Mermaids and Pirates

Summer birthdays are the best!  There are really so many possibilities for parties and the planner inside me gets giddy thinking about them.  When I was pregnant and found out Jack was going to be a boy I knew Mermaids and Pirates was a must do.  It helps that Olivia is currently obsessed with mermaids.  So here's the truth, I slacked big time with this party.  I did not even go shopping for decorations until 2 days before, stayed up all night 2 nights in a row and threw it together last minute.  I also like to do big DIY projects for parties so I was really kicking myself for not starting on it sooner.  I think it turned out really fun though!  

I made the streamer backdrop from plastic table cloths.  It was not hard at all, just super time consuming, but it really gave the under the sea vibe I was going for.  We had a mix of pirate and mermaid food like peg legs (corn dogs) and seaweed dip (spinach dip).  I took a picture of a cake I liked to Publix and I think they did a fabulous job. 
The weather gave us a little hiccup with rain right as the party started.  We decided to go ahead and eat, do cake and presents while we waited for the rain to stop.  Jack tore right into his little cupcake and had blue icing from ear to ear.  I had to hose him down in the tub immediately after so he was naked, diaper boy until pool time.

Olivia pretty much opened both her and Jack's presents, but he didn't mind too much.  He crawled around in his diaper trying to sneak a bite of tissue paper here and there. 

After presents the sun was shining so we all hit the pool.  The kids played so hard and we were all ready to get to bed before the sun went down.  Jack even slept thought the night - whoo hoo!

Thank you everyone who came out to celebrate with us.  It was such a fun party!  I cannot believe my baby boy will be one in 2 weeks.  I half way pretended this party was just for Olivia because my heart cannot take the fact that he is almost one.  If you need me I'll just be over here in denial that my babies are growing up so fast. 

Now it is time to get ready to celebrate the 4th of July and we are pumped up for a weekend at the lake! 
Happy Tuesday friends!

Olivia's 3rd Birth Day

We are having the kids a joint birthday party this upcoming weekend, but you know I cannot let an actual birthday pass by without celebrating just a little.  Olivia has always loved the "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" books.  Her favorite happens to be "Happy Birthday Mouse".  In the book mouse gets to choose whatever he wants to eat for breakfast on his birthday from lots of yummy stuff.  Any time I asked Olivia what she wanted for her birthday she immediately said, cupcakes and waffles and brownies and muffins and doughnuts!  So you know what mama had to make, right?

I put together a small for me spread and invited some of her friends over to celebrate with us.  We had lots of yummy sweet and mimosas for the moms because you can't party with 12 children without a little alcohol.  Jack slept right through most of the rumpus somehow.  The kiddos played so well together and even put on a dress up show for us in Olivia's princess gear.

  Calvin was killing it as the token prince.  He had all of the fair maidens lined up to marry him at one point!  Olivia was also super excited to show off her new big girl princess bed.  I am still in shock at how well she adjusted from the crib.  She absolutely loves her new bed!
After Chad got home I had all of her presents set up in her room for her to open since her bed was technically a birthday present too.  She had waited so patiently all day to open presents and she practically ran up the stairs to see all of her goodies. It is so cool to see things through your children's eyes.  She was so excited for single thing she opened up.  It made my heart so happy.

For dinner she requested spaghetti and bread sticks.  Although, I am pretty sure that Jack enjoyed his meal more than all of us put together. 

For dessert I made a yellow cake with pink frosting just as the birthday girl wished.  We sang "happy birthday" no less than 7 times and let her blow out her candle each time.  She asked me before bed if she could still be three tomorrow and I told her she would.  She gave the biggest grin and we all went to bed with full bellies and happy hearts.

And just like that I have a three year old.

