Oct 27, 2014

E Turns 3! and Now 4 - Owings Mills, MD & Ann Arbor, MI. - May 2013 & 2014

I'm so far behind that I'm not sure there's really any chance to "catch Up" so rather than feeling completely overwhelmed, I'm just going to start writing and see where it goes. Today lets talk about a couple of birthdays...

I have been meaning to post about E's 3rd Birthday for ... Well... Over a year now. and now I have not one, but 2 Birthday's to catch you up on with our beautiful, smart, and wonderfully wild little lady!
E's 3rd birthday celebration ended up going not quite according to plan. A stomach bug swept through our house the day before her planned birthday celebration at a local Baltimore indoor playground. We waited until the last possible moment hoping the sickness would pass quickly, but no such luck. the "official party was cancelled and we spend the Friday before her 3rd birthday at home in bed. BUT... 5 short days later on her actual birthday the celebrating began. We lined up our favorite babysitter for MJ. Then E and Mama and Daddy had a special day together.

A trip to the mall to get a new Special Friend...

Filled with stuffing....

Kisses to a hand picked heart...

A bath...

She even got to give Pinkey Pie a special name to make her all her own...
Her first choice was "Trash Can" but with some careful suggestion she decided on "Flash Rainbow"

After the mall we had a special Lunch date to Red Robin, E's FAVORITE restaurant!

A special birthday drink

and a birthday dessert!
I think she liked it!

When we got home Greta and her Mom had planned another special birthday treat.
(E and Greta)

And they are so sweet to never leave out little sister MJ!

We are so thankful for these special friends who love our family ALMOST as much as we love them!
Greta, E, and Mrs Debbie
A picture with our Birthday Girl

Fast forward 365 days, a year older and a brand new town and here we go again.

I need to start by saying that the year we spent in Ann Arbor was such a crazy year. so much happened and truly, the time went too fast. We mad some AMAZING life long frineds those mamas and their sweet little ones became our Ann Arbor family and we were so thankful for them and blessed by them. Thank you so much for spending the morning with us celebrating E's Birthday!
(E and Vivs - These two became FAST FRIENDS! We miss them so much!)
(Allie, Vivs, and Me)
(Mama, MJ, and E)
(Alison, Noah, and Patty)
(Mrs. Katie and E)
(All the party guests except Vivs)

The 2nd and equally wonderful part about E's 4th birthday was that Aunt Zana (My younger sister sister) was was visiting! This was actually the first birthday party we've gotten to share with family. She was so wonderful and an awesome help. Picking up food and the cake and keeping me level. She also took pictures and pretty much did anything I asked of her! Love her and miss her so so much!
(Aunt Zana and MJ

(E and Aunt Zana)

We celabrated with just family that evening.
New princess dresses all around

New sticker books

And THE CAKE!!! (She literally picked this cake out on our first trip to Kroger upon moving to Ann Arbor almost a full year before her birthday!)
Mama and The birthday girl

Daddy and The birthday girl

Mama and Daddy with The birthday girl

I borrowed this list of questions from my good friend Katie. I think it will be a fun way to track our little ladies through the years.

Who made you? God
How old are you? 4
When is your birthday? May 27th [This is actually not her birthday/]
What year is it? 4
Who is the president? God.
What state do we live in? Knoxville. [Nope]
What city do we live in? Home.
Where is your favorite place to visit? My friends.
What is your favorite color? Pink.
What is your favorite animal? Bunnies.
What is your favorite breakfast food? Smoothies.
What is your favorite lunch food? Bologna sandwiches.
What is your favorite dinner food? Fish.
What is your favorite dessert? Strawberries and cream.
What is your favorite activity to do by yourself? Ride a bicycle.
What is your favorite activity to do with MJ? Play nicely with her.
What is your favorite activity to do with Baby A? Pat her.
What is your favorite activity to do with Mom? Hug her.
What is your favorite activity to do with Dad? Pick up and read books.
What is your favorite sport? Flipping girls. [Gymnastics]
Who is your favorite football team? Vols
What is your favorite season? Fall.
What is your favorite song? Follow Me [Carol King: Where you lead]
What is your favorite movie? Tinkerbell and Lizzy[Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue].
What is your favorite book? Sofia and the Floating Palace.
Who is your best friend? MJ.
Which vehicle do you like most? Big Trucks.
What do you want to be when you grow up? To work at the hospital with Daddy.
What is your favorite part about turning 4? My birthday cake

