Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Slow Weekend

Last week/weekend was a roller coaster (more about that later), so the weekend was full of all of our favorite food, favorite sweet treats, and most importantly, our favorite baby girl. Here are some pics from the last few days…

We are still in the middle of our bow war with Daddy. I don’t fight it if we are laying around the house, but I can usually talk her into wearing it if we are going out somewhere. If John’s not with us, I try to take a pic of her and text it to her daddy, so he can admire it as well. ;)bow- jasons deli

The girl loves her some kitties. MoMo is much more willing to oblige her need to cuddle, although Rebel runs for the hills when she even looks in his direction.momopoor momo

On Friday, HG and I went to lunch with Granddaddy and Spiffer, and the girl passed out on my lap. Sound. Asleep. She woke up as I picked her up though, but I got her back to sleep at home where she snoozed for three hours.asleepasleep2

We have entered the world of Disney. For Christmas, Santa brought HG Beauty and the Beast and Tangled, and we must have watched them three times a piece over Saturday and Sunday. It’s a good thing that Santa choose some of Mommy’s favorites so that I could tolerate, I mean ‘enjoy’ this excessive viewing. She now understands the story lines, so the questions are at a minimum. Whew! She’ll even tell us what’s coming up next. disney marathon

HG loves running out on the field after Daddy’s soccer game to play ball with Daddy. Luckily, she seems to have inherited her Daddy’s nice touch on the ball.

At bedtime, she usually climbs up in bed beside me to read a few books. In the last few days, she has insisted on climbing into my lap to cuddle while we read. I was so tickled with her sweetness that I asked if I could take a pic to remember the moment, and to my surprise, she giggled and said, “Sure!,” even cheesing for the camera.bedtime lap cuddle

We’ve been back in ‘school’ at Hope Pres on Wednesday mornings for two weeks, and the child just RUNS into her classroom without even looking back at me. What a blessing. After lunch with Daddy today, she passed out in the car on the home.nap- car

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Princess Haney Turns Four

This past Saturday, we celebrated Haney’s fourth birthday in a big princess way! While Helen Grace has not gotten into the dress up phase, she was interested in every other part of the party. They bedazzled a crown, a star wand, and a jewelry box; put on a princess parade for all of us; and then were surprised by Cinderella who read to them and danced with the girls. It was quite the shindig! Happy birthday, Haney!

Love this pic of HG and the birthday girl in actionCIMG0532 Caught them in a moment of stillness…which lasted two secondsCIMG0533 CIMG0538 CIMG0542 CIMG0543 CIMG0546 CIMG0554 CIMG0559 Even Mallory got in on the funCIMG0560

This video is of the Princess Parade and is proof that HG will learn a lot by going to school…including how to walk in a line. :)  Once she got the hang of it though, she really had fun!

Little Gym Birthday Fun

Our friend Abby turned three and celebrated with a fun time at Little Gym last Friday night. It’s been a while since Helen Grace has been to Little Gym since ours in Southaven has closed, so HG was in hog heaven. It took some work to get her to participate in the group activities because all she wanted to do was run from one thing to the next!

Happy birthday, Abby!little gym little gym1 little gym2P1010851 P1010853

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Favorite Words, a Bow & the Robot

There are two words that John and I are going to be very very sad when Helen Grace starts saying correctly…

  • “Chocolate” pronounced by HG as “choc-o-lat”
  • “Milk” pronounced by HG as “mulk”

During our Gracie Bleu date today, I got her on camera saying these, and as a bonus, she busted out in the Robot dance. Where did she learn that?!?! The best I can think of is from Fresh Beat Band???

Also, here are some new favorite phrases that have appeared this week…

  • “Allllmost” (as in, whenever you ask her if she’s ready to go, etc.)
  • “Silly me!”
  • “I can’t; I’m busy.”

Before-bedtime-cuddles with Daddycuddles w daddyAnd then all of her babies needed to be put to bed too.bedtime

Today, I gave HG an ultimatum- get a haircut or wear a bow. While she was on the fence about her decision for quite a while, she stuck with the bow decision for most of the day. She had one moment of weakness right at naptime when she realized we were going home to sleep, and she begged to go get a haircut. Too bad, so sad, baby girl! (By the way, this bow business is driving her daddy off the deep end. He’s very anti-bows. Next time you see him, make sure you tell him how cute she looks wearing a bow.)

bowOn a lunch date with Mommylunch date

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Thing for Shoes

My girl definitely has a thing for shoes- and Mama’s fancy work heels for sure! These pics are all taken over the weekend. She can’t get enough. I think we have a problem.

heels heels1 heels2 heels3 She wanted to wear a pull-up today, so we hauled her potty into the den in hopes that she’d think about using it. For some reason, she decided to take a break there of all places while she was walking around in Mama’s shoes…still wearing the pull-up…heels- potty 


Some other cute pics from the weekend…

Pausing her drum jam session for a smile for Daddysmile Running errands with Mama isn’t so bad- a sucker and a bird’s eye view of downtown Hernando.errandsSkip to my louskip to my lou Video from Daddy’s soccer game last weekend- she and John had fun kicking the ball around on the turf after the game.


