Saturday, August 30, 2014

She's Two.

My Macey Jean,

Today, you are two. For two years, you've been my perfect daughter. For two years, you've been your daddy's girl. And for two years, you've been your brother's sidekick; your carefree, adventurous demeanor serving as the ideal complement to his more reserved, cautious nature.

Over the past two years, you've made our family complete.

There's not a thing about you that I don't love, my sweet girl. You are the definition of joyful; your big, toothy grin is a permanent fixture on that beautiful face of yours. You're our little entertainer (you get that from your daddy); there's little that you enjoy more than making us laugh. And you are funny. There's not a day that goes by that you don't do or say something that makes us all laugh (much to your delight).

You adore your brother. Your face lights up when he walks into the room and an enthusiastic, "Hi, bro!" almost always follows. Whenever he helps you with something, you immediately respond with, "Thank you, bro! That nice!" Camden smiles whenever you use that line, as he knows it's reserved exclusively for him. (No matter what anyone else does for you, we only get a "thank you". Your brother is the sole person that you declare "nice" on a daily basis.) Sometimes, when Camden is playing a video game and he's especially proud of an accomplishment, he will yell, "Macey! Quick! Come see what I did!" And no matter where you are or what you're doing, you come running in the room with your trademark smile. You always look at your brother with an expression of pure admiration and you tell him, "Yay, bro! Good girl, bro!" (I'm sure one day he won't appreciate being called a girl; right now, he thinks it's as cute as we do.) I love the way you adore him and I love the way he wants to impress you. You are the perfect little sister for Camden.

You are so incredibly smart. You amaze us with your ever growing vocabulary and the new skills that you pick up seemingly overnight. Just last week, you counted from one to thirteen with complete accuracy! You're putting three to four word sentences together with ease. I love watching you soak up your surroundings; you're so eager to learn and experience everything.

Which brings me to your next defining characteristic: you are one adventurous little girl. When it comes to physical activities, you're downright fearless. Admittedly, this trait can cause your cautious mama some anxiety, but it's also something I admire about you. You're willing to give most anything a try and you can definitely hold your own around the big kids. While you're likely going to be a petite girl like your mom, I have a feeling you're also going to be a strong girl.

You're so loving and affectionate. Truly, you know how to make people feel special. You pay individual attention to those that mean the most to you and give affection freely. I think it's safe to say that, in addition to your mommy and daddy, you have several members of our extended family wrapped around those tiny fingers of yours. I think you know it, too. You're a charmer, Macey Jean.

It's simply not possible to fully capture your beautiful spirit in words. I'm so lucky that I get to experience it every day. I'll never know what I did to deserve to be your mom, but I am so thankful that you were chosen for me, my daughter. You are such a gift.

And you are so very loved.

Happy second birthday, my precious girl.


Monday, August 25, 2014

We're back!

We spent the last week at the beach with my parents, my brother, and my sister and her family. It was a great week full of good company and perfect weather.
We're back now, and with the end of the summer comes the end of a more relaxed, laid back schedule in our house. The change in pace began on the way home from the beach when we got an email from Camden's new Little League coach, letting us know that his first practice would be the following morning at 9am. That resulted in an impromptu stop at a sports store on the way home to pick up all the things a little boy needs for his first Little League practice.
He has now had two practices and is loving baseball. He also loves that his cousin, Will, is on his team, and his daddy is one of the coaches.
In other news, I had my first day of class today and school starts for Camden next week. We go to meet his new teachers on Wednesday morning.
Oh, and this little girl I know? She will be turning two in 5 days. No big deal. (Seriously?! Where did the time go??)
So, bring on the rush that is fall. We're ready.
But first, some pictures from our beach trip:
Early morning snuggle time with Nan.
This girl right here loved the sand but was terrified of the ocean until Day 4, when Nan was able to coax her into the water.
Camden, on the other hand, wanted to spend most of his time in the ocean. He tried his hardest to keep up with his cousins, but he's just not as comfortable in the water as they are yet. So, he'd follow them as far as he could, then observe. Matt and I also carried him "deep" (his words) out in the ocean several times.
Just a little beach relaxation.
When they weren't on the beach, you could often find them just like this- absorbed in games on their Kindles. (I have since had to severely limit the amount of time Camden spends on video games, but that's another story for another day.)
Selfie with my girl.
I don't know why, but this picture just makes me smile. Something about that big toothy grin of hers, I guess.

Matt's sunglasses broke, and he claims these are the only ones he could find at a local beach shop. I think he secretly loves them. I openly hate them.
Two cool dudes.
She loved most everything about the beach, but especially enjoyed the military helicopters that routinely flew over the water.
Beach bums.
Camden spent most of the time we were at the beach playing with his cousins, but I did manage to snap this picture of my two kiddos enjoying some beach time together.
The beach is exhausting. He was asleep within 5 minutes on the way home.
And the first Little League practice the very next morning! Macey ran in at the last minute to photobomb her big brother.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Home Preschool: Letter Cc

It was a big week in the land of home preschool this week: first, Camden was thrilled that we were "finally" learning the letter C (because C is for Camden and nothing else!). And I was really happy that we hit a home preschool milestone this week: we are officially halfway through the alphabet!
Now, time for business on Day One:
Working on some handwriting.

