Sunday, August 30, 2009

School, School, School. I love School.

Meredith has been so excited about starting school for MONTHS now. It was even a driving force in helping her to learn to potty (since she had to be potty trained to go to her class). To help build the excitement, Gigi helped Meredith pick a book from the library about school this summer. Meredith has memorized this book and loves it. She will point to all the words on the page and say "School, school, school, I love school!"

She finally got to experience school first hand last week. We started the week with Neal and I going up to a meet-the-teacher night. As soon as we got home, she shouted "What are my teachers names?!!" And she wanted to know all about all the toys that she would play with. I showed her the nametag she would wear (A star because she is in the SuperStar room!) and read through the class schedule. The next day Meredith got to go up to school so she could meet her teachers and see her room too. Then later that week was the big day! The night before, she helped me pack her lunchbox and backpack. We walked into her school on Thursday and she looked so big with her backpack on. We made our way through the crowded halls to her room. The little girl that went in right before her, was crying and I realized then, that she might lose it. But, she just went straight in, told me good-bye and I turned around to leave her. I forced myself to hold in my own tears until I left the school (I kept hoping I would see someone else who looked like as much of a basketcase as I felt, but no luck!) In the end, Jillian and I enjoyed having time for just us, but when she was napping and I was making Meredith's bed without her, I was struck by how quiet the house was. I was definitely ready to go get her when 2 came around.

She was excited to see me and had made me a picture. The teachers said she never had a single tear and that she even napped! She told me all about playing in the kitchen, a boy that told her she couldn't play legos, and we played "naptime" where she brought out her napmat and went through a script of what the teachers must say at nap time. She is looking forward to next week when she gets to go back - plus, she gets to celebrate her birthday since they hadn't started classes yet, so I know that will be a great treat!

Such a big girl!

Her new Strawberry Shortcake backpack and her Super Star nametags!
Pinky, of course, was excited to go to school too!

Jillian wanted to show her support of her big sister's first day too!

Boogie, Woogie.

Meredith recently took dancing back up at a studio near our house. She has only had a few lessons, but has really seemed to enjoy it so far. She comes home showing us the "Boogie Woogie" and "Shake your sillies" dances. Or I guess, she says those two phrases in sing-song ways and soft of moves, but I didn't have a clear picture of what she had learned exactly. Luckily, last week, they let us come in for the last few minutes of class to see what all they learned. The teacher had them show us the ballet positions they had learned (Meredith was a little overwhelmed by all the people in the room, so she didn't show off too much) and then we saw the Boogie Woogie! The girls are just adorable - especially my sweet Meredith!

Meredith showing off her ballet positions.
This is the Boogie Woogie - sort of! :)
Look at that cute belly!


Months and months ago, Daddy was playing with Meredith at bedtime, and created Blastoff, which turned into a bedtime ritual. This game starts with Meredith lying on the floor (either on her belly or back -which ever she feels like at the time) and usually holding at least one Pinky and sometimes more animals than she could ever keep hold of! Daddy shouts "Astronaut ready?" and she replies, "Ready!" then he counts down, "3, 2, 1, blastoff!" while holding her by the ankles. Then he pulls her upside down and she flies through the air and then lands on her bed. Blastoff was a fun way to end storytime and get Meredith into her bed before we sang a few lullabies, said prayers, and cuddled. However, with Meredith growing and growing, Daddy decided that he needed a new nighttime ritual to make sure he didn't end up with permanently damaged shoulders or a little girl with ankles out of socket. For weeks before Meredith's birthday, Daddy tipped Meredith off that once she was three there would be a new alternative to blastoff (which is "Tauntaun," a horse that rides her through the house to her bed). She likes Tauntaun, but she misses blastoff too. I made sure to get pictures on her last night of Blastoff - I was a little sad to say good-bye to this, I almost felt like she was Wendy from Peter Pan saying good-bye to the nursery.

