Saturday, January 16, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday, Evie!

Dear Evie,

      Here we are again - another birthday! It is so hard to believe that our sweet little girl is 7 years old. You are the best! We love you so much and cannot imagine our life without you in it. It was a wonderful day celebrating you - a sleepover last night and dinner at American Girl tonight. We love to celebrate our best girl!

You are the kindest person! Everyone tells us how thoughtful you are, that you are a fabulous friend and that you are always looking out for others. That makes us so proud of you! Being kind is always important even when it is difficult! I love seeing you in your element with friends - it thrills me to see you making such good choices with your friends. We hope you always have friends that love you for being you. Friends that help you be the best Evie and inspire you to try new things. It's good to step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. Those will be the times when you learn the most about yourself. Mama and Daddy see this happening already and it is exhilarating for us to see you expanding your little world.

Your best friends are Sarah, Leah, Abby and Bonnie - those are your besties. You have lots of wonderful close friends - Callie, Sophie, Molly, and Taylor. Sarah recently moved to Alabama but she came back for your party. It was hard for us to see you lose another friend but that is life in Nashville. Friends come and go a lot here. We have learned that the hard way! You will never lack for friends with your big smile and the way you include everyone. 

You are beginning to notice what others are doing and asking lots of questions about the particulars. Each family has different rules and people spend their money differently. You suddenly have an interest in Matilda Jane clothes - not my favorite but you make it work. Every morning, you spend a lot of time selecting an outfit, deciding on a hairstyle, and of course picking the perfect shoes. It is important to learn that nothing you wear will make someone like you more and if it is does than they probably are not the kind of friends that will stick around when you really need a friend. 

You are a terrific student and have come a LONG way this school year. Your reading has jumped multiple levels but math is where you really shine. I am so proud of your number sense and hope you continue to show growth in this area. You have a special relationship with Owen in your class. He has Down's Syndrome and you have learned so much from him. I love seeing you show compassion to those who need it most. You have decided you want to work with special needs children when you grow up. You are fascinated by what makes Owen click and how you can help him. That career choice will most likely change but I hope the compassion for others does not diminish. 

Even though you are turning into a BIG girl - you still love cuddles and hugs. You kiss me and Henry every morning before you get on the bus - and then blow us a kiss from the steps of the bus. When Daddy is traveling, you beg to sleep with me - of course I let you because you will not be little for long. Henry prefers sleeping solo! You go to bed about 7:30 and wake up about 7:30. Sometimes even later and then we really have to rush to get outside for the bus. We are excited that you are sleeping later and later in the mornings especially on the weekends. You are becoming much more independent toasting your own waffles, packing your snack for school and organizing your own room. 

You still have a few of your "baby" words such a close the light, "crash can", along with some others that I cannot remember at the moment. 

You enjoyed gymnastics in the fall but are hoping to take acting classes this spring. I am confident that acting will be a great fit for you because you are filled with drama. You have all the feelings - sometimes all within a few short minutes. 

You are an American Girl fanatic with a growing collection of dolls and accessories. You play for hours with your girls and that makes me so happy. You are a fantastic Mama to your daughters!

You love art - drawing, painting, crafting and of course art class at school. You love hiking and playing outside. You build Legos and play card games such as Old Maid and UNO. You are competitive and have a strong desire to win. 

Music makes you happy! Girls Just Wanta to Have Fun is your top song choice but anything by Taylor Swift thrills you too. 

You love sweets, sweets and more sweets - just like Mama! We had such a fun date to Starbucks the other day and you have asked to go back You love Chick fil A and Subway although Mexican is still a top choice. Vegetables and fruits are always tasty options too - grapes, cantaloupe and strawberries are your favorite fruits. Carrots and bell peppers are your  favorite veggies. You try most everything now - egg salad and guacamole are your favorite lunch choices and tacos and shrimp make you happy at dinner.

 Henry is still your baby! You coddle him and act like his Mama. You are thrilled to see him after school and want to hear all about his day. He loves you just as fiercely. Y'all are two peas in a pod except when you are not but let's focus on how much you love the little guy. Henry and you sit super close at every meal, cuddle on the couch, take gator rides together, build forts, play family, compete on endless games of UNO and Zingo. You hold hands, kiss and hug! You teach him, love him, correct him, play with him and root for him. I love to see you two creating such a strong relationship. Henry looks up to you and you cater to most of his whims. It is an indescribable bond that I never dreamed you would have with your brother but am incredibly happy that you two have each other. You going to have lots of special childhood memories of days spent together. 

