Monday, August 24, 2020

Bennett Michael {2 Years}

 Dear Bennett,

How are you TWO?! I mean seriously! I feel like it was just a few months ago that we were heading to the hospital to find out if you were a boy or a girl! And now you are already a walking, talking full-blown toddler! Time, slow down!!!

We don't go in for your 2 year check up till mid-September (thanks, Covid), so I'll try to remember to update here after that! You continue to grow so, so fast. You fit comfortably in size 18 month jon jons, especially those brands that run on the larger size. You are starting to get into 24 month/2T sized clothes (I swear 24m and 2T are the same exact size; I still can't really tell the difference between the two!). You finally moved up to size 4 diapers! You wear size 5 shoes, but are quickly outgrowing those! 

Last time, I posted an update, you had just started walking. Well, now you are running!!! And jumping, and climbing, and just plain constantly on. the. go. You do not stop! You love to dance, swim and play anything that involves a ball (basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, football...). 

You have hit a speech explosion, especially over the past month. You talk ALL of the time now! When we are in the car, you constantly see things you recognize and say "Mommy! Look!" and then say whatever it is. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever. My favorite thing that you say right now is "excavator;" it's such a long word and has so many sounds, but you do a great job trying to get them all to come out of your mouth! You also love to point to things you recognize in books. But your favorite thing to point to is pictures of our family! You love to look for Ella, and of course "Me! Bennett!" 

Speaking of books, they are still at the top of your Favorite Things list! Whenever you wander off, 9 times out of 10, you have gone to find a good book to sit down with! You love pretty much any kind of book, but especially books about transportation/construction, dinosaurs, Berenstein Bears, Cars, and Peppa Pig. Every night you climb into Lucas's bed to read a bedtime story with him and's so sweet!

You also are still my musical child. You are always singing the various Blippi songs, and you still enjoy the songs from Frozen 2. You love to play the drum and toy guitar that we have! You may also be a mathematician because you are obsessed with counting and can count all by yourself to 5! Maybe that's a normal thing for a 2 year old but I'm kinda impressed by it! You also attempt to sing the ABCs, which is just the cutest but you only make it to about letter G before it kind of derails. 

You still really love dogs, and think anything with 4 legs is a dog! You will say, "Mommy! Doggy!" about a bear, reindeer, tiger, lion, cat...pretty much anything. But when you do see a real, actual dog, you lose your mind! Our friends just got a puppy and you've gone to see her a few times. You love this puppy and are not scared of her one bit, even when she jumps to kiss you! The other animal you really like is fish, and you call every water animal (i.e. sharks, dolphins, turtles, etc.) a "fish." 

You love, love, love anything and everything transportation, as mentioned above! Your favorite activity is to go to the airport overlook and watch the airplanes take off! You wave to all of them and say "bye bye airplane!" You would also be content to just sit at the front window and watch for trucks all day. Wednesday is the best because it's trash day! Oh man, you live for that garbage truck! After you see it, you always break into Blippi's Garbage Truck Song! And of course we have to mention, you love any kind of train, which inspired your birthday party theme! Your favorite shows to watch are Chuggington and Thomas. You also love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Paw Patrol! 

You are still SUCH a happy little guy 95% of the time! People are constantly amazed at how chill, smiley and content you are! You just babble and toddle all around, and everyone loves you! The only times you get mad are when one of your siblings takes a book or toy away from you, or you are really hungry! You really love my phone, and especially have a knack for taking selfie videos of the top of your forehead. When you've filled up my camera roll and I take the phone away from you, you pretty much lose it. Maybe I will just have to get you a play camera or something...are you going to be a photographer one day?!

You sleep fantastic! You go to bed eagerly every night, calling to us, "Night! Night!" as you run toward your crib! Seriously! It's a dream. And you nap pretty great too; usually around 2 hours each afternoon! You eat most things I give you, but your favorite are strawberries, cheese cubes, granola bars, Goldfish crackers, pizza and corn dogs! You've had McDonald's once in your whole life, but feel the need to holler "MIH-DAHN-AHL!" every time we drive by one. 

