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?


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


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, we are. I always like reading these when other people do them, so maybe you do too! 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! 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.

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."


"Because it just is."

"Why we go?"


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 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!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Life with a 2.5-year-old is never boring, I can tell you that much. Here are some recent highlights.

Please note her tattoo and earrings.
Millie loves dinosaurs right now. This makes me inexplicably happy because, a) it's just really cute, and b) I myself was obsessed with dinosaurs as a child (although not when I was quite this young), so I can relate. So we read a lot of books about dinosaurs, we roar and chase each other around, and for the last few days, Millie starts each morning by telling us what kind of dinosaur we are. She decides this based on what color shirt each person is wearing. So as I carry her into the kitchen, as she's still bleary and rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she's inspecting all of our outfits so that she can declare "Daddy green di-saur, Mommy purple di-saur, Millie red di-saur, Lola black di-saur!" If you change clothes later, she will tell you that "you no purple di-saur now, you blue di-saur!" or whatever. It's precious. Also, she's good at colors.


She started taking ballet lessons this month!

Obviously this picture is in our yard and not during a class, but the cuteness is the same no matter where you are.

There's a studio that goes into local daycares/preschools and offers classes during the day, so that's what we're doing. It's nice because we don't have to give up a Thursday evening or Saturday morning or whatever to do an "extracurricular," but the sad part is that I don't actually get to watch the lessons. They send pictures, though, and Millie is usually happy to demonstrate what she learned that day, and I can definitely tell she's on track to be a professional ballerina. Hahaha. In related news, toddler ballet clothing is unbearably cute and I will be accepting donations to help with my new ballet shopping addiction.


Not to boast, but the time change has been awesome for us. She sleeps harder and longer than ever before, and now we have actual DAYLIGHT in the evenings so that we can play outside or go on a walk after dinner. Life is infinitely better with that little luxury! This girl loves being outside, so we have had a lot of fun with this mild "winter" and spring!

We dusted off our bikes for a family ride a few weekends ago. We found some goats that were SO adorable. Now I have dreams of being a goat farmer. 

My ancient (seriously, 13 years old) cat Aidan is still hanging around, and he and Millie are the best of frenemies. Warm days mean they have time to antagonize each other. How lovely.

Millie has also had time to devise ways to swing with her baby dolls, which resulted in this heartwarming scene:

Precious, yes?


This face may look cute and innocent to you, but shortly before I snapped this photo, we'd spent some harrowing and nasty moments digging a PEA out of Millie's nose. Yep. Shoved it (on purpose) right up the ol' nostril! Way to be a toddler, Millie!

It took us several attempts and combinations of tools to find success, but what ended up working was using the Nose Frida (hello, old friend!) to get the pea towards the opening, and then reaching in with tweezers to close the deal. And this only worked while she was sitting/standing up, so that gravity was working WITH us- we initially had her laying down, but the stupid thing kept rolling back as soon as we touched it. I hope you never need to know this strategy, but just in case...there ya go. I don't think that WE will ever need to use it again, because a) we're never having peas again, and b) we put the fear of God blood in Millie by telling her that it is NOT SAFE to have a pea in her nose, and if Mommy and Daddy couldn't get it out, we would have to take her to the hospital and they would cut her nose open with a knife and there would be LOTS OF BLOOD. So maybe we had to exaggerate a little, but I think it worked, because if there's anything she doesn't like, it's blood. And things that are "not safe." Deeming things "not safe" is one of her current methods of (trying) to get out of things she's not interested in doing.

"Time to brush your teeth, Millie!"

"No! Dat not safe!!"


"Can you get in your car seat, Mills?"

"No please, Mommy. Dat not safe!"

It is literally the safest thing on the market. Buckle up, cowgirl.


Speaking of things on the market...

Here's something you need to be buying ASAP.

Reasons You Should Not Buy This Ice Cream:

1. You hate things that are delicious.
2. You don't want to weep with happiness.
3. You are satisfied with a mediocre life.
4. You have a life-threatening pecan, truffle, or fudge allergy. (However, if you just have a normal-level allergy that could be helped with just an epi-pen or a few days in the hospital, it's probably worth the risk.)

That's really all I can think of. Now, some of you may say "hey, that's a Publix-brand ice cream, and I don't live anywhere near a Publix," and to you I say "Delta is ready when you are." Seriously. I'm sure wherever you live is great, but so is the southeast, and WE have Publix and nine months of humidity and heat strokes  summer, so like...get moving.

