Cecelia is FOUR

1, 2, 3, 4...
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How is this possible? Only-already four years old? HOW, I ask you, blogland?

Comparisons make me happy you know: me and my girl on her birthday each year <3
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I struggle to capture all of my children's personality on this blog, but Cecelia takes the cake when it comes to an indescribable spirit, a uniqueness that can't be contained by labels or words or stories. She's our fighter, our rainbow baby, our feisty daughter, our emotional rollercoaster, our genuine sweetheart that keeps us guessing. And yes, she is absolutely stunning, too. Thankfully she has a lot more going for her than 'just' her looks but wow, she really takes my breath away with her big blue eyes, toothy smile, and those curls.

Cecelia embodies everything that represents childhood, the way it should be: innocence, playfulness, curiosity, and sometimes testing boundaries. She hates to get her face wet and is petrified of thunder. But she's fearless when it comes to trying new foods, going places without me, and climbing/running/jumping. She loved going to Sunday School this year and did not show one ounce of shyness or sadness when I'd leave her there. She'd simply wave goodbye to me with a big grin and get started on a project. She'd ask to go to Sunday School each week, when I know Truman required me to sit inside of his classroom for the first week or two when he started at age three.

I was also really nervous about Truman starting Junior Kindergarten when he turned four. But Cecelia? She is going to rock it's face off. She's ready, much more so than I'm ready to let her go this fall. But perspective teaches me that her first year in school is really just 2.5 hours every day, and it will go by in a blink. It still boggles my mind to think that my little girl is ready to go to Truman's school each morning. Three separate trips to school each day will be super fun on my end (drop off both kids at 8:20, pick CC up at 10:55, pick Truman up at 3:20) but STILL. Two kids in school this fall. Holy crap.

Sister is a great sleeper, although she has officially dropped her nap in the past four months. Dropping the nap means her bedtime is easy peasy and she passes out within minutes around 7:30-8pm, just like Truman. They still love sharing a room and I don't see that changing anytime soon. When their Tot Clock turns yellow at 7am, they both have usually been awake for a good 15 minutes, but they don't dare come out of their room until then. Sometimes T and C will fight about who gets to open the door, who walks down the stairs first, etc. Oh, those two for SURE like to push each other's buttons. But I also think sharing a room is a huge bonus for Cecelia, especially. She will likely get her own bedroom someday, and maybe the boys will share----but for now she really enjoys being with her big brother.

CC is also our best eater, by far. She loves to eat salad (off my plate), raw veggies (cucumbers are her favorite), and pretty much any meat (preferably off my plate). She loves to sip my La Croix and begs to chew gum almost daily. Truman has had gum maybe five times ever, and Cecelia possibly twice, but she knows how to ask the same question repeatedly hoping for a different answer each time.

For being such a great eater, she is still a string bean! I'm not sure of her stats, her four year appointment (with shots, yikes!) is this week, but I'm guessing she is in the 90th percentile for height and 25th for weight. I know she is not even close to the forty pound mark needed for a booster seat, so that five point harness will be around for awhile longer. She might be around thirty-five pounds and....super tall. She wears mostly 4T clothes but sometimes the pants are way too baggy in the waist, so we drop to 3Ts in pants but then they are high waters. Thank goodness for warmer weather with shorts and dresses! Her feet are a size 9-10 and she has more pairs of shoes than the boys combined;)

I honestly have not worked on writing the alphabet or numbers with Cecelia at ALL, compared to how much I practiced with Truman. And yet, she somehow can write her name with most of the correct sequencing and even draws stick figures and other random shapes without prompting. Truman was never into coloring before Junior Kindergarten, but Cecelia loves it!  I do not know how high she can count or anything like that because, well, second child syndrome. But I think she is a pretty smart cookie regardless!

Other things she loves: chapsticks, baby dolls, nail polish, shoes, skirts that twirl, glitter, potty talk, and riding her bike or scooter. She loved dance class and gymnastics, really hated soccer. Taking a family walk around the block might be one of her favorite activities of all time, and she frequently tells me, 'I love everyone in our family so much.' The feeling is very much mutual around here as Cecelia's mood dictates our day, it seems. But as I just told Nate the other day, I do think the emotional meltdowns are spacing out quite a bit lately and perhaps age four will be MUCH easier on us than ages two and three were with this little lady. She seems to pull through from a low moment quicker than she could last year, but there are still PLENTY of times when she can't deal and needs a break from everything (i.e. a time to rest in her bedroom, which usually means she is screaming at the top of her lungs the entire time but there really isn't another way to exorcise those demons).

