Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Meredith!

I really keep saying that I just don't know how it can be true that my sweet Meredith is 5. That seems SO grown up for that little baby that is mine! I even told her for the last week or so that I wasn't going to let her turn 5. That she had to stay 4. She was not a fan of this at all. And, I really shouldn't have said this because, being the Meredith that I love so much, she just spent the rest of the time consoling me - "Mommy, Jillian will be 4 soon!" (wow, that one actually didn't help -but she meant well!)

So, I just wanted to take a few minutes to write about my favorite five year old - the one who made me a mommy five years ago and with that changed my world in every possible amazing way I would never even imagine.

Although I am her mom and slightly bias, I have to say that I think it is truly possible that she is the most kind, thoughtful five year old around. She amazes me all the time by her initial need to make sure that others are happy even when that may mean she has to give a little. She shows this so often especially when it comes to Jillian. She will choose to play a game or with a toy just to make Jillian's day, or she will give up something that she wants because she knows it will make Jillian happy (we do have to work on this a bit - don't want her to always give into Jillian, but, I love that this is her heart!)

She also just has this amazing love for learning. One of her favorite times of the day is the 30 minutes or so after Jillian goes down for nap because that means she gets to do "School Supplies" - or some kind of workbook or computer activity that teaches reading or math. She is already an amazing reader - she is now at the point that I can hand her a new book and she can read almost all of it without help. Nothing makes a mama prouder than seeing their baby learn something so big!

One of my favorite parts of Meredith right now is her new-found silliness. She loves making funny faces for the camera and just running through the house making silly noises while doing a crazy dance. She has always been a little more reserved, so this piece of her is so fun to see!

Really, this post could go on and on and on about all the great things about Meredith, but all in all, I just have to say that I am incredibly blessed to be her mama and that I love the little big girl she is becoming. Happy 5th Birthday Meredy Moo!

Sleepover with a 4 year old

Last year on Meredith's birthday I started a tradition that I think could be my favorite birthday tradition yet! I decided birthday nights are a perfect sleepover with Mommy night. Last year, I slept in Meredith's room with her after some fun pedicures. This year, we invited Jillian too, and we moved it to my room (probably the best update for me, since that meant I wasn't sharing a twin sized bed with kids and LOTS of stuffed animals!) Because of the last minute Rangers game, we were on a more rushed timeline for everything, but we got our pedicures and manicures in for all 3 of us (complete with sparkly nailpolish) and then headed for bed!
Mommy and the birthday girl (and of course Rebecca too!)
The last picture of a four year old!
During pictures, Jillian was planning to sleep on her nap mat, but she eventually joined us too!

Go Rangers!

On Wednesday night, Neal called me mid afternoon to tell me he could get two free tickets to the Rangers game that night and wanted to see if Meredith wanted to go. I thought this was a no-brainer! When he asked her, though, she sheepishly told him no. I worked on her a bit and asked why. Well, the last time she was there she was terrified of the fireworks that go off after home runs, so she was not going back. Neal and I both talked to her and he promised he would cover her ears if there were fireworks (and he even tipped her off that he thought that the other pitcher would be too good for any homeruns anyway!) After that, she would not stop talking about going! She immediately put on her Rangers shirt, had me go get Neal's to take to him, then we went to the garage to get both of their gloves so they could catch lots of balls (she went on to tell me that she needed a bag because she didn't think they could hold more than about 4 of them in their hands. I encouraged her dream, but also let her know that one ball would be a really nice surprise, but not to get sad if they didn't even get that!). We met Neal as soon as he could get there and I left them for their date! I was so excited to hear more. The first text I got was one with this picture.
Cute, right? It is, but the problem is, they are in the concourse because she has been flipping out because the game is too loud. Luckily, Neal was able to remain calm and get her talked back into going in for a bit longer! He didn't text me for a bit, so I was pretty nervous of how things were going....
Ahhh....luckily, I got this one next! A little time got her calmed down and back to their seats - ready to catch balls!
And, as promised, Neal covered her ears when there was a homerun. Luckily for Meredith, it was actually too windy for fireworks anyway, so she was good to go!

It sounds like after they got through the initial fear, they had a great date night. Neal said he doesn't remember much about the actual game, but with this kind of company, it probably didn't matter anyway!

