work for a year and a half, but adjusting and balancing and figuring it all out still hasn't happened. I'm not sure it will ever happen. I just wrapped up a two week break from work, but unfortunately did not find any additional free time. Anyway, enough with my blabbing, I'll get on with the update:

1. Morgan Kate is now officially potty trained. She has been for quite some time, but as I mentioned I don't think I've blogged about it. And it's quite a big deal, so I'm doing it now. FINALLY.  At the start of the school year (August) she had mastered "tee-teeing" in the potty. She never had to be reminded or asked to go. She would tell us when she needed to go and maybe had two or three accidents ever. Getting her to do the other business took a bit more work, but by I guess late September/early October she had mastered that as well and really had no accidents that I can think of. When it clicked, it clicked. The only time she still wears a pull-up is at night and I think that may be coming to an end very soon. Most mornings her pull-up is completely dry, so I feel like she might be ready. Might.

2. Morgan Kate has moved to a big girl bed! Well, a toddler bed to be exact, but it feels like a big girl bed to all of us. At age three and some change she had never tried climbing out of her crib, but we knew that it was time. We did it the Sunday before Christmas. We had been thinking about it for a while and I was fine with it, actually a little excited because I knew we would be moving things around, adding some things here and there and taking a few things away. But, when the day actually came I cried the entire time. I was a wreck. As you all know, I have a hard time, very hard time, letting things go, especially with her and this one was really hard. She and Travis were laughing and playing and so excited about the big girl bed and all I could do was cry. She's done pretty well in the bed. It takes a while at night for her to get settled and actually go to sleep, but once she does she typically stays in the bed. There have been some nights where she's gotten up around 4 or so and come to our room, but I'm completely fine with it. 

3. Abigail and Addison are HOME!!! They came home a few weeks before Christmas and are doing very well. They are both on monitors and have oxygen for feeds, but they are growing and thriving. Sleep is not something that Kelly or Tommy or Aunt Deborah probably remember anything about, but I know it will get better. It just has to! I am so looking forward to the day that I can go and visit and hold them and kiss them and love on them. My mom, Mama Jean, MK and I rode up the day after Christmas to drop off some goodies, but we didn't dare touch the babies or get too close. It was just the best feeling seeing them in their own house with their mommy and daddy. 

4. My cousin, Lynn and his wife, Amy, just welcomed their second baby girl. Zoe Anne was born on Friday and they were able to take her home today. She's is so cute and looks just like big sister, Jillian. 2011 was a year full of growth for our family. We added two by marriage and four by birth. 2012 will bring two more by marriage! 

There is so much that Morgan Kate is doing and saying, but I'll save that for a post all it's own! Just the other morning we woke up and I felt like MK had just grown up over night. She is such a big girl these days!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

We spent New Year's Eve at our house this year. We haven't done that since 2008 when Morgan Kate was born and before that we had never celebrated New Year's Eve here. Typically we go to my parent's house and ring in the New Year there. However, life with a toddler and the need for some sort of routine/schedule kept us at home this year. And while I'm not usually big fan of change, I was okay with this and it felt really nice being at home. 

Our day was really low key and very relaxing, just what I needed. My parents came up for the night and Owens ventured over for the day. Unfortunately, Owens had to work most of the weekend, so he was not able to join Trenholm and her family and the beach. I hated he had to work and couldn't be with her, but I loved that I got to spend the day with him.

We grilled on the back porch for most of the day. Well, the guys grilled, the girls had a dance party. Complete with glittery hats. 
LOVE this picture of my mom!
Even my dad, what a good sport, wore one of the glittery hats for a little while. 
We cooked lots of snacky food, but Owens decided we needed something a little more. He cooked a mean pot of collards, complete with neckbone, and a yummy pot of rice. He can definitely cook collards - he may not be the best at cooking grits (story for another post), but he can cook collards.
Not only does he enjoy cooking, but he enjoys "taste-testing" as well.
Of course MK and I worked in a few pictures during the night.
 Raven and her little family came over for the festivities.
 As did Melissa and her family.
These two families are more like my own family than friends.

After snacking and playing and dancing some more, we shot a few "age appropriate" fireworks.
The kids were amazed and in awe. Travis, of course, wanted bigger and better. 
Owens had to leave well before the ball dropped, as he had to report back to work in the wee hours of the morning.
We really had such a great night. There's nothing like being at home with family and friends.

Morgan Kate had a blast with her little friends as well. These three play so well together!
People say that what you do on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day is what you will spend a lot of time doing in the coming year. And if that's the case, then it ought to be a pretty great year. 
2012, I'm ready for you!