Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas...part 3

On Saturday evening we got together with my mom's side of the family. My grandmother has 5 kids (my mom and her 4 brothers), there are 11 grand kids (including me) and 5 great-grand kids. Needless to say it is always a bit chaotic, but always a lot of fun!

Handley with Mimi and Dadaw before heading to the Christmas get-together

Dadaw (my dad), Handley, and Memaw (my grandmother)

Handley sharing some of her princess jewels with my cousin's baby, Catherine.

Thank you Brookes for the princess goodies!!!

Catherine sporting her crown!
Handley and Blythe hugging!
Isaac, Blythe, Handley, and Ivan

Handley trying out Blythe's new horse

Christmas...part 2

After we opened the rest of our gifts on Christmas morning, we loaded up the car and set off for Wilmington, NC to see my family. Robby and I couldn't believe how well Handley did on the car ride. She didn't take a nap at all that day, but was so happy and content to know that we were going to see Mimi and Dadaw. I don't know what we'd do with out the DVD player, because that definitely kept her entertained.

7 hours later we arrived, ate a quick dinner, and opened more gifts! Handley was into for a few, but then kept grabbing her blanket, laying on the floor, and saying, "night-night." She was exhausted!

Trying on a pair of pants...on her head!

Cameron and Trey opening gifts

Handley checking out Mimi's Christmas figurines

Uncle Cameron teaching Handley how to play the guitar

The day after Christmas we got together with my dad's side of the family. There was more food, more family, and more gifts to open!

Handley with my dad's sister, Aunt Julie

Before we could stop her, Handley had grabbed one of Trey's gifts and started opening it! He decided to dress her up in the boxes contents...a new t-shirt!

Handley checking out an antique porcelain doll that my grandparents gave her.

Santa came to our house...

and brought all these toys!!!

When Handley woke up on Christmas morning I told her that Santa had come while she was sleeping and brought her all kinds of new toys. As we came downstairs she just stared at everything in amazement. I think she was overwhelmed and not sure what to look at first! She kept bouncing around from one toy to another, trying to see it all.
Taking it all in from afar...
Her big gift from Santa was a kitchen. She has so much fun playing with it that morning and it has definitely been her favorite new toy.

Her kitchen has a phone on it and she immediately picked it up and when we asked who she was calling, she said, "SANTA!" She told him, "thank you" for all of her new toys.

Christmas Eve...

was spent at our house this year. We knew that getting through all of the gifts would take a while and I really wanted Handley to be able to enjoy the whole experience, so we decided to start our Christmas celebration that night. We ate yummy food, opened some gifts, and watched Handley play with a few of her new toys. She got a new baby doll set from Gigi and Papa and I know it was one of her favorite gifts. She must have spent at least 30 solid minutes taking care of her baby...putting it in and out of the stroller, infant carrier, and bassinet. She'd cover her up with the blanket, uncover her, feed her a bottle, give her the paci, feed her with a spoon, etc. The routine went on and on and it was fun watching how much she concentrated on what she was doing. I could tell she's going to LOVE having a real baby around to help with.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My best friend, Jen, told me she had a special surprise for Handley's Christmas present and that it would involve us going somewhere. She came over this morning and we loaded up the car to head to BUILD-A-BEAR!!!!!! I was so excited for Handley because I knew she'd just love getting to create her own stuffed animal. For those of you not familiar with the Build-a-Bear stores, they are great. The kids get to pick their animal, help stuff it, put a heart in it, name it, and pick clothes for it to wear. Handley has recently become really attached to her Hippo and Curious George, so Jen (and Justen) couldn't have thought of a better gift to give her.

When we first got to the store, Handley was a little unsure of what was going on. There were a ton of kids and lots of excitement, but when we kept asking her which animal she wanted, she didn't know how to make the choice. Then we started walking down the line, letting her touch each of them, and she finally decided on a pink and gray cat.

Handley and Jen after choosing her cat.

Next we went over to the stuffing station. The woman asked Handley to step on the pedal that makes the stuffing fill the animals and the noise of it really scared her, so I ended up stepping on the pedal for her. She did give the little heart a kiss before putting it into her Kitty though. She was happy to get it back and feel how soft and squishy it was.

Next we went on to name her cat. Jen and I tried to think of a creative name, but ended up with "Miss Kitty" because I knew that Handley would end up calling her "Kitty" anyway.

Finally we went to the dressing station. We all had fun checking out all of the outfits...they had everything from Disney Princess dresses, super hero's, cheerleader outfits, wedding gowns, camo and even shoes to match each outfit. Handley chose a sequined tank-top and a pair of hot pink jeans for Kitty. She loved dressing her up!

Checking out the clothing selections.

She loved the sequined top she found!

And loved it even more on Kitty.

Matching pants...

And her outfit was complete!

We went to lunch after leaving Build-a-Bear and I could have imagined that Handley insisted that Kitty come along with us. I just know that she's going to be one of her new best friends!

Thank you Jen and Justen for such a fun outing

and a great gift!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Mom Song

A friend sent me this video and although I think I've seen it before, it is too good not to share!


Today we went to see Santa...again! Handley loved him so much last week that I wanted to take her again. I also wanted to let Robby be with us for such a fun outing. We met Robby for lunch and then headed over to see Santa. We were a little nervous that he was about to take his lunch break, but he was nice enough to stick around a little bit longer when he saw how excited the few kids in line were (including Handley who kept pointing and waving at him). She was obviously just as excited to see him as she was last week. Our professional picture turned out great and I was allowed to snap "two" my my camera.

