Sunday, November 5, 2017

Avery is turning 5 tomorrow! And other news...

I just put my baby to bed as a 4-year-old for the last time.  It has me all sentimental and reminiscing about the last 5 years - where did they go?!  I'm thankful for this blog, as I just read most of my blogs from her first two years and loved the rush of memories coming back to me.  I saw that I wrote when she was only THREE MONTHS old that we could already tell she has a big personality and loves attention.  Boy, did I get that right!  Today (a Sunday) was her birthday party and she picked her outfit, which she insisted on wearing to church first.  She got so many "ooohs" and "aaahs" at church.  I love seeing her spunk and watching her confidence grow in being herself.

The other thing I read was that at 2 years old, she was very particular about bedtime and the songs we sing.  That has not changed!  She only likes about 4 songs these days - Amazing Grace, Linger, Hush Little Baby and "Twinkle".  Although she likes it even better when I make up songs about her.  She also insists on sleeping with no covers and her shirt pulled up with her back exposed.  And she asks for "tickly" scratches on her back.  Fortunately, she sleeps like a rock.   I read that Brady when he was about 3, always closed his bedroom door before coming down to see us in the morning.  Avery still does that.  So funny how kids are the same but different.

Avery's party today was at Little Gym with 13 of her best girl friends.  She was in heaven being the center of attention and getting her energy out.  And Mommy was happy because it was one of the easiest parties we've ever done. Plus she loved opening all of her presents (of course!)

Avery had a hip check up yesterday and got a good report.  She has been telling me that she wants to be a "kid doctor" when she grows up, but after that appointment, she now wants to be a "kid & baby bone doctor"(as well as "a mommy, teacher, artist, and cheerleader"). I am confident she can be them all!

Avie is whip smart.  She is reading beyond my expectations - more than just basic sight words - and loves it.  Her brother is one of the best teachers. He will quiz her on words and also math!  She was doing addition the other day and I discovered it was because Brady taught her how.

Her favorite things to do are play "family" with Brady, play with dolls, and dress up as princesses.  She & I are going to American Girl store tomorrow for her to pick out her birthday present from mommy & daddy.  That is also what we did for her 4 year old birthday and she remembered and requested again.   Brady is obsessed with animals, constantly trying to decide what animal he wants for a pet, doing HOURS of research on the computer.  He plays pet store and zoo at home with all of his stuffed animals.  He currently wants to be a pet store owner when he grows up.

Avery played soccer this fall for the first time and is a hustler.  She hip checks girls right out of her way.  She goes for the ball and takes it to the goal.   She has scored several goals. She also loves swimming and is taking swimming lessons once a week as she really really wants to do swim team next summer.   Almost two months ago she started riding her bike all on her own! Straight from her balance bike, never any training wheels.

Even though she is spunky, has a mind of her own and a strong will, Avery does not like to be in trouble and does not like to be yelled at, so she is generally very well behaved.  She does go through moods where she will say "No!" to Mommy but accepts her punishment without much fanfare most of the time.

She is soooo loving.  She gives awesome tight hugs, still loves to be held ("uppy-uppy"), and will use a "little girl" voice to get what she wants.  She tells me often that she loves me "to the moon, all the stars, around all the planets and back again".  I can't even put into words how much I love her.  I'm dreading the day when I put her down for the last time and not pick her up again.  I know it will happen, as it did with Brady, without me even realizing it and it breaks my heart.  So I do indulge her more than I probably should.  She is my baby!

Avery - I look forward to the day that you read this and see how very very loved you are.  You are a light in our lives.  You bring joy to us everyday.  I cannot get enough of you.  I love seeing the little lady you are becoming, but also want to freeze time to keep you where you are now.  I thank God everyday that he chose you for our family.  xoxo - Mommy

Now, there is no way I can describe everything we have done in the last 12+ months since I blogged, but I'm going to hit some highlights for posterity sake:

Brady's Ridiculously Awesome Summer - started with this first overnight camp to Camp Seagull with Tuck and McNair, also including a trip to Turks & Caicos to visit Gma & Gpa (snorkeling and iguanas!), his first solo flight to Maine for time with Grandma & Grandpa (moose sighting!), his first trip to New York with Birdie & Bogey (Statute of Liberty, Ellis Island, M&M store, 35,000+ steps in one day!), more camps in Charlotte, and 2 straight weeks at the beach.  Whew!

