Monday, December 22, 2008

Birthday Letter

Dearest Buster Boy,
I can't help but think back 2 years ago to what we were doing on this exact day. You decided (or actually Doc decided) it was "entry into the world" day and you did it with a bang. Came out a nice shade of navy blue and decided to hold in your cries so you could enjoy the scenery. I didn't even get to see you whisked away to the land of oxygen tanks and every wire monitor imaginable. In fact, I didn't see you for 6 hours, and you should know that, had we talked about it earlier, I would have opted for a pinker shade (no, it's not girly) and an immediate sighting/holding. However, you were looking pretty fly in there by the time I was wheeled down to the special nursery.

The nurses called you "Big-un" because you, at 8 lbs, 12 ounces, were at least twice the size of the other babies in the room. They had a hard time fitting the oxygen helmet on your man-sized head. And the sweet church that donated Christmas stockings for the "preemies" did not have you in mind because when we walked in Christmas morning, your stocking was on one leg. The rest of the babies were in their stockings up to their neck. It was a hilarious scene and the nurses just shrugged and said "We tried, but Big-un is just too chunky for these tiny stockings."

We got to bring you home a week later and your navy blue shade had turned into a pretty pumpkin orange. Thank you, jaundice. You hung out in your little Moses basket and rarely made a peep. Except when you were hungry and then your cry had a pitch to it that made my ears bleed. That was especially noticeable around 3am.

Your sister fell in love with you from the minute she saw you and couldn't wait for a playmate. She still loves you more than any other girl in this world (except Mommy of course who is smitten with her boy!) and when asked who her best friend is, without ever hesitating she proudly proclaims, "Buster Boy!" Occasionally she changes her mind. Like when you pounce on her while she's laying on the couch watching TV. Or when you eat her food while she's not paying attention. Or when you grab her beloved BearBear and take a run for the hills. But mostly she's your #1 fan.

It's been a big 2 years for you. Countless breathing treatments. Crawling to walking to running to jumping to riding your big boy scooter. Bald head to your first haircut. Losing Bunny, finding Bunny, losing Bunny, finding Bunny. Gurgles to words. Thumb sucking to....thumb sucking.

Happy Birthday, my little boyfriend. I hope you never stop snuggling your Mommy. Even when you get married (no matter what that little wifey of yours says!). You make me laugh. You make me proud. And in a few short months you will make an amazing older brother.
I love you, my sweet Buster.
Happy Birthday.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Great Name Debate

If in looking at this title, you thought I might give some hints as to what we'll be naming children #3 and #4, then just close out that browser, because reading on will officially frustrate you. Consider yourself warned.

We are, however, currently involved in the Great Name Debate. There is a lot of pressure in naming your child. It's something they will be called every day for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, I obtained a pretty normal name (despite being called 'Susan' one too many times) and so did my husband. So we're likely not to name our kids Apple or Mowglie or Inspektor or whatever crazy names are out there.

But we don't want to be too common either. Can't go with an Emma or a Jacob or Hannah or Caleb (though I do like all of those names) because I don't want them to forever be known as Emma A. or Jacob A. to differentiate among the 4 others in their class.

So it's got to be somewhere down the middle. One of the names, either first or middle, will need to hold some familial meaning. That's very important to us. And of course, these 2 kiddos' names will be paired together for many years so they'll need to sound good together (i.e. Grizzelda & Rasputin may not roll off the tongue as well as, say, Ike & Tina for instance).

The Debate will continue. We broke down and bought (yet another) baby name book last night and by 12:30am I had found the perfect combo. Of course, that changed when I woke up after dreaming about another perfect combo. Which will likely change again if I let any of these names slip and receive any sort of negative vibe from that lucky audience member who hears the slip-up. I may pounce like a mama bear if I get a negative response. Or I may just change the name again for the 45,000th time.

At least we get to pick 4 of the coolest names we could possibly come up with. Not many people get that opportunity so we are counting that as one of the many blessings of having twins.


Of the many.

There are many, right?

Somebody, please tell me there are MANY!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cookies-N-Cream Handspun from Chick

I do love a milkshake. Funny thing is, I've only had 2 during this pregnancy. Ok, maybe 4. But that's about 17,020 less than I had when I was preggers with The Girl. Tonight's was super delish. Carter and I allowed the kiddos to share in our tradition today of enjoying a little "cream" from Chick-Fil-A to celebrate the latest gender news on the homefront.


And she will go along great with her counterpart, "IT'S A BOY!"

They're best friends already. Twin Girl had her foot against Twin Boy's head. Go girl. Own your territory.

Yet officially measuring out at 25 weeks. I originally said I would be the size of a house when this was said and done. I've changed my mind. I believe I'll be more the size of a hotel.

The Twinkies are very healthy and growing great. They're the exact same size (7 oz) which is very good. All of my sickies are gone and I've just got the regular bone/joint ailments of pregnancy so right now I'm coasting. And praying to keep these babies in until 37 weeks. Especially since one is a boy and boys can tend to be a smidge on the weak side when they're early (ie. older brother Buster Boy).

When we find our camera charger, I'll post pics. Not of my hotel-sized self of course. Of the kiddos.

All 4 of them.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I guess it's the holiday seasonry or cool weather (note: I did not say's South Ga...we were looking at about 68 today...PERFECT!) or large doses of motherly hormones, but I find myself everyday saying (with passion): I LOVE THIS! or I LOVE THAT! So it's not even Valentine's Day and I'm feeling some love. Thought I'd share my randomness - in no particular order.


1. snow village on top of my piano. My all-time favorite Christmas decor and once it's up, the whole world is a better place. Thank you, Charles Dickens.

2. ...going to a tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. Much like going to the pumpkin farm to fetch our pumpkins. It makes me feel one with nature. A little organic if you will. And we all know organic Christmas trees are far healthier when you munch on them than their store-bought counterparts.

3. church family. We could not have landed in a better community to live life together. I was reminded of it again last night.

4. snuggly my son is. I don't know if it's his age, or the cooler weather mixed with ultra-comfy clothes, but he is a snugglin machine. Much like a cat. He can't nuzzle in close enough and I can't wrap my arms around him fast enough!

