Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuckered Birthday Girl

Last night before I headed to bed, I went to check on our little birthday girl and found her sleeping just like she did like a baby, this time on the floor! It felt very nostalgic to see my big girl sleeping like this...

From the surrounding toys, looks like she was playing with her new Zhu Zhu pet from Uncle Nelson and Aunt Kathy and just couldn't continue!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dear Meredith,

Dear Meredith,
Today you are four years old! I can't believe you are so big! I have loved spending this birthday with you - you have been so excited to turn 4 years old and I couldn't be happier for all the wonderful things you will get to do now that you are 4. I am sure 4 years ago right now, I was trying hard to figure out how to nurse you and to learn your noises and your tiny facial expressions. I know I couldn't wait for a new nurse to join the rotation so that I could watch her light up to see how beautiful you were and make comments about all of your beautiful hair...and then how I beamed as they told me you were the best and sweetest baby in the nursery (I wondered at the time if they were buttering me up, but I soon learned every word of that was true!)

And you have continued to be the best, sweetest little girl around. I am constantly amazed by your kind-hearted attitude to everyone that surrounds you. Your empathy, your interest in others, more than yourself. And I love that you are Meredith. You love to wear rain boots with any outfit. When lots of other girls will only wear pink, you can't get enough green. You love reading your Bible and learning about Jesus. You are an encouraging, understanding and loving big sister - you try to make Jillian laugh when she cries, you share your toys (most of the time) even when Jillian isn't asking to share in the sweetest way possible, and you are always looking for ways to make sure that Jillian is having fun, too. Tonight, you received a present from Aunt Sandy that you already had. I told you we could return it and buy something new. Instead, you said "I have a great idea. We can take it to the place where they give things to kids that don't have toys." (meaning Mission Arlington). My heart melted. You are selfless. You are smart. You are an individual. And you are all mine and your daddy's. I could not be more proud to have you as my little girl.

Happy Birthday! I love you!
Baby Meredith
Meredith, 4 years old!

Monday, August 23, 2010

And the Party Continued...

After swimming, the family hung out at Gigi's for a pizza dinner and presents for Meredith. For dinner she picked out some really cool Hannah Montana plates because she thinks Hannah Montana is pretty awesome!
Jillian made Meredith this little turtle at our last Playgroup when we went to a painting pottery place
The theme of the gifts appears to be turtles or hand-painted stuff, because I made these canvases for her room - I had been wanting to paint something for her wall and was going to do some starfish to go with her room, but with her new love of turtles, I did this design instead. She was so excited - I thought it might be kind of a lame gift for a 4 year old, but she sure didn't act like it was!
Aunt Katie found this great Green Boa - I think Meredith is in love!
It looks pretty good on Daddy too!
And for the gift she hasn't put down...Gigi and Papa got her a Leapster and she is hooked!
Jillian's favorite party activity was the Uncle Neil game - he chased her and tickled her and made her laugh so much!
Of course, she kept going back for more! Both these girls sure love their Uncle Neil!

A Turtle Birthday Party

On Saturday, we celebrated Meredith's 4th Birthday with our traditional swimming party at Gigi's! In typical Meredith fashion, a few months ago, she decided she wanted to have a Turtle themed party and she never wavered. Now, you might think that Meredith had a love for turtles before this party, but you would be wrong. When I asked why she chose turtles, she told me that she wanted them because 1) She loves green and 2) They have 4 legs and she is turning 4. Who can argue with that logic? While planning the party, I have decided Meredith should go into event planning. This girl was on top of her stuff! She would constantly ask me if people were on "her list." Then she would inform those that were on "the list" that they could bring turtles to her party, but dogs and cats were NOT invited (in a very sweet way, of course). She also thought through having a special place for all the turtles that her friends would bring to hang out during the party. Beyond that, she very particular on how the invitations should look, the paper goods, the design of her cake, etc. Luckily, she and I were able to see eye-to-eye on most of the planning and she wasn't too upset by anyone forgetting their turtles at home!

As I mentioned, she had very specific ideas for the cake - some of which I wasn't sure I could or wanted to execute. I finally steered her toward making the cake look like her invitations. She was very particular that it be two tiered though. The cake process was pretty much a disaster. The icing just kept sliding right off the cake into a globby mess. I fixed it and hid some of the problem areas the best I could and then gave up. I was feeling pretty bad about it, until I showed it to her. It was probably the best feeling ever to see her when she saw the cake. Her little hands flew to the sides of her mouth as she gasped and said "That is exactly what I was thinking about!" These are the types of reactions you see the crazy over-spending brides have on all those wedding shows when they see their cakes that cost $10,000. But I got it for the cake that was a falling-apart mess! Man, I love this little girl!

I thought the turtle was pretty cute, so I just tried to only look at the top to make myself feel better! But in the end, the birthday girl was thrilled, so what more could I ask for?

