Thursday, July 17, 2014

My sister is having a baby

My sister is having a baby.


I can't stop saying it.  I randomly text her in the middle of the day to gush.  I am so freaking excited.

When she told me on the phone, I cried.  I was so happy and shocked and happy and shocked.  I never thought any of my siblings would have kids.  I never thought my kids would have cousins on my side of the family.  I never thought I would have a Carr niece or nephew to totally love.  (Btw, Cheri, Dani, and I all know it is a girl.  She is.  We know.)

Brian had to tell me to stop calling her "my" baby.  Because, I do.  She is my baby.  I called Cheri and she said not to be silly, of course she is my baby.

That's just how it is with sisters.

It is obviously Cheri's child and she will be an amazing mom, but that little baby is also mine.  My sister's children will always be mine - no matter what.  Simple.

She is due February 6th, so look for some cold and insane posts from NYC come late January/early February as I make the trek to her house to help for a few weeks.  She did it for me for both of my kids and the days she showed up on my doorstep were the days I knew I would survive having kids.  It was never real until Cheri was there, and I hope I can offer her the same support and peace of mind.  (Btw, Cheri got a tenure-track philosophy professor position at a college in NYC, so she and Alex are moving in a few short weeks!)

My message to my sister, because I am a cheese-mo and would never be able to actually say this stuff to her in real life:


I am so happy for you.  You are going to be an incredible mom.  Incredible.  I know you are nervous about having a baby so far away from family right when you start a new job.  That's ok.  As soon as I found out you were having a baby, it seemed so perfect that you would have it in the city while pursuing your academic career.  That kid will be jumping on subways and visiting museums, critiquing modern art and music, and quoting Kant and Shakespeare by age 5.  And I love that pretentious little know-it-all baby.  She's just a mini-Cheri after all!

And you really are going to be amazing at this.  Do you know how I know?  Because you already are.  You always have been. 

I was your shadow as a toddler and little girl.  Painfully shy at times, you were my protector and voice.  You were the creative force behind our games and the spark to our imaginations.  You made up our secret language and I can still read your mind I know that you know this is all true.

You were my idol in my teens and early adulthood.  You were so unique and strong and smart.  All the things I so desperately wanted to be.  You helped me understand the poems in Mr. Savage's class, you stood up for me in front of high school bullies, and you gave me the courage to leave our family for college and start my own life on my own two feet.

You are the best sister in the world.  You gave up your own plans to live with me for weeks when I had Jeremy and Violet.  You timed my contractions.  You shared my disappointment at the false alarms.  You calmed down Brian when my water broke.  I will never forget making eye contact with you when we found out Jeremy was in danger and needed the emergency c-section - you were so calm and confident that all would be ok.  Both Brian and I needed you in that moment and you came through big time.  You put on my make-up and straightened my hair so I would be pretty in pictures post-baby.  You cleaned my house and cooked me meals.  You rocked my babies and got up with them at all hours so I could sleep.  You helped me when I wanted to quit nursing or when I was in so much pain I could barely walk.

You are an extraordinary aunt.  Jeremy and Violet love you so much.  You spend time with them and treat them like people, not babies.  You teach them to cook and take them to parks and exhibits.  I am sure one day they will disappear and I will find that they have run off to NYC to live with their much-cooler-than-me Aunt Cheri.  And when they do, I know you will welcome them with open arms, give them what they need, and call me immediately.  

I know you will be a great mom because I have seen it first hand.  You were a mom to me as a child, as a teen, and as an adult.  You are a mom to my kids and I am so happy for that.  

You are going to totally kick ass at this motherhood thing, and I can't wait to see it first hand.  

Oh, and one more thing:
sisters in weird hats

sisters on a table

superhero sisters

Jeremy's false alarm


Jeremy in the middle of the night

Trying to make me pretty before Violet


Violet in the middle of the night
 My sister is having a baby, and I could not be more excited!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Is it still July the 4th?

This was a constant question.  Can we prolong the holiday just a bit longer?  Please?  It is just too fun to stop and go back to real life.

For this year's Independence Day celebrating, we headed to Nashville to be with the Hopper clan.  This time around, we stayed with Graham, Katherine, and their kids instead of with Granddaddy and Nana since David was in town visiting them.  We missed having more time with the grandparents, but the kids LOVED putting in some quality cousin bonding time.  Huge thanks to Graham and Katherine for hosting us for 4 days - 5 kids is no joke in one house.  It was a blast and we appreciate all their kind hospitality.

We spent most of our time on crowd control:
Love it.  Little aliens watching Despicable Me 2

Then we hit up the Hot Chicken Festival and parade:
Look at that pose.  He smirked.  On purpose.  What am I gonna do with that boy?

Vi wore her fairy wings the entire time we were in Nashville.  And her sunglasses upside down.  She got two necklaces in the parade.  Of course.