Daddy's 39th Birthday - a surprise trip to Boston for the New England v. Panthers game with Nicki and Dave.  The "Patriots train" direct from Boston to the game broke down so there was an expensive emergency Uber but we made it!  And the Panthers won! (Sorry, Ben...)  Food so good at Row 34 we ate there twice in the weekend.

Chinese Lanterns at Daniel Stowe - this was an unexpectedly cool experience this fall, the kids loved seeing the "zoo" made of lanterns

SC State Fair - Birdie, Bucky & I discovered both kids are daredevils with zero fear.  Brady rode everything he could - spinning, flipping, upside down.  Avery would have ridden them all too if she had been tall enough.  Piper is a little more reluctant (i.e. safe).

Halloween - this year we had a Harry Potter (Brady recently finished the first book and is halfway through the second) and Moana who changed into Elena of Avalor mid-way through trick or treating (similar to last year when she changed from Ariel to Tooth Fairy at the last minute...)  We love Halloween in our neighborhood trick-or-treating with the Hollands and Speckmans this year.
We watched the Harry Potter movie for the first time this weekend and Avery was so into it, it was cute!  Brady said he was glad he had read the book because the book had more detail and helped him understand the movie - he is so much like his momma!

Brady also got into the Talent Development program at school - to the surprise of no one - in the 99 percentile.  I was a proud momma.  Brady's started spelling words now that he is in 2nd grade and I was doubtful he would be able to spell the words given (words like "infrequent", "afterthought" and "exterior") and he has rocked them.  Though he did ask me what "preface" and "foreword" meant and I tried to give him two different definitions but quickly realized we needed a dictionary - turns out they mean the same thing!  I just hope that both of my kids continue to love learning!

Thanks for reading if you are still with me.  Off to bed now as my kids will be up at 5am due to the Daylight Savings Time change!  (We will be lucky if Brady sleeps til 5am - he gets up at 5:30am regularly - early bird just like his Grandma, NOT his momma)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Major catch-up post

I have totally let the blog slide.  But then the other day Brady wanted to see some pictures of himself when he was little.  So I pulled up the blog.  And he started reading.  At one point, he read one of the posts that was written as a letter to him and it brought tears to my eyes remembering writing it with him one day reading it in my mind. That day had come! And how fast!   So I vowed to blog more.  It has taken me two weeks to get this post done and I'm sure future posts will be sporadic and wide-spaced, but I'll do my best.

The last time I posted was Avery's birthday - November - and how much has happened since then!

Let's see...Christmas, a National Championship game, a Super Bowl, Brady turned SIX, vacations, hockey, soccer, swim lessons, dance classes, tennis, piano, early school mornings,
laughter, tears, and doughnuts, lots of doughnuts.  I'll try to hit the highlights but more importantly share some highlights of our kids' wild and fun personalities.

We had a LOT of fun this Football season, especially with the Tigers beating the Gamecocks and going to the National Championship!!  But one of the best parts was getting Piper to shout "Go Tigers!"  Our kids are ALL IN, Brady's favorite color is Orange and he won't even cheer for those Gamecocks anymore (okay, okay, maybe I went a little overboard with the brainwashing).

 Christmas was a special time.  All Avery wanted from Santa Claus was "spoons for my baby" and Brady wanted a Marker Maker, and Santa did not disappoint.
We went ice skating in downtown Charlotte.  Avery met the Claus family and really was only interested in Mrs. Claus and the cat!
Christmas Morning!  Santa brought the much desired "Marker Maker"!
Christmas afternoon at Bucky's house with our twinsies!

Snow White worn out from Christmas fun
 We took our annual ski trip with Ben's family this year to Beaver Creek, Colorado which was beautiful and super snowy.  Brady and Avery spent each day in ski school while the adults skied, but we were always sure to pick them up in time for the free hot cookies at 3pm and a fun afternoon activity such as hot tubs or snowman building.   Brady continued his stellar skiing and on the last day we picked him up early to ski with us - he skiied with us from the very top of the mountain all the way down in a blizzard! It was tough but so was he.  Avery also did awesome, learning to pizza and french fry. 

