Friday, May 19, 2017

things worth remembering

Although it seems I'm long past the point where I blog a recap of every holiday (much less every weekend...or DAY...ahhh, the good ol' days of blogging, RIP), there are a few semi-recent events that merit sharing, if only so that I can more easily look back on them in the future (and not just wait for TimeHop to remind me about it). 

We had a particularly special Easter this year. I mean, every Easter is special...but this one a little more than most.

We enjoyed egg hunts and extra-cute outfits and church and time with our family as usual.

The cousins on Matt's side of the family! Five and counting!
I'm not going to be able to hold her like this for pictures much longer. HOLY COW SHE IS HEAVY.
After lunch with Matt's family, though, we were thrilled to go across town to attend a huge Easter party on a farm, hosted by Millie's biological family.

Millie's "tummy mama," J, has relatives that live near Athens, which is how we got connected in the first place (her relatives are friends with one of my coworkers). They live on a big awesome farm and throw huge bashes for Easter each year, inviting family, friends, and neighbors (there were about a hundred folks there this year!). We were thrilled to be invited and spend the day with not only J, but with J's mother, grandparents, friends, aunts, and uncles- many of whom we met in the hospital and/or whom came to Millie's dedication, but we haven't seen them in a few years (with the exception of J). 

It was a beautiful, sunny day, and there were plenty of games and activities, food and drinks, and people to catch up with. Many members of Millie's biological families have remained in touch with us through social media, so they feel somewhat "in the loop" with her life, which is a blessing for all of us. They were delighted to get to experience her in all of her abundant joy and chaos in person, and we were equally happy to get to spend time with them! 

I think one of the sweetest moments for me was when an elderly man (I guess Millie's great-grandfather) came over to us and said "well, I'm not on Facebook, I don't know how to do all of that stuff, but every time you post something, Aunt Suzie [not her real name] calls me to tell me what crazy thing Millie has said, and we just laugh and laugh! Thank you for letting us stay a part of her life." I love thinking that there's a little Millie Phone Tree going on, getting out the news to relatives far and near every time our sweet girl says something wacky.

At any rate, it was a wonderful, nearly magical day. To me, it was a picture of the absolute Best Case Open Adoption Scenario. This is what we had hoped for. What a blessing to live it.

I share this picture with permission. This is our beloved Mama J.
Naturally, Millie ran straight to whatever activities would make us all the messiest. :)
We had a pretty dedicated egg hunter this year, too!
We are so thankful for J and her family's desire to include us in their lives! Happy, happy, happy.

In less emotional (well, maybe not really), more sparkly news: Millie had her first ballet recital this week! After a mere two months of weekly lessons, she and her four classmates were deemed fit to show off for a small group of parents (and large group of adoring relatives known as the Millie Fan Section). GUYS. Seeing my sweet girl all dolled up in a costume and makeup?

CANNOT HANDLE IT.

I guess this will be her headshot for her professional dancing career.

To put it mildly, she was a joy to watch.
In the entire 25 minute performance, this may have been the only thing she did that actually looked like ballet. HAHAHA not even kidding.


One little dance had props! AKA things to distract Millie.

What she lacked in skill, she made up for in enthusiasm.

She's literally floating away from the excitement!
In conclusion, there's not an ounce of stage fright in this one! Although it was a very low-key recital, as you can see- just a few rows of chairs in a church fellowship hall, no stages or lights- I still wasn't sure how she would react once she saw us sitting there and realized she was supposed to be performing. Clearly, though, those weeks of hardcore ballet training (lol) paid off and she went right to her sticker and assumed first position as soon as her teacher said to! 

I was SO very proud of her, and proud to be the mama of the child giggling and having a ball and generally causing the rest of the crowd to grin. (A friend asked if this is how I was when I used to have dance recitals. The answer is no. I loved dance and I loved following rules and doing everything exactly right (and I loved costumes, makeup, and recitals!), but I have never been precocious or bubbly or thrived under the spotlight or the attention of strangers! This baby is all her own person in that regard!)