Bennett, in the past 6 months you've survived a pandemic, two siblings learning from home, Daddy working from home and lots of mask wearing (not by you, though because under 2 year old shouldn't wear masks according to the experts!). Aside from all of that, you've grown and flourished so much that it's obvious nothing can get in your way of being the awesome child you are! We love you SO much and can't wait to see what this next year brings! Potty training?! Big boy bed?! The end of the Coronavirus pandemic?!?!?!? We can't wait to find out with you! Thank you for completing our family! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Lucas William {4 Years}

Dear Lucas,

Today you are FOUR! What?! Four seems so old to me!! How are you such a big boy?!? Four is one of my favorite ages, and even though we are stuck at home during this weird time, I know it is going to be an awesome year for you! 

I have absolutely no clue how tall you are or how much you weigh. We go to the doctor next week (should be a good time, between wearing masks and you getting a bunch of shots!), so I'll try to remember to update your stats after that. You are wearing 4T clothes, with some 5T mixed in. You can still wear a few 3T things, especially shorts. You wear size 9 shoes which are starting to get a little snug. You have size 10s for Natives and Nikes :)

You are still the funniest person ever! Every time you talk just makes me smile. You currently are in the stage of mixing up sounds and words and it's my favorite. You say "pix it!" instead of "fix it," and when you and Ella both have the same thing, you say "Hey Ella, we both have!" I posted another Toddler Interview at the end of this because you always give such comical answers :) Oh, and you hate taking pictures (like father, like son)! After I take 1/2 a picture of you, you say "Dat's enuf pictures, Mommy! Don't take a picture uh me!" Hahah. So that's been fun. 

You are still extremely obsessed with construction vehicles, but you also love police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, race cars and monster trucks! Your birthday party this year was supposed to be a fire truck theme, but you were cool with having your fire truck party next year when you turn 5! Thanks for being flexible!! Daddy took you to Monster Jam back in January and since then, you have not stopped playing with your monster trucks! You also love Lightning McQueen and the Cars movie! Cars, trucks, and more cars...all day long over here!! 

You still love Blippi!!! You requested "Blippi colors" (orange and blue) for all of your birthday balloons/signs/streamers today! You are dying to go to the museum in South Carolina where Blippi went in one of his videos. Hopefully soon, buddy! You also still tolerate Paw Patrol and even Mickey Mouse, because you know Bennett loves both of these! You are such a great big and little brother to both of your siblings. For some reason, they always want to play with your toys (not theirs!), but we are working on sharing and most of the time you are pretty good with it! 

Of course, you enjoy sports and are missing watching them on TV! You got SOOO excited to watch golf and Nascar the other day! You really like to play basketball in the driveway, as well as golf and baseball. You are pretty good at all 3! You are also playing soccer again this year...although your in-person practices got cancelled due to Covid-19, every week you get a little video to do and you always enjoy that! 

How could I forget to mention that this was your first year of preschool?! I was incredibly nervous about how you would do, but oh my goodness, you flourished in school! Your teachers loved you and had nothing but good things to say about you! You always had a smile on your face while you were there and made lots of great friends! You are missing them so much! Since you've been home, we've been doing a little homeschool where we learn a new letter each day! Some days you aren't into it, but most of the time you get really excited to see what new letter you are learning that day! You know basically all of the letters now, so we are moving on to letter sounds. You can count to about 15 and write most of your numbers. We are also still working on writing your name, but you can do it 9 times out of 10. 

You are still a great sleeper at night, but recently you've decided that you're over taking naps. I still make you have quiet time, but you rarely fall asleep anymore (maybe like 1-2 days a week)! 
As far as eating, some days you eat everything and other days you eat nothing. Most of the time, you really like pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and mac & cheese. Sometimes you don't like any of these though. You also really like cheese (only cheese cubes though, not cheese sticks), granola bars and fruit snacks. The only fruits you will eat are raspberries, strawberries and oranges. I am trying to get you to eat blueberries, but you refuse! You also randomly love carrots! I have no idea why carrots, and no other vegetables, but I guess I'll take what I can get! And, you'd probably drink a gallon milk a day if we let you. 

