Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 26

 Playing pretend with you.
Today you found your Tinkerbell keys and announced that you needed a car.  I was busy switching the laundry over so I distractedly suggested you make one with your chairs.  I came out of the laundry room and you had quite the setup.  

"We're going to the grocery store," you informed me, "what can be the grocery store?"

I cleared off the bottom shelf of our built-ins and pulled a few empty boxes out of our recycling bin to set up as a grocery shelf.  You disappeared into your room for a minute and came out pushing the shopping cart you got for Christmas.  You "shopped" quickly (dumping everything into the cart in one sweeping motion) and then looked at me and said, "Well, where am I going to put this stuff in my car?"

So we improvised again and set up a "trunk" on your pink stool.  As you loaded your groceries into the car I snapped a picture:

Then you loaded your baby and Lambie-babies into the car and picked up your steering wheel (the lid to a round storage container).

Pop stopped by between meetings while you were en route to Target and I captured this little exchange:

Oh, Lila.  It thrills me to no end to be a part of your little pretend games.  I find myself just as involved in the process as you are, raiding the cabinets for more food for the grocery store shelves and coming up with creative solutions to the obstacles in your imaginary world.  I long for the ability to suspend reality and fully engage in the imaginary as you do.  And it is also entertaining and enlightening to see my own habits mimicked back at me as you pretend.  Sometimes I cringe as you reveal my idiosyncrasies back to me and I am reminded what a sponge you are and make a mental note to be more aware of what I'm demonstrating to you even when I don't think you're paying attention!

I can't wait for the days when Faith is home and big enough to play pretend with you!  Double the fun!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 25

Watching you confront and conquer the hurdles from baby to big kid.

This year has held some big changes for you, hasn't it girl?  Potty-training, big girl bed, good-bye bink, and now becoming a big sister!  That's a lot of change for you and it hasn't always been smooth.  But I've been so proud you at each step as you bravely step into big girl shoes.  Or more appropriately into big girl undies!

The other day you announced your intentions to go to the bathroom and I marveled at how far we've come from the days when I wondered if you would ever poop anywhere other than your diaper.  And as we get ready to put up the crib in Faith's room, I've thought often about how hard it was for you to adjust to sleeping in your big girl bed.

Our most recent hurdle - getting rid of your bink - was probably our most difficult.  I think it was a different level of grief for you because we didn't have anything to replace it.  You exchanged your crib for a big girl bed, your diapers for princess undies.  But with the bink, there wasn't anything that could take its place.  (Believe me, I prayed and prayed that you wouldn't start sucking your thumb!  I've heard of kids doing that!)

We did a lot of prepping for the big transition - we talked about it for weeks.  After some research and interviewing of other moms, we decided to go with the Bink Fairy strategy.  We told you that the Bink Fairy would come and take your binks to give to another baby who needed them and that she would leave you a gift.

The week before we made a paper chain to count down the days until the Bink Fairy came.

You thought this was great fun and I had a moment when I thought it would easier than I feared.  However when the time came, it became clear that you were anticipating the Bink Fairy's gift and that the whole giving up your bink thing hadn't quite sunk in.

When you woke up from your nap on The Day, I snapped a few last pictures of you with your bink.  And, okay, I'll admit I cried a little.  It was your last bit of baby.  I'm still a little sad about it.

We went to Target so you could pick out what you wanted and we wrote a note to the Bink Fairy before bed:
We put your binks in a basket and set them out on the front porch with the note.  And then came the hard part.  We closed the door and it suddenly hit you that your binks were on the wrong side of the door.  You politely objected.  We explained the plan again.  You whined a bit.  We explained again.  Your whining graduated to whimpering.  We sympathized and consoled.  Soon you dissolved into grieved tears wailing, "My biiiiink!  My biiiiiiiiiiiiiink!"  

I cried with you, whispered consolations and encouragements to you and prayed that Jesus would comfort your heart as you processed your first real loss.  I sensed the panic that loss brings - the "what's next?  What else will get taken from me?" kind of fear.  So I listed off things that wouldn't change, the things you could count on.  I told you that you would always have Lambie and Snuggle (heck, you can bring them to college if you want! I kinda hope you do.) and that Jesus would help you find another way to soothe yourself.