I can't believe she is growing up so fast. Its been almost 6 months since she turned 4 and so much in our lives is different, but this little lady remains one of the most wonderful parts of our life. She is AMAZING and we love her SO VERY MUCH!!!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

May 10, 2014

So We Had a Baby...- Ann Arbor, MI. - February 2014

12 weeks ago...
We had a baby!

I can't express to you how much I loge this little girl. I think that's part of the reason it's taken me so long to post. (That and the logistics of having 3 children 3 and under.) There aren't words that can express to you how much I am in love with every tiny part of her, but my good friend Stephanie came VERY close to saying it perfectly so I'll borrow a little from her.

When I was pregnant, I was genuinely nervous about being able to love this 3rd baby, as much as I love her big sisters. In my mind I felt like I'd have to split my love for them and give this new baby his or her portion. I was terrified that there wouldn't enough love or me to go around. But it's a funny thing, Love. The moment this sweet little girl entered the world, my heart, and capacity to love grew. I feel as though the size of my heart has grown! "...Sometimes it feels like it might just explode"

So although there is so much to catch you up on on this neglected, wandering blog. I figured this really couldn't wait any longer.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage

Feb 3, 2014

Bump Bump Bump - Ann Arbor, MI. - February 2014

Well, once again the "turkey is fully cooked". I am 39 weeks pregnant and have done absolutely ZERO documentation of this pregnancy on the Blog. So, today I'll play a little bit of catch up

Here are my "STATS"
NOTE: I filled this out at 27 weeks (Blue) and 37 weeks (Pink) so I'll include both.

How far along? 27 Weeks / 37 Weeks

Total weight gain/loss: 9 lbs / 18 lbs

Maternity clothes?
-Yes for shirts and pants, although I'm seriously not liking the way ANY pants are fitting. I do have a few pairs of Gap size 4 Curvy jeans that are low enough to accommodate baby and are SUPER comfy but I think this baby is sitting lower and they aren't super comfortable when sitting. 

-YES! I spend most days in PJs but when I go out I rotate between a few tops and for pants, I wear leggings and one specific pair of maternity jeans.

Stretch marks? Nope / Nope 

-Not bad. I usually don't have any trouble falling asleep, but a few nights a week I wake up at 3am and for one reason or another, I can't get back to sleep. 
-NOT so good. Usually get one good night a week

Working out:
-1 or 2 times a week I do a Perfect Pregnancy strength or Perfect Pregnancy yoga DVD and depending on the weather we walk 2 or 3 miles, once or twice on the weekend not as much much as I'd like. I am still toddler wrangling x2 and that could be considered "working out".

-Pretty much nothing at this point unless you'd count reaching down to tie my shoes, walking up and down the stairs a few times a day and carrying children out to and in from the car so they don't get NASTY in the snow.

Best moment this week:
-Spending Tuesday morning with E and getting to see Mini Sticks with her at the growth progress ultrasound that morning. One on one time with my big girl is so precious!

-A lunch date (NO KIDS) with my husband!!! Thank you Alison for making that happen!



Food cravings:
Red meat! / French fries

-Not finding out!

-Still not finding out but it's a lot harder now to not know!

Labor Signs:
-Just Braxton Hicks contractions

-Yes, a lot more contractions and starting to dilate

Belly Button in or out? Out / Flat (long gone)

What I miss:
-Sarah!!!! (Sushi too)

-Still Sarah!!!! (STILL Sushi)

What I am looking forward to:
-My little sister is coming for Thanksgiving!

