Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A few weeks ago one of my darling, most precious students brought me a tie-dyed cupcake. It was beautiful. It was colorful. It was absolutely delicious. And ever since then I have been dying to have another. And another. And another. You get the picture. So, Sunday afternoon before Morgan Kate's nap we did a little baking.
She mostly enjoyed sitting on the island and licking every mixer, spoon and bowl in sight. Hey, she gets it honest! I still do that.
Making the cupcakes was so easy and so much fun. We started by just following the directions on a box of white cake mix. Simple.
Then we separated the mix into four bowls and added food coloring. I was hoping for a more bold color scheme, but ended up with pastels. Very Easterish. 
Then I poured the batter into the cups while MK took a rest on the island. The mix was actually enough to make 24 cupcakes, but I crammed all of it into 12 cupcakes. Big cupcakes. 
We patiently waited, or at least tried to be patient, while the cupcakes baked. 
And then presto - tie-dyed cupcakes courtesy of Mommy and Morgan Kate.
We let them cool while Morgan Kate napped and then it was time to decorate. MK got to decorate a few and I decorated the rest.
We went simple on the decorations - cream cheese frosting and colored sprinkles.
Morgan Kate loved them. Travis loved them. And I can't keep my hand out of the cupcake dish. They are so good!
Aren't they beautiful? I can't wait to make them again and experiment with different colors. Really any excuse to bake cupcakes works for me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

I've never known a lot about Lent or understood it (still not sure I completely do) until I met Trenholm. She is Episcopal and for as long as I have known her she has always given up something during the season of Lent. I remember one year, shortly after she and Owens started really dating, she gave up fried foods. I wasn't aware of this and had invited them over for dinner. I can't remember exactly what I served, but the main part was fried. Maybe fried chicken. She didn't want to hurt my feelings because she is seriously like one of the nicest people on the face of this earth, so she just ate it, but afterward she or either Owens told me about it and I felt so awful. Anyway, ever since learning about Lent through her I've been thinking a lot about it. I'll admit I still don't know everything about it, but I get the idea. I think. I'm still processing the whole fasting thing, but I do understand the sacrifice part. And I know that I personally need to devote more time to God and to my family, so I have decided to give up Facebook. I spend lots of time on Facebook - morning, afternoon and night. It's a lot of time and it's a lot of good time I could give to devotion, prayer or even just spending time with my hubby and baby girl. I know it's not going to be easy, because Facebook has become such a habit for me, but I really think I can do it.  Not only does it feel good to devote my extra time to something else, but it feels good to be able to give something up and actually stick with it. Granted it's only been a few days, but I'm surviving. Ha! In the meantime - come visit me, call me, text me or email, just don't Facebook me. Ha!
Speaking of Owens...he is one awesome brother.

He's an awesome brother because I can let him know on a Sunday afternoon that I need him for something and Monday and he will do it.

He's an awesome brother because he doesn't ask a bunch questions about why we need him, he just comes. 
He's an awesome brother because he plays hide and seek with Morgan Kate at least 496 times in a two hour span. And he chases her and he gives her piggy back rides. 

He's an awesome brother because in that same two hour span he cleans up yogurt, toys, pizza and dog poop - twice.

He's an awesome brother because he lets Morgan Kate kiss his face over and over. Snotty nose and all.

He's an awesome brother because he makes my girl laugh. He makes me laugh. And he makes my hubby laugh. Out loud.

He's an awesome brother because when it's time for him to leave my baby girl cries for him to come back. Literally. 

He's an awesome brother and I love him more than words can say.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Three and a half.