And while they were there, Jillian and I had a little dinner, did a little shopping, and then as we were leaving the shopping center, we see a fountain with horses in it. From the backseat, I hear "Horsies, mommy, weeeease?" And really, there was no way I could say no! So, we parked, hopped out, and we played and played by the fountain. What a special treat for me and Jillian to get to spend a little mommy-daughter time while big sis got to hang with Daddy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Turtles + Rangers = Happy Girl

We celebrated with our family after the swim party with some of Meredith's favorites - pizza and cupcakes! And we had a really crazy Turtle/Rangers scheme going on, too! I found a cute idea to make Turtle cupcakes while wasting time on my new favorite obsession: Pinterest! Meredith was pretty excited for them. Then we headed to the party store for a few things and she decided to go with her turtle cupcakes, she wanted Texas Rangers plates and napkins. Well, of course! She even got dressed in her fan gear and requested we put on the game during dinner.
Silly Meredith...wonder where she gets it from?
Oh, I see...Meredith and her silly daddy posing with her cupcakes.
You can never have too many wishes, right?
Meredith got to open lots of fun presents, but the highlight was this cabinet my dad refinished for her - it is a closet that my Grandpa made for my mom when she was a little girl to keep her favorite doll's clothes in. Meredith was really excited!
Everyone took this as an opportunity to show how silly our WHOLE family can be.
Papa added this sweet note to the inside of the closet. Love it.
The closet is very useful now that it is at home full of Rebecca's belongings, but that night it was also the most fun hide-and-seek spot. Notice the laughter in Landon's eyes and the tiny hands to the right of him? That would be Jillian, not quite tall enough to see over yet!
I tried to get all my Ranger's fans in one pic - Meredith was feeling too sleepy to cooperate.
Eventually she came around...
Especially since it meant she could be silly in another picture!

Party like a 5 year old

We have been planning this fun birthday party for our favorite five year old for months! The best part was we joined with two of Meredith's friends, who were both in her class and on her soccer team so that we could have it at this great pool not far from our house - it has a super fun splash pool for little ones, a lazy river, and a really big slide for bigger kids. It was the perfect place to have it and it was so much fun to celebrate with these two little girls that Meredith has so enjoyed spending time with!
Meredith, Allison, and Kelsey - the birthday girls! I had fun picking up these identical cakes at Costco - got lots of "TRIPLETS?" questions and looks.
Daddy and Meredith had lots of fun floating the lazy river and splashing in the big pool
The big girls were very ready for cake - the cakes were also ready - can you tell that Meredith's chocolate cake had turned into a molten lava cake? It was HOT out there and it was a good thing we cut the cake when we did!
Making her wish! She told us later she wished for a pool like this one closer to our house. Which is funny because this place is probably only 5 miles from us (if even that). Guess when you are a heading to your 5 year old birthday party that 5 miles takes forever!
Luckily no one cared that the cake was melty - probably just made it tastier!
How could I refuse a slide down the slide with the birthday girl?
So fun!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Playdate with Daddy

Today, the girls and I headed up to visit Neal at work for lunch and a little playdate! He can get us into the Flight Museum by Love Field for free and he had been wanting to check it out, so we all got the pleasure of tagging along on his lunch break.

The girls had so much fun seeing all the airplanes and playing in the Jay Jay the Jet Plane kids area. Luckily, they actually enjoyed all the exhibits Neal had been wanting to check out too! Now we just have to plan a time to go back when we can stay longer than a lunch hour!
There was a fun airplane that the kids could climb in, fly, sit in the seats as a passenger, and then slide out the back
Captain Jillian and First Officer Meredith
Flying Jay Jay
Meredith climbed all the way up to the top of the Air Traffic Control Tower. Jillian started up but was luckily very happy to stay close to the ground. If not, I am pretty sure that Mama in a skirt or Daddy in work duds would have been climbing up after her to get her down - they were some steep steps!
This was one of the real planes that you could actually go in and see some of the stuff you usually don't experience as a passenger - plus they were also filled with Southwest historical memorabilia.
The back of the plane we got to walk through while on the inside of the museum sticks out into the parking lot of the museum so we went to go get a closer look on our way out.
Meredith thought it was really cool to get to stand underneath the airplane
And touch it!
Jillian wanted to touch it just like Sissy, but then was afraid it would be too hot! She was a few inches shy of touching it herself like she would have liked anyway, but I did lift her up to get a little closer look.