Here is the blastoff countdown
And flying through space!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Being three is hard work

After resting up from the swim party, we had all of our family over for a pizza dinner and a Pony cake. She got lots of fun presents including a Super Girl cape that Bubbie made, little puppies, and a Barbie with a horse. "My favorite part" as Meredith would ask me later, was when she got Uncle Neil to open her Barbie while she helped. It took forever, but finally all the pieces were out. She looked at me, brushed her hand dramatically across her forehead and said "Whew! Being three is hard work!"

Meredith loved her new Barbie.

Testing out her new Strawberry Shortcake bike from Mommy and Daddy!

More candles and cake for Meredith! She is also sporting new Binoculars from Gigi that she loves!

Gigi and Papa also surprised Meredith with a "jump-o-line!" It is kid sized but took all of us to put the thing together - I hear Uncle Neil actually even has bruises! But by the look on her face it was all worth it - all three cousins had fun jumping.

I'm Almost Three!

All last week, Meredith would randomly and full of excitement say "Mommy, mommy - I am almost three!" Finally, on Saturday, she woke up knowing it was party day. She immediatley asked "Am I three now?" Poor thing - we had her so confused!

We had all of her friends over to Gigi and Papa's to swim in a Hello Kitty themed party. My friend Krista made a beautiful cake and we all had a great time!

Isn't this a great cake!

In honor of her Hello Kitty party and her love of rain boots, Meredith got these cute new boots and loved wearing them to the pool

Jillian had fun cuddling with the Sooks!
Jillian also tried out the swing for the first time and had lots of fun!

Playing with Emery in the Giraffe Pool
So excited to blow out the candles and dig into the cupcakes!
Meredith and Drew were serious about the sweets!

Taking a swim break with Bubbie

Uncle Neil and Landon playing in the waterfall

Meredith insisted she needed Laura's hat as we were cleaning up after the party - Laura was happy to oblige.
Laura and the girls and their matching Hello Kittys
Post-party, Uncle Neil introduced Jillian to Sesame Steet on the iPhone - she was a big fan!

Happy 3rd Birtday Meredith!

Yesterday we had such a fun day celebrating our little girl's third birthday! Even after a fun friend party on Saturday and a family party on Sunday (blogs on those to follow, of course!), we had more celebrating to do on her actual birthday! We started the day with the whole family heading up for donuts - she was hoping to pick out a green one (green, she says lately, is her favorite color!) but when she saw the chocolate (or "brown") with sprinkles, she was sold!

It appears she really enjoyed her brown donut!

After donuts, we got to got up to her preschool to meet her teacher. She has been so excited about starting school so I was really excited to see her check out her class for the first time! The night before, Neal and I met the teachers with just the parents and Meredith was quick to quiz us on their names and all that she would get to do, so yesterday was a perfect time for her to check it out herself!

After meeting a new friend, checking out the baby dolls, and playing legos with Daddy, we headed to the zoo for our second annual birhtday trip! This year, Aunt Katie and Landon, and Merrick and Caleb joined us and we had so much fun! The only low point of the day was learning the carousel and the train were closed. Meredith was pretty disappointed, but I promised her a trip to the carousel at the mall before dinner, which was a great compormise!

Meredith and Landon had a ton of fun watching these monkeys go CRAZY! They were so loud and running around non-stop!

Over the carousel disappointment, Meredith decided to check out the petting zoo.

I also just want to reflect on what a wonderful year this has been for us! Over the past 12 months Meredith has grown and learned so much - it has hard to imagine! She has embraced her new role as a big sister with such ease and has loved having Jillian around more than I could have ever dreamed. She insists she pick out Jillian's diapers with every change (although she always wants to the ones with Ernie, so she gets sad after those quickly get used up!), likes to help choose clothes for her, comforts her, tells her stories, brings her pacis and burp clothes, makes sure she has her own Pinky or another toy and so much more.