Dear Miss Personality,

As of Friday, you are three and a half years old. Six months away from being four years old. You being two and three was hard enough for me, but four?!? There's still a lot of "baby" at two and even some at three, but I don't know that I can squeeze any "baby" into four. Four seems so grown up. My baby girl has now become my little girl.
At three and a half you are full of personality. You laugh. You pretend. You whine. You cry. You play. You sing. You dance. You scream. You pout. You talk. You run. You make jokes. You love to smile. You are a charmer. You know just when to turn it on and just as quickly you will shut it off.
You are talking all of the time. And you ask lots of questions. You are one inquisitive little girl. You are in that "why" phase and I know it's just a part of your overall learning. You want to know why things work the way they do and why people act or do the things they do. You are so observant and you ask about all that you see. Everything. Sometimes that's great, sometimes not so great. You love to say, "Mommy, you are my best mommy ever" or "Kaka, you are my best grandma ever." You also say that about your daddy, Gator, your uncles and Dippin. You also like to say, "Mommy, I no share you and Daddy wif anybody." Ha. 
At night while your daddy and I are watching the news or on Saturday mornings when we are watching and laughing at music videos on CMT you stand in front of the TV in your favorite pink dress and ask, "Mommy, are you looking at me?" You twirl and jump and sing and you want 100% of our attention. All of the time. Also on Saturday mornings when we are all in the bed watching cartoons you want to be in the middle. You don't want me touching or hugging your daddy. You say, "He's my daddy." This could become a problem, little girl.

You love to play dress up and your favorite dress up article is your pink dress. You wear it every single day. And at night you put it beside your bed so you know exactly where it is the next day. You love watching cartoons and anything with music. You love to play hide and seek. And you have some really great hiding spots. You love to help clean and cook. You love to play outside and ride your jeep or kick the ball. You love jumping on anything - your bed, our bed, the couch, whatever. You really like playing doctor. We've taken lots of medicine and gotten lots of shots lately. You want to read all of the time. You have so many books, probably hundreds and I really think we have read every single one of them at least five times. You also like to color and draw circles. You adore Legos and love building.
Bedtime has gotten better. You are going to bed much easier, but you are still getting up every three hours or so. It makes for really long nights and really sleepy parents. Most nights you just want us to tuck you back in or let you use the bathroom and then you go right back to sleep. There are some nights where you just want us to sit for a little while. The sleepy, grouchy part of me wants you to go back to bed right away, without a fight. But, the sensitive, sentimental part of me just wants to appease you and sit with you - not just for you, but for me. 
You are still wearing a lot of 2T clothes and some 3T. Most 3T pants are the perfect length, but way too big in the waste. And your 2T pants aren't nearly long enough, but fit your tiny waist perfectly. I can't wait for summer when you can wear shorts and we don't have to worry about length. You are very tall and slender and your daddy and I predict that with your height and rhythm you would make an amazing ballerina. Or nurse or doctor or teacher or astronaut. Or really anything you want to be. You are wearing big girl undies 24/7 and you haven't had an accident in months. Knock on wood. You wear a size 6/7/8 in shoes - depends on the shoe. Your hair is finally growing some and I love putting your hair in pigtails. 
You love eating pancakes and fruit for breakfast. I think you eat lots of different things for breakfast at Roddey's, but you only want pancakes here. You love any fruit, especially bananas and pineapples. You love jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. You also like pizza and lots of veggies. You ask for hot dogs, cheeseburgers and noodles a lot. You loving drinking water, milk and apple juice. Sometimes you ask for orange juice and you also really like those yogurt drinks. You are still a faithful goldfish eater and you also enjoy some candy. You usually eat just a little of the candy and then spit it out. I'm perfectly fine with that. I still haven't let you have bubble gum and I'm going to try and keep that going for as long as I can. It's not that I have a problem with sugar, it's just that it's sticky and gooey and can end up anywhere - your hair, my shoe, your insides, you get the picture. Not ready for all of that. 

Three has been a very interesting year, my love. And I know we have six more months. You've grown and changed so much. And I love all that you are becoming. With all of the good, there have been trying times as well. You are strong-willed and stubborn and determined. As much as I don't want to admit it, you get many of the qualities dead honest from your daddy and I. It's also true that you've been that way since the day you were born. I was so thankful for those qualities then and I am thankful for them even now. They are a little harder to handle now and sometimes Mommy isn't so sure what to do with it all, but I'm learning. We're learning. And we are all good learners.