Olivia Jane 3 Years Old

I think I have been putting off writing this post because if I am being honest, it hurts my heart to think my baby girl is three years old.  Time is flying by and she is growing up right before my eyes.  What an amazing little lady we have.
She is so beautiful.  I sit and stare at her all of the time.  Looking at her eyes and her long lashes, her pretty red lips and perfect skin.  I'm sure other moms do this too (please say you do so I don't think I am a weirdo).  It is hard for me to believe that I helped create such a perfect little human.
She has such a funny little personality. 
It takes her a minute to warm up to new people and she will stare you down trying to figure you out.  I know a lot of the shyness is probably from her just being at home with me all of the time and I am sure she will probably grow out of it when she starts pre-school this fall.  I cannot believe it is time for that already! 
My girl is so smart.  She can count to 20 with ease, can recognize all of her letters and numbers by sight, has several books memorized, knows every Disney princess and their theme song and will not hesitate to sing it for you.  She is too smart for her own good sometimes.  I always have to explain everything to her.  A simple yes or no does not cut it.  She needs to know why and will argue with me if she thinks I am wrong.  If I ask her to do something and she doesn't do it and I have to ask her again she tells me "hold on, I'm thinking".  Seriously kid, how old are you?  She knows her birthday and will proudly tell you she is 3 (while holding up 3 fingers) if you ask her.  She also knows Chad and my real name including middle names.  She knows Jack's and her own too as well as her cousins and Heath and Ashley.  She remembers things I think there is no way she will remember.  She surprises me all the time with things that I have said forever ago and she will call me out on it.
Her cousins "tousins" are her favorite people on Earth. Ava is the first person she asks to see every morning and the first person she prays for at night.  They say they are best friends and I am so happy they have each other.  My sister and I are so blessed to have babies close together.  It is such a joy watching them grow up together. 
She loves Jack so much too!  Maybe even a little too much at times.  She is always hugging and kissing on him, even when he is trying to get away.  She loves to chase him around and have him chase her.  He is on the verge of walking and that is going to be so much fun when he can really play with her more on her level.  They are so sweet together it melts my heart.
Stubborn as ever.  Sometimes I want to pull all of my hair out trying to get through a rough day.  She is the most strong willed child I have ever seen.  She has taught me so much about my own personality and I have to work so hard to parent with grace and forgiveness.  Sometimes in the middle of a melt down if I just stop and pick her up and hug her it diffuses everything.  She is as sweet as she is stubborn.  She loves to sit in my lap and always wants me to tickle her back.  She is my snuggle bug and I love every second of it.  Since she doesn't nap anymore we have rest time in the afternoon while Jack naps. I try to pick up and clean around the house, but she always asks me to come snuggle with her and I really can't resist that.  So dirty floors it is around here ;)
Her imagination is amazing!  She loves playing with her little princess figurines and her castle.  The dialogue she creates between them blows me away.  She will play by herself for at least an hour like that.  I love to play with her too.  I think we are getting to the stage where she will start enjoying barbies and I see a dream house in her Christmas future!  Barbies were my favorite growing up and I am so excited to share that with her.
She is always dancing and twirling around the house.  She sings her princess songs all of the time and knows every word.  She loves for me to dance silly with her.  She copies everything I do and thinks I am a fantastic dancer.  She giggles and has the best time. Jack and Chad look at us like we are crazy.
The food situation is not so great right now.  I seriously don't know how she survives.  She barely eats anything at all.  I think she would eat cheezits for every meal if she could.  The only saving grace is the amount of fruit we eat around here.  She loves blue berries, strawberries, oranges, apples, grapes and watermelon.  I try to give her at least one fruit with every meal so at least she eats something.  I am hoping she will grow out of it soon.
She loves going shopping with me wherever I am going.  Her favorite and mine is Target.  Who doesn't love a good cake pop?  She is my little buddy most of the time, but when it is time for bed she wants her Daddy.  She tells me every night that I can put her to bed "tomorrow".  I love that they have that sweet bond.  He takes her up to read books and brush teeth while I put Jack down. I come in for prayers and then Chad sings to her and lays her down.
She has gotten super picky about what she wears. If she had her way she would wear a princess costume every single day.  A lot of days I let her do just that. On days I put up the fight to make her wear real clothing she has these stipulations: it has to be a dress, preferably pink and have a tutu and you cannot forget the twirl factor. She also wants to pick out her own shoes, bow, necklace and bracelets.  I really do love that she is so girly.  It makes it super fun to buy her clothes and she truly gets so excited when a new dress comes in the mail.  I have created a monster.
She got a new big girl bed for her birthday and has been sleeping so well in it.  It was way past time to give up the crib, but I was just scared to rock the boat when sleep was going so well.  She lays down like a big girl and sleeps all night - in big girl panties!!!  She has been potty trained for a long time, but still wearing pull ups to bed.  I didn't really push the issue and after waking up dry for about the last month getting a new bed seemed like the right time to say goodbye to those pull ups too.  She hasn't had any accidents yet, so far so good!
I have to share a few toddler tales she has said lately.  I wish I could remember every thing she says because she is so darn funny.
Me: You have Cheetos all over your face, let me wipe you off
Olivia: But it's ok, we can clean it off tomorrow
After waking up at 5:55am at the beach
"mommy, I'm boring, I need to go downstairs now"
"I have a booger in my nose, but you don't need to get it because I already got it out with my finger and threw it on the floor"
When she sees Chad and I hugging she runs over and says "group hug" for approximately 2 seconds then "ok, that's enough" and pushes us apart.
To my baby girl
I have loved you since the moment I knew you were in my belly.  I never knew I could love the way that I love you.  I am so incredibly proud to be mommy to you and Jack.  I love watching you live life.  You are so full of joy and you are on 100 percent energy all of the time.  I love watching your sweet face light up when you get excited.  I love being the one to comfort you.  I love our snuggle time and I hope you want to sit in my lap forever.  I love how much you love your brother and how sweet you are to help me so much with him.  You are such a special and beautiful little girl and you are so very loved.  God has big plans for you and I promise to be here for you every step of the way.  Thank you for being the my little girl!  I love you to the moon and back my angel!
Photography by my amazing friend Heather Kemp Photography

