Archive for May, 2014

  • Mermaid Day

    Date: 2014.05.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Norah, Sarah | Response: 10

    Day to day life can make having fun, quality family time tough. After a full day of work, evenings are often spent cooking and doing dishes, eating together, cleaning up and then, if we’re lucky, we will spend 30-45 minutes playing outside or cuddled up on the couch together. And weekends? Well that’s when I have to try to tackle the mountain of laundry that I’m never really caught up on (how did adding one more kid increase laundry by that much?!), do our grocery shopping and visit with friends and family. Sure we get some spare moments together, but I always feel the pressure to clean/do laundry/grocery shop/do dishes, etc. So when we get an unexpected day off, it’s like a family staycation, a gift, the excuse I need to step away from the chores and just enjoy our family.

    This morning I told Sarah that she wasn’t going to school today because it was Memorial Day. Her response? “Yay! It’s Mermaid Day!”

    Mark and I both laughed. But then my wheels started spinning. I’m always looking for fun ways to engage with my girls and I thought Mermaid Day would be the perfect way to spend our lagniappe day together.

    So what does one do on Mermaid Day?

    Well for one we painted our toenails “mermaid purple,” according to Sarah, while we watched Sofia and the Floating Palace (a mermaid movie).

    From there, we went to the Dollar Tree where we spent $10 on mermaid goodies…

    including the biggest hit of the day, mermaid hair.

    There was a sandwich shaped like a castle and whale crackers for lunch.

    Then the girls put on their mermaid swimsuits and took to the water, splashing happily and trying out Sarah’s birthday princess slip and slide.

    After snacks and rest, we opened up the Dollar Store mermaid book and printed  Little Mermaid coloring sheets off the Internet. (Side note: During our mermaid coloring I learned that Sarah can color in the lines now – who knew? I’m impressed!) We also completed a mermaid puzzle.

    We spent most of the evening outside. The weather was perfect – low 80’s and overcast. I prepped dinner and Mark grilled it. The girls ran, jumped and played.

    And then we ended Mermaid Day with mermaid pajamas!

    I looked at Mark tonight when we were sitting down with our girls and said, “I know I am a really huge nerd for doing all this, but I really enjoyed it and I think Sarah did too.” He assured me that I was not a nerd (ha!) and told me how much he enjoyed it as well.

    It was so nice to spend the whole day playing with my girls, soaking up all their love, smiles and laughter. And they thoroughly wore us out, too.

    Memorial Day always makes me think about my great uncle Thomas “Mix,” who was in the Army during WWII and loved the beach. In fact, I still occasionally dream about him and he is always at the beach in my dreams. Something tells me that he would appreciate Mermaid Day coinciding with Memorial Day.

  • 8 Months

    Date: 2014.05.21 | Category: Baby, Family, Norah | Response: 1

    As I looked at our girl today splashing happily in the bathtub, grabbing frantically at toys floating by, I marveled at how big she is. Yes, she acts and looks like an 8-month-old, but it doesn’t seem like time should be moving by quite so quickly.

    At 8 months Norah is a pro at crawling. She’s fast and determined, often going after other kids’ bottles at school when they drop them. She will now crawl to me when I get home and reach one arm up so I’ll scoop her up and cover her in kisses. She’s also mastered going from a crawl to a sit – back and forth.

    Norah loves our dogs, and gets super giggly when she sees them or they lick on her.

    For the first time since she was 3 months old, she seems to finally be finding a normal sleeping pattern again. We’ve had a tough time with ear infections and new teeth. Speaking of teeth, one of her top ones is peeking through now, giving her a total of three, though I have no doubt the other top one isn’t far behind.

    She is champion eater. Her favorites are sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin & banana and pears. Mark let her chew on a pretzel stick today and she did a great job with it. How is it almost time to start introducing non-mashed up food? Norah also loves to drink from our water cups, enthusiastically gnawing on their cold rims and sipping on water.

    We’ve started letting her crawl around on the (netted in) trampoline. It’s so funny to watch her. Sarah flies around the perimeter and Norah freezes up so she can pass, then starts moving again. Mark says she acts like a little turtle.

    She has moved on to the phase where she will eat anything and everything she puts her hands on. Over the past couple of weeks I have pulled the following items out of her mouth: countless leaves, a q-tip, balls of dog hair, a crayon and a number of Sarah’s toys. Speaking of Sarah, she has figured out how to “trade” toys with Norah. If Norah is playing with something Sarah wants, Sarah will quickly find another toy and trade her for it. Norah doesn’t seem to mind though.

