Monday, November 29, 2010

My New Address Is...


Yes, we are finally home.  There are boxes yet to be unpacked, there is a stove that has yet to be delivered, but there are clothes hanging in their proper closets.  There is food in the pantry.  The washer & dryer are operable, and we are settling in one box and one day at a time.  We are finally in the house that we will call home for decades to come....our forever house.  And, I really hope it is because I absolutely detest moving.

This year, we celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in a very traditional fashion.  I made my broccoli corn casserole and Sweet Potato Crunch and we ate and talked, and soothed crying children.  We ate grilled turkey and homemade apple pie.  The girls even got to swim after dinner, and I don't think we've ever done that before.

On Saturday, my Xmas tree even found it's way out of the box and in to the picture window in our front room.  Chloe hung her very first ornament on the tree ever.  It wasn't breakable of course.

She knew exactly what to do with it, and it was the one and only ornament she felt like hanging and then she scooted on her way to play with her baby doll while Camdyn and I finished the tree. 

The fastest way to make a new house feel like home is decorating it for Xmas...THIS. IS. HOME.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Need to Change my Attitude.

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”

~Maya Angelou

Change has been on my mind a lot lately.  Change is constant.  You can't escape change, and unfortunately some people don't deal with change as well as others.  I'm typically a go with the flow kinda girl.  I don't usually "sweat the small stuff" and I usually consider myself easy-going, but in the midst of all of the change that we are going through, I find myself wound tighter than a drum.

Tomorrow, we are packing the house and moving for the 2nd time in nine months.  It wasn't that big of a deal the last time we moved, but this time around it's complicated by Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner.  It's complicated by the fact that our lease isn't up until February and our current house is not rented out yet.  It's complicated by a handful of projects at the new house that haven't been completed yet.  It's complicated by the fact that our appliances haven't been delivered yet.  There are a hundred things I am stressing over and I need to just let it all go....

I need to change my attitude.  I need to embrace the change.

And, then there have been the unnecessary stressors I've been putting on myself over Camdyn's behavior at school.  The truth is, she's a good kid.  She has her act together when she wants to, like during her first ballet class on Saturday, and at the Build-a-Bear party two weeks ago.  She can be a handful, but she can also be an absolute doll.  I see both sides.  I know my child.  I need to let it all go.

I need to change my attitude.

Then, there are friendships that have changed over time and some of those changes weigh heavy on my heart.  There are days when I curse my job and the fact that I'm sitting in a cubicle while ALL (yes ALL) of my friends are SAHMs and are getting together for playdates and mommy-time.  I feel somewhat discluded (not intentionally of course) and I forget that this job provides my family with benefits, a new house, clothes, trips to Disney World, and college funds.  I forget that I like my job.  I forget that I chose this job. 

I need to change my attitude.

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of taking pictures for a dear friend.  She needed just one good photo for her Xmas card, and I thought...I can probably handle that.  It was the first time I picked up my camera since Halloween, and it felt good to spend 45 minutes snapping away.  I lost myself through my lens.  I let all the stresses of the move and life in general drift away.  I existed in the moment and it felt good.

My dear friend asked me to take one picture of the girls together.  She wants one to frame and hang in Little Miss' bedroom to remind her of Camdyn.  Next year, they will set off to different elementary schools, different Kindergarten classrooms, and their lives will take them down different paths. 

When Hubs saw this photo he said it makes him want to cry.  His words.  Honest. 

Their whole worlds will change next year. 

Hand-in-hand they are on the same path.  Cam with her favorite dinosaur tucked beneath her arm.  They are the best of friends.  Their friendship knows no parameters, it knows no stresses or misconceptions.  They fight, they argue, they refuse to hug, then they turn around and play together again.  I wish adult friendships had the same ease and security.  I wish "play nicely" was the mantra for everyone, all the time. 

I need to change my attitude.

So, I'm going to change the way I'm thinking about the things that are stressing me out.  I'm going to take a deep breath, realize that everything will fall in to place, and that everything will be exactly the way it should be.  God is in control and I need to let him do the worrying for me.

I am changing my attitude.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dear Chloe Belle - 20 Months

Dear Chloe Belle,
Today marks the day that you turn 20 months old and I am cognizant of the fact that there are only a handful of "month birthdays" left.  In four short months, you will celebrate your 2nd birthday and from there on out you will simply be 2, or 2 1/2, or 3 in March, and the number of months since your birth will escape my mind.

Your baby-ness is fading.

