Wednesday, July 28, 2010

22 months

Can't believe that this little girl is already 22 months and closing in on 2... Where does the time go? Sometimes I think she's 22 months going on...16?Can we say "TROUBLE?" and "DOUBLE TROUBLE!" at that...

I do these monthly updates more sparingly than frequently, but while I'm thinking about it, I want to record some sweet things about my little girl.

Her most frequent phrases:
1. "I need want___________..." [fill in the blank with goldfish, chocolate milk, ice cream, colors, whatever is on her mind. I especially love this one because of her paradoxical use of need want. I also love this one because she cocks her head from side to side as she says her request.]
2. "Mommy, I need want to hold you."
3. "I want to go swimming. I want my bathing suit."
4. "I go playground. I ride in wagon."
5. "I not like it."
6. "Oh, no, I can't" ~when I am trying to get her to eat her veggies.
7. "I go potty!"
8. "I ride in Mommy's car!" [or Daddy's car when that's her preference--girl has OPINIONS]
9. "I not hit _________fill in the blank with any person or item." It's like she is trying to convince herself of the right thing to do.
10. "I not feed Maggie."~again, convincing herself to not sneak food to Maggie.
11. "I not want Mommy read it. Addy read it."
12. "Addy do it." ~Yes, my little independent soul as asserted herself.
13. "Addy in trouble. I go to time out."
14. "I go to story time"
15. "It's MY ______fill in the blank." Followed sheepishly with "It's everybody's______fitb." ~most commonly when referring to the playground, swimming pool, or train at the library We are trying to teach sharing. It's a process
16. Where are my flip flops?" ~Her latest fit was over which shoes she would wear... What is it with girls and shoes? :)

Favorite foods:
1. ketchup on anything
2. hotdogs
3. french fries
4. strawberries
5. bananas
6. spaghetti

Favorite books:
1. Llama Llama Red Pajama
2. Llama Llama Mad at Mama
3. Clifford Books
4. Big Sister, Little Sister
5. The story of Baby Jesus
6. The story of Noah and the ark with the animals and the rainbow

Songs that she sings:
1. Jesus Loves Me
2. Father Abraham
3. Old MacDonald Had a Farm
4. still Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle
5. All the Dora songs from the Treasure Island movie (b/c that was the DVD of choice on our FL trip)
6. Songs that she makes up--they are my favorite and they always end with "...all day long"!

1. giving up the pacie for good at 20 months [Funny story: Just yesterday morning, I went to get her up in the morning, and she said extremely excitedly, "Loooook Mommy, I found it! My pacie!" When I said, no, and tried to take it from her, she replied, "Oh, Mommy, I need it... My mouth... It hurts..." Poor thing.]
2. "reading" She has memorized and reads to herself Brown Bear, Goodnight Moon, Twinkle Toes, and Llama Llama Red Pajama.
3. Beginning potty training completely on her own. So far she has "pee-peed" in the potty six times. She just tells us she needs to go, and we take her. She's definitely showing interest, but she's not totally there yet. I need to start reading some literature. Any recommendations?
4. Recognizing all of her shapes and colors
5. saying prayers every night
6. eating at the big girl table

I am so thankful for my little girl. Even as we navigate these bi-polar 2's, I realize what a special person she is, and I thank the Lord for trusting us with her to raise for His glory.

These pics are from the first day of her 22nd month at our annual "Take your Bear to lunch day" that we had yesterday. Little girl loves her Bear and ALL of her grandparents.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cajun Country--Bayou Bound

***new post below too***

This past weekend, Patrick, Addison, and I flew down to New Orleans, Louisiana. Cool people call it NOLA. We had a blast, and Addison traveled beautifully. [Thanks to all of you who responded to my facebook query.]

We were able to use up some of P's free tickets that he acquired during his days of travel last year, and we got to visit with Steven and celebrate our upcoming 5th anniversary--all before our life changes again!