On top of being a big sister, her favorite things to do are to read books, play with her doll house and Pink Baby/Blue Baby, do just about everything with Pinky, cuddle with Mommy and Daddy before bed, sing songs (a new favorite is "The Eyes of Texas" - Hook em!), and dance (aka "shake her bottom"). She surprises us constantly with remembering minute details of things that happened so long ago. She loves to ask us every day "Mommy, what's your favorite part?" and has also developed a love of hearing stories about her when she was a baby. She is a thoughtful little girl, that always tries to help her friends (or even strangers) when they are sad (with hugs, kisses, or sharing Pinky). She is very sensitive and tells me about times that kids tell her not to do things on playgrounds very sadly - I have been trying to teach her when to listen and when to just have fun - this translates to her Sunday School and Dance class teachers though too, which might work to our advantage!

All in all, Meredith is a complete joy and makes me proud every day. I am incredibly blessed to have her in my life and am so thankful that God let me be her Mommy. Happy Birthday my sweet Meredy Bear!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

SWAPA Picnic

This weekend we were excited to get to go to "work" with Daddy! Neal's team put on a picnic for all the area pilots and their families, so he invited us to join. We couldn't turn down a bounce house and fajitas, so we tagged along. It was a pretty long day for all of us especially with the heat, but it was all worth it to get to see some of the people that we hear so much about every night at dinner and to watch Meredith have so much fun!

Meredith opened up and closed down the bounce house. She had the most fun when all the other kids were there to play too.

Helping Daddy set up.

An added surprise was the "slippy slide" - we didn't have a swimsuit, so I wasn't sure Meredith would go. But I was very wrong. She didn't quite get the sliding part down, but she loved just running through the water.

She loved just sitting and splashing in the end pool - too bad mommy made her get up so other kids could play too!

This picture just makes me laugh! She just thought it was fun to stick her little bottom into the water spray - love the tongue sticking out!

All the kids loved these little wooden planes too. The fell apart the second you put them together, but they didn't seem to mind!

Sweet Jillian just being a cutie.

Scratch Pinky Gets a Bath

Pretty much everyone who knows Meredith also knows Pinky. If you don't, Pinky is her lovie, a pink elephant blanket that she fell in love with around the time she was 9 months old. Through a series of events, we now have a total of 3 Pinkys at our house (plus another 4 spread throughout the metroplex at her favorite people's houses). This has been a great benefit because some days just call for more than one Pinky. Or other days, a Pinky is no longer recognizeable (as one friend put it "You should rename him Brownie"). Lately, though, Meredith has been particular about which Pinky she has - there are 2 "Scratch" Pinkys and one "Soft" Pinky and she always wants Scratch Pinky at least. So I have had a very tough time getting her to let me wash either Scratch Pinky. I finally convinced her to do it by giving him a bath herself in Jillian's tub and this was very exciting for her - she made sure he had just the right temperature of water and the best toys she could find.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jillian is 4 months old

My last day of work also marked Jillian's 4 month birthday - all while Bubbie is out in Alabama celebrating Anny Annie's 80th birthday! So we all want to wish her a very happy birthday and can't wait to celebrate in October (better late than never, right?)

This month has again flown by - Neal and I were talking about how the days seemed to last so much longer while we were waiting for Meredith to learn to roll over, etc but we just seemed to look down and suddenly Jillian was already doing it! And she LOVES to roll - her rolling skill has also helped her to enjoy tummy time more - she just seems to love to be able to look all around at her toys and her big sister, the dog, us, the TV, or whatever happens to be in her gaze. She has also started sneaking in rolls even when I try to change her diaper, giving us these pictures that I know Daddy will love that I share...
I'll spare you from seeing the one of just her cute little bottom, though.

We also introduced Jillian to the exersaucer, which at first just gave her a fun alternative seat to her swing, but day-by-day she is discovering all the toys, noises and lights.
This was her first time in the exersaucer, so she just looks a tiny bit confused!

We also broke out the highchair which has been a great way to let her be a part of family dinners while still letting me or Dad have both hands available for eating. Meredith insisted it be as close to her as possible and always talks about Jillian eating whatever she is enjoying when she gets bigger.
For now, dinner in the highchair just consists of a paci with a side of a paci (just in case the other falls, of course!)