Returning back to Charlotte, it was time to celebrate our little boy!  Turning SIX (WHAT?! WHERE DID THE TIME GO?)  He is so kind, loving, smiles and hugs easily and has a huge love of learning.  If he is ever bored, all I have to do is start quizzing him or create a thinking game (name all body parts you can think of).  He is reading like a champ.  It is amazing the improvement he has made since he started kindergarten and the best part is that he loves books like his mama!  He also got some art talent from his daddy as he loves to draw and create. 

Here is two particular pieces of art I was proud of:

Pinch Pot

Brady's 6 year old birthday party with two of his favorite girls - Tyler and Layla

Birthday Fun!  Adventure Landing
 One of my favorite things is to go have lunch with Brady at school.  Once in a while I will take Avery with me and boy does she love that!  She loves being around Brady's friends, feeling like she fits right in, and getting a hug (stealing a kiss?) from Tuck.

While Brady has been enjoying Kindergarten, Avery is running the 3s classroom.   She is a firecracker, constant entertainment, and has a strong sense of her own style.  But she is also extremely loving - mothering her babies with vigor and reminding us regularly that she loves us "so, so, so, so, so, so much" (my heart could burst).
Dressed and made herself up - I can't keep her out of my makeup!

This girl LOVES taking care of her baby dolls, changing their diapers and clothes, feeding them, putting them down for naps and taking them (and her diaper bag) everywhere she goes.

Besties Avery and Hattie
Post Soccer Lunch Date

Easter was celebrated at the Gillespie's house in Columbia.  It featured all the Easter favorites - egg dying, egg hunting, coloring on cookies with edible markers, a golf cart ride, and a ridiculous amount of yummy food.  Can't wait to have Finn join us next year.


 Our first official family Spring Break took us to the Bahamas with the Speckman family.  It was just the right amount of family fun and adult fun.  We had long days at the pool, waterslides, beach activities, and swimming with the dolphins.  And the nights were for the adults (oh, except for that one night the kids stayed at Kids Club until 10pm eating candy and thought it was the coolest night ever)

On our way!

At Kids Club pickup = they don't even look that tired! 

Swimming with the dolphins was a highlight of the trip.  We started with a young rambunctious dolphin named Palmer who did not want to behave, so Sasha came over and gave us kisses. The kids were not afraid at all and we were all in awe of these amazing creatures.

Cabana time with Gma, Gpa and a cute boy on the last day there!  We didn't want to leave!
 One Spring Weekend, we enjoyed a mountain getaway to Lake Lure with friends where the older kids went "camping" (in the driveway of our friend's mountain house) and then we went Gem Mining.  Now that was a hit with the kids!  They were amazed at the treasures they could find and loved figuring out what each gem was - we will definitely be back for that.
So proud of themselves!
Mommy's birthday came next and it was a special treat weekend to the Ritz-Carleton in Naples, FL with Birdie and Bucky.  We relaxed so much - 8 hours on the beach in one day - it was glorious!  Birdie and I even went parasailing.  Thank you Daddy for keeping the kids - best birthday present a mom can get!

  May brought the Wells Fargo Championship to Charlotte and Ben & I got out there Friday, Saturday AND Sunday!  It really is one of our favorite events every year in Charlotte and we thoroughly enjoyed our day dates. The kids and Speckmans joined us on Sunday, which was a fun experience once they figured out they had to be quiet every time a player was close by.

May is also our annual fun trip to Birdfest.  This year Mommy & Daddy had a wedding to attend, so the Birdie and Bogey took all 3 grandkids by themselves - man, they are brave!!  Not sure how Birdie & Bogey fared, but the kids had a blast as usual.  Avery is pretty much nonstop happy when Piper is around.
Every Thursday morning this Spring, Avery and I have had special time going to her swim lessons with Miss Kelly and then often getting a treat after:
Swim lesson diva! 

I'll leave you with a last few fun pictures highlighting the fun we have daily:
Princess Friends!

Swim Team - Go Sharks - Summer is almost here!

Preview of 15 years from now?  AH!
Mommy's first school field trip!
The Red Tornadoes!