5. ...that everyday my girl wakes up and asks "Is it Christmas yet?" She has already caught the excitement and everything she's learning at kids church is sinking in and she's teaching her brother all about Jesus. And she begs for me to take her out each day so she can buy gifts for her cousins and her brother.

6. ...that though my hubs is working full-time and frantically trying to finish grad school, he still finds time to surprise me with my favorite Publix eggnog (and no worries, commercially made eggnog is just fine for the preggers so lay off!).

7. ...that I felt my babies move this week. Yes, that's right. Babies. There's 2 in there so it's a little weird when I know they're so tiny yet I'm feeling movement on clear opposite sides of my stomach. I hope they don't punch each other.

8. ...the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family. What shall it be tonight? My anticipation is already building.

9. ...bunk beds. The kiddos are now sharing a room and Carter and I laugh every night while we listen to them talk for an extra hour or two just being best buds. We'll hear, "Shhhhhhhhh, Buster!" or "YaYa, eat!" and then we hear the voices fade and we just stand at their door watching them. Then, in that special moment all parents have, we say, "How precious are our babies." Which is quickly followed by, "HOLY COW WE'RE HAVING 2 MORE!"

10. ...and of course our family and friends. We have the best of both and can't wait to spend Christmas with them all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Bloggity Blues

The germs are finally leaving the house in droves and we're mostly down to the leftover sniffles. I can handle leftover sniffles. I've been doing 4 breathing treatments a day for each kid so that has been my week. Breathing treatments then breakfast. Breathing treatments then lunch. Breathing treatments then supper. Breathing treatments then bedtime. Whew! We've tapered down to 1 a day and that is doable!

In calculating how many hours were spent sterilizing, giving and then re-cleaning the breathing treatments, I thought 'good grief, it's my WHOLE day!'. Then I thought how long it's going to take to feed 2 newborns (not to mention the other 2 that may get hungry a time or two!!) 6-8 times a day. Ok, perspective!! Breathing treatments here I come!

I reached 4 months (16 weeks) yet I'm the size of a 6-month pregger. I imagine I'll be the size of my house by the time these babies are ready to bust out. I hope I'll be able to fit in the car to get to the hospital. Maybe I should check on a crane to get me out.

The newest medical advice I'm trying to follow from my nurse is to drink 64 oz of water A DAY! That is pure insanity to me. I'm the one who lives on Coke and coffee when not preggers. The Girl is trying to help me by drinking lots of water too. She thinks if she drinks water too, then it will help the babies in my tummy be healthier. I haven't told her otherwise yet! That may be my way to get her to eat more veggies too!

This weekend will be straight Christmas-y. We've been homebound and bored for far too long. At least now we'll have some decor to brighten us up. I am soooo ready for the coziness of Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Life with Twinkies Afloat

There has been good reason for my lack of bloggity updates.


Did I mention I've had a headache or forty during the last few weeks/months? Wowsers Papa Smurf. I keep trying to pull the "Isn't it enough that I'm carrying TWO babies?" to whomever wants to listen (mostly God) but then I get to feeling a little guilty when there's people in this world struggling with.......blah, blah, blah.

Oh, and a fabulous sinus infection. Why not? I love to feel as if my face is near explosion.

So today my head is still attached to my shoulders and my sinus cavity is a bit relaxed so I can stare at the computer for longer than 30 second intervals. Woo. Hoo.

We did go see Doc and check on the Twinkies and they are trucking right along. Sucking every morsel of calorie, brain cell, blood, etc from ME, but doggone it, they're healthy as larks! And we found out one of them is a BOY! And a proud one at that. Showing his manhood to the camera with pride. Carter was so proud.

The other was in the breech position and they couldn't get a good camera angle on the "gender" parts. Hopefully we'll find out at our December appointment.

The good part of only knowing one is that our tradition whenever we've found out the gender of our babies has been to celebrate with a handspun milkshake from Chick-fil-a. Now, instead of having to down 2 shakes after that last appointment (which I highly feel the Twinkies would have rejected), we get to go AGAIN!

We still don't know if they're identical or fraternal yet. If Twinkie A turns out to be a girl, then they're obviously fraternal. If it's a boy, then it could still go either way. The little line in between separating them shrunk a little - which would point more toward identical - but it's still not certain.

The News
When we shared the news with Sister, without batting an eye, she told us the other one was a girl. The thought of having 3 little brothers is not an option for her at this point. She is very meticulous and her first comment was, "Mommy, the other has to be a girl so we can be an even family with 3 boys and 3 girls." How did she even know the word "even"? And, hello? Did anyone tell her she's 3 years old, and 3 year olds don't have mad math skillz like this?

Buster Boy cared not a bit about the big news of a new baby brother. He just slammed Sister's barbie on her head and then jumped in his Flinstone car screaming "Bye! Bye!"


A whole different breed.

And I'm adding more.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trunk or Treat

The Chapel's 2nd annual trunk-or-treat was this past Sunday and we had a blast! Mulan and Mushu were a hit in their homemade costumes (homemade by Ally that is, not me!). Mulan had a big black wig with a bun on top that she chickened out of wearing at the last minute, but the red hair worked just as good for this Chinese princess!
Mushu never could quite figure out how to sit down because he had a stiff tail stuffed with paper behind him at all times. So mostly he just stood around confused as to why his mom was making him wear such nonsense!
Typically very shy, Mulan had no problem strutting her stuff for the camera...anyone's camera. If she saw a camera, she immediately went into this pose. I don't know if it was the makeup or the outfit, but something obviously made her feel like a million bucks!I have countless pictures of these 2 over the last few years and most of them have our little Mulan looking at her "Bat" Eli in this same way. He was the first boy she ever met (yep, on day 1 of her life in the hospital) and she hasn't let him forget it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Me + Pregnancy = Train Wreck

...and that is why anything positive goes a LONG way in my book these days.

Most people we've told about our upcoming twinkies have been thoroughly shocked and then thoroughly excited. Of course we still get the "Better you than me!" comments here and again, but there have been so many people coming out of the wood works to wish us well, give us hugs, and begin praying for us.

Despite the fact that I'm in the horizontal fetal position 80% of the day, it's actually a very exciting time. And because I'm down for the count so often (or hanging my head over the toilet or what have you), I have LOTS of time to think (too much, really).

Time to think about what life will be like as a family of 6.


