Tuesday, November 1, 2016

the littlest fly-fly

Although this is technically Millie's third Halloween, this is the first time she really "got" it...and therefore, this has been the BEST ONE! (For those of you mourning that all of your baby's "first" holidays are done, rest assured that probably the second and third and fourth ones are going to be even better, even though there aren't t-shirts and bibs designed to specifically commemorate the occasion.) 

On Sunday night we did some costume roller skating with our church. Millie had two costumes this year, since the weather in Georgia is incredibly uncooperative/unpredictable. She has a warm furry monkey costume and a summer-weather ladybug costume. Since it's still in the 80s...she wore the monkey costume once, nearly sweated to death and was completely miserable, and has chosen the ladybug (or "fly-fly"...butterfly...) costume for all other events. Ha. Can't blame her, plus...WAY CUTE. So she was bribed to wear selected the fly-fly for Sunday night's event, and I decided to complete the outfit with her first time wearing makeup. Because real butterflys wear makeup, right?? Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.

I'm going to try to not turn into a pageant mom, but this didn't help. She was SO CUTE as I put on her lipstick!!!!

We had a blast at the party, although Mills wasn't so sure about the actual skating part. I was, though. I relived my childhood, only I'm like a hundred years older now and my whole body hurts. Ugh. Growing old is the worst.

So we spent Monday morning and early evening trying to prep Millie and explain what we were going to be doing when we went trick-or-treating. She was understandably mystified and was ONLY interested in the bowl of candy I prepared and set near the front door. "MY TWEAT!!! MY TAN-DY!!!!" she screamed as she fell out in hysterics over the injustice of seeing that bowl of candy up high out of her reach. I kept explaining that that was the candy for other children, and that we were going to put on her costume and go knock on our friends' doors and they would give US candy. She did. not. get. it.

Once I finally got her in her costume, she ran again to the bowl of candy and started begging for it.

"No, Millie, remember? We are going to go knock on our friends' doors and say "trick or treat!" and then they will give you candy! And you say thank you!"

She stares at me for two seconds and runs to the nearest door in our house, the laundry room door. She makes a fist and bangs the door a few times, then turns right back around and looks me in the eye.

"I knock. GIMME DAT!!"-- as she points to the bowl of candy.

So I think she got it. HAHAHA.

We finally set out to trick or treat, and she finally figured out what her life's purpose was. It took no time at all for her to figure out that we would find a house with a light on, then walk to the door, then knock, then she would sweetly say "trick or treat!" (or maybe, if she was already staring down the candy bowl, she'd just squeak out "TWEAT!"), then she would look the candy-giver in the eye and thank them. It was adorable. She was precious. And when we walked back to the wagon, she was SO excited each time. She would sit back down, ask for her "punkin" and talk to herself as we walked to the next house. "Happy! Tweat! Knock knock, tweat! Thank you! Happy!"

She also quickly caught on to the fact that we would only go to houses with lights. So she helpfully pointed out every light she saw. "Mama. MAMA!! Light!! Light! Tweat!"

"No, Mills...that's a street light. There's no house. We have to find a HOUSE with a light."

"Otay Mama. MAMA!! LIGHT!!"

"Millie, that's a car's headlights. Find a house..."

So, there's room for improvement on the specifics, but I'd say she gets an A for overall trick-or-treating skills.

Getting home and getting her into the bath and bed was not nearly as delightful as the rest of the night, but hopefully I'll forget that part soon and only remember the good times, ha!

And now I'll have a little sob-fest as I look at how much she's grown over her three Halloweens!!

But I can't sob for long, because it is NOVEMBER 1, which means I can safely start listening to Christmas music in my office all day!! So no time for tears...plus, now I can start thinking about how much fun Millie is going to be at Christmas, because I bet she will "get" that a lot more this year too, and oh, what fun awaits!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

apples and cabins and cows, oh my!

We had a wonderful weekend adventure with some of our favorite friends this weekend...so fun that it inspired me to blog, which is really saying something these days! You may recall that a few years ago Matt and I went to Mexico with our friends Adam and Jessie. It was glorious and relaxing and rejuvenating and people waited on us hand and foot and all we had to do was decide what angle to lay in the sun and what combination of blended alcohol and fruit to imbibe. Glorious. Well, this weekend was really similar because it was still me and Matt and Jessie and Adam...but also our five children (between the ages of 1-6), and instead of a luxury resort in Mexico, we went to a...ummm...rustic might be too generous...cabin in north Georgia. A cabin with two bedrooms and one bathroom. And there were no attentive staff waiting on us hand and foot...it was more like endless children crawling underfoot and demanding things. But otherwise is was basically exactly the same.

HAHAHA no it wasn't. But it was its own kind of wonderful, I promise.

Our primary goal was to go apple picking. Matt and I have never been, so obviously Millie hasn't either, and it was high time to cross that off our bucket list!! Millie, as expected, was REALLY EXCITED about the whole thing. 

Actually, she was really confused about why we were pooping on her eating-apples-off-the-ground party, but she caught on eventually. We had a lot of fun picking (and eating) apples, although I must admit that it was a much stinkier project than I'd imagined. Who woulda thought that thousands of apples rotting in the Georgia heat (the apples on the ground) (yes, it's still in the 80s here, even in the foothills of the mountains...gah...) could create such a delightful smell? Phew! Anyway, it was great even with that.

