Saturday, July 26, 2014

Visit to NC

Ellie, Emma, Emmie, Mary Jane, Laura Ann, Ruthie
This past week Gin-g and I took the girls to NC to visit with some of the girl cousins (who really aren't so little anymore...everyone is growing up so fast!). We stayed with Aunt Suzy and Uncle Clyde and as usual they fed us very well and we always love visiting with them!
My girls had so much fun playing with Emma, Mary Jane, and Laura Ann (we definitely missed Abby and Riley but hopefully they can come next time we all get together!). They dressed up a lot, danced to lots of Disney princess songs, and had an all around great time. Ellie grabbed anyone who stopped moving for more than a minute and asked them to read to her. That little girl loves some books and she was thrilled to have lots of readers around!

On Thursday we went to the YMCA pool. It's a really nice pool with a splash pad area and the girls had a great time. They played for awhile and then stopped to eat the wonderful lunch that Jennifer and Karla fixed. After lunch Ellie got really tired so I took her, Ruthie, and Gin-g back to the house and then I went back to the pool. With just Emmie there I was actually able to sit down and just watch her was so nice! It's been a long time since I didn't have to be in the water with someone at the pool. The girls played for a good long while and Emmie had so much fun being one of the big girls.

Ellie on the little slide.
Emmie, Mary Jane, and Emma. (I was just going to have the girls stand together for this picture but Emmie insisted that they "strike a pose"!)
Mammy was at the house when we got back and as you can see the girls included her in their dress up cute!

Thursday at dinner we celebrated Suzy's birthday...yay...we were glad we were able to be there to celebrate her!
Emmie, Mary Jane, Suzy, Ellie, Laura Ann, Emma

Thursday night Emma and Mary Jane spent the night and Emmie was sad that she didn't get to sleep in the same room as them (I knew she would NEVER get to sleep if she did) but as soon as Emmie and Ellie woke up in the morning they ran in to play with the big girls!

bedtime stories Thursday night
We headed back to Columbia after breakfast on Friday and the girls were so sad to go. When we got home Ellie had her dolls and was playing "going to Suzy and Clyde's" sweet! We had a great time visiting everyone and every time we go to NC I'm leave so thankful for wonderful family that loves us and the girls so much and I'm so thankful for all the big girls who are so sweet to my girls. I love that they have such wonderful cousins to look up to!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


We have spent the past week celebrating our sweet Ellie. In true Ellie fashion she has thoroughly enjoyed every minute of her birthday week!

On Sunday we went to church in the morning and Ellie got a birthday sticker in Sunday School and they sang to her. She was so thrilled with her sticker and wore it all day. I even found her sitting in her rocking chair that afternoon holding her sticker and singing happy birthday to cute!We had a family celebration after naptime enjoyed having the grandparents over. We grilled and also enjoyed some delicious homemade ice cream courtesy of my dad. Ellie was super excited about the ice cream! Ellie had so much fun opening her presents and loved them all!

The third birthday present...a musical jewelry box from Mommy and Daddy!

Emmie picked out this little Cinderella doll for Ellie and it was a hit. They have them up by the registers at Target and the girls obsess over them every time we're there...Ellie was so happy to finally get one!
Ellie was very excited to get a helmet from Uncle Ben...even before she found out that the reason she was getting a helmet was because Gran and Grandaddy got her a scooter (which she refers to as her "skateboard").

She got some books and bows from GG and Papa. The Frozen book was a hit...I only hope that when GG and Papa are here babysitting they have to read it as often as I!

The men decided to model the bows...

Monday was Ellie's actual birthday and we had a fun, relaxing day and then went and got some ice cream (actually frozen yogurt but the girls call it ice cream) after dinner. It has been quite awhile since we went to the yogurt place so Ellie was thrilled.

Tuesday Ellie had her three year old check up and Ruthie had her 6 month visit. Ellie was 28.5lb (27th percentile) and 35 3/4in (21st percentile). Ruthie was 14 lb 1oz (9th percentile) and 25.5in (20th percentile). Both girls got a clean bill of health and Ruthie got her shots. Ellie was quite pleased that she didn't have to have shots and Emmie told everyone that came into the room that it wasn't HER turn to get's good to establish these things up front.

Thursday Ellie and Emmie got to go to My Gym camp in the morning which they were so excited about. They had a great time and Ruthie and I got a ton of errands run while it was just the two of us!

