Happy Halloween from Anna & Olaf!

Happy Halloween from Princess Anna & Olaf!
Here's a peek at our 2014 Halloween card:
Front of card
Back of card

We're excited for our first Halloween in San Antonio! We're anxious to see what trick-or-treating is like in our new neighborhood! Hope everyone has a fun & safe Halloween!


Halloween 2014: Carving Pumpkins!

We carved our pumpkin tonight in preparation for Halloween tomorrow! Shelby was really excited about carving, and this was Hadley's first time being in on the action..so it made for a fun evening!

When we first got started carving, we put Hadley in Shelby's booster seat so she could see better. I don't know what Shelby was more excited about--the pumpkin carving or the fact that Hadley was "big enough" for her chair! ;)

Shelby was adamant she did NOT want to touch the "ooey gooey" parts, but Hadley was pretty curious!

Shelby reviewing her design ideas with Daddy :)  She was very specific about what she wanted--square eyes, angry eyebrows, triangle nose, & a rectangle mouth with pointy teeth.

Shelby took her role as supervisor very seriously!

I love Hadley on her tippy toes :)

Shelby was pleased with the final result :)

They both were loving it!

I just re-read my post from carving pumpkins last year {SEEN HERE}, and it's so funny how Shelby's feelings on pumpkin carving haven't changed a BIT!

Happy Halloween Eve!! :)


Tuesday Tidbits!

--Got our Christmas cards ordered today! The past two Christmases we had our family pictures done way too late, so it was kind of a rush to get our cards ordered & mailed out in time. I absolutely adore snail mail, so I really enjoy the tradition of Christmas cards & I hated that something I loved doing was becoming a burden. I vowed that this year we'd get our pictures done early, so it wouldn't be a stressful thing. We did get our pictures done early this year (yay!), but I think having more time to agonize over all of the beautiful cards wasn't necessarily a good thing for me, ha!

--We ran out of Diet Coke yesterday. I think that has only happened twice in our marriage that I can recall. A trip to Target was the first thing on my to-do list today after dropping Shelby off at preschool so we could get our precious DC. Here is Hadley in the cart today at Target--I learned my lesson last time, so we headed straight for the popcorn today! ;)

I told Hadley to smile, and this is the face she gave me ;)
--In Biloxi, Derek would usually get home from work around 4:30 or 5 a couple of days a week, and we would all go out for a family run before dinner. Since the move, Derek doesn't get home until 6:15-6:30 most days, so our weekday evening runs stopped after the move. Now that it's started to cool off a bit and isn't 100 degrees anymore after the girls' naps, I've started running with them in the evenings while we kill time waiting on Daddy to come home. Getting back into our post-nap run & playground time has really made things feel more "normal" here, but it simultaneously makes me immensely homesick for Keesler and our sense of community there. There's nothing like finishing up a run and being able to text your friends to meet you at the playground, or just walking by their house and dropping in to visit unexpectedly. I miss that, I really miss that. And I really miss running along the track of Keesler's flightline. I had no idea how flat our track was until we started running here in San Antonio. The hills, oh the hills...they are killer here! Pushing two girls in a jogging stroller while running uphill against the wind is NO JOKE!

--The girls creating "something" (not sure what, ha!) together in the craft room at a local indoor playplace.

--Shelby has been talking about Biloxi a LOT lately. I wasn't sure how much she would remember about the old house/Biloxi as the weeks & months since the move went by, but she still remembers every little thing. The other day Shelby asked me when we were going back to Biloxi, and I said "I don't know, why?" and her reply was this: "I want to go back to 209, and I want Adam to go back to 905." (Those numbers were our street addresses.) And yesterday after our run, Shelby was picking flowers (aka weeds), and she found a little yellow one. She usually picks little blue flowers or dandelions, but when she spotted the yellow flowers she yelled: "Look, just like the ones in Biloxi!" And she was right, they looked just like the little flowers she would pick on the playground behind our house in Biloxi. Kids' memories fascinate me. Derek & I were talking last night about how much/little we can remember from when we were three or four, and will Shelby be able to remember anything from Biloxi when she's older? I wonder how Shelby is processing everything in her sweet little head..is she asking these questions to figure it all out (she is typically very curious), or is she missing her old house/friends/routine? Whenever she talks about friends or her cousin Elly, she'll always ask "Well, where did they used to live?" I think she thinks everyone moves on a regular basis. ;)

--I can't believe that Halloween is Friday, and that November will be here on Saturday! Time is flying!


More Fall Fun!