Here are some highlights of our trip:
[Eating beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde--sign in the back. These delicacies are the texture of funnel cakes, the look of toaster strudels, covered with copious powdered sugar. Tastes like heaven. Topped off with a Cafe au Lait and completed with me devouring spoonfuls of leftover powdered sugar, this meal started off our venture in the city. Fun fact--the last time my mom ate at Cafe Du Monde she was pregnant with me, and I will get to share with Ansley that I was pregnant with her in this pic.]
[Walking around Jackson Square in The French Quarter--capturing some of the prettiest balconies that we saw--complete with the jazz and Mardi Gras influence.]
[Pictures of us walking around in the heat. Steven warned us how miserable it would be. We thought we were tough, but it soon became unbearable. So, then, we would just pop into a shop, and our little person coped with the heat through napping!]
[Where we ate lunch. Previously seen in John Grisham's The Runaway Jury where the jurors see the judge eating]
[The Famer's Market and Open Air Market]
[Our face in the hole picture. We didn't realize at the time what it was promoting, just wanted a face in the hole picture... Oops.]
[Our favorite t-shirt company: Crawdaddy's T-Shirt Company... and my favorite t-shirt: "Who's Your Crawdaddy?" Patty Crawdy, that's who! :)]
[family pic at LS Who's campus]

[We forgot our camera the last night when we went to Boutin's--could have kicked ourselves because it was the quintessential cajun experience--full of alligator eating, dancing to local music, and feeding the turtles in the pond. Addison was in her element. Steven took some pics with his iphone that I hope he'll send us.]
[It was a great trip, and Steven was a great host! Addison sure does love her Uncle Steven.]

We enjoyed immersing into the cultural experience--especially dining wise with all of our crawfish--crawfish po'boys, crawfish etouffe, crawfish enchiladas, boudon balls, alligator, and red beans and rice. Thankfully we took enough Tums!

***More pics on my upcoming facebook album.***

"Forever Friends"

[The only picture I could get of all the kiddos. Zac Ayer (22 months), Rylee Watson (10 months), Addison Crawford (22 months tomorrow), Jack Steele (up front, 3 1/2), Reese Watson (behind, 10 months), Austin Weatherford (behind, 4 1/2), Knox Steele (9 months), Peyton Weatherford (15 months). More below.]
I stole this title from Amy. Unabashedly. I always categorize my groups of friends like you do on your wedding program for your bridesmaids--you know, high school friends, college friends, sorority friends, ACSC friends, UCM friends, work friends, Bunco friends, church friends, neighborhood friends, etc. Have I exhausted all categories yet? You get my point...

I am thankful that I've come to a point in my life where many from each of these groups have become LIFELONG FRIENDS, or forever friends, as Amy titled her last post. These friends are the ones who have layered over during many seasons of life, and the ones that you know you will still make effort to connect with through future layers--my favorite kinds of friends.

Today, I got together with friends who have been in my life since I was 11 years old. That's 20 years, and I think definitely establishes these women in the "forever friend" category. Most of us have reestablished ourselves as Nashville-based, but Mindy and Kristen traveled from Kentucky and South Carolina. Austin, Mindy's oldest at age 4, took some Mommy pictures that I can't wait to get through email, but the ones I have to post here are of the 8 kiddos that we claim (plus 2 more who just aren't here yet).

Just like I described in my Chi O reunion post, these women are ones whom I respect and admire and can pick up with instantly. We still refer to our first car's nicknames and make fun of our Senior Spring Break, and laugh at who we were while celebrating who we've become. We can move from belly-laughing over memories to talking about our marriages, careers, child-rearing philosophies, nutrition, you name it! It's a fun journey to be on with them. We sure missed Kelly (and Baby Georgia, as Addison refers to her), Jenny, and Tara (+her three).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A New Blogger to Check Out

My friend, Rebekah, just joined the blogging world, and you should go read about her story here:

Life is so much more than it appears to be.

She was a sorority sister and roommate during my Auburn days, and I have so many memories of laughter and silliness with her. She has a beautiful family with her husband, Roddy, and their precious sons, Tate (3 1/2), Jon Walt (15 months), and Mills--who has gone to be with the Lord.