Karen reminded me the other day that I always used to say if there had been a major at UGA in stay-at-home-mom-ness, I would have gotten my degree in that. Maybe even my Masters. Hey, might as well go for the PhD at this point.

And Alicia reminded me that twinkies are a GIFT and that we've been CHOSEN BY GOD to be their parents. 1 in 500 chance? We'll take it!

Jana brought it from the Word and welcomed me to my "full quiver".

And today in church, one of the sweetest men (with 5 kids of his own!) was the first to congratulate us in our new "ministry".

It's so good to hear those words when I swim in a hole of nausea, migraines, and complete overwhelm-ness (so not a word, sorry) all day long.

This is what I signed up for. This is my ministry. To love Jesus, my husband, and 4 kids.

Hopefully I can reflect Him to them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wrapping My Head Around TWINS

Really, there is no wrapping my head around twins. If ever there was a woman who wrapped her head around twins, I would like to find her, interview her, and then call her out for being a LIAR!

I am thankful that this is not our first pregnancy. Mind you, I'm not sure I'm thankful that it's our THIRD, but at least I know life with newborns and can somewhat feel comfortable feeding, diapering, nurturing, and not panicking too much over every gurgle. Though twofold, I'm sure all of that will change.

Before this bedlam came about, I made some open-mouth-insert-foot comments a-plenty. Some of the comments made prior to knowing I was having twins that I would like to strike from the record are as follows:

1. "If only we could have 4 kids for the price of 3 pregnancies!"

2. "Twins would be a blast!"

3. "I could totally handle Jon & Kate Plus 8's lifestyle."

4. "Twins would solve our naming dilemma. We could use ALL the names we love without narrowing them down!"

5. "I think it would be fun to squeeze tons of kids into our tiny house!"

The Lowdown

Babies are healthy thus far. Got to keep a close eye of them to make sure they move away from each other so they don't start sharing any important things (blood vessels, arteries, etc.). The line in between their little sacs (which by the way is a GROSS word) determines whether or not they are fraternal or identical. Looking to be fraternal right now. Here's hoping...

I make big babies which is not altogether a positive thing with twins. So we'll try to keep them small so they can stay longer. If they stay 34 weeks+, I can deliver in Brunswick with the best doctor in the world. If they come earlier, I'll get shipped off to Savannah where the NICU is top-notch. Praying for Option A.

Here is their first portrait. Note: Twin B got a little camera shy and hid.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cat's Out-O-Tha Bag

I really like the title of my blog: Beach Baby Bedlam.

Especially that last word.

bed-lam (noun): a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion

It seems that title was just a precursor of what's to come. Bedlam with simply 2 small children 3 and under?

Utter silliness.

Bedlam with 4 children ages 4 and under?


(Newsflash: We're preggers!)


I'll try to keep the cuss words from leaking out of my brain onto the keyboard.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


One of my all-time favorite day trips of the year is our annual trip to Poppell Farms to see the pumpkin patch. I really don't know who has more fun, the kids or me. It's like Christmas, except much more Harvesty.

I got so excited this year that I got crafty.

Stop laughing.

I cannot be crafty on my own, but if I see something I like, and even moreso if it comes with directions, I can make it happen. (That's why I always hated "creative freedom time" in my art classes growing up...give me a model to copy!).

So I saw these shirts on the cover of a magazine and made it happen...slightly less professional looking, but still cutey patootey.

Pumpkin mission accomplished. Now I'm ready for the Christmas tree farm.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun Playdates

With the beautiful weather we've had over the past few weeks, we've been able to enjoy the outdoors at Neptune Park. Here's Little Man playing peek-a-boo in his favorite tunnel. Notice the evil eye Little Man is throwing out to his boy Will who's getting a little too close to his sister. Hmmmm....the first of many!!
We're excited about Will's little bro Nate coming into the world and making Little Miss Redhead feel like she's the pro of big kid-ness.

Monday, October 6, 2008

All Tuckered Out

By Sunday evening, the boys realized the weekend had caught up with them and they were down for the count by 6pm. That's what we get for skipping naps!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Verbage

Little Man has a case of the grunts.

And not the potty kind of grunts. The lack-of-vocabulary-necessary-to-have-a-conversation grunts.

He approached me today with a very passionate plea for something, of which I had no idea what that something was. He had hand motions, a rise and fall of vocal volume, and an enormous amount of grunting.

In frustration I said (so calmly), "Little Man, I sure wish you could talk like a human. It would make my life so much easier."

In comes Big Sis to the rescue.

"Oh, Mommy!" she says, "I'll teach him how to talk. I know just how to teach him new words."


Leave it to the 3 year old to bust out the Vocab book.

Or my latest issue of Real Simple magazine.

She climbed aboard the couch, magazine in hand, prompting her brother to hike his hiney up on the couch next to her.

She opens the magazine and begins her lesson.

"Buster, what is this? A flower pot?"


"Good. Now [turning the page], what is this? A kitty cat?"


"Good. Now [turning the page], what is this? A baby?"


"Ok, Buster, last one. What is this? Is it an orange?"


"No, silly. It's a tangerine."

Closing the magazine with a look of pride, she says to me, "See, Mommy, I taught him LOTS of new words so now he can talk like a human!"

I look into that Little Man's eyes and say, "Well, son, did your Sister just take you to the next level of vocabulary?"


Good. Glad we got that taken care of.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Potty Mouth

Carter is going to kill me for this one, as he doesn't always think the bathroom humor in our house should be shared with the public.

I, on the other hand, think it's a gold-mine of humor that everyone should enjoy.

I'm so painfully lady-like, it hurts.

So here goes, the


#1 "Mommy, LOOK! I pooped an ice cream cone!"

Hey, at least I'm not posting pictures.

#2 "So what would happen if I got poopy on my toothbrush?"

Upon checking, toothbrush looks clean...simply a hypothetical from a 3 1/2 year old brain...I hope.

#3 "It hurts too bad. Can we make it the liquid poopy kind?"

This being after a conversation at the dinner table of what makes a liquid a liquid.


Oh the excitement of watching her brother get his diaper changed...and the surprises within.

Sadly, that's only a small portion of the potty antics in this house. I must save the rest in order to save my marriage.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Rush

eBay is going to be the death of me.