That first night you cried yourself to sleep in my arms.  Nap the next day was even harder.  But gradually you asked for your binks less, cried for shorter periods of time and one day I realized it had been several days since they had even mentioned them.

I'm so proud of you.  I have dreaded each big transition and marveled at how resilient and brave you are.  I know that this next big hurdle - from Only to Oldest - will be difficult, but it will be wonderful and beautiful, too.  I know that you will amaze me at your ability to adapt, at your Big Sister instincts, and at how easily you come to love and adore your little sister.

I'm so glad I get to be the one to watch these changes happen.  It's an honor to be your mommy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 24

You are observant.

Daddy and I changed the sheets on our bed last night (because Someone was eating crackers in our bed yesterday and when I got in bed I heard an actual *crunch* as I sat down) and the first thing you said when you came in our room was, "What happened to the other sheets?  Where's the brown ones?"

I love that you care about the details.  Me too.  I love details.  It's the details that make a story, make a memory, make a moment.  It's the details that make each blessed creation unique from the one next to it.  I think Jesus loves details, too.

I will admit it would be easier sometimes if you weren't so observant.  When Daddy and I are trying to have a conversation that is not necessarily three-year-old appropriate and we think you aren't tuned in and suddenly you ask, "What's _____ mean?" we exchange a look that says Darn! I thought she wasn't listening/How are we going to get out of this one? 

Nothing gets by without a comment from you.  We bought a few chairs on Craigslist for your new desk and as back-ups when we have company over and I had them lined up in the living to clean them off.  You entered stage right and said dramatically, "There's so many CHAIRS!"

You notice if we try to sneak extra veggies on your plate.  You notice if I slightly rearrange the objects on top of your dresser.  You notice if I wear a new shirt.  You notice if I put my hair in a ponytail.  You notice if Daddy gets a haircut.  You notice if I try to stealthily sneak away a broken toy that I think would live a better life in the trash than at the bottom of your toy bin.  You notice if we try to skip a few pages of a book to get to bedtime sooner.  You notice everything.  

Maybe your observation skills will prove useful in your future career.  Maybe you'll be a scientist.  Or a lawyer.  Or a doctor.  Or a detective.  Or just a mommy like me who also notices everything - including every little growing, changing, lengthening, stretching part of her baby girl.  I have you memorized - every detail.  And I love the details.  The details make you - you.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 23

Sharing quintessential childhood experiences with you.

It snowed like crazy a few days ago, but we were holed up sick.  I hoped you would be better in time to enjoy this massive snowfall and this morning, you woke up happier than you have the last 6 days.  It's clear you're turning a corner - still not 100%, but doing so much better!  Better enough that we all bundled up to play in the snow a bit.

You were a little hesitant - although who can blame you when the snow came up to your knees in some spots!  Your daddy put on a little show for you, climbing to the top of the mound at the corner of our driveway created by the snow plow and then pretending to fall off.  You found this hilarious.

You wanted me to climb up to the top of the mound with you.  So we did.
Unfortunately, our dismount was not nearly as acrobatic as Daddy's - much to your disappointment. 
I wrote your name in the snow.  Daddy showed you that snow was good for eating.  Franny bounded around like the happiest dog in the world.  You took it all in, observing cautiously, blinking in the sunlight reflecting brightly off the snow and occasionally shoving handfuls of snow (that I silently prayed hadn't been peed on) into your mouth.

"Too bright!"
There are moments from my own childhood that seem to hang on with the most clarity and depth and I find myself eager to recreate them for you.  You may not remember this day, but for me it was like re-living my favorite memories with my favorite girl.  Maybe someday you will plop your own three-year-old into a foot of snow and be forcibly reminded of the freshness of the air, the crunch of the surface of the snow breaking, the blinding white, the hills of snow that towered above your head.  If you do, call your mama and I'll tell you all about today.

Day 22

Your will.

This month has been hard.  It's been bittersweet.  Bitter because I have had a hard time coming up with things I love about you in the midst of the difficult month you and I have had together.  We seemed to hit our peak of drama when both of us were stomping mad and slamming doors.  It's a little more embarrassing for me to admit my actions because, hello! I'm supposed to be the grown up here!  But Child?  You know how to push my buttons!