On the flip side, when Cecelia is happy she is REALLY REALLY happy. Showering us with affection, and love, and giggles----it doesn't get much better than a happy Cecelia.

She says a lot of things that really need to be documented into eternity on the internet, but I forget so many of them that it's a shame. Some that I posted on Facebook...

Cecelia: "Mommy, I just don't know what I want to be when I'm an adult." Said in an exasperated voice). 
Me: "Well, luckily you have a lot of time to figure it out, no worries." (Also, you can be anything you want to be, don't grow up too quickly, etc etc). 
Cecelia: "I definitely want to be a princess or a fairy."
Me: (stifling my look of horror-amusement with a raised brow. Dream big, little girl. And why so gender specific??)
Cecelia: "But I'm sad because I don't have wings. I hope I grow them soon."
Me: (heart exploded over the sweetness). I hope she never grows up (sometimes)!
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Cecelia at bedtime: "Mommy, do you know how much I love you? I love you like polar bears love their mommies." 

She also regularly tells me that she loves me soooooooooo much, and that 'You're my best mommy ever.'  I never ever want to forget how many times she will tell me this in a day. Probably at least three times every day she tells me she loves me, and the most random times. Kind of like when Truman used to randomly declare me as his 'best friend', this is something that already makes my heart hurt for the time when she stops telling me this! (Just like Truman never tells me I'm his best friend anymore, wahhhhhhh). 
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Another one I posted in the winter:
Walking home in the 3 degree weather, after dropping Truman at school: Cecelia--> "Porter, when we get home I'm going to give you some Chapstick because you be so hayve. (Behave)."

Cecelia loves her days with Papa so much. They have really found a nice groove together and my favorite day was when I came home to Tony with painted fingernails. Because obviously, Cecelia wanted to paint his nails and he couldn't say 'no'. That was a first for him but probably not his last! Understatement of the year: we are so blessed to have Tony in our lives. 
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Did I mention that my mom made a flower girl dress for Cecelia to wear to Nate's brother's wedding in July? I DIE.
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She spontaneously hugged my mom after trying the dress on for the first time. Genuine gratitude, right there.
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Also a big fan of her light up princess dress my mom made a few years ago. This child is 100% girl, you guys.
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A drawing of our family, 'And everyone is going potty here.' She even got the colors right with the gender of each!
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Sometimes Cecelia reminds me that she isn't actually fourteen, and instead just turned four. Like when she asks me to carry her up the stairs.
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But really. This face.
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We had a small-ish BBQ birthday party for Cecelia on her actual birthday this year. It sort of felt rushed because Nate and I were just getting back from our San Diego trip and I hadn't even bought our girl a single gift until a few days before her birthday. But we did get her a Minnie Mouse watch, some pink Ray Bans, an Ariel tee shirt, Disney princess flip flops, and chapstick. She woke up to helium balloons all around our house on her birthday morning (which promptly dropped to the ground before her party, hours later), she picked cinnamon rolls for her breakfast, and then counted down until her party. I made her a 'candy cake' this year, inspired by the cake my mom made for me at my eighth birthday. Cecelia freaking loves sugar and has even asked Lois for a spoonful of sugar to eat when she hungry. So I knew a homemade cake with candy on top would be her heaven and sure enough, she devoured it (all of the kids did!).

CC wanted to wear her birthday crown all day and had such a blast with her friends. She had requested s'mores, so we did that at the end of the night. The accidental theme of the party turned out to be SUGAR.


Close up of the sugary delight:
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Like any four year old, Cecelia freaking loves to open presents. She also wanted to play with a few of them immediately while her buddies all played in the backyard.

She perked back up for this, one of her favorite treats ever:

This big girl lights up our world!! She is now using Truman's old bike since he got a new one, still using training wheels but I predict she will ride without the trainers way before Truman ever did.

