Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three.

 (Disclaimer: I am not pregnant with number 3. Sheesh, people can't even say a number these days.)

I've been missing this little place. The busyness of life with 2 littles keeps me more than occupied. While I keep baby books up to date with milestones and special moments, it's this place that I can really express my feelings, without the limitations of the fill-in-the-blanks of baby books...and I can include pictures.
The age of 3 has presented it's challenges. The discovery of personal opinions and the ability to express them has edged it's way into our lives. The question of  "why" has entered the vocabulary and the answer of "because I said so" is a common answer. And don't get me started on getting him to eat dinner. Some days are tough, some moments are tough, but by and large, 3 is pretty cool. I love 3.
Along with the new found expression of opinions the age of three brings the sweetest of things. Things like an imagination that runs wild with the finding of a simple stick that becomes a lobster through his eyes, or a tire gauge that transforms into a sword, or a pirate ship that is really this random piece of plastic. I love 3.
Three brings about excitement about the big things like Christmas, Disney World, and Birthday parties and  also giddy anticipation about the small things.  And making little moments seem like big ones? Well, that's what I love! Popsicles, picnics, playdates, leprechaun's peeing in toilets, nature walks, forts,  and night time snuggles. They all rock his world. I love 3.
But I think my very favorite thing about 3, is the love that comes with it. If candy is sweetest, my boy is even sweeter. If I had a penny for every random kiss, hug, or wink, I'd be richer than Oprah. I could learn a lesson in the art of unbridled joy and kindness from my boy. I love 3.
Like I said, some days are tough, but right now, I'm my boy's entire world. I fill up his entire pie plate. I know those days are numbered. I know my piece of the pie gets smaller with every passing year. The ache in my heart just thinking about that day is so heavy, it could sink the Titanic. But right now, I'm the prettiest girl in the world, he will stop anything to kiss me and I'm the person he wants to share everything with. He's my "sweet little boy" and he says I'm his "sweet little momma." His smile is contagious and fills our home to the brim with joy. I just want to push the pause button. I love 3.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sometimes It's Not All Pixie Dust....

 It's now been a couple of weeks since we have returned from our 2 week Florida stay and I'm just now able to sit and gather my thoughts, look through the pictures, and put my fingers to the keyboard. The whole trip was kind of a whirlwind, honestly. Our 3 day beach stay turned into 7 days when I found out that Atlanta would be getting a second snow storm. I couldn't stand the thought of being snowed in one more minute, so in the matter of 12 hours I had cleared my schedule, threw some clothes in bags and hit the road with my mom and the kids before everything iced over.
 I paid for this decision. In many ways. I always seem to "pay" for my trips to Florida, one way or another...it's like a penance for being able to go as often as I've been able to. Broken camera lenses, rocks in windshields, speeding tickets, $809 fines and this trip was no different. About 5 minutes from our final destination and Lucy got car sick and puked...everywhere. She then developed an ear infection, which landed us in urgent care, and subsequently, spread her "ickies" all across the beach house, leaving me with 2 sick kids, and worst of all...a sick husband. Can I get a witness from all the wives out there? Ain't nothin' worse than a sick husband.
The trip wasn't all bad. And frankly, I'd rather be sick in sunny Florida than stuck at home, sick, in icy, cold Georgia. Amen? Amen.
We thawed out, enjoyed family time and sunshine. We spent a good long week in Longboat Key, which is just the most wonderful little island about and hour south of Tampa. 

We then headed out for a week at Disney....
We paid for this too. Sometimes, it's not all magic wrapped up in Pixie Dust. And sometimes it's anything BUT the Happiest Place on Earth. Especially when your typically sweet 3 year old turned into a minion of the underworld for a good portion of the trip. Disney can have that effect on children. It's the strangest thing. Lack of sleep, I suppose, but anyone who says it's the "terrible two's" hasn't reached 3.
Again, it wasn't all bad, we had a lot of fun and we made some wonderful memories and started planning our next trip before we left. Disney just has that effect on us. But I'd be lying if I said it was the best trip ever...because it really wasn't. I learned some lessons about expectations. I busted my hiney and saved all my nickles and dimes to go on this trip, so when my 3 year old has a melt down in the middle of Fantasyland or my one year old was running a 104.7 fever in the middle of Epcot, I got a little bummed out. The truth is, they are only ages 3 and 1...crap happens...even in Disney World. My grandma wisely reminded me of this while I was there. Once the pressure to meet every expectation was lifted, I was able to enjoy my trip.
 And my son got his first kiss, for Peter's sake! Which was the highlight of our trip. This is what we call "Pixie Dust" and I wouldn't trade this moment for anything in the world!
As for Lucy? Well, she gets the "best trooper" award. Despite an ear infection, and what turned out to be Roseola after 5 days of the highest fever I have ever experienced, she loved every moment!