Saturday we had Ellie's birthday party. Ellie has been looking forward to her party since Emmie's birthday party in December. Ellie has lots of friends that we have play dates with but most of them are Emmie's age and Ellie always gets excited when we play with someone "her size" so when I was deciding what to do for her birthday I decided on an all girls princess party with "ellie-sized" friends! We ended up with a total of 8 little girls plus one of the little girls brought her 7ish year old sister (which thrilled Emmie...she has talked about Kaysun nonstop since the party).  Everyone came dressed in their royal attire and I surprised Emmie and Ellie the day of the party with Elsa and Anna costumes...they were thrilled and wore them all day!

My pretty princesses!

We painted fingers and toes,
Mary Ruth's first manicure!
played "pin the kiss on the frog",

Paul was tasked with drawing the frog and making the lips...didn't he do a great job?

read Cinderella and hunted for the lost slipper, played outside,

and then enjoyed some yummy chick-fil-a nuggets and princess cupcakes!
nuggets, fruit, chocolate pretzels, and pink lemonade
chocolate cupcakes with strawberry icing with crowns made of marshmallow fondant

Ellie loved her princess balloon!
Kaysun and her adoring fan, Emmie.

I LOVED how the party favors turned out...little pink bags with sparkly letters and a sparkly silver bow! Each bag had stickers, a wand, bracelets, and chapstick. We also had everyone sign Ellie's "birthday book" of my favorite birthday traditions!

We had so much fun celebrating sweet Ellie Belly this week and we can't wait to see what 3 has in store for her!

Monday, July 14, 2014

3 years old!

Dear Ellie,

Happy 3rd birthday sweet Ellie Belly! I have been so looking forward to writing this letter as I have many things to share with you about this past year. 
Three years ago when you were born I had no idea that I was about to face the most exhausting few months of my life. You were a hard baby. You were grumpy all the time and sleep was a word whose meaning you didn't understand. But then those first few months passed and as you got older and we fixed your tummy troubles you slept better and turned into a happy baby. And then one day I found you and Emmie on the floor of the bathroom dumping out all the soap, having the time of your life and I knew without a doubt that it was your idea and that you were going to give me a run for my money!
Ellie, you are always up to something and I just never know what crazy idea you'll come up with next but I can always predict that when all is said and done you'll have some how convinced me that "maybe it's a little funny" (which is what you told me one day when I told you that something you were doing wasn't the end I decided maybe you were right!). I always tell people that when you're up to no good it's not because you're trying to be bad but it's just because you thought it would be fun and you love to have fun! You are so full of joy and I love that about you and I love that your joy is infectious...we just can't help but laugh when you're around. One of my favorite things about you is your laugh. You have the best giggle and it makes me smile every time I hear you laugh. You also have really funny mannerisms and expressions and we just never know what is going to come out of your mouth (you also seem to have no filter which makes me a little nervous sometimes when we're out in public!). One thing I love about your personality is that you usually realize when you need to step back from playing and take a break. Sometimes you'll be playing with Emmie and you'll very quietly go to your room and read a book for a few minutes and then go back to playing. I love that you've learned the need for "recharging" time so early in life.
This year has been a big year for you and you've handled it so well. I said this time last year that if you could handle this year, you could handle anything and you have way exceeded my expectations! This year not only were you a two year old which is challenging enough but Emmie started preschool, we potty trained you, you moved from your crib in your own room to a big girl bed in Emmie's room, we went to Disney World (and had a wonderful, wonderful time), and you became a big sister (and all this happened over the course of four months)! You took each change in stride and that is so your just adapt to whatever curve ball life throws at you. I know that this personality trait will serve you well in life! You also took swim lessons this year and after an awful first day (you'd told me for months that you were NOT going to put your head under the water and you protested loudly when they told you that you had to) you settled down and by the end of the week you were having so much fun swimming. You've done really well with your swimming this summer and you have NO fear which makes me quite fearful! I think the way you swim says a lot about your jump in head first and you have a big grin on your face the whole time you're under the water which makes me laugh every time we go to the pool!
I have enjoyed watching you become a big sister. I was really worried about how you would adjust as you have always enjoyed being the baby. I shouldn't have worried at all! When we brought Ruthie home you came over, looked at her, and went right on with life. You pretty much ignored Ruthie for the first few months but now that she is starting to play with toys you love to get in the floor with her and play and read books to her. Ruthie adores you and smiles when you walk in the room. I know she can't wait to be able to play with you and Emmie!
I love watching you learn Ellie. When you crawled you didn't crawl until 10 months but you crawled really well. You didn't walk till 15 months but the next day you started running. You sort of counted to three at 2 years old and then one day you counted to 12. Whereas Emmie did most things early and you could watch her get progressively better at the skill, you do things later but do it really well at the beginning. I love how even though you and Emmie are so close in age and such good friends you are very different people and have very different personalities.
Ellie, this year you have become a book lover! I never thought that my child who wouldn't listen to a book other than brown bear for the first year of her life would turn into the child constantly begging me to read to her! You will even sit and listen to chapter books! I hope you always love books as much as you do now!
You are such a trooper and you rarely complain. You were sick for most of the month of December and we were so busy that I didn't even realize until you were better just how sick you had been. You never complained though, you just did whatever we asked of you and all you wanted in return was a few extra snuggles during the day (and we were happy to oblige!). Looking back over the last few years I see that pattern over and over. Things that would have made other babies scream and scream just made you grumpy. I think you're a lot tougher than we give you credit for!
This coming year is a big year for you. You get to go to preschool two days a week and you get to go to dance with Emmie. Last year we were always telling you that you couldn't do things until you were three and now three is here and I think you're going to love being three! I can't wait to see what other fun adventures the next year holds for us and I look forward to watching your personality develop and grow even bigger.
I love you Ellie Belly!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