And to start off the week with a cute story…during HG’s bedtime prayer one night this weekend (during which she insists on making sure your hands are properly folded), I was thanking God for our sweet baby girl, and she popped up and said, “That’s me!!!”

School Days

If you know John or me at all, you know that we have been in the midst of a lot of intellectual debate (is that a PC way of saying we’ve been duking it out?) about when Helen Grace should start school. John wanted to wait another year or two, and I would rather go ahead and get her started in some sort of program. Since Grandma and Peggy ran a preschool for years on Long Island, they are obviously filling her head with more knowledge than I could ever dream of, but I want to make sure she’s learning to be independent, to mind people other than family members, and to not be a tattle tale (which she already is).

While we differ in opinions on timing, we can at least agree on where we’d like her to go. As a graduate of CBHS, John prefers a Catholic school. If we are going that route, I would prefer a mostly all girls school, so we focused on St. Agnes.

St. Agnes is co-ed for preschool, all girls for first through six grades, co-ed for seventh and eighth, and then single ed again for high school. I know it might sound crazy, but I love that the girls are never allowed to wear eye make-up and only after eighth grade are light nail polish and foundation allowed. I enjoyed (and still enjoy to some extent) growing up in a bubble, and I want Helen Grace to grow up slowly as well. I hope that at St. Agnes she will develop strong friendships with boys along the way but that she will be in an environment where she’s not scared to answer the questions in class correctly and to not have to be anxious about the cute boy sitting next to her. There are already enough distractions in life!

So back to the present…I thought it was so crazy to call so soon for info (lordy, she’s not even three!!), but I was encouraged by many to go ahead and get the ball rolling back in the fall. Sure enough, the admissions process gets underway in January. We were scheduled for her ‘play date’ (an evaluation through play with several kids and teachers) this past Saturday, so the three of us went for a tour on Friday so that she’d be comfortable there. I have been a nervous wreck as the date has gotten closer, and of course, I’ve stressed over every possible detail of the whole thing- what we all should wear, will she be shy, how will she act when we drop her off, how will she act when we’re not there, etc.

I don’t know how or why we deserved it (the Toohig bad luck is a seriously real thing), but we could not have asked for a better experience on both Friday (9:30) and Saturday (8:30) mornings. Helen Grace woke up in a good mood, she got ready easily and willingly, and we made it there EARLY. All of our outfits fell together perfectly and were appropriate. (John even commented that her outfit on Friday was the picture of prim and proper- a green smocked dress with pink polka dots, pink sweater, white tights, and pink shoes. That’s EXACTLY what I was going for!) I am still shaking my head- things like that just don’t happen so smoothly for us!

On Friday, the *awesome* admissions guy gave us a tour of the campus, and while HG was shy at first, she soon warmed up. When we entered the Early Childhood Center and she saw the enormous fish tank surrounded by animal murals, she was instantly hooked. We continued onto the preschool rooms, and she immediately wanted to go inside and explore. We would walk into a room and watch what the kids were doing, and she’d take our hand and try to pull us over to their tables. I thought we’d never get her out of the classrooms! She loved the playgrounds, music room, library (with its own section for little ones), distance learning center (where the preschoolers take virtual field trips to places all over the country), chapel with beautiful stained glass windows, etc. and kept asking, “What’s next?” By the end of the tour, she was so excited and didn’t want to leave. We bribed her with lunch with her daddy before he had to go back to work.

On Saturday morning, as we pulled up to the school, she said, “Is that my school?” She was excited about playing while Mama and Daddy went to a boring meeting, and she met a new friend, Olivia, in the parking lot. We walked into the building with Olivia and her parents, and HG was still happy…but she started to bury her head in my shoulder as we approached the drop off table and the St. Agnes high school student reached out her arms to her. Another kid nearby started screaming as he left his parents, and the panic started to set in. I tried to remain calm for her sake. Luckily, Olivia was talked into walking hand in hand with the high school girl, and when HG saw her getting out of her daddy’s arms to go with her, she also decided to go along. She even dropped Lovie in the process and was off around the corner without a second glance. We were shocked but oh so pleased.