But the timing of 28 days of loving you has been sweet because, as a friend said to me, it's good to be forced to look for the good in the midst of a hard season.

Tonight, I believe the Lord gave me a reason to love your will.

You have been sick all week.  Until today, you've been sick (fever, occasional vomiting and lack of appetite) but happy and relatively active.  Today, however, you were on your feet for less than ten minutes all day.  To say that is unusual would be an insult to an understatement.  You took three naps, wanted me to hold you most of the day and said all of ten words which is, of course, another bizarre occurrence.  I started to get worried about you.  You weren't eating or drinking much, you had vomited several times and you were so lethargic.
You fell asleep in my lap multiple times today
So I called my sweet, dear, faithful, generous friend and pediatrician, Juhi (aka, Afsana's mommy) to see what she thought.  The thing that concerned both of us the most is that you hadn't gone potty all day.  So Juhi suggested I try to get you to take a sip of water every few minutes until you had to go pee.  I told you you needed to either take a drink of water or go potty so I could be assured you weren't dehydrated.  You were not going for this idea.  I'm not really sure if it was because you felt nauseated so you didn't want to eat or drink or because your illness was making you feel especially uncooperative and defiant.  Probably a mix of both.  Whatever the motivator, my pressing you to get hydrated quickly devolved into a screaming crying fit.

And this is where the whole "I love your will" thing comes into play.  Never have I been so relieved to see you throwing a fit!  You broke out all your go-to strategies: throwing things, hitting me, spitting, etc.  Eventually I decided to put you in a Pull-Up thinking that you might more willingly pee in it, which made you even more mad.  I wanted to shut this fit down as quickly as possible fearing it could lead to more vomiting or some other unwanted side effect, so I decided to just let you flail it out in your room by yourself.  You did not want the light on and you did not want us in there so we just let you be in the dark room by yourself.

After about ten minutes your screeches had been downgraded to whines and wails so I peeked in to see what you were up to.  You were sitting bare-bottomed on the wool area rug with your pants around your ankles and your Pull-Up on the floor next to you in the middle of the dark room.  I almost laughed in relief.  In fact, you saw me smirk a bit and yelled, "Don't SMILE!" because you thought I was making light of your misery.  But in reality, all I could think was, "Thank goodness she's okay!"  Half naked in an act of defiance is the best evidence that your normal self was lurking close to the surface.  I had been worried that "normal" you had been displaced by sickly you.

Now, don't get me wrong, in the grand scheme of things we are working toward a normal healthy you that is obedient and non-fit-throwing.  But for today, I was so happy to see the naughty, defiant you emerge even if it was just for a few minutes.  Soon enough, you were falling asleep sitting up so I got you dressed again and put you to bed.

And good news, I checked on you a few hours later and had you sit on the potty and guess what?! You peed!  Ahh, the sweet sound of hydration!

(Yes, this is how we spent our Friday night.  Glamorous, huh?)

Feel better, Baby Girl.  Your daddy desperately wants to build a snowman with you tomorrow!

Day 21

The little moments that only I get to share with you.

The other day, you asked me if you could have another tattoo (you know, those temporary ones you put on with water).  I said 'okay' so you scurried about pulling out the washcloth we use and getting the package of tattoos out.  You chose the ones you wanted (a cat and Tinkerbell) and then you chose two that you thought I should have (two fairies).  I cut them out for you, wet the washcloth and then sat down to help you apply them.  As soon as I placed the damp washcloth on your hand, you started singing your ABC's as our little way of counting down the 30 seconds it takes for the tattoo to adhere.

And that was when I had a moment.  That sort of movie effect where everything but your little face went blurry and the sound of your little voice singing echoed in my ears and things sort of slowed down.  You met my eyes with a small smile as you sang, like we were sharing a little wordless secret.  It was such a mundane moment, but for me it held a magic that even now, as I type is bringing me to tears.  I can't fully explain it except to say that in those little moments, I feel the fullness of my motherhood.  And it's not because I'm fiercely defending or protecting you or because I'm taking the difficult road of setting boundaries and being consistent with discipline or because you made me especially proud or because you told me something sweet.  It's because of the look you gave me that reverberated the beauty and depth of a mother-daughter relationship.

