Sunday, July 20, 2014

Merritt Turns 2!!

I absolutely can not believe Merritt is TWO years old!  That's crazy!  She's doing great overall.  She has a few "minor" things that we need to work on but I try not to stress over that stuff and just enjoy her at her own pace.  

She weighs 21.6 pounds (which was around the 5-8th% I think?).  I can't remember how tall she was, but she was in the 34% for height.  She eats like a champ and almost anything and everything we give her (except fruit).  She wears size 18 month clothes (a few size 24 months and very few size 2).  

Our pediatrician is still worried about possible speech and physical delays although she is not in either therapy.  I have to remind myself that she has only been walking for 6 months and obviously won't be able to keep up with the other kids on the playground (although she is Superwoman in her mind).  To me, she falls a bit more and I think that's a bit balance related.  Not off balance, but doesn't seem to have good balance. I'm thinking ballet might strengthen that - hehe ;)   She is beginning to put 2 words together and attempting all kinds of new words, so I take that as improvement.  yay!

She stays constipated... so Miralax and Prevacid are her best friends still.  

We have pulled her pacifier and we are desperately working on losing the bottle.  She is NOT a friend of a sippy cup and the speech therapist will only allow the straw-type cups.  If you see us around, please don't judge me for having a 2 year old still on the baby bottle.  I'm trying (and my other kids were pulled cold turkey at 1).

Cardiology will see us again in a year, and we are contemplating putting a closure device for her VSD.  The only thing holding us back is the fact that she has NO issues or symptoms regarding this.  Her VSD doesn't really affect her.  It has continually decreased in size and is considered very small now.  Usually if they haven't closed by age 5, they won't.  Right now we still watching it.  

She is going to start Mothers-Day-Out this fall, because I need a break from all her drama! ;)  but hopefully that goes well.  

Overall, she is a happy beautiful girl!  She is very attached to me and demands the attention over the other kids.  She loves to sing and dance!  We are truly blessed and couldn't be more proud of her!
Happy 2nd Birthday, Mitt!



Bums

I guess I don't blog in the summer!  wow - sorry about that!
We have taken trips to the beach (Grayton Beach, FL and Amelia Island, FL) and spent almost every weekend at our lake house.  The girls had a small joint birthday party a few weeks ago.  Mati Claire got her ears pierced and lost 2 teeth in the same week.  Its been a bit crazy around here and I'm begging for school to start so I can take a nap. ;)  Will do a separate post for Merritt's birthday and update.

But here are a few of my favorite pics from the summer:

Poppy and Mattox hanging out at Grayton Beach, FL


Catching up with old friends in Amelia Island, FL


My precious big girl posing for the camera while everyone else plays miniature golf.
Happy 7th Birthday, Mati Claire!


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Sunday, June 1, 2014

For the past month

Has it really been over a month since I blogged?  That might be a record for me.

As much as I love May (spring weather, end of school, beginning of summer fun) - I also dread it because it is the absolute busiest month of the year next to October for me.

Beach trip, ballet rehearsals and recital,  Matt's birthday, school programs, school parties, school functions, the house is a disaster because I'm not here enough to clean it, and the terrible 2's have officially begun with Merritt… it's exhausting.  Now we are onto VBS, swim lessons, and plenty of pool time for the rest of the summer.  We celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary this week!  Actually, we already celebrated with our trip to Italy, but its technically official this week.  10 years?  Hard to believe we've been together 12 years!  I guess I'm keeping him ;)

Ballet Recital 2014.  
Mati Claire and her 1st grade teachers!  We will miss Clinton Park but will be back soon!  
Miss Priss.  How in the world is she about to turn TWO??
Grayton Beach, FL May 2014.



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Sunday, April 20, 2014

16 missed calls

After rescheduling and postponing a long-awaited and much needed girls lunch with some old friends/co-workers, I finally got to have lunch across town (30 minutes from where I live).  I look down at my phone - and see that I have 16 missed calls from my babysitter, Devin, 4 missed calls from the hubs, 2 missed calls from my mom, 2 missed calls from my sister, and several voicemails and texts.  The "16" is what catches my eye - so I decide to call the sitter back first while we are paying for our meal.  I have absolutely NO idea why I never heard my phone ring (other than the fact that the restaurant was loud).

She wasn't crying, but kept saying there was blood everywhere.  Mattox had fallen and hit his head on our horrible excuse for a coffee table in the living room.  Turns out after 16 missed calls and many phone calls to the ER, she had stopped crying by the time I actually spoke with her!

