Monday, March 31, 2008

Peter Cottontail: A Girl's Best Friend

We celebrated Towns' 3rd birthday a little early this year. A trip to the public library about a month or so ago led to this early birthday celebration. One rainy and cold Saturday afternoon when we'd been inside way too long, we decided to get out and take the girls to the library. Bethany and Towns had a ball...who'd have thought library could be such a thrill?! I know why Bethany liked it. She discovered she was old enough to get a library card which makes a girl feel very special. Towns loved it because the children's section is huge and has lots o' aisles to run up and down. Thankfully, they understand this about 2 year olds and don't get upset about it. In the midst of all her running and hiding she stumbled upon a Peter Cottontail DVD and from that minute on, that's all she talked about. We checked it out and took it home and after watching it a hundred and fourty seven times, Peter Cottontail felt like a member of the family. So it was only fitting that less than 2 weeks before Easter Towns decided that the only way to party for her birthday was Peter Cottontail style. I kicked it in high gear and threw it together at mock speed and it turned out to be a huge success. Towns loved it, the kids loved it, and I really loved it because it's the easiest birthday party I've ever thrown!

We kicked it off with a big Easter egg hunt which turned out to be one of those "blink and you miss it" moments. Seems that 2 and 3 year olds are like vacuum cleaners when it comes to finding eggs. It was over in about .5 seconds! Towns found the golden egg on all her own (I swear I didn't cheat and point her in the right direction). Bethany hid all the eggs for me and did a great job of hiding the golden egg. She hid it so well that it took about five minutes of staring at one bush before anyone ever spotted it! All the kids were lined up in front of the bush where it was hidden in because we figured it would take all day if we didn't at least give them a little hint as to where it was. Finally Towns nabbed it and I think that was one of only two eggs that she found. She hasn't quite gotten the concept that hunting eggs is like a know, see who can get the most the fastest. Her take on it is "let me throw my basket down and run full speed at the first egg I see...then open it and eat all its contents before I move on to the next egg." By the time she's gone through this thought process everyone around her has a basket full of eggs. It doesn't bother her at all, though. All she cares about is the candy!

All that egg hunting made for some hungry kids....

I called ahead and arranged for the train to make an appearance or two during the party. I'm kidding...I'm not that on top of it! We did luck up and get to see 3 times which sent all the kids into hysterics. Must have been on a sugar high because that on top of trains = major excitement! We were all ready to sing Happy Birthday blow out the candles when the first train came by, so naturally we had to halt production and turn and wave...

The second time it came by....they all lined the sidewalk in complete awe!

Next up: presents!

Cate was most excited about the tissue paper and bunny decorations!

After the party all the kids let the balloons go...

Sunday, March 30, 2008


We had a very low key and relaxing weekend. The girls spent Saturday and Sunday with my dad and his girlfriend Laura at my grandmother's house in Childersburg. It hasn't quite been two weeks since we were just in Dothan visiting them, but my dad had a meeting in Birmingham and any time he's this close to us he's got to see his grandchildren. I didn't object. Even though I'm stingy with my babies and rarely let them leave home without me, it's also not too often that anyone in our family is close enough to us to steal them away for the weekend. J and I enjoyed ourselves and celebrated our 4th anniversary a few days early. The kiddos are home again and it's back to business as usual. I've got a lot of blogging to catch up on...we had Towns' 3rd birthday party last weekend (a month early) and I've yet to even mention that! I'm such a blog slacker these days!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My New Favorites...

Since I have nothing better to do at 9:15 on a Wednesday night(HA), thought I'd share my newest obsessions:

This is all I drink these days and I LOVE IT. I love plain ol' H2O as good as the next girl, but it's fun to spice it up a little. It's great because it's got just enough flavor to satisfy my sweet tooth, but without a lot of calories. You can't beat that!

When I need a real snack and not just my Propel, this is my absolute favorite. In theory, they're really only good for you if you eat them in moderation. However, my (ir)rational thinking sometimes gets the best of me and I can eat a whole bag with the justification that rice cakes are surely good for you. Even if you eat 50 of them. In my defense, they're bite size.

This girl here, Kat, is probably the most creative chick I've seen in a while. She does the cutest personalized screen printed shirts I've ever laid eyes on. And that's just part of it. The link above is just to her infant/toddler t-shirts, but go on ahead and check out everything else she has because it's all too cute not to be seen. And supposedly she's got a full time job at HGTV (don't quote me on that) and this is something she does on the addition to raising her two young children. Obviously she's got more hours in her day than I do. Actually, it's probably more so that she's way more organized than I am and can juggle things like a champ. She sends your order out super quick, and the icing on the cake: it'll come with a handwritten note thanking you for your business. Now that's service with a smile!