Slight obsession.

Right now, I have 9 items listed to sell and I literally get an adrenaline rush when I see the bids go up. Why do people want to buy my junk? Why am I getting this free money when it takes so little effort? Questions I don't care to answer because no matter what, I GET PAID.

I have mentioned before that I love to play with money. If I had it to do over, I would have concentrated more in my financial classes in college (oh wait, I didn't take any of those) or at least, I would have taken some. And jumped on this boat 10 years ago.

I have rules, though, for eBay. Rules to tame.

1. I can only buy on eBay AFTER I sell an item for equal or more value - thus becoming a bit like monopoly money. It's not really mine so I can spend it, right? Sure.

2. Along those lines, no money can be transferred into my eBay account. Only way to gain funds is to sell (which requires effort - which mostly steers me to not buy - which is good).

3. I never buy used items. If I want a used item, I'll go to a garage sale so I can witness first-hand what type of house it comes from. "NIB" or "NWT" is clutch (that's "new in box" or "new with tags" for you non-ebayers). Some people just don't think their house smells rank. Poor peeps. Somebody should tell them.

4. Lastly, I only accept paypal. If you're not techie savvy enough to use paypal, you're not techie savvy enough to guarantee me a sale. I don't want to get stuck with a check that doesn't clear.

So at least I have some rules to keep my sanity. Goodness knows I could put us in debt easily were I to shop where the wind blows online.

If I sell my 9 very un-important items, I could be a rich, rich woman. I mean, who wouldn't want to buy my swim training float suit from 1997?

I can hear the cha-ching in the distance.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Grillin & Chillin

Every weekend when Carter fires up the grill, Little Man moves the high chair to his favorite front-row seat. From the air-conditioned box seats, he learns the proper technique to true Webber grilling (learned at the "D-Daddy School of Grilling"). He voices his opinions on the cooking process and is always happy with the end result (though he doesn't really like burgers...just the burger-making process...he's more of a "fries" man).

And the outfit? He picked it out himself. I stood at his closet trying to decide among the 700 t-shirts and he quickly pointed out (over and over and over) his UGA jersey by saying "Football! Football! Football!" Though it's a long-sleeved jersey on a 90-degree day, he wouldn't be stopped.

A true Dawg.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

All Growed Up

Though I will continue to refer to my kiddos as "the babies" until they're married, it has become official.

There are no more babies in my house.

Hippy Boy has had his dreadlocks chopped.

I must say, the Beauty Nook did a fine job despite the moving target. No blood was shed and there was minimal scolding. We did end up with toothpaste smeared all over the sink and counter, but it's all in the name of a successful haircut.

Though I will miss those beautiful curls DEARLY, there is hope that one day they shall return. And hopefully, less shaggy-like.


When he could wear a ponytail better than me, it was time.


Such a little man. All growed up (sniff sniff).

Monday, September 8, 2008


I walked away from church yesterday with a box of clothes for myself, a bag of clothes for my kids (I am NOT scared of a hand-me-down!), enough lunches to last my kids 2 weeks, and a gallon of milk.

Did I dress like a homeless person for some pre-Halloween festivity to garner such a response?

Nope. It was just church. I came dressed as myself.

Our big small group launch started yesterday which seems to resonate as the heartbeat of our church. Getting people into community. Providing opportunities for people to become closer to Christ while building friendships, and in some instances, building family. The turnout was awesome. I loved watching people clamoring around to sign-up for a small group.

There is something in the water at our church because people are having babies left and right. For 2 that were recently born, I threw out the word about getting a dinner rotation and you would have thought I was handing out free cars. The response was incredible. People came through the woodwork to provide a meal to these families with newborns. There was a need. They showed up.

In a conversation with a friend of mine, she was telling me about a time when she and her friend saw me in the Wally World parking lot (a weekly given). She honked as I was strolling my scream-o kids in a buggy full-o-grocery back to the car. When I saw her, I gave a semi-obnoxious dance-like greeting back (shocking, I know). Her friend said to her, "That must be a friend from The Chapel." When she asked her why she would think that, she said "Because people at The Chapel seem to be really fun" [and notably obnoxious]. Her friend was not a church-goer.

This is what church is all about.

People living in community. Seeing needs, filling needs. Cooking dinner. Hosting small groups. Living a life that exemplifies Jesus.

Giving leftover food to a mom with 2 kids.

Thinking of another family as you pack up clothes that you or your kids have outgrown.

The community, my community, did not go unnoticed.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Labor

I had a thought on Thursday. It came to be by Monday. I should have thoughts more often.

Our shower head has been spewing backwards and upwards for some time now, unbeknownst to us, and created quite the little water damage and mildew areas. Since I shower without my contacts on, it took the mildew getting to a nasty level for me to even notice. Then I panicked.

I felt a migraine just at the thought of having that nastiness in our house. That was Thursday.

By Monday, my sweet hubs had me a new bathroom. No more water damage. No more mildew. And I think we stepped it up a notch, thanks to our carpenter-extraordinaire-on-loan, David.

Prior to the revamp, we had a basic bathroom, beige and boring. No decor. Simply blah.

I haven't put the finishing touches in there yet, but the basics are done...walls, new shower head and curtain and fresh paint.

We find ourselves just going in there and standing. Looking around at the beautiful work. We have yet to use it. Can't get it dirty. We'll just stare at it a few more days first.

Our fancy new shower curtain - my favorite find of the weekend.

I also "thought" about a double-sink vanity and quickly got shot down. So here's our lonely little single. I just thought he needed a friend. Carter didn't think so.

When I envisioned this project, I said, "Yeah just put some boxes under the chair rail. That will look cool." thinking it would only take a couple of nails and poof. Not so much. Hours and hours and hours. But it looks GREAT!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Short Career

So ballet only lasted a week.

So what.

We just had to get that out of our system so we could focus on more athletic endeavors (did someone say softball?).

We were going to give it one more grand finale shot when all heck broke loose right before the leotard came on. Can you force a 3-year old into a leotard and tights? Go ahead and try because this momma couldn't.

So we bailed.

