Monday, March 28, 2011

where did the last 4 years go??!

And yet again another cliche in regards to how old my children are.....WHERE did these 4 years go??!!! We have pretty much been celebrating Reilly's birthday for the past week, so it seems!, and she has enjoyed every minute of it. Starting with the big family cookout/party last weekend and then with several special events on her actual birthday, and then cupcakes to her class at school today AND the biggest, most exciting birthday present tonight! My goodness, I remember the days when birthdays were really something special to get excited about :)

Since Shawn was out of town for 5 days, and wouldn't be home until the evening of Reilly's birthday last night, I knew I had to make sure she felt it was still her birthday even though Daddy wasn't here. She started her morning awakening to a fabulously decorated bedroom, with purple streamers and red balloons, that I had put up Saturday night while she was sleeping. She LOVED this.

Then we headed to Panera for a special birthday breakfast which consisted of her favorites: cinnamon crunch bagel with butter, blueberry muffin, pumpkin muffin (all of which we shared!), and chocolate milk. After breakfast she opened a couple small presents from mommy and daddy (some new things for her Doll house and a fancy new consignment sale find: a Hello Kitty shirt/skirt outfit). Since we are in a "no-birthday-party" year, we decided to let Reilly pick her favorite restaurant for us to have dinner and chose a friend to come along with us! Of course she chose her bestest friend, Sophie, and her favorite restaurant, On the Boarder!! (I promise, I had absolutely nothing to do with choice of location for dinner!!!!! We have just trained our children right :) Sophie came over to play for a while before we left for dinner, which gave Shawn's flight plenty of time to land in Charlotte and for him to get out of the airport and on his way up to surprise his little princess at the restaurant!! And it worked perfectly :) She was so excited that it was her birthday and we were out to dinner with her best friend! She even practiced for the "birthday song" that the waitresses come around and sing since she knew they were going to ask her to stand up on her seat! There were 3 other birthday guests at On the Boarder last night, and each time they came around to sing to the other guests, Reilly would say, "It's almost time for them to come sing to me!!" Of course, when the time finally did come, she looked like a deer caught in headlights, but then did follow protocol and stood on her seat, twirling her napkin above her head!! (it helped a bit that Sophie agreed to stand up with Reilly!). It was quite a fun dinner.

There are SO many things that I love about my big girl:
  • I LOVE your passion
  • I love your laughter and sense of humor
  • I love that you love to be tickled and you think mommy and daddy should just lay down and surrender to you tickling us!
  • I love how compassionate you are
  • I love how you are addicted to making "notes" for people!! all. the. time!!
  • I love how well you write!
  • I love how much you enjoy puzzles and that you are sooooo good at them!! you biggest one so far is a 63 puzzle...with tiny pieces!!
  • I love how "motherly" you are....even when it's not necessary :)
  • I love how you take care of your brother and help him (some of the times!)
  • I love how much you love being with friends...even though it makes me crazy how much you ask to be with friends!
  • I love hearing you pray such authentic prayers!
  • I love hearing you tell Bible stories that you have learned.
  • I love the questions that you are SUCH an inquisitive little girl and you are a very deep thinker for your ripe age of 4!
  • I love that you want to do everything by yourself, for yourself. you. are. so. independent.
  • I love how much you LOVE your Daddy!!!
  • I LOVE that you can perform your favorite Chris Tomlin and Toby Mac songs in front of an audience, singing every word and even dancing to the music!
  • I LOVE hearing you sing soooo many songs about Jesus that you hear on the radio. You LOVE music!
  • I love that nobody can make you change your mind, and I pray that one day God uses that for HIS glory!
  • I love that you have a relationship with 3 sets of grandparents and 3 great-grandparents and that you LOVE talking on the phone to them!
  • I love that you remind me so much of myself....well, sometimes I love this and sometimes this makes me want to scream real loud :)
  • I love that you are such a leader.
  • I love hearing you "read" your books and am amazed that you use the exact words, BIG words, from each page!
  • I love that you are my firstborn and you are our princess and you are the best big sister two little brothers will ever have!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Braxton is TWO!

I know this is so cliche to say, but seriously, how in the world is my baby boy already 2 years old??!! I still can't believe it. We have had so many birthday celebrations around here to make him feel super special! Since we did the big family birthday party on Saturday, we still wanted to make sure that we recognized his birthday today, so we planned a special lunch out on the porch with just mommy and daddy. Then we gave him birthday presents from us (a basketball goal and a super sweet hot wheels big wheel...thanks to the consignment sale!). He has been totally obsessed with the basketball goal that the big boys next door have so we knew this would be a "slam dunk" present (HAHA! no pun intended :)...ok, yeah it was!).