I am the type of mom that doesn't take my kids to the doctor.  They have to have a finger cut off for me to take them to the doctor.  And not because the hubs is a doctor.  Ok maybe a little.  But the Emergency Room?  Only time I've ever stepped foot there was after my wreck 10 years ago and I had no choice in the ambulance.  I kept telling myself it couldn't be that big of a deal… I was in denial.  Am I mad at the sitter?  NOOOO!  I had to tell her the story of how I once literally blew up the kitchen of a lady I was babysitting for.  Had to call 911.  Or maybe a neighbor called 911 because their apartment was on fire too.  I was in shock so I don't remember the details.  But I told her to think about how I felt when I had to call the mom and tell her everyone was ok - but her house wasn't.  So I understood how bad she felt.

My mother-in-law picked him up to meet me at the hospital (as I was already right down the road from there).  Upon hearing Devin on the phone and seeing this…. I STILL was not that worried about it.  I figured we were all over-reacting and I was going to hate myself for allowing an ER visit when I start getting medical bills in the mail.
Yeah it looks innocent enough.
Had to cover the IV up with a blanket so he would leave it alone.

His hair was matted to the wound and completely covering it up.  When our best friend, Dr. Harrison, pulled his hair back ---- we both cringed.  UUUGGGGHHHH!!!

I've never seen a cut that bad.  I'm sure Dr. Harrison has seen much worse.  But it.was.deep!  and gross.
and oh my goodness my stomach started feeling queasy.  i got light-headed.  i broke out in a sweat.  mattox is fighting the meds and groaning.  and why oh why isn't Matt here working today??? this mommy had to look away for a few minutes.  and sit down before I passed out.

So proud of my big boy who did great.  Even though they brought reinforcements to help hold him down, there wasn't a huge need for it.  sedated, 4 stitches, and his Batman shirt came clean.  Which was his only worry.  The next day he is back to scaling the kitchen cabinets and jumping on furniture!

I am desperately trying to not feel guilty about not being there when it happened, but I do.  I feel even more guilty that Merritt fell down some stairs today and busted her nose.  All I can think is "there was once an old lady who lived in a shoe…she had so many kids she didn't know what to do…."




"I am a total badass."      OR      "I got toe-up by a coffee table."       OR       "spiked hair is not a good look for me"              
and my favorite caption "……plotting his revenge……." 
The next day.  Back to being Batman or Iron Man or Spiderman.

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Easter 2014

Easter service was awesome this morning!  The choir and orchestra did an amazing job!  I didn't grow up in a church that had music like that - and it made me proud to know that Mati Claire was sitting next to us getting to "grow up" with services like that (whether or not she was paying any attention is beside the point).

We went to my in-laws for lunch.  They moved houses shortly after I met Matt (12 years ago) - and I must say my favorite thing about their "new" house is their front porch!  It feels like a picture torn out of a SouthernLiving catalog.  I love my small town.  Mississippi.  Sipping sweet tea swinging on the front porch.  We are raising right.  Family.

We force "Ray" (and whoever wants to help her to hide eggs) to do an egg hunt for the grandkids every year.  I must say Granny got into it this year and made it interesting!  Blessed to have wonderful extended family as well.

Here are a few pics from the day:
The Easter Bunny tries to focus on a few movies and small toys instead of candy.  
That's about as good as it gets with all 5 of us.
be.still.my.heart.  oh my word.  even with bruises and stitches and swollen eyes he is still rocking a suit.

I am in love.





"wonder what its like to go falling down those stairs??"
just a swingin'
Yes, I photoshopped her busted nose in this one.
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Italy

Sorry long post.

Matt and I decided to take our 10th wedding anniversary trip early so we could still take a trip to the beach this summer.  I think the last trip we took by ourselves was when I was I pregnant with Mati Claire and we went to Hawaii (7 years ago).  As hard as it is/was to leave my babies, I do think its good for me and Matt.  On any normal given day, we see each other for about 10 minutes in passing in the morning and for about 30 minutes in the evening.  Sometimes I wonder how we have 3 kids already ;)

Wow.  Italy is one of the must see countries for anyone.  Absolutely amazing!  Words really can't describe it.  Its historical, its romantic, its spiritual, its beautiful, its intellectual, its philosophical, its just amazing!  I felt like any minute another tourist was going to physically pick my jaw up off the floor.  I felt like I was walking around with my mouth open all the time in awe of the sights.

March/April is a GREAT time to go to Italy. The busy season hasn't started yet and the weather was fantastic!  Cold in the shade, in the mornings, and if sitting still… but hot in afternoons, walking, and because most of the hotels don't use their air conditioning except in the middle of summer.