Lulu, my best buddy!!! We are so grateful that God chose us to be your parents 4 years ago! You have kept us on our toes every day since then but we wouldn't have it any other way! Never stop making us laugh, being silly and smiling! We just can't get enough of you and love you so so much!!

Toddler Interview:

What's your name? Lucas!

How old are you? Four!

What's your favorite color? Blue! And orange!

What's your favorite food? Strawberries and raspberries

Who is your best friend? Harry

What is your favorite song? The Garbage Truck Song, like this...(proceeds to sing it, haha)

What's your favorite TV show? Blippi

What's your favorite animal? A octopus

What are you afraid of? A witch

What makes you happy? Monster trucks

Where is your favorite place to go? Jumpin Jax!

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pirate

What is something Mommy always says to you? Go to your room (oh bless)

What makes you sad? From taking a nap 

What makes you laugh? Harry!

How old is Mommy? I don't know...

How old is Daddy? 6!

What is your favorite thing to do? Do days of the week (the song we sing every morning for "school")

What does Mommy do for work? Help me

What does Daddy do for work? He works all night (he doesn't work at night at all!)

Where do you live? Charlotte!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Bennett Michael {18 Months}

Dear Bennett,

Last week, you turned 18 months old! You have had quite a busy 6 months since we last did an update, so let's take a look at what you've been up to! 

{PS. You got a haircut the day after I took these pictures! Sorry you look so shaggy here, lol.}

We go to the doctor tomorrow for your 18 month old well visit, so I'll try to update your stats then. You have been growing like a weed and I am constantly discovering clothes in your closet that you seem to have outgrown overnight. You wear mostly 18 month size clothes, but can also pretty comfortably fill out 24m stuff, too. Sometimes I try to squeeze you into 12m stuff if it runs big, but for the most part, you're out of that size almost completely! You are still in size 3 diapers, but as soon as we finish this box, I think I'm going to move you up to 4s. You wear size 3/4 shoe. You have tiny feet! :) 

Your biggest milestone since we last updated on here is that you are FINALLY walking!!!!!! Praise the Good Lord because I wasn't sure if it was ever going to happen! You got pretty comfortable with standing independently soon after you turned 1 (like last October/November), but you would not take any steps to save your life. Daddy and I tried to have a little "bootcamp" where we would try to get you to walk in between us (standing a few feet apart), but as soon as one of us would let you, you'd just plop down so gracefully. This continued for a few months...we'd get so excited because you'd look like you were about to take a step, and then nope! You'd just plop yourself down. Ugh! But then, about 6 weeks ago, everything just clicked and you decided to just...walk! And I don't mean a few steps; you were cruising all over your room on the first day of this walking thing. You now RUN after your big brother and sister constantly! I am just so glad we never paid money for physical therapy or rushed you into walking! You do things on your own time, that is for sure! 

You are quite a little talker/babbler! I just love your sweet voice. Some of your favorite words are "Dada, Mama, wahhh (water), cheese (when you see my phone, to take a picture of you!), teeth, uh-oh, Elmo, ball, shoes"...and your absolute favorite thing to say is ELLA!!! You say her name all of the time, even when she's at school! You just love Big Sister so, so much. 

Your favorite thing right now is probably books! You are so studious! You love to sneak into Ella's and Lucas's rooms and read all of their books. Your current favorites are Tow Truck Joe (you try to steal this out of Lucas's room daily), any Peppa Pig book and the Elmo Balls book! Sometimes you get frustrated when we read to you and you'd rather just look at the books yourself! But I'm so thankful that you have a love for reading, even if it's on your own terms! 