The apple orchard had the whole fall farm festival thing going on, so there were all kinds of other fun things to entertain the kids (and adults, let's be honest) for the rest of the day. We ate loads of fried garbage and drank tasty apple cider slushies...I hear people who live in places that get actual fall weather drink something called "hot cider," but cider slushies are way more my jam when I'm sweating buckets waiting in line for the ponies!

Millie had loads of fun doing anything that involved touching animals. That baby cow in the top right picture was her SOUL MATE. I swear they were communicating in a secret language or something and plotting to run off together. It was precious. My little cow whisperer. But then again, her expression while cuddling the kitten was basically perfection. True love.

On our way back home on Sunday, we stopped in an adorable small town (Ball Ground, GA, anyone?) and ate some incredibly tasty German food and played in a lovely (and very Stars Hollow-esque) gazebo- or "my house," as Millie quickly named-and-claimed it. 

Trying to wrangle the kids to stay still for pictures was nearly impossible, but the chaos nicely captured the essence of the weekend, haha. It wasn't exactly relaxing, but it was an awful lot of fun...which I also think sums up parenthood pretty nicely! Now we have a few weeks to recover and detox from apple-themed, sugar-filled fried everything...because we head back to the mountains with our family for another weekend soon! Yaaaaay for fall and fun, and we'll pray many prayers that the weather will cool the heck off so that we aren't forced to continue our summer wardrobes well into November. UGH. (We may LOOK semi-fallish in these pictures, but trust me, we were all sweating to death because the mamas were overly optimistic about "mountain weather" when packing...)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

millie-isms: part IV

Let's pretend I didn't just go an entire month without blogging, okay? Thanks!

My girl is funnier, sassier, and more opinionated than ever these days! She is learning words and concepts so quickly, I can barely keep up. We already have to spell things (like "oh, Matt, I brought home some C-A-K-E that we can eat after M-I-L-L-I-E goes to B-E-D!"), lest we have to share our junk food with her. Here are some of my favorite recent Millie-isms.

1. I've been going to physical therapy for awhile now to help my neck and shoulder (diagnosis: carrying-a-heavy-toddler-itis). (P.S. Unrelated to Millie, but just so you know- I go twice a week for a little over an hour each time and for that whole hour I lay there and have my neck and shoulder rubbed and massaged. It's not the worst medical condition to have, haha! Can't say I'm really praying for a quick healing...hahahaha.) This week, things got real-er, though, and my PT sent me home with a stetchy band and some exercises to start practicing at home. Boooo. Anyway, so I've been doing the exercises in the bathroom while Millie takes her bath at night. I have to do 30 reps of 4 different exercises, and understandably, they get a little painful on my wonky shoulder. So it's possible that while I'm counting out my repetitions, I occasionally say "owwwwww" and make a grimacing face. And it didn't take Miss Observant long to figure that out, because about five minutes into my first "exercise" night, she started mimicking me from the bath. "two...five...nine...OWWWWW!!!!!" (devious giggles) "two...fiiiive...niiiiine...OWWWWW!!!!" (exaggerated pain on her face, lots of laughing)

It's the funniest thing ever. Nothing gets by her! Watching me do my exercises is now her most favorite thing to do, and if I don't say "owwww" often enough for her liking, she will remind me. "Mama, OWWWWW!!!"

2. Like most (all?) two-year-olds, she has strong opinions about things. Most of the time she will do as we ask, but sometimes she'll dig her heels in about our truly ridiculous demands, such as putting on clothes so that we can go outside. The other night, while trying to wrestle her into her shoes, I said "Millie! Who is the boss here??" and wasn't really expecting a response, because I'm sure she doesn't know what "boss" means. But don't don't worry, she still responded. "Me! ME BOSS!" and then Matt and I failed at parenting because we laughed hysterically and totally rewarded her incorrect response but who cares, it was hilarious. "No, Millie. MOMMY is the boss and DADDY is the boss." "NO. Mill-mill boss!! ME BOSS!!"

It's probably true, but don't tell her.

So last night, while she was just happy and playing and not being stubborn about anything at the moment, I asked again. "Millie, who is the boss?" "Mama boss!" "Oh! Yes, Mama is the boss. Thanks!"

Five minutes later, she sees the TV remote and decides she wants it (the TV isn't on). I put it up out of her reach, and she looks me dead in the eye and says. "NO. Mill-mill boss dat. Me boss TB [TV]!!!" 

So anyway, glad we've established who is the boss of what around the house.

3. Matt was super sick for a week and a half (flu and pneumonia). It was really hard on Millie because she loves her daddy and always wants to be around him, but she couldn't when he was sick. Also, there was some serious injustice going on in our house due to Daddy's sickness.

Millie and I were eating at the table one night and Matt came through with a bottle of Gatorade. 

Millie: "What dat?" 
Me: "That's Daddy's juice."
Millie: "Want juice!! My juice!"
Me: "No, Mills, you only get juice when you are sick. You can drink your milk or water, okay?"
Millie: [slumps over dramatically, fake coughs, and moans.] "*cough cough* I sicccckkk, Mama. Need juice. I sick. *cough cough*"

(She didn't get juice. I am still the boss of juice.)

Monday, September 12, 2016


If you're around Millie for more than about thirty seconds these days, you're bound to hear her proclaim "I HAPPY!!!!!" at the top of her lungs, accompanied by a huge grin that convinces you she is telling the truth.