 She had just learned to walk with confidence, and this is all she wanted to do. Walk. Walk. Walk. 
 She took everything in and just enjoyed it all. Yeah, she won't remember, but my goodness, we will...and how sweet it will be when we do.
I know that all of this is SO extremely trivial in the grand scheme of things and I am fortunate to even have such a silly problem as a rotten kid on a 2 week vacation, but when I look back on this post, I want to remember the highs and lows of our "not-quite-perfect" trip. 
 Oh, and let's not forget the most magical moment of all!!!

My sister completed her first half marathon!
Thanks for stopping by, y'all! Have a great weekend.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2 Worlds, One Family....

I know that many who know me, or any member of my family, may think that our love for Disney World is a little much...or strange...or whatever. But, it truly is like a second home to us. We've been going for so many years that the second we drive through that big ol' sign, we know that we have arrived. The only thing that could possibly make it feel a little more like home would be the presence of "family."
Surprisingly, my mom seemed to find that "family" on a trip earlier this past year. My mother rarely encounters a stranger and would talk to a wall if it would talk back....especially about Disney. Fortunately, she picked the right person to chat-it-up with, Dennis, an intern from Botswana working as a Savannah guide at The Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. As someone who is very far away from his natural family, the Lord saw fit to make him an "American Family." After a Facebook friend request and couple trips to Disney later, we had the pleasure of hosting him and 3 of his fellow Disney Cast Members just before Christmas.
We were very excited to have our new friends visit us before they return home to their respective African countries in February. We were so excited to show them Atlanta and what we believe to be the greatest state in the USA. We were eager to ask them questions and learn more about them, their countries, their cultures....and that's exactly what we did. We learned a lot. We learned just how ignorant Americans can be...not all are, but many.
 You see, we as Americans have everything we need right here. We have no need to look outward and what we know about other countries and cultures we have learned from, dare I say it? The tube, the tellie, TV...maybe a news paper...maybe. While there are many poverty stricken and oppressed African nations with so much civil unrest and disease, there are also places that are modern, healthy, thriving....and BEAUTIFUL. Unfortunately, many Americans (read: me and my family) assume that the prior picture is the whole truth, and while there is most definitely truth to it (I know it because I know people who have seen it first hand), it's not the whole truth. As Americans we see commercials of the starving children in gutters swatting flies and we assume that's the whole picture. We haven't even been taught the basics in geography to know where these real life problems are going on and where things are starkly different. Maybe we've been taught, but I think as a majority we don't care enough to actually learn it.
 So here we are at a kitchen table with 4 Africans and we start asking questions like, "What's your favorite thing to eat?" expecting to hear answers like "porridge" or "beans" only be told "Chinese food." and I am so embarrassed to even admit this, but I was actually surprised that they had Chinese food in Africa. Dennis was so sweet and so patient and said " well, of course! We have Chinese people in Africa too." DOH|!!!!!!! Looking back, we all asked questions like that. We were so curious about their lives back home, but all I'm afraid it really did was expose just how egocentric we really are. It wasn't until we asked one of our visitors what the most surprising thing they have learned about Americans was and she answered "The silly questions they ask" Double DOH! They have been asked if they can see stars in Africa, if they have ever seen butterflies, if they can call the giraffes over to the guests. I felt a little better about my "Chinese Food" debacle, but then worse again when I realized I brought traditional African drums for them to play for us, thinking they enjoy it since they play at Disney all the time....only to find out that they've never touched a drum until they stepped foot on American soil. At this point, my whole family is smacking our dang heads.
I say all of this to say, that while we were thinking that they are so fortunate to be here in America, we are the ones who have been blessed. These sweet people taught us to look "out" a little more. They truly taught us that we are more alike than different. This may seem like such a simple lesson to some who are reading, and I get that. I love the USofA, with all my heart, but I think we all learned that there is just so much more.
Our sweet African friends are ending their time here in the states and will be on airplanes this weekend. 
 By this time next week, they'll be hugging the necks of their families. We are all so glad that we have had the pleasure of meeting such wonderful people, and bringing our friend, Dennis, into our hearts and family. 
 We are so sad to say goodbye, knowing that we will likely never meet again, but are thankful to have known him at all. Our trips "home" will never be the same.
Photo Credit: My Momma


Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Big ONE!! An "I Love Lucy" Birthday Bash!

 I have loved "I Love Lucy" for as long as I can remember. It is comedic genius that brings together young and old alike, with it's simple and innocent humor that has stood the test of time. It may also be that I feel like I'm watching myself with every eye-roll or sticky situation she finds herself in. I just love Lucy.
When I found out that I was having a girl it took about a week for me to break my husband down and convince him of the name "Lucy" for our girl. I think we're both glad we did. She is our "Lucy" and goodness, do we love her.
 I think almost every momma thinks long and hard about their babies very first birthday party and I am no different. Some days I'm all about having a party, and some days I'm like "no thanks!!" But guilt usually sets in, and then I just give into the creative juices and let the rhythm move me. I'm actually embarrassed to admit that an "I Love Lucy" party wasn't even on my radar for a very long time. I just didn't think of it. I was going to have a "sugarplum fairy" party and boy, am I glad I came to my senses and something in my pea brain "clicked." This party has been my very favorite event that I've ever planned.
Of course, Mr. Clean gave me a budget to stick to and I think I actually kept it, but I did save a few of my pennies from photography to offset some of the cost...like for the little number she wore! I found this onesie from an Esty shop called Whittle Whimsey. And the bloomers and headband I found at a consignment shop. 

With the help of my mom, I really tried to think of little sayings from the show to incorporate in different ways throughout the house...

And it's not a party unless the bottled coke is there. It's ALWAYS a hit! This time I found "I Love Lucy" bottle wrappers on Etsy and they added a cute little touch, along with the paper straws I picked up from Hobby Lobby
I also raided the Valentine's Day section of Hobby Lobby, which was super convenient! And I found all of my old "Lucy" pictures that hung in my room when I lived at home and  put them to use wherever I could. This was the dinner table that I used for my buffet. I took the easy way out with dinner and ordered pizza, salad and rolls from an amazing Pizzaria from up the street, I put out a couple of appetizers and "Buon Appetito!"


A side note about yours truly, I am NOT computer savvy. At all. I know just enough to write this blog and edit some photos. I have no idea how and no patience for typing up cute things and printing them out, and even if I could, I know that my printer wouldn't work....it never does when I want to use it. I just assume hand-write everything, so scrapbook paper, markers and scissors are my friends. I even outsourced her little invitation to my good friend because that was above my pay grade.

The Chocolate Factory was my pride and joy of the party. I was determined to make it happen and I am so happy with how it turned out! I used a cheap, black, plastic table cloth for the conveyor belt, wrapping paper and butchers paper for the sign and I dipped chocolate covered strawberries and lined them up with the cake and a couple of dips for my "dessert" table. It was very easy but really provided a "wow" factor for this shindig.


Along with a lot of scrapbook paper, I utilized a lot of tissue paper as well for pom poms and flowers.
I am so happy with how this party turned out. We had a full house to celebrate "Our Lucy!" I know that this theme was a tad self serving, but I guess most first birthdays are! Here are a few photos of the actual "Big Day." I don't have any parties up my sleeve at the moment, and I am really ok with that!





Thanks for stopping by to read about "The Big One." I know the "Lucy" theme isn't one that could be used for everyone, but I really do think it would be just as cute if any name was substituted in! And heck, I think every party could benefit from a chocolate factory!
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