Archive | December 2013

Holidays 2013: Virginia

On the road again! This time we are (sadly) leaving Virginia after a few sweet, short days with the Sellers fam. We arrived on Sat to some of Beth’s much-loved cooking and, of course, more Christmas presents! We got to open gifts with aunt Caitie via Google Chat. Love technology! Here are some pics – the “headband” Lucy has on was from Aunt Caitie’s present. That little girl sure loves to accessorize. Also, ending present opening with your grandparents burying you in wrapping paper? Awesome!

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The next morning we were on the road again. We drove to Charlottesville o visit our good friends and their sweet new baby. Little Eli is just 8 weeks old and already captured Lucy’s heart (and ours!). He is so sweet, and he has the longest eyelashes! I wish we’d had more time – Charlottesville is such a cool town, and Mike and Shanna are such cool people! Miss you guys!

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After leaving Charlottesville, Lucy caught a fortuitous nap between there and our next stop, Churchville, where Whit’s extended family lives. Whit’s grandmother (Mom Mom) graciously had us all over and seriously, y’all, she can put out a spread! It was so nice seeing everyone and catching up. And Lucy quickly learned that if she went up to different aunts and uncles and cousins and sweetly held her little arms up to be held, they would take her to get another cookie! Several cream puffs, crinkle cookies, and chocolate-dipped peanut butter crackers later, that girl was hooked on the Sellers fam! And if that didn’t seal the deal, she had lots more presents to open, too! Lucy has developed a pretty good present-opening routine. She loves to tear the paper and then, upon revealing the gift, lets out a gasp coupled with, “Oh my goodness!” Then she runs and hugs the person who gave her the gift and says, “Thank you!” I love that little girl and her gratitude. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here are some shots:

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The following day we stayed around town in Roanoke. Whit’s parents, very thoughtfully, got us an admission gift card to the Western Virginia Science Museum in downtown Roanoke, so we took Lucy and all three of us really enjoyed it! I always love watching the curiosity of a little one. Lucy does this funny thing where she tries to be brave around new things that scare her (like that giant animated T-Rex). She runs to it, then runs back to me and hides behind my leg, then runs back over, then back to me. Sweet Lucy, I’m happy to always be your home base!

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While Lucy napped (a looooong time) yesterday afternoon, Whit and his parents went to check out the house they are having built. When we come back to VA, we will stay there! We got to drive by it on our way out of town this morning. You made a great choice, Beth and Harry! Can’t wait to see the finished product. Thank you for putting us up in your temporary apartment and making us feel right at home!

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Three grandparents’ houses, countless visits with family and friends, lots of presents, two museums, one sweet new baby, and lots of miles make for one whirlwind, awesome holiday tour. Thank you, family for loving us so well. Until next time!

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Holidays 2013: Ohio

We are driving to Virginia right now to see Whit’s family, and we just said goodbye to mine! Goodbyes are so bittersweet. We are very excited to get to Bebe and Pap’s house, but the time with Aunt Sara, Grammie, Papa, Oma, Opa, Mama, Gramma Jane, and Papa John just is never enough! We were so blessed to be able to spend a whole week there, though. I can’t complain. We filled it with lots of Christmas cheer! Some of the highlights included:

On Sunday night before Christmas, my dad, stepmom, Whit, Lucy, and I went to Clifton Mill to see the lights. This is one of those gems in rural Ohio that you would never know about unless you had insider information. Drive outside of town down route 68, and at 6:00 PM sharp, the lights come on. The old mill is on the river, and we had just gotten about 2.5″ of rain in one day. 3.5 million lights (according to the sign) and gushing rapids is quite a sight! These pictures don’t begin to do it justice.

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While at the mill, visitors can go check out Santa tinkering in his workshop, getting all the toys ready for delivery. He also pops out of the chimney every so often to visit his reindeer and sleigh, waiting for him on the roof. Whit happened to capture Lucy’s face when Santa appeared for the first time out of the chimney. I thought she might hyperventilate. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The next day we headed out to my dad’s friend’s land where the dogs (and toddler) could run. All animals and children (and adults) had a blast! Sweet Bear dog sure loves his buddies, Misty and Buck. See the pic where Bear is running on the dock? That was right before he slid right off into the cold water and I had to rescue him! Sweet boy can do a lot but panics when he has to swim. Lucy was excited about collecting rocks and searching for crawldads with her daddy.