We went off to a meeting where the president and both deans spoke to us and enjoyed getting to know some of the other parents. Soon enough, we were headed back to pick up the kiddos, and we found HG in her classroom, cooking away. She was happy to see us and dragged us around, showing us all the toys. We really had to work hard to get her out of there- she was having so much fun and didn’t want to go. As we left the ECC, she was literally skipping down the hallway. One of the staff members met us as we walked, and she asked HG if she had fun and if this was going to be her school. Helen Grace responded enthusiastically, “Yes!! Yes!!” John and I were grinning from ear to ear, watching her.

Since HG balked as we headed to the parking lot and wanted to see what was “next,” we went to check out the elementary school basketball games going on in the gym. She was fascinated by all the whistles and action, and most importantly, the bleachers. We finally convinced her it was time to go, and as we walked to the car, I asked her if she had cried when she left us. She responded like I was crazy to ask her that- “I happy! I not cry!”  What an answer to prayers. And to think I made myself sick with worry!

We will wait to see if we get an acceptance letter in February, and that will put an end to our debate about when to start her in school- 3K, 4K, or Kindergarten. At least we’ve fallen in love with a school that we feel will nurture our child in a Christian environment as she grows into a young lady, teach her through technology but also encourage her to learn through play, expose her to all kinds of amazing opportunities, and identify her strengths and help her chase her dreams. It feels so nice to see this next phase of her life starting to come into focus. Making these kinds of decisions can be tough at times, but being a parent and watching her joyful reaction is an amazing experience.

st agnes aquarium st agnes gyn

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hello, Dolly

Baby dolls have officially taken over our house. When HG goes upstairs, her baby dolls go with her. When she comes downstairs, they come along too. They all need to sleep in her bed with her (which leaves Mama a very small sliver on the edge). And you can’t just take along one or two… “Lots” have to come with you. They are constantly crying or needing to take a nap- high maintenance to boot! I found her the other day upstairs in her playroom, rocking a sleeping baby. Ok, so it can be pretty cute at times. :) Here she is holding court on our bed with her babies…doll overload

And just to kick off this beautiful weekend, I’ll share a cute pic that John snapped of my sleeping angel…sleeping angel2

Funny Girl

HG has kept us in stitches with the things coming out of her mouth lately…

Helen Grace hasn't been sleeping well at night, so when she saw a new Curious George movie at Target last night, I told her I'd buy it for her and let her watch it tomorrow if she slept all night. She thought about it for a sec, turned and put it back on the shelf, and then walked away.

When I picked up HG from Grandma’s recently, Grandma opened a little Hershey’s bar that HG usually splits with Peggy. As she opened it, she noticed a bite out of the bar…about the size of a little girl’s mouth. She asked Helen Grace who ate the candy bar, and she said as calmly as can be, “Buster ate it.” (Buster is Grandma’s dog)

If you leave her line of sight, she’ll start hollering, “You disappeared, Mommy!” Lately, she’s transferred that to her budding career as a magician. She’ll cover up a grape with a napkin, say “Abracadabra!,” and then pick up the napkin- and act surprised that the grape is still there!

As we walked into a store here in town, I reminded her that we don’t touch things in stores, especially very fragile things like pottery. Of course, as I shopped around, I touched a bag or a shirt or a necklace, and HG urgently reminded me, “Don’t touch, Mommy!”

HG likes to holler from the back seat, “Go fast, Mommy!” When I told her once that I couldn’t go any faster since there were cars in front of us, her answer was, “Honk your horn!”

I was helping her get in her car seat the other day. I really don’t remember giving any words of wisdom, but maybe I suggested that she put down her sippy and then click her seat belt or something like that. She responded, “You’re a genius, Mommy!”

John was picking on HG the other night, and finally, she’d had all she could take. She turned to him and said, “Stop it, John!!!”

When she’s trying to get settled in the bed at night, she flops around and says, “I’m trying to get company (comfortable).”

When John and I are snickering at what she’s said, she’ll ask us, “Why you laughing at me?”

In the past, I’ve been able to occasionally get away with playing the radio in the car while HG watches her videos in the back without sound. (There’s only so much Barney a mama can stand.} She used to not mind just watching the video; however, recently we were all driving somewhere, and she said, “Can you turn off that stuff, that music? I can’t hear George.” Busted!

She loves to “help” her daddy exercise. She will direct him to do more push ups or sit ups, etc., and then she’ll randomly bust out with her own repetitions at times. She’s actually pretty creative. She’ll put her feet on the ottoman and her arms behind her on the arm of the chair (so that she’s in a sitting position) and push herself up and down. If only her mama had that much interest in exercising!