And in case you were wondering, YES, Millie does approve of this ice cream and also has declared it to be safe, so...the end.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

two point five!

My sweet infant baby is a full two and a half years old now! We had her thirty month check-up last week (much to many people's relief, I'm sure, I have personally finally stopped giving her age in terms of months...but apparently our pediatrician hasn't, haha!), so it seems like a good time to update the ol' blog and record the numbers and accomplishments for posterity! Plus...two point five is a really good age in terms of adorableness. So there are a few thousand pictures that are worth sharing with the world, in my opinion.

Aliases: Millie, Nuggie, Mill Mill, Mills, Millsie, Mims, and Mimsie. She calls herself Millie, but pronounces it "MEE-lee," which is obviously beyond adorable. She recognizes that Camilla is also her name, but when she tries to say it it she still puts the 'm' sound first, so it's like "ma-PEE-luh," idea where the 'p' sound comes from, but otherwise I credit the emphasis on the middle syllable (and the "EEE" sound there) on the fact that her Spanish-speaking teachers pronounce her name the Spanish way, cuh-MEE-luh. Probably more than you wanted to know, but I find it all adorable and fascinating.

Also, she knows her (our) last name now and knows to throw it on the end of our names if she really means business. Which means that sometimes I wake from a dead sleep to hear her screaming "ECKUH BAAATES!!!" over the monitor. Adorable slash alarming.

Stats: She weighs in at a solid 32 lb 4 oz (I think that was 80ish percentile) and 35 5/8 inches tall (70ish percentile?). The most traumatizing part of her appointment this time, for me, was that they weighed her on a NORMAL HUMAN SCALE (like the kind you stand on and slide the bars back and forth to get weight...LIKE NOT A BABY SCALE) and took her height standing up, same as they would measure your height. Sad face sad face sad face. I mean, they didn't even prep me for it. They didn't inform me she was suddenly an adult and no longer a baby. It was terrible. But anyway. She's a consistent 3T in clothes and still rocking her size 6 shoes, which I must estimate is like the first percentile, haha. Sometimes if I want to really make myself laugh, I look at her feet and then look at all her other classmates' feet. They are all approximately the same size height-wise, but then ONE kid has teensy little hooves and the other kids all have giant skis, and I'll let you guess which one is my Nuggie.

Big Girl Skills: This section used to be called "eating," but that's hardly worth discussing now. She eats like a normal adult. She isn't picky at all, although she will always choose to eat her FAVORITE things first (generally fruit, quiche, and in other words, she's a brunch gal). She even mostly drinks out of regular open cups now. I can't say I miss washing sippy cups, so it's a development I'm okay with!

Most importantly, my girl is potty trained!!! We really dedicated ourselves to the task at Christmas time, when I had quite a few consecutive days off of work, and when she went back to school in January, we were pullup-free (except at nap/bedtime)! She has done really well and rarely has accidents anymore, and honestly she usually stays dry during naps and overnight, too! As promised, we rewarded her with earrings (and ear holes, as she reminds us).

I miss that cloth diaper booty, but dino undies peeking up over her tights are pretty adorable, too. And I don't miss washing diapers. Or changing them. Or hauling around a giant diaper bag. So in conclusion, being potty trained isn't half bad. (The bad part: frantically sprinting across giant stores/other public locations the minute she grabs her crotch and says "POTTY, MAMA!!!" while praying fervently for both a) an open stall, and b) that you won't be calling for a clean-up on aisle 32. I could do without that happening every time we venture into public...)

Other Big Girl Skills include sometimes being legitimately helpful. She knows where the cleaning rags are located and will often go get one and wipe up spills/messes on the floor when she sees them. Last night, she saw me scratching my leg as I was laying on the couch. "What you do, Mommy?" and I told her that my leg just itched because my skin was dry. She disappeared for a moment and returned with the bottle of lotion from her bathroom. She then proceeded to pull up the leg of my pants and put lotion on my leg! "Feel all better, Mommy?" Actually...yes. And also, my heart melted. Can you clean up the puddle?

She went on her first plane ride(s) last week (we went to Texas for my grandfather's funeral) and she did a (mostly) great job! She was very enthusiastic about the whole thing (actually, Enthusiasm could be her middle name), and no one gave us mean glares on the plane, so I think we have to call it a win. 

She's quite a problem solver lately, especially if the problem involves not being able to reach something. Oh, you put your phone on top of the refrigerator, Mommy? And I asked for it and you said "no"? No worries, Ma! I got this one on my own!...and she proceeds to drag her bathroom stool into the kitchen, position it in front of a cabinet, climb on the stool, climb on the get the idea. This is a development I can do without.