There's a sort of sliding scale for ranking moments like that.  On the highest point of that scale, of course, was the moment you were lifted up to me and I looked into your squinting eyes for the first time and whispered through tears, "Hi, Lila.  Hi, Baby Girl."

But then there are smaller tattoo-sized moments that happen monthly, weekly, daily.

Holding your hand and having you initiate our little secret pattern of three squeezes: squeeze-squeeze-squeeze: I-LOVE-YOU.

Brushing your teeth and hearing you giggle when the bristles tickle your gums.

Teaching you a new skill like writing your name.

Walking alongside you on the sidewalk as you figure out how to balance your scooter.

Opening the curtains dramatically and hearing your equally as dramatic gasp of pleasure when you see the sparkling foot of snow that our Good Lord dumped on us yesterday.

Then there's the less glamorous, holding your hair back while you puke into the trashcan, checking for heat radiating from your feverish little forehead, counting to myself the number of times I silently place you back in your bed for a time out Super-Nanny-Style, microwaving chicken nuggets.

No matter where they are on the scale, these moments are the heartbeats of my motherhood pulse.  They punctuate the static and rhythmically remind me who you have made me to be: a mama.  You, my firstborn, will always be a great gift to me because it was you who made me a mommy.  No one else carries that distinction but your fiery little self.  No one else could.  If only you could know the coma-inducing rush of emotions that moments like that flood over me.  If only you could, you would know how madly, deeply, recklessly I love you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 20

How sweet and snuggly you are when you are sick.

On a normal day, you are a tornado of silliness - dancing, twirling, running, jumping, flailing silliness.  And that level of energy demands a good appetite and you are usually a great (if not a bit distracted) eater.  You also aren't really that much of a cuddle girl.  You would rather wrestle or climb or jump on me.

So, when you are mellow, don't want to eat and especially cuddly, I should know by now that something is off.  You've had a low-grade fever for about three days now (which, in hindsight, might explain some of the grouchy battles we've had recently) and I couldn't quite figure out what was going on with you.  Daddy and I were debating what to do about school today when you threw up.  That settled it.  You couldn't go to school and Daddy would have to stay home with you.

You had some pretty funny quotes from the night as you were processing your latest affliction.

A few minutes after you got sick, you were sipping some water from your Tinkerbell cup and said, "Mommy?  Tinkerbell doesn't fwow up."

"No, kiddo, she doesn't."



I somehow changed the subject.  Sometimes you ask me questions I don't know how to answer.

Then, a little while later you said, "Mommy?  Are you so sad that I'm sick?"

"Yes, Peanut.  I'm so sorry you are sick!"

"Why am I sick?"

"Because you caught someone's germs."

"They didn't wash their hands!"

And then, when you caught me rewarding my parenting woes (aka, washing the puke out of my pants) with a Thin Mint cookie you said in all seriousness, "Cookies make me feel all better."

If only, my girl.  If only.  Feel better soon!  As much as I love cuddly Lila, I prefer happy, healthy Lila!

That is the vacant stare of a sick kiddo.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 19

How much you love to read.

You have always loved to read from the time you were an itty-bitty baby.  And I loved the stage (about this time last year) when you would "read" to yourself in complete jibberish.  And even now, reading is more about reciting books we've read over and over again or just examining pictures.

But you are already in the beginning stages of reading.  You know most letter sounds and often ask what letter a word starts with or how to spell a word.  The other day in the car, you said, "How do you spell 'Franny'?" so we sounded it out together and you got F-R-A-N and then I helped you with the N-Y.  I was so impressed and proud.  I can't wait until the light-bulb really lights up and your reading takes off!

Today, you wanted me to read you a stack of books, but I was in the middle of cleaning the kitchen so I asked you to look through them by yourself first.  To my surprise, you complied and I got about 15 minutes of solid kitchen work done!  Wahoo!