This weekend we are preparing for a garage sale and I decided to part ways with all things baby.  I believe that I have finally come to terms with the fact that you are our baby, the last baby, and that will be your place in our family.  As I was sifting through the bins and bins of clothes that you and your sissy wore, I came across the outfit that you wore home from the hospital.  It seems so tiny and sweet.  I just couldn't part with it, so I'm saving it for your Hope Chest.  One day, maybe you'll dress your little girl in it for a picture.

Your baby-ness is fading.

I think I best described you earlier this month when I wrote that you are all sweetness and spitfire.  You know what you want and what you don't want.  You are quick to push others away when you want your space or when you don't feel like being looked at or doted on.  Often, you won't allow me to push you in the swing at the park.  You push me away and favor being pushed by Miss Becky or Daddy.  That's okay with me.  For I know you.  I know that in the middle of the night when you wake, it is my name you call first before you begin with the endless string of "Daddy-s."  When you fall or get hurt, it's my name that you call out, and my chest that you love to snuggle on.  I know I have a place in your little heart.  That's the sweetness in your soul. 

Your Baby-ness is Fading.

You've recently undergone a vocabulary explosion, adding so many new words that I can't even keep track.  This week you said "Becky" for the first time as well as "Button."  You still call your milk "Mi-Mi" and prefer your bottle before bedtime over the sippy cup.  Oh, how I've tried, but you are relentless, and I am, well...tired.  I don't see the harm in the bottle, so I'll just follow you. You'll give it up when you are ready.

Your favorite game at the moment is BUS!  On our way to school you and Sissy shout "Bus!" every time we see both giggle and laugh and get so excited.  It really starts the day off right to watch you two enjoy that together.  You've also taken to watching Baby Einstein before bed.  This is the only show that you will pay attention to for a full 20 minutes.  You love to sit in my lap and watch, and then you peer over your shoulder at me for affirmation when you say certain words describing what's on the screen.  My heart explodes.  This is my favorite part of the day.  This is your sweetness.

Your Baby-ness is fading.

Your favorite book at the moment is "Goodnight Moon" and you run for your bedroom when I say, "Chloe let's go find the mouse."  You shout "mouse, mouse, mouse" until we find our way on to the floor, you situate yourself on my lap, pull up your blankie, and I open the book.  Then, you point to the mouse on every page.  It's our routine.  It fills my soul. 

Your Baby-ness is fading.

And amongst the squabbles over toys and food, and tantrums to go "side" (outside) and the spitfire that makes you who you are, you show us the sweetness; the kisses on command, puppy hugs and loves, and gentle stroking of sissy's hair.  You are the perfect mix of all that you should be.  Strong enough to stand up for yourself and your own desires, yet sweet enough to melt a heart. 

Your Baby-ness is fading.

As you continue to grow right in to the pre-schooler you are destined to be, I hope you continue to use your voice and stand up for what you want.  I hope you soak in the world around you and know that you are loved beyond words.  I hope the qualities that make you, you, even at 20 months, never change. 

You have a gift, my love, and I hope you use it.

Love you Forever & Always,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday {Humor}

This Thursday, I am thankful for the lighter side of things.  The moments in life that bring a smile to my face, or better yet, have me laughing so hard I can't catch my breath.  The Hubs is really great at finding or creating these moments, at lightening the mood, and easing tension. 

Last night while we were eating dinner, Chloe came around the corner with her shirt over her head.  She thought it was hilarious as she ran back and forth laughing and squealing.  We laughed right along with her and then enjoyed a good 15 minutes of long forgotten Beavis & Butthead dialogue. 

Chloe - photo courtesy of Hubs' phone   Beavis photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Although, I most certainly can live without Beavis & Butthead, I can not live without the laughter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday {Blessings}

"For Today and its Blessings, I Owe the World
an Attitude of Gratitude"
~Author Unknown

Today, I am counting my blessings instead of my worries.

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Kid Sings Like an Angel....Yeah, you read that right.

The weekend was off to a rough start.  On my way to two hours of outlet shopping bliss on Friday afternoon, I chunked over a log sitting in the middle of my lane on I-75.  Seriously, a log...a big honking chunk of wood was sitting in my lane and perfectly aligned with my driver's side tire.  A blow-out resulted and I ended up panicked on the side of the interstate.  Within 40 minutes my tire was changed and I was on my way again.  It was still a successful trip to the outlet mall, so all ended well there.

Camdyn had a not-so-good day on Friday and we quickly talked about it and then glazed over it, because quite frankly, this is becoming common-place and the teacher suggested we pay it little attention in the hopes that positive attention from desired behavior will take precedence.  I hope she's right.

Saturday was a whirlwind.  Birthday party, library time, park time, and play time at the house, all followed by two extremely exhausted kids and two mostly worn out parents.