Exhibit A: "I HAPPY, Mama!!" I believe this was in response to seeing Matt pull out the lawnmower. Don't nobody like tall grass, right?
I think it's adorable and brilliant that she's learning to label her feelings, and I'm glad that most of the time she chooses to be happy. Then again, I think the only other 'feelings' she really knows how to label are sad, sleepy ("seep-seep") and awake ("WAKE!"- can only be yelled). She definitely knows what sad is. Anytime we're looking at a book and she sees a character with tears on their face, she points to the tears and says in such a pathetic little voice "he sad, Mama. Awwwwww." and then she hugs the book. But my favorite-favorite happens maybe a few times a week...she has an eye that randomly tears up sometimes. I'm not sure why, but it's done it her whole life. It doesn't seem to bother her, and she never used to even notice, but now, anytime she feels that tear running down her face, she points to it and says "I SAD???!!!" in the most perplexed, confused, enthusiastic voice. It's beyond funny. Then I have to explain that sometimes we have tears because our eyes just make them, and we might not be sad at all. But she doesn't have time for that. "I sad. Awwww."

"Bikes, Mama? See cows? HAPPY!"
It's hard not to be happy when you're around her. She just radiates joy and excitement and it's truly contagious. Sure, she is a totally typical two-year-old and there are plenty of moments of sass and drama and disobedience, but she normally gets through those and back to "I HAPPY, Mama!" pretty quickly...so I just prefer to focus on the happy. 

Roasting marshmallows (or "beach balls," as she repeatedly called them (???)) blew her mind.
I'd kinda thought that by the time age two rolled around, most of her "firsts" would be done. And that's true, to some extent, but what I love is that really...they aren't. Almost every week I think of or realize something she hasn't done or seen yet- and not big giant "things," like traveling across the world, but small, everyday things- and I get so excited. Like roasting marshmallows. When I thought of it the other week, I realized that her mind would just be blown. I mean...a fire outside...she's never seen that. She got to help me gather sticks from the woods, which she thought was amazing. Then I pulled out the big ol' bag of marshmallows, and she basically lost her mind. I told her that we were going to put fire on the marshmallows to cook them before we ate them, and she had NO IDEA what was happening...but then when it happened...I mean. It was just the best. She's not one to shy away from trying new things, and for good reason: sometimes the new thing you try turns out to be a roasted marshmallow, and you are SO HAPPY, MAMA!!!

This is the best beach ball ever!
I just love thinking of fun things to show her and surprise her with. She literally shrieked with excitement the other day because I brought a popsicle outside for her to eat while she played. Like, shrieked. With excitement. She couldn't contain herself. 
A popsicle outside?!? WHAT IS THIS MAD, BEAUTIFUL WORLD??!
She gets excited for things other than food, too, for the record. When we finally (after she asked for two whole days!) got out the bikes to go ride over to visit the cows...there was shrieking. And jumping. Because COWS, MAMA!!!!!! I HAPPY!!!!

It's just fun having someone so easily impressed and excited to be around all the time, to be honest. She loves taking care of her babies, and she loves eating...well, on Saturday I used her kitchen and play food and pretended to feed the baby. MIND BLOWN. Can't stop feeding babies now! But also, she was getting irritated at the baby in the picture above. It's the kind whose eyes open/close when she is upright/laying down. Millie was extremely perturbed that the baby was "sleeping" while she was being fed. "WAKE, Baby! Open eyes! Eat eat!" As happy and excited as she is, Millie will never hesitate to let you know if you're not doing something right. Ha.

In conclusion...these are just days where it's really easy to be HAPPY. I am so thankful for that.

In post-conclusion, I would like to share two non-Millie toddler stories that are hilarious to me. You see, toddlers have the ability to tear you down just as easily as they can build you up. Let me 'splain.

Exhibit A: I am walking down the hallway to pick up Millie from her class. As I pass the doorway of an older classroom, a boy (maybe three-ish?) standing in the doorway looks at me, locks eyes with me, and loudly MOOOOOOs at me. You know, the cow sound. At me.

[commence me swearing I will start exercising and stop eating garbage all the time]


Exhibit B, a few weeks later: I am in line at Target. In front of me is another child from Millie's school and her mom. I know the child's name (let's call her Jane) and not the mom's name, as it usually goes, haha. But the mom and I chitchat while we wait to get rung up. After we've been chatting awhile, Jane stands up in the cart and her mom points to me and says "do you know who this is,  Jane?" Jane stares at me, wide eyed and silent for a minute. I know she recognizes me, because I talk to her on the playground almost every day, but I wait for a minute to see what she says. And boy am I glad I did.

In a voice of wonder, awe, and amazement, Jane stares at me and says "....Elsa?? ELSA?!!!!!"

Because if there's ANYONE I'm mistaken for, it's a blonde Disney ice princess (or whatever, still haven't seen Frozen, but I know an Ultimate Compliment from a Girl Toddler when I hear one). So you see: self-esteem restored. Thank you, toddler.

Friday, August 26, 2016

life lately

Well, the Olympics have ended, and with it my reason for living. Or not, I guess, but it is really sad. But I do like going to bed at a decent hour and not having to wait until 11:48 p.m. to watch the ONE WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS EVENT THEY'VE BEEN TEASING ALL EVENING, so I'll focus on that. But seriously, NBC. That's frustrating. Do better in 2020.

