Thursday, May 26, 2011

Almost Ready...

Tomorrow. TOMORROW! There is going to be another child tomorrow. It has not really become a reality in my head, but it certainly has in my home.

In order to prepare for Baby Violet, we have had to do some rearranging, building, cleaning, etc.

At first (we hope), she will sleep in our room in the bassinet:After a bit and once nighttime sleeping is a bit more successful, she will move into her permanent assignment: sharing a room with her brother. We had to move some things around, but both the train table and the fireplace are still present in the room.

We ended up buying a new crib, and it is cute I think. The bedding was all Jeremy's, and in remarkably good shape. We are also reusing his infant seat, strollers, swing, vibrating chair, bottles, etc. See, he IS good at sharing!Check out how full her dresser and closet are. That is an insane amount of clothing. Everything 12 month plus is in boxes until we have room. Thanks to Nicole and Erin for sending me tons of baby girl clothes and to everyone else in the world for buying her cute outfits. I think we will have a fashion show every day!Diapers. Seriously, is there a better gift? This photo does not do it justice. I have two baskets full of the diapers from the diaper cake, and the entire floor under the crib is covered in bags of diapers and wipes. Love it!People keep asking me if Jeremy is excited about his little sister. I honestly think so, but we'll see. He talks about her, organizes her toys, and this week, he started climbing into her bed to play. I have a feeling having two will be interesting...As we get the house ready and prep for baby, though, nothing has made me feel more ready than this:Cheri is here (and is apparently doing workout videos with Jeremy). She came when I had Jeremy and was our life saver. She has come again and I seriously almost cried when she walked through the door. Living away from family sucks, so when a sibling is willing to spend 2 weeks helping you with a toddler, painting the toe nails you can't reach so you don't feel quite so ugly, and staying up at night with a newborn so you can get 2 hours of sleep, you feel incredibly lucky.

Alright, Miss Violet. The crib is up, the bottles are washed, the brother is excited, and Aunt Cheri is here. Mommy and Daddy are ready.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Day Out with Thomas!!


We told him this morning. The jumping and screaming commenced immediately. He grabbed the remote control, turned off The Cat In the Hat, and ran for the door. In his pajamas.I got some clothes on him, got him his engineer hat and his train whistle, and he was ready to go with Daddy! I have literally never been more jealous. I knew going to Chattanooga 38 weeks pregnant was not possible, but come on, this is the biggest moment of his little life so far and I missed it.But, the boys had a blast! Brian struggled to get good photos due to the crowd, the sun, our lack of an actual camera, and trying to keep up with Jeremy, but I think he did an excellent job.The REAL Thomas.Jeremy and Thomas (the sun was behind Brian, so he could not get Jeremy's face very well).Jeremy ON Thomas.Jeremy playing in the toy tent. Jeremy is smaller than a train wheel. This was held at the Tennessee Valley Railroad in Chattanooga, and Brian said when they got out of the car a freight train was going past and Jeremy just stood in awe and trembled. While on the actual Thomas ride, same thing. Silent, serious, and awestruck. Trains are serious business to this kid. For others, it is a time for running around and acting like a toddler. For Jeremy Hopper, it is LIFE. You do not fool around with life, you treat it with respect while absorbing every last ounce of awesomeness. It eventually became too much for him (look at this 12 year old in Jeremy's clothes!).When he got home, he could barely get the words out to tell me all the things he saw. He was still trembling as he told me about how big Thomas was and how huge all the other engines were. Then, he informed me he was going back tomorrow for another ride. Hmm.I have a feeling this is a day locked away in one Junior Engineer's memory forever!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


So, I am supposed to be writing thank you cards and helping Brian clean up the kitchen right now. What better time to play around on the computer despite a lack of things to share with my avid readers? Here are some fun things happening around the Hopper Homestead recently:
  • Jeremy told me that I could save 15% on car insurance with Geico. I said thank you and thought with wonder about this time last year when my 2 1/2 year old could barely say the word "mama".
  • I ran into Jeremy's old speech therapist, Jennifer, last week at the bookstore and today at the doctor's office. Yet again, thank you thank you thank you for the amazing progress this kid has made! Much of it solely due to Jennifer.
  • I went to the doc and Violet is perfect. She is sideways and we have decided to do a c-section on May 27th to take out the risk of another emergency surgery (which sucked, don't try it), so if she does not arrive before next Friday, the 27th will be her birthday!!
  • May 27th is also Graham's birthday (Brian's brother and Jeremy's godfather). It is also the day after my Nona's birthday (my mom's mom) and the day before my grandmother's birthday (my dad's mom). Perfect!
  • I have lost about 10 pounds in the last few weeks. I was told to stop it and gain weight. I have never been told that in my life. Naturally, I was not trying to lose weight, and I totally blame having a chunk of my tongue removed, but still, how fun to be told to gain weight! I will probably never hear that again.
  • Brian made homemade calzones for dinner. For real. He made the dough, the sausage, and the filling all on his own. It was super yummy. I love him.
  • We bought a new crib for Violet since the old one is so wobbly. The old crib survived 4 Hopper men and 40 years, but it is not quite up to par for the newest Hopper lady.
  • My last day of work is tomorrow and I am so tired and ready, but I also know I will miss my job and the craziness of it while I am home for the next 8 weeks.
  • Violet has 3 times more clothes than Jeremy did when he was born.
  • Brian is taking Jeremy on a surprise trip to RIDE THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE this Sunday in Chattanooga. Like the real Thomas. We have not told him yet for fear of his head exploding. It is a treat for the soon-to-be big brother. I am sad I will miss it, but I am so looking forward to a relaxing day at home sans boys.
  • Jeremy wore big boy underwear all day on Saturday. We scrubbed the carpet 4 times. It IS progress, though it doesn't seem like it. Right?? Please??
  • We told Jeremy Aunt Cheri is coming to stay with him next week and his head did explode with excitement. He randomly opens the front door (umm, probably a safety concern we should address), and says, "Nope, not here yet." When I ask, he says he was looking for Aunt Cheri and Aurora the cat. I have tried to explain the cat is not coming, but oh well.
Jeremy has now eaten a whole jar of peanut butter in front of me calling himself the Peanut Butter Monster and making Cookie Monster sounds. I should probably clean him up and actually help Brian clean the kitchen. Then, I will finish the thank you cards, I swear.