She's a hoot in her new sunglasses.
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Nailed the family picture!!!

I don't know what else I can share about our girl, but I highly recommend you watch this video of her birthday interview. This is the only way you can get to know the type of entertainment that Cecelia brings to the table. I mean, listen to what she wanted for her birthday this year!!

Her fourth year interview:

Cecelia's four year old interview from Julia H. on Vimeo.

I haven't come close to adequately describing our girl, but those of you who've read my blog for awhile know how much we wanted her. She is so celebrated and so very loved. And she is FOUR! I can't imagine life without our Cecelia, and on this birthday especially, I want to absorb the enormity of this blessing. Another year with Cecelia, and oh, what a ride.

We love you, big girl!!!
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First Tooth Lost!

The 'bigger kid' milestones really sneak up on me, but they hit me harder in my gut than I expect. Like the first day of school, first time legitimately reading, and now: the first lost tooth.

Obviously it's our beloved first born who gets to introduce us to the bittersweet bigger kid milestones. When I was pregnant with Truman and even before that, I don't think I really envisioned parenting bigger kids. Mostly I was just focused on the more immediate tasks of getting pregnant, and experiencing newborn milestones (oh, first smile is still SUCH a heavy hitter for me!).

So now I'm going to get all sentimental when I think about my fat, bald baby named Truman. I remember when he cut his first tooth. I vividly remember it, actually, because he teethed and had a low grade fever and drooled and was pretty unhappy. IT WASN'T THAT LONG AGO AND NOW HIS TEETH ARE FALLING OUT AND OMG. Truman is a big kid. Hold me. (Love it but it's still craziness!).

For probably about six months, Truman has been losing his mind over wiggly teeth. His classmates started to lose their teeth right at the start of school so all of this school year has been spent with the questions: "When am I going to lose my first tooth? Do you think this one is wiggly? The dentist said it was wiggly? Does it hurt when the tooth comes out? Someone at school said it bleeds. How much money does the tooth fairy bring? Maybe if I get hit in the face by a ball at recess my tooth will come out.'

Yes, seriously. He was willing a ball to hit his face to expedite this process.

So his bottom two teeth were barely loose at all when we started wiggling them at night. Right after his sixth birthday I noticed they might ACTUALLY be somewhat loose. Then in the past two weeks the bottom left tooth got to be legit wiggly and then progressed to disgusting levels of wiggly-ness in the past week.

I got a ton of videos of us wiggling that tooth and it seemed so close to popping out! We tried the floss around the back of the (completely detached) tooth, twisting it, having Truman try pulling it out himself, and even tweezers. The night before Nate and I left for San Diego, Truman wanted us to pull it out so we could be there for the tooth fairy magic. We tried so hard and the bugger even began to bleed, but I just couldn't get the microscopic chomper to release. I knew it was literally hanging on by a thread but that sucker did not want to come out and I didn't want Truman to freak out if the tooth wasn't actually ready. Although, he was really into the tooth coming out and probably would have been fine if we actually did throw a ball in his face.

The first night we were gone in San Diego, we had just finished Facetiming with the kids. Then my phone rings 2 minutes later and it's Truman! And he said, 'My tooth just came out!!!' and we all screamed in delight.

Turns out, Memaw was wrapping him up in a blanket and somehow the tooth got caught on the blanket at fell out. Truman didn't even know it came out but he 'tasted blood' and ran to the mirror to see his new gap. He found the tooth (and then lost it two more times before securing it in his tooth fairy pillow) and proudly called us to show off.

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MY BABY LOST A TOOTH. And somehow my mom kept my tooth fairy pillow from the 80s, and therefore Truman has inherited it. The tooth fairy brought him $2 and a hand written note (from GoGo, don't tell him) as per my instructions via California.
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Mom said he was SO excited to get to school the next day to show his friends. And everyone was very impressed, even though most of the other kids have lost 2-4 teeth at this point! What I love the most is that his new adult tooth suddenly appeared two days later and it's super bumpy!
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Of course, when we got home from San Diego Truman had to show us his bumpy tooth in person within three seconds of seeing us. It IS pretty freaking sweet, even though I'm sure this will be one of those things that is not as celebrated with each successive tooth and child.