We've been having lots of fall fun around here lately! Here are a few pictures of what we've been up to lately :)

Painting pumpkins with Daddy :)
{We strategically planned this activity for when Hadley was already in bed!}

Yes, swimming is a fall activity in Texas! ;)  We had a few days where it was starting to feel a bit like fall, but it's been HOT again the past couple of days! The lighting is terrible here, but I love this picture!

In one of our books {maybe one of the Berenstain Bear books?}, there is bobbing for apples. Ever since reading about bobbing for apples, Shelby has insisted that we need to bob for apples. So, that's just what we did! ;)

Of course, all of the apples we had on hand were too big for even Daddy to get a hold of...so we sliced the apples & tried again! ;)  The expressions on each of their faces crack me up! Hadley had no clue what we were doing & Shelby was delighted!

We thought we could get away with just doing this activity once and "checking the box," but Shelby has been asking ever since when we are doing it again. ;)

Georgia Football, of course! :)
Auntie Em got this dress for Shelby when she was a baby, and now it's Hadley's turn to wear it!

I tried to find a picture of Shelby wearing this UGA dress when she was around this age, but couldn't find it anywhere. :(  But I did manage to find this picture that Angela had posted on FB of Shelby in the dress with Adam...can't believe they were ever this little, but at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday we were sitting on Angela's living room floor with those babies!

Shelby has really been into Georgia football this year, so it's made it even more fun than usual! Here is Derek enjoying the game with his girls :)  Derek can never sit down when UGA is playing, and apparently his girls can't either ;)

Grammy sent the girls a new book for Halloween, and almost immediately after opening it Shelby exclaimed: "We better write her a thank you note!" My mom would be proud I'm raising Shelby right ;)  After writing the note, Shelby insisted Grammy & Grampy needed a picture, too. I left her to work on her picture while I switched out the laundry, and when I came back she shouted: "Look, it's Queen Grammy!" :)  Her ability to draw/paint has really flourished in the past couple of months! It seems like we've gone from scribbles to masterpieces (aka actually being able to identify what she's drawn, ha!) overnight!

Shelby & Derek at Donuts with Dad at preschool :)

Shelby absolutely ADORED painting her pumpkins and kept asking to do it again, so we picked up a couple extra little pumpkins at her school's pumpkin patch and attempted it with Hadley this time. I was convinced this activity would lead to a major meltdown for Hadley (which was why she was in bed the first time we did this), but I was so wrong! Hadley absolutely loved it! My plan was for Shelby to start first so Hadley would know what to do. But before Shelby could show her the ropes, Hadley just sat down, picked up her brush, and started painting like she's been doing it her whole life! She was very serious about her painting!

We'd already made trips to two of the big farms/pumpkin patches in our area, but we made a little trip to Fiesta Farm again this weekend since it's so close (about 3 miles from our house).

We've had a low key day today--sleeping in, cinnamon rolls for breakfast, family run & playground time, painting, lunch, and baths followed by naps for Derek & the girls. Leftovers is on the menu for dinner tonight, and then Derek & Shelby are headed out for a Daddy/Daughter date at Barnes & Noble! :)  Happy Sunday, everyone!


Tuesday Tidbits

--I've been reading more & more lately, and I'm really enjoying it! My most recent reads have been Defending Jacob & re-reading The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks since the movie just came out. After seeing Gone Girls with Emily, I really want to re-read that as well! I'm currently reading The Five Love Languages & The Love Dare...so far, I'm loving them both! Next on my list is Where'd Ya Go Bernadette?

--I love this picture of Shelby with two of her sweet friends at a birthday party this past weekend!

--In the past couple of months, a few of the girls' shirts have come out of the washing machine looking a little yellowish around the colar/neck and occasionally on their shirt sleeves. It was driving me CRAZY b/c I had no idea what was causing it. I couldn't figure out if it was the washer, detergent, the stain removal stuff I was using, or what was going on! Then about two weeks or so ago, the girls' brand new pumpkin shirts I had made for them came out yellowed, and I was LIVID! I did everything I could to salvage them and got them looking almost as good as new. Then after wearing them again, they came out yellowed again. I've literally been racking my brain (and my mom's) trying to figure out what in the world was going on, and it suddenly dawned on me as I was walking out of the laundry room yesterday afternoon....SUNSCREEN! I always rub in lotion on the girls' faces, but I spray their necks & arms with spray sunscreen. I was simultaneously SO MAD that it was all my fault but SO THANKFUL to have finally figured the mystery out. Here's to no more yellow laundry! ;)

