Friday, November 21, 2014

Forever My Princess - Halloween 2014

This past Halloween my kiddo asked to be a princess...again.  We've been dressing up as a princess since she was a 16 months old and her princess love just keeps growing.  We've had a Cinderella party, an Elsa-Frozen party and she's dressed up as Snow White, Belle and now this year she asked to be Aurora.

She really was the sweetest Aurora I'd ever seen.  (I only say that because she is my daughter of course...I hope you understand:). lol

Pink is her favorite color after all so this costume was a big hit...well, technically, pink, purple, Elsa-Blue (as she insists on calling it), green and gold...are her favorite colors lately but, pink is always her first pick. 

She had her outfit hanging carefully in her closet for a month.  She picked out a crown and pumpkin bucket to match and she set aside her pink shoes and patiently waited to wear the ensemble until Halloween because she wanted to keep her costume nice.  Such a girly girl...such a little princess...such a tender-hearted princess who I absolutely adore.  I have so much to thank God for every day simply because He blessed me with her.    

For the briefest of moments I wanted to talk Daisy out of dressing up as a princess again.   I was hoping I could convince her to be Super Girl, or a robot or something else random and well, different.  For the briefest of moments I was forgetting just how quickly my little girl will outgrow these sweet little princess dresses and that soon enough we will be dressing up as other things and I will miss these days terribly.  Then it dawned on me that Daisy may very well be the only daughter that I ever have!  After that simple and yet mind-blowing revelation, I zipped my trap and celebrated my daughter's Aurora decision whole-heartedly.  Princess it is kiddo! 

I mean c'mon, could she be any happier? 

In effort to maintain a little tradition (which I so enjoy), I made our delicious burritos and homemade salsa for anyone who wanted to join us and Great Grandma and Great Granddad drove over to help us pass out candy and celebrate.  Daisy loves her Great Grandparents to pieces and she gets so excited when they come over to celebrate with her.  She was incredibly giddy all day long to say the least.  

As usual we were scrambling a bit frantically at the last minute to get out the door to trick or treat with our neighbors.  Daddy still wasn't home from work and I still hadn't taken pictures of my princess!  We were also excited because cousin Avery was coming over to treat with us for a little bit.  Her first Halloween!  So special:).  

 I am not fond of the last minute chaos that so often accompanies holiday events but, we got through it as we always do and Daisy didn't even seem to notice.  Mission accomplished.  

This picture melts my Mommy heart.  My 4 1/2 year old is still so little but, at the same time she is getting so big so fast.   Someday, I am going to cry buckets when this little girl walks down the aisle to marry the love of her life, her prince and looks back at me with this sweet face.  Sigh.  Slow down time.

Every princess needs to twirl at least once! 

This girl has more facial expressions than I can count:).  I love them all. 

Her candy bucket was quite full by the end of the evening.  Mommy and Daddy took turns holding the bucket between houses because it was hurting her hands and it was also quite chilly out and her little fingers were freezing.  She never complained and her smile couldn't be contained.  She was one happy princess. 

A girl can never wear too much pink right? :)

I love the mysterious feel of this black and white capture.  Daisy had just heard a loud noise outside and I happened to capture her curious expression in just the right moment.  This shot has a Wizard of Oz feel...or something like that to me:).  Plus it's another shot that made me pause and look at the face of my daughter and say to myself, "when did you get so old my sweet girl??"  

The truth is that Daisy is in fact a princess because her Father in Heaven is a King!  I hope that she grows up and holds tightly to this truth.  She is His!  She does not ever need to fear because God is within her and He goes before her!  His love for her is unmatchable.  

Daisy my sweet princess, I love you so much!  Thank you for all of the fun princess adventures that you have taken me on.  I wasn't much of a princess girl myself when I was little and it has been an absolute joy to celebrate with pink, sparkles, dresses and crowns these past four years.  xoxo

Monday, November 3, 2014

I love the Way Kids Change Us (for the better)

This picture below of my happy girl and her Daddy is probably my new favorite picture of the two of them, ever.  I snapped this one a few weeks ago while we were waiting to do some family pictures with my good friend Emily who is also a photographer.  Daisy is currently 4.5 years old and she seems to be turning into a little more of a Daddy's girl with each passing day.  I'm also quite certain that our little girl has her Daddy wrapped around her finger.  There is just something about a Daddy and his little girl.  

 I just love the way these two are looking at each other in this picture and Daisy is so happy she can't contain her dancing feet.  I can imagine this picture being played on her wedding slide show some day or perhaps in her  Senior yearbook and I know all to well how quickly those days will be upon us.  