I love you, baby girl. So big.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

At the start of 2012 I pondered things that I wanted to achieve. Things I wanted to work on. Things I hoped to accomplish. I pulled that list out recently and took a look at what I have done so far and what still needs lots of work.

In this new year I hope to become a nicer person in the mornings. I just don't do mornings. Hmmm....this one is debatable. However, I actually do feel that lately I have been nicer in the mornings, but maybe grumpier at night.

In this new year I hope to read more books. I am on my second book that I am reading for pleasure. Watch out!

In this new year I hope to take a few long, hot baths. I've taken one.

In this new year I hope to lose a few pounds. Ha! I have started drinking more water, but I swear my pants feel tighter.

In this new year I'd like to start running. Like to being the keywords here. Fail. I think about this on a daily basis. I think about how it nice it would feel to exercise and how if I actually did exercise a little I wouldn't be so scared about the bathing suit season that is quickly approaching, but I still haven't motivated myself enough to actually get up and do it.

In this new year I hope to keep my house more organized and tidy. Trav and I have both been working so, so hard on this. Big props to both of us!

In this new year I hope to worry less and trust Him more. Not really happening so far. Trying though.

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

In this new year I hope to spend more time with family and friends. I've had a weekend with my parents, a weekend with Owens and Tren, dinner with one of my besties, a party with lots of family and a weekend with my mom.

In this new year I hope to go on more dates with my hottie hubby. We've had several, even one whole weekend to ourselves.

In this new year I hope to savor every single moment and minute with my precious baby girl. I'm trying to savor every moment and minute, but sometimes she wants no part of it. 

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

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

In this new year I hope to give more. Work in progress.

In this new year I hope to slow down and really appreciate all that I have. I am so incredibly blessed. Slow down?!? I don't have time to slow down. Ha!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

March for Babies is a little over a month away!
Let's raise that money and help those babies!

Sometimes when I am donating to organizations or causes I'm not sure how much to donate. I don't know whether to give a flat donation of $10, $20 or even $50, or whether I should be more creative with my donation. I also always worry if my donation is enough. Let me assure you, ANY donation made to the March of Dimes is enough. Whether it be a dollar or a hundred dollars, it is enough. It is needed. And it is appreciated. Last year one of my good buddies, Chi, had a terrific idea. She suggested that if people were struggling with how much to donate then they could donate the amount of money that was equal to their child's birth weight. Therefore, if your baby came into this world weighing seven pounds and eight ounces, well then, you could donate $7.80. If your child was a nine pound and two ounce baby, well then, you could donate $9.20. I would get off pretty light, huh?!? A whopping $1.12. Ha! Even $1.12 is a much appreciated donation! 
March for Babies 2011
Here are some other creative idea for donations:
1. Your anniversary date. Our is 7-9-05, so we could donate $7.09 or $79 or $79.05.
2. Favorite month. I actually have two favorite months - July and August. I could donate $7 or $8 or combine them and donate $15. I could also do $70 or $80.
3. Birthdate. Mine is 8-16. I could donate $8.16.
4. Year you were born. I was born in 1980. I could donate $19.80 or $80 or $1,980 (Ha, I don't think I could swing that last one.)
5. Your favorite number.
6. The number of children you have times 10. I have one, so ten dollars. My mom has three, so thirty dollars.
7. Your spare change. This wouldn't work for me because I rarely use cash. However, last year my parents collected all of the loose change around their house and took their huge "change jar" to exchange for dollar bills. I think they came up with $200 or $300 and they donated it all to the MOD.
March for Babies 2011
If you have other suggestions or ideas please leave them in the comments section. You never know who you might inspire.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This past weekend the men went away for a camping trip, so the ladies decided to make the most of the weekend and have some girl time. 
My girl