I love the way she says ‘band-aid’- “band age.”

She loves to tell you that the sun’s out in the morning…and that she doesn’t want to nap because the sun’s out…and you need to get out of bed because the sun’s out…it never ends.

When HG woke up from her nap today, I was climbing the stairs to get her, and I looked up to see her standing at the top of the stairs, looking like such a big girl. I asked her, "Where did this big girl come from?" She turned and pointed to her room. Touche, my dear, touche!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kairos Moments

Being a mama is not always easy. There are {lots of} moments when I lose my temper, want to pull my hair out, and dream about going to the bathroom ALONE. But being a mama is also an amazing, breath-taking, God-given gift that I don’t take for granted. I understand the gravity of the precious gift of life that I’ve been given.

I love this article in the link below, “Don’t Carpe Diem.” In the middle of the crazy, Chronos time (every day life; ‘real’ time), I try to focus on and remember every detail of the Kairos moments (God’s time; time outside of time) that seem to stand still and glitter and shimmer in my memory…those shrieks of laughter and giggle fits as I tickle her, the carefree voice that rings out in spontaneous song, the face of an angel that leans up to mine wanting a kiss, and the arms that wrap themselves around my legs. Carpe the Kairos moments, mamas!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

So Long, 2011!

2011:  A year in review…

January:  I joined John for a weekend in Portland, Oregon, after a his business trip. We LOVED it- beautiful countryside full of waterfalls, mountains, and rivers and a great city full of culture, amazing views, and delicious food.IMG_0414

March:  We moved into our new house. We couldn’t be happier, but I don’t want to even TALK about moving in the next ten years. We’ve been here nine months, and I’m still trying to decide where to hang pictures.

April:  I again joined John on a business trip- one of my dreams- HAWAII! This was a dream of a getaway for us but marked the beginning of SEVERE separation anxiety for Helen Grace (which is still ongoing).IMG_0609

May:  Helen Grace turned two! We celebrated on the real day with a zoo trip with John and me and later dinner and cupcakes with grandparents. That following weekend, we jumped and bounced with our family and friends at Pump It Up.IMG_0984

June:  This goes down as the worst month ever- two surgeries (melanoma and endometriosis) and a car wreck (I was rear ended on the way to work). Things could only go up from here.

July:  John, HG, and I were honored to be in CB and Emmy’s wedding, and Helen Grace did a great job as a flower girl for the first time.CIMG8962

August:  We said goodbye to our dear Granny Grace but had some very special last visits with her. I have found a frame for Helen Grace’s room with all of her namesakes, and I enjoy seeing GG’s face every time I put HG to sleep. I feel like she is looking over us.

On a visit in March…CIMG7963 

September:  Helen Grace experienced the Grove for the second time. We still haven’t braved going into the stadium with her, but we enjoy playing on the Square while everyone else has cleared out to go to the game.IMG_2273

October:  We experienced the phenomenon that is called trick or treating in our new neighborhood and also Zoo Boo with the cutest little ghost around. She really got into it this year. We also survived the first time that ALL of HG’s grandparents were out of town for several consecutive days. IMG_3126

November:  We visited Aunt Emmy in Philadelphia, MS, for a weekend, and we got our first snow of the winter!emmy laptop IMG_0872

December:  We had another snow and hosted Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It was quite a busy month with holiday and birthday festivities for some of our favorite people!IMG_0979 

We rang in 2012 with our family and friends on New Year’s Eve. All of HG’s grandparents, the Browns (both parents and kids), the Mullins, and the Egners came to play with us. Around 9:00, HG put herself in our bed, so we knew it was time to wind down the shindig. She finally fell asleep (in our bed- a special treat to end the year) around 10:15, despite the roaring kids’ screams and fireworks going on outside. It was a small miracle in itself. 2011 has brought us countless blessings, and we are so excited to see what God has in store for us in 2012!

“Cheese!!”CIMG0497 How many people does it take to put up a baby gate?CIMG0499And Isaiah was off chasing Rebel!CIMG0501 The chase continues. If only I had been fast enough to catch the shot of him with his feet sticking out from under our bed…CIMG0502 CIMG0503 CIMG0504 Life long BFFs:  Larry, John, CB, BillyCIMG0506 Feeding GabriellaCIMG0507 The girls thought it was hilarious to take pics of each other.CIMG0509 Isaiah found the glasses in HG’s vet kit.CIMG0512 And now it’s HG’s turn.CIMG0518 “Ok, people, time for bed.”end of party This is how HG and I rang in 2012. I wouldn’t want it any other way!midnight