Another thing that you really enjoy is MUSIC! You love to sing, clap and make music with any sort of "instrument" you can find! We go to a story-time/music class at our church every week and you love to shake the maracas and beat on the drums there! Your favorite song is "Into the Unknown" from Frozen II and anytime you hear it, you will start singing "in-ee uh-ownnn!" Your face lights up when you hear it. You also point to Alexa and ask her to play it ALL. OF. THE. TIME. 

You've recently become obsessed with dogs and will "woof" at anything and everything with 4 legs (including the reindeer Sven in Frozen II). You are never scared of the doggies we see walking in our neighborhood; you are always willing and ready to pet them! Along with that, you just wouldn't be part of our family if you didn't LOVE the freakin' Paw Patrol. Ella and Lucas both went through this phase (actually, Lucas is still in it) where they just couldn't get enough of those pups and Ryder! Haha. So, thanks for being SUPER into that ridiculous show so I don't have to get rid of the 385739 Paw Patrol toys we own just yet. 

In addition to Paw Patrol, you also love Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse, Curious George and Elmo! Lucas's love for trucks has also rubbed off on you and you two boys are always playing with the 8394 monster trucks and other vehicles we have! You LOVE Blippi (help me) and can sing his Police Car Song! You also love to make siren noises when you see any sort of rescue vehicle! Your favorite toy is the rollercoaster you got for Christmas! You love to not only ride down it like you're supposed to, but also push that little car all over the house! We need to get you more ride-on toys because you are pretty obsessed with them! 

Everyone always comments on how happy you are, and I very often get asked, "Does he ever cry?!" Well, yes, Bennett. Yes, you do cry. Top times are: if you're hungry, if you're thirsty, when I wipe your nose (you see the Nose Frida and immediately start squirming hysterically), and being constrained (you loathe the stroller). Now that you're walking, you are on the go ALWAYS. You love to sneak away and think it's so funny when we find you! 

You are still a pretty awesome sleeper! You take one big afternoon nap each day and will sometimes sleep for 3+ hours! You go to bed at night between 7 and 7:30 PM and usually sleep until 7:30 AM! Sometimes you wake up at like 5, but can usually get yourself back to sleep for another hour or two. As far as eating, well, I think you might be my pickiest eater at this age! You stopped breastfeeding for good a few months ago and it took you a while to get the hang of drinking milk from a sippy cup. You really like to eat granola bars, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, waffles, yogurt, applesauce pouches and fruit snacks...but other than that, it can be hard to get you to eat stuff! Your favorite pastime is throwing food on the floor. It is fun. Ha! Your siblings are also ridiculously picky (and let's not lie, Mommy is picky, too) so I guess it just runs in the family. My cross to bear if you will. 

Sweet Baby Bennett, you will forever be our "baby," but goodness gracious you've had a BIG past 6 months! You are becoming such a big kid and it makes me sad yet happy at the same time! You are so much fun; clapping, waving and blowing kisses to everyone! You get so many compliments on your adorableness and your sunny disposition! :) We couldn't love you more if we tried!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Ella Grace {Six Years}

Dear Ella,

Today you are SIX! 6 whole years ago, you made me a mom. It has flown by, but I also feel like we've known each other for much longer than 6 years! ;) The fact that your birthday is on a Monday this year (you were born on a Monday) makes today even more special for some reason. You got so tried of me telling you yesterday "Ok, at this time 6 years ago, Daddy and I..."! You now have to hold up TWO hands to show your age, and you are becoming such a little lady!

We go to the doctor in 2 weeks for your 6 year old check up. (PS, Scheduling around school is hard!) If I had to guess, I'd say you're about 44 pounds and 46 inches tall. You wear size 6 clothes, but can still fit in some size 5 (and even some size 4) dresses and leggings. Your favorite thing is to wear a smaller sized dress "as a tunic," and just wear it with leggings. Gotta love girls' clothes!  You are size 11/12 shoes. You don't really like clip-in bows anymore (TEAR!) but you do love your headbands!

You continue to be a rockstar sleeper, as you always have been! You go to sleep around 7:30 PM and on the weekends have no problem sleeping till 7:30 AM. On school days, I wake you up at 6:30 AM and half the time you are already awake, ready to go! I still make you have quiet time on weekends, where you read or play quietly in your room while the boys are napping. On some very rare days, you will still fall asleep during this time! It's pretty great.

