Happy Birthday Uncle Jew!

Uncle Drew (my brother), or Jew as Ada used to call him and has begun to stick... turned TWENTY yesterday! I can't believe it. Drew: I'm so proud of you! You've had some major obstacles in your life that you have not only overcome; but come out a bigger, better guy. (I'm sorry, even though you're twenty now, I just can't call you a "man." Probably never will.) Here are some pictures of his family birthday party! (I don't even want to know what his birthday party with his friends looked like...)

First of all, here is a picture of Drew when he's about 6: (wasn't he adorable!? He drove me CRAZY but I still thought he was the cutest kid I'd ever seen.. so that says a lot!)

And here he is today: gettin' too big!

The fam at Oriental Gardens, Drew's favorite restaurant in the entire world. Seriously.

It's Drew's birthday, but of course it was all about Ada! Here she is lovin' on everyone.

(MorMor & Daddy)

(MiMi & Andi)
She entertained herself (and us) for hours playing in the curtains. They were capes. They were blankies for her butterfly. They were veils. They were curtains.

Ada ate only fortune cookies for lunch. Here she is reading one of her six fortunes:
*These pictures were all pirated from MiMi's and Andi's Facebook pages!!! :) I forgot my camera. So.. thanks Girls!*


My Little Artiste

So, Ada's baby girl room is getting a big girl revamp. And she has been DYING to get into some paint since this project commenced. Her painting preoccupation began in the Wal Mart paint aisle where she fell in love with all of the stirring rods, paint brushes, colors, and spilled paint on the floor. We seriously played "pain-ting" for 20 minutes on our first stroll down the aisle.

So, obviously, I had to let her paint something for her walls! Here's my quirky girl- dressed in her full artist get-up complete with 2-sizes-too-small pink tutu, Dora necklace, and pink backpack. I can see her 25 years from now living in San Francisco or Austin or NYC dressed in this exact outfit, painting pictures just like the ones she whipped up today! (Obvious disclaimer: I prepped the canvases with the background color and brown circles!)

Final product! ---
And all of the action caught on tape:

Skype Party!

We had a surprise party for PaPa with the whole fam on Saturday- via Skype!

Gathered for the big surprise:
(Casey, Kendra, Hanna, Julie, and Rylan in front)
Grandma and PaPa on Skype- I always feel like we're on Oprah when we talk this way!
Ada was being a total ham:
And a video of the actual thing. Nothing special.... I'm a nerd for even uploading it! :)


Picnic at the Park

Tuesday mornings are Library Group. Which we LOVE and look forward to all weekend. On our way this morning, however, someone pooped their diaper. A smelly one. And someone else had forgotten that we'd run out of spare diapers in the car emergency kit... oops! So we turned around, went home, changed that certain someone's diaper, and found something else just as fun to do instead!

We packed a lunch, strapped on our pink bike helmet, and rode up to the park for a picnic! There is so much joy to be found in the simple things sometimes- we had a total blast!

There's "chhheeeeeeeezzzzee" on my sandwich!
How irresistable are these thighs and tennies?
"Sliding! Woooooo!"
"Swinging! High!"
We finished the remainder of our sandwich on the ride home- I was just proud of her lasting the 7 minutes she did at the picnic table to eat half of it and scarf her strawberries!


Our Very Own Battle Hero...

If you hadn't already heard- Grandma and PaPa have already relocated to Dubai, and she had her first week of work in her new position in Basra, Iraq last week. Just as things were heating up between the British Military (stationed in and around the Basra International Airport) and the Shiites - perfect timing. We were talking on Skype with them yesterday and the connection was horrible, so I was only able to pick up bits and pieces of the conversation- but there were missiles fired at the main British base recently- but per Grandma, "we don't see quite as much gunfire at the base I'm stationed at..." AWESOME! She still stands by the fact that she's highly protected (she can't even lift the armored vest she has to wear herself!), and has an armed escort along with all of the other precautions they were already taking. But it's just not very comforting knowing she's over there punching numbers and making conference calls with terrorists firing missiles in the area!
British in Basra:

British at the Basra International Airport:

Shiites with RPGs or something scary:
All jokes aside- please keep Grandma in your prayers for obvious reasons, and PaPa in them too, because I'm sure he's missing her and worrying about her every week!

Reduce. Reuse. Repurpose!

I've been itching to redecorate Ada's room. I LOVE her ladybug stuff- but it's really babyish. So, in order to ease my strong urges to get started... I got started! Ada is so spunky, funky, cute, and creative- I wanted a room that reflects her little personality to a tee. So we're going MOD! I was all set to make her comforter since you can't find much for a toddler girl that isn't Disney themed- until I found this comforter at Wal Mart for only $29!
Granted, it's not toddler bed size- but I'll cut it in half and sew it back together if I have to!
So began my obsessive repurposing. I pretty much dumpster dove in my own house. We are going to buy her a white toddler bed, and just re-use her crib and matching furniture for kid #2 whenever that may be. I've already got some art and wall decor ideas brewing, and can't wait to finish up her new big girl bedroom! Here are some pictures of her "new" mod dresser and art table!

Art Table:

Dresser (there are two imperfections that drive me CRAZY- when I drilled the holes for the drawer pulls on the bottom 2 pink drawers I did it at an angle apparently- so they are a little off centered. But I am refraining from messing with it for fear of screwing it up more!):
More pictures to come as we work on the room! :) I've got a soft deadline of her birthday in mind- to make moving into her new bed an official milestone!