Jillian's personality just keeps popping out day-by-day. She loves to talk and squeal and still loves being kissed more than anyone I have ever met. Her new favorite toy this past week is her foot. She loves to grab it, pull it, push it, and just play, play, play!

Look at this happy girl with her cute little feet!

Our four month check-up isn't until the end of the month, so I will post the official stats soon!

Goodbye AA!

Yesterday was a very bittersweet day for me. After over 7 years, I left American Airlines so that I could be a full-time stay-at-home mom.

I started at American just a few months after I graduated from college, working on email marketing campaigns. A few years later, I started on a new team, marketing our frequent flyer credit card. That role was followed by another email campaign job, then an account manager position and then finally my most recent position working on marketing plans. I was incredibly blessed with everything from fantastic friends, bosses that taught me so much with each role, opportunities to travel to new places, and roles that I enjoyed all along the way. It is also fun for me to think about being at American doing everything from planning a wedding, adopting a dog, buying two different houses, and welcoming two beautiful little girls into our lives.

This has been a long-thought-out decision full of lots of prayers and financial spreadsheets and scrimping at the grocery store! And today we are all excited to see what next week will bring with me devoted 100% to the most important job I could imagine. I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband that works so hard every day to make this work for our family!

This will beat those grey cubed walls anyday! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tuba Fest

This weekend we went to Tuba Fest- this is an event we have been lucky enough to be a part of for 6 of the 7 years it has been going in existence! Our good friend's dad puts on this event every year at the German restuarant, Henk's, and he plays the tuba and is accompanied by a guy that plays the accordian and sings some fun Polka songs. Okay, that maybe doesn't sound like as much fun as it is. But really - good German food, good German music, good German beer and we have some good German friends to add into the mix, so we have a great time! Neal even calls Tuba Fest his favorite night of the year! Meredith was equally as excited - she asked if she could play the tuba and then decided she needed to take her piano so that she could play along. Sadly we forgot the piano, but she brought it up on the car ride. I was bracing myself for tears when i told her we forgot, but instead she just said "I'll just have to shake my bottom!"

We had fun watching all the kids play, but after chasing them the whole time, we made a pact to hire a babysitter next year to really get the full effect. Plus, throughout the first round of songs and along the way home, Meredith was singing "In Heaven There Is No Beer" although we thought it was perfect at the time, we were hoping she would stick to some other songs this morning at church!

Which one of these things is not like the other? Lucky for Neal and Matt, the wives were on kid patrol. Not sure how I got stuck with two kids so Neal could hold a beer, but whatever.
The three girls - Meredith, Anna, and Matelyn. They are an adorable stair-step of cuties! Every year, Anna's grandma (Julie's mom) makes the kids matching dresses. We tried really hard to get a picture of all of them, but getting a 3 year old to hold her 3 month old sister, plus get a 2 year old and 1 year old to sit still wasn't very successful - here is the best we got!

Here was our brilliant idea to have the moms hold all the girls - this was less successful but still fun.
Daddy with his girls and sweet Anna
This year, Julie's mom got to try her hand at matching boy outfits since Joey and his friend Caden were joining us - baby lederhosen!

The tuba man, himself, Don

Julie and I with our littlest ones - look at them cuddling!
Aunt Julie and Jillian

Jillian wasn't sure about Don - our featured entertainer.
Daddy and Meredith dancing to a song that is without a doubt about beer somehow.
The girls favorite part was playing in the German grocery store and bakery at the back - here they are pretending to be puppies...

We turned around when we hadn't heard our puppies for a few seconds to find that the girls had opened a bag of bread loaves and were chowing down! They chewed on these things the rest of the night and the Spitzenbergers went home with the rest of the bag.
Matty came up a gave Meredith a big hug in the middle of the girls running wild through the store.
What's not to love about a girl and her bread.

The chicken dance was a big hit