Friday, August 11, 2017

millie-isms: part VI

My best girl has been dropping LOTS of hilarious tidbits on us lately. I don't want to forget this stuff!!

This morning at breakfast, she looks at Matt and says "Daddy I loooove you SOOO much!" While Matt's mopping his puddle of a self off the floor, she turns and says the same to me. "Mommy, I love YOU soooo much!" We both tell her that we love her, too. Then she looks down. "I love Lola...a little bit. Sometimes. But when I poke Lola's ear, she wants to eat me up, and den I not love her so much." Well, at least she's honest. Can't blame Lola for not wanting her ears poked, either. ;)


Something Millie said the other night made me think maybe they've talked about the upcoming solar eclipse at school. So I asked her this morning, "Millie, do you know what the eclipse is?"

"No, I not. What dat?"

"Maybe you talked about it at school? When the moon goes in front of the sun and it is going to get dark during the daytime?"

"Hmmm...dark in the daytime? Dat not sound fun!"


While driving her home from school the other day, Millie helpfully suggested that I not drive my car off the road and into the woods, because "den you bonk some twees and your car get bwoken and you have to get a new red ("wed") car!" (My current car is gray.)

"A new red car? I don't think I want a new red car, Mills. If I get a new car, I think I want a black car."

"A bwack car? NO. I not wike a bwack car. How about a wed car. Or a gween car!"

", I'm not getting a green car. How about a shiny black car?"

"NO. How about a bwue car?"

"Blue? I don't think so. Well, maybe navy blue. How about a nice dark navy blue car, Mills?"


"Otay. Dark bwue. Dat be fine. But no bwack car, or I will wide wif Daddy."


On the evening of her birthday, a very overtired, sugared up Millie was begging to watch a video after I finished drying her off from her bath.

"Hmmm..." I mused as I dried.

"How about you say YES or NO," she suggested/demanded.


"How about YES or NO, Mommy!"

"Well...okay, then. No. No video."

She stares at me.

"Okay, how about you say YES or YES?!!! Mommy, can I watch the iPad? Say yes or yes!!"

(I still said no. I'm the worst.)


As we were driving home from work/school one afternoon, she yelled out from the back seat "Mommy!! Let's go to a bakery shop and get some doughnuts!!" (And she pronounces it "bo-nuts"...although she can totally make a /d/ sound...but it's adorable so I don't touch it.) 

I'm a big joy killer, so I reluctantly said "Well, I'm sorry Mills, but we are reeeeeallly far away from a doughnut store right now, and we're almost home. We can't get doughnuts right now."

She's not deterred.

"Hey, Mommy!! Why don't you just dwive your car to the bakery shop? Then we not be too far from the bo-nuts!! Den you can have a sprinkle bo-nut and you be SO HAPPY!!!!"

She is nothing if not a problem solver.


They offer weekly karate classes at her school- kind of like how she did her ballet outside studio comes in and does the lessons in a multipurpose room once a week (for a fee, of course, haha). During July, the karate school offered two free classes to anyone interested, to see if your kid might want to sign up for the fall session. I let Millie take them, my head filled with adorable visions of her being all disciplined and obedient in a white outfit (sorry, I'm sure there's a name for the outfit, but *SPOILER ALERT* her karate career didn't last long enough to find out...)

I tried to prep her for her first class, which was challenging for someone who knows NOTHING about karate. "You're going to...umm...kick! And chop!"

"Chop what? CHOP MY FOOD AND EAT IT??!!"

No, truly. That is what she said. If there were ever a question about whose daughter she's answered now. Haaaaaa.

When I picked her up from school that day, I was so excited to hear how the class went. 

"Millie, did you do karate?"


"Oh??...soo...what did you do?"

"I look at my fwiends when dey kick. I not kick. I not wike karate."

I looked at her teacher, who nodded to confirm this truth. "We've never actually seen Millie be so uninterested in an activity. She just sat against the wall and stared at her friends for the whole hour."

HAHAHA. When we got home, she ran around kicking and chopping.

"I do my karate now. I not do it at school."

When Week 2 came with the same results, we decided that karate isn't going to be the sport for her right now. She's signed up again for ballet.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


On Saturday my silly girl turned THREE years old. It's insanity. There is no way she is this old!!

She has been over-the-top excited about her birthday since roughly last October, so we knew we had to do it up right this year. We had her first real birthday party, lots of presents and balloons and junk food, and she was the center of attention all weekend- all of her favorite things!