Oh, and her final Big Girl more paci. Can't say this one was her decision, though. One day a few weeks ago, the tip of the paci just got cut off! (She says that she bit it off, but I think Mama's scissors had more to do with it than her teeth did.) Then "it no work," and after a few tearful episodes, she's learned to live a paci-free existence. She still asks for it occasionally, but then she remembers and will say to herself (out loud) "oh. I no have paci. I BIG GIRL! I have EAWWINGS!"

Baby Skills: Hahaha, it's only fair. I need to keep track so that I don't think she's ENTIRELY grown up already! Her main baby skill is that she still sleeps in her crib. She hasn't realized she could climb out yet. Part of me wants to keep her in there forever, but part of me is super jazzed about getting a Big Girl Bed and some new decor for her room, so we'll see how long the crib lasts.

Communication: She's a very proficient talker. She talks all the time, and can generally be understood by most anyone without a parent needing to translate. She easily uses 7-8 word sentences and knows words for pretty much anything she needs to talk about- or knows how to describe something that she doesn't know a word for. I'm clinging to what remain of her "baby" words- like calling birds "tweet tweets" and bodies of water "wah-wah" (strangely, she calls drinking water, like in a cup, "wa-duh," but if we pass a lake/pond/river, it's "big wah-wah!"). I am fiercely anti-pronunciation-correction, haha. I know that eventually she will say everything the conventional (read: boring, not cute) way, so I'll savor every minute of "eawwings" and "fwiend" and "giwaffe" and backwards grammar like "dat no you mommy!" [that's not your mommy!--spoken emphatically to anyone, human or animal, between the ages of fetus and elderly, who looks at me in any way] while I can. 

Likes: She really, really, REALLY likes her mama right now. Like a lot. I can't say I hate it in the least! But she only likes Matt to be with her if she needs to go #2 in the potty. Not sure how that preference developed, but I am also certainly not going to fight him for that privilege! Other than being with "MY Mommy!" (me!), she likes being outside, "helping" in the kitchen, jumping on the couch or our bed, being nek-nek [naked], looking at "baby Mee-lee pictuhs" on our phones or in photo books, and playing all kinds of crazy games with her toys. She still loves looking at books and being read to, and she is really good at puzzles and sorting games. We are pretty stingy with screen time still (she maybe watches TV/videos an hour a week), but that doesn't stop her from begging to watch Daniel Tiger on the reg. She saw her first full-length movie, Finding Nemo, a few weeks ago, and she loved it. She still talks about the "fish no find he daddy!" I haven't informed her that there are probably about a billion other movies out there that she's also going to love...mainly because I don't feel like watching those movies, haha. She LOVES animals, particularly cows, horses, alligators, birds, and dinosaurs. 

Dislikes: Bugs, sharing anything, being told what to know, normal toddler things! She gets like Code Red Level Ten hangry, so you gotta watch your step if she hasn't eaten recently. She is particularly scary if she happens to be holding one of our phones to look at pictures and then we dare to take it away from her. I recommend you never try that, unless you are prepared with a quiche or perhaps a cow to distract her.

There's nothing in this world I'd rather do than be than her mama. We never rocked her to sleep when she was a baby, because we felt like it was important that she be able to fall asleep on her own. She always did great with that (and is still a wonderful sleeper), but a few months ago she started asking me (and only me- no one else will do!) to rock her before bed. And I do it. Every night. Sometimes for two minutes, sometimes for half an hour. She doesn't need it to fall asleep, but I need it because she is my baby. Probably my only baby. And she wants me to hold her and rub her back and rock her, and there is literally nothing in the world I would rather do. She lays quiet and still, snuggled up underneath my chin, sometimes asleep, sometimes not, and she lets me kiss her and smell her delicious hair and whisper to her. I tell her how much I love her, how lucky I am to be her mama, how thankful I am God made us a family. Once I thought she was asleep, but out of nowhere she spoke up in a quiet, sleepy voice, saying "I happy, Mama. I yuv Dada. I yuv Mama. I happy."

I know that happiness isn't everything in this world, but it's a good thing. We are so happy. She is happy. I really can't ask for more.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

new year, same excuses

So...a happy New Year is in order, it seems?? Ha! So much for all those long, newsy, insightful blogs I'd planned for the end of 2016. What a shame. Don't worry, I don't plan to quit blogging...I'm just too busy/lazy to do it with any sort of regularity, apparently. 