I also have to recommend a private tour guide.  We used Miles&Miles group to set up the itinerary and help us plan.  My sister and I both loved our guides.  They procure your tickets for all the museums and attractions before you arrive.  We also got to SKIP all the LONG lines everywhere.  You could spend all day just standing in line for the David sculpture.  All the guides are history buffs and/or majors.  They show you and explain what is important so you don't waste any time.  They also pick you up from your hotel and taxi you to and from places - again, so you don't waste any time getting lost or trying to drive in the craziest traffic I have ever seen.  Miles&Miles is HIGHLY recommended and worth every penny.  We had tour guides Giuseppe, Elena, Marco, Roberto, and Letizia.

I will sum up the itinerary short as possible:
Wednesday - fly out… with layovers, time changes, and 2 flights = a full 24 hours later we arrived on…
Thursday - immediately got off plane and took a 5 hour train ride to Venice.  Took a ferry to the Rialto Bridge stop and got lost trying to find our hotel.  Checked into Hotel Ai Reali.
Had time to take a quick gondola ride, grab our FIRST food in over 24 hours, and then went to SLEEP! Finally.
Friday - took a 4 hour city walking tour of Venice with our tour guide named Giuseppe "Josie" from Miles&Miles, Inc.  She ended the tour at a FABULOUS restaurant called AcquaPazza Ristorante Amalfitano.  Quite possibly the best food we had the entire trip.
We then took a 2-3 hour train to Florence.  Arrived in Florence that night to our favorite hotel the entire trip, the Hotel Brunelleschi.  A medieval building with spacious rooms and an amazing view of the Duomo.
Saturday - took a 4 hour city walking tour of Florence with our tour guide Elena.  Ate at an awesome restaurant called Da Tito's.  My first rare Florentine steak ever.
Sunday - we were picked up from our hotel by tour guide Marco.  He drove us about an hour outside of Florence into the countryside area of Tuscany/Chianti areas.  We visited a medieval village called San Gimignano and visited two wineries with a homemade lunch provided.  My absolute favorite day of the entire trip!  A very nice break from the crowds of people.  Returned to Florence to take a 1 hour train to Rome.  Checked into Hotel San Anselmo.
Monday - took a 5 hour city tour of Rome with Roberto (the owner of the travel tour guide company we used).  The Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon were our favorites of the day.
Tuesday - took a 3 hour walking tour of the Vatican City with tour guide Letizia.
Wednesday - took a 5 hour walking tour of Ancient Rome, the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum with tour guide Letizia.
Thursday - flew home!  2 days later, I still have jet lag. ugh!

Its really hard to say what my favorite sight was.  You can't really compare an art painting to a sculpture or to a building.  And you can't compare a building still being used to a rock foundation of a building that used to be.  But having said that, my favorite highlights:
1)  the David sculpture in Florence is pretty amazing.  And not because he's a 12 foot naked man.  I had never learned in history class exactly why he was naked.  It represented that fact that he had no defense.  He had no shield, no defense armor to fight Goliath.  Just the slingshot and his courage.  He only had God defending him.  That is pretty cool.  And then you add the level of detail of a 12 foot beautifully naked man by Michaelangelo in a marble sculpture.   We had a camera-Nazi for a tour guide that day so I couldn't sneak a picture of David.  Cameras are not allowed at the David or the Sistine Chapel.
2)  St. Peter's Basilica.  The most beautiful church ever.  And it didn't even have the level of mosaics that churches in Florence and Venice had.  Actually all the churches will move you in some way.  I loved how they ALL told the stories of the Bible on their ceilings.  If you walk into any square building I assure you there will be some representation of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in those 4 corners.  I could go on and on about this but I'll stop here.  Much to say on this subject!
3)  Colosseum.  The fact that the "building" is still standing is amazing.  Its currently surrounded with scaffolds and reinforcements because the vibrations from the subway and cars is causing it to be unstable.  They are also in the process of cleaning it because pollution has caused it to turn black in some areas.  Personally, I would have to say if you ever plan to go to Italy, do it now.  Before most of the buildings fall the rest of the way down.  The only point in the trip that I regretted not bringing my kids to see something.  The level of engineering from ancient times is also amazing.  Very smart people even back then without modern technology.
4)  Venice.  Gondola ride in Venice.  That was on my bucket list.  I had always wondered how they built a city on water.  Its actually built on marble that is on small islands… its very neat to see a city that is completely dependent on boats.  We saw a boat "ambulance", police boats, a boat "garbage truck", water taxis, everything is by boat!  There are no cars in Venice.  Plus you add Venetian history, art, and ancient buildings that are STILL standing despite the high tides…. on top of water.  Beautiful.  Did I mention the word amazing???  It kinda sorta reminded me of New Orleans - but even cooler.
5)  The Sistine Chapel.  Its not as breathtaking as one might expect.  The room is much smaller and darker than I expected.  I also expected a dome shape chapel that you see in all the other churches…not the case.  But its still amazing.  Michaelangelo was a real genius.