The biggest change this year has been starting kindergarten and you are flourishing. You absolutely LOVE school! You actually cry/get very sad on Friday nights when you don't have school the next day. You were very upset at the start of Christmas break because you already missed your teacher so much!! Your best friend Alevia is in the same class as you, and you have made many other new friends. You love riding the bus and have met lots of neighborhood kids doing that! You love all of the special area classes, but it cracked me up that you got a PE Award last quarter! PE?! MY child?! LOL! Clearly, you take after your dad! ;) You are reading on a level G which is equivalent to a first grade reading level! We are so proud of the wonderful reader you are becoming! You love to read and your favorite books are Piggie and ElephantFancy Nancy, and Pinkalicious books.

Even more than loving to read, you LOVE LOVE LOVE to write! You are constantly making books. When I say constantly, I am talking every free second of the day when you're home, you're probably up in the bonus room making another book! I love that you are such an author and your invented spelling gets me every time. The illustrations are pretty amazing too. You make books for all of us...and we're not just talking about basic 4 page books. Oh no, you make pop-up books, lift-the-flap books, cut out books and your latest obsession: chapter books! I am trying to figure out a good way to organize all of these books because they are all so precious and I want to save them! You have always wanted to be the tooth fairy when you grow up, but now you tell me that you want to be an author, too!

Your brothers both look up to you so much and absolutely adore you. Lucas sometimes gets on your nerves (and also sits on you...) but he gets sad when you are at school! When you two aren't fighting over the same toy, you actually play pretty nicely together and are SO hilarious! Bennett lights up with a smile every time you walk in the room and of course knew how to say "Ella" months ago! Both boys love your books that you make for them, and also when you read to them.

You are still doing dance class every Monday and our church program on Wednesdays! You've also started taking Chinese lessons online and you LOVE Teacher Elaine! At this point you know more Chinese than I do, which isn't saying too much but I'm still pretty impressed! It is a HARD language to learn! But the thing I will continue to be the most proud of is that you are SO kind to everyone. That was the first thing I asked your teacher at Parent/Teacher Conferences, if you were kind. And she said "oh my goodness, yes!" There are two ESL girls in your class that you have taken under your wing and you are always concerned if someone is sick or hurt. You love to pray for all of your friends. We recently "adopted" a sponsored child from Tanzania...she has the same birthday as you! And if we don't mention her in our nightly prayers, oh man do you let me hear it!

Sweetest girl, you continue to shine and make us proud every single day! I can't wait to see what this next year brings...6 is such an amazing age and I know you're going to have the best year! We love you so much!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve! I'm popping in real quick to share this year's Christmas card with you! 

Shout out to our wonderful photographer, Tara for hosting a fun Santa Day and providing the picture for this year's card! :)

Also just for fun, I'm including the responses to the Christmas questions I ask my kids every year. They never disappoint, ha!

{Ella's responses in pink, Lucas's in blue}

What is on your Christmas list? Peppa Pig Glamping Tent; Lightning McQueen track
What is the best part about Christmas? That Santa comes; Santa
Where does Santa live? At the North Pole; Black Lion (LOL....this is the store here where we always go to see Santa!)
What are the names of Santa's reindeer? Prancer, Rudolph, Francer (Francer! 😂), I forgot...; Rudolph
What do you think Santa's favorite food is? Cookies and milk; cookies
What will Santa bring Mommy and Daddy for Christmas? Socks....that's what Peppa Pig's mom and dad get; socks (so clearly we are still very heavily influenced by Peppa Pig over here, ha!)

Hope your holidays are very merry!!! 

Monday, November 18, 2019

New Kitchen and Family Room!

Hello! I am here and alive! I can't believe it's taken me this long to get these pictures on here, but I am so excited to share my updated kitchen and family room with you! 