Moving on! To summarize the end of 2016...let's see, there was a heartbreaking election. There were (are) terrible atrocities taking place all over the world and throughout our country. That's kind of all I remember. Maybe that's why I don't feel like writing anymore. I feel silly writing about my adorable child and generally happy life when there is so much real hurt and pain and injustice. It feels trite and trivial. I prefer to lose myself in fiction, to be honest, so that's what I spend most of my nights doing. I guess that led to one noteworthy thing: I read 31 books in 2016! Yay me. My goal was 40, so I did fall a little short, but I feel pretty good about 31. My goal for 2017 will remain 40, and so far I'm working on #3, so I'm off to a good start. (Side note for the book lovers or other people who would like to escape reality for a few hours: it seems that my reading "kick" for 2016 was books that took place in occupied European countries during WWI/WWII. I can't get enough of them!! A few of my favorites/top recommendations are All the Light We Cannot See, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Life After Life, and The Girl You Left Behind. Anyone else read TGYLB? I just finished it last week and it blew my mind and I'm dying to talk to someone about it. SO GOOD!!!!! Anyone have other recommendations in this genre?)

Annnnnyway. So I spend all my spare time reading. The end.

So I failed to blog about the super fun end-of-year holidays, which Millie found MOST exciting this year. I swear, she is SO MUCH FUN right now. She understands things, she remembers things (for better or for she remembers when I vaguely mention she can have a cookie later if she _______...and homegirl will CALL ME OUT on that!! Ha.), she anticipates's awesome!! So Christmas was particularly fun.

We finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of matching family jammies!! And as it turns out, these were actually really comfy, too, so we all wear them basically all the time. Oh, and Millie will sometimes call us "mama bear" and "papa bear" now, so that's pretty much the funniest thing ever. JAMMY WIN!

We didn't make it to see Santa this year. Well, Millie sorta did...from a distance, with my mother-in-law, and she was fine checking him out from afar, but when it was her turn to sit in his lap, she (semi-predictably) freaked out and was hysterical. Thankfully, my MIL didn't make her sit in his lap and just let her leave, but for days, all Millie could talk about was "NO LIKE HO-HO-HO!!! I NO SIT ON HO-HO-HO! I CRY!! HO-HO-HO BITE ME!!" and it just didn't seem worth it to me to try to inflict that trauma on her again when she so clearly was NOT INTERESTED (slash terrified). So no cute or crying Santa pics. Maybe next year, unless he (apparently) bites her again, ha.

She was MUCH more interested in any holiday traditions that involved food. This girl. We've certainly never had to worry about her going hungry! Food is her JAM!

We've also never had to worry about her lacking in personality or opinions. Her sweet daycare teacher describes her like this: "Oh, Millie always helps us know what we are doing. She tells the other children what they should do and not do. She knows where everything is and whose stuff everything is! She is a great leader!"....well, that's such a positive way of framing it. ;) Thank you, teachers! But seriously. She knows what's going on, and she will LET YOU KNOW if you step out of line. Ha!

Her big present from Mama & Papa Bear this year (not giving credit to mean old Ho Ho Ho!) was a dollhouse. She's a big fan, and I have high hopes that someday soon she will start playing with it in a way that makes sense to me. Instead of, you know, mixing in like eighteen genres of toys and various items from around the in the dollhouse kitchen we have a dollhouse refrigerator, a dollhouse grandpa doll, a green Lego, a jar of yellow paint, an empty toilet paper roll, six used stickers, a Daniel Tiger figurine, an eyelash curler stolen from mama's makeup cabinet, and a dirty sock. And I'm harshly reprimanded if I try to move any of those things, because THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT AND SHE IS PLAYING WITH THEM ALL. Excuse me for feeling slightly overwhelmed at the notion of tying all of those things in to a play storyline that makes any sense...

She is so silly and creative and (I hesitate to proclaim this for fear of jinxing us, but...) POTTY TRAINED as of very recently! I was kinda half-assing the potty training ever since about September, doing undies occasionally and pull-ups most of the time, but since we had some extended time off over the holidays, we finally really committed to the undies- even in public!!! and in the car!!!- and she's done great!! We still do pull-ups at night and naptime, but she actually wakes up dry most of the time (or wakes up and goes potty in the middle of the night) (with our help, because HECK YES she is still in her crib)! I'm so proud of her and we'll be going to collect her reward (getting her ears pierced) very soon.