I filled the Olympics-shaped void in my heart with Stranger Things last week. I highly recommend it. The first couple of episodes were super stressful to me, but I still loved it, and I think the ending was fantastic. And now I'm obsessed (and I don't use that word lightly) with Gaten Matarazzo, the kid that played Dustin. If you hear that I've been arrested and thrown into prison, you can 100% trust that it's because I tried to kidnap Gaten. I just can't help it. He is the funniest, most adorable non-Millie kid I've ever seen. He gives me hope for the future of our world. But the main thing you need to know is that he sang Bring Him Home from Les Mis (and P.S.- he used to BE in Les Mis on Broadway!!!) at a karaoke birthday party and it is the greatest video on the internet. So go watch it.

In less creepy news, Millie is as sassy and hilarious as ever.

She has buckets of opinions and personality and she keeps us in stitches most of the time. A few times recently, when I've gone into her room in the morning to wake/get her up, she jumps up in her crib and yells "I AWAKE!!!!!" as soon as I enter the room. And she has that same happy enthusiasm for pretty much all of life.

Well, except for the things that she doesn't like or doesn't want to do, including but not limited to: being offered a sippy cup that offends her. Being offered a different cup that is also terrible. Not being offered any more cups. Being thirsty, but not finding any acceptable drinking vessels in the whole world. Going outside (because of bees). Not going outside (want outside!!). Wanting milk, but only from Mommy's Yeti, which IS NEVER AN OPTION BUT IT IS THE ONLY THING IN THE WORLD THAT MIGHT MAKE HER HAPPY. And um...some more things. You know. It's tough being two.

If we can navigate those tricky scenarios properly, though, she really is just the happiest kid. And right now she LOVES her babies. She is quite a little mama, and it makes me so happy to see her model what I can only assume are the amazing parental models she sees at home. ;) Although I don't feel like Matt and I run over Millie with huge dump trucks quite as often as she seems to with her babies, but I'm sure she'll grow out of that some day.

I've been busy hitting up all of the local "fall" (hahaha lol Georgia) consignment sales lately, and I got this building set thing because it seemed STEM-y and smart and what-not. It was super fun and all but maybe I'm not quite ready for toys like this because a) I almost had a heart attack at all of the PIECES all over the floor, and b) I couldn't actually let Millie help or touch it because the whole thing was very fragile and everything had to be just so in order for it to stay together, and her bulldozer approach to life didn't really work with that. But she was nice enough to smile for a picture inside my finished product, moments before I put the whole thing away and said "maybe we can get it out again in five years."

She's doing really well with potty training. She's wearing pull-ups most of the time during the day at school and is successful on the potty probably 75% of the time, maybe? At home she mostly wears undies and I'd also say she's maybe 75% successful. I told her that when she doesn't wear any more diapers or pull-ups and wears her undies ALL of the time (well, not at night), she will be a Big Girl and she can get her ears pierced. This is a big deal- she LOVES my earrings and is always putting things on her ears, pretending she has earrings, so I figured it would be a good incentive. So far it is, because I hear "no dipe-dipe. EARRINGS!!" and "yay undies. EARRINGS!" many times a day. 

The swing set is still a big hit and also the biggest hurdle to potty-training, ha. Most of her accidents occur out there because she can't be bothered to go inside to take care of business. So I guess we need to get a porta-potty installed or something. Gotta set her up for a win so she can get those earrings, right??! (P.S. Browsing the toddler earrings on Amazon is way more fun than it should be. I'm as excited about this as she is! But I can't decide if we should get her ears done at like Claire's or at a tattoo/piercing place. Our peds office doesn't do them. I've heard good arguments for both options...any opinions or experience with that?)

We had a scary day last week- when Millie woke up on Wednesday morning, she couldn't walk. Like her right knee buckled out and she screamed in pain any time she tried to put weight on it. It was horrible. I have videos and they will make you cry. She was slithering on her belly to get around. I was scared to death because she was totally fine the day and night before, hadn't had any unusual falls or injuries- how on earth did she hurt herself badly enough to be unable to walk overnight??! We took her to the pediatrician, and he wasn't able to figure it out, so he sent us to an orthopedist. They did several knee, leg, and hip x-rays, but also couldn't find anything amiss. Through the course of the day, though, she'd gradually gotten better and was walking again- first with a severe limp, and later on with hardly a limp at all. By the next day, she wasn't even limping. It was the weirdest thing. We had a follow-up with the orthopedist two days later, and she was still completely fine. So he said it was probably toxic synovitis (scary name, not scary condition) or (my theory, which he said was also plausible) she may have slept with her leg caught in her crib slat and had a severe 'crick' in her hip or knee that took awhile to wear off. I don't know. But I sure am glad she recovered quickly, and I am so thankful for her good health in general. 

And that's all the news from here. I'm looking forward to the weekend and "moving in" to our new attic that Matt recently finished building- now all the junk important, save-worthy items taking up space in our closets and garage can be relocated to a toasty, out-of-the way location! High five for hoarding. And also- it is the last weekend before college football starts back!! Hoooorray!! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

(mostly-olympics-themed) musings

To start with- thank you for all of the well wishes and happy birthdays you sent Millie's way on Friday! She doesn't yet have a concept of "blog friends," but I'm sure that on some level she felt the love. Hahaha. We had a wonderful 'family day' and did all of her favorite things.