We went with my family to Kiawah Island last week. I grew up going to Kiawah in the summer and have so many wonderful memories and I love getting to take my girls there and make memories with them! Growing up we first went with my grandmother and my Granny and Grandaddy and later we went with my Aunt Joy, Uncle Bill, and my cousins, Michael and John. I am so thankful now for all the fun memories I have with my family...making Christmas angels (you had to make a certain amount before you were allowed to have any fun), playing MANY games of Hands and Feet (a card game) and SkipBo, and Rummikub, bike riding (although we quickly learned not to go with my dad...he was famous for his insane rides in the heat with no water...I think I'm the only one that he stopped to hydrate), my cousin John would always fly his kite on the beach (I remember him now whenever I see a kite flying...he would have loved the day the hurricane was off shore...lots of kites up that day!), walking on the beach at sunrise with my Grandmother, trying to "surf" with my cousins, Michael's uncanny ability to find sand dollars, and so much more fun. I hope that as my girls grow they will value the time we spend as a family without the distractions of the outside world...such precious time!

We started our week of fun by picking up Uncle Ben at the airport Friday night. The big girls were so excited to get to go with me and they both made him welcome home signs. I didn't tell Ben that the big girls were coming to the airport so he was surprised!

Emmie got up bright and early Saturday morning to wake up Uncle Ben!

We packed up Saturday morning and headed to Kiawah, stopping for a lunch and play break in Summerville. It was a full car!

This is what Ruthie thought about riding next to her Daddy in the car.
The girls were so excited when we got to the house. They went and checked out their room and Emmie was absolutely astonished that she had a TV in her room. She told us all over and over about the TV! I would let them turn it on and watch when they woke up in the mornings...might have been the highlight of Emmie's week! Ellie was so thrilled with her "big girl" bed. (She slept in a twin bed with a rail.) I thought it was so funny because she sleeps in a "big girl" bed at home. I guess the difference was that she shares the bunk bed with Emmie and this bed was all her own.

We quickly fell into a routine during the week. The girls and I would go to the beach in the morning as soon as everyone was up and feed and Paul and my mom would wander down throughout the morning. The girls had so much fun playing in the water and building smashing sand castles and running on the beach (Emmie would just all of a sudden take off down the beach and just run and was pretty funny.).
Ruthie was the only one who would "help" Paul build a sandcastle without immediately destroying it.

Franklin made it down to the beach a few times to play with his people.

We quickly learned that putting the pacifier in Ruthie's mouth prevented her from trying to put sand in it. She loved the sand but loved the waves even more...she's definitely a water baby!

Ruthie took a nap at least once a day on the beach. Her white noise machine is set to ocean so I think she thought it was naptime when she heard the waves!

Paul convinced the girls to let him build a WHOLE sandcastle on the last evening...
....and as soon as he was done the girls took great pleasure in smashing it!

Emmie of course found a friend as soon as we got there and Ellie found a little puppy friend who came out to play everyday. Ruthie wasn't always up for staying at the beach the whole time (she would get mad when we wouldn't let her eat sand) so she would often go back to the house with my mom and I know she loved the undivided attention she got from my mom and anyone else who happened to be at the house.

