Friday, June 28, 2013

Paint and Pour

This past Wednesday night I met up with some of my work peeps at Paint and Pour. It's one of the local places where a group of people can gather together, socialize, snack, partake in tasty beverages, and oh yeah, PAINT. 
It was a fun night. We had eleven artists. Eleven very different artists. By different I mean, each of our paintings was unique in its on way.
Our "theme" (for lack of a better word) was a crab with a tiny starfish. Now, let's be honest, I do love to paint, but I am no Picasso. When we walked in and I saw an example of the finished product, I was a little anxious. I got a little sweaty.
The teacher/instructor took us step by step and before long my painting was starting to take shape. I was kind of proud of myself.
Some artists decided to be different and choose a different background or make the crab a different color. I totally respect their decision to take the path less traveled, but this girl had to take the beaten path. I wasn't quite ready to stray. Maybe next time.
It really was so much fun and it really was something we could all do. Seriously. We are already planning our next trip. 

I present to you my crab and starfish. Or octopus and starfish. Maybe alien and starfish. Really, who cares?!? It's a painting and I did it. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Morgan Kate. Four years, ten months and three days.

Our baby, our only little baby, will be five in less than eight weeks. Momma is struggling. No lie. 

At four years, ten months and three days, our girl is full of life. Earlier, when I first started this post, she was running around the kitchen, still in her PJs at noon, singing "Baby You're a Firework" at the top of her lungs, holding a pink microphone that blinked on and off. 
I haven't really just written about her since January and I want to remember this time. I want to remember what she's doing and saying. What she likes and dislikes. I want to remember who she is at four years, ten months and three days.

Let's start with sleeping. Homegirl needs her rest. Her mommy and daddy do as well, so she gets it dead honest. Typically she needs about 12 hours of sleep each night, always has. That means that if we put her to bed at 8:00, she will most likely sleep until 8:00 the next morning. If it's 10:00 (think fun weekend), then she will sleep until 10:00 the next morning. It's a win for all of us. Just recently, like in the past three nights, she's gotten up around 2:00. She claims it's a "bad dream", and the first night I believed her, but now I think it's just a ploy to get someone to lay with her for a little while. No worries. It's summertime and I will totally play her game. 

If she gets up early, meaning before 8:00, then she will nap for us and usually for about two hours. The first two weeks of summer, between VBS and Cheer Camp, she asked to take a nap each day. This week, however, no camps, no early rise, she hasn't asked to take a nap and I haven't made her. No nap just means an earlier bedtime, and we're all okay with that. I know that once the school year starts back up, and she has to get up at the crack of dawn, she'll be begging for "a rest".
Mornings during the school year are awful. There is really no better way to put it. I don't like being up early. Travis doesn't like being up early. And MK doesn't like it either. So, put all of that grumpiness into one pot, and it's B.A.D. We have to drag her out of bed, while she's usually crying or whining or just overall complaining. She fusses about getting up. She fusses about what she's wearing or not wearing. She doesn't like her hair. You get the picture.

Mornings this summer have been amazing. Well, there were a few mornings during VBS and Cheer, that weren't so pretty, but the majority have been amazing. This week, with no plans and no agenda, she gets up on her own and either finds me still in my bed watching the Today Show or in the kitchen fixing my coffee. And maybe once or twice, she's found me still snoozing. She's so happy and calm and pleasant. She just wants to hug and snuggle and give kisses. And I just eat it up.
While mornings this summer are pleasant and enjoyable and I just want to freeze it all, getting dressed is a different story. Wowzers. She's four. And we argue about clothes like she's fourteen. She is very vocal about what she does and doesn't want to wear. I don't want to wear shorts, I like dresses. This shirt is too tight. My panties are too tight. This shirt is too big. I don't want to wear those shoes. I want a bow in my hair. No, I changed my mind, I want braids. And wearing a bathing suit?!? I would just as soon let her go naked. NOTHING suits her. This one is too big. This one is too tight. This one hurts my legs. This one hurts my neck. I don't want to wear a one piece. I don't want to wear that two piece either. Well what do you want to wear?!?!? I'm not joking. This is all for real. Girl has about six or so bathing suits and she will only wear one of them. It's ridiculous. But, I try to pick and choose my battles. That's all you can do. As long as we can go out on the lake or to the beach and have a good time, she can wear that one bathing suit all summer if she wants.
Speaking of clothes, she wears mostly 4T pants, shirts and dresses. She has a few pants and dresses size five, which she needs for length. She has got some really long legs. I really have no clue what her shoe size is. Some shoes she needs an 8, some a 9 and others a 10. Needless to say, I can't buy any shoes when she's not around. 
She still LOVES fruit and could eat her weight in fruit. She loves strawberries and blueberries and peaches. She's not a big fan of cantaloupe. She also loves cucumbers and corn and string beans. She doesn't care for tomatoes or squash. She loves spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, fried shrimp, oysters and any fish. She loves steak and A1 sauce and wants garlic salt and pepper on most everything (she watches her daddy). She likes grits with cheese, jelly toast and waffles. She LOVES pancakes and wants me to make them different colors. She likes ham and pickles and cupcakes and goldfish. She loves milk, water, certain juices and Capri Suns. Mostly milk and water.  