I've said it a million times, and I'll keep saying it: it really just keeps getting better. If her baby days were amazing...well, there are just not even words for how fun and joyful her days are now. I want her to stay exactly like this forever, but she won't- and I can't wait to see what's next.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

currently

I know a "formula" post is probably the biggest cop-out ever for someone who can hardly pull it together to write once a month, but...here we are. I always like reading these when other people do them, so maybe you do too!

Listening...to Amazon Music Playlists. I seriously just discovered these a few weeks ago and I am totally hooked! People have thought of playlists for every imaginable mood and genre, and I highly enjoy tailoring my listening to my mood at work all day long. One of this week's favorite playlists has been "50 Great 90s Alternative Songs," which makes for great conversation when coworkers come in for a chat...

Eating...everything in the world, which is unfortunate. But I must say we've done some good cooking at home lately. If you're looking for new go-to summer dishes, I recommend Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad with Lime Crema and Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing. Cannot get enough of those two recipes!!!

Drinking...lemonade! Not all the time, but after almost 10 years of marriage, Matt decided to reveal that he knows how to make Chickfila lemonade (he worked there for 9 years prior to our marriage). Uhhhh yes. So now we have an unfortunate habit of buying bags of lemons so that Matt can make us fresh lemonade at night. Tasty, but not exactly what my thighs were needing this summer...

Wearing...I am REALLY going to lose most of you here, but maybe there is someone else with the feet of a 70 year old that can benefit from this info. So over the last few years I've developed the WORST plantar fasciitis. I've gone from the typical having bad pain in the mornings and late evenings to some days being in excruciating pain all day long. It's miserable. Anyway, after spending a billionish dollars on inserts, special braces, tools, and all other kinds of nonsense (not really nonsense- some of it really works, glad to share my tips if anyone needs them, haha), I discovered that wearing specifically PF-designed shoes is the key to breaking the cycle of awfulness. I bought these Vionic flip flops a few months ago and they are a GAME CHANGER. I wear them ALL of my non-working hours (NEVER going barefoot- not even to walk from the shower to the closet, etc.), during my lunch hour, and sometimes (on the worst days) even all day at work. Sorry, not business casual, but it's either that or I can't come in because I can't walk. They have made a HUGE difference. Then I bought a pair of Vionic's work-appropriate wedges, and just last week I got a pair of these cute summer sandals that are appropriate for both work AND play. These shoes are more than my normal Target-budget, but have been SO worth it. So there's my plug for the similarly afflicted sistahs (and brothahs?)...get you some good old lady shoes!

Feeling...excited for summer. The extra daylight, the plethora of outdoor opportunities, the vacations on the horizon...summer is the best! Millie had a BLAST on our recent beach trip and she can't stop talking about going back to the "BIG ocean to PWAY PWAY PWAY!! [play play play], so I am super excited for our next trip. In like 3 months, haha. But still.




Wanting...time to slow down. Cliche as all get out, but I just LOVE the stage Millie is in right now and I want it to last forever!



Enjoying...life. See above. I just couldn't ask for more.


This picture is oriented correctly. :) We were laying in the hammock. Lately Millie likes to pretend she is a baby kangaroo and I am the mommy kangaroo and she gets in my "pouch." She walks around requesting to get in my pouch because she "so safe and so warm dere!" See what I mean? Never change, Millie!!! (It is less cute at 3:00 a.m. when she is crying on the monitor "I need seep in Mommy's pouch!!!")

Thursday, April 13, 2017

spring happenings

The spring is trucking right along and it's pretty wonderful. For one- the weather is (mostly) great ("mostly" because we've had some terrible storms and tornado warnings that I could do without, but for the most part...great). Secondly, a new season means a new Millie wardrobe, and not to pat myself on the back too hard or anything, but...I mean, dang. I sure know how to pick the cutest clothes for the cutest babe I've ever seen. 


Here she is modeling some of the moves she's learning in ballet class (or so she says). But this also serves to show how extremely adorable she is in a purple romper. UGH. Can't handle it. This is the only one piece "romper" type thing I bought this year because I felt like it wasn't very freshly-potty-trained-toddler-friendly...but #worthit. 