Since we already had the super special birthday cake on Saturday, we decided to just give Braxton a birthday donut (b/c he LOVES donuts!)with a candle in it after we had a Chick-Fil-A dinner, which of course was in honor of Braxton's favorite place to eat and had nothing at all to do with his mother and father's favorite place :)

There are so many things that I am just in love with about Braxton right now and I don't want to miss any of "who" he is at this ripe age of 2, so I'm going to make a list! Enjoy!
  • I love that you would rather snuggle with me and suck your thumb than do most other things!
  • I love that you have just learned how to say "yeah" instead of nodding your head "yes" and you say it all the time!
  • I love that you LOVE your sister so much and that she can make you laugh harder than anyone else.
  • I love that you are totally into balls; all kinds!
  • I love that you always clean your plate, but that you're not such a fan of many sweets!
  • I love the way you smile; with your eyes half way opened and your teeth shining bright!
  • I love that you have such a soft and gentle spirit :)
  • I love that after 6 months of speech therapy, you are now using over 40 words! Yeah Buddy!
  • I love that you know the color "blue" and you request it most of the time.
  • I love that you can go up ladders/steps and down slides all by yourself while I just sit and watch :)
  • I love that you are completely obsessed with remotes of ALL kinds (ok, I don't love this one so much, but this is definitely who you are right now!)
  • I LOVE how excited you get when Daddy or Reilly or I walk into the room to see you.
  • I love how you suck your thumb, either thumb, and put your first 2 fingers by your nose.
  • I love how you will lie down ANYwhere (the hardwood, the front door mat, the sofa, the middle of the room) and put your thumb in your mouth and say "night night".
  • Your favorite things to eat are breakfast bars, Cinnamon crunch cereal, bananas, chips and dip, chicken fingers, french fries and yogurt!
  • I LOVE that you will eat the spiciest Mexican food and it doesn't even phase you!
  • I love that you have big brown eyes just like your momma!
  • I love that you love to wrestle with your daddy while he tickles you, but that you aren't rough at all!
  • I love that you recognize and get excited about your favorite contemporary Christian songs by Toby Mac or Chris Tomlin!
  • I love love love how hard you squeeze for hugs :)
  • I love how much you love your "puppy" (lovey to sleep with).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The BIG reveal...and the kids joint birthday party!!!

Wow, yesterday was quite a day!!!! Not only did we have a joint birthday party for Reilly and Braxton, we also found out the gender of baby #3! It was such a fun and exciting day!! We had DeeDee and Poppi, Grandpa, Mama Ree, Nana, Aunt Kelly and cousin Shaun, and the Drescher family over for the celebration. It was a great time for the kids to play out in the backyard and enjoy the playset while the adults talked somewhat peacefully! We ate a yummy dinner and then had a time of ridiculous present opening....almost identical to Christmas morning! Good grief these kids have a lot of grandparents!! :)

After the present opening craze was over, we got right to the "main event"....the CAKE!!!! Since I haven't blogged about this yet...let me take some time to explain...

Back on Valentines Day, we had our ultrasound to see all the tiny details of the new baby. It never ceases to amaze me how God creates life and all of it's perfect design!! We decided to have the ultrasound technician put a picture revealing the baby's gender in an envelope that we would keep sealed until later.

So I have had this very special envelope in my desk drawer for 5 weeks! To be honest, I didn't hardly think about it b/c I'm just not used to finding out the sex of our baby before the actual birth! We had plans to have a super big "reveal" where Karin would take the picture and bake a birthday cake for the kids that would announce the gender of the baby, based the color of the cake. That has been our plan since we first found out we were pregnant!! Until we actually had the envelope! I have been going back and forth about whether or not I really wanted to find out or just keep it a secret until the end like we were used to. I soooo don't like change, and this is a HUGE change from how we've done it the last two times! When it finally came time, I decided (THIS WEEK!) to go ahead with the cake plan. So, I called Karin up and told her the envelope was ready for her to pick up so she could begin making the cake. She came right over and as soon as I handed her the envelope, she tore into it as quick as she could, right in front me! And then she continued to send me messages throughout the day about how she knew what I was having and I didn't. So cruel! :) She worked so hard to make the perfect birthday cake for the kids, while also have it be such a significant cake as well. In the end, after many trials, she decided to go with a white 4 layer cake and then color the icing in between the layers either pink or blue depending on the gender. The cake was absolutely perfect. She even put a giant green question mark on the top of it and then wrote Happy Birthday Braxton and Reilly on the sides. so great!! So, after we got done with the presents, I was READY to cut the cake! Shawn and I had decided we were going to do it just like we were getting married; both of our hands on the knife, cutting together. I must admit, when I started cutting, I wasn't even thinking about the baby until I heard someone say, "it's Blue!" when we pulled the knife out after the first cut. And then, when we pulled the first piece out, sure enough, the icing inside was BLUE!!!!! I showed it to Reilly and asked her what that meant and right away she said, "it's a boy"!!!!!! It was perfect :) What a cool day! And try to prepare for another sweet baby boy!!!

Fire Engine #2!