What's going on in your life today?

Friday, May 13, 2011


Jeremy's latest obsession is cannons. He got a pirate book from Nana and Granddaddy a year ago that he has just recently discovered, and has grown very fond of the many cannons the pirates use to attack innocent people. He demands that only Brian can read him the pirate book and I fully believe he thinks that Mommy, as a girl, could just not understand what he and Daddy understand about pirate life.

Which leads me to my next point - this kid is currently obsessed with his Daddy. Every time I try to do anything, he wants Daddy to do it. I offered him sprite, he said, "No, I want ginger with Daddy." What? Sprite is his favorite drink that I rarely offer him and he turns it down for ginger ale?? Daddy plays trains better, Daddy makes bath more fun, Daddy watches TV better, Daddy reads books better, Daddy's car is better, etc.

Hmph. I think this has to do with the fact that Mommy's lap is not as accommodating and she can't quite run around and play the way she used to. That's ok, I'll be back on top soon.

Brian, in his super dad way, took Jeremy to Fort Something (I am proving the point that I just don't get it) to see the cannons. He loved it! The final picture is my favorite. Brian asked him to shoot the cannon, so he slapped it on the back. So cute.I am excited about my little girl, but I do so love my boys.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Violet Side of Life

This week, while still new, has already been marred by uncomfortable and unspeakable pregnancy symptoms, Jeremy vomiting all over the car, the one pair of shoes I can fit in breaking while on the side of the road trying to clean up the vomit with the sweater off my back (note: keep towels in the car!), and a very slow healing process for my tongue, which was biopsied last week (results wonderful) and now has a chunk missing out of it and stitches.

BUT, despite the yuckiness that life is choosing to throw at our family right now, guess what? We don't care. We will smile amidst the sea of vomit on the couch and wear old lady house shoes to work while only eating soft foods for over a week. We are happy, relatively healthy, and excited. Life, throw us all you've got - we can handle it. You know why?

We have a miracle on the horizon and she is keeping us grinning from ear to ear!

I feel like crap most of the time physically, but then a colleague stops by with a big pink bag full of diapers. Jeremy threw up on Mr. Moo and could not cuddle with him, so we "borrowed" Violet's Mr. Moo (that's what Jeremy calls her purple lovie) and it totally saved the day. Brian has been fighting a horrid cold for two weeks now and coughs 95% of the day, but he ends each day talking to his little girl and trying to figure out which body parts are kicking and protruding at any given time.I had an amazing "baby sprinkle" for Violet when I was in Memphis in March hosted by my sister, and I was shocked at the outpouring of love for this kiddo. I pretty much have the best family ever. Look at the homemade invitations Cheri made for this joint sprinkle and 30th b-day party:And then, Anna threw me an amazing shower this past weekend with tons of yummy food, fun games, and way too many gifts. I work with some really great people, and times like this remind me how lucky I am to have my job at UT. The Central Office even sent a huge basket of goodies and a Build-A-Bear certificate for Jeremy. Funny note: the shower was held at my boss Jerry's house, but notice Jeremy was the only male present. Why are men so scared of baby showers??Getting huge.

Getting cute clothes.

Gotta love crazy baby shower games!

Jess, Jasmine, and Katie made this diaper cake! I am so impressed!

My favorite photo: Jeremy and Kate under the kitchen table playing the train game she got him because she is great and knew he would need some love at his sister's party.

So, yeah, I am hungry for solid food and the vomit smell in my car almost knocked me over this morning, but I can't seem to stop grinning. Life is good, and Violet is coming.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I am lucky enough to have 2 amazing women to look up to as mothers in my life. One I have known since before I was born and the other I have known for about 7 years now. I forget that not all people have such great women in their lives, so I hope I never take them for granted. Here is a little tribute to the 2 great mommies in my life!