--And speaking of laundry, I always used to give my mom a hard time that she practically lived in the laundry room. But now I know why, I'm constantly in the living room getting the paint out of Shelby's shirts from preschool or getting the dirt stains out of Hadley's pants after a trip to the playground. I've turned into my mother! ;)

--I read {THIS POST} a while back (LOVE this blog!) that really resonated with me & reminded me a lot of my relationship with the Facebook app on my phone. Several times in the past few months, I've read an article here or there that made me stop & think about my "screen time" and its effect on me & my family, but I never actually acted on it until now. Since Friday morning, I have limited my Facebook acesss to 10-15 minutes on the computer during the girls' naptime & another 10-15 minutes on the computer once they're in bed at night. It has been SO LIBERATING! The thing that held me back from doing this before was thinking I would feel like I was missing out on something, but the truth is I haven't missed a thing! I also liked to cling to Facebook on those stay-at-home-mom kind of moments where I was feeling isolated/alone, and Facebook helped give me a connection to the outside world but it was distracting me from what was right in front of me. This quote from the post really rang true for me: "Generally, I just felt overstimulated. So much input all the time." I would mindlessly scroll through my newsfeed at random points throughout the day, and I never really realized its impact until I've stopped that habit. I feel calmer, less anxious, and more PRESENT now. So while I don't want to give up Facebook entirely, I've radically changed the way I use it and it's no longer a distraction/addiction throughout my days. Sometimes I'll pick up my phone to check the time, and I find that my finger automatically goes to the blue F on my phone's homescreen...it's crazy (and scary!) how automatic it had become!

--We got our family pictures back this week, and I LOVE them! But of course now I can't decide on a Christmas card to save my life. ;)

--Shelby has "Donuts with Dad" at her preschool on Thursday, and she is beyond excited! Donuts are her favorite food in the world, and this will be the first time Derek has gotten to see her school...so it's doubly exciting!

--And we'll end with this picture that I took while we were at the airport waiting for Auntie Em's flight to land a couple weeks ago :)


Life with a 4 year old & 1.5 year old

Ugh, I hate to admit this, but we totally dropped the ball on Hadley's monthly photos. I should have just continued on with her monthly posts without the monthly pictures, but my OCD self coudln't handle that...so there's no record of her monthly photos or posts on the blog. :(  And that makes me really sad since poor baby #2 gets no baby book other than this blog. ;)  But the reality of it is that there's just not enough time anymore for this mama! When we just had Shelby and she slept in until 8:30 every morning and napped for 3+ hours and went to bed early, I had all the time in the world! (Someone remind me again why I ever thought just one baby was hard?! Wow, perspective is everything!) But anyhow, I'm finally throwing in the towel on the monthly photos/posts! In lieu of that, here's an update on what life looks like right now for us with a four year old & 1.5 year old.

Reading books in the backyard on a nice fall afternoon. This was a random idea, and the girls LOVED it!

Walking home from our neighborhood playground one afternoon.

Shaving cream & cornstarch..one of Shelby's favorite activities!
I think my favorite part of this stage is that the girls are really starting to become friends. They'll be sitting on the living room floor playing, and Hadley will randomly look up at Shelby and say: "Chase?" And then in less than two seconds, they're off chasing one another (aka following each other as they run laps around the kitchen) and squealing with delight. Another favorite activity they enjoy together is Shelby "teaching" Hadley words and Hadley repeating them back...this keeps them busy for quite a bit! ;)  Shelby is incredibly patient & kind with Hadley and really is such a wonderful big sister. Case in point: We were in Target the other day and Hadley was throwing a fit b/c she wanted a snack and didn't want the snack I had in the diaper bag for her. In the midst of her fit, Hadley started lashing out and hitting Shelby (they were sitting in the cart next to one another). Since Hadley wasn't calming down, I quickly moved Shelby into the basket part of the shopping cart where she would be out of Hadley's reach. Shelby became visibly upset when I moved her and I thought Hadley had really hurt her. Shelby insisted that she wasn't hurt and told me: "Mama, I just want to sit with Hadley. I really don't mind if she hits me. It's okay." Seriously, the sweetest big sister! Thank goodness for the popcorn at Target--after I got the bag of popcorn in Hadley's hands, we never heard another peep out of her during that shopping trip. ;)  Best dollar I've every spent! :)  Snacks are truly Hadley's love language.

