Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bea and The Baby ...

I know I've been pretty absent this month, but honestly... there's a really, really good reason why. My little sister, CoCo, gave birth to a perfect, precious little boy. Meet Paxton:
And as much as I want to share with you all how he was welcomed Earthside, it's not my story to tell. But, suffice to say... there is one little girl who was very excited to meet her first cousin:
I mean, really, really excited to meet him:
This is, after all, the first baby she has ever been allowed to touch or snuggle. And girlfriend didn't pass up the chance for some hard-core snuggle time:
Bea was totally smitten with the baby. She spent a considerable amount of time just sitting with him in her lap, "holding" Baby Paxton and admiring him, cooing to him and parroting our own words of "He's just the tiniest little thing I've ever seen" to him (seriously, she said that over and over):
Funny Story: We were asking Bea what she thought of Paxton, and she thought for a minute and said, "He's tiny, and squishy and fancy! He's just like CoCo's potty seat!" My sister's old lady soft toilet seat was deemed a "really nice potty" Bea a few minutes before and I guess the similarities were too much to not comment on!

She was so very gentle, as I knew she would be, and seeing her next to a newborn only further served to painfully remind us that she is growing up waaaaaaay to fast. Suddenly, everything about her seemed bigger, older than she was minutes before she walked in the door:
I think I've mentioned it before, but Bea is fascinated by baby fingers and toes. So, naturally, she had to inspect Paxton's:
And when she discovered bare feet, well... The Fashion Diva couldn't let it rest until he was stylin'; despite my arguments that babies in fact, do not and can not walk, and do not and should not require shoes. My words fell on deaf ears:
And, before we left for the day, Paxton's baby feet were crammed into the tiniest pair of Chuck Taylors, ever:
Of course, once the baby was taken care of, it was time for Bea to try on a few of his extra shores; regardless of the fact that her feet are quite too big for them:
All in all, Bea did so well with Paxton. It was her kick-back of terrible behavior afterwards that has really thinking through plans to keep Bea an only child. If she was acting out so much over a cousin and the loss of attention from CoCo and MiMi... can you imagine how bad it would be with a full-time, live-in, never-leaving sibling?!? I don't think so.

Though, I was a little worried considering a certain husband of mine was starting to come down with a serious case of Baby Fever:

Even I have to admit, it looks good on him, doesn't it?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Goodbye, Old Friend ...

Today we are saying our final goodbye to possibly the kindest, most gentle creature God ever made. Our Old Timer, Arnold, is crossing the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon. We are utterly devastated and heartbroken and just sad. But we can't bear to see him in pain any longer and know he will be fully healed once again.

Arnold, you are quite simply Man's Best Friend. We will miss you and will never be able to think about Bea's early years without you being a large part of the memories.

I hope Heaven has a lot of nature trails and mountain passes and rocks and rivers for you to walk through. I hope there's the perfect kind of dog food, because I know you only eat certain kinds. Maybe Jesus can spring for the organic yogurt you like best. I hope there's no running, because I know how that bothers you and I would hate for you to spend eternity playing referee to a bunch of rowdy puppies. I hope there's someone to give you a lot of brushing and petting and snuggling, because you deserve it. And more than anything, I hope Mattie is there to welcome you home.

Goodbye Old Timer. Our hearts are missing a little piece tonight without in our lives.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday, Beatrice Kate!

My sweet girl:

I know, mathematically, that three is only one more year older than two; but my love, you made some big changes this year. It's like overnight you've woken up to become this exceptional little lady and no longer do you have any resemblance to the baby you once were.

Beatrice Kate, my heart is so full with the love I have for you. You are quite simply, a joy. I fell in love with you the minute I first saw you three years ago, but I couldn't have imagined then how deeply in love with you I am now. You are the child that we always dreamed and prayed you would be, and are on track to become the person we hoped you might be.

You are so kind, and sweet and gentle to all things and all people. You are very clearly a doula's daughter and are nurturing to babies of all shapes and sizes. Your calm demeanor often puts infants at ease and you love nothing more than to make them smile. I've often overheard you rocking your baby dolls to sleep, singing them lullabies and whispering soothing words to them during nap. It makes my heart smile every. single. time.

You are incredibly empathetic for others, and often will try to comfort or console friends or family you think are in distress. You've come home from school sometimes worried about classmates who got in trouble or who were having a rough day.

You are so confident in yourself. I am so proud of this self-confidence and can only hope with every fiber of my being that you'll always have it. When we say things like, "You're so silly" or "You're crazy"... you love to remind us that, "I'm not silly, I'm just Beatrice Kate!"

And yet, with this self-confidence, you are so respectful of those around you. You are careful with other people's belongings, and will ask before you play with things around the house. You build up others, sometimes just to make them happy. It makes me smile so big when you come up and say something like, "Oh, Mommy. That is a beautiful dress." or "Those are really nice shoes, Daddy".

You are also so incredibly funny, possibly the funniest person I have ever met. Your comedic timing is so perfect and lately I wish I could tape record everything you say because it's usually hysterical. You've just started telling jokes within the last couple of months and you'll frequently say, "I was just joking you Mommy" when I don't get the joke!