In case you missed it on Instagram, I finally (after almost 4 years of living here!) convinced Travis to agree to have our dark wood kitchen cabinets and family room built-ins painted white! And oh my goodness, I am so in love with how it turned out!

First, a look back at where we started... these are the MLS pictures from the original listing of our house.

I have no clue why my husband didn't want to paint these immediately after purchasing this house, but whatever, he finally agreed to it, so here we are! 

After a week of painting (plus a little extra; we were waiting on some special-order glass to go on those cabinets. Plus I ordered the wrong hinges, so whoops), here is the finished product:

Now, we obviously still need to replace that granite and backsplash in our kitchen, as well as add recessed lighting and new light fixtures throughout both rooms, but for now I am extremely happy with how much brighter both rooms are! And yes, I've already put up Christmas decorations...feel free to judge ;) 

Wall paint color: Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray (best neutral EVER!)
Cabinet/trim paint color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster
Hinges: Amazon
Drawer pulls: Amazon
Fan: Lowe's
(thanks to my father-in-law for spending almost an entire Saturday installing this with my husband!)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bennett's First Down Birthday Party

What's this...a blog post?!?!
This is SUCH a belated post, but I was having major issues with my old computer. It was almost 6 years old, things weren't loading and it was slow AF. It took me 5-10 minutes to open any program and I was staring at that stupid beach ball spinning constantly. I thought I could just go to the Apple store and get a new computer...but no, I needed X amount of storage and they just don't make them like that anymore. So wouldn't you know, I had to special order a freaking computer and it took 2 weeks to come in! Then they had to transfer all of my files, which took another 4 days (it's only supposed to take 24 hours)! 

So that's my excuse for just now posting Bennett's birthday party, 2 months later! Whoops!

Anyways! As soon as Bennett was born (at the very start of football season, mind you), I just knew we had to have a football themed first birthday party! This was SO much fun to put together!

Behind that "Tailgaters Welcome" sign, we had a cooler full of beverages to greet our guests!

The dining room was our main party room housing the majority of the food and decorations! I couldn't find a backdrop that I liked, so I made my own using a plastic "grass" tablecloth and chalkboard-style contact paper! I was kinda proud of myself!

For food, I tried to serve as many "easy" tailgate foods as I could think of! We had jalapeno poppers, mini chicken & waffles, chicken wings, pizza rolls, veggies & dip, chips & salsa, and popcorn!

I also made this football-looking thing out of crackers, cheese and pepperoni! (Thanks, Pinterest!)

And of course we had cupcakes and cake!

I could have done with out the REF written on there, but hey it was like $30 so whatever.

I have loved making these numbers out of photos for my kids' birthdays! The number 1 is definitely the easiest to make!

Moving into the kitchen (which looks SO different now that it's been painted...a post on that coming soon!), we had all of the drinks at our "Concession Stand"!

At our kitchen table, I had football helmets that the kids could color and grown ups could write a note to the birthday boy! I also bought foam fingers for the kids to decorate, which was a big hit!

A few more decorations in the family room and front hallway...

For party favors, I dressed up Gatorade bottles like referees!

It was a very fun time celebrating our 1 year old boy!!!

{Please see the reason for throwing that rug away immediately after this party!}

Bennett was super excited to open his presents! He loves his PBK chair, Ramses and a whole bunch of B Toys (we haven't owned a toy made by this company that we didn't like; they are the best)!

Bennett's shirt: A Little Stitch of Charlotte
Ella's dress | Lucas's shirt: Smocked Auctions
Blowup goal posts: Target
PVC pipe goal posts, monthly banner, high chair banner, assorted banners/decorations, bib and football headband: another mom on my local Facebook group :)
Wooden signs: Hobby Lobby
Grass tablecloth, plates, napkins: Target
Cake: Publix
Chalkboard contact paper: Amazon
Chalkboard milestone poster: Etsy
Cupcake toppers: Amazon
Pom Poms: Amazon
Chalkboard easels: Target
Tablecloths: Hobby Lobby
Foam Fingers: Oriental Trading
Whistles: Amazon