She'll eat and try anything, but if you want her to eat really good, she needs it to be kind of low key and semi-quiet. She needs to be in a familiar place and with people she knows well. She's always been like this. She can't really handle certain distractions (think people everywhere, loud voices, lots going on) while she's eating or else she won't really eat. It's been like that ever since she took a bottle. You can hang it up if you want her to eat really good at a restaurant or when there's lots of people and noises. Not going to happen. She's too busy people watching and eavesdropping. She's nosey like that. She'll nibble and pick, but she doesn't eat great and ends up hungry shortly after. She eats fine in a small group, like with her friends at Roddey's or at home with us or with people she knows really, really well or even in familiar places. Sometimes we put her in front of the TV while she eats. We've done it since she was old enough to eat solids. One of her doctors suggested it when we were having such a difficult time with getting her to eat and gain weight. We tried it, it worked then and it continues to work when we need it. The TV is a GOOD distraction, unlike tons of people being in the room. Don't judge. You never know what you might do. She focuses so hard on the TV and doesn't realize how much she's actually putting into her mouth. Think popcorn and a movie. You're so busy watching your favorite scene that you don't realize you've just finished off an entire tub of popcorn. And you want more.
She's into so many things. She loves playing doctor and mommy and musician. She sings and dances all day long. She can hear a song twice and pick up on the words and tune. It's crazy. She also loves drawing and painting and writing notes. She likes to do puzzles and watch TV and build forts and tents. She loves to go outside. Some days she will play non-stop on her playset and other days she won't touch it. She likes to ride her tricycle (bike coming soon) and dance on the patio and play soccer. She would dress up all day long if she could. She used to really be into the iPad, but so far this summer, she hasn't really picked it up. I'm perfectly okay with this. 

She had THE best time at VBS and Cheer Camp. She loved the singing and bible stories and crafts at VBS. Every day this week she has asked me when she's going back to Cheer Camp. I haven't been able to break it to her that Cheer Camp won't return until next summer. She loved the cheers and snacks and all of the "big girls". She has dance camp in July and she is so excited. 

She loves the water. We didn't do swimming lessons this summer. She didn't want to and I was still a little traumatized from last year. Just a few weeks ago, while at a friend's pool, she asked to take off her puddle jumper and practice swimming to me and Trav. She was amazing! I was shocked at how well she did. While we were super proud, we also made her super aware that she must never take off her puddle jumper when mommy and daddy aren't around. 
She can write part of her name and she can pick out a few letters. She can count to twenty. Most days. Some days even further. Just depends on her mood. Her vocabulary is extraordinary and she asks questions about everything. Everything. She's definitely a thinker and she likes to make sense of things. 

Just one of our conversations to show her "thinking" at only age four:
MK: Mommy, I want a husband.
Me: Well baby, one day when you grow up, you can have a husband.
MK: I want one now.
Me: Well you have to wait until you grow up, sweet girl.
MK: Well, Mommy, I want a husband to sleep with. You get to sleep with Daddy. I want a husband to sleep with, too. 
Me: Ummm.......

While she'll be five in less than eight weeks, she won't yet be starting kindergarten. It's been a long, hard decision, but it's our decision. She's going to be going to 4K in the fall and she will start kindergarten the following year. It's going to be great. For everyone. 
Morgan Kate loves to snuggle and hug and kiss, but she's also super independent. It's nice in so many ways, but sad in others. Some days I appreciate her independence and other days I want her to still need me for everything. She loves to help. She wants to help fold laundry, load the dishwasher, dust the furniture, make the bed, etc. I wish she help me clean her room!!! 