I want to jot down a few updated stats and milestones, but I believe my days of answering all of the same 'monthly update' questions that I've done since her first month update are done. She's just outgrown too many of those categories. BUT it's not a time to be sad- it's time to be JAZZED, because this means she is old enough to answer her OWN questions about herself...I've only been waiting for this moment for like FIFTY BILLION YEARS!!!

But first, the nitty gritty.

Nicknames: Well, I can't quit this one yet. I just love seeing how her nicknames morph over the years!! She is called Millie almost all of the time. I don't know anyone that consistently calls her Camilla. Some of her teachers/school friends (and me) call her Mimi or Mimmy. Matt and I and the rest of my family (her cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles) tend to call her Mill-Mill. And Matt and I still call her Millsie and Nuggie. She calls herself Millie, and she knows her first and last name almost all of the time, and can come up with 'Camilla' maybe half the time that you ask her "but what is your other name? your long name?" Haha.

Stats: She weighs 34 lb 12 oz (84 percentile) and is 37.5 inches tall (60 percentile). She wears 3T clothes, though I'm buying 4T pants for the winter, since even last spring her 3T pants were getting too short. She wears a size 7 shoe. 

Big Girl Skills: She is completely potty trained. No more pull-ups at night, even! She's Team Undies all the time, and even made it through our long drives to/from Florida last month with no accidents in the car (and we didn't have to make a bunch of extra potty stops, either!). Like many things (see: sleeping, eating, generally being an awesome baby and toddler) with Millie, she just sorta figured it out on her own with a little help from mama & daddy. 

She is still successfully sleeping in her Big Girl Bed and that transition has been much easier than I'd feared! Although she does occasionally decide to bop on into our room if she wakes up in the middle of the night, we can usually get her back to her own bed and asleep pretty painlessly. Also, we have learned that she can be successfully bribed to stay in her room until her green light (OK to Wake clock) comes on. So we do that a lot, too...let's be honest. (Most effective bribe is letting her use the iPad in the car on the way to school. This is worth it on so many levels because a) she stays in her room all night, and b) if she has the iPad, I can listen to NPR and not "Elsa song" 3,000 times during our drive to daycare in the morning...)

She knows the words to many songs and can retell her favorite stories. I love when I see her using dolls and stuffed animals to act out stories- her most favorite story to reenact with dolls right now is the Three Billy Goats Gruff. She is ALL ABOUT that mean ol' troll and the big billy goat that "pokes you and kicks you right off this bridge!!" We spend a lot of time making bridges for her zoo animals (trolls) to hide under to scare off the Polly Pockets walking over the bridge. It's so much fun!!

Although she is very interested in letters and sounds and "what dis letter say, Mommy?", she doesn't seem to reliably identify any letters yet. I'm not worried or pushing it, but I just wanted to record that so that in the future I can remember when she did/didn't learn her letters!

She can count very well- rote counting to 15 or so pretty accurately, and she can count with one-to-one correspondence and quantify up to about 6 or so before she starts getting off track.

She loves to draw and paint but does not yet make art that actually resembles anything- her "people" do not have any sort of discernible heads/bodies, etc. However, I think it's interesting that when she is "writing," her "letters" do look markedly different than her "pictures" (lots of quotation marks)...they definitely aren't letters, but they are smaller, more letter-like forms of scribble-scrabble. I think it is all precious and so much fun to watch these skills develop!

Likes/Dislikes: Well...let's just ask the girl herself, okay?? (Disclaimer: I completely disagree with like half of these answers (as in, that is NOT her favorite color/food/thing/whatever), but...whatever.)

For the record, I would like to correct her answers and note that NORMALLY and in REAL LIFE, her favorite color is purple, her favorite food is probably rice and beans (at a Mexican restaurant), her favorite snack is "gummies" (fruit snacks), I didn't know she had such strong feelings about applesauce (although she was eating some while I surveyed her, haha), and also she found this whole questionnaire to be very challenging "Whew, Mommy! Dis hard!". (All the crying laughing emoji)

I don't think she has any concept of "when I grow up," and I had thought about explaining what that means, but I loved her answer so much that I decided to just leave it. :)


It's just impossible to describe how incredibly thankful I am to be her mommy.

I see these pictures coming up in my TimeHop now, and there are just so many emotions that come over me:

I remember how overjoyed we were. How terrified. How excited and how anxious. How even as we held her, we didn't know if we would still be holding her an hour or a day or a month later. We were thrilled, but we had to be guarded. We fell in love with her, but we feared what could come.

That strange mixture of joy and terror and delight and nerves and anxiety...I can still taste it in my mouth when I see these pictures. I remember what my stomach felt like. I doubt I'll ever really forget. 