It's a good thing Little Miss Twirly Pants decided to bail RIGHT AFTER WE PAID FOR THE DADGUM CLASS. But hey, as long as she's happy because IT IS ALL ABOUT HER, RIGHT? (cough, cough)

It is on to bigger and better endeavors. If we have any hope of beating out the Chinese, I've got to get her started ASAP because we all know they're competing IN THE OLYMPICS at whatever sport AT AGE SEVEN. (What? Did I say that?) We've got 4 years to crack down because this is serious business.

There is hope, though.

She came in last night after putting on her pj's (self-selected) and was wearing a #34 red & black bulldog jersey that at one time I believe belonged to my older brother(s). After a few lessons in the respect owed that jersey and the team for which is stands, she darted around the house chanting...

"I'm Herschel Walker, the Goal Line Stalker!"

but it came out a little different. More like...

"I'm Sherfel Walter, the Gold Arm Stomper!"

Hey, whatever works. We'll send her to Bulldog camp and show those boys what she's made of.

Football/ballet combo? Could be a hit.

It worked for Herschel.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Book

There used to be a big blue book in my parent's room when I was a kid that was filled with the most glorious information a little hypochondriac could ever ask for. It was like the Encyclopedia Brittanica of WebMd. On steroids.

My favorite part of the book, and the part I looked at almost daily, was the symptom checker. You start with a simple symptom, answer yes and no questions while following arrows, depending upon your answers. Ultimately it ends up at a diagnosis. Sweet freedom for a hypo.

There was one particular day(s) that I was concerned about some symptoms I was experiencing and like the smart 9 year old that I was, I took those symptoms to "The Book". After answering the many questions and following a maze of arrows throughout the entire book, my diagnosis became clear.

Sickle Cell Anemia.

I handled it ok but quickly knew I needed support. I took The Book with me for verification and presented my family with the news. What I didn't expect was how they would take it. Tears? Of course, I thought. LAUGHTER? Now how dare they. I was dying a slow painful death and I get LAUGHTER?

After a brief explanation of my "heritage", I find that this particular diagnosis may not quite fit my symptoms and I dive back in to The Book. This became a daily affair.

Fast-forward to this week.

I make a bagel pizza for lunch and a few bites into it, I realize someone must have emptied the salt-shaker on it. Saaaaaaaaalllllllltttttyyyyyy. Whew. Couldn't finish it.

Decide to snack on some Sun Chips instead. Well DANG. Which one of my kids got a hold of the salt-shaker and how did they get into the chips stored on top of the fridge?

Then dinner rolls around and I am so very excited that 1) Kara made dinner and 2) it's my all-time fave: manicotti and 3) I'm absolutely starving because I didn't each lunch. First bite in, I look around to see who's figured it out with me. I don't see any other looks. A few more bites in and I'm glancing for the salt-shaker. Seriously, who is playing this mad prank on me? Still, no one else notices the saltiness like I do, so as not to make Kara feel bad, I keep on trucking.

Later when I put 2 and 2 together and realize this may not be normal, I go to Mr.Web. Not quite as good a friend as The Book, but he'll do. And he again pulls through for me. A diagnosis. I presented Carter with the news because I knew I needed support on this one.

I didn't want to die a slow, painful, salty death alone.

So I accepted the truth.

I have an abnormal depletion of body fluids. Did you hear that? Abnormal.

Folks, I'm dehydrated. There, I said it.

Surely it wasn't because the only thing I had drunk for a few days had been coffee and Coke.

The treatment plan is harsh, but I'm willing to do anything to keep myself alive and salt-free. I must drink excessive amounts of water. Grueling and painful, but I'm a fighter and I'll fight this disease with everything that's within me.

Starting now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh boy.

I was so that parent.

And I so had that kid.

It was the trek to our first dance class (and yes, I feel it is our dance class because if I'm going to see this girl make The Nutcracker some day [which is the pinnacle of all things dance, right?] I'm going to have to go Bela Karolyi on her butt and do some home coaching).

I got out the video camera and Little Miss Twirly Pants showed her stuff for the camera. She had a case of the 'big head' and nothing could stop her.

Until we actually arrived at dance class. That is where I saw the panic begin to set in. I saw the snail slowly begin to inch her way back into her shell.

Now even though I wanted to be Miss Tough Mom and throw her into the wolves of strange dancers in a large mirror-filled room, I just couldn't do it.

I hung out non-chalantly and did the whole "They're going to teach you how to dance like a princess and a butterfly" to calm the nerves. My attempts were proving futile.

When the moms started exiting, I thought, "Oh boy. Here we go."

And that is where I became that parent with that kid.

The parent who refused to leave her sob-induced child.

So we sat on the bench.

And watched other little adorable girls dance like princesses and butterflies.

"Are you ready to join them?" I ask more than once.

"Next time, Mommy. Next time."

Well, next time came around about 78 times and Little Miss Twirly Pants sat getting splinters in her ballet-clad hiney.

So we will take a week to think about it. We will try again. I'm going to turn Miss Tough Mom and send her into the wolves. I just hope the wolves don't send her back out for howling too loud.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tiny Dancer

That Elton John song has been our theme all weekend long as we gear up for what has become the biggest event of Tiny Dancer's career: beginning Kinderdance.

You would think we're sending her to college with as big a fuss as we've made over this.

We're about to send our "I won't talk or look at anyone that I'm not INSANELY comfortable with" to a dance class with strangers (and no parents allowed). Yikes.

We've gotten her little dance outfits together (which has been a hilarious process for my non-dance, athletic-sports-only self). I didn't know what a leotard was until this weekend. Or ballet slippers. Or tutus or any type of dance attire. I feel like a pro now.

She's been gearing up for weeks now and today is the day. We shall see if it all pans out. I'm hoping that once she finds out we can't be in the room that she won't run out kicking and screaming.

Though Buster doesn't want any part of the dance attire, he is working on his twirling skills in case he's asked to be a guest star in one of her recitals. They always need a prince, right?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daddy's Boy

My son loves his Daddy.

There is no question in the amount of heroism faithfully given to Carter as his Jeep pulls up the driveway everyday. All heck breaks lose. And I mean ALL heck.

Usually Mulan (her self-proclaimed Princess Ashley didn't last as long as I originally thought) is in the midst of a project or engrossed in some pure PBS fun to notice much else. Her brother, however, hears the Jeep enter the neighborhood. I actually think he calculates the minutes from Carter's "I'm on my way home" call. He gives him 13 minutes and then starts pacing.