I took notes on my phone because I wish I had kept a journal.  Its a very moving country if that makes any sense.  It invokes alot of thought.  And not just about the art, sculptures, history, churches, etc.  ;)
1)  Water is not free flowing.
2)  Driving and the "lanes" in Rome.  there is no order on the streets - cars just go everywhere.  I had to close my eyes a few times in a taxi and just pray for safety.
3)  Bidets.  yes, I had to try one out to say that I had tried it.
4)  Wine with every meal.  "wine before water" is their motto I think.
5)  At the train station, you have to PAY to use the toilet!
6)  Everyone wears black.  You could pick out the tourists because they actually wore color.
7)  9 out of 10 people don't take care of themselves.
8)  People were either extremely nice or extremely rude.   mostly rude (that being said by a true Southerner)
9)  Butter and good food do not exist.  Good food was hard to find in any tourist area.  But we did eat well at some suggested restaurants away from tourist areas.  Also they don't use butter.  Only olive oil.
10)  Restaurants don't open until 7:00pm.
11)  Cliches prove true:  "mamma mia", striped shirt gondola rowers, accordion players on every corner
12)  Leggings are NOT pants, people!  apparently that trend is worldwide.
13)  Napa doesn't have anything on the Sienna/Tuscany areas
14)  People are weird.
15)  I kept waiting on James Bond or Jason Bourne to jump out at any moment.
16)  Train stations are like Walmart - 10 available lines but only 4 open.  And you can people watch all day long.
17)  When I thought the South had fried everything known to man… I was wrong!  They fry miniature pizzas, fry rice and cheese into little balls, fried squid
18)  I got a laugh at the fact that "homemade bread" was considered a dessert.  Gelato, tiramisu, truffles, chocolate, oh yes, would you like some more bread???  Like we hadn't had enough already.
19)  Every meal is a 5 course meal.  Seriously.  I still can't figure out how they physically eat so much.  Most waiters asked me if I had a problem with my meal because I couldn't finish it.
20)  Italy was everything and more!  Beautiful and worth every penny.

I took about 500 pictures overall…here are just a few of my faves to give you a slight idea of what we saw.  They by no means do anything justice or even show half of what we saw.  and yes, I wore my red coat everyday because I pretty much stayed cold most of the time.  I didn't post anything about Dante, Galileo, other Michelangelo masterpieces, Caesar Augustus, Julius Caesar, the old Pope's corpses, the monks, the Greek gods, Bernini, Mussolini, tales from the crypt, and the list keeps going…

VENICE PICS:

Rialto Bridge
Its is bad luck to walk in between in these pillars with Venetian symbols; but the entrance to the square 
All ceilings in this cathedral are exquisite mosaics.  
The body was stolen a time or two, but supposedly this the body of St. Mark (Mark as in the Gospel of Mark/New Testament Mark)

At the "Bridge of Sighs"; prisoners passed from the building on the left where they were judged to the jail on the right through this bridge.

I could take pictures of Venice all.day.long.   The yellow boat is an ambulance.
FLORENCE PICTURES:
The Duomo from the backside
The cathedral's main fresco portraying the fall of man.
A statue and fountain honoring Cupid!  Anniversary trip after all.
At Ponte Vecchio in Florence.  
Overlooking Florence
 TUSCANY and SAN GIMIGNANO:
On the side of the road in front of a vineyard.
The winery employee made us do it.  Obviously Matt had plenty of wine if he agreed to document it.  ;)
 ROME PICS:

The Pantheon
St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican
Paletine Hill; one of the original colosseums
Appian Road; one of if not the very first road to Rome.  Along this path you can find a very small tabernacle that apparently was the place where Peter ran into Jesus… and somehow Jesus' footprints are molded into the floor??  Something like that.  The Italian accent can be hard to decipher when they are pouring history out.
Trevi Fountain
Just one small part/view of the Roman Forum
Me standing in front of one of the first pharmacies!  an ancient pharmacy where they dispensed herbs! I was just a little excited!
Oh the Colosseum!  There are no words to describe it other than amazing!

Miley's - 1   Rome - 10; on the last day I pulled my socks off to find blood!  We walked so much that my feet were bleeding!  Rome kicked our rear ends.  Loved it, but we are glad to be home now!

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