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After a nice long nap, Lucy and I headed to mama’s for some play dough and visiting. Seeing them together, I remember why Lucy and I have made the drive home 5 times this year. What a special relationship.

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Christmas Eve meant a holiday party at dad and Katherine’s house, and this year Lucy was actually awake for the first hour of it!

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And then, Christmas morning! Newly 2, Lucy doesn’t quite get everything about Santa and Christmas Eve and reindeer, but she knows about presents! Santa brought her a “kitty cat hat” – the one thing she’d been asking for for weeks. She was, adorably, shocked! An easel and shopping cart, toy dog with brushes and hair accessories, a felt alphabet pocket puzzle, bath tub drums, and more also brought a great deal of delighted squeals. What wonderful memories!

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After nap time, we headed to Gramma Jane’s for Christmas dinner, And more presents of course! That night, Whit, Sara, and I did something Whit and I haven’t done in 2 years: we went to a movie! Grammie and Papa graciously watched Luc so we could have a night out. The next day, after a tearful goodbye, we headed to Beavercreek for our 2nd Christmas dinner with Oma, Opa, Aunts Sara and Bridget, Uncle Jason, and cousins Anna and Jordan. Oh, and open more presents! Lucy had a ball. She loves and pretty much idolizes her big kid cousins. Can you tell?

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On our last full day, we were lucky to accompany my step-dad to the Wright Patt Air Force Museum. Rod is a retired
Colonel in the Air Force and gave us the most interesting tour I’ve ever been on! He sure knows his history, and one of his biggest projects was the development of the B-2 bomber, and, later, a full restoration of the B-2 we are standing next to in the below picture. It’s called “Spirit of Freedom.” Yup. He named it! Proud step-daughter here! Also, another connection we have is my great uncle Charlie. He was also a pilot and strongly connected to the world of aviation. His name is on the wall! Oh, and who can resist an opportunity to get a picture of their kid in an astronaut suit?? Thanks for the awesome excursion, Rod!

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What a wonderful trip! We are, as always, beyond thankful for our continued health and amazing family who pulled out all the stops to give our sweet girl a Christmas to remember. One thing is for sure, Lucy: you are well loved. Now, get ready for us, Bebe, Pap, and the Sellers and Hawkins clans! We are almost there! Merry holidays to all!

Holiday Pics and the Year in Review

We had our first family photo shoot last weekend for some Christmas-y pics. It was followed by Lucy’s holiday picture day at school. This may be the most professionally documented holiday ever. ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a lot of fun, and it reminds me how wonderful it is for us to take the time to get pictures of us as a family. And I’m sending major kudos to Whitney Norman of WMP Photography, who convinced my hubby to wrap up in a blanket and Christmas lights and SMILE! Looking at these pics, I can’t believe how much has changed in a year! Our girl is talking (and using the potty!) and I couldn’t be prouder of our little family. We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. Here’s the year in review:

The second year of Lucy’s life has brought on new parenting challenges but also new discoveries and adventures! She is growing up at lightning speed and becoming such a little person.We are currently on day 3 of using the potty consistently! She is pumped about shopping for “big girl underwear” this weekend. I can’t believe it!

I am still working for Metro Schools as a behavior analyst. I supervise a group of other behavior analysts and behavior specialists and we serve as consultants for school teams throughout the district on classroom management plans for teachers, individualized plans for students, and school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support frameworks. I have learned a lot about being a parent by working with lots of kids, and a lot about being a better behavior analyst by being a parent! It is important to never stop growing and learning!