    We crack up at Norah because she loves to shake her head “no” at us. I try to give her Eskimo kisses and it gets her head going back and forth while  she lets out great laughs.

    Norah is such a laid back child. She will go to anyone who wants to hold her and will happily give up grins to anyone who is willing to work for them.

    I really love this age. She’s interacting with all of us – laughing, smiling and even copying us to some degree. She is still as snuggly as ever and loves to lay on my shoulder and suck her thumb. Those are some of my very favorite moments with my sweet girl.

    Happy 8 months my little bean!

  • One in a Lifetime

    Date: 2014.05.19 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Health, Life, Me, Photography | Response: 3

    Sometimes life will give you those once in a lifetime moments. One such moment came for me when my sister asked me to be present for the birth of her son. That’s a big gift and a lot of trust to give to someone. When you’re laboring, your emotions and body are bare and you need to be surrounded by people you love and trust. I’m so thankful my sister counted me as one of those people.

    It was so neat to experience labor from this side, having gone through it myself before. The whole process truly is amazing and I’m proud to say I never once felt faint or woozy. Shannon had a great team of people coaching her and pushing her through it, and she birthed her big ole nearly 9 pound baby boy like a champ.

    The experience also allowed for some once in a lifetime photos. It was so amazing to be able to capture these moments.

    Here were some of my favorites.

    Welcome to the world Landon Robert. Your Auntie Jess already loves you so much. And way to go Shannon! You are one amazing mama.

  • Princess for a Day

    Date: 2014.05.06 | Category: Family, Life, Mark, Me, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 3

    When we saw that Disney on Ice was coming to our city, complete with appearances by Belle, Ariel, Merida and Rapunzel, I knew it was something I wanted to take my little princess lover to. We bought tickets well in advance and grew excited about the approaching date.

    What we hadn’t counted on, however, was my youngest sister, Martha Claire, winning a “Princess Package” off the local radio. The package included four tickets to the show, a limo ride for the little girls to get their hair and make up done, and some coupons for free snacks at the show!

    We were so excited! We sold our tickets and began counting down the days until the show. In the mean time, Sarah got slammed with fever and illness. We kept her home and did our best to get her well. By Saturday the fever was gone and she was running around the house singing “I feel better!”

    We showed up at the venue at 3:15, 15 minutes before they told us to meet… but no one else was there except for one lady whose mom worked for the radio. Nine other little girls won the package as well, so we were so confused as to why we couldn’t find them. Of course there was no one to answer phones at the radio station on the weekend, just recordings. The VIP folks at the venue were super nice though, calling their promo contacts at the station while my little princess ran around dancing to the Disney music playing over the speakers. (I have a feeling that if things wouldn’t have worked out, we would have gotten some free tickets from them).

    It was super hot though, so I left my sister and Sarah inside and went to retrieve my car to make another lap around the parking lot.

    During my walk to the car, the thought hit me that I should probably call the salon  and see if they knew anything. When I called they told me that all the other little girls were already there…

    The lady on the phone was very nice though and told me not to rush, we could drive over and still have plenty of time to get Sarah all dressed up.

    When we got there, I found out the limo company had canceled the limo rides, and apparently everyone else but us and one other person had been notified of the change ahead of time.

    They did, however, have our tickets and presented Sarah with a nice program and a flashing Disney princess crown. She sat happily looking at her program and sipping juice waiting her turn to finally get the “purple eyes” she’d been begging me for for months. She had no idea anything was amiss.

    The ladies at the shop did a great job. They let Sarah pick out her perfect shade of purple, as well as her blush and lip gloss.

    Sarah laughed through the whole thing, insisting the eye brush tickled. She was the youngest little girl there, but proudly wore her Punzel dress. All the stylists just loved her.

    There wasn’t much they could do with her hair, but they teased it ,sprayed it and crowned her, and she was please with that.

    From there we picked up Mark and drove back to the venue. We got in and had great seats.

    The show was fantastic and Sarah was positively mesmerized. She yelled and waved at the princesses, sang their songs with them, danced in her seat and jumped in my lap when fireworks went off.

    We even let her pick out one thing from the souvenir stand. Of course she went with a $22 magic princess light wand. But hey, she loved that dang thing.

    I was so impressed by the ice-skating and costumes! And the little mermaid was even doing Cirque style rope tricks. We all loved the Rapunzel lanterns.

    It was really a quality show and I enjoyed it almost as much as my wee princess did. We will definitely go again when the Disney Junior one comes in the fall.