She is so compassionate and has the biggest heart. She wants everyone and everything to be okay. She asks about her friends and family members all of the time. She adores animals and thinks that Lola and Cash (our dogs) are her brother and sister. I know I'm slightly biased, but I don't think she has a mean bone in her body. 
While's she mostly sugar, she can also be spice. Real spicy. She's at an age where she's testing her limits and trying to see how far she can push her daddy and I. She can be quite sassy and she will deliberately do things we ask her not to do just to get a reaction. However, most of her behavior can be stopped with a simple look of disappointment (she hates to disappoint), a firm no or a few minutes in timeout. She can whine with the best of them. Drives.Me.Crazy. 

At four years, ten months and three days, that's our girl. And we couldn't be more proud!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Catch Up. Part Four. Final Episode. Photo Overload.

1. During the early part of May we celebrated Owens' BIG 3-0. Still can't believe one of my baby brothers is 30. How can that be when I'm only like 25 and I'm the oldest?!? Ha.
2. Owens and Trenholm also shared some BIG news with us.
Oh. My. Goodness. Exciting!! Being an aunt is probably one of my most favorite things ever and I am over the moon excited to be getting a new niece or nephew this Christmas. Christmas is already one of my most favorite holidays and this little guy or girl will be the icing on the cake. Can't wait!

3. Speaking of babies, we found a baby bird in our yard one morning recently. We watched him/her bounce around for at least an hour.
4. Morgan Kate had fun with her some of her great uncles during our annual Mother's Day picnic at Mammie's house.
She can con people into almost anything.
5. We've had NUMEROUS days on the lake.
Morgan Kate and sweet Emirie
My precious nephew Hunter

6. We had our first Locks trip of the summer. Trip number two is coming up very soon.

7. Morgan Kate has wanted to do lots of this. 
She's four going on fourteen. The girl sleeps like a teenager. She wants to stay up as late as possible and then does NOT want to get out of the bed in the mornings. I'm not complaining, she gets it honest. It's just that we've had VBS and cheer camp the last two weeks and her grumpiness in the mornings has not been ideal. Next week she can sleep as late as her little heart desires. 

8. We've had lots of fresh produce. So yummy!

9. We've been able to spend some evenings during the week out on the lake. Have I mentioned that I love summer?!?

10. Like I mentioned earlier, MK has been involved in some summer activities. She participated in VBS last week and this week she is participating in the Chapin Cheer Clinic. She has loved both of them!
And since she's been getting up early and playing all morning, she's asked to take a nap each day. Woo hoo for a girl wanting to rest!
The first day of cheer camp, much like the first day of VBS, she was a little anxious and nervous about walking in. She loves going and doing, but she can be a little shy at first. The shyness typically wears off fast and in both cases, VBS and cheer camp, she has totally warmed up. Yesterday we heard "cheers" all. afternoon. I repeat. All. Afternoon. I love it! I really do.
11. We've even been able to have lunch with Uncle Owens. 
It's shaping up to be a great summer! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Catch Up. Part Three. Dance Recital.