Whit continues to be a drummer for Old Dominion and they are playing a lot and staying busy! We are excited to see where 2014 leads! We’ll keep everyone posted. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy holidays to our wonderful family and friends! We are so thankful for you in our lives and look forward to seeing many of you this month! Jess, Whit, and Lucy

Christmas traditions

So this happened today…

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It was Lucy’s first meeting with Santa (who was quite nice and patient, I might add). This went better than expected, as I knew there was no way she would sit there alone with him, and I wasn’t sure if she’d even let me hold her in close proximity! The whole thing was quite a scene – all of us parents waited in line, we practiced our smiles, we tried to be super excited about talking to Santa so our kids would be, too. We all talked about being brave and confident, and how friendly Santa was and how he was really wanting to know what everyone wanted for Christmas. And we ended up paying $20 (or more!) for a picture of me uncomfortably sitting (in Santa’s chair!), forcing my child to do something she is clearly uncomfortable doing. Why do we subject our children to this under the age of 5? No toddler in the place was happy – they were all terrified and crying and NOBODY wanted to talk to the man in the red suit. I felt a little bad for Santa man, actually. Lucy, I hope you can forgive me for this one and maybe in a few years you’ll be excited about sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him your secret wishes! To all the toddlers there today, thank you for humoring your parents and allowing us to try to introduce you to the magic of Christmas (and failing miserably). We owe you one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lucy’s 2nd Birthday

We celebrated Lucy’s 2nd birthday at our house with family and friends this year, and I’m super late in getting these memories posted in the record books! We are beyond thankful for our amazing friends in Nashville, and for all of Lucy’s grandparents. My dad and step-mom were there with us that day and made the party extra special! Thank you for all of your help, Grammie and Papa!! Here’s the photographic evidence:

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Happy (belated) birthday, Lucy!

ImageDear Lucy,

Wow! You are two! Can you believe it? I can’t! Sometimes I look at you these days, running wildly through the house, your little feet (which are still so teeny!) clump-clump-clumping through the rooms, wild grin on your face, hair flying in every direction, and it just doesn’t seem real that we have a toddler! You are still, as you’ve always been, my very spirited girl. You know what you want and you know how to make it known! I love watching you work to put words together these days. You know in your brain what you want to say, and you try and try and try to get it out until it sounds right. Usually it’s just a simple observation (“Mommy took a shower!” or, “It’s sunny out today!”) and your mouth rolls slowly over the words until it’s perfect. It’s also with that same perseverance that you approach many other tasks. You want to do everything by your “self” these days, my independent girl! You will struggle with a sock for several minutes to work it off your foot, pushing away my attempts to help you. You want to get in and out of the bath tub by “self,” feed yourself, put your coat on, and walk into school all by yourself. It’s bittersweet for your mama, you know. Things that I used to relish doing for you I now have to give to you as your own tasks, to do in your own time and your own way. This is something I’m learning to do as your mama! And oooooh-eeeee are you one smart cookie, my girl! We are already having full conversations about the weather, your school day, your friends, and what you want for dinner. When I pick you up from school, I say, “What did you do at school today?” And you will respond with something like, “I played blocks with Jasper! I went in the tunnel with Claire! I shared with Ethan!” And other times when I ask you, true to your little personality, you respond with, “I don’t want to talk about it.” You really get me with that one, Lu! Sometimes I think you’re 2 going on 16! I’m not ready for all that yet! But with all this independence comes something even more cherished now that you are such a busy bee: you remain my sweet little snuggle bug. When you’re all done with your dinner and your bath and we put your PJs on, you and I settle into the chair in your room with a soft blanket and a whole bunch of books. It’s there that you still want to lay in my arms and rock with me while I read to you (or you “read” to me because you’ve memorized the book!), and for you, it’s never enough! You always want “one more book, mommy” and it’s so hard for me to say no and put you down in your crib to sleep. I could hold you forever, you know. Some nights, my favorite nights, we just sit there and rock together. I put my face in your yummy post-bath hair and breathe it in. It’s often in these moments that tears start falling down your mama’s cheeks because I just cannot believe the gift I’ve been given – my beautiful, clever, sweet, wild girl. I really hit the jackpot when I got to be your mama! I love you with my whole heart, and I’m so blessed to get to watch you grow up. Love, Mommy