Mary Campbell Hopper
My mother-in-law is the exact opposite of all the stereotypes you read about and see on TV. She is warm, loving, supportive, and fun. Ever since the first time I met her, which was back when Brian and I were dating in graduate school, she has been nothing but amazing to me, treating me like a real member of the family. She is a great person to sit and chat with, and she has been there for me to cry on when I needed some parental support dealing with Jeremy's early speech and behavioral issues. I will never forget how she dropped everything to come be with us during a time when our heads were literally spinning. She always offers great advice, a loving hug, and just the right amount of compassion and sympathy along with a healthy dose of realism.

She is also super creative and smart, which I don't think I could do without in a female role model. She is a retired high school English teacher (hello, after my own heart) and is always reading, which I think means we are kindred spirits. She spent a year making me a gorgeous quilt that she could have done in less than half the time except that she wanted to make it perfect and special. Anyone who managed to successfully raise 4 sons is obviously a strong woman, but I admire her relationship with those sons and hope Jeremy will look up to me the way his dad and uncles love and admire their mom. We named him after her family and I already see some great characteristics in him that can be traced directly to his Nana.

So, Mary, thank you for taking me into the Hopper family so completely and making me a Hopper daughter! I am so excited for little Violet to meet her Nana and and hopefully bring some girliness into a family of men - because Nana deserves a precious little girl to watch Parent Trap with and twirl in princess dresses. Happy Mother's Day!!

Velita Nadine Boldreghini Carr
Don't worry, I will not repeat my luminous comments from a year ago, though they still hold true! My mommy is my best friend (other than Brian) and rather than focus on when I was a kid, I want to honor her for what she is to me right now. My mom is my rock. Anytime I am frustrated,upset, excited, nervous, thrilled, or simply bored, she is the one I call. I don't get to see her much since she is 6 hours away in Memphis, but she remains a huge part of my day to day life.

Her voice still makes me cry, even when I am happy. When I called to tell her I was pregnant with Jeremy, she said hello and I immediately began sobbing. If I am having a rough day, she is there to let me vent, scream, or cry. Just a few weeks ago, I was so frustrated with Jeremy that I had to walk out of the room and call her simply to allow myself to calm down. What is great about my mom is that she will literally stop whatever she is doing to provide this ridiculously high maintenance support for her fully grown daughter. I say I need a minute to talk so that I don't hit my kid, and she lets me talk. I say I don't know what to do and she lets me talk until I reach a solution (she does not solve things for me - she still makes me get there on my own, as a mommy should).

Just as when I was a kid and curling up in her "big bed" made everything seem all better in life and the world, when I can find a quiet place in my house to curl up with the phone and her voice, everything else seems to melt away and fall into order. I guess moms are just magical like that. My mom is also still a great source of creativity and fun for me. She dressed up as Wonder Woman for her 50th birthday party, hosts murder mystery dinners, takes tequila shots with my friends when they come to visit, and always has the best costume and game advice for any and all occasions (because, yes, costumes and weird games are always appropriate, even without an actual holiday or event).

So, thanks to my crazy mom - the one who loves math and science (yuck), who can fix anything MacGuyver style with a piece of lint and a paperclip, and who remains the most open and genuine person I have ever met. As I get older, I see more and more through my interactions with other people that the parts of my personality they value the most are things that I can see clearly as things I learned and mimic from my mom. Thanks for giving me my nose and my hair, teaching me all the moves to the final dance in Dirty Dancing, showing me the hard way how to lead off 3rd base in an attempt to steal home, and finally for being my ultimate role model as I fumble and juggle my own way through motherhood. I love you!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers who provide love and support to those in their care!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Go Vols...VIP Style!

A few weeks ago, Brian, Jeremy, and I went to a UT baseball game. It was staff appreciation night so I was able to get free tickets for me and Brian and if you donated a children's book you could get free admission that way as well. Plus, it was $1 hot dog night. Perfect.

Well, the perfection got even better. As we arrived at the game, a gentleman came up to us and said he had 3 tickets in the VIP section right behind home plate that he was trying to give away - for free. He said we looked like a nice family and did we want them? Umm, yes please. We jumped at that and (after we still donated our books), we went to see our VIP seats. This is a photo - we were second row right behind the plate.Best part - our tickets entitled us as VIPs to enter a secret room and have free food and drinks for the whole game, as much as we wanted. It was completely catered with BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, salad, ice cream, and sodas. Since I already felt like that country cousin accidentally invited to hang with the rich people for a day, I was too embarrassed to take photos, but it was awesome.

This is by far the best way to see a game with a toddler. He was invested in the game since we were so close - we could hear everything the catcher said, etc. He was happy with the never-ending drinks, popcorn, and ice cream, and therefore mommy was happy since we made it through all 9 innings. I got to keep score for a complete game with my son present. That has never happened before. Unfortunately UT lost, but it was a great night anyway! Moral of the story: I recommend you attend games looking like a cute family in need of rich people treatment and perhaps you too can fall into someone else's corporate seats and become an MVP for free!