We've had some windy days, and it occurred to me that we should get a kite for such days! So we did and it's been great! I must report that kite flying is a more athletic pursuit than I had anticipated. In case it's been awhile, I'll let you know: you pretty much have to keep running the whole time to keep it in the air. Or at least I do. Maybe more advanced flyers or more advanced kites or more windy skies call for less running...but we had to keep moving. I was pleasantly shocked to check my FitBit stats after a half-hour of kite flying!


Check out Millie's face. The tongue don't lie: that girl was working hard!! If you ask her about flying her kite, she will say "you WUN WUN WUN or kite FALL DOWN!!!" and that pretty much sums that up.

In more domestic news, Millie has a new favorite place to grocery shop.


Like most other sentient beings, she knows that Trader Joe's is really the only place worth shopping. Millie-sized carts!! What could be better?! She has so much fun helping pick up items and put them in the cart. Although she naturally wants to grab everything at eye level, she's been good about listening and putting back things that I didn't actually want. It helps that all I have to do is threaten to put the "Millie cart" away and make her sit in my cart (a fate worse than death) if she isn't listening. And then she listens.

In other domestic- but non-Millie- news, Matt put down new floors in our master bathroom! We have had the same nasty linoleum since we moved in. Naturally, it was one of those things that we thought we would replace as soon as we moved in...but then 8 years passed and we are still looking at that stupid gross linoleum. Ha. We are planning to have all of our floors replaced in the somewhat-near future, but we've had friends recently try the DIY vinyl tile route with good results, so Matt wanted to give that a try (in a small, rather inconspicuous space) first. And I've gotta say- I am THRILLED with the results!!


There's no "before" picture- just picture the ugliest linoleum you can, then make it ten times uglier, and you've got a good mental picture of it. So this is a HUGE improvement! You don't have to grout vinyl tile- literally you just peel and stick (and do lots of cutting to get around toilets and such), but I really like the look of grouted tile, so Matt went the extra mile. I am so impressed with how it turned out! So now I will hopefully get him to do the other bathroom, haha.

Now, back to important Millie news. She knows her shapes. Sorry, that's boring, but what's NOT boring was what I heard her say as she was putting this puzzle together the other day.

"Cir-cuh. Twi-an-gul. Star! Phone."


Yup. Good ol' rectangle has been renamed "phone." For obvious reasons.


Last Wednesday was a nasty, stormy, tornado-y day, and I just couldn't bring myself to leave Millie at school (or stay at home in a window-y house with no basement). So she spent the day at work with me (I work in a solid concrete building with lots of window-less interior rooms, in the middle of a downtown with no trees). She actually did a fantastic job, thanks in part to my coworkers who managed to find no end of amusing things to bring her. Here she is starting her open mic night career. She's a natural!


We celebrated a successful tornado day with Mexican food (really, the only way to celebrate anything), and Millie insisted on sitting in our laps and being tickled for basically half an hour. We were happy to acquiesce. 


Laughing babies aren't the worst.

We've had some fun egg hunts and Easter activities already, and we are excited for a fun Easter weekend!

Please note the kitty cat face paint. She spends about half her time pretending she's a kitty cat, so this is really living the dream to have the face to go with it.
All ready for her Easter party at school!
On a final important-but-unrelated note, I got a really cute bathing suit this week and I feel compelled to share! I wouldn't call myself "summer body ready," exactly...more like "ready to hibernate or survive a food-less apocalypse for quite some time," but whatever. I still wanted a new bathing suit, and when I saw this mega-cute, mega-cheap one on Amazon, I had to give it a try.

Source
It came in yesterday and I gotta say- SUPER CUTE. At least in my dimly lit, mirror-optimally-angled bedroom. If you look at the other pictures on Amazon you can see that the straps do a cute criss-cross in the back, and the back comes up nice and high, kindly hiding any less-than-optimal BACK FAT you your friend may have. Anyway, for $17 and Prime shipping, I say you can't go wrong. I may even order in another pattern. (And I read all the comments and labored over sizing, but ultimately just decided to go 'true to size' and with what the sizing chart suggested, and it worked out just fine.)

We're heading for a little beach mini-vacay next weekend, just the three of us, and I can't wait! Millie, on the other hand, likes to ask "why" about everything, INCLUDING THIS.

"What dis lotion, Mama?"