Pacing turns into running. Running turns into falling. Falling turns into rolling. And by the time Daddy passes the threshold, a complete one-man wrestling match is in full effect waiting for his larger-than-life opponent to join in.

No time to transition out of work and into the home. It's WWF time. Lil' Bruiser vs. Big Man.

And that act is more a culmination of the day's "Daddy sightings". It begins when I make my coffee.

I drink coffee out of the same cup every day (and yes, I wash it on occassion). It's a great shape. It holds the exact amount of coffee I like to consume. And it has 2 pics of Elvis on it. A close up and a gold lame' outfit full-body shot. Lil' Bruiser points to each picture and gladly exclaims, "DADDY!" Then he says, "Hot!"

Oh, he's talking about the coffee.

Sometimes I forget and agree. "Yes Lil' Bruiser, Mommy thinks Elvis, oh AND YOUR DADDY, are hot. Oh? You mean the coffee? Yeah, that too."

Then we take a seat on the couch (while it's quiet and Mulan is still asleep) to catch up on the news. As soon as Matt Lauer's face appears on the screen, Lil' Bruiser once again exclaims, "DADDY!"

He didn't mention 'hot' with that one. But I....


Is there something I'm missing here? Because last I checked, neither Elvis nor Matt Lauer looked anything like Carter.

After those sightings, it's time to bring up Carter's blog homepage on our computer 72,000 times. We have a game in which I flip through some webpages and then BAM here's Daddy's picture. It's like he's seeing him for the first time.

Only it's 72,000 times.

And we have kissy lip markings all over our laptop screen.

I don't feel threatened by all of this love and adoration being doled out on my better half. I think it's quite cute actually. Especially on Saturday mornings at 7am when I hear "Daaaaaaaaddddddyyyyyyy" from down the hall.

I give the man a gentle nudge. I smile. I roll over and continue dreaming pure blissful Saturday morning dreams.

Then I nicely add "Oh, while you're up, could you be a lamb and shut the door and keep him quiet for the next hour or so? Thanks, that'd be great."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Prayers from a Princess

Our bedtime routine consists of a little family time with the four of us. Daddy then puts Buster Boy to bed, and I put Princess Ashley (her self-proclaimed name for this week) to bed. We like to have a little "girl time" and talk about the day or tell stories or get excited about what's to come, etc. Last night, I asked her to tell me 5 things she's thankful for.

"Oh, you mean 5 things I'm grateful for?"

Sorry. Didn't mean to use such elementary terms.

And here is her list, in order:

1. I'm thankful that Mommy forgives me.
2. I'm thankful that God tells me things.
3. I'm thankful that Daddy tells me what I can't do.
4. I'm thankful that Mommy changed her band-aid.
5. I'm thankful that Mommy put on clothes.

I don't know where #5 came from. I do tend to wear clothes throughout the day, or at least most of the time.

I think it's funny that a band-aid I was wearing on my arm was grossing her out. It was at the point where it was half coming off and I kept pressing it back on. Eventually she just went into my bathroom and got me a new one.

Later, when Daddy came in to say prayers together, Princess Ashley said she wanted to say them herself.

"Dear Jesus. Thank you for God. Please help me grow up. Amen."

Amen, Princess Ashley.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

One flew over the cuckoo's nest...

...and right into my stinkin' living room! There has been a takeover of my house. Feathers everywhere. Mr. Biggles is alarmed and looking like he was the culprit and confused knowing deep down he didn't get this bird(s).


Hundreds of thousands of tens of waterfowls (or remnants) lying in my family room.

I made a grandeous mistake today. It goes back 3 years ago.

As we were moving from SSI to da'wick, we thought it best to purchase new furniture (mistake #1 knowing we had a spitter-upper 5 month old and more kids to follow). The saleswoman, in seeing our spitter-upper who was accompanying us, said "You must buy this furniture. It's washable!" Hey, whoever thought of washable furniture? Sounded great. Cha-ching. Call it a purchase (mistake #2).

3 years and 2 kids later, that stanky nasty furniture is showing it's wear and tear. We tell visitors it's (fairly) safe to sit on and not to worry, it's our playroom furniture. We have no playroom.

Mistake #3: The big one. I thought, 'Why don't I make it an every 3-year job to wash this washable furniture?' So I began the process of unzipping the 72 cushion and pillow cases that come with this here washable furniture.


Who knew they packed waterfowls in there? WELL I DO NOW BECAUSE THEY'VE TAKEN OVER MY HOUSE. Who knows how many waterfowls had to be tarred and feathered to make my sofa and loveseat. I apologize. I was igorant. I would have opted for a less-feathery animal had I known.

At least the kids are having a blast. It's kind of like those dance clubs that do bubble night. Except it's not a dance club. And there's no bubbles. But you get the picture.

I think it's projects like these that move you from the Stay At Home Mom category straight into the Truly Remarkable Stay At Home Mom category. Take that, my feathery friends.

Now I've got 3 years to get this cleaned up before I start the process over again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh sweet goodness, what have I done??

The best conversation (to date) I've had with my Little Shnookum Princess Pot is as follows:

Mommy sayeth: "So what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Little Shnookum Princess Pot respondeth: "A SOFTBALL PLAYER!!"

Ahhh, melt my heart.

You wouldn't know it though based on her daily grind of figuring out what dress to wear (currently shorts and tshirts are prohibited), which would look best with her high heels, and even what color lip gloss to wear.

HELLO?? Is this MY daughter we're talking about??

I didn't venture near dresses, high heels, and lip gloss until I was close to 30. And it was still reluctantly.

About a year ago we had to take Little Shnookum Princess Pot to an orthopedic children's doctor to have her legs and feet looked at. Her hip twists to cause her thigh bone to grow a little off which causes her knees to knock and her toes to point inward. Very common and most children grow out of it. The doctor even said that people with this condition tend to be great athletes. I don't know where he got that info from but it sure made that trip worthwhile for me! The only prescription he gave us was to enroll her in ballet when she turned 3. Apparently ballet stretches and moves are very good for the hips and leg bones and will help straighten everything out a lot quicker.

Hmmm. Now that's gonna be an issue.