I predict that Porter will lose his first tooth, swallow it, and we won't even notice for a week. But with Truman? This has been a long time coming and a HUGE deal for our six year old!! And so, on May 19th, 2016 when Truman was six years, two months, and 18 days old he lost his first tooth.

He is totally destined for braces someday with two parents who passed down our expensive trait of brace faces. But for now his adult tooth is adorable.

Big kid achievement, unlocked!

Porter at Twenty-Two Months

I literally had to count backwards from twenty-four months (TWO IN JULY!!) to figure out how old Porter is this month. And also, oops, this is approximately two weeks late now and it might make more sense to just call it and wait for the twenty-three month update. But nah, I'm almost totally done with monthly updates so I feel a strange need to document this one despite being ultra-tardy.

But it's going to be a short update, mark my words.

If you want to know a bit about Porter's personality right now, take a look at this face:

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He is destined to be a class clown, guys. He's goofy and silly and opinionated and almost TWO, so yeah. He wants what he wants when he wants it or else he will make you pay in a classic floor tantrum and/or continuous whining at a nerve-grinding intensity.

But actually, Ports is the sweetest. He gives the best hugs, shoulder-snuggles, and 'Hi, Mommy!'s in the history of ever. The way he says 'sorry' sounds more like 'warrr-ry' and he tells his bathwater 'bye bye, water' as it goes down the drain. The sweetest.

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Porter likes about three foods: yogurt, crackers/chips, and sometimes waffles. Oh, and French fries, but only if the mood strikes him. He'll oblige me and will try other types of food but usually he survives with a very sub-par diet. I wonder how he manages to grow and thrive off Ritz and greek yogurt but whatever, #thirdchild and I guess he will chow when he's starving.

First Auntie Anne's pretzel was obviously a big success. Kid loves carbs.
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Yogurt skills.
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This little man is turning out to be a great and rather predictable sleeper. Bedtime is 7:30pm or 8:00, he wakes around 6:30am, and naps for a solid 2-4 hours in the afternoons. I just realized the other day that Truman and CC probably switched to a big bed at this age, since I was always pregnant and kicking babies out of cribs for a newborn sibling. But Porter is doing fine in his crib so I have no intention to kick him out just yet.

Also, I think I turned Truman's rear facing seat at 22 months and Cecelia was probably 20 months. Porter is very chill in the car and isn't freaking out or seemingly uncomfortable, so he will stay rear facing until two.

Porter loves his bigger siblings and I think he is the perfect little brother: idolizing Truman and Cecelia but also pushing their buttons like none other. He screams on command whenever Cecelia takes one of his trains but he will also demolish a puzzle Truman just built and will pretend like he's shocked when T is upset. Porter is a total stinker and also too little for actual discipline, so keeping it 'fair' between the three can be a challenge.

Still freaking obsessed with Thomas. I love it so much.
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The vocabulary on this kid still amuses me and he is basically speaking in broken sentences now. 'Goose. HONK! Big. Fly away,' is a common explanation of what he did during the day. He'll repeat most any word we say and then he'll string together words in rapid fire that make me smile. 'Helmet. Fast. Tricycle. No, CC.' You get the idea without a video, right?

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Nate and I just returned from a nice little trip to San Diego, so my brain is a bit mushy but I can assure you that I missed this babe (and the other two) something fierce. Seeing him smile at me from his crib this morning, then say 'hi, mommy,' followed by 'Gogo?' was the best. Having him randomly run up to me and rub his peanut buttery face all over my legs was also wonderful, and I didn't complain when he wanted me to carry him around for a bit. He's a big lug and maybe around 26 pounds or so but seems like a BRUISER and much stockier than lanky Cecelia. Also they sort of look like twins, and perhaps Truman is babysitting them here?

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You are the best, Porter. We love you so much and cannot believe you are almost (only) TWO!

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xo, Mommy
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Mother's Day Thoughts

Every social media channel is full of Mother's Day photos. Pictures of moms with their kids, breakfast in bed, hand-written cards, and coffee (I feel like there are lots of coffee pictures out there and I am whole-heartedly behind this part). I used my real camera for the first time in ages today and selecting one photo for Instagram and one for Facebook didn't feel like enough. And so, the old blog comes through again!