Also, please note that apparently using the idea of being a "big girl" for all sorts of ideas and explanations has caused some confusion in her brain. And it's hilarious.

Exhibit A: We told her earrings are for "big girls" and that when she was going tee-tee on the potty all of the time and didn't wear baby pull-ups anymore, she would be a big girl and could get earrings (or "ear holes," as she calls it, since she understands that you have to first get special holes in your ears that you can put the earrings in!).

So understandably, every day or so, as soon as she finishes up using the bathroom, she reaches up and touches her ears, saying "I big girl! I tee-tee on potty! Where my ear holes?"

Exhibit B: As she was sitting on the potty one afternoon, I was sitting on the stool and leaning over towards her. Apparently my shirt was hanging down and exposing my cleavage a bit, so she reached out and pointed to one boob and had a slightly alarmed and curious look on her face as she asked "what dat?" ", that's Mama's boobie!" She touched the other boob. "What dat?" "That's Mommy's other boobie." She touched her own chest. "Where my boobie?" " get boobies when you're a big girl." She looks up with panic in her eyes. "BUT I TEE-TEE ON THE POTTY!! I a big girl! Where my boobie??!" (Sorry, couldn't even hold it together after that one. She has inquired about/requested boobies several times since then, so I'm trying to come up with a better explanation for when she can get hers.)

Exhibit C: Sometimes you just don't want to be a big girl. Because as she's learned, Big Girls do not get pacis all the time (only at bed time! and in the car. and during breathing treatments.), and they sometimes have to do very terrible things like stop playing to go use the restroom, etc. So the other night, she very calmly sat me down and explained "I not big girl. I tiny! I need paci. I tiny!! I want dipe-dipe. Where my paci? I tiny. I NOT BIG GIRL! I no have ear holes."

Look at that tiny not-big-girl.
I mean, as fun as she was as a baby, this whole language thing is priceless. I just don't know how I ever lived without hearing her ridiculous commentary on life all the time. I've been going through some of her baby things lately (to pass down to a niece that will arrive any day now!) and it's so bittersweet, but I don't know if I'd go back to her being a baby, even if I could. She is just SO full of life and love and sweetness...I can't get enough of my not-quite big girl.

We were supposed to have a Significant Winter Weather Event last night, but I don't know, something happened and we didn't. Our whole town shut down at like noon on Friday, just in case!!!!!, and we got all prepared and I was SO optimistic I even went out and spent ungodly amounts of money on two cheap plastic sleds that were clearly marked up 3000% just for the rare event...and then we watched videos on YouTube of kids sledding...and then Millie was SO excited all night and we promised that when she woke up, we would play in the snow....and then we woke up and there was like a fraction of a millimeter of heavy frost on the grass. WOMP WOMP WOMP, biggest disappointment ever. But Millie was not to be deterred. We promised she could sled, so dammit, she was gonna sled. And she had a blast. And we went and had French toast brunch with some new friends, and the kids gathered microscopic handfuls of snow off the playground equipment in the backyard and marveled at it melting in their hands, and that's how our snow day went down today. It was pretty fabulous, minus the part where we totally got gypped on actually GETTING SNOW.

So that brings us pretty up-to-date. I'm going to save the sleds, because a) I'm an optimist at heart, and maybe- just maybe!!- we will have reason to use them sometime soon...and b) the sketchy store I bought them at doesn't do returns. ??????? and potentially c) I could always just save them and mark them up another million percent next time there's a chance of snow and turn a sweet lil profit off another desperate mama, huh? So, options. They're good to have.

So Happy New Year! I promise to try to do a better job sharing things here- but if I don't, feel free to follow me on Instagram or Facebook or- let's be honest- Goodreads, haha. If you've made it this far, I will reward you (??? haha) by asking a completely off-topic question to close: does anyone still actually balance their checkbook/somehow reconcile monthly expenses against a budget on a regular basis? I'll go first: I do. I save every receipt and have an Excel workbook that everything goes into (I update it usually twice a month; each time we get paid). But I've discovered that apparently not a lot of folks my age/stage do that anymore. I guess folks just keep a general eye on their bank balance and keep on rollin'?? So I'm just curious. Anyone else out there still carefully saving and recording every single stupid receipt like I am? It's so annoying and time-consuming and I hate it, but I can't think of another way to make sure that I stick within our budget(s)?? I have Mint, and it's really similar (but easier)...but I can't bring myself to not still do the stupid Excel thing. So please weigh in and either enlighten me to a better way or let me know I'm not alone in boring tediusville over here!