I can handle the "great athlete" aspect, but ballet? No sir. Mommy doesn't do ballet.

Until today.

I called the dance studio and got her in the last available slot for 3 year olds. I wanted to choke. They so non-chalantly said "We'll see you on such-n-such day. Just make sure she has on her leotard, pink tights, and pink ballet shoes with her hair pulled back."

Oh sweet goodness. Can you buy that stuff at Wally World?

I'm a lost cause.

Monday, July 28, 2008

No Fear

"How about this for dinner tonight, Mommy?" says Beach Boy.

"Though I do appreciate your 'hunterer and gatherer' self taking matters into your own hands, quite literally, I'll think we'll just go with pizza tonight," responds Mommy.

"Are you sure? He's already dead. I tackled him in small war I waged at the shore of the Atlantic," gleams Beach Boy.

"Yes, yes, I know Young One. I witnessed the act and amidst all my pride at your victory, I will abstain from crab legs for dinner just this time," notes Mommy.

"Tomorrow night then it is!" gloats Beach Boy.

(the onset of vocubalary for the 19 month old was amazing this week, as noted in the aformentioned documented conversation)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Day in the Life...

I have been asked many times (mostly by men, mind you) what I do all day long. Most of the people are definitely asking in a "You must be bored to tears" kind of way. Others are simply asking to see if I enjoy it and/or to see if they might enjoy it one day.

I've often thought about keeping my hours and punching a time clock as soon as I hear "MOMMMMMMMMYYYYYY" coming from the crib down the hall at 7:30am and then punching out as soon as Carter walks in the door (because sista I am OFF DUTY when Daddy crosses the threshold!).

But lo, keeping my hours would take up too much time and I have other, very important things to tend to.

Obviously, during wake hours, my time consists of preparing meals, feeding meals, cleaning up meals, playing, drinking lots of coffee, refereeing, separating, and entertaining chillins.

HOWEVER, when that sweet hour of 1pm(ish) rolls around, I send babies to Dreamland and it's Mommy-time! Herein lies the 2-3 hour window of opportunity that my question-askers want to know about....What DO you do exactly?

Typically it begins with a little email time, a little silent blog reading, a checky check of the news to make sure there are no hurricanes coming, and a catch-up on hollywood gossip.

Then I play with money. Whoever invented online banking is a GENIUS because that little "transfer funds" button is so fun to play with.

Then I take a stroll through the house to see what should be cleaned up (note: key word is "should"). I decide if it's mandatory (typically it's not) and act accordingly.

For example, during today's stroll, I meandered through the garage/playroom and noticed the upheaval left by either Mr.Biggles or his cohorts Red & Blondie. I labeled it a "mandatory" and acted accordingly.

It would have been a travesty to leave them girls nekkid as they were. What with 2 gentlemen in the house whose eyes I must protect. I even did their hair so they wouldn't feel so disgraced.

Call it a day. I'm punching out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Best Medicine

I'm not much into dieting, nor exercise, really....unless it's something I enjoy like softball, swimming or running after toddlers. However, I firmly believe laughter each day can keep me healthy - the gut wrenching kind of laughter - that maybe burns 24,000 calories or so.

I used to say that my goal was to have one gut-wrenching laugh per day. That was a bit ambitious considering you can't force a gut-wrencher under any circumstances, particulary the mundane. So I lessened the goal to once a week. Doable.

I guess the stars were aligned just right last night because I definitely had a gut-wrencher that I believe may have just burned 72,000 calories . It got a tweed bit out of control. Carter and I were jousting (verbally that is) with little cracks back and forth when he said something that, to a normal human outside of the conversation, wouldn't have been funny at all (thus why I won't share the comment). However, something struck a cord and I lost it. When I regained a little bit of oxygen, he said something else (which again wasn't altogether that funny) but it took me over the edge.

It's kind of awkward when laughing turns into crying. Weeping is even more awkward.

Carter had joined right in with the gut-wrencher until he noticed the transition I was making into Weepville. Is it a woman thing? Because I was down right out of control. TEN MINUTES LATER as I was doing those short breath breathing things that babies do after sobbing, Carter looked at me and said "What just happened?"

72,000 calories went to calorie-heaven. That's what.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Home for good

Our final vacation for the summer is done. This time it was Orlando with the brothers and their fams. We enjoyed the 217 degree heat at Sea World for two days. Carter and I enjoyed it much more than the kiddos and kept saying "If they only knew how awesome this is!" but they couldn't see much past their sweat and lack of naps. Sister LOVED the dolphin show and Buster HATED all things show because anything that requires him to be seated for 30 minutes is utterly against his personality and he let the world know it EVERY TIME. We even got to ride Kracken, the insane roller coaster surely invented by someone who is not right. I can't wait to go back and do a weeklong full-out Disney trip when the kids are older and can enjoy it more. We better start saving now because if the tix are $70 now, they'll be about $350 by then!

The dolphin show

This is how they really felt about Sea World

The fam @ SW

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Needing a Vacation from the Vacation

Our week away at the beach was just what the doctor ordered. For me. For us. And definitely for Buster Boy who had a struggling first 3 days but after a run to the helpful pediatrician who decided to see us as a visiting patient, he beat the virus. And thankfully he beat it right when the sun decided to start shining again, so things looked up! We had a great time swimming, playing, eating, and hanging out with the LARGE amount of family who trek it down every year (and this was the 25th year in a row - tshirts to prove it!). And to any Gillis crew reading this bloggy blog, we have GOT to get a vacation on the calendar. It's just too dang fun not to do!

The Akins clan (minus the 3 families+ who had to leave early)

The kiddos with their matching crab outfits given to us by our friend Allison.

4th of July BBQ lunch.

Kiddos at their favorite place.

Sandy toes.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

St. Augustine

We're on vacation at the beach (because we don't go there enough, we now have to devote an entire week to beachin' it!). The weather is perfect. Our condo is AWESOME! We're right next door to the in-laws and steps from the beach and pool. Though the one downer is that Little Man is sick as a dog - his timing is WAY off. He apparently didn't get the memo that there's no sickness allowed on vacation. So Carter and I are switching off taking Sister all the places she needs to explore (and there are many!). I'm hoping Little Man's is a quick virus that will shoo out any minute, but for now, it's condo-bound time for him (and us).