I've recently been making a mental list of books I can't wait to read aloud with you as you get older.  Mostly they're books I remember reading with Nanny when I was a little girl - Little House on the Prairie, The Chronicles of Narnia, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, etc.  I have a picture framed in your room of me putting barrettes in Nanny's hair as she read aloud to me.  It's one of those mommy moments I dream about happening for us someday!  Will you cooperate and let me read to you even after you are an independent reader?  I hope so!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 18

The things you say.

Tonight, after you had been in bed for about 10 minutes you yelled, "Mommy!  Mooooommmmmy!  I have a booooooggggeerrrrrrrr!"

And I thought, that's my thing I love about you today.  Not the booger part, but the way you consistently catch me off guard with cute/funny/witty/creative/surprising/thoughtful things you say.

Here are several of our favorites:

Me: Stop being so cute!
You: No! I'm going to be so cute some more!

To Daddy out of nowhere: Daddy? You're awesome.

In the back seat of the car after some quiet introspection: Mommy? I LOVE pink and purple and sparkly things.

To Lambie (your stuffed animal): Lambie! Stop being so wiggly!

To Daddy when we met him for lunch: Daddy, I haven't seen you in such a long time!

In the car at dusk: Mommy!  They already put the moon up!

Upon seeing the horses pulling the carriages on the Plaza: Gasp! Can I get in there????

In Target: Mommy, I wanted to play with those today and you say 'no' and that makes me so! sad! (a foot stomp accompanied each exclamation point)

To me one morning: I want Pop to come over and I want you to leave.

Your conversation with Lambie upon waking up from your nap one day: You know what, Lambie? This is not my Birdie Blanket anymore, it's yours now! (Singing) It's yooooooouuuuuurrrrsss!  This is your Birdie Blanket nooooooowwwwwwww!"

Struggling to put your shoes on: Oh my goodness! I'm having a rough time!

To me after you found one of your baby teething toys: Mommy! I'm going to give this to Baby Faith when she comes home!  Is that so nice of me?!

To Daddy after you almost ran him over running around the house: Oh! Sorry, Sir!

Pretending the thermometer is a phone: Hello? Yes? Your fever hurts? Okay, I will come help you.

You: Oh! Daddy forgot his hat!  Maybe we can call him!
Me: Sure, we can call him
You: (singing to the tune of Amazing Grace) I once was lost!  But now I found his haaaaatttttt! Maybe we will caaalllll hiiiiimmmmm!

You: Mommy, do you know what I love?
Me: (laughing) What do you love?
Lila: Little girl dogs and little girl cats and little girl lambs!

And I know I have shared this one before, but it is one of my all-time favorites.  Daddy was helping you get dressed and you objected to his clothing choice: No! Princesses don't wear jeans!

Oh, Lila.  You never cease to amaze and amuse me!  I love you!

Day 17

You love to help.

You have always loved to help, but now your help is actually a help (most of the time)!

You love helping me make your lunch.  You pull your little stool up to the counter and count out blueberries or apply the peanut butter or add cheese to your cheesy taco.

You also love helping me put away your laundry.  You remember which drawer is for each article of clothing and you get upset if I put it away without asking for your help.

You also are getting really good at cleaning up your toys after you are done playing with them (we now have that as part of our nightly routine which keeps this mama sane to have a straightened-up house when I go to bed!)

You love helping me when we watch Ruby or Cousin Evie.  You share your toys, you love holding Evie, and you bring me diapers and bottles or whatever else we need!  You are going to be a great help when Faith is home!

Today, Daddy was doing some work on our latest project (a vintage desk I discovered at River Market Antique Mall!  Oooooh! I'm so excited for it to be done!) and you wanted to help him.  So he put you to work sanding the metal down to be ready for primer and paint!  It was pretty much the cutest thing:
It's now a pretty teal blue!  And Daddy is working on staining the new desk top! Ooh la-la!
I love that you want to engage and be a part of what we are doing.  I just hope that we can keep up that attitude as you grow up.  I want you to grow up to feel valuable, capable and skilled and all that comes from getting good practice doing lots of things!  Three years old is not too young to be having some small responsibilities and you rise to the task!  I'm so proud of you!

Day 16

You keep me on my toes.

Sometimes parenting you is a creative challenge.  I strive to be consistent with my discipline, but I recently came to the realization that if you insist on adapting your acts of rebellion to challenge the boundaries we've set up, then I am allowed to change my discipline strategies to meet the new need.