Evie, we love you so much! You will always be extra special because you made us parents. You taught us everything we know. It is bittersweet to see you growing up. We miss you being a baby but it is spectacular to see you growing into a young lady. You are our favorite girl! Looking forward to watching you grow for another year - I am sure this year will be filled with excitement! Everyday with you has some magic in it - that magic is YOU!

Your verse for the year: Micah 6:8

"Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."


Mama and Daddy

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Henry is 4.5!

Dear Henry,

   My baby boy is 4 1/2! This sure happened fast! You are a JOY! Everyone loves you from the dental hygienist to the ladies at church - we all think you are pretty great. I have never met a sweeter boy than you. It is wonderful to see you growing into a gentleman - you hold doors, have impeccable manners and know that ladies come first. You offer a helping hand to anyone in need from Daddy pruning the rose bushes to a friend who needs help with a zipper. 

I can definitely tell that you have a big sister because you hold hands with your little friends. It is the most precious thing! One of your best buddies, Eddie, has a big sister too and you boys are two peas in a pod. You can hold your own with the boys too but you are softer and more gentle than boys your age with older brothers. 

You go to school three days per week and are learning so many things. I am shocked by how quickly you pick up new information. You can count super high, can read simple text, ask questions that I have to Google and can carry on a conversation with anyone. You still call the YMCA - the "YMC Way" and mouth wash is always "wash mouth" to you. 

You are still super tight with your Bun Bun's and sleep with both of them each night from 7-7. Every morning, without fail we hear the pitter patter of your little feet down the hallway and you climb into bed for morning cuddles. Daddy and I love this special time with you. We have thought about adjusting your clock because you know that 7:00 means wake up time. Perhaps 7:00 could really be 8:00 - just kidding little buddy. 

You are a great eater and your favorites are white milk, hummus, apples, blackberries and anything sweet. You love grilled meats that your Daddy prepares especially chicken.

Your favorite color is blue and you love the show Nature Cat. Rescue Bots are your favorite toys and riding your gator is favorite outside activity. You have a new interest in Legos after getting a glimpse of your Uncle Ben's collection. You love books and will sit for an hour listening to books. You play well by yourself and know how to work an iPad better than your Mama. 

You cannot stand people interrupting you especially your sister, you despise bullies and refuse to eat cheese in any form besides pizza and cheese sticks. Not sure why but you do not seem to have a fondness for that orange stuff like everyone else in the family. 

Your best buddies are Eddie, Elliott, Anderson and Matthew. You love spending time with friends but always ask to have dates with Mama. We enjoy our Tuesdays and Thursdays together so much. Evie is still one of your favorite friends although you have finally decided that you are not going to marry her after all. Sophie is your top choice for the important role of wife right now. Mama and Daddy approve - Sophie is a Southern Belle just like your sister and wears bows bigger than her head too. You are used to some sass - it's going to help you in life! Evie works hard to teach you to read and you work hard to teach little ones new things. You even had one year old, William, riding along in your gator. You are always listening and soaking it in. I was surprised to hear you this morning telling Evie's friend how old Anderson's brother is - he is almost 10 and you were so proud to know that. 

You grew some new hairs on your arms a few weeks ago and thought you were such a big boy. Muscles are flexed a lot and you tell me every day that you are getting bigger.

My hope is that I can always remember you as a 4.5 year old little boy- the perfect mixture of my baby boy and a big boy. I cherish your snuggles and love that you still love to be rocked. Your hand in my hand is perfect and something I do not take for granted. It is amazing to see you grow and change but you will always be my baby boy.

Love, Mama and Daddy

Friday, January 1, 2016

December Dailies!

December was a super fun month but super busy too! I cannot believe we were able to cram so much into one month. Tis the season!

December 1: I had my first book club meeting with my new group. It was such a fun night with new friends and old friends - even the lady we bought our house from is in the group. Henry was so exhausted he fell asleep sitting up!

December 2: Henry and I went to the library and he explored the packages.

December 3: Henry and I enjoyed a morning in Green Hills - Donut Den, Trader Joe's, The Container Store! He is such a good shopping buddy. I went to Holly's house that night to iron 400 napkins for our annual Christmas Tea at church. It was a big job but fun with friends. Wine and treats helped too!