But now it's three years later. She's an average (though obviously funnier, cuter, and more adorable than average) toddler, we're just regular parents chasing our kid down the aisle at Target and engaging in iPad-related negotiations, and at a glance, you'd never know there was anything unusual about how our family came to be. 

I know I say this almost every time I write, but I can't bring myself to stop. She is so, so worth every minute of waiting, every year of struggle, every breath of fear, every sleepless night. She is the answer to my every prayer and a greater gift than I could have hoped for.

Happy birthday to my sweet, strong, brave girl. Being your mommy is my greatest privilege. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

the one with all the manatees

We had a wonderful, relaxing trip to the beach last week! It was Millie's third year going to Cocoa Beach with us, and each year gets more and more fun! 

Ever since we took our mini-vacation to Cape San Blas in April, Millie has been BEGGING to go back to the beach. Parenting pro tip: maybe don't tell your distraught daughter about your next beach trip while you are leaving from your current beach trip if there is more than about 2 days until the next one. "In July" meant NOTHING to Millie, and so it's been a lonnnng three months of telling her "not today!!" every day when she thinks we are going to the beach that day.

See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me...and no one knoooooows how far it gooooooes...
But finally the day came and we got back to her beloved "BIG water!" and all was well with her soul. And mine. But then...

But then.

Then it was Thursday. Thursday, July 13, to be exact. A day I shall forever remember with fondness, joy, and delight.

On Thursday we decided to go kayaking. Same place we've gone before- the Banana River, less than a mile from our condo. The river is where my love of manatees was born back in 2010, when I unexpectedly came upon them while kayaking. I've been a woman obsessed ever since. But I've never had as much success finding them again. Occasional sightings, a glimpse from afar...enough to keep fueling my passion, but not enough to quench it, right? But I get it. It's July. It's hotter than Hades. It's not "manatee season," even though it's a manatee zone. So I keep my expectations low reasonable-ish.

But on Thursday...

A manatee? There wasn't a manatee.

There were four.

Four giant, lovely, fat, happy, playful manatees. They were hanging out in a little cove, doing what manatees do. Rolling around, being adorable, and BE STILL MY HEART, curiously checking out the kayakers who happened by.

Like, they just came up to us! They KEPT coming up to us! The swam under us and rubbed their backs on the bottom of our boat! The stuck their noses up and sniffed us!!

I GOT TO PET A MANATEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cannot even describe this.

Over and over and over, they came up, rolled around, said hi (with their bodies. I speak the body language of the manatees, trust.).

Millie's sweet little hand got to PET A MANATEE!! She was so brave!!
Indescribable, people. Absolutely amazing. I have videos (and videos, and videos) of the whole experience and my voice is like 12 octaves higher than strictly necessary and I am gushing and nearly sobbing and like OH MY GOSH I WAS BEING SWARMED BY HAPPY, ROLY POLY MANATEES!!!

They have whiskers!! Or "beards," if you're Millie.

They showed off with cute party tricks like this!

Oh look, it's Erika tanning on the beach a manatee tanning in the water! (P.S. I touched their bellies too, don't worry. They were much smoother than their backs and didn't have all the algae/barnacles. Very interesting!)

We stayed in that cove and just watched and played for over half an hour. They never left us- they kept swimming around us and coming up. I really just cannot believe it happened. I think I'm still in shock.

This is how we felt about the whole experience.
I am just so incredibly thankful for such an amazing, unexpected opportunity. That my parents, Matt, and Millie got to experience it alongside me was even better. You better believe none of us have stopped talking about it ever since. And now that we're home, with no upcoming beach trips on the agenda, Millie asks "when we see manatees again?" and like...what am I supposed to tell her?! At least I've got a co-manatee lover in the house with me.

July 13, man. July 13. You know, on the Tuesday and Wednesday before, I'd been sick with a stomach bug and stuck in bed (so stupid on vacation!!). But on Thursday, I woke up, felt a bit better, and figured we may as well go for a paddle down the river. What a wonderful spur-of-the-moment decision THAT turned out to be!!!

Friday, July 7, 2017

summer fun

Well, the summer keeps on trucking along. It's hot. It's humid. It's inexplicably raining and storming nearly EVERY day. But we're having a lot of fun! For example, thanks to the frequent storms (and fireworks...), Lola is getting a lot of opportunities to wear her ThunderShirt. Millie knows this, and knows that Lola gets scared of the storms, and this has resulted in two very funny things.