Lots of green and we had some stuffed turtles that we used to decorate too.
Papa surprised Meredith by finding this turtle that usually lives in one of their flowerbeds and hooking him up to spray water into the pool during the party. This was probably the highlight of the party for her. She kept making sure all of her friends saw it and would say "Look what my Papa made for me!"
Another piece of Meredith's intense planning called for a Pinata (or "peeyata" as she would say). I was not convinced I could find a turtle pinata, but when I did, I was thrilled. I showed it to Meredith, expecting the same reaction, but instead, she just said "No, I don't like it." Really, I found you a turtle pinata and you don't like it? She explained that it wasn't "green enough." This was because it used to have a handful of brown spots. I promised her to replace them with green ones and she was sold. Now, I don't think you could find a greener turtle anywhere!
I found green cups for favors (since they could hold the candy from the pinata) and she was immediately thrilled and excited to tell me they needed turtles on them. I at first thought I could draw them, but was obviously not thinking at that moment! Luckily I found a cute stamp and added the kid's initials.
Uncle Neil helped facilitate the Pinata Party!
Here is Meredith on her second round of hitting - this is the turtle after it has lost its head. Luckily, she really wasn't upset that her turtle was getting demolished
I have lots of pictures of her adorable faces as she watches her friends smack the pinata! This one makes me laugh!
The kids loved grabbing up candy and silly bands to fill their cups!

Singing to the birthday girl!
And making her wish!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What were we up to the rest of August?

So, like I said in the Piggy Tail post, I didn't do much blogging because we were so busy this summer. But now that I am caught up, it doesn't look like we had much going on at all! But the problem was we did lots of stuff that wasn't too camera-friendly, so you will just have to take my word for how much fun we had!

We went to sprinkler parks, pools, and the highlight - Hawaiian Falls! This is a really fun waterpark not too far from our house. We headed there one morning and had a great time floating in the lazy river and exploring the kids play area - Meredith and Jillian both loved going down the kiddie slides! Then Meredith was super brave and she and I tackled some of the big slides - it was a blast!

Meredith and I also went to our second Playcation session at church where the kids learned all about oceans and ocean animals. And then just last week, the girls and I headed out with Gigi and Grandma to see PJ in the play Secret Garden. It was a long play but both girls did great and Meredith really enjoyed all of it!

Now we have just about one more week left before Meredith heads off to preschool again for the fall - I remember worrying before summer started that I wouldn't be able to keep Meredith busy without school, but I was definitely wrong! I will miss getting to spend every day with her once she heads back to school, so hopefully we will get to have lots of fun on our last few days of summer!

A long time coming

Last week, after lots of failed attempts this summer, we finally got to have a playdate with the Spitzenbergers! They headed our way and we met up at the museum - Meredith was really excited to show off her favorite stuff to Anna!

The grocery store is always a hit

Jillian monopolized the ambulance. I finally caught on that she was maybe keeping other kids from their turn...I watched her block the driver's seat especially when she sensed others were ready for their turn. So, we moved on...a little unhappily, but there was plenty of other stuff to distract her.

Doctoring the baby took her mind off the ambulance

Anna and Meredith pretended to be builders, costumes and all.
Jillian and Joseph are a perfect pair - I love this picture because it looks like he is kicking her. I promise he isn't!
Meredith loves making things and trying to make them fly in the wind tunnel - she is quite serious about it!

Gymnastics Party

A few weeks ago Meredith got to celebrate her school friend's 4th birthday at a gym - Meredith was excited to go, but then the coach that was running the party was very enthusiastic/loud. At that point, Meredith was out! She came to me crying and wouldn't leave my lap. Luckily, they soon headed over to the trampolines and I was able to convince her to give it another try. She loved jumping and then followed the rest of the class over to try out the balance beam too. Even when other kids moved on to another activity, she just perfected her balance beam walk and had a blast!
Balance beaming...
Meredith and the birthday girl!
My now-happy girl playing with her perfect green balloon!

Anniversary Lunch with Daddy

On July 27, Neal and I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary with a great dinner at our favorite Mexican place in Ft. Worth and just enjoyed thinking about what I think is shaping up to be my favorite year ever! But before dinner, the girls and I headed up to Neal's office so that we could go to lunch with him. Of course, that also meant we got to play in Daddy's office for a bit too!
Meredith was excited to see that lots of her artwork was decorating Daddy's walls.
And of course, there was a Dance Party in Daddy's office - here Meredith and Neal and doing the Robot.

The girls had lots of fun helping Daddy work - or watching silly cat videos as the case may be.

These little piggies...

...went to Daddy's softball game!

So, this post is long overdue - I am very behind on blogging mostly because we have just been busy having fun this summer! So, now I will try to get us ready to start back into the school year and hopefully get back onto a more regular posting schedule (especially so I can make sure Bubbie gets her granddaughter fix!)

We headed to Neal's softball game near the end of July, which means it was way too hot here in Texas! To try to keep Miss Jillian as cool as possible we tried out her first ever piggy tails!

So cute! I am inspired to try them out again!