God has written a special story for her family, and she shares her heart beautifully. I am thankful for the many seasons of our friendship I've experienced with her and for all aspects of her fun and Godly character. Pop on over if you get the chance.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Current Projects... and the first of many matching outfits...

After our FM jaunt Saturday morning, we couldn't avoid stopping by the Little Cottage's end of season 50% off sale. The frugal one, I kept putting things back on the rack--albeit reluctantly. Patrick is a sucker (in a good way) for his girls though, and when we saw these 2 matching outfits, how could we resist?
We got Ansley a 6 month romper (on the left) and Addison a 2T 2-piece shirt/pants set (right)--both for next spring/early summer. Can't wait to see these girls together. [But I promise I won't make them match ALL the time.]

Since I will not have to do too much changing to the nursery (just pictures and clothes mostly) originally pictured HERE, I have been focusing on making Addison's "Big Girl Room" into something special. I am excited about that for 2 reasons. #1--I love the nursery, and it's been a sweet nurturing space for my sweet girl. I am thankful for the economy of getting to use that stuff for a couple more years. #2--I am excited about making the transition of Addison into this new space something special and fun! I'm hoping to have it ready by her birthday, so that she can start getting used to it for a few weeks before she becomes a big sis.

Disclaimer: I don't typically like kiddie themes. However, I love all things owl. I'm excited about incorporating my personal owl collection begun in my Chi O days into her room, and I fell in love with this Target bedding, so here we go. [I originally fell in love with this PB bedding, but there was no way I could justify the price difference when I equally loved both!]

When we found out we were having another girl and I didn't need to redecorate the nursery, I went back and went a little accessory crazy--totally disregarding my usually eclectic, anti-matchy-matchy tendencies. What is happening to me? Maybe I'm the sucker... I'll find some ways to change it up a bit with other accessories, I'm determined.
Now we are working on paint colors, and we think we've found our winner with Benjamin Moore's "Sundance" yellow
Her Big Girl room currently serves as a guest room, and for now, we are going to pack up my white iron bed for her to use when she is older. She's just not ready for it yet. For the next few years, we are going to use Patrick's childhood bed that his parents are giving us. It is a low twin bed with built-in bookshelves behind it that we plan to paint white to go with my white wicker furniture from my former "Big Girl" room. I'm excited!

Most of my sewing projects have been baby gifts lately, but I am working on this dress for Addison that I hope to have ready in the next week! I'll post back with updates and final products soon, I hope.
Next up--redoing (at least repainting) the girls' bathroom upstairs!

In the meantime, I'm having fun and scouring the internet for 2nd Birthday Party ideas. I'm thinking that since her Big Girl room is a big part of her gift, I might go all out with my owl theme. If anybody has any ideas or resources, I'd appreciate your help.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Farmer's Market Finds

It seems like everyone in our grass-roots generation raves about their particular farmer's market or CSA. I am no different. I enjoy going to the Franklin Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, sipping on a Frisky Berry coffee beverage, listening to some blue grass, and letting Addison pet all of the fancy dogs. This past Saturday we actually ran into my mom there and enjoyed shopping with her.

The first of my finds was this beautiful bouquet of flowers for $5. I love fresh flowers. I especially love mixing sunflowers into pretty summer bunches, and these have made me happy all week. (Thanks to mom for standing in line so long to get them. Those guys were hopping! And next time I am hosting a party, I will go there for floral decorations, no doubt.)
Then we stocked up on vegetables, and I've been enjoying using fun summer recipes that incorporate all of the summer veggies I love to eat like squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes... The first thing on our menu for the week was this: Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables from the Food Network that my friend April sent me. (She recommended using the Italian Cheese bag from Publix, and I also add 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. I leave out the mushrooms--yuck.) It makes so much! I love taking it to new moms, and I really love the leftovers!

Today was one of those "stay-at-home-in-your-pjs-all-day" today. Addison is working on her eye teeth--story of our life. It is way too hot to do anything outside that doesn't involve being under water. So we created a "Dora-Elmo-Disney" station on Pandora, and rocked out to it while we cooked and colored all day all day. My little helper really made it fun.