People remind me all the time, but they don't need to; I am all to aware of how fast the time with our children goes.  These years with little ones are exhausting (to put it lightly) and the hours are extremely long but, the joy and rewards simply cannot be measured.  Just the other day, I was reflecting on how much my daughter has changed me.  So many things that I said I'd never do, or rather thought I'd never do, I do happily because of her.  For example: I never wanted to have a fridge covered in children's artwork.  Don't judge:).  It's just that I like tidy spaces and I imagined an art wall or a space reserved for that.  Now our fridge is of course covered in all of Daisy's Sunday school and preschool pictures and I wouldn't want it any other way.  In fact, I am the one who joyfully plasters my fridge with a hodge podge of magnets and artwork.  I smile every time I open and close those doors.  The clutter doesn't bother me, it blesses me.  

(Below: almost 32 weeks with our son.  I am currently almost 36 weeks so woohoo...getting close!)

I never wanted my kiddo to wear character clothing or shoes.  Again...don't judge me lol...I'm just not a fan but, I have of course caved and allowed both.  My daughter loves Princesses and the way she lights up whenever she wears a shirt, dress or pair of sandals with her favorite characters on them, puts everything into perspective for me.  It is such a blessing to me to bless my daughter's heart!  As a grown up and before having children of my own, I was in many ways, out of touch with the heart of a child until I had one of my own.   When I became a Mommy, I soon realized that what brings my daughter joy is far more valuable to me than my need for a tidy fridge, a Pinterest perfect play room, (or house for that matter), an instagram famous fashion child etc.  Those things are nice too of course!  

I love how God uses our kids to help us re-evaluate what really matters and what so often does not.  Sometimes the change in our hearts is slow and we might even resist it for some time but, other times, it's instant.  Either way, I am in awe of how my daughter has changed my life, my perspective and my heart.  

I never wanted to drive a mini van.  Oh, I am all to aware of the practicality and usefulness of a minivan but, I simply didn't/don't care for them.  I drive a small SUV and I'm quite happy with it but, we will soon welcome a second kiddo and our small car will be quite full.  The reality of another kiddo on the way spurred on a minivan window shopping trip a few weeks ago and would you believe I quite enjoyed myself.  I'm still not thrilled about driving a minivan but, it is looking like we may get one in the near future because honestly, who can pass up two sliding side doors, a DVD player with wireless headsets, a cooler in the front row, three rows of easy in and out seating, reclining seats in every row, gas efficiency and well, there really are so many cool features in minivans now that I can't even list them all.  I think the only thing that minivans are lacking is a privacy window between the parent's row and all the rows behind...or at least a silencing window....then they would totally be the perfect family vehicle:). 

When it comes to kids if you know of anything that can simplify your life and lessen the stress of each day (and that is legal of course)....just go for it!  

I now listen to only kid friendly music in the car and watch only kid friendly programs on TV when my daughter is awake.  Not because I love these things all the time but, because she loves them and I want to protect her from things that she doesn't need to be hearing or seeing just yet.  Yes, it's a sacrifice but, it's worth it.

I hardly ever dress fancy because if my outfit doesn't allow me to race after a fleeing child or bend over to scoop up a crying baby, then it isn't the right outfit for me.  I eat Mac N' Cheese, hot dogs and applesauce far more than I'd like to admit and 99% of the time when I am shopping for myself I end up buying something for my daughter instead.  She is far more fun to shop for even if my underwear do have holes in them...I'm slightly exaggerating so don't get grossed out but, you get my drift right:).

I'm an introvert and I don't like to draw attention to myself generally speaking but, I will dance like a dork in public on que when my daughter asks me to.  I talk to my daughter's imaginary people so often in public that I'm sure people think I'm crazy when they walk by.

I used to flee a store whenever my kiddo would melt down because I was embarrassed by her scene and by the stares/glares of the grumpy, judgemental grown ups around me.  I know how many adults are critical of crying kids in public (puh-lease tell me some of you are not like that??)  But guess what, now I will even let my kiddo work through a mild public meltdown even if it is irritating to every other adult around me...for the sake of teaching my kiddo a lesson and because let's face it...I would never be able to leave the house if I had to run away every time my kid had a tantrum or fit.

Now when people stare at me and my kiddo with a raised eye brow I simple give them a smile...but in my head I am saying, "hello out of touch stranger, I am a Mom and this is life.  My confidence is growing a little more every day and your glares no longer scare me.  So judge away my friend.  I do so hope you are enjoying this show!" 

Yes, it's true.  Even my confidence has grown since having a kiddo.  It's quite refreshing actually:). 

I used to be quite the germaphobe...not as bad as some mind you but, still it was a real thing.  When Daisy was about nine months old we had a layover at an airport and she was wide awake and needing to burn energy before our second long flight.  The only option I felt that I had was to let her crawl around on the nastiest floor I've ever put her on.  I was desperate so I just let it go (like Elsa).  Her brand new jammies literally turned black within  No exaggeration.  Her hands were nasty and I realized right then and there that I had changed without even wanting to.  When it was time to board the plane I hurried to the bathroom and gave her a mini bath in the nasty airport sink and that was that.  After that experience, I picked up pacifiers and blew them off (instead of washing them) and handed them back to my kiddo.  I let her touch just about anything and everything short of a toilet and I will admit I do feel freer.  lol  Sometimes the change in us is forced and sometimes it just happens. 