Mom's Weekend Out

Last weekend I got to have a great getaway with two of my dear friends, Lindsay and Kelly. These two girls and I met while working at American Airlines and then cemented our friendship by running a marathon together almost 6 years ago. Since that time, we have all left American (Kelly moved to Austin and Lindsay is now a teacher) but we figured out that we have managed to get together every summer but maybe one - not too bad for girls transitioning jobs and having a total of 4 babies. This summer we headed to Lake Travis in Austin and just relaxed by the pool, laughed and talked until way past our bedtimes, and even got to visit a winery that was so much fun! Now, I will just start my countdown to next year when we get to do it all over again!
We had so much fun at Flat Creek Estate - it just happened to be pretty close to where we were so we went on a whim. It turned out to be ranked as one of the top wineries in the nation - pretty great whim!
I am impressed that none of us look even slightly green in this picture...this was post driving through the winding hills of Austin and a dinner on a moving pier. The pretty views and the fantastically sweet hamburger buns made it all worth it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meredith's American Girl "Birthday"

Add ImageMeredith's big wish for her 5th birthday has been an American Girl doll for several months now. I decided it would be really fun to invite all the people that love her out to the store so she could pick out the perfect doll. We found out that if we went today we could get Aunt Sandy AND Laura, Vic, and Sarah, too - so we couldn't pass that up. Luckily, I didn't get any push-back from Meredith on getting to have an early birthday celebration either! :)
Meredith took a trip back to the babies before getting into the big dolls so she and Jillian could do a little playing
Meredith picked a doll that looks like her - brown hair, blue eyes, and freckles. She finally came up with her name late this afternoon - Rebecca!
After picking her doll, she had the task of picking out a few things for birthday presents from Gigi, Grandma, Bubbie, and Aunt Sandy. This was so serious, it meant she needed to RUN!
Oh, my silly girls and their silly poses! Jillian has at this point, adopted a little grey kitten. She found that she could open the boxes herself and find such fun treasures! When she found a kitten, she pulled down two, took one to Meredith and then told me "Kitty. Home." Meredith put hers away but Jillian was very insistent that this kitty was hers!
After shopping, we headed to the Bistro for lunch. The dolls all got their own chairs and Meredith and Jillian each had a crowns for their dolls.
We had lots of dolls celebrating - Laura, Victoria, and Sarah all spent last night getting their childhood dolls ready for the big day!
Helping her doll drink Lemonade.

Meredith has passed down her Bitty Baby that Aunt Sandy gave her when Jillian was born to her little sister - I had suggested she let her borrow it just for today, but she wants to make sure Jillian has an American Girl, too!

While we waited on lunch, Aunt Sandy let Meredith open her presents. She got the perfect presents - almost all for her new doll!
Meredith fell in love with this dog in the display, but they were all out of him. They seriously had every other one of the other 12 dogs, but not this one. Amazingly, Sandy had shopped early at the New York store and had randomly picked this exact dog out for her. Can you see her happiness??
The Sooks just got back from Hawaii and PJ picked out this little turtle for Meredith - she was thrilled!
Sandy asked me to get Meredith to pick out a dress that she could make for her, so we browsed the online store. She was a little disappointed that they didn't have a turtle option (ha!) so Sandy made her this dress and gave it to her in advance to wear. When she saw it, she said "Maybe I can ask her to make one for my doll when I get one" not knowing there was one ready to go! As lunch arrived at our table, there was one present left - this dress. She didn't see it and we started to eat. I looked over and saw that Meredith looked a little sad. When I asked why, she told me that she didn't look enough like her doll since they didn't match. We quickly got her to open the last present, and she started beaming! Aunt Sandy saved the day!
There was even birthday cake and ice cream to celebrate!
Me with my sweet 4-year-old! I will take advantage of calling her that for just a little while longer. Can't believe 5 is right around the corner.
The cousins took time to play with the animals that Aunt Sandy treated them to. So Jillian's dream of taking Kitty home was realized!
Having fun with Aunt Sandy!
So loved that all of these ladies and my favorite little guy were all with us to celebrate and spend such a fun day with us!