Shelby continues to be smart as a whip and loves going to preschool. She is becoming quite the artist! Every day when she walks into school, she goes straight to the Art Studio to start painting. We have quite an extensive art collection in our house now. ;)  Her favorite thing to do is read, and it never ceases to me amaze how phenomenal of a reader she is. And we apparently read too many princess stories. A couple weekends ago when we were at South Texas Maize, Shelby really wanted me to ride in the same seat with her on the barrel train ride. I told her I didn't think there was enough room for me to fit with her but that I would still try. Quoting Aladdin, Shelby reached her hand out to me to help me in the train with her and said: "Do you trust me?" ;)  As we were getting ready to leave the farm and walk to the car (a pretty long walk), Shelby looked around and said: "Where's our magic carpet?!" ;)

Hadley is also as smart as a whip and is talking up a storm lately! Shelby didn't really start talking much until around this age, but Hadley's vocabulary is already through the roof! Two word phrases are becoming more and more common. Because Daddy torments her constantly, she learned how to say "stop please" pretty quickly. And if she feels like she's being left out when we're looking at a book or something else out of her line of vision, she'll start yelling "See that! See that!" And anytime you give Hadley something, she'll almost always say "Thank you" in the sweetest little voice you've ever heard. She is a walking pro now & becuase she loves to play chase with her big sister, she's pretty adept at running already too! Hadley continues to be a great eater & loves nothing better than snacking all day! She is literally as sweet as pie and loves to hug, kiss, & snuggle...but she is NOT afraid to let you know when she wants something! Shelby never threw a tantrum, it's just not her personality. She could whine all day long, but tantrums were just not her style. Hadley has certainly kept us on our toes in this department to say the least. It's little things that I know are totally normal for kids this age, but we are navigating this area of parenting like first-time parents b/c we just didn't have to deal with this with Shelby. We were getting ready to come downstairs yesterday, and Hadley started to walk down the stairs then stopped and said "Hold you?" When I proceeded to pick her up, she yelled "No! Walk!" So I let her walk, and she immediately said "Hold you?" We repeated this scenario about ten more times before I finally just walked downstairs. Of course, she threw an epic tantrum before coming downstairs then proceeded to lay on the floor for ten minutes crying just to make sure I knew she was upset. I always tell Derek when he comes home at night that it's a wonder I have any sanity left! ;)  Hadley is still rather attached to me, and if she doesn't see me she'll wander around the house yelling "Mama! Mama!" over & over again until she finds me. She also will just randomly start calling my name in the car after a few minutes just to make sure I'm still there. ;)  Some days it's really cute, but if I'm being honest some days it drives me up the wall. ;)

Both girls love their sleep, but they have very different sleep needs. Shelby is always awake first in the mornings and usually comes downstairs around 7:15-7:30 on most days. Hadley sleeps in until 8:30 most days, but some days it's after 9. They both nap at the same time (around 1:30-2), but Hadley is a super short napper compared to how Shelby napped at this age. Shelby would take a 3-4 nap as a baby whereas Hadley functions very well off a 1.5 hour nap. Her naps usually range anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours, but thankfully she'll play in her crib for a while after waking up from nap. Lately Shelby has been taking about 2-2.5 hour naps, but 4:00 is her cut-off for naptime in order to preserve a reasonable bedtime. About 50% of the time, I have to go in her room to wake her up from nap. ;)  Hadley always goes to bed first around 7:45 or 8, and Shelby is usually in bed around 8:30 but occasionally not until 9 b/c we like to play a card game or do a special "big girl" activity with us after Hadley is in bed (aka something that is difficult to do with a baby around, ha!).

We had check-ups for the girls earlier this month, Shelby was 43 inches & 43 pounds if I recall correctly. Her height was still 99th percentile, but she had dropped to the 91st percentile in weight. Hadley surprised us a bit by weighing in at 26 pounds & measuring 32 inches, which put her at the 74th & 59th percentiles respectively. Shelby has always been in the 90s for her percentiles (usually 95+), so Hadley's percentiles were really astonishing especially considering how much more she eats than Shelby ever did as a baby!!

A scary glimpse of what our life will look like in 12 years..eek!! ;)
{This was taken at a birthday party tonight.}

Every Tuesday & Thursday, we get to preschool pick-up early and wait outside the gate for the kids to start filing out of the school. As soon as Hadley sees the first preschooler come out of the door, she bolts to the fence and sticks her head through the fence posts yelling Shelby's name over and over and over (and over!) again until Shelby comes outside. Then when Shelby spots her little sister, she comes running to her as fast as she can yelling "Sissy! Sissy!" It's been a true joy to watch their relationship grow over the past year and a half. I hope they always love each other as much as they do now!!