Easter really does something to me. It's been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember for a number of reasons. Maybe I should say it's my favorite reason to celebrate, not my favorite holiday. The word 'holiday' brings to mind days that the bank is closed and that I can't get something mailed. Take the Labor Day holiday for example. It's great to have a day off for a long weekend, but it's not something that has a lot of significance to me personally. In my mind Easter is not just a holiday. It's the single greatest reason on the face of the earth to celebrate, and I hope that you all did just that. I get chills every time I think about why we celebrate Easter. Last week we were out of town and didn't get to participate in Holy Week at our church, but from what I hear it's a shame that we missed it. There were services at noon each day with the purpose of capturing all the sounds of Easter. From the last supper right down to the shouts of the crowd. Can you imagine? Please tell me you try to imagine. Though I'll never be able to fathom even remotely what it was like to be there and see what Jesus endured, it's necessary for me to play it over and over in my mind. It gives me such deep appreciation. Watching The Passion of the Christ is when I first became so intrigued. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I think every single person alive should have to watch it at least once. Or better yet, every other hour! :) That would be a great reminder of the grace bestowed upon us every day!! I've known the story of the crucifixion and resurrection for as long as I can remember, but seeing it with my very own eyes gave it a whole new meaning to me. That's why I would have loved to have been at Holy Week. Friday night was the Tenebrae Service which is a silent service. As the worshipers were exiting the church in virtual silence there were three crosses right outside sanctuary doors with three men hanging on them. Can you imagine seeing such a sight? Our preacher told us Sunday morning that in all that silence he heard someone say as they passed by the crosses "thank you, Jesus". Such a simple statement, but one so deserved. I hope you and your family really captured the essence of what Easter is all about this year. It's not about Easter egg hunts or candy or baskets of stuff, although it does add a little excitement for the kids. It's about Jesus Christ paying the ultimate debt for our sins. He gave His life for us. His life. That's love, my friends!! Everlasting, unconditional, perfect love. If that's not enough to make you want to shout it from the rooftops, I don't know what is!

Here's a link to a video of a man named David Phelps singing my all-time favorite song. I first heard this song at our church right after we moved to Decatur and I loved it so much I wish I'd have known about it long before. This David Phelps guy is the one who wrote the song and in the video it looks he must be performing at a concert. It's great, but imagine being in church and hearing a man sing it (who I must admit might give David a run for his money) with a hundred person choir behind him and a full orchestra in the orchestra pit. That's what it's like at our church when they sing it. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! To say chills bumps and tears in the eyes comes as a result is an understatement. The video is 5 minutes long but SO WORTH WATCHING!! I know we're all busy and 5 minutes seems like a lot, but it will be time well spent! Trust me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Smooth Talker

I thought I was done with blogging for the night. That was until I just witnessed Towns at her finest while we were eating dinner. I'll preface this by saying that she's pretty creative and most times she can work a situation to her advantage. Here's the conversation J & I had with her and the events that unfolded as we were trying to get her to eat her broccoli....

Towns: I just can't eat my broccoli tonight.

J: Why can't you eat your broccoli tonight?

Towns: Because it makes me sick.

Me: Sick? Why does it make you sick?

Towns: It just does. It makes me hurt.

Me: Where does it make you hurt?

Towns: My back (pointing to a specific spot on her back).

J: Oh really? That's not good.

Towns: Yeah. I don't know what we're going to do about it.

Me: Hmmmm. I don't know either.

Towns: AND I can't walk.

After a few minutes and a change of subject to keep us from erupting in profuse laughter, we excused her from dinner. And this is when it gets really funny. She walked around for about ten minutes holding her back and limping. I'm not even kidding, although I wish I was. How on earth can she be like this at age 2?? I really hope this isn't a sign of what's to come or else we're really in for it! As soon as I let her know that we'd put the broccoli away and she didn't have to come back to the dinner table to eat it, she straightened up and the limp went away. Most times I'd have made her eat the broccoli if her back hurt or she was limping or whatever, but this time I couldn't keep a straight face long enough to enforce good eating habits.

Always a Party...

Last week we headed to Dothan to visit my dad. And for those of you who don't know how he operates, there's no telling what's in store for us when we get there. This is what his back yard looked like when we arrived...

Ridiculous? Yep. Beyond insane? Yep. Five full days of nothing but pure fun? You bet! The inflatables were a permanent fixture from Saturday until Wednesday, and I'm afraid that Towns left there thinking that it was all part of the landscape and is something that she'll expect from here on out! We picked Bethany up on the way down so that she could join in the fun, but sadly she had to go home the next day. She mastered her back tuck and back hand spring on the jumpy thing though, and now looks like an old pro! I was a tad bit jealous that she could do it so perfectly! She talked me into trying it despite the fact that I haven't done it in years...thought I'd broken both ankles after the first try. And the second, third and fourth. After that I decided that it was in my best interest to leave all the flipping and back hand springing to her. After she left Towns had it all to herself...way too much excitement for a 2 year old to handle! Darby, Morgan and Paige were scheduled to come play while we were there, but poor little Morgan got sick in the car on the way over. They stayed long enough for Darby to get Morgan cleaned up and get her in some new clothes (which is what she was most worried about...not the fact that she was sick!). Towns was heart broken that her friends didn't get to stay, but Paw Paw jumped and slid with her like a champ! Lenzie and Knox were out of town or else they'd have come too! The girls could have shown Knox his way around those inflatables!