On Sunday, Camdyn made her debut with the Children's Choir.  They sang at the contemporary service, and like good parents, we showed up with our video cameras and encouraging smiles.  I was partially, okay...extremely! concerned that Camdyn would not do what she was supposed to be doing up there...I mean there are drums, a piano, plants, a speaker waiting to be kicked (and yes, she did just that)....there are so many things that could have pulled her attention in an inappropriate direction.  BUT, like the good girl she is, she smiled, she sang shyly, and she restored my faith.  My child can do what she is supposed to do, when she wants to.

I bring you, Camdyn singing "Awesome God."

**Please excuse my shaky video...I was trying to watch her and record at the same time, and it was, well, not working out so great

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Sweet Moments

This Thursday I am Thankful for the {Sweet} moments in life.  The moments that make you take a step back and think, "Wow.  It doesn't get better than this."  Even though we've been fighting some battles lately with Camdyn's misbehavior at school and defiance at home, it's the sweet little moments in between that remind me that the battle is worth it.  It's the sweet moments spent in bed in the mornings, snuggled under the covers and stretching our legs, singing our good morning song, and staring in to each other's eyes. 

I am Thankful for the pure sweetness and spitfire that is my 2nd baby girl.   Belly laughs at the park with a mouth full of food.  Gut Busting, hilarity that ripples from the belly of one year olds.  It's contagious, it's beautiful, and it's a splendid sound.

And, then I forget about the times she swiped at me, pushed a friend, or resisted sitting in her car seat.  And, I watch her feed her betrothed a rice cake and I see visions of wedding cake and this imperfect photo  splashed on the big screen at their wedding reception.  I'm Thankful for my dreams. 

(I cringe that the focus is on Chloe instead of her hand & the food - how much sweeter this picture could have been)

And, I am Thankful for the future and the mysteries it holds. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Rollercoaster

“Life is a roller coaster, you have your ups and downs
unless you fall off”

{The Hubs waving from the incline}

*Note to self....Shutter priority would have be way more effective than Aperature Priority for these photos.  Maybe next time...
Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Florida is Freezing - It's Fifty-Five!

It got cold this weekend, and when I say cold, I really mean Florida cold.  When the weather dips beneath a crisp 75 degrees, the year-round FL residents catch a chill.  We run and grab jackets, throw on the jeans, and opt for closed toed shoes.  You can only imagine the mayhem when the high is 69 and the lows hover in the low 50's. 

It was 55 degrees Saturday morning when we pulled in to the Busch Gardens parking lot. With the move quickly approaching we figured we should dedicate a Saturday to fun before life becomes preoccupied with packing boxes.

We bundled the baby up good.  She has only worn a hat like this a handful of times, and much to my surprise she liked it.  She got pretty upset when I pulled it off of her head half way through the day.  Here she rides the carousel and says "Nay Nay Nay" the entire ride.

And, we dealt with the nippy wind in our faces, even as we rode rides that swooped and spun.  The cold weather is a nice change from the heat and humidity.  We didn't complain.   

Camdyn crawled inside of this giant hippo in a play area right next to the area where we were having lunch.  She played with a boy in there, and I love the way her little feet are pointed.  It signifies childhood innocence to me.  I wish this photo wasn't so blurry. 
And, of course we saw the elephants.  Camdyn loves this part of the park and usually wants to go straight to the elephants the moment we walk through the gates.  We saw them feed on bananas, cantaloupes, apples, and sweet potatoes.
Then, we piled in the car and headed for home.  The girls slept the entire way and woke up as we pulled in the drive-way.  We spent the rest of the evening at home, playing outside and enjoying the weather that finally means Fall is here.  The weather that swings, from sixties to eighties in a day.  The weather that means that Christmas is coming.  The weather that brings the northerners south. 

And then, we put the girls in their fleecy footie jammies and tucked them in tightly. 

Bring it winter.  Bring it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A day out with Momma

Several weeks ago, Camdyn and I spent the entire morning and half of the afternoon together.  I took her to gymnastics, the library, and then to McDonald's for lunch.  We giggled over happy meals, and I watched her play with new friends. 

In an effort to keep Cam occupied while Chloe napped, we stopped at the nail salon too.

We picked out paint.  Two colors, because there are just too many options to only pick one.
She had it applied to her piggies.
And her hands.
And, then she smiled when she was all done.  Okay, she didn't really smile.  She kinda growled, as she tried really hard to keep her hands still under the light.
And, then we went home.

I really wish I could spend a day exactly like this with my Momma.
Happy Weekend, Y'all!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday & Paper Mama Photo Challenge - Halloween

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.
~Author Unknown

When you ask, "Chloe. Where's your nose?"  This is what she does.

She's hilarious.  This photo is hilarious.  And, it reminds me not to take life so seriously!