Here they are (with two very fake smiles), ready for story time. Photo bomb courtesy of Maggie. And Macey's Klip Klop stable.
I decided reading about good ol' Clifford would be an excellent choice for the letter C.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my laminator? Yeah, I thought so. Well, I was reminded of my affection for it when I was able to drag out the parking lot that we used several weeks back for a new activity.
This activity was a big hit with the boys, mostly because of all of the different kinds of cars I printed out (and yes, laminated). There were police cars, race cars, trucks- you name it. They had the most fun choosing which car to park each time.
So, I started by asking them to choose a car to park in the [oval, hexagon, triangle, etc.] spot. We went through all of the shapes. Next, I took their parking lots and wrote numbers on the shapes. I used a lot of variety in numbers-- there was 100, there was 55, there was 16, etc. I then asked the boys to pick a car to park in the [fill in the number] spot.



Up next: craft time. We made a clown (that, if I'm being honest, turned out looking much more like a strange wizard than a clown...)

Tracing their own hands for the clowns' hands. They both did an excellent job while using their dominant hand to trace and neither could make anything even coming close to resembling a hand while using their non-dominant hand to trace.

Ta-da! Our wizard/clown hybrid.

Day Two:
 Workin' on those C's...

Next up: I had the boys hunt for both big C's and little c's mixed in with plenty of other big and little letters.

We then talked about coins. (Side note: this activity originally involved dimes too, until I realized I didn't have any in the house. So, we stuck to quarters, pennies, and nickels.)

I gave each boy a quarter, penny, and nickel and asked them to complete various patterns on the cards I made.

I then gave them a blank template (with just circles on it) to make their own patterns. It was fun to see what they each came up with.

Finally, we made some pretty stinkin' cute caterpillars. The boys loved these little guys, and especially loved that they could pull them around on a "leash".

Taking their new caterpillars for a walk around the house.
I told you they love them! They decided to give their caterpillars a kiss.
Can you blame them? Look how cute!

We continued with Clifford's adventures on Day Two.

Woohoo! Half of the alphabet down; half to go!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sleep Update and Such

Phew-- whoever said that making the transition from crib to toddler bed basically required sleep training from scratch was absolutely right. It's been a pretty sleepless past few days around here, especially for my adorable toddler and sweet husband.

You guessed it- Matt's handling the sleep training again. It's no secret that I'm a gigantic failure of a sleep trainer, so I let the pro handle it. On night one of Project Toddler Bed, Macey woke up about 752 times, though only briefly. Matt slept on a mattress on the floor next to her crib. On night two, Macey decided to mix things up a bit and stayed awake from 3am-6am. Matt pretty much gave up on that night (even the pros have their limits) and instead took some hilarious video footage of Macey telling all kinds of stories around 5am ("Mommy in bath, bro night night" was her favorite line. Not sure why exactly she thought I was showering at the crack of dawn). She also took great pleasure in her newfound freedom and walked all around her room in the middle of the night. On each of the mornings following these disruptive nights, Macey woke before 7am to get out of bed and play in her room. One morning, I peeked into the room to find Matt sound asleep on the mattress and Macey piling toys on his head.

We had a breakthrough last night. It took a lot of convincing to get her to go to sleep initially, but she slept straight through the night until 8am. And you know what else? She stayed in her bed and talked quietly to herself when she woke up. (I watched on the monitor as she leaned over and checked the mattress on the floor, saying "Dada?" quietly. When she saw he wasn't there and there was no one to pile toys on, I guess she figured she'd stay in bed a while longer.)

I know we'll probably have some more rough nights, but last night gave me (and Matt, I'm sure!) some much needed hope (and rest).

(Disclaimer: My last post which referenced Macey's first night in her toddler bed was written several days before it was posted. Just didn't want to confuse anyone.)

In other news, we headed to my parents' lake house for the day yesterday. The kids had a great time. We took the boat to a restaurant and ate lunch on the water. Macey's still a bit unsure on the boat, but she's enthusiastic about everything else related to Nan and Pop's house. Camden had a blast, as usual. The "boat house" is one of his favorite places ; he's asked to live there on more than one occasion.

The restaurant that we visited had a little pier out front where you could feed the catfish (and ducks). This was a big, big hit.

I personally find the catfish a little creepy, but neither kid seemed bothered by their enormous mouths.
Just because he's cute. And growing up so darn fast!
Okay, I had to post this video. My parents have two dogs, Toby and Lexy. When we were at their house yesterday, Macey was saying their names. At first, I wasn't sure I heard her correctly when she said hi to Lexy. But when I asked her to repeat herself, I knew I hadn't misunderstood. I had to take a little video footage of her name for Lexy this morning, just because it's so hilariously adorable.