Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Jada!

I can't believe my baby girl is ONE!!

One of my favorite stories is the one we celebrated this week: of our sweet Jada being born and the surprise of finding out she would be ours. It was one of the most exciting, life-changing, in-every-way-amazing experiences I can imagine.

Today, I am still amazed by this little girl. When we brought Jada home, we had less than a day to prepare. Somehow, though, I believe the Lord had been preparing us for this sweet girl all along. She is a perfect fit for our family, and I love the fierce bond that she and I share.

We decided to give our girl a ladybug party for her first birthday bash. I had so much fun planning all of the red and black and polkadot decorations! I have to say, though, I think her tutu was my favorite ladybug accessory of the day!

We decided to do bag lunches for everybody. We had polkadot bags for the adults and ladybug buckets for the kids - everyone went through and chose what they wanted to put in their "bug lunches" (see the silverware wraps? Jada's face holding them together was one of my favorite things!)

We had ladybug antenna, which were a hit with the adults and kids alike!

Here my mom, sisters, Jada and I all were all looking ladybug-like!

Lots of my family (who live in town) were here for the celebration. Ryan's parents even flew down to join the fun.
Jada did a great job with her cake!

For a lot of her party, Jada was very serious - she didn't smile a whole lot (even though I am positive she was happy)! She looked around and cautiously studied all of the people and activity going on around her. Her cake eating experience started the same way. As we all stood around her and sang "Happy Birthday," she looked around, eyeing us cautiously, taking it all in.

She looked at her cake suspiciously, not sure what to do at first . . .

That quickly changed once she tasted the sweet frosting!

Then she kept eating . . .

and eating . . .

and eating!!

Yes, we love this birthday girl!

Happy Birthday, Jada Anne! You are more loved than you can imagine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jada Anne



total, overwhelming love.

I am in love with this little face and the sweet girl who hides behind it's radiance.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Grayson

I'm a little late with my post, but I couldn't let the Birthday Boy's big day go by without sharing some pictures from his Cars 2 celebration! (this boy is obsessed with the Cars characters!!)

We had a family party that was small in numbers, but big in excitement and celebration! Grayson went with me to the store to pick out his plates/cups/etc. and he was SO excited to choose the Cars ones. We even got juice boxes with Mater.

I think one of Gray's favorite parts of the party was the Cars cake I made him - he really LOVED it! It makes this momma so happy when he gets excited over the stuff I make for him. It makes the effort totally worth it :) When everyone arrived to the party, he was eager to show off his cake to everyone. Luckily, he didn't mind cutting it up, as long as he got a nice big piece!

It was nice and warm outside, so we got to have a water war! The boys had a blast shooting and soaking each other with water guns.

Ryan came out with a surprise attack! Then it was the dads against the kids . . .

Serious shooters:

Their serious pose was interrupted by a surprise shooting!

In addition to his party, on his actual birthday, Ryan and I went and had lunch with him at preschool. Grayson was SO excited to see us - especially Daddy - who took time off of work to celebrate.

We brought in his favorite, chocolate covered doughnuts with sprinkles for him to share with his classmates.

His teachers had made him a birthday crown, which he wore all day - actually all week (including for his nap, until he complained the staples itched his head while he laid down).

I stayed for the rest of the school day and got to watch Gray interact with his teachers and friends. My favorite thing to watch was circle time. Grayson was ADORABLE sitting on his little matt singing songs, doing hand motions and listening to Miss Carla read them stories. And, he kept looking over at me to make sure I was watching him. He is so sweet I could burst!

Grayson LOVED his birthday. He made sure everyone knew he was three (all week long!) - the cashier at Harris Teeter, his friends at church, the workers at the YMCA, the people on our walks. Everyone. Seriously.