I LOVE this picture!
cuteness...I adore Ruthie in a hat!

We would head back to the house around noon for lunch and naps and then we would go back to the beach either after naps or after dinner depending on when the girls woke up and what everyone else was doing.

Ellie had so much fun letting us swing her around in the waves!

Tuesday Fred and Gin-g came for the day to visit and to celebrate Ellie's, Ben's, and my birthday. We had a fun day with trips to the ocean and the pool and then a yummy steak dinner and homemade ice cream (my request for the birthday celebration!).
Love this picture!

Ellie adored her birthday hat!

Ruthie was obsessed with my ice cream...we about had to arm wrestle for it!

On Thursday Hurricane Arthur was off shore but we definitely lucked out with no rain. It was overcast and much cooler (80s instead of 90s) but we still could go down to the ocean and play as the waves were higher but that doesn't matter much when you only go in as far as a 4yr old goes! The guys were also thankful for the cooler weather as they were playing golf with an eleven o'clock tee time! On Thursday evening we went back down to the beach and it was COVERED with treasures. We found lots of intact conch shells and lots of other really pretty shells. We found tons of horseshoe crabs and jellyfish and the find of the week was a starfish that had washed up! Every time we found a good shell I thought of my Grandmother...she would have loved it! She could always find the good shells (she could also make a fortune in a parking lot...she was the queen of finding dropped change!).

In the middle of all the beach fun the guys played some golf  and we got to go watch them on Thursday as they were playing the course by the house. The big girls anticipated this event all week!


 We enjoyed spending time on the porch. Who doesn't love rocking chairs and a swing on a big front porch!

My mom led us in some yoga exercises...HILARIOUS! Ben and I both got some great video but I'm pretty sure I might get in trouble for posting it!
Franklin got lots of petting from his favorite people.
Ben didn't even make it into the house Friday night before Franklin was in his arms being held like a baby!

We read books. We have a Wizard of Oz book that is pretty long and we were reading a little bit at a time so we finished that at the beach and so the girls wanted to start Little Women (we have the copy that belonged to my mom when she was a little girl!). They have done really well with the long books and I've been especially impressed by Ellie who sits still and listens the whole time! I need to find some chapter books at the library to start reading to them. I'm pretty sure Ellie would sit and listen all day! We got about half way through Little Women and now Emmie has decided she wants to wait and finish the rest on Christmas Eve...

We all rode bikes. Ben and my dad rode for a few hours every morning and the rest of us took much shorter jaunts! Emmie LOVED having her little balance bike at the beach and is definitely ready for a big girl bike for her birthday (I mentioned this and she told me maybe when she was 16 or 18 and then told me we'd "discuss it" closer to her birthday). Ellie had her tricycle but hasn't learned to peddle or steer yet so whoever drew the short straw had to push her on her bike!

One of their favorite places to ride was to the lagoon right near our house to look for Mr. Alligator (as Ellie referred to him). He swam right under the bridge we were on the first day Emmie and I were out there and after a failed attempt to find him with Ellie (who wanted so badly to see him) we found him on Thursday sunning on a fallen tree in the middle of the lagoon so she didn't get to see him too close up like Emmie and I did but she was happy!

On Wednesday night Freshfields, the shopping center just off the island, was showing Monster's University so the girls and I took our chairs and went and watched the movie on the green. It was a cute movie and the girls seemed to enjoy it and they loved getting to stay up late to go. Best part of the movie...when Mike and Sully were expelled for breaking the rules I explained to Emmie that they disobeyed the rules so they weren't allowed back in the school. Emmie thought about this for a few minutes and then said "Mommy, I'm sorry that I sometimes disobey the rules". I think she thought I might kick her out of the house!

Friday was fourth of July and the island had lots of events going on but we didn't get organized early enough to make it to any of the kid events. (If we're down there for the fourth again we will definitely plan to participate in the bike parade...the girls would love it!) The girls aren't really fans of fireworks so after they went to bed my mom and Benstayed at the house with them and my dad, Paul, and I went and sat at the beach and watched the fireworks. They did them at 2 different places on the island so we got to see lots of really great fireworks!

We had so much fun throughout our week and loved getting to spend time together as a family and also with our extended family! It was quite hard to return to reality but I'm thankful for the time we had together to enjoy each other and make memories!