kids

kids

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wedding Bells

The last of Brian's three little brothers got married this past weekend, and we were delighted to be asked to be a part of the event.  David asked Brian to serve as a groomsman and Miss Violet was absolutely thrilled to serve as flower girl.  The wedding took place in Lancaster, PA, which is a beautiful little town in the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania.  It was a perfect day, and I am so happy for David and his new bride, Rachel.

Violet was so happy to be a flower girl and I shamelessly admit that we used this as a little pick me up a few months ago when our family desperately needed one.  We took Vi to a David's Bridal in Memphis and let her try on a million dresses in front of the big mirrors with Nona, Aunt Dani, Aunt Cheri, and Penelope all in tow to help out.  It was a nice little bright spot. :)

It's funny how you can tell how old  this is by the kids' hair.  


I can't with this cuteness.




Naturally, though, we bought a dress for $16 at a consignment store, because really?  It was a David's Bridal dress, worn once by an apparently very well-behaved little girl at an indoor wedding that served no food or drink.  Thanks, good little girl at a boring wedding, we appreciate you!

We drove 8 million miles for 2 days, but it was worth it for a great stay in PA.  We rented a big house with the other Hopper family members, and the kids had a blast hanging out with their cousins.




Toddler soup

We attended a nice little bridal shower for Rachel, which also served as a great time for Violet to get a little more comfortable with her since they have only met once before.


And then the rehearsal was a lot of fun.  The wedding was at the Rockford Plantation and it was so beautiful.  I was ready to have to wrangle Violet, but she stepped up so wonderfully.  It gives me hope.


I totally got the hottest Hopper brother!



The actual wedding was a hot day, but a nice clear one.  The bride and groom were beautiful, the location was perfect, and Violet did not turn into her alter ego, Violent, and ruin anything.  Whew!
I let her do her own makeup.  




This was when she ran out of flowers and stopped to figure out what to do next.

Hugs for daddy.




How has my little man become such a grown-up?



Always time for a selfie.

They had old-fashioned cameras on every table for guests to use - I wonder how  those will turn out...


One of my new favorite photos - I need a frame for this one.

We had such a great time, and we have only the best of wishes and the biggest of congratulations to David and Rachel!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mrs. Moo and Slipper, too

I recently mentioned Mrs. Moo in passing at a family event and I was shocked that people were interested to hear that she is still a part of Jeremy's life.  I realize that I have not really blogged about Mrs. Moo in several years, so I figure it is time for a nice little update.

For those of you fair readers who need a reminder, you can read about Mrs. Moo here.  She was/is Jeremy's lovey that I got from my friend Wendy at my baby shower.  She started off as Mr. Moo, then we discovered all cows are girls, and low and behold Mrs. Moo was officially born.  She has survived being run over by a car, being left overnight at a restaurant, two surgeries clutched in Jeremy's hands, and nightly snuggles for over 8 years now.

This is what Mrs. Moo used to look like.

This is what she looks like now.


She used to go literally everywhere that Jeremy went.  She was a certified 4th member of the family (Violet became the fifth - not to displace the moo).  She went on vacations, grocery store runs, was kept in cubbies at daycare, and I literally spent half of the last 8 years of my life looking for that danged thing lost somewhere in the house or yard in time for bed.

These days, Mrs. Moo is confined to the bedroom.  She is no longer needed for support outside of the house, and only rarely makes it to the living room for TV time.  Our first official sleepovers were Mrs. Moo-less as well.

And that is exactly how it should be.

However, when at home, every night, my little boy (he will always be my little boy, I don't care how old he gets) still snuggles into his bed (snug as a bug in a rug) clutching a chapter book (these days the How to Train Your Dragon series) and his trusty Mrs. Moo.  He no longer freaks out if she is not there, but he looks for her first thing and hugs her to his neck when he grabs her.  She is forgotten each morning, but remembered and sought every night.

And I know it is ridiculous, but just as I felt all those years ago standing in a hospital watching my boy go in for surgery (twice) holding her and sitting through years and years of speech, physical, and occupational therapy with her by his side, I somehow simply feel safer knowing that even when I am not there, she is taking care of him and he is pulling strength and support from her raggedy and hard-loved threads.

And this brings us to Miss Violet.  Vi has latched on to many a lovey over the years, but just as Vi herself is apt to fits of temperament change, so have her emotional attachments to her dolls or animals.  None have lasted all that long.  Until Slipper came along.

Slipper was actually given to Jeremy before Violet was born by his Aunt Cheri because it matched her real cat, Aurora.  Jeremy gave it attention for a few weeks (and funnily enough took it to the hospital to meet his newborn sister), but Mrs. Moo was always going to be the winner there.
Take a moment with this photo.  Jeremy and Pop eating breakfast before heading to meet Violet for the first time.  Mrs.Moo can be seen on the seat next to Jeremy.  Slipper is on the table.  And my Dad.  With that face.  Gosh, it overwhelms me sometimes.