Grayson was so excited and eager to tell everyone he could about his birthday. And, as I shared his excitement, I was also extremely grateful for the people who don't need a reminder to know that Sept 16 is a special day - his amazing birth family. I am so blessed by their love of Grayson, and for their love of Ryan and me as his parents. We are so grateful to them for the gift of life and love they shared with us.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Grayson. We love you more than you can possibly imagine!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Lounging

Last week, we took a vacation to Hilton Head, just the four of us! We wanted to soak in the last of these warm summer days. Because preschool starts later than "real" school, we had a few weeks longer of summertime than most school aged families and we wanted to enjoy one last summer trip before we jumped into Fall!

I loved the six days we spent together. Even traveling with two small kids, we somehow managed to get LOTS of sleep, have a great time, and come back feeling refreshed!

When we first got to our villa, both kids were SO excited to be out of the car and bouncing off the walls - even though it was 10 o'clock at night!

Luckily, they got to sleep pretty easily (despite sharing a room), and we all got some good rest. In fact, rest ended up being sort of the theme of our vacation! Seriously, I don't think we've ever slept as much on vacation as we did on this trip! But, even though we got in lots of early bedtimes and naps, we also got in plenty of fun!!

We spent a lot of time at the beach:

We set up a tent hoping Jada would enjoy playing in the shade, which she did for a while. But since it was almost impossible to corral Gray in the tent, she didn't want to stay in for very long either!

Grayson especially enjoyed playing with his trucks in the sand.

Jada only tried to eat the sand once and didn't like it at all. After her first taste, she didn't even try to put it in her mouth again (unlike Grayson who ate it by the fistful when he was her age!)

Really, most of our time was spent in the water - at least on the water's edge if we weren't all the way in!

Jada especially loved splashing the water. She didn't seem at all afraid of the waves or the movement of the water around her.

And Grayson loved running around in the shallow water, splashing and letting the waves "crash" into him. He also loved when Ryan held him and took him into deeper water. They let the "VERY BIG WAVES" crash into them, with Daddy taking the brunt of the water while Grayson buried his head in Ryan's shoulder.

Yes, we do love the beach!!

Grayson was also excited to spend time at the pool. He loved jumping in from the side to Daddy's open arms. Mostly, Ryan spent time in the "big pool" with Grayson and I stayed in the baby pool with Jada. Since babies in diapers weren't allowed in the bigger pool, and Grayson thought the baby pool was "boring," we ended up splitting up so both kids could be happy!

Besides all the time we spent in the water, we did spend some time on land, too! Because Hilton Head has such great bike paths, we rented bikes and logged lots of miles meandering around and looking for quaint spots and good ice cream - which we found! (see our little tourists in the trailer behind Ry's bike?!)

And, Ryan was sweet to bike with the kids beside me as I ran one morning. I'm still training for my marathon next month, so I had to run 16 miles one of the days while we were there. The nice shaded bike paths and cheering section on wheels next to me made me "almost" forget about the humidity and length of my run. Almost.

On our other family bike rides, in addition to finding ice cream (yummy), we also found lots of boats - which especially excited Grayson. He has always had a fascination with boats, which we encourage (especially this Momma who hopes to own our own boat one of these years . . .) Everywhere we went, he looked for boats. Here, at Shelter Cove, he kept asking why the boats weren't moving. He didn't really seem to understand the concept of "parking" a boat.

We tried out walking, too, but Grayson's slow pace on his scooter meant we didn't actually make it very far. Luckily, our resort had some nice paths and ponds perfect for walking around. Our original plan to walk almost a mile to dinner was fairly quickly aborted in favor of taking the van when we realized just how s...l...o...w his progress was!

And, after we had dinner out once, we realized that we actually preferred to eat our dinners in the comfort of our villa. We had a great balcony to sit out on, and with the luxury of a kitchen, I could make easy meals and not worry about messes or tantrums or volume (Jada has become quite the screamer!) in public! It really made our dining less stressful and fun for all of us.

Overall, it was another trip that proved once again that the beach is my favorite place for a family vacation!