Example 1: Nap time battles.
February 2013 has been punctuated by sleep battles due to the very over-due and painful departure of the Bink.  For about two weeks straight, you have been throwing massive temper tantrums at nap time. We have adjusted your schedule which helped a bit, but your fits were getting out of control!  I won't go into the gory details, but I will share the strategy I eventually came up with: the Time Out Bag (which, unfortunately, has turned into a Time Out Room).

On Friday you had reached a level of hysterics where you were throwing your toys around your room.  So I told you that my job as your mommy is to keep you safe, and if you threw your toys, I would take those toys away.  So one by one, I removed toy after toy from your room.

By the time you were done with your fit I had amassed quite the collection:
This doesn't include your tubs of legos, your matching game, your tea cart or your puzzles.
I eventually got you to sleep and when you woke up from your nap you asked about your dress up clothes (which earned their place in the Time Out Bag when you pulled the hooks where they are supposed to hang off the wall).  I brought you to the laundry room (a room which you are not allowed in due to the fact that it has cleaning chemicals and the dog's dishes and the furnace, etc) and showed you the pile of your toys that were in Time Out.  I told you that you would have to earn each and every toy back by acts of obedience.  If you ate lunch without arguing, I would give you a choice among three toys (of my choice - that way your favorite items wouldn't get earned back first to keep you motivated) to earn back.  If you got your PJs on the first time I asked, you could choose another toy.  If you obeyed at the grocery store, you could choose another.  You get the idea.

You quickly shaped up, determined to earn back the right to play with your toys.  And I rejoiced at your newfound compliant nature and patted myself on the back for coming up with such an effective strategy.

Until the next day.

I prepped you that we would need to get ready for nap in five minutes and that if you didn't throw a fit, you could earn back another toy.  To which you replied, "I don't want another toy back."  I knew this wasn't true, but still, it posed a threat to my brilliant system!  So I adapted again, "Okay, if you choose not to obey, then Mommy gets to pick a toy from your room to add to the Time Out Bag."  You found this wholly unjust, but too bad for you, I'm the boss!

Guess who has now had three nap times in a row without a fit?  You!  I will admit, there is a part of me that admires your resourcefulness, your problem solving, your tenacity.  And God chose me to be your mommy so he must think I'm up to the challenge!  I am so proud of both of us for finding a way around your stubborn and strong will!

(Please don't punish me for celebrating too soon!)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 15

How much you love music.

You sing 80% of your waking hours.  Often your singing is in conjunction with acting out a part in a Disney movie.  It's hilarious to hear your interpretations of lyrics, "It's not apitude, it's the way you dude!" (actual lyrics are "It's not your aptitude, it's the way you're viewed") or when you create your own renditions of songs, "I've got five princesses in my family, and a prince, and a BEAST!" (here's the original).

We had dinner at Grandma and Great-Pop's house the other day and Great-Pop was watching the Lawrence Welk show (which reminded me forcibly of this SNL sketch) and you were immediately glued to the TV.

Whether it's pop songs like "Call Me Maybe," Broadway hits like "Popular," or the Lawrence Welk show, music is music to you and you love it.

But my absolute favorite is hearing you sing the Rain for Roots songs in the back of the car.  The only problem is you are in a stage where you get really mad at me when I film you so every time I try to catch you singing in the car, you immediately stop singing and yell at me.  But this weekend, Daddy was driving and you were singing your little heart out so I slyly set my phone on record and set it on the console.  Trust me, you'll be glad your mama is so crafty when you are older and get to hear your sweet little voice singing, "Little One, in the storm God cares for you!"

I love your sweet little voice singing about Jesus!  My heart can barely take it!

Friday, February 15, 2013

intermission and a mini-fundraiser!

I'm supposed to be writing about Day 15 of Things I Love about Lila, but we have had A DAY.  To give you a glimpse, just let me tell you that I'm not exaggerating when I say that Lila almost started a fire in our house this morning.  It involved the USB cord from the printer and an electric heater - both of which she has strict instructions to NOT TOUCH.  Can't a mama load the dishwasher without worrying that her child might burn the house down in the other room???