Tonight our menu was Veggie Night. Tomato Pie, Squash Casserole, Crispy Okra Spears, Tossed Salad, and Bread. Yogurt Pie for dessert. So yummy!
We even decided to have a little impromptu dinner party for this one and enjoyed our time with our dear friends, the Stephens.

Yesterday, I took this little girl to her first movie: Charlotte's Web.
[BTW, staying in your pajamas until dinner also warrants minimal hair fixage. Loving these headbands for a quick fix to her curly mop. :)]

We dressed up in dresses, packed our diaper bag full of fruit snacks and goldfish, and made our way to the free showing at Green Hills. I was hesitant to take her, not knowing how long she could make it. The "free" incentive got us there. Since there was no cost involved, the risk factor went down drastically, and I figured even if we made it just 15 minutes, we could head to the mall and do something different afterward. She totally surprised me and lasted the whole time. It was packed, and she was so interested in watching everyone around her. I will not say that the movie raptured her, but she stayed engaged during the duration. My favorite part was her running commentary. Everything began with, "Oh, Mommy, look..." (really drawn out and dramatic) "... at the big TB." "that pig Wilbur--he crying." "that bug soooo nice... that web soooo pretty." When she got restless, we snacked. When it was over, she clapped. We went to Pottery Barn Kids and picked her out a new lunchbox, and then I treated us to grilled cheese sandwiches at Panera. When we got into the car, she said with sleepy eyes, "Mommy, I had fun at the moobie." Melted my heart, and was the perfect Mommy/Addison day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chi Omega "Mansion Girls" Reunion

Well, we did it again. Thankfully. Last year I posted about our reunion (with a fun "before picture"), and we said we'd make it an annual one, and 2 years in a row is pretty good for us! This year, 6 of our original 9 came with our 11 [and growing] kids in tow. It was a wild and eventful day, but we managed to breeze into instant comfortability with each other as always...

(all of our motley crew!)

This year we met in Huntsville (coming from Nashville, Atlanta, Florence, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa) at Amy's abode, and her house was completely wrecked by the end of the day. Our kids all became fast friends and got along great. Every parenting style is so different, but the six of us were on the same page, and it made things so much more relaxed. These women are ones whom I respect and admire, and I'm so glad to have (and for Addison ~and soon Ansley~ to have) relationships with their precious children.

We laughed and cried and talked and talked. None of us could believe how fast our time together flew. It was encouraging, humbling, and refreshing to hear their individual stories of what God is doing in their sweet families' lives. From adoption to child loss, to job struggles, from staying home or working or trying to do some of both, these women are strong mothers and wives for their families. I'm thankful for them, Here are a few photos--that I took and borrowed--of our fun-filled day!

The kiddos (from top): Bennett Green, Eli Stapler, Henry Debardeleben, Carter Brown, Mary Taylor Debardeleben, Addison Crawford, Grace Brown, John Walt Methvin, Tate Methvin, Bennett Green [Not pictured: a sleeping Caroline. On their way: Melissa and Dee's little boy, Charles Tucker, who they are adopting from Uganda this fall and Ansley Crawford. Missing: Turner Armstrong and Ceely Bateman]

The roommates: Christi Ikerd Green, Amy Kyle Stapler, Kelley Brown, Kristy Dean Crawford, Melissa Jackson Debardeleben, Rebekah Wright Methvin. [missing: Sarah Stone Armstrong, Mary Cook Bateman, Kimper Cannon Thomas--missed you girls!]

(I have many more action shots in my summer facebook album!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Terrible 2's renamed Bipolar 2's??? (and some more summer fun)

As most of you parents will share these sentiments, I will start by saying that I absolutely adore my daughter. Her individual spirit. Her laugh. Her joy for life. Her love of reading. I could go on.

We've reached a junction in her life that is commonly referred to as the "Terrible 2's." Doesn't that have a negative connotation? Sure, but it has been widely accepted as a rite of passage in a restrospectively laughable way.

I want to propose something--perhaps with even more of a negative connotation, but I hope equally laughable.

I think Addison has entered into the "Bipolar 2's."

Let me explain. She goes from one extreme behavior to another. Adorable to deplorable. Thankfully, mostly adorable, but the contrast is striking.