Mother's Day reflections feel an awful lot like my birthday reflections I just made in my last post. This is probably because being a mom is a hugely defining role of my current life, and it's easy to lose the non-mom parts of myself inside the Motherhood part of me. This is something that takes conscious effort---to reclaim myself aside from being their mom.

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But today is a day for celebrating motherhood, and what a celebration it is. Nate woke up with the big kids at 7:00 today and I slept in bed until 8:00. When I came downstairs I met two very eager little ones who were waiting to give me my presents: tulips, plucked from our garden, and put in a vase. And a card they both signed, entitling me to pick out a new outfit for the big golf outing that is happening next weekend. Since I literally do not have a single golf-related article of clothing, this is quite functional and very sweet.

Also this is spot-on:
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My flowers and card;)

Once I had plenty of hugs and 'Happy Mother's Day's, Porter woke up and gave me a slobbery kiss. Nate's parents came over to our house and Nate made us all a HUGE brunch, because we considered going out to eat somewhere but didn't feel like dealing with crowds and the chaos of dining with little children. Eating at home in our pajamas was perfection, and the weather followed suit with sunshine and sixty degrees.
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Cecelia has been begging to fly a kite for a few weeks now and today I grabbed ours from the garage and we all headed over to the fields at school to see if they would fly. It was only slightly windy and took some work but we flew those kites in the brilliant blue sky, because Cecelia's smile was out of this world. She ran and ran with that kite and looked so happy, so innocent, so excited about something as simple as a little duck kite that I wanted to bottle it up and save it for the future. Her innocence just slays me, the boys', too.

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Today has me thinking about what it means to be a mom to these children. It's fulfilling, it's scary, it's hilarious and challenging. It makes me proud and incredibly grateful, and it makes me a little bit crazy most days. I wonder if I'm enjoying it enough, if I'm screwing them up, if I'm giving it my best at all times. I wonder if my kids are happy and if they know how much we love them. Motherhood has built me up and made me feel strong and capable, and it's made me ask myself some tough questions along the way. No, I'm certainly not the mom I thought I'd be before I had kids. No, I'm not perfect and neither are my children.

But I get to hold their tiny hands for just a little while.
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What a trip this is, this motherhood thing. It's oh, so worth it and today I'm celebrating motherhood and all it's highest of highs, and lowest of lows.

I sent my own mom flowers on Friday and we are going to chat on the phone tonight when she gets back from a trip out of town. My mom is one of the best role models around and we are all so lucky to have her. Not to mention *her* mom, Memaw, as yet another strong motherhood mentor. We are just surrounded by awesome mothers in this family and I hope to be held on the same pedestal by my own children someday.

(Old picture, we need a new one!)

I had to thank Lois at brunch, for raising Nate the way she did. Nate has always loved his mom something fierce, being a bit of a mama's boy when he was younger and they still have a crazy-tight bond that won't ever be broken. I'm glad Lois taught Nate to respect the women in his life, to be a good person, and mostly I'm so happy she encouraged him to pick up after himself and she didn't baby him to death when he was growing up. She raised him to be an excellent husband and dad, and I really owe her more than a hug and some gifts from our kids, but that will have to do.



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I can't help but think of my friend Hannah, who lost her mom six years ago, and other girls who have lost their moms. I don't even want to imagine what that feels like for a person. Or Becky, who lost Kellan five month ago, and other moms who have lost their children. My heart breaks just thinking about it. I think of all of the women who yearn to become mothers but they're struggling with infertility or miscarriage. When I think of those ladies who can't fully celebrate Mother's Day without sadness in their hearts, it makes me say a quick prayer of thanks and reminds me that a whiny child is not the end of the world. Multiple breakdowns, or 'you are so mean, mommy's, or flat out disobedience is not the worst that can happen in motherhood. Our challenges are still so small, relatively speaking, and days like today fill me with more gratitude than I can describe here for you.






And so I will leave it at this: a fist bump to all of the moms out there. We are a hearty bunch, and we probably aren't screwing up our kids as much as we think. We are to be celebrated today because we are truly rockstars.
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