*Deep breath.*

Okay, so because I want this to actually be 28 Things I LOVE about Lila instead of 27 Things I Love about Lila and 1 Thing I'd like to Extinguish (pun intended), I decided to take a break and I'll do double-duty tomorrow.  Hopefully she'll be a little less destructive tomorrow.  *Sigh again.*

But it's good timing for an intermission anyway because my darling friend, Laurisa has a little mini fundraiser going on right now to fulfill her One of One Hundred pledge to help us bring Baby Faith home!

She's selling these sweet hand-made bracelets for $10 each.

$5 goes toward our adoption and $5 goes toward her unpaid maternity leave so all $10 helps babies!  Hooray for babies!

Here's how you can order:
1. Email Laurisa at sasabluedesign(at)gmail(dot)com and tell her which style you'd like and how many
2. Make payment via PayPal to sasabluedesign(at)gmail(dot)com.
3. If you need it shipped, add an extra $2.50 to the price

She has the colors pictured plus red and blue.  Order today!  I love the green one with the white pearly beads. Yum.


Day 14

How much fun it is to surprise you with little things I've done for you.

Your reaction is so worth any time and effort I put into the little surprises!  You say things like, "You made that for ME?!" and "It's BEAUTIFUL!" and "THANK you, Mommy!" and "Ha! I LOVE IT!"

So satisfying!  But dangerous because your awesome reactions make me want to spoil you rotten!

For Valentine's Day this year, I created two different options for you.  I love using Valentine's Day to note what you are really into each year so this year I had to do something with Rapunzel.

I tried a few options, but they all revealed my still-learning-not-so-awesome Photoshop skills:

So I abandoned the Rapunzel idea and decided to go with a photo that I loved from your 3 year old photos:

That was the one we ended up handing out to your friends, but you were in L-O-V-E with the second Rapunzel one.  Your reaction was so satisfying.  You kept putting your face two inches from the computer screen and saying, "Mommy, do I have long beautiful hair?  Am I Rapunzel!? Ha! I'm so beautiful!"

So I printed a few of those as well with the thought that you could give them to some of your non-school friends.  But when our friend Camille came over, you refused to give her one.  You wanted to keep all of them.  I guess the idea of exchanging Valentines was lost on you.  The funny thing is, Camille was equally upset about having to hand over her Valentine for you!  Maybe in a few years you'll get the idea.

Either way, it was still worth it to create a few little Valentine's Day surprises for you!  You make it so fun to surprise you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 13

Your daddy.

This is, and always will be, my favorite thing about you.  Your daddy is the BEST.

Today is Daddy's 30th birthday so I want to tell you 30 things I love about your daddy.

1. He is fun.  You know this.  He is so good at playing with you.
2. He is loyal.  Your daddy will always be there for us.
3. He is a hard worker.  Your daddy goes to work every day to provide for us and even though his job can be hard sometimes, he rarely complains.
4. He is funny.  No one can make us laugh like Daddy!
5. He is consistent.  Daddy is steady.  You never have to wonder how he will respond to something because he is steadfast and even.
6. He values time with us.  Daddy often goes in to work early so he can be sure that he can leave on time to get home to us.  He is always sad when you have to go to bed early because he misses playing with you.
7. He is selfless.  Daddy always puts us first.  He is always willing to set aside his wants or needs to take care of us.
8. He is a good friend.  Daddy knows how to care for people.  His example of how to be a friend will shape you well.
9. He is an AWESOME husband.  I am so glad that you have such an amazing daddy to show you what a good husband is like.  I pray that his example will help you choose your future husband wisely.
10. He is creative.  I love hearing him play the drums, reading things he writes, listening to his ideas, watching him create.  I know that your creativity comes from Daddy!
11. He is a great cook.  And thank goodness!  Because your mommy's cooking leaves something to be desired!
12. He is even-tempered.  That means he doesn't get mad easily.  You will be especially grateful for this when you are a teenager.  Believe me.