Lucky for me, most of her favorite things involve food, so it was a pretty great day to be Millie's mommy. She had her two-year check-up today, and I discovered that she actually HASN'T gained a lot of weight...apparently I've just gotten weaker. Womp. Millie is hanging out at 29 lb 12 oz (84th percentile) and 35.6 inches long (91st percentile). So at least I was correct about one thing- she's super tall...more than 3 inches (and about a pound) gained since her last visit (in February).

Anyway, we (using the word "we" really generously here) did get Millie's playground built this weekend! Insert all the praise hands emoji right here.

It took Matt, his dad, his brother, and our friend the entire Saturday (about ten hours) (plus Matt and I worked on organizing the pieces for probably 3 hours the day before), but they did it! And then I generously screwed those two flags to the front, hence the reason I can say "we" built it with a semi-clear conscience. Obviously we've only had it for like five days, but so far I will give the swing set my stamp of approval. I mean, my #1 recommendation would be to get one from a company that will come to your house and assemble it for you...but if you're on a budget and can wrangle some helpers, this one turned out pretty great. And as you can see, Millie definitely approves!

And that leads us to our next important topic: the Olympics.

Without her swing set, how would Millie ever properly prepare for the 2020 games? She'll be six-ish then, right? Based on my observations, that seems to be about the average age of female gymnasts, so that's what we're aiming for.

No, in all seriousness, I've spent a lot of time thinking about which sport I would most want Millie to go to the Olympics for. I mean, obviously she is extremely gifted at probably every sport, so it's really up to me to just choose the one to really focus on. Gymnastics is most definitely my favorite one to watch, but over the last few Olympics (Olympicses?? haha), the diving events have crept up and are now rivaling gymnastics pretty hardcore. I get tired of the swimming events pretty fast, because...they just go on forever, they're not terribly interesting to me, blah blah blah. But synchronized diving? LOVE IT. Probably because it moves SO fast. Probably because jumping from a board or platform into a pool only takes about 2 seconds, even if you're doing 14 flips and twists on your way down. I just love the way that diving is as intricate and athletic and artistic as gymnastics, PLUS it's super fast, MINUS (I'm assuming) the humongous risk of debilitating injuries. It just seems like a win all the way around.

Oh yeah, PLUS...Millie really loves it. So I guess I can let her opinion count for something.

It's hard to see, but Millie is copying the (paused for instant replay) divers. When they show the slow-mo dive, she jumps up and spins around. Gifted.

But actually, I don't even think the diving is her favorite part of the Olympics. The water is.
And lest you wrongly assume, as I did, that when she excitedly screams "wah wah!!!" that she is referring to the (unbelievably gorgeous) Brazilian beach/ocean, or perhaps the pool...well, she's not. It took awhile to figure it out, but what she is ACTUALLY excited about is athletes drinking water on the sidelines. From water bottles. Every time they pan to someone on the sideline drinking water, Millie just can't even handle it. "WAH WAH!!!!!!!!" The thrill! Olympians! They're just like us!

Speaking of non-athletic-but-slightly-Olympics-related things...possibly one of my favorite parts of the Games is the previews they keep showing for the show This is Us. They piqued my interest with Milo Ventimiglia, but after a few days of seeing dozens of different trailers...I actually found myself tearing up at one of the previews last night. For a show I've never even seen! I don't even know the premise! I just know enough to know I'm already emotionally committed. So anyway, I'm excited about that.

I'm also EXTREMELY FREAKING EXCITED about Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life being released on Black Friday!!!!! I mean, it goes without saying...but I just felt like I needed to say it. Finally...something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. ;)

And on a final, unrelated note, I want to go on a cruise to Alaska. Anyone done this before? More specifically...anyone done this with a two-year-old before? I've been on several cruises and thought I would swear them off for life because of my seasickness. Plus, I discovered all-inclusive resorts, so like...who would want to cruise when you could have all the benefits with none of the drawbacks (like seasickness...or your ship losing power and floating aimlessly at sea while people poop in bags and what not)? But now I've got a hankerin' to check out Alaska (I don't know, maybe it's the 4,000 days of 100 degree weather that has me thinking crazy thoughts), and you can't really "check out Alaska" while sitting in an all-inclusive resort (or can you?). Cruising is supposedly one of the best ways to get to experience Alaska. And so I find myself researching and dreaming and scheming...but maybe this is the worst idea ever. Anyway, thoughts or experiences (good OR bad- just honest!) are welcome! 

And with that, I return to...oh wait, shocking...more swimming events!! Oooh wait, I forgot that there is one thing I particularly like about swimming events: Michael Phelps's baby. HOW CUTE IS THAT BABY??! Also, I love the Tula his mom wears him in. Major baby-carrier envy. So anyway. Look at me, finding the silver-ish lining. Ha. I guess Millie and I have that in common: an unconventional appreciation for things at the Olympics. Water bottles and Tulas. Good times!

Friday, August 5, 2016

two years!

And just like that...twenty-four months have flown by. My sweet girl is TWO today!

The cutest two you've ever seen, though.
Our monthly updates were mostly nonexistent during her second year of life, but I think I can pull one together for this important milestone of a day. And also, you know, make up for the month it's been since the last time I blogged. Oops.