Over a year ago, Slipper (unnamed at the time) was unearthed from Jeremy's toy box by his nosy sister, and she immediately fell in love.  She promptly named her Slipper, after Cinderella's glass shoe, naturally.


Slipper became a constant companion.  She went everywhere with Vi in much the same way that Mrs. Moo did for Jeremy years before.  When we moved to Oxford, Slipper was with Violet so much that new staff members would come up and ask to meet Slipper as the sure-fire way to get in good with my sometimes pretend-shy daughter.


And then the inevitable happened.  Slipper and Vi went to the park and played for hours.  Somehow, though, Violet found herself headed to bed that night sans cat.  I drove out to the park in the dark looking for her with only the flashlight on my phone to light the way.  I even posted on the Oxford Moms and Tots Facebook page.  Slipper was gone.

Violet was very sad, but in true Violet fashion, she made up a whole story: Slipper fell in love at the park and ran off to get married.  She had kittens and they would come back for her birthday party.

So cute, right?

Sure - except that I did not know where to find a new one and I was terrified her birthday would be ruined if Slipper's offspring failed to show up.  (This was not an exaggerated fear - Violet is straight up unpredictably crazy when it comes to things she has set her mind to.)

Luckily, Aunt Cheri came to the rescue once again!  She found Slipper's kittens and got one for Penelope and one for Violet as her birthday surprise.  They are sister cats and are excited to be reunited again in New York in about a week's time.


And there we are.  I don't know what it is about a lovey.  I remember mine (Pandy and also my yellow blanket) fondly, though.  And I know that The Velveteen Rabbit is a staple on so many bookcases for a reason.  Whatever the magic these smelly, rubbed-raw-of-fur stuffed animals possess, I am grateful that my kids fell under the joy and protection of that special spell.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Birthday Girl!

This girl is such a force to be reckoned with, and considering she has been looking forward to her birthday for the last 364 days, she was damn near out of her mind by the time it rolled around.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by her positive attitude and relative lack of tantrums throughout her party.

We had some close family and friends over on Saturday to celebrate with a pretty low-key party (for me anyway).  She does not have any little friends here yet, but since she starts kindergarten in the fall, I anticipate next year's party will be very different.

She kinda wanted an Ariel Little Mermaid theme, but she did not really seem to care too much about that, so I chose to not either.  :)  We just went with "birthday" theme and it was fun.





She insisted on wearing her floaties in her knee-deep water.  Cool with me.
As far as activities go, she wanted her pool, and she wanted to play croquet.  These were her big two.  It was the first time we got out the pool for the year (and in our new house), so that was exciting, and for some reason she really love croquet even though she is terrible at it.


I always do a pin the something on the something at parties, so this year we used the laminated princesses I made 3 years ago (seriously) and Vi and I drew a new castle.  We free-handed this castle a few hours before the party.  I am proud.  As always, huge thanks to my family for playing along with the games.  




Vi stuck with what she loves and once again asked for funfetti cupcakes, pink icing, and marshmallow and jellybean toppers.  I also put on Ariel princess toppers I made at home for my one tiny pretend adherence to a theme.
She loved her presents, and she is clearly a spoiled rotten child.  I am going to write a post later about Slipper and Mrs. Moo (yes, she is still alive and kicking)  but suffice to say for now that this was the favorite gift, followed closely by all things Barbie and Doc McStuffins.


Our little angel threw a fit when she unwrapped this lovely gift from Joey and Megan.  "Ugh - I don't want a guitar!!  It is not even pink!!"  I was so embarrassed.  I don't know what to do with her.  Btw, she loves it and uses it a lot.  I think she was just so inundated with pink toys that this was off-theme and therefore unloved in the moment.  BUT, no excuse for that behavior.  Cringe-worthy parenting is the only kind of parenting I am good at.

Love Emily and Matt for becoming our Oxford family additions!!

So many checkups were conducted with her new Doc McStuffins doctor kit.

Vi loved her FaceTime chat with Penelope.  They both get huge smiles when they see each other.  I love it!!

We had a long day of fun, but my little angel did finally poop out on me and smother me with cuddles.  She is a handful all of the time, but she is so passionate and vibrant.  She is smart, quick, funny, and incredibly creative and imaginative.  I am worn out by her energy and stubbornness, but I know that that part of her personality will eventually turn into her greatest strength (once she learns to control it and that she is not the only person on the planet that matters).  I have high hopes for 5 - I think it will be her best year yet!!