Friday night, Mom, Trenholm, Morgan Kate and I went to Carraba's for dinner. Delish. Afterward we went to Target. You know how Target shopping takes place - you go in expecting to spend $25 and leave having spent $125. This shopping trip worked out great for me and I spent $0. Thank goodness. My mom bought the $1 Airheads that I wanted and the $1 ponytail holders that MK needed. And Trenholm took care of MK's chocolate goldfish. While we were in Target we bumped into the nicest lady who just happens to read my blog. She was so, so sweet and it was so nice to talk with her. I probably should have gotten her number for future questions and concerns. She has three daughters of her own, so I know she is filled with mother/daughter wisdom. I already know that I am going to have my hands full in the coming years with only one girl, so I'm going to need all the help and advice possible. 
Trenholm, Morgan Kate and Mom

Saturday morning Mom and I decided to do a little "picking". I watch American Pickers all of the time. I so would love to just pack up one weekend and head out on the road with them. My problem would be that I wouldn't want to part with any of my finds. I love old stuff and the history behind all of it. I have been wanting to go for quite some time, so Saturday morning we did just that. We headed to this awesome place not very far from us. We went with the intentions of purchasing one or two small things. We left having purchased an antique iron bed, a beautiful table (my mom's find), a lantern and a few other small things. I am so, so, so excited about the bed. It's my next project. I guess I should say "our" next project because I am going to have my dear hubby sand it and paint it white and it's going to become MK's new big girl bed. It's absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to see the final product. It was such a great find (and a great deal) and I can't wait to go again. I will say that my mom and I did learn a valuable lesson. Either we need a bigger car or we need to take a trailer with us. It took us a good thirty minutes or longer to reconfigure my SUV and get all of our nice purchases situated securely. However, we conquered the task at hand and made it back home with everything in one piece. We make a good "pickin" team.
Our finds
Saturday night my mom left and MK and I had a little one on one time. I loved being with my baby girl, but I'm not one to get overly excited about being at home alone. Not really my cup of tea. However, we spent the evening eating chicken nuggets and fries while watching the Little Mermaid. It was so nice! I adore the Little Mermaid and was thrilled to share that with Morgan Kate. Everything was going great until...Morgan Kate broke out in these huge red whelps/hives/whatever. They started on her back, went around to her stomach, then her arms, her legs and finally her feet. She never had any on her face and her breathing was fine. I did call the nurse line at our pediatrician's office and she said to keep a close eye on her and to make sure the whelps were fading. Sure enough, after about forty minutes or so they started to disappear. Thank goodness! After watching her closely for another hour or so I put her to bed and headed there myself.
MK's hives/whelps/whatever
We had a great weekend, but we were so glad to see Travis on Sunday! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Just some updates.

1. Bedtime and sleeping are getting better. It has taken some interventions, a call to our pediatrician and some sleepless nights, but it's getting better. And let's be honest, there was one night, Friday night a week ago to be exact, that I had to use a very firm voice and a firm hand, but afterward all was well. Bedtime itself is much, much easier and most nights MK is sleeping the entire night or only getting up once and that's just to use the potty. In the mornings she is so proud of herself and we are so proud of her!

2. Speaking of potty. MK is completely potty trained day and night and wears big girl panties 100% of the time. It's great and wonderful and I'm so, so, so very proud of her, but with that comes the getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. However, at the end of the day, if that's my only complaint then I'm doing great. I know that eventually she will be able to do it all on her own - the whole get up, walk to the bathroom, turn on the light, do her business and so forth - and I'll be wishing that she needed me more. She can really do all of that on her own now, but during the night she still likes to ask for mommy.

3. MK is still loving her dance class. A lot. She comes home and talks about it nonstop. And she dances ALL OF THE TIME. I love it! I know I'm probably biased, but she's really good at dancing and she has a lot of rhythm She has a recital in May and I can't wait!