I'll post pics as soon as I get a tan (can't do any of those first few days of vacation pics with the ghastly whiteness!).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Pedi

I OBVIOUSLY have a different form of relaxation and pampering than, oh say, 98% of the female population because I have now learned that pedicures ARE NOT MY THING. Yowsers. Prior to today I have had 1. It was either before my senior prom or before my wedding. I can't remember much (that's how momentous it was) but I do vaguely remember sitting in the chair while someone whiddled away at my feet and thinking I would never do it again. Then I saw one of those expose Datelines or 48 Hours shows that showed all the undercover nastiness in those foot spa pool things that you're required to soak in. According to that show they clean them about every never and then you get gangrene and die a slow painful death. Again I vowed not to ever get one. Until today...

In thinking of my next 2 weeks on vacation I thought it would be nice to not have to worry about the state of my toes (though I typically don't worry too much about them anyway) so I'd get them professionally done.

Should have taken that thought captive. Dang it.

I took the Girl with me for moral support and made her walk in ahead of me in case they pounced (that's the kind of selfless Mom I am). They asked how they could help (or at least that's what I assumed they said through THICK accents) and I said, "Well, here's the thing, I've not done this in a really long time, and I'm not sure how........." Seeing no signs of understanding in the eyes looking at me (and there were MANY), I quickly surmised I must speak in one word sentences.


Ahhhhhh. Sweet understanding. He told me to pick a color and I just stood there. Do I just say "Pink" and assume he knows what shade I mean? He asks me again and I just nod and say profoundly: "Pink."


Though I'm 31, I still can't handle being laughed at. Then he points to a wall and says for the 3rd time, "Pick color." Ahhh. Come Little One, let us embark on our color picking journey. Then he points to a chair. Do I stand next to it? Do I hop aboard? TELL ME PEOPLE... I NEED DIRECTION HERE. I get in, after his prompting, and he fires up the massage chair. After about 2 minutes of working on my feet, he rolls backward on his stool and says "I no work until you relax." Was it that obvious I was dying a slow internal anxiety-filled death in that chair? Must have been.

I survived the war he engaged upon my feet and after sitting them under a dryer, I go to pay. Here's the kicker, folks. PEDICURES COST MONEY! Now I knew it would cost something, but I sure as heck never saw "$25 dollar please" coming! I panicked, thought quickly about grabbing a bottle of polish remover and saying "Just kidding, didn't want one" while running out the door. Thankfully, I didn't. I pulled out the money ever so slowly and thought about the MANY MANY MANY important items I could have purchased for $25: diapers, food, 1/2 tank of gas, 1 ticket plus lunch at Summer Waves, etc etc etc. But no friends. That darn $25 went to pay for toe-flippin-polish.

It better last until Christmas.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Nights

Warm weather + Popsicles = Happy babies

Proper popsicle eating is serious business in our neck of the woods.

Our nightly tradition leaves its mark.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I often hear or read of people who have "Aha!" moments. Those moments of realization where everything becomes right with the world. I, on the other hand, tend to have more of the "Whoops!" moments than the "Aha!" moments. The whoops moments do tend to stay ingrained in your brain as well, so that when another whoops moment occurs, you're quickly reminded that you've done these types of things before and you obviously didn't learn from them. I've had MANY but there are 2 that have stayed with me for a LONG time...just to keep me humble I guess.

The first was in 6th grade. It was P.E. class and there was a boy who was the object of my affection (and had been since kindergarten) sitting close by. He was obviously not giving me enough attention, so in order to increase his awareness of me I thought I would be my typical funny self and win some points. My best friend at the time was on floor level (we were in the bleachers) talking with our coach. I ran down the steps and shanked her like there's no tomorrow. (For those not familiar with "shanking", just know she was left in her skivvy drawers since I'd pulled down her front of the ENTIRE 6th grade). Immediately, I was overcome with a "Whoops!" moment realization. I don't know if it was the sprints from the other 3 coaches coming toward me, the scream and utter disbelief from my (former) best friend, or the look of "That was so uncool" by the boy of my affection. Or maybe all 3 put together. Either way, a definite whoops.

Fast forward to high school (of which there were COUNTLESS whoops's with this next individual). Again, having to do with the boy of my affection - this time a different one, and this time more of an adult...ok, a teacher at my school. But not my teacher, so that makes it ok. Right. I had arrived to school early and was in the cafeteria where we had to stay before the bell rings. I was sitting with my friends when my inner radar went off and I saw the Coach walking through the cafeteria. Thinking I would be funny (I need to stop with the humor - it obviously gets me in trouble), I jumped up and raced over to him and was going to act like I was scaring him by jumping out. Not so much. I did jump out. I did attempt to scare him. In the process, I smacked his coffee out of his hands and all over his clothes, thus adding some burn to his already fired-up self. Whoops.

Today I had another one. You would think I grew out of these, but not so much. The kiddos and I were outside in the 412 degree heat when I thought it would be a good idea to fill up their stand-up water box (a sand box I choose not to put sand in). I grabbed the hose from the front of the house and screwed it in to the backyard nozzle. It still had a sprinkler attached to it so I sneakily placed the sprinkler right next to the kids so they would get sprayed when I turned the water on (funny I thought...there I go trying to throw humor to a future whoops situation). I sneak back, turn the water on full blast therefore drinching the kids. I hear screams like I've never heard and I start laughing. Then it looks like they're screaming in pain and they start running around the back yard (out of the sprinkler) still screaming (and now in tears). What in the world? I go to feel the water thinking it must be made of nails and HOLY COW the water was about 412 degrees itself. The hose had been sitting in the sun for a good week, baking the idle water inside, and that's the water I chose to drench the kids with. Ummmm, yes. Quite the whoops situation. Thankfully, all recovered after a good dousing of cold water. So don't turn me in.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Big Debut

At the end of May, Sister got her first taste of a wedding as the flower girl for our good friends Ally & Michael. Though I was a NERVOUS WRECK that she wouldn't make it down the aisle, she did great! Her favorite part was dancing at the reception and she cried buckets when we made her leave - well after her bedtime. She was cuteness and this was one of our first realizations that she's getting to be a big girl. Soon she'll be in college.