Aliases: I would have to say we call her Mill-mill and Mills about 80% of the time, and Nuggie/Nugs the other 20%. At school they mostly call her "Mimmy" (rhymes with Timmy), apparently because that's what it sounds like when Millie or the other toddlers say her name. So now the adults call her that. I think that's pretty cute too, so I throw that in there sometimes. 

But let's be honest: now that she's grown and sassy, she hears CAMILLA ANN!!!! every now and then, and she knows we mean business. So while we don't call her Camilla on the reg...at least she recognizes it? Haha.

Me? Sassy? Why, I never...
Stats: Well PRAISE JESUS, she hasn't been to the doctor in literally MONTHS. I think not since May?? It's amazing. But that means I have no idea how much she weighs or how tall she is. I will estimate that she probably weighs 31-33 pounds. My niece is 34 pounds and Millie feels super light compared to her, but she feels heavier than babies I know that weigh 30 pounds, so there you have it. She has her two-year check-up next week, so I'll find out then. As for height, she has grown really tall this summer- dresses that were below her knee in the spring are barely covering her bottom now!! She can still wear a 2T comfortably, though, although I'm not sure how pants would be length-wise...she has no use for pants in this long, hot Georgia summer. I anticipate buying a mix of 2T and 3T for her fall/winter clothes at the consignment sales the next few weeks. (Update 8-10-16: She is 29 lb 12.5 oz and 35.5 inches!)

Her feet, though...certifiably tiny. She can still wear her favorite size 4 sandals, and her other 2 pair of summer shoes are 5s. We have several cold-weather shoes in size 6 & 7 (hand-me-downs from my niece who is otherwise almost the exact same size as Millie...only her feet are twice as long, ha!), but they are gigantic clown shoes on her. It's hilarious. So my baby is practically all grown up, but at least her feet are staying baby sized?

Well, I love my tiny feet. They are precious and easy to trace!
She has all of her teeth except one top two-year molar. Annnnnd she also managed to get her first dental injury in July (fell on a toy car), and now one of her precious top front teeth is turning gray. Waaah. More importantly, there isn't any damage to the root, there was just bruising and the tooth got loose and now it's turning gray. But that was a fun first emergency trip to the dentist! There's a chance it may turn back white, but who knows. At any rate, the way she normally smiles, you can't even see her top teeth, so it's not really noticeable unless you pull on her lip or are brushing her teeth...which most people aren't, as it turns out.

I'd be adorable even if my teeth were purple, Mommy!
She's on her way to being potty trained. We haven't put a whole lot of effort towards it, but she definitely knows when she needs to go to the bathroom, and most of the time she tells us and will go in the potty. She wears undies around the house sometimes, but still has to wear diapers at school (she is moving up to the next classroom, where they have a bathroom, next week), so we haven't really pushed it too much yet. I don't really have a plan or philosophy for potty training...I think we'll just keep playing it by ear and see how it goes. I figure, if she can go a few hours in undies at home with successfully using the potty...it shouldn't be that bad, right? And then I also console myself with the fact that I don't really care if she potty trains or not right now. Since her cloth diapers don't cost us anything, I have basically no incentive to stop using them. So if she doesn't seem ready, we'll put it off.

Eating: This doesn't even really need a section anymore. She is a totally accomplished eater. She eats everything we do and isn't picky at all. This can best be illustrated by what our friends witnessed when we were out to eat the other day- we were mostly done eating, but Millie was sitting in my lap while we were chatting after the meal. There was still salad on my plate, and Millie was eating the cookie that came with her meal. She had the cookie in one hand, and in the other hand she was picking the raw onions out of my salad and eating those alternately with the cookie. Cookies, onions...it's all good to Millie.

One of my co-workers has fig trees that are currently producing a lot of figs. As it turns out, fresh figs taste nothing like Fig Newtons, so I'm not terribly interested in them myself, but Millie is the #1 Fig Fan and will polish off a whole carton of them in a single afternoon!

MY "fihh," Mama! MINE! (yep, you can have them.)
But don't worry, we haven't totally brainwashed her. She likes ice cream as much as any other toddler/human!

Tweet ('treat'), Mama? My tweet??!
Communication: Her language has exploded in the last few months. I can no longer count all the words she can say, and she understands almost everything we say. She makes mental connections that amaze me sometimes! The other day we were outside playing and it was really hot and humid (see also: Georgia in July), and I commented offhand that "Mills, your hair is getting wavy!" She turned around and looked at me and then waved her hands. Little smarty pants! I love listening to her talk- she has the sweetest little voice and accompanies her talking with adorable facial expressions and emphatic hand motions. About a month ago she started this thing where if I'm holding her or she's sitting on/near me, she will grab my face and turn it toward her as she says "Mama!!" every time she needs to say something. And even if I say "yes, Millie?" the first time, she usually does it about 10 times or so, just to really drive home the point that she needs my undivided attention. I think it is adorable.

MAMA! Mama? Mama. MAMA!
Here's my other favorite example of how awesomely (and hilariously) she puts things together these days. So every time we sit down to eat, we first say our prayer. Then we give her her food, but often times it is "hot-hot," so we/she blows on it and/or waits a little while for it to cool down. She will usually eat some fruit or something else room temperature while she waits. BUT- if time has passed, and she decides that her food is still too hot to eat, she will make everyone stop eating and pray again ("Mama!! Hot! AaaMEEN!"). Because I guess to her, praying is what makes the food okay to eat?? Ha!! And she prays with real passion, too, on these follow-up-food-temperature prayers. 