Thanks Dad for a fabulous trip and for a few days of relaxation! Can't wait to do it again soon!!

Towns had to show Cindy Loo Who IX how to jump.

Cate did a little jumping herself...she cracks herself up jumping in this thing and laughs so hard she gets the hiccups. It's the most hysterical thing ever!

She napped on the back porch after all that...she completely wore herself out!

Sorry, Bet-ny, for this picture!! It's the only one I had of you mid-back tuck! Great technique, perfect landing, I give you a 10! :) Wish I'd gotten you on video, it would have been much better than this rear shot! HA!

My Dad and his girls...

Towns had him painting her fingernails...he's such a trooper!

6 Months & Counting

Can't believe that the last 6 months have flown by so quickly. I say this every month, I know. But it's just hard to grasp that Cate's been with us this feels like weeks, not months. We're so in love with her and it can only get better! She's the sweetest little thing, yet somehow I think she might be my free spirit. I had Towns on a schedule down to the very minute when she was a baby, but Cate's the one who's got us flying by the seat of our pants. And I love it! Schedule shmedule...who needs one?! Happy 6 month birthday, Bug! Life's a whole lot sweeter with you in it!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

We've Got a Sitter!

Yay for Cate Bug who's officially sitting up! She's been working on this new trick for at least two months now, but today she finally mastered it. And it's the cutest thing EVER! I've come to realize that Cate and Towns are pretty different and there's no comparing them. I used to beat myself up about not being able to spend as much one on one time with Cate as I did with Towns. I'm sorry to say that I'd convinced myself that since Towns was sitting up by 4 months, crawling at 5, walking at 9, etc. naturally Cate should too. But after a while it started to sink in that they're totally different children. I mean, when you think about it Cate's almost 6 months old and has just hit 13 pounds. So she's probably ahead of the game when you take into consideration her size. Or at least that's my rationalization! She's a sharp little thing and is constantly taking in everything around her and I know she's perfect in her own way. She'll do everything in her own time and I love her little 13 pound self to pieces!

Blizzard of '08

Ok, so maybe not a blizzard per se, but it was more snow than we've ever seen in our 4 years in Decatur! We were up and at 'em before 7:00 so as not to miss out on a minute of it. It was one of those things where you blink and you miss was all melted in a matter of hours. But it was fun while it lasted!
This is what I saw when I opened the shutters in our bedroom window that looks out into the backyard....

It's a little ironic to have new life coming up which means the coming of Spring and it's covered in snow!

We have no grass in our front yard, only ivy and it was so pretty with the snow on it...

Towns didn't really know what to think about it all. She didn't want to get snow on her boots or on her gloves, which makes playing in the snow rather difficult. She's such a priss...

Checking to see if the fountain is was, but what would really have been a neat thing is if we'd had the fountain turned on. We've left it on before when it's gotten below freezing and it will have icicles over a foot long hanging down where the water froze while running over the top.

Jonathan would absolutely kill me for posting this picture, but I think it's pretty sweet (minus the out of control hair and the deer in the headlights look). It was at about 6:45 a.m. and we'd all literally rolled out of bed and out the door...what can you expect?!

Towns showing me the snow that stuck to her glove...this is about 2 seconds before the meltdown that occurred because her gloves were dirty!

After the excitement died down and we were in need of a little defrosting, we headed inside to play with Cindy Loo Who. This is the glorious name Towns has chosen for every baby doll she owns. And trust me, with the all the dolls in our house it's kind of nice that they all have the same name. Makes it much less confusing. The funny thing is that out of all the babies she has, she always goes back to my old Madame Alexander Baby Huggums doll...which I'm afraid to say is over 25 years old! This makes me really happy though. I didn't grow up with every new toy that came out and while she is blessed with an abundance of new things to play with, I love that she's just as happy playing with my ratty old doll in a house we built where the four sides consisted of the foot of the bed, her bedroom wall and the door that leads outside her room, and the bed rail that keeps her from falling off the bed at night (see photos below). It's all about imagination, you know. Cindy Loo Who's doll bed was a plastic drawer from the Rubbermaid stackable drawers in her room that hold her doll clothes, and it also doubled as a playpen for Cate. I think we sat in the "house" for more than two solid hours playing and pretending. That, my friends, is what it's all about.

All the fun completely wore Cate out...

Had to throw this one in....she thinks she's really wearing my earrings (it hasn't registered with her that she has no holes in her ears) and I never tell her otherwise...