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?)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Celebrating Daddy

We had a nice Father's Day yesterday, and I think Brian enjoyed it!  The kids and I got up early (seriously, why can't my children sleep later than 6:30am?) and killed time so daddy could sleep in.  Then, when it was a more reasonable hour, we made breakfast and got out our present.  Daddy is on a low-carb diet right now, so we made eggs with cheese and spinach, sausages, and a guacamole and sour cream dip.  I actually don't eat any of that other  than the eggs, but he seemed to like it.
look how sleepy they look - seriously, they had already been awake for almost 3 hours

Our gift was a book that the kids made.  It was made of posterboard and felt and each kid was given a two page spread - one page for a Q&A about daddy and one for a picture they created themselves.  I think their little personalities came through pretty well.  I made a spread as well, and we gave him an IOU for some new beach clothes once he is in shape (though we love him just the way he is!) for our trip in September.

We gave daddy some peace and quiet throughout the day (so rare for a stay-at-home dad to get some peace!), but inevitably, he found himself playing with the kids in the backyard.

It really hit me when that happened. I always tell people Brian is a much better parent than I am, and I truly mean it.  When I am alone with the kids all day, I get mad, frustrated, and depressed.  I turn on the TV for them, give them snacks, and take them on errands to keep them from whining.  Brian actually engages with our children on a much more meaningful level.  He is the one who gets Jeremy to work on his homework.  He taught Violet her letters, numbers, and sounds.  He practiced baseball and dances with his princess.  He is, quite simply, an amazing father.

And, he began reading The Hobbit to them that night (with varying degrees of success...)

For my own amazing daddy, the sibs and I got together to buy him a gazebo for his grill area at home!  He loves to grill and smoke and whatever else people do on those big things that cook meat outside, and now he can do it even in the rain.  This photo is horrible, but it is all I have.  I love you, Daddy - thanks for being such a great inspiration and love for me and my kiddos!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Of Princesses and Ponies...

...I could sing you a song.

Miss Violet has been planning her birthday party since Jeremy had his back in December.  She decided on a combo Cinderella/My Little Pony theme.  Obviously.  No problem!

Needless to say, it was a strange little party, but we had a blast.  Here are some highlights:

I am getting better and better at making invitations.  (Shout-out to my parents for the color printer for Christmas!)

I made my patented homemade $2 cupcakes and paper toppers.  I tried to do blue for the Cinderella ones and pink for the pony ones, but my food colors did not come out exactly right.  Vi didn't notice.  :)

They love to cook (clearly, inherited from their father, not their mother)

I got to use one of my favorite quotes for our party entrance ("If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." - Albert Einstein)

Per my usual, I set up stations for activities and fun stuff for the kids.  I never want kids to be bored, so I tend to have way more games ready to go than we actually use. Case in point: I had two more that never even got set up but were ready to go if need be.  I also am a huge nerd and just love designing all the little signs.

First up:  Apple Jack's Sweet Valley Acres Spread (if you don't know - all of these revolve around the personalities of the central My Little Pony characters - Apple Jack's family makes food)

I did not manage to get a pic of the food, so look behind the adorable girls

Fluttershy's Goodbye Treats (My Little Pony puzzles from the dollar store and Cinderella buckets and candy - also from the dollar store - btw, the ONLY place I found Cinderella-specific candy was the cheapest place I looked - never underestimate the Dollar Tree)

Pin the Tail on Rainbow Dash (my work pal, Teddi, drew this pony by hand and my amazing right arm, Amy, made all the little pony tails - Violet loved it and it now hangs in her room)

Twilight Sparkle's Magic Pony Toss (throw the pony into the buckets for points)

Pinkie Pie's Balloon Game (random races with balloons)

Note that Jeremy cheated so Mallory was the real winner ;)

Rarity's Cutie Mark Salon (the little marks on the ponies' flanks are called "cutie marks" on the show, so we face painted and called them cutie marks)

Yes, Jeremy's cutie mark is a gun - painted by Cage

I also had a toilet paper game where we make dresses for Cinderella (aka wrap people up in toilet paper, but I figured this was enough).

I put out all the tents and pools we own and basically, we just made it a 3 hour free-for-all.  Brian grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, the kids ran around like maniacs, and it was a blast!
lil bit helping with set up

Vi enjoyed her spotlight this year, but still needed help from big brother to blow out her Cinderella candle.

She got way too many presents (including her fancy Cinderella dress and glass slippers at the end).

She also got a big girl bed courtesy of Craig (he of the List) and Nona and Pop.  She LOVED her new Frozen sheets!  She also got to create her own Twilight Sparkle pony (with a singing cutie mark) at Build-a-Bear thanks to Aunt Cheri!

Teddi not only got her the glass slippers that she click clacks in every day, but she also made her a tutu that she loves!

I love the many sides to this girl.  She is a princess through and through, but she recently discovered Spiderman and LOVES him.  Thanks to Aunt Dani for indulging her less than girly side.  :)

Thanks to everyone for coming and playing with us - we had about 30 people and 10 kids!  We had a great time celebrating with Miss Violet and her princesses and ponies!