-Meeting and naming this baby!!!

-Our girls God Mother is coming for 2 weeks! I am beyond excited for the help and love I know she is bringing with her!

Weekly Wisdom: there have been a few this week... 
-"Choose JOY!" My dear friend Katie

-"I don't think I'll start potty training so early with #2" Sarah

-"Don't focus so much on the light at the end of the tunnel that you miss the beautiful graffiti on the tunnel walls along the way." Stephanie

-Going from 2 to 3 is a lot easier than the transition from 1 to 2

-Nothing major

-starting to dilate

Here are a few belly pictures...
(24 Weeks)

(25 Weeks) 

(26 Weeks)

(27 Weeks) 

(32 Weeks)

(34 Weeks)

(37 weeks

Till next time!
Bon Voyage!

Jan 14, 2014

Her Smiles are FREE - Ann Arbor, MI. - January 2013

As we approach her 2nd birthday in a little less than two months I find myself reflecting on something my Dad said over Christmas. "I just love MJ's smile and how freely she shares it".
This little lady and her absolutely adorable and unique little smile (which I fear will change when her last 8 teeth arrive) has been lighting our days since the moment she joined our family. She is sweet and fiery and about as sensitive as a person could be. Her big sister is her best friend and most favorite porson in the world. Regardless of how many times she is pushed or the toy she's playing with is taken, "shared", she seeks E's approval, affection, and attention. In the last few months she has been asking to sit on the Potty whenever E does and when she's successful she looks to E to tell her "good job MJ".

She is fiery and has started fighting for what she wants, toys, the crusts off her grilled cheese, and the coveted spot on Daddy's lap after a long day of play
With both of our girls, this has been a super fun age where we are tickled at her words and funny phrases:
"I can't want that"
"I'm the stinky one"
"Look at my fat belly"
"Look at YOUR fat belly"
I think most of all we adore her "I love you's. They are unsolicited and sweet and usually either whispered softly or shouted in the the chorus of a made up song.

When MJ was just learning to crawl, and far before the thought of an actual "Mini Sticks" had been discussed, a good friend of mine told me that our littlest lady had the personality of a "middle child". I am a middle child and my prayer for this beautiful little one over the next year is that she never feels lost or left out as the middle child. I pray we cultivate these beautiful smiles that are so freely given 
...and as with her big sister, I pray we give her grace as she learns so much over this next year. I pray we are able to keep her safe, and teach her to be obedient, respectful, and honest, and above all to love the Lord!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Jan 1, 2014

E's Box Of Stars - Ann Arbor, MI. - January 2014

Wow! I truly can't believe I just typed "2014"!  I already know this is going to be an exciting year for our family.  There will be A LOT of change and through all this change there will be a lot of growth and accepting the true meaning of this prayer of serenity.
Today, as I pack up the Christmas decorations, take down the tree, and vacuum the billion pine needles that are making my house smell delicious, my sweet and tough and challenging, and beautiful big girl found this "box of stars".
So we're sitting, enjoying what I'd call one of the "quieter moments" in our house, listening to Fairy Songs as she plays with "stars" and tells me all the reasons she is both a "Big girl" and a "little girl" all at the same time.
Moments like this, with her, warm my heart, because over the last 6 months our relationship has been hard.  I know that the driving force behind it is that we are so incredibly alike.
She is willful and stubborn, defiant of authority, desperate for approval, and hungry for new and challenging tasks.  She frustrates easily but delights in mastering new skills.  She is beautiful and goofy, and driven when motivated, and OH SO SMART! 
You'd think that all of this would make it easier to know what she needs but I struggle daily to know how to reach her heart! 
One of my biggest prayers for this new year is that I am able to grow into my role as her mother, Help her to know that she is so incredibly LOVED even when she is in trouble, give her grace, keep her safe, teach her to be obedient, respectful, and honest, and above all to love the Lord!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!