85-95% of the time, her adorable behavior, curiosity about life, body of knowledge, developing vocabulary and imagination is absolutely delightful. She can make me laugh and smile more than any person I know. She can cuddle and make me feel so loved. Basically, most of the time, I want to bottle up this little individual, squeeze her cheeks, and gush (even though, as a rule, I. Do. Not. Gush. Period.)

The other percent of the time, it's as if some force has entered her that is completely inexplicable. She can go from 0-90 with no warning or obvious stimulant and completely. melt. down. She will exert her strong will and collapse in defeat when she is corrected.

As a parent, I'm left scouring my books, praying for patience, asking for guidance. What do you do? How do you curtail the behavior without crushing the spirit? I know and have read most of the answers to these questions, but you still stop and ask. Most of the time I have to stifle a laugh. Ignoring usually works best. Last night, I just threw my hands in the air as we were just "THAT family."

Man, I love that girl.

Here are some recent pictures of our latest summer adventure. We enjoyed a poolside evening at Richland with great company and great food. Of course, I forgot my camera, so these pictures are courtesy of Lindsay. (Sidenote: Right before dinner, someone "tossed their cookies" in the pool, so afterwards we enjoyed some sprinkler fun.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beach Vacation 2010

Oh, it was wonderful...
I cannot believe that our beach trip has come and gone... Time flies. We had a wonderful time in Destin and were blessed with beautiful weather with a clean beach and ocean. We were nervous to go because of all of the oil hype, but it turned out great. Patrick said it was the best vacation he'd ever had, and that made me smile! Addison had a blast, and still asks every day to go see the ocean and beach. Bless her.

Castaway Cottage is truly our home away from home. After going there for 14 years, the memories are brimming. (We counted up, and in our 8 years together, this was P's 11th trip.) Of course, we always reminisce over our special wedding day. We love our times of hoping and dreaming, planning and imagining. It is crazy how some of the things we've imagined have now become reality. We are now so excited to build new memories--new hopes and dreams--there with our growing family.

I posted a picture album on Facebook, but I'll post a slideshow here too for family and friends who can't see it otherwise. Excuse the cheesy background music--there weren't many free options. :)

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Destin 2010
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Monday, July 12, 2010

This and That... thanks to the GOD OF HOPE (and where else I've been writing)

Whoa, when I logged into this thing, I couldn't believe my last post was June 24. That is not being true to my summer blogger self... I feel overwhelmed to recap the last month of summer, but I'm going to put together a slideshow at some point.

More importantly, I guess I've just been caught up in living in the moment. Something I seem to often take for granted. I usually look too far ahead of me and miss things along the way. We've had a busy yet fulfilling summer as a family--and while reality is deep-seeded within us, we've been trying to approach each day as its own entity, asking God for our daily bread and trying intentionally to celebrate something each day in this life we've been given.

We've vacationed--our last time as a family of 3. We've played. We've talked, you know really talked. We've hoped and dreamed. We've read and written. We've adventured. We've fallen to our knees in prayer, and we have laughed (and even cried) our hearts out. I love my little family.

In a conversation with a friend this summer, I came back to one of my old favorite verses, one that I used to inscribe on every card I ever wrote anyone. It has been a rich morsel to my soul:

" May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
~Romans 15:13

Until I have time to catch up on this thing in words and pictures, I'll direct you over here where I've written a "guest post." Holly asked me to write from the perspective of a working mom about balancing work and family. It was an interesting assignment that made me take a closer look at my life and what I do. Balance? Is there such a thing? Most of the time I think all of us are trying to make it day-to-day. The harsh reality is that we cannot be all things to all people all the time--perfectly. So we look at our lives, make decisions, and do the best with what we've been given. Through my stint as a mom, God has definitely been teaching me to rely on Him every step on the way, and He's the one who gently reminds me, when things get topsy-turvy, to seek Him for balance. When I was writing this post, I got long-winded, but when speaking [writing] from my heart, I realized that my heart was long-winded. If you have the time and interest, pop on over to the Mom-tage to see what's going on.