And holy cow, Bea, you are so smart. Like smarter than Daddy and I have ever been, kind of smart. You learn and retain new things at a rate I didn't think was possible. It makes teaching you things so much fun. Your love for books (which you can nearly read by yourself) and nature, music (which you're already showing signs of possessing an aptitude for) and foods, will help guide you on a life path that's bound to be full of adventure and knowledge.

Beatrice Kate, when you were born, we joked that you had more name than body. And now? You have more personality than name. I can't think of a more perfectly unique name for a perfectly unique little girl. You seem so much older than you did even just six months ago, that I can't imagine how old you'll be six months from now. I catch glimpses of the friendship we'll have someday. It makes me equal parts excited to get to know you and sad for the baby you used to be. Our moments of quiet snuggling are fleeting and I cherish every. single. time. you ask for extra hugs and kisses.

More than anything, everyday, I feel simply lucky. Lucky that God chose me to your Mommy. Lucky that I get to have a hand in shaping who you will become. Lucky that I know the person you are today, and will get to know the person you'll be. You've only been apart of my life for three years and yet, I can't imagine my life without you in it.

I knew three years ago, from our first moments together, that you were special. I had no idea you would be so unbelievably extraordinary.

Happy Birthday sweet girl. I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissss much (if not more).



Monday, March 11, 2013

Over the Rainbow

My baby is turning three tomorrow. While I process this fact, I thought I'd share some pictures from her party that we held this weekend. Unfortunately, I was called into a birth last week that ended up being a doozy, and I was gone for most of the week, so things were significantly scaled back compared to previous years' celebrations.

Thankfully, I knew myself and knew that if this happened, I would be freaked. the freak. out. if I hadn't already purchased everything ahead of time. But we had a theme and we were ready to rock and roll with it, starting from the invitations:
And yes, I made them myself, in case that wasn't painfully obvious:
After discovering the glory of holding a party somewhere other than my home last year, we chose another outdoor location (Campus Hills Park, here in Durham) and took a chance on the weather and won:
I kept the decorations to a minimum (operating on about 15 hours sleep in 5 nights will shift your priorities!) and just went with tissue paper pom poms and balloons:
 And naturally, Bea was sporting a custom-made shirt from her Grandmaaaaaww:
There was tons of food, probably too much, but those little turkeys were hungry! This year's menu was similar to last years, with hotdogs and veggie burgers...
 And two toddler classics- pretzels and veggie straws:
The park was pretty perfect for the 5 and under crowd and kept the kiddos well entertained:
It's only fun if it's a little dangerous
Dinosaurs for the win!

These girls... Sisters in some other life, I think!

Music to boot!
Spinning chairs are fun and little sickening ...
And if the park itself wasn't enough to keep them occupied and inspired, I had a few other toddler favorites set up along the way. Things like bubbles (remember, they were a hit last year too):
And bouncy/punch balloons:
And chalk:
And as an extra special treat, my mother, Grammy Kate, was there to offer up face painting:
I had a few crafts laid out in case some were feeling artsy:
It appears the craft station had some universal appeal, ahem, Mark:
But the big draw, at least for some of the older kids was the Yarn Trail:
 I'm pretty sure some of the younger kids were just interested because of the "ooo pretty colors" effect of a giant line of colorful yarn:
Naturally, at the end of a rainbow there is a pot of gold:
And the kids were super pumped about their gold coins (and likely were more pumped about the fact that they were made from chocolate):

They call her "The Rationer"... You only get one, bro. Stop begging.
But by far, the biggest draw for the day was the cake:
There are two things you need to know about this cake. Number One: It wasn't my original concept. I found the idea here. And Number Two: Toddlers. Love. M&Ms:
 Like, really, really, really love M&Ms:
Before we even announced it was "cake time" they were swarming the table like a pack of hyenas. We had to act fast with all that "Happy Birthday" song and dance before we lost any more from the bottom:

Once it was cut and distributed, they all settled down and stuffed their faces:
At one point, there was very little talking or erratic toddler movement because they were all doing this:
And this:
And we have come to find out, what my toddler might love more than cake is Izze Soda:
The way she was carrying her can around sipping out of the top, well, one couldn't help but draw comparisons between her and Honey Boo Boo's Go-Go Juice:
I was just telling myself that it was her birthday, and it is "all natural", and not actually a Mt. Dew... hey, wait a minute, seriously?:
Oh come on, at least have a little decency to look ashamed, kid:
After the cake, we had a half-attempt at opening gifts:
And it's not that she wasn't grateful for her gifts (trust me, we have since played with every. single. thing.), but once she locked eyes on a real! life! jumprope! it was all over and done in her mind:
So we handed out party favors instead. Instead of sending our friends home with traditional treat bags, we opted for something a little more special. Rainbow Rings, which my mother-in-law thankfully took home and made for me (she too, knew I would likely be called into a birth and not get them made otherwise.):
This was an idea I got from Bea's dance class, and it something she LOVES to skip and twirl around with:
Even the boys were into it, so I thought I had a pretty good idea going!
Trot is the most "boy" boy we know, so if he approves, it must be a winner!
And after everyone left, and it was just us and our girl, we were all grateful to get to spend time with our friends, celebrating a baby-turned-girl who means the world us. At no point during the day was it far from our minds that exactly three years ago, we were just beginning the journey into our premature birth. Days away from meeting the single greatest person we've ever known:

**A super special thank you to my fabulous sister-in-law Leah, who took all of the photos for me, so I didn't have to bother worrying about capturing our day!