In honor and in memory of Braxton's great-grandfather, we took a very special trip to a fire station yesterday! Mymike was the Charlotte-Mecklenburg File Commissioner in the 60s-70s and he spent most of his life giving his time to fighting fires, whether volunteering, helping to plan and build the Ocean Isle Beach Fire Dept. or always being ready to direct traffic as the firefighters worked. I decided to start a tradition with Braxton this year, as he turns 2, after hearing this idea from my friend. I called around the area to the different fire stations in search of an "Engine 2". I wanted to take a picture of Braxton with the big #2 that is labeled on the back of the truck, and I plan to find a 3 for next year, and so on! We lucked up when the closest Engine 2 was at the brand new "Station 3" in the back of our neighborhood!! Reilly and Braxton LOVED climbing all over the gigantic fire engine and the firefighters that were on duty were so super sweet to let them do whatever they wanted! It was super special and something that I hope we can do each year as Braxton grows! I hope these pictures will be a treasure for him as he hears stories about the amazing man that his great-grandfather was!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Run the Creek"!

This morning was the 2nd annual "Run the Creek" 5k in Highland Creek. Shawn has been getting back into running shape and after completing his first 5k in several years last weekend in 21 minutes, his appetite for competition kicked in! It was so fun to pull up to the elementary school in our own neighborhood and see such a crowd! It felt like such a community event and tons of our neighbors and friends were all there!

Reilly and Braxton had a front row seat to the start....

Go BABE Go!!!

this is what you get at an family style, neighborhood race....personalized messages in chalk at the finish line from all the kids to their mommies and daddies :)

22 min. 21 seconds....not bad babe! not bad!! :)

Shawn, Thomas, Caroline, Kathleen, and Brendon

Reilly had already decided that next year she wants to participate in the "kids run"! So fun!

the boy who loves to eat....

Shawn and I are getting a little nervous about what it's going to be like to feed a hungry teenage boy, considering that we already have a HUNGRY toddler boy! The other day while I was upstairs getting the laundry, the kids were downstairs watching a show. I cam down to find Braxton like this:

...he got the box of Cinnamon Crunch cereal off the counter, brought it over to the couch, climbed up on the couch, and dumped it onto his lap for a mid-morning snack. Oh if you could have seen the crumbs!!!

and just two days later, I turned around to find that in the 30 seconds it took me to get a bandaid on Reilly's toe, he had climbed onto the counter (by way of a stool that his big sister had left in the "wrong" place!), and was crawling on all 4's across the stove on his way to reach a container of crackers. I responded too quickly due to the danger of what was happening, so I wasn't able to get picture proof of this one :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Indianapolis visit!!

We decided to make the trek up to Indianapolis with the kids at the end of February since we hadn't seen Grandpa in over 2 years (he hadn't even met Braxton yet!) and we haven't seen Grandma since last spring!! It was quite a long drive for the kids, but overall, they did fabulous. I just had to come to terms with the fact that they were going to need to watch about 8 hours of straight videos and just get over it :) Reilly talked about the upcoming trip to "M-b-an-a-powis" for the weeks leading up, since we had it marked on her calendar so she could count down the days. We cut the trip in half on the way up and stayed the night in Lexington, KY and then continued to Indy on Saturday morning. Of course, in Grandma-like-fashion, lunch was ready when we got there and homemade spaghetti sauce was on the stove for dinner. Yum. Grandpa got a kick out of the kids and just kept smiling and laughing with them. Reilly immediately started to tackle the "pole" (which I CANNOT believe I didn't get a picture of!?!?!).....the support beam that has been the source of much entertainment for all 16+ grandchildren that have been in Grandma and Grandpa's lives. Shawn remembers trying to climb the pole when he was a little guy! Reilly loved it when Shawn lifted her all the way to the top of it so she could touch the ceiling, but that wasn't enough for her....she must have tried 142 times to climb it herself :)

Sunday morning we woke up and headed straight to the famous Indianapolis Children's Museum, stopping to pick up Grandma on the way! This isn't just a regular's 5 stories high with exhibits, interactive areas, a planetarium, a food court, an enormous store, and soooo much more!! We have really been so excited about taking the kids there because we knew they would love it!! There is just so much to do and see that there was no way our aged children would last long enough to see it all, so we had to pick and choose....but we experienced lots and had a blast! It was so fun to have Grandma there with us!

Reilly and Braxton trying out a real Indy car...

Braxton would have stayed at the water tables all day if we let him!

One of the featured exhibits was a Dora and Diego area...pretty cute, but way too crowded!

There was this whole "barbie-land" area, and while we're not in to barbies, Reilly had a BLAST on the pretend runway! There was a dressing room with all kinds of clothes and then a real runway with music, lights, and cameras set up on stands where other children could pretend to be photographers! I couldn't get over Reilly's expressions! She was totally into it!

In the dinosaur area.....momma Reilly protecting her baby eggs.
After a good nap, we headed back over to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a full turkey dinner that Grandma insisted on!! This is the kitchen table in their house that Shawn has tons of memories from sitting around and "gathering" together with the fam daily when he was younger.

Grandpa (aka, Gene Hackman from the movie "Enemy of the State"!!!!) and Reilly
Monday morning we decided to let the kids enjoy some pool time, and once again, Grandma joined us!! She teaches water aerobics (yes, at 80 years of age!) so she told Reilly she would come show her a thing or two in the pool!!! Braxton loved the water:)

So sweet :) Grandma and Grandpa both told us how special it was for us to come visit and how much it meant to them. The kids definitely brought some joy and laughter into their day and it was so great to give them a chance to be with yet more of their great-grandparents!!