Family Lake Birthday Weekend

Another year come and gone before I even had time to blink.  It is hard to believe how fast time is passing me by, but it was so nice to slow down and enjoy this weekend with the ones I love the most.  This picture of my sweet boy pretty much sums up how I feel about this weekend.  All the warm and fuzzies going on over here.  Happy as a clam and soaking up my beautiful family.  Birthdays seem to bring out time for reflection.  I am always thankful, but this weekend I really stopped to take in my surroundings. I am blessed beyond measure to be loved by a big God who is always there for me and loves me unconditionally. I am married to the most wonderful man in the world, didn't even know they existed like him.  My children fill me with more love and joy than I ever knew was possible.  I have an amazing family and truly wonderful friends.  I say all of this not to have a brag moment, but to acknowledge all of the wonderful loved ones around me.  I hope I never take one second for granted.  Life is so short and we are blazing through it at lightning speed.  Do you ever have those moments when you look around and think, it just doesn't get any better than this?  Honestly, that scares me to death.  I never want to become complacent, especially in my walk with Christ.  My biggest fear is that I start to think I have all of this happiness and start to rely on him less to fulfill me.  I am humbled to know that there is nothing I can do to earn or deserve His love and mercy.  My heart breaks for others I know going through earthly sorrow, but as I see their walk with Christ growing intensely I cannot help but want that too.  Of course not the pain, but I want to depend on Jesus for my every breath and to live the life He has laid out for me with a passion for Him.  So this next year, and all of the ones that follow, I devote to deepening my relationship with my creator and to honor His blessings in my life.  I pray that I can love my husband and my children through the overflowing of His love on me.  I pray that I can be a blessing to those around me, especially this little nugget of love.
We had an amazing weekend.  A few of our friends and their babes joined us for part of the time and the kids had a blast.  Boat rides, swimming, playing on floats, eating way too much junk, staying up late, that is what fun times are made of.  And of course, Edgar's strawberry cake!

Another exciting weekend of firsts for my boy too!  This was his first trip to the lake. Well, he went once when he was 2 months old, but he didn't get to do any fun stuff.  He was a trooper about the annoying life jacket and absolutely loved the boat rides.  He would go from standing, dancing excitedly to sitting beside me just relaxing and holding my hand.  He is the most chill baby ever and so precious he melts my heart!

Olivia has always loved being at the lake.  Her favorite thing was playing on the big blue mat since she has become a little skittish of the water lately.  She danced to the music, drove the boat with Daddy and played her little heart out.  I cannot believe my beautiful baby is about to turn 3!

Monday, my actual birthday, it was just Chad, me and the kiddos.  The weather was the best of the trip and we all played until we were ready to pass out.  I could not think of one other thing I would rather have done on my birthday.  Thank you to every one who made me feel special with calls, texts and don't forget facebook messages ;)

Here is to 32!  I just know it is going to be great!