I get so excited about Morgan Kate's dance recitals. There's just something about seeing our girl on stage that makes me so happy I think my heart could burst.
Last year I sat in the audience with tears in my eyes, and this year was no different. I was beaming.
I will tell you that getting ready this year was quite different. Last year was a breeze. MK got dressed with no problems. No complaints. She let me do her hair without making a peep. She had zero opinion about make-up. It was easy breezy. This year?!? Not so much. Little girl has quite an opinion these days about fashion. The minute I attempted to put on her tights, the moaning and groaning began. These are too tight. These hurt. I don't like tights. Next was the actual costume. It's itchy. It's too tight. Then the shoes. These hurt. They are too tight. (By the way, everything is too tight.) After some tense moments and a slight loss of patience, we ventured into the bathroom for hair and makeup. I don't wanna wear my hair like this. I want the bow on this side. I don't want you to curl it. No, I changed my mind, I do want curls. Makeup went about the same. I want the other lipgloss. I need more stuff on my cheeks. I want to wear that stuff you put on your eyelashes. 
Despite our less-than-pleasant getting ready experience, the actual recital was precious. I love watching all of the classes, but the little ones are just so, so cute. Roddey works so hard with these girls and it really shows. All of her classes were fantastic. This year, much like last, Morgan Kate and Annie Parker hammed it up. Oh, how I love to watch them! 
They performed two different dances, one tap and one ballet. They did their tap number to Great Balls of Fire and their ballet routine to this adorable alphabet song for which I have forgotten the name. The entire time, I was grinning ear to ear. 
It's just a surreal feeling to see my little girl up on a stage performing. I feel the exact way when I watch her school performances or any other activity where she has to perform. She makes me so proud!
Afterward we all stopped to take a few pictures. And that kind of went like our morning. It's hot. I'm hungry. This costume itches. I'm hungry. When are we leaving?!? I'm hungry.Needless to say pictures were cut short. I was so flustered by this point that I completely forgot to take a picture of our tiny dancer with her grandaddy. 
MK will participate in dance camp this summer and we've already signed her up for classes next year. She'll be taking another combination class, but this time she'll be taking JAZZ and ballet. Can't wait to see what next year holds!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Back in November, very unexpectedly, we found out that my daddy had prostate cancer. When I really think about it, most people do find out kind of unexpectedly that they have cancer. I guess what I mean is that he didn't feel bad, he didn't have any "symptoms". He was having routine blood work done while at work and when his PSA levels came back, his numbers were off the charts. Of course after the initial blood work, there was lots more blood work, ultrasounds, biopsies, CT scans, bone scans and the works.  
I vividly remember the afternoon that our fears were confirmed and we found out that my daddy did indeed have prostate cancer, and that it was very aggressive. My parents were at the doctor's office, while the rest of us were at work biting our fingernails and pacing the floor. Around 2:30 I couldn't take it any longer and I text Owens to see if he had heard anything from Mom. Nothing. I finally sent a text to Mom and waited. When her reply came back through I hesitated to check it. I sat and waited. At that very moment, in my mind, my daddy didn't have cancer. If I checked the message, then I might find out otherwise and I didn't want to know. So, I continued to wait. After two or three minutes, which felt more like two or three hours, I checked the message and my heart broke in half. My chest felt heavy and my stomach hurt. I was scared. I was sad. I was angry. I didn't understand it and I didn't want my daddy to have cancer.
Finding out through a text might sound a little impersonal to some, but it kind of works for our family. We're all sort of emotional, so talking and actually saying words out loud doesn't always work. We can text, process the information and then talk. 
And that's what we did. We processed those words, "It's cancer", all afternoon and then we talked. Or tried to. I remember wanting to call my daddy so badly, but not knowing what to say. I was afraid I would crumble and I wanted to be strong. I was afraid he would know I was scared and I wanted him to think I was brave. So, I talked to Travis and Owens and my mom. And I sent texts to my daddy. Nothing long. Nothing serious. Nothing sad. Just, "I love you". 
While we are emotional and while talking doesn't always work because we can't seem to get the words out, when we do finally start talking, we talk about everything. Nothing is really off limits. So, when I finally found the strength to call my daddy, I wanted to know how he was. I wanted to know how he was feeling and if he was having a good day or a bad day. 
There have been lots of good days since that day back in the fall. And there's been lots of not so good days. Days where my daddy didn't feel good. Days where he's been more tired that he knew he could ever feel. Days where he didn't want to go back for another treatment. Days where we thought nine weeks of radiation would never end. Days where we felt sad and scared and angry. 
The weekends have been our saving grace. Fall weekends were spent at the farm, riding fourwheelers. We took a trip to the mountains. The winter brought the holidays and a night camping. And the spring and early summer have brought weekends at the lake and time on the boat. Each weekend has gotten us through another week. And now, nine long weeks have passed.
And today my daddy finished his radiation. All done. Complete. Forty-five days behind us. 
Today was one of the good days in this roller coaster called cancer.
It was the day where we could all gather together. We could smile. We could feel good. We could be happy.
We could come and watch my daddy ring the bell. The bell that signifies the end of radiation. The end of nine weeks. Ringing the bell is a pretty big deal.
While we were waiting on my daddy to finish his last treatment, someone else was able to ring the bell. She had the biggest smile on her face and everyone in the waiting room clapped and cheered for her. 
And when my daddy rang the bell, the same thing took place. He had a smile on his face that I've never seen before. A different kind of smile. A smile that I will never forget. And everyone in the waiting room clapped and cheered. It felt so good.
We know this journey is not over. My daddy will continue to need hormone injections every six months through the rest of this year. And he will need to be seen periodically by his doctor to make sure his cancer is completely gone and doesn't return. 
But today we could stop and celebrate. Celebrate the end of radiation. Celebrate my daddy's strength and determination. Celebrate our family.
The family that I am so thankful to have. These last nine months have not been easy ones. They have tested our strength and courage and faith. But through each day, each week, each treatment, we supported one another, encouraged one another and loved one another. 
Today was a good day. And I love a good day. 

Happy "End of Radiation" Day, Daddy! I love you and I'm so proud of you.