"It's suntan lotion, Mills, for when we go to the beach next week!"

"Why we go beach, Mama?"

"Umm...because it is the BEACH, Millie."

"Why?"

"Because it just is."

"Why we go?"

"IT IS THE BEACH, WHY DO YOU NEED FURTHER EXPLANATION!?!??!"

Just kidding, I didn't actually scream that at her, but seriously. One need not question the need for the beach. I can't wait!

Monday, March 27, 2017

millie-isms: part V

WHOA. Huge realization. I believe Millie is approaching the age/stage/conversational ability that she will be able to answer one of those "parent questionnaire" things that everyone loves to do around Mother's Day or whatnot...you know, "how old is your mom? What is her favorite thing to do?," etc. Also known as something I've been waiting for for seven billion years. I'll hold out hope that her teachers and/or father make this dream come true for me in the next few months. In the meantime, she says plenty of other funny stuff to keep me rolling.

(Pictures that accompany these stories are entirely unrelated, but cute, right?)

****



We are sitting at the table, calmly eating breakfast. Millie looks up and her eyes light up.

"Mama! Let's go play upstairs, otay?"

Me, extremely confused: "Ummm...Millie, we don't have an upstairs."

Millie, extremely confused: "Why?"

Me: "Because we've never had an upstairs? Because we live in a one-story house?"

Millie: "Why?"

Good question. Let me time travel back and ask 2009 Erika what she was thinking.

****


Matt is holding Millie and we (Matt & I) are laughing about something. All of a sudden, Millie exclaims "DAT NO FUNNY!"

We stop laughing, only we kinda can't, because her outburst is so random and so funny in itself.

"What's not funny, Millie?"

"No laugh. No 'ha ha ha ha ha!!'" (She says her 'ha ha ha's in the most sarcastic voice a two-year-old can muster.)

You try not laughing after a scolding like that.

****

On multiple occasions (like, maybe 5), when we pull our car into the Target parking lot, Millie immediately screams "HOOOOME!!! We home!!!"

Please note that she does not say this when we actually arrive to our actual (disappointingly one-storied) home. She has done it twice when we pull into our church parking lot. So, home=Target and sometimes church. There's something just beautiful and strange about that.

****


I have an Apple Watch, and one of the fun features is that you can activate Siri by just turning your wrist and saying "Hey Siri," followed by whatever you want her to do. One thing I find myself doing semi-regularly is requesting that Siri set a timer for two minutes, because a certain member of our household sometimes needs to spend two minutes thinking about her life and choices occasionally. 

So when Millie is playing with her dolls and animals, you may find her sternly reprimanding the doll for some terrible transgression, and the conversation goes something like this:

"NO! You NO BITE. Dat NOT NICE. You go time out."

(she puts her wrist up to her mouth and yells at her wrist) " TWO MINUTES! Hey do two minutes!"

(talking to her doll again) "You sit two minutes! You wait for my watch make sound, otay! NO BITE! Two minutes!"

Then she stares at her doll, intermittently glancing at her wrist. If her doll gets wiggly (in her imagination, I suppose, since our dolls are all inanimate as far as I know...), she doesn't give in.

"Hey!! No two minutes yet! My watch NO MAKE SOUND. You sit. TWO MINUTES!"

I promise I am not as mean as she makes it sound. Because now I'm so paranoid about the whole thing, I can barely even bring myself to sit her in time out. Ha!

****


Millie has gotten where she loves for us to scratch her back. She likes us to pull up her shirt and scratch away. So the other evening, I was scratching as requested. Apparently my hand went a little further than she cared for, and she exclaims "No! No scratch my booty! Poop-poop in my booty!!"

You can't argue with logic like that.

****

At breakfast, Matt and I were discussing who would pick Millie up from school that afternoon. She is listening carefully and pipes in with some clarifying questions:

"Mommy pick me up today?"

"Yes, Mommy is going to pick you up."

"Pick me up and go to doc-tuh?"

"No, baby...pick you up to go home. Do you need to go to the doctor?"

[wide eyes] "Go to doc-tuh to cut open my nose and get food?"

So apparently last week's lesson did sink in and is weighing heavy on her mind, just as I'd hoped. Ha!