4. The past few weeks while dealing with all of that bedtime business we were also dealing with some behavior issues. Behavior that involves a little girl only wanting to do what she wants to do. A little girl who didn't/doesn't like to listen or follow the rules. One who screams, cries and whines A LOT. A little girl who when I pick her up in the afternoon wants nothing to do with me. However, as bedtime and sleeping starts to get better, it seems that the behavior stuff is getting better as well. I'm sure it many ways the two were connected. I just know over those few weeks I was exhausted, cried a lot and felt like the WORST.MOM.IN.THE.UNIVERSE. I felt so defeated and discouraged and frustrated. And there are days where I still do. There have been nights I have sat down to blog and started post after post about how hard things are and how I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing or parenting the right way and then I would just delete it all and walk away. The threes are hard. No lie. I don't know who coined the phrase "Terrible Twos", but I found the twos to be easy compared to this. This three stuff is HARD. SO HARD. But, like I said, I think it's getting better and I'm so thankful. And relieved.

5. Morgan Kate has the most vivid imagination. She plays pretend all of the time and she makes up stories to tell her babies and stuffed animals. She also still hangs out with Dabba and Connie - her two imaginary friends. I love that she is so imaginative and creative.

6. MK's favorite game right now is Hide and Go Seek. She always says, "Mommy, you count, I hide". 

7. Morgan Kate loves to read. She likes to ready at any time really, but especially at night before bed. She would read a dozen books if we let her. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Celebrate good times, come on!

This past weekend we threw a special party for a very special baby boy and his very special parents.
Reid has been a part of our hearts and our family since the day he was born, but this past Friday everything was finalized with the adoption and it became "official". He is such a blessing to each one of us and an answer to so many prayers. We are so excited for Chad and Corrisa and can't wait to see what's in store for their family. The party we gave was a chance to celebrate the big day, as well as give others an opportunity to meet baby Reid. It was a day not to be forgotten!

I must say I was pretty proud of our party. There were seven couples that hosted the party and it turned out fabulous. My mom was "Head Decorator" and Trenholm and I were her "right-hand" women. 

Candy station for young and old

I was really proud of these! I made the those pretzels - all 100+ of them. 
More pretzels 

I saw an idea similar to this in a magazine and had to see if it could be duplicated. It can! 
For both of the above pictures, with Reid's name and initials, our "go-to store" was Hobby Lobby. We found the REID letters there, spray painted them and wrapped them with yarn. The initials were also from Hobby Lobby. We got his initials, mom got the letters for the word FAMILY and I got letters for the word EAT. It was win-win situation. My dad built a wood piece to stand the letters in and it worked perfectly. And yes, my mom made those tissue balls. All of them.
We had a little area where people could leave Reid messages, wishes, kind words or just love. We also included the invitation to the party.
My mom did these centerpieces and I thought they were genius. She filled glass cylinders with shredded comic strips and topped it off with a tissue ball. Love!
 I made the "Sonic" cherry limeade. It was so simple and so good - or at least I thought so.
Sign for the drink table
Our popcorn station was a hit! Trenholm had that awesome idea! People either took cups of it or just stood around and ate out of the big dish. I was one of the ones who stood around and pigged out on popcorn.
Water bottles with Reid's name and a verse from James
My mom and the proud "Grammy"
Me and my silly girl
Reid is our newest "red head"
It's so funny because when Trenholm is with us and we are around people we don't know very well they assume that she is my sister or that she is my mom's daughter and I'm the sister-in-law. 
Me and the star of the show - He is so, so sweet!
These two, who are often times inseparable, dressed alike. It was definitely a picture opportunity I couldn't miss.
Aunt Kelly and her sweet nephew
Reid is Mama Jean's third great-grandchild. Kelly's twin baby girls, Abigail and Addison, make number four and number five. How awesome is that!
Chad and Corrisa didn't want a shower with gifts. They were so thankful and so appreciative of all the things people had already done for them. They wanted a celebration. And we did celebrate, but despite their wishes we did get them a gift. We all went in together and got them a highchair. 
It was a perfect day. And a perfect party for a perfect little boy. It was a day filled with such love and gratitude from everyone who participated.

Reid, you are loved by so many people and you are a true testament to the power of prayer, patience and faith. We love you so much, sweet boy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

They are my world.
My heart.
 My soul.
My absolute everything.

Happy Valentine's to you and your everything!