It is beyond adorable, but sometimes her food is apparently hot for like 20 minutes, and MY food is downright cold by the time we finish all this praying. So sometimes I have to play the ultimate heathen card and say "Millie, no more praying. All done."...words I never thought I'd say, ha!
Likes: Her main passion is still playing outside. Whether she's in a pool (kiddie pool, real pool, ocean...all 'wah wah' is fine by her!) or just playing with her toys, she's always happy to be outside. She particularly loves going on "woks"around the neighborhood. She is a huge fan of playing with her dolls right now. She loves to take off their clothes, put on/off diapers, help them go night-night, and push them in the stroller.

When my babies outnumber me, I wear them- just like Mommy does!
And yes, I still regularly wear her in the Ergo. Normally in a front carry, because you just can't beat those cuddles.
She loves reading books and we'll often find her "reading" them by herself (or to her babies). She points to the pictures and names things in the book, and it's really just the cutest thing I've ever seen.

She loves sorting things. That generally involves making a big mess first (like by pulling out all of the play dishes, or all of her cloth diapers, or all of her shoes), but then she is really deliberate with how she organizes them- often by color, but sometimes by other attributes (like all of the plates, all of the forks, all of the boots). I find myself wishing I had some of the manipulatives I used to have in my pre-k classes so that I could see how many different ways she can sort items...but I guess I'll just have to wait, haha.

She really, really loves people. Her grandparents most especially (besides Mama and Daddy, of course). She is always asking about Pop-pop, Nannie, Mimi, and Papa. She was in heaven when we went to the beach with my parents and she had a week of undivided grandparent attention!
(She understands what "happy" means, and will often just shout "HAPPY!!!" when she is happy or excited about something. It might be the cutest thing ever.) (She also uses the word "happy" to describe cupcakes, candles (any kind, including like scented pillar candles), and the Happy Birthday song...so sometimes you have to use your context clues to figure out what she's talking about when she says "happy.")

Dislikes: Honestly, not too much. She definitely doesn't care for bugs and "bees" (anything small that flies but isn't a bird). She's a real grump when she's hungry, and a few times lately I've woken her up from a nap (I know, ridiculous...but sometimes she naps a long time and I GET BORED, okay? I need my Mill-mill!!) and she has been the angriest human alive for like an hour, so I've learned my lesson. Let sleeping babies sleep. Got it.

She gets very attached to routines, and sometimes she gets extremely displeased if you mess up the routine- especially if food is involved. Exhibit A: She's usually starving and can get super cranky on the car ride home, so after I picked her up from school one day, we sat on a bench outside and ate a snack. She loved it, I loved it (because I got to spend time with her before getting back in the car for the long drive home), and she fell right asleep in the car, since she wasn't starving. So I did it the next day, too. On the third day, I forgot a snack. When we walked by that bench and didn't stop, she LOST IT. "SIT, Mama!! Eat eat!! Sit!! Eat!!" And then she screamed for the half-hour drive home. You better believe I remember her snack every day now. HA.

I didn't know this would be such an exhaustingly long post, but there it is. My much-loved baby...I can't even believe that I've had the privilege of being her mother for two whole years. It seems like forever, and yet it's crazy to me that it's only a third of the time that we spent waiting for her. She will be going into first grade before we'll have had her for as many years as we waited for her! I remember how long the first two years of wanting a baby felt. These two years felt much, much, much faster.

Last night after I put Millie in bed, tears fell from my eyes as I rubbed her back. I cannot believe how incredibly fortunate I am. My baby is turning two, and part of me thinks it is awful because she is less and less a baby every day...but all of me knows how incredibly blessed I am that she is here, she is healthy, she is growing. I never, ever want to take that for granted- and truly, who knows what tomorrow will bring? Every day that we have together as a family is the best day. My hope is that as she grows and learns and understands more and more, she always knows how incredibly cherished and beloved she is. I tell her probably fifty times a day: "Millie, Mama loves you." And I think she understands what that means, because she's started giving me the tightest hugs when I say that. And sometimes a kiss. And- let's just be honest- sometimes she just licks me...like a dog. I can only take that to mean "I love you too, Mama." 

I can't bring myself to post the progression of monthly pictures in the gray chair, because a) I haven't taken an official "two years old" one, and b) I would just melt into a puddle of tears and be useless for the rest of the day. We have an exciting day planned to celebrate her "happy," (including plenty of cupcakes, candles, and singing!) and with any luck, we'll have a super fun playground in our backyard by the end of the weekend! (If we DON'T have any luck, we'll just have some heavy, expensive boxes in our backyard. So maybe wish us luck. And/or send help.)

Happy birthday, my sweet, funny girl. You've made me the happiest person in the world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

currently: long hot summer ed.

Currently, I'm...

Listening...to a lot of podcasts. I am convinced that this is the only reason I've been successful at getting up and working out consistently for the last two (ALMOST THREE!!! yay, go me!) months...a very robust and diverse podcast list. Here are my recommendations, in case you're hunting for new listens: Hidden Brain, Ask a Clean Person, Invisibilia, Stuff Mom Never Told You, Embedded, Freakonomics Radio, 99% Invisible, Planet Money, The Longest Shortest Time, and Gilmore Guys (although I'm finally starting to tire of them...but we're/they're so close to finishing the series, I'm trying to stick with 'em). Am I missing anything fabulous? Because I also have a few very long car trips in the upcoming weeks, so I'm trying to really beef up my list.