Jeremy got a dead chicken.  It was perfect.

Pete and Vi in the swings.

Philip and Jeremy swinging the wrong way.

Kat and I had to improvise a picnic in the park when the Chicken Festival turned out to be a bit to hot for the kiddos:
Very happy to stop eating for a photo.

Me and Katherine

Violet played in the dirt and the boys peed on the trees.  It was a classy afternoon.  :)

We played in their pool (sadly, I was in the water and failed to take a single photo!), and rode on their toys:

I visited with my good friend Jack (Dr. Erin W. Jackson to you - she earned it, baby!):

Brian took the kids to see fireworks (again, sadly, it was a daddy/kid trip so no photos).  Turns out, though, that lil Violet loved them and sat in her daddy's lap, kissed him, and told him she loved her "little pop-a-canoes" (we are guessing a popping volcano? who knows what goes on in that girl's head).

Saturday was the Hopper Family reunion and we had a lot of fun visiting with all 7 grand kids in one place.


Philip and Jeremy are just a mess.  A total mess.

Violet and Jude decided to become best friends.  It was adorable.

The kids made chalk drawings of themselves.  Jeremy is an army ranger.

Violet is a fairy.

Family quilt - everyone in the family has signed it.

Watching Brian's cousin, FBI Special Agent Kendall Hopper, in her TV debut!

Tiny Hoppers!
It really was a fabulous holiday and as the kids grow older, I am just so happy they have such loving and fun aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins to make these experiences all the more joyful and fun!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Violet Cordelia Hopper: Age 3

I did the obligatory birthday party post, but I totally failed to actually document my little monster at age 3.  So, here goes!

First of all, I am SO excited to see 3. Miss Violet was really good at being 2.  As in, she was hands down the most terrible of all the terrible twos.  I am glad that she is already succeeding at life.

Currently, HRH Violet Cordelia is quite tall for her age.  She is thinning out, so not as pudgy as last year.  She is still wearing diapers and has absolutely no interest in using the potty.  She is bold, but can be very shy in public or when she first meets someone.  Put her in a comfortable setting, though, and she steamrolls over everyone with her bossy attitude.  Her favorite foods are fruit of all kinds and cheese.  Literally, last night her dinner was a big fruit salad and nothing else.  She would live off fruit alone if we let her.  She loves books (current favorites are Frozen and Happy and You Know It).  She likes to watch TV, but like her brother, she does it in a very active way.  Favorite shows (ie Netflix since we don't have cable) are My Little Pony, PowerPuff Girls, ScoobyDoo, and Spiderman.  She also loves all things Disney Princess and Tinkerbell.  The girl has never seen a dress too poofy or sparkly for her taste.  We have instituted time-out, and she is in it multiple times a day.  Interestingly, she never gets up before the timer goes off and always apologizes afterwards. I think she wants to be good, she just can't seem to reign it all in  - she is very emotional.  No idea where she got that from.   (Mom and Dad, I am SO sorry).

She pronounces her name "Lie-it Cordilla Hoppa" and she always says all three names.  So, here is a little rundown of Lie-it:
My mom brought my wedding dress from Memphis and Violet HAD to wear it.  Obviously, I said not on your life, but I did let her play with the veil.  Notice the wedding dress she already owned (thanks, Cheri) and the high heels (thanks, Teddi).

She sucks at hide and seek.  Jeremy hid under that blanket for 10 full minutes before she found him.  She does, however, love to play any game with her brother.

She just started private swim lessons with Sara and Jeremy.  More on that in a later post.  She loves the water.

She is a joiner.  This is her acting out the scene where Hero gets married while disguised in Much Ado About Nothing.  This was a Shakespeare troupe at the local library and Vi volunteered for every single activity.

When she watches TV, she acts it all out with her dolls.  She rarely just sits there and watches.  This is her while watching Frozen and Anna is running around the castle singing about doors.  Or something like that.  And she is wearing my nightgown.

She is a massive ham.  We have been to Dollywood twice this summer and both times, she took center stage on the kid rides,  waving to everyone watching.  It is hilarious to listen to the other parents comment on her.

She goes out dressed like this.  Full Cinderella regalia for a quick trip to the mall.  Old people and tween girls all have to stop and tell her how cute she is.  It is the law.

She is OBSESSED with nail polish.  She and I have to paint our fingers and toes at least three times a week.

She comes to work with me a lot.  Just strolling on campus with her backpack and lunchbox at class-change time.

In a meeting at the Housing Office.

In a staff meeting in Reese Hall.
And, one of her all-time favorite things: to grab my phone, crawl into my lap, and make me take a selfie.  I have hundreds of these things (most of which are repulsive), so here is a a sampling:

She can be a handful and a half, but I do so love this little princess monster.  Glad to call her mine!  (and already looking forward to 4, because surely that means no diapers.  Right?)