I'm entering the photo below in Paper Mama's Halloween Photo Challenge. 

The Paper Mama

I know you can't see her face, but she looks so sweet sitting there with her hat on, sporting the colors of Halloween.  To me, this photo embodies the wonderment, the excitement, and the childhood spirit of Halloween.

Please visit Chelsey, the Paper Mama, and look at some cutie pie pictures of Halloween, or enter one of your own!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Photo Parade

I promised you photos and photos I have.... and a little commentary to keep things interesting.  Here we go.

This is Cam sitting in the shade of a huge tree at the Biggest Pumpkin Festival this side of the Gulf a few weekends ago.  She does this thing now where she wants to sit in the stroller because the baby sits in the stroller and there is a little bit of jealousy going on.  We let her, because it is a lot easier to push a 45 lbs  4 year old in the stroller than it is to drag one kicking and screaming and whining about sitting in the stroller. 

Cam loves the butterfly tent.  Every year its one of the first things she wants to do besides riding the ponies.  The butterflies love her.  This is the last picture we took of her before we got separated.  I shudder to think that this might have been the photo that we used on the Missing Child poster, had things not turned out the way  that they did.

On Friday, the girls had their annual Harvest Walk at school.  They don't call it a Halloween Costume Parade, because this is a church school and Halloween is a little too pagan.  But, it's fun every year. 

Here Chloe Belle points and says "Sissy!  Sissy!"  as she watches Camdyn walk by in her costume.  I was very careful not to get in Chloe's line of sight because I knew if she saw me she would want me and that would just end in tears.  So, she never saw me, but she had fun watching from the 6 seater stroller.

Camdyn was Ariel this year.  The morning of the walk I applied sparkles to her arms & face, and let her wear blush and lipstick.  She kept sucking her lips in and she tried so hard not to move them for fear her lipstick would come off.  It was so cute!  I had to tell her that it's okay, she can move her mouth normally even with lipstick on. 

I got a little misty eyed thinking this will be the last Harvest Walk that Camdyn participates in.  Next year...Kindergarten!

On Saturday morning, we attended a Halloween Treasure Hunt at a local park.  They hid little toys throughout the park and the kids got to run around and pick them up and then have some light refreshments.  It was a lot of fun. 

Here is Camdyn with a few of her favorite friends from her class. 

Chloe & Abby wore their matching bumblebee outfits to the park instead of their real costumes.  We didn't want them to mess them up too badly and we wanted them to be comfortable.  Gymboree makes some cute stuff don't they?

Chloe said "Ab-bee" for the first time ever and she was so sweet to her all day.  To my recollection she didn't push her, or pull her hair, instead she was full of hugs and attempted hand-holding. 

And then Saturday night, we attended a Halloween party that was for the kids, and adult friendly too.  We enjoyed good conversation, a few adult beverages, and watched the kids enjoy themselves. 

Chloe was the cutest little witch I've ever seen. 

On Sunday morning, I realized that I didn't have one single picture of the girls and pumpkins.  The whole snafu at the Pumpkin Festival made that less of a priority and we never made it to the pumpkin tent.  So, we played hooky from church and went to the local Pumpkin Patch.  Y'all, it was the VERY BEST day to go.  The patch was completely devoid of people.  Which #1, made losing a kid really hard to do, and #2, the pony rides lasted forever.  The girls got to ride as long as they wanted to, until they said "Whoa."  You can only imagine how long they rode.  I walked in circles so long with Chloe that I got dizzy.  Every time around I would say "Are you all done?"  She would say "Nuh uh."  My girls love horsies.

And, I got a few pictures with pumpkins, including this family shot.

And, then it was Halloween night, and we went to Mall-o-ween.  I have no pictures of that confusion because it was extremely busy, and I was not about to lose a kid at the mall.  But, it was a lot of fun, and Chloe picked up the whole concept while we were at Mall-o-ween.  So, by the time the real deal came along a few hours later, she was a pro. 

Thanks Liz for taking this picture and for inviting us over to trick-or-treat! 

If you are wondering why Hubs is wearing a grass skirt....he's the broom.  MY broom.

Yes, my tutu matches Chloe's.  I made them myself and they turned out really cute!  She wore her hat up to every door, and then after she got her candy she would pull it off and say "all done!" 

My Lovies and Auntie Liz trick-or-treating. 

Chloe was not scared of anything, not this creepy mask, or the haunted music. She wanted her candy more than she wanted to run away. When Chloe would take more than one piece of candy from the bowl, Camdyn would say, "She's just a baby. She doesn't know any better. She's only 1." She was so cute helping her sissy out and looking out for her.
And there you have it, our Halloween adventures in photos!