Eating...too much of everything, ha. Where I've been successful at exercising more lately, I've been a complete and total failure at eating less/better. Wah. Oh well. At least a lot of it is fruit?? Or something.

Drinking...well, THIS I have an answer for. And the answer is margaritas. Ha. This is apparently the summer of the margarita. Matt and I have embarked on a quest to learn to make the best margs ever at home, and it's been pretty great. And even the failures are...pretty great. Hahahaha. (P.S. We aren't doing anything special in our "quest to learn to make the best margs ever"...basically just vary the amount of lime/lemon juice and the 'parts' of triple sec and tequila is all. Nothing fancy. We're not very advanced bartenders.)

However, I CAN definitively say now that I prefer mine on the rocks with NO salt. So now you know. And so do I.

Wearing...nothing special right now, but I keep obsessively looking at pictures of our patriotic outfits from the weekend!

Nothing speaks to my heart quite like coordinating family outfits. Clearly.

Feeling...excited! We are going to the beach soon, and that is making me happppyyyy! Millie is the happiest, funniest little thing these days, and I can't wait to spend so much uninterrupted time with her (and Matt. And my parents. They are also all cool.). However, tonight when we were talking about what we were going to do on vacation, she let me and Matt know that she was going to sleep in Nannie & Pop-pop's bed and go on a walk with Pop-pop. So I guess she might have her own agenda, and it apparently doesn't involve me. Wah.

with her beloved Nannie & Pop-pop on Father's Day
Wanting...it to be Friday at 5:00 already? I am normally not a wish-away-the-week person, but apparently the week before a vacation...I am. Ooh, but I also want someone to come and pack for me. That's the only bummer part about vacation. Well, and the unpacking later. One day when I'm filthy rich I'm just going to have a completely stocked second (and third, and fourth) house (in a fabulous destination, obviously) that already has all the clothes, toiletries, baby items, and everything I could possibly need already there. Then all I have to do is hop on my private jet and go! Things are going to be so much easier then. All I need are those winning lotto numbers!

Thinking...about how extremely hilarious Millie is right now. I cannot overstate it enough. She keeps us laughing from the minute she wakes up (yesterday the very first word out of her mouth was "BOW!!", accompanied by urgent pointing towards her hair accessories. We couldn't even leave the room until it was in her hair) until she finally falls asleep. And then I just spend the rest of the night laughing some more as I re-watch her videos and look at her pictures. It's a problem. But not really.


Dancing is one of her strongest skills right now:

She is really into "counting." And saying "GOOO!!!"

She likes to help Mommy and Daddy go night-night. And then "surprise" us with tickles!!

When she just really wanted to give the kitty a hug...but he wouldn't come out of the bushes.
Enjoying...summer. Even though Matt and I are both still working and nothing really changes (other than the TEMPERATURE, oh my gosh), I still feel like we're making it feel special and fun. I mean, just the option to spend all weekend in the pool makes the whole season worth it. Because how else could Millie and I perfect our cheerleading skills?

P.S. This baby has determination and focus many adults lack: she happily practiced doing this on two separate days for dozens of tries until she finally got it (including amazing arm placement)!! I am so proud of her!

P.P.S. The reason I know that it was HER who was determined and focused was because she so kindly kept swimming her feet back into my hands and counting me off so that I knew it was time for me to pick her up again: "Threeeeee...oonnnneee...TWOOOOO!!!! GOOOO!!!" I had no choice but to oblige!

Watching...well, besides home phone movies of Millie...not much. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for the last few nights. 

Reading...I just downloaded a bunch of new books for vacation, but I'm trying not to start them until we are on the road! We read The Kitchen House for book club last month and I really liked it. Excellent discussion, too. I picked up The Last Boy and Girl in the World on a whim at the library recently and read it last week. I felt like it had a really strong premise/set-up, but towards the end, I felt a little let down in how it all played out. To be honest, I just think it could have been a lot...I don't know...creepier? Darker? That seems weird, but I think that's how I thought it was going to be in the beginning, and then it just really wasn't? Ha. Who knows. Anyway, I picked it because the cover art was fantastic and I was in the mood for YA, and I really wasn't disappointed...it just wasn't as deep, maybe, as I thought it could be. Which is truly shocking, considering it is YA. Haha.

In case your taste in literature is a bit more toddler-esque, Millie would like to recommend anything penned by Leslie Patricelli. She is particularly enjoying Tubby and Potty right now, and she did enjoy No No Yes Yes, until her mean parents took it away because they were pretty sure it was giving her new ideas about "no no" things she could be doing...so maybe don't go for that one. Unless your kid has already dreamed up all the "no no" things that can possibly be done (writing on walls, pulling the dog's tail, unrolling all of the toilet paper...to name a few of her excellent suggestions).

And that about wraps it up for life lately! I'll gladly accept any podcast or book recommendations, along with any tips for surviving long car trips with an energetic toddler (and we don't have an iPad...or let her eat in her car seat...so take those extenuating circumstances into account!!)! Hope you are having a happy week!