13. He is affectionate.  You will never be deprived of hugs and smooches when your daddy is around!
14. He is smart.  Your daddy knows something about everything!  (He got that from your Papa!)
15. He is wise.  Being smart and being wise are not the same things!  But you can trust your daddy's advice.  He is wise AND smart!
16. He is generous.  Daddy gives of his time, his talents and his money with a generous heart.
17. He is strong.  And manly.  You can trust him to protect us.
18. He is courageous.  Daddy knows how to file away his fears and step out in faith when confronted with something that requires bravery.

19. He is thoughtful.  You and I get to benefit for the ways he considers how to care for us best.
20. He is passionate.  Daddy commits himself to the things he loves with his whole heart.
21. He is obedient.  Your daddy knows how to listen to God and follows his leading with an obedient heart.
22. He can fix anything!  From a computer to a dishwasher to a car to a broken chair - he finds a way to fix it!
23. He is a master carpenter.  This is an inside joke between Mommy and Daddy, but that doesn't make it less true!  He built your rocking chair, your stage, a bookshelf for me - that's just the beginning!
24. He is a rockstar drummer.  This is one of the reasons I fell in love with him - what girl can resist a rockstar?

25. He has good taste.  In food, in movies, in music, in furniture, in wives!
26. He is a helper.  Whether it's helping me clean the house, helping a friend paint his house, helping any number of people with a computer problem, your daddy is always willing to help!
27. He is humble.  He doesn't realize how great he is!
28. He listens to me.  He values my opinion, trusts my instincts and cares what I think.
29. He is a devoted father. You are his top priority.  His love for you dictates most of his thoughts and actions.  He is involved and active in your life.  I can tell you think he's pretty great.
30. He loves us. But you knew that already, didn't you?

Isn't your daddy the best?  I am so grateful for him.  We are so lucky!

Happy Birthday, Husband! We love you!!

*All photos taken by the wonderful Jenae Weinbrenner of Imij Foto.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 12

You see the world as an epic treasure hunt.

I am constantly finding things you have "hidden" in odd places.  On that same note, you are constantly asking me where ______ is only to have one of us accidentally come across it tucked somewhere random.

Examples include:

The sticker art project you "put away" in the fridge.

Sesame Street guys in my shoes.

Various small toys "put to bed" in between or behind couch cushions.
A baby rattle you snuck into my purse when Evie was over.
Lambie hiding underneath my pillow.
Your little plastic animal toys tucked away in a Kleenex box.
"The Red Girl" (the villain from Tangled) doll hidden in the laundry basket where I keep my shoes because you "don't like her because she's mean."
Your "hair" (the scarf you pretend is your Rapunzel hair) stuffed or abandoned or strung or dropped any number of places.
A cup full of Squinkies.

I love the way your mind works, but I do wish you could remember where you had tucked things away after the fact!

One day after school we were on a mad hunt for your precious Birdie Blanket.  After a trip back up to school, a few frantic phone calls to your teachers, and a desperate search of the car and house I had finally given up and went to pick up a box of my lesson supplies from that day.  It felt oddly heavy for being a box of empty paper towel rolls.  Oh the relief when I saw Birdie Blanket in all its pink fuzzy glory keeping the paper towel rolls warm!  When I told you I found it, you gasped in pleasant surprise as if to say, "Good job, Mommy!  You found it!"

And more recently, you have been earning little princess dolls by filling out your weekly sticker charts.  The most recent one you earned was Jasmine from Aladdin.  However, Jasmine disappeared within about ten minutes of her acquisition and you had no recollection of where she was.  That was 3-4 days ago.  Tonight, as I was helping you put away your toys before bed, I opened up your pretend picnic basket and guess who I found?

Other than the rare occasion where you hide something important, I really get a kick out of discovering your little buried treasures throughout the house.  If we ever move, I can only imagine the treasure hunt that will ensue as we begin to pack up the house!                                                                                      

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 11

The delight you show in the small things I do for you.

I try to remember to include a little note to you in your lunch box every week at school.  It is so fun to come up with fun ways to tell you how much I love you and I love hearing you tell me about the note when we get home from school as though I didn't know about it!  "Mommy, you put a FAIRY note in my lunch today!"
And then, what really makes my heart sing, is when I forget to include a note and you notice!  Sometimes you'll even remind me to put a note in when I'm making your lunch the night before.  I'm glad that the little things I do to show you I love you are hitting the mark!