Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Escape and Give Thanks

Last week, we took advantage of the long Thanksgiving weekend and got away.  We
packed up the truck and drove to the beach, enjoying a much needed break with some of
our best friends.  It took a full hour from the time I first said "We're ready, let's go!" until
we actually pulled out of the driveway: we forgot our sunglasses, Belle's favorite barbie,
you name it.  Shawn finally threw me in the truck after finding me in the house, wiping
down the countertops one last time.  Let it go, Liv, it's time to roll.
And roll we did.  We spent 4 glorious days laughing and playing with lifelong
friends, watching our babies build on the friendship we started so many years ago.
Cara cooked a big turkey dinner and, despite her protests for me to relax, I snuck in
my family's beloved macaroni and cheese.  The weather was beautiful and we ate our
big meal outdoors under the warm Florida sun.

001 wagonCollage 003 019-1

We skipped out on the early morning Black Friday shopping craziness and hit the 
beach instead.  The water was just warm enough to get your feet wet which, to the 
kids, meant GO FOR IT!  Little ones have no fear of cold water.  We buried them in 
the white sand, played football, and enjoyed having the big open space to ourselves.  After 
a leftover turkey sandwich lunch, we put the babies and the daddies down for naps and 
Cara and I went out for a little shopping.  The crowds had died down and we were able 
to score some amazing deals and quite a few chocolate chip cookies as well.  

039 046 069 068 091 052 071

093 044 059-1 065 084 083 087

It was a fantastic weekend: we were able to go out on a double date sans kids, we ate 
more fudge than should be humanly possible, and I took my first deep breathe in a long 
time.  It was the break we've been needing without knowing we needed it.  
There's something so magical about a roadtrip, the healing power found in a change 
of scenery.  We have so much to be thankful for.

101 102 063-1 

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Party Time

We celebrated Brees' second birthday on Saturday with a little gathering at our house:
Yo Gabba Gabba themed.  We filled our house up with family, friends, and dozens
of cupcakes.  Shawn grilled hot dogs and I made the chili, Belle set up cookies and ice
cream and helped me hang a pretty banner.  We kept everything simple and easy,
enjoying our time with our guests and relaxing in the kitchen.  The big kids played in
the woods behind our house for a while, building forts and staging great adventures while
the babies played in our feet.  Brees was in heaven with all the attention, giving each
and every person at the party a hug and kiss.  We all sprawled out on the kitchen floor
and made a big fuss over her presents, cheering loudly as she clapped and smiled.  Cake
was served, chocolate of course, and we sang happy birthday at the top of our lungs.  I had
a few games prepared to keep the kids entertained but they were so busy playing
and enjoying themselves that we skipped them.  We can always use "Pin The Eye On
Muno" later.  
The worst part of the day happened towards the end of the party when Isabelle came to
me, tears streaming down her face, and whispered in my ear that she didn't feel good.
She was burning up with a 102 fever and looked exhausted.  She was crying because
she didn't want to make a fuss and ruin Brees' party, she said that she had been "toughing
it out" so that she could play hostess to the little kids.  My heart broke when I looked at
her and realized that she was really sick but had held out on telling me.  She
was immediately surrounded by all the mamas, given medicine and cool compresses and
lots of fluids.  Her two best friends set up shop on the couch with her, making sure that
she had everything she needed.  A selfless big sister, what an amazing gift to us
all.  Thankfully, she felt good as new after a long night's sleep and was back to herself in
no time. 
It was a great day and we felt blessed to be surrounded by so much love.  The house
stayed messy for the rest of the weekend as we finished off all the desserts and played
with Brees' new toys.  She's a lucky little girl but we are even luckier to have her.
This video is my favorite moment of the day: it perfectly captures childhood innocence
and glee.  The look of surprise on Brees' face is priceless!

014 017 074-1 044 029 040 101 036-1 041 046 060 062 031 080 021 095-1 

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Year Of: Learning

Brees Elizabeth turned 2 years old on November 15.  I know that every mother says this,
but I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed.  As I reflect on this last year
and all the adventures and milestones we have experienced, I hope that you enjoy this
series of posts about our family and all the things we have learned this past year.
A year of coming into her own...
Brees is an explorer, an active and curious child who wants to know and
understand everything around her.  From the moment she wakes up in the morning,
she asks to put on her shoes and "go outside!".  She loves digging in dirt and eating it,
too.  She loves running and climbing and playing in water.  Her favorite thing to do is
to rummage through my closet, purse, and/or make-up bag: spilling all of their
contents from one end of the house to the other as she examines each object and claims
it for herself.  She is messy, mischievous, and the type of child who, if you suddenly notice
is quiet, you had better investigate immediately.  
We try to foster this constant need for exploration by giving Brees little areas to go wild.
We have a big pot of dirt in our garden full of tools for her to dig in, a kitchen playset in
our kitchen for her to cook and imitate mama, a baby pool set up just for her to splash
and play in.  It's so important to me for my girls to feel inspired and stimulated and I try
to make our home a reflection of that.  I think back to the days when I had a
perfectly decorated house that was sparkling clean and completely organized and I smile.
As much as I loved that space, I am so thankful for what we have now.  The messes and
little kid things: they have made our house a home.

This year, Brees grew into her own person, developed a distinct personality with likes
and dislikes.  She likes: eating everything in sight, snuggling and giving/getting lots
of affection, sleeping, being dirty/getting dirty/making messes, reading books, playing
with her baby dolls/toy trains/building blocks.  She dislikes: getting dressed, when the
dogs lick her face/steal her snacks, using silverware.  She is funny and has learned how
to make people laugh, a complete ham just like her older sister.
For a Type A personality mother, Brees has been an amazing learning experience for
me.  She has taught me to let go of my need to have a perfectly clean home: a big
mess means a big memory.  She has taught me to enjoy sitting in the dirt on a warm
summer day rather than worry over stains and dirty feet: soap can fix most anything.
Brees has helped me let go of so many neuroses, encouraged me through her peaceful
spirit to surrender to the big and beautiful world around me.  I've always thought that
God puts certain people into our lives for specific reasons, people to help us on our
journey and nurture our souls.  Throughout her second year, Brees has helped me to
relax and be present, to have fun and enjoy the simplest moments.  Brees has helped
to ground me and make me a better person.  Thank you, little girl, for your free spirit.

023-1 036-1 010 043 013 012-1 036-1 017-1 044-1 017 007 

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!