As soon as she got down off his lap she kept looking back and saying, "more Santa." She knows that he is the guy to be buddies with. :-)

Just a quick little side note, the smocked dress Handley is wearing in these photos was made by my mom for ME when I was little. Can you believe how great it still looks after all these years and that it fits Handley so perfectly?!?


Yesterday, my cousins Bryn and Addison were in town and stopped by to visit with us. There were only here in Atlanta for a short time, but we were excited to have them come over for dinner. Handley was a little shy at first, but quickly warmed up to them and had a lot of fun carrying Bryn's purse around and pretending to tickle Addison. I'm excited that she'll remember them when we see the rest of the family next week for Christmas.

Trey and Stefanie also joined us for dinner. Handley has a name for Stefanie and although we can't quite figure out what it is she calls her, she definitely knows her Aunt-to-be and loves she and Trey!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

18 months ago...

I never would have imagined how fast she would have gotten from this (the day she was born):
to this (6 months old):

to this (today - 18 months old):

My baby girl is 18 months old today and I still don't know where the time has gone. I can remember her being a newborn like it was just a few months ago, her being an infant like it was just a few weeks ago, and now she's 1 1/2!!!

I think it really hit me today. Our library has storytime that is for birth-18 months and another one that is for 18-36 months. I had planned to take her to the younger one today, since it was the last time before Christmas and several of our other friends attend that time. However, we were rushing to get some other things done so I decided we'd just try the later time (and older storytime) for the first time today. It was fun seeing her interact with the older children and to watch her watch them as they sang along with the songs, chanted with the nursery rhymes, and did hand motions to go along with different activities. She imitated their actions and I could tell from her eyes that she wanted to do what they were doing, wanted to be a "big kid" like they were. After storytime was over the children's librarian told the kids they could come up for a sticker. I encouraged Handley to walk up and get in line for her sticker, but wasn't sure if she'd go without me. However, she followed the other children up, stood in line to get her sticker, and came running back to me with the biggest grin ever. Just watching her do that, all by herself, made me realize that she really is a toddler now, even though I still think of her as my baby. It just seemed like such a big girl thing to do.

These last 18 months have been the most amazing time of my entire life. Being a mom is something that I always dreamed about and couldn't wait for, but I don't think I could have ever imagined it would really be like. Handley has brought such joy to our lives and I can't imagine what we ever did without her. She is definitely getting to the point where she likes to push the limit and test my nerves and I'm sure it is only going to get worse the closer we get to age two. However, she is the most loving little girl and all she has to do is flash me her sweet smile and give me a big hug and I'm all mush again.

Some interesting facts about her right now:
  • She is always happy to share with her friends...not an easy lesson to teach, but somehow her sweet personality finds sharing to be the right thing to do.
  • She loves to "help" me around the house - cooking, cleaning the floors, putting away laundry, etc. all seem like fun tasks to her.
  • She enjoys taking care of her baby dolls, feeding them a bottle, pushing them in the stroller and putting them to bed.
  • She is a very good listener and follows directions exceptionally well. In most cases, if I ask her to do something, she'll do it...clean up her toys, put her dirty clothes in the hamper, shut the door behind me, stop touching something she shouldn't have, etc.
  • Playing dress-up is one of her favorite things to do.
  • Her vocabulary seems to have quadrupled in the last month and she's starting to put together 2 and 3 words. All day long she points and names everything in her sight.
  • She loves playing outside, even if it is cold and rainy.
  • She loves looking at pictures on the computer (of herself, family members or friends) and enjoys watching videos even more.
  • She is picky about when and what she eats (something I think all toddlers go through).
  • She is very good at pretend play and can imagine some pretty impressive things. She'll get all dressed up, grab her purse and keys and say, "bye-bye...store" like she's going shopping!
  • She will sit and listen to what feels like an endless amount of books before her nap and bedtime.
  • She's a creature of habit, likes things in their place, and can't stand a mess (hmm...wonder who she got that from ).
  • She has a cute sense of humor and makes me laugh all day long!

I can only imagine how our lives will change when we add another sweet baby girl to our family. I'm expecting that the fun we have now will only continue to get better, and I can't wait!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Pink Pig...

has been an Atlanta tradition since 1953. The ride is currently housed in a 1950's themed tent at Lenox Mall. The pink pig travels along train tracks through a life-sized storybook that includes the original pink pig and her friends.

Priscilla, the original Pink Pig

Today, my friend Tiara and I took our girls to Lenox Mall for a fun filled day. We started off by lining up to ride the pink pig. There were tons of kids and parents also waiting to ride. We kept talking about the ride and telling Handley and Avery how much fun they were going to have. They weren't really sure what to expect, but they were really excited about whatever it was they were about to do!

In this video, Handley still hadn't even seen what the actual ride was...she is pointing to some stuffed pink pigs that they were selling, but she didn't care! Those looked like enough fun for her. You can imagine how excited she was when she saw the real ride. :-)

Handley waiting in line

Getting buckled and ready to go!

All four of us after riding!

Storybook characters

After the fun ride, we had lunch and then it was off to see SANTA!!! Yesterday, Handley and I had walked through the mall and checked out Santa from afar. She talked about him the whole car ride home and I hoped that was a good sign. As we waited in line today, we kept telling the girls how nice Santa was, that he was going to give them high-fives, and that they would get a candy cane. Handley was really excited and kept pointing to him as we waited. When it was our turn to sit on his lap, Handley was timid for just a second, then she walked up, gave him a high-five, and just started at him in awe. I put her on his lap and waited for some sort of bad reaction, but she did GREAT!!!! She seemed a little confused at first, but warmed up to him right away. I hate that my pictures are blurry, but I have proof that she loved him. We're actually going to go back next week when Robby can come with us, so hopefully I'll get some better pictures then.