I used to observe parents who would laugh at some of their kids transgressions instead of being super firm disciplinarians like I thought they should be.  I used to think, that kid needs a spanking!  Then I became a parent and I hardly ever spank..(though I am not against it for the record) and I find myself laughing at things that are totally not okay.  When she got into my mascara, when she cut my hair, when she dropped things in the toilet, when she threw everything off her bed and on to the floor because she didn't want to sleep but, then fell asleep in the heap on the floor....seriously, kids are funny!  Don't get me wrong, I do believe in consequences when a situation calls for them but, I also have discovered that each situation and each child is different and sometimes things are just funny.  I have discovered that for me at least, laughter is the spice of life when it comes to parenting.

Just this week in fact, as I was sitting on the floor in my dining room creating a Thankful tree with scrap book paper on the wall for our November activity, my kiddo who was behind me, without thinking it through, grabbed the scissors off the table and snipped a chunk of my hair off before I even realized what was happening.  The second I heard the snip and felt her hand grip my hair I whirled around and with a horrified look on my face said, "what did you just do??" She also had a horrified look on her face, her eyes were as wide as saucers and I could tell that she was just as shocked as I was.  I think she was also wondering, "what DID I just do??" My heart was racing at this point so I asked her to go sit on her bed and told her I would come in and talk with her in a minute when I calmed down.  She was hysterical.  IF you really know my daughter, you know that she is not a trouble maker and is not one to cut a chunk of hair off of her own head or anyone else's for that matter.  This was a rather odd situation for my daughter, which was why I was trying my best to handle the process with care.  After she ran to her room sobbing with remorse, I began grabbing frantically at my hair to find the chunk and see just how much hair I lost in today's parenting adventure.  The chunk fell into my hand and it wasn't tiny but, it wasn't as big as I expected so I heaved a sigh of relief.  I can live with that I thought to myself.  My hair is a choppy, layered mess anyways so this new chunk will blend right in.  Hair grows back, thank God.   Then I just started laughing as I looked at this chunk of hair in my hand because I know my daughter's heart and I know that she didn't think this little activity through at all.  It was an impulsive mistake...something to learn from but, not the end of the world.  She often "cuts" my hair with her fake doctor scissors and she has a lot of fun with it this was no different to her.  Now if my kiddo was a trouble maker I wouldn't have thought this was funny at all.  Like I said earlier, each kiddo and situation is different.  

I went in to my daughters room and scooped her into my lap.  She was a mess.  I asked her, "hey kiddo, mommy is just wondering what you were thinking inside your head when you grabbed those scissors and cut some of mommy's hair?"  Through her sobs she said, "I...don't...know...(sob, sob), I think maybe to pretend hair salon with you...I'm, (sob, sob)"   

I asked her if she knew that the scissors were real and that they would actually cut a chunk of mommy's hair off.  She said she didn't and because I know my daughter's heart, I believed her.  I explained to her that we cannot use real scissors to cut anyone's hair unless they say we can.  I explained to her that her doctor scissors are not real and that they are very different from real scissors.  She was so upset with herself and couldn't stop crying.  I told her I forgive her and that my hair will grow back, not to worry.  Then I got her distracted with a show on PBS to get her to calm down.  I on the other hand, giggled about the situation off and on for the rest of the day!

Trust me, never in a million years, would I have dreamed that I would find it humorous when my child would cut a chunk of my hair off.   Kids have a funny way of changing us and the changes may even be surprising to us.  

Now if I am being truly honest....I have of course focussed on only the positive ways that kids change us in this blog post.  The gray hair, wrinkles, cellulite, spider veins, stretch marks, fried brain, memory loss etc. are a few of the not so wonderful side effects of having  I promise I will write a blog post about those things another time.  I do however believe that at the end of our journey that the positives far out weight the negatives.  That in spite of all the endless challenges and hardships, we love our children to pieces and wouldn't trade them for the world (most days). :) Wouldn't you agree? 

How have your kids changed you?  Do you do, watch or say things you never thought you would? 

Wouldn't you agree that there is so much to laugh about in this parenting adventure!  

(Finally a sweet preggo pic with my bestie and fellow photographer friend Emily.  We both have a four year old together and now we will have a kiddo just a mere 2 or 3 weeks apart.  I'm very grateful to have a couple of great friends to go through this journey with!)

Stay tuned for another blog post with a few lovely pictures that my friend Emily snapped of our family.  She is a talented photographer and I am so grateful that she captured a few family maternity shots for us before we welcome our son in just a little over a month! :).

And can I just say that at almost 36 weeks pregnant...I'm so ready and so done.