December 4: I volunteered in Evie's classroom - the highlight of my week! We picked up our tree that night at Home Depot - that is our tradition so we just keep going there. 

December 5: Henry had his Christmas program at preschool that was just precious. Carl and I had two parties that night in our neighborhood. Both were super fun! 

December 6: Evie and I went to The Nutcracker. Henry and Carl went to see The Good Dinosaur! All of us had a fantastic afternoon.

December 7: I went to church to work on place settings and table arrangements for the tea.

December 8: Henry and I went to the zoo with Eddie and Kelly. Evie had gymnastics and it was medal night. She was thrilled to get a medal but it is already broken. The excitement does not last long and things usually end up in drawers or closets!

December 9: Henry made a cookie at school and wanted to send Carl a picture because he was out of town. That tickled me!

December 10: I had a Dirty Santa party with the moms in Evie's class. We have the best group of kids and moms this years. It has been a real treat to get to know everyone so well. I won a sparkly Christmas necklace that has become a staple in my holiday attire this season.  Henry went to his friend, Elliott's house while I went to the lunch. I am so excited that Henry has so many kids in our neighborhood that will go with him to kindergarten. 

December 11: This was a big day of tea preparations! It was not hard because lots of people came to help! Some of us walked down to White's Mercantile to do a little Christmas shopping after we finished up. Be sure to visit White's Mercantile if you find yourself in Nashville or Franklin! It was my Mother In Law's birthday too. Happy Birthday, She She!!

December 12: Tea Day finally arrived! I parked at Taylor's house and her husband dropped us off at the church because it was a crazy busy weekend with Dickens of a Christmas in Franklin. The tea was a blast and I already excited about helping with it next year too. Everything is more fun with friends! We loaded up on the leftovers to bring home - my kids were thrilled with all the goodies! Cucumber sandwiches, curried chicken salad cups, turkey arugula sandwiches, butter cookies, chocolate cups and more. Carl had prepared dinner and I barely had an appetite after all that food!

December 13: Henry and Evie had Christmas pageant practice after church. Carl took them while I went to brunch with some friends to celebrate a new baby girl that is arriving soon. We enjoyed sprinkling Natalie with gifts for Lauren and eating a delicious brunch with mimosas. Carl and I walked through Dickens of a Christmas with the kids since we were already downtown. It was a bit underwhelming but I have heard Saturday is the best day for the festival. We came home and changed clothes quickly before heading to Eddie's birthday at Chuckie Cheese. It was such a fun birthday - low-key with just a few special friends. 

December 14: I had a hair appointment and tied up my last few Christmas strings. Our niece turned double-digits on this day - Happy Birthday, Lucy!

December 15: Henry and I went back to Green Hills for one last Trader Joe's run before Christmas. Look at my sweet shopper! Evie had her last gymnastics class - she is starting acting classes next semester. We celebrated with McDonald's - my kids love that place!

December 16: Henry's last day of school! It was PJ and Pancake day which thrilled Henry's little heart. Henry is a BIG fan of breakfast! We came home from preschool and made four boxes of brownies for Spring Street.

December 17: Henry and I went to Spring Street at our church. It was a busy morning with a lecture on fire safety, a fabulous musician, a delicious lunch and each senior went home with two bags of food. Henry stayed inside while I helped carry the bags out for the seniors. They were heavy so I sure hope everyone was able to get their bags inside safely. 

December 18: Evie's last day of school! Henry went over to Anderson's house while I went to school for the party. We did a snowman theme and everything turned out so well. I was able to use some of my teacher skills which is always fun and everything runs better when a teacher helps - the kids knew order to visit the centers and everything was prepped in advance. It was still wild but at least it was organized chaos. Wendy brought Anderson and Henry over to our house while she went to Gray's party and Evie came home with me from her party. That's a wrap on the first semester of first grade - Evie is half way to second grade. We always have pizza and movie night on Friday so that made the perfect evening after a busy day.

December 19: I took the kids to pageant practice while Carl mowed the lawn. Crazy that he had to mow the lawn in December but it has been so warm which is just fine with me. We stopped at the library on the way home so Evie could have a chance to see the tree. Our kids were wild so we had the babysitter come a bit early so we could escape. Carl and I went  to JJ's Wine Bar such a cool place - your glass is filled automatically like a fountain coke and there is a little card that charges your tab. Finally, it was time for Courtney's 40th birthday party at Red Pony. It was such a fabulous night and the surprise was pulled off! It was so good to see her and Christian and their parents. We miss our neighbors so much but know that the move was best for their family! Evie and Henry are oblivious to where we went because they would be devastated if they knew their boys were in town without a playdate. 