1. At the first sign (or sound) of a storm, Millie will frantically tell us "Lola needs her BOOM BLANKET!" ThunderShirt...Boom Blanket...I get it. Obviously now we call it the boom blanket all the time, because that's a way better name. If anyone is thinking about starting a company to make knockoff ThunderShirts, you are welcome to use this superior name for your product.

2. Several times when it's been storming at night, we've closed the door to Millie's room while we're putting her to bed and Lola will scratch at the door until we let her in. Therefore, for the past few days, at ALL times of the day, regardless of weather, Millie will stop, fold her hands, and pray for Lola: "Dear Jesus...we just thank you dat Lola NOT scwatch at my door. Pwease make Lola not scared and not scwatch my door. Thank you for her boom blanket. AMEN!"

Gimme all the storms if I get this kind of hilarious payoff. Also, Jesus, please help Lola not be scared and scratch on Millie's door, because apparently it really distresses Millie. ;)

And now, some random pictures and stories. 

We're heading to the beach next week (YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!) and needed to practice setting up (easy) and taking down (what the *@#!) our beach tent. In between those two events, Millie found it to be a good place to have some reading time. It should be noted that Millie has almost completed her second library summer reading program of the summer (you know, read 50 books and get prizes sorta thing). They are going to have to name a shelf of books after us or something by the time summer is through! LOTS of reading going on in our house!

The Big Girl Bed situation is going great!! She is sleeping well and only getting/falling out of bed occasionally in the wee hours...when that happens she tends to seem very confused and discombobulated and goes right back to sleep without a problem, so I am thankful for that! When she does wake up, though, we are treated to alien-ish sights like this as she helpfully goes over to turn off her sound machine.

We played dress-up one afternoon. She apparently thinks princesses have attitudes or something.

WATERCOLORS, guys!! I've finally found the Holy Grail of toddler entertainment. Hours (literally) of fun that ISN'T MESSY!! We all win. She will paint contentedly and independently for a super long time, and then we make "books" (by stapling pages together)'s the best. For whatever reason, she manages to keep pretty clean with these paints (her other paints end up EVERYWHERE and have to be used basically naked outside) and like...I'm about to hit those back to school sales at Target and STOCK UP on watercolors, yo. 

We had some fun firsts this past week!

First fireworks! See also: first intentionally keeping her out and awake WAY past her bedtime. Luckily she did fine!

Well, I mean, until about 10 minutes into the actual fireworks part, when she managed to fall asleep. Hahaha. Poor baby. Luckily for us all, once we actually got home and put her in bed (10:00, so a good 1.5 hours past her normal bedtime), she went right to sleep and even slept in the next every weekend, right?

We also went to the movie theater for the first time!! Well, first time EVER for Millie...first time since Millie was born for us, haha.

A local theater does a "kids movie" thing every Tuesday/Thursday morning during the summer...older movies, but $1.50 tickets, $1.50 popcorn, and $1.50 drinks, so THAT is a win. We enjoyed watching The Secret Life of Pets, which was pretty cute, and Millie was SUPER into the whole theater experience. Possibly my favorite part was watching her deal with the theater chair. Hahahaha. She didn't quite weigh enough to keep it from springing back up into the closed position if she sat towards the back, so she would balance way up at the tip of the chair, but every time she forgot and scooted back, it would try to close her up...haaaa! Free entertainment there. For me, anyway.

All the rain has resulted in LOTS of tomatoes this year! On Monday we picked some and then took some across the street to our elderly neighbors, a practice that Millie found VERY confusing. "Why we give dem our matoes??! Dey hungry? Dey no have matoes?" Later she informed me that she missed the 'matoes' that we gave to our neighbors. Apparently those 20 matoes were her favorites and now they are GONE. Crazy baby!

Well, that about brings us up to speed. Congrats if you made it this far. Also, if you happen to be reading this ON my blog (and not through Bloglovin or something), you might notice that I got a new design! Thanks to an astute blog reader, Jackie, who yesterday pointed out that most of my design images (the header, about me, section labels on the right hand side) had gone WAY wonky and the images were gone and replaced with some ransom thing from Photobucket (where they had been hosted) was super weird and unattractive, haha. I couldn't figure out how to easily fix it without tracking down the girl that created the design for me 3.5 years ago, so I decided to just make a new one myself. It was an unexpected turn of events, and I certainly had no plans to redesign a blog I barely ever use, hahaha, had to happen! Anyway, I'm happy with how it turned out and it even encouraged me to actually BLOG so that other people might see it, too. :) 

Happy Friday! And happy almost-vacation to meeee!! Counting the minutes til I see my sweet girl running through that sand!