Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is it really February?

Indeed!  In fact, it is Leap Day!  We celebrated this extra, gorgeous day of the year with good friends at the park.  This is James, Laken's BFF.  This is who she asks for daily, talks to on her plastic cell phone and  runs to hug and kiss the moment she sees him.

Yes, these cheeks get kissed often!

The expression on her face below cracks me up.  She looks terrified, but doing it anyway.  Way to be brave, Laken!

Taking a break to pose with Mommy.

 And here's my 'thinker'.  Soon you'll be climbing and sliding with the big kids.  For now, you very much enjoy the swing which Laken did NOT at your age.   

Soon you'll be walking and taking off!

For now, you can fly.

And stay close to Mommy.
I love February in Georgia!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You are my best friend

There have been many moments when Laken has taken my breath away, but not many like tonight.  Trust me when I say 'you had to be there', but I'll do my best to capture the moment with words.  So, we were going through our nightly ritual which involves the following:

Teeth brushing (which unless you are a rookie or a fool, you will let her do every step HERSELF)
Flying into her crib
Two books
A prayer
A song
Rock a bye baby (Laken loves being dropped into her bed at the end of the song)
Saying 'night night' to each of her animals-- puppy, kitty and monkey (she loves when you get their names wrong, followed by a big "OOPS!").
Scratching her back ('under my shirt')
One more drink
and finally, 'night night, Laken'.

We had a bit of a rough time leading up to bedtime as I was on the phone and Laken was, well, being 2.  So I took a few extra minutes at bedtime time to hold her and tell her how much I love her 'when she's loud and when she's quiet, when she's happy and when she's mad, when she's hungry and when she's not', etc.  She seemed to revel in this.  Looking up at me adoringly, maybe relieved to hear all this.  She laid down and took my hand, using it to rub her own face.  And then a moment I will never forget.  Laken said to me with all sincerity "You are my best friend".  Her very own words of love spoken to me.  They were not repeated from me and where they were repeated from, I do not know.  They were her own words, coming from her heart, unexpected....undeserved.  I quickly thanked her, trying my hardest to reinforce this gesture with a smile, but quickly said 'night night' and exited the room crying before she could witness such pathetic sappiness.  Just kidding.  I tried to explain my tears to Barrett when I showed up sobbing in the living room, and could only determine (other than having PMS), that one day she would no longer feel this way about me and that made me sad.  I also knew that the moment that just pierced my heart with joy had come and gone that quickly and there was no way of getting it back.  Ever.  She's getting older, time is moving along, and I can't bottle those moments up and take them with me to use when I really need them.  And finally, I was humbled.  I hadn't deserved such an act of grace.  I had been pretty short with her leading up to bedtime.  More than I care to admit even writing this.  Her love for me is new and fresh every few minutes despite what may have occurred moments before.  She is so eager to please me and possibly loves me more unconditionally than any human being in my life ever has.  You can never feel deserving of this kind of love, as I know from my relationship to Jesus over the years.  Only be eternally grateful, try to reciprocate as much as you are capable of and pay it forward to those less fortunate.  So, today I want to thank God for giving me this beautiful creature to love.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor spiritual powers, neither the present nor the future, nor cosmic powers, were they from heaven or from the deep world below, nor any creature whatsoever will separate us from the love of God, which we have in Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

         My two sweet Valentines!  Aren't they gorgeous?

This is this year's Pinterest creation for my husband (along with his fav chocolate bar).  I took a simple, cheap frame from Walmart, scrapbook paper and printed out the words "I love you because" on my printer.  Then I glued a few wool flowers from AC Moore in the corner and wrote today's reason why I love him with a wet eraser.  Since the reasons change quite often, I will use this opportunity to write it out every day.

Today's MOPS craft were felt fortune cookies with M&M's, homemade fortunes inside and even a pint-sized box to put them in!  Super-cute and extremely easy idea. 
 Our MOPS table leader blessed us with a Pinterest creation of her own.  Valentine's day sure does bring out the craftiness in folks!
                                        Another girl at my table handed these out.
                        Even Laken got in on the craftiness in MOPS childcare!
What did my Valentine get me, you ask?  Well, I like to take the guess-work out of gift buying, so this year, I let him know that he bought me smelly good things at one of my favorite stores.

Still, he didn't come home today empty-handed

Guess my fortunes were right...."You'll be blessed" and "You are loved"!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marielle is 1!

Happy 1st Birthday, Marielle!  I know you won't remember any of this, so here are some pictures to show you the display we had to honor you and your big day.  I'm becoming slightly more creative with each year I have children thanks in part to Pinterest as well as participating in other children's birthday parties.

It made sense to have a Valentine's Day theme since it's so close to your birthday, and because frankly, all the decorations and candy at the stores right now are for Valentine's day. 

 So, we had what looked like a pink/strawberry explosion in our home to include chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry milk, strawberry fudge and strawberry cupcakes.  This would have been a bad time to discover you are allergic to strawberries.
 The ice cream was cherry.
 I sprinkled dark chocolate shavings on the cupcakes.  Don't be too impressed...the cupcakes came from a box, the frosting from a can.
 I just wanted it to be beautiful, like you.  It had nothing to do with impressing my friends with my new skills ;)
 Some of your closest friends were there (ok, Laken's haven't really made any yet, but you will).
 Your sister sang "Happy Birthday" the loudest!  She loves you so much.  That, and the girl likes to party.
 There's my big girl!  You are simply gorgeous and I hope you knew on some level that this was all for you and we were so happy to spoil you today!

You've grown so much this year!  Look at you drinking from a cup!  I'm spending a lot of time today thinking back to one year ago and how much you've changed!  But one thing remains the same.  You are such a happy, easy-going baby.  I'm having fun watching your personality unfold and learn new things. 
Congratulations on several accomplishments this year:  sleeping through the night; saying 'mama', 'dada' and 'up'; crawling, laughing, clapping, and buzzing your lips.  You are pure joy for me.