December 20: It was an early morning for church and the pageant. Evie and Henry did a fantastic job - the most beautiful angel I know and the sweetest sheep too. We had a relaxing afternoon at home before heading back to church that night. Our kids enjoyed a Polar Express party at the church with babysitters while we all went to dinner together to Mack and Kate's. Such a fun night with fabulous friends and delicious food.

December 21: It was a relaxing day at home - rainy and yucky. Perfect for playing inside and watching football!We took the kids to see the lights around town and of course at Sunnyside. Kids enjoyed a Christmas Tree Campout in the living room that night. 

December 22: Evie went to Monkey Joe's with her friend Sarah! Henry and Carl went to the marina to look at boats. We all met at the Japanese Steakhouse for lunch.

December 23: I took the kids to decorate cookies with Leah and Eddie. We had so much fun together! That afternoon, we created our candy cottage which is always a treat. Mama had to have a cocktail to keep from changing their house into my house. 

December 24: We made our annual Christmas Eve trip to The Fresh Market to get filet mignons for Carl's birthday and a few other Christmas goodies. We did a few things around the house before heading to church for Christmas Eve service. It was packed even though we arrived super early! We picked up Thai for dinner on the way home from church. Evie is a big fan of Thai food just like her parents! We left out cookies for Santa, sprinkled reindeer food in the yard and put out carrots too. Evie was adamant that we all get to sleep so Santa would arrive. Carl spent lots of time in Santa's Workshop preparing some items that were too big to put together in advance while I worked on Evie's iPad. We finally made it to bed about 11.

December 25: Happy Birthday Jesus and Carl!!!! Henry woke up around 7:00 and we patiently waited for Evie to wake up. She woke up and we all went downstairs! Santa came and the kids were thrilled with their loot. It was definitely a fabulous Christmas. Evie loved her American Girl doll house that was a Cyber Monday special and her iPad mini and her Bitty Baby twin, Emmaline. Henry received a gator, a blue microphone and guitar. It was wonderful to see them so joyful! We opened stockings and presents. Then, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast! It was a lazy day opening presents and hanging out until Carl's parents arrived later in the afternoon. We had a little Happy Hour and then opened some more presents! Evie was over the moon with the kitchen for her American Girl dolls and Henry has been playing magnatiles non-stop. Carl prepared delicious steaks for his birthday and we had ice-cream cake for dessert. 

December 26: We had a slow start to our morning and then headed out to McKay's Book Mill. I just love that book store and knew Carl's parents would like it too. Afterwards, we went to 12 South and ate some BBQ and Jeni's ice-cream for dessert! We walked through Reese Witherspoon's store, Draper James and it was filled with amazing clothes. I cannot wait to go back and treat myself to something special. 

December 27: We went to church and then to Mellow Mushroom for lunch. I met my friend, Phaedra for coffee at Just Love Coffee. Chocolate coffee is always a nice treat. It was a nice day at home with Poppy and She She!

December 28: Carl's parents left bright and early - we had such a good visit with them. Carl took the kids swimming at the Y while I worked out and then we came home for more football!

December 29: We went to the zoo! It was a pretty day for the zoo and Evie rarely gets a chance to go to the zoo. Henry would go to the zoo every day if he could! 

December 30: Nana and Ipop arrived for our Christmas with them! Evie and Henry were excited to see more presents. Nana and Ipop got Evie an American Girl horse that has been a wonderful addition to her collection and a gift card to the American Girl store. Evie is already excited to spend her money! Henry loves his new dinosaur box and Lego set - it is a camper set! What a cute idea for a Lego set! We had a nice ham dinner with all the traditional sides for dinner. YUMMY!

December 31: We had a lazy day at home although Carl and I are in competition to get more steps since my Dad gave us Vivo Fits for Christmas. I'd like to point out that my step count is higher but Carl burns more calories each day. My sweet parents babysat while we went to a New Years Eve party! It is such a treat to go out on New Years Eve since babysitters are impossible to find that night. We had a fantastic night with our friends playing Catch Phrase and eating yummy food. Cheers to 2016! It's going to be an amazing year!!!