Happy Birthday PaPa!

Happy Birthday PaPa!! Here's a video message from Ada- it took a few tries. Toy Story was on the TV, and heaven forbid we miss a second of it the millionth time we see it! Now, beware. It gets RRRRREEEAAAALLLLYYYY embarassing for me for about a minute at the end of the film. But whatever it takes, right!? We know your computer hasn't been delivered yet, PaPa, but wanted this to be in your inbox for you as soon as you were up and running! :) (If this has 6 feet of empty blog space before the video- I apologize. I have no idea why it's been doing that lately!)


Motherhood's Tough...

This is not news to any of you moms out there- but being a mom is hard as hell. It was absolute heaven for the first 15 months. I couldn't get enough of it. Then came a premature case of The Terrible 2's about month 17. And now I'm running on fumes, here. Discipline, setting boundaries, dealing with conflict, asserting myself, handling stress, diffusing tough situations- these have never been my strong suits. And these are things that raising a toddler means you will encounter daily. Hourly. Minutely. And need to be done with grace, patience, love. Firmly yet gently. Present but not over bearing. Setting a good example by not responding with your own tantrum. Sound impossible? Yeah...

In fact, I just finished reading a ton of literature about Ada's escalating Toddlerhood- and it turns out I've been doing a buttload wrong- unraveling all of the positive love, attention, and building up I did for her first 1.5 years! And I'm feeling the need to confess and come clean- so I can have a fresh start this afternoon when Ada wakes up from her nap. Here are my mistakes that I will NOT make anymore:
-I've been forcing her to share and telling her she's being "ugly" when she says "mine!" Apparently that hinders self esteem and confidence. (Any suggestions for alternative ways to teach socially acceptable behavior? Because I am at a loss...)
-I've been ignoring her tantrums- trying to avoid giving negative attention. That enhances feelings of insecurity and aloneness.
-I get just as frustrated as she is sometimes. Great example.
-I even have a joke that I say "stiiinky!" when I change her poopy diapers- and that is even a kick her to poor self esteem. Per Dr. Sears "avoid words that imply shame." AWESOME, way to make my daughter feel ashamed of herself for something out of her control.

Ada is a pretty amazing kid. She's so smart. She has a really great sense of humor. She's uber-independent (often what sparks a confrontation). She's becoming very empathetic and in-tune with other's moods and feelings (doesn't always deflect a tantrum, but she's only 21 months). And if we can make it through the next year or so of toddlerhood without me ruining her, we will be safe!

I apologize for the Debbie Downer post.... but it was therapeutic just writing it down and getting it out in the open. Here's to renewed patience and tactics! :)

Ada and Bella

My BFF from college Roxy had a baby girl just 6 weeks after I had Ada- so they're lives are already prearranged up until college. They will both attend A&M, they will room together, and they will work at the Rec Center where they will stir up ALL kinds of trouble! I thought these pictures were cute- so here ya go! :)
Ada (7 weeks), Bella (1 week):
Bella (19 months), Ada (21 months)


Tour de Cypress

Now that the bulk of the yard is finished, we've got some more free time to do more FUN things as a family... so we got the bikes fixed up, put a kid seat on the back of Casey's, and bought Ada her favorite fashion statement yet- a pink bike helmet with monkeys, ice cream, and popcorn on it! She's obsessed with it. For 3 days straight she wore this thing morning, noon, and night!

She watched TV and ate meals in it:
She hugged Daddy when he got home from work, played in it, and wore it in restaurant game rooms:
Then we actually put the helmet to use... We rode up to a restaurant we've been meaning to try on our bikes! Ada LOVED IT. I think her rotation of squeals, "weeee!", "biking!", and "fuunnn!" are proof of a good time had.


What's Black, White, and Red all over?

My Canon PowerShot! And not just red- any color you can zoom in on! I have had this camera for YEARS- Casey surprised me with it before our first Europe trip (my last camera was pretty much a dinosaur of a digital camera). In fact, I've gotten the itch for a new one lately... until now! I stumbled upon the "Color Accent" feature today and can't get enough of it!!! Here are some of my favorites from our first photoshoot today- the first of many, I'm sure!

Damn, I wish I hadn't been so dull and played around with it before now! Oh well, let the fun begin. Katy, I know you are jumping for joy for me right now... since I've been oogling and obsessing over your color accented black and whites for how many years now!? WOOHOO! It's like Christmas in July!!!!

Black, White, and Yellow:

Black, White, and Blue (I love Ada's "surprised" face EVERY time she throws a rock in water and it "plops!"):

And now for my favorites that I couldn't bear to reduce down to fractions! Black, White, and Red:

Black, White, and Pink:
Black, White, and Green:

Blog followers, prepare for visual stimulation that your retinas have never experienced (and overload of Ada, my only half- willing model) over the next 1.5 months!

Happy Birthday MiMi!

HaPpY BiRthDaY MiMi!!! I'm sure MiMi wouldn't want me advertising her age to the entire world wide web... but let's just put it this way: Next year she'll turn FIFTY!!!!!! Here are some cute pictures of MiMi and Ada over the last year:

Ada and Murphy helping MiMi blow out her candles (today!):

MiMi: 48, Ada: 9 months
MiMi: 48, Ada: 15 months
MiMi: 49, Ada: 21 months
MiMi: 49, Ada: 21 months
As you might notice, I discovered the "color accent" feature on my camera today- and took about a zillion pictures. I'll post the cute ones soon. Get ready- it'll be about 50 photos!!!!