Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Vivienne just said, "I'm good at finding throw up and pee."

You certainly couldn't eat off of our floors.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Holding Hands

I hope they do this for a lifetime.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

One Fish, Two Fish

After about three weeks of pretty regular pool time, Miles and Vivienne (and even Evelyn to some extent) are becoming quite the little fishes.  A couple weeks ago, Vivienne decided she didn't need her puddle jumper, and she has not used it since.

Visiting our local pool with our preschool friends (John, Quin and Emme and their younger siblings, Ruthie and Will) has become a favorite pastime of Mommy and kids alike.

Miles is usually found jumping off the side of the pool with John and Quin.

Vivienne now also jumps off the side of the pool and swims to us.  She will usually choose Miss Julia or Miss Marie over Mommy, which I think is adorable.  It's so cool to have other women in my children's lives that they love so dearly and feel so comfortable with.

Evelyn is now comfortable enough to let me carry her into the deeper water.  Her favorite pool activities are pointing out all my facial features, especially my nose, and trying to lower my bathing suit straps.  My little Chocolate Chip is becoming more comfortable in the pool each day, and will constantly ask to go back in the swimming pool (or "swimmy poo", as she calls it) when we're on the sidelines.

Of course, all this pool time makes for some pretty sweet naps.  (And some pretty green hair on Viv… going to pick up some anti-chlorine shampoo tomorrow.)

I often find myself laughing at how they throw themselves off the side of the pool with abandon.  There is complete commitment (by both Miles and Vivienne) to fling their bodies into the water as far as they can.  In our subdivision pool (where there is no lifeguard), they were running about 12 feet before they jumped into the pool.  At the local pool yesterday, the lifeguard kept having to remind Vivienne to go in feet first, because she does this belly flopping jump thing that sometimes ends up almost head first.  Gosh, I love these crazy little people.

So much fun and so many blessings in these great friends!

Friday, June 13, 2014

There's No Mommy!

*** The following was Jason's Facebook status a couple weeks ago. ***

(Overheard tonight after Leslie Fox left to have dinner with a friend, leaving me with dinner and bath duties. And you have to imagine this being said with the same fear as someone slowing realizing they are trapped in a sinking car ... with the last bit trailing into tears)

Vivi: "It's just daddy Evelyn. There's no mommy!"
#ifeelloved #iknowwhereistand

(Kids, someday we will explain to you what Facebook was.  And what hashtags were.  It was weird.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Little Miss Independent

To say that Evelyn is independent is an understatement.  I know all children go through the "I can do it on my own" stage, but Evelyn is taking this to an entirely new level.  Almost every time I try to hold her hand or help her with something (for example, preventing her from drowning herself), she will  say "No! No! No!"  She is definitely her own woman.

A couple weeks ago, our church showed Frozen on the big screen in the auditorium.  We took a big blanket and some camping chairs to set up our little "picnic" to watch the movie.  Evelyn insisted on carrying her big plastic lawn chair into the church from the van.  That chair is as tall as she is and she dragged it from the parking lot all the way into the auditorium.  Here is what happened when Jason tried to carry it for her:

Last week at the pool, she was walking down the stairs (to the big pool, not the baby pool) and was going to walk beyond where she could stand.  Of course, she also refuses to wear a puddle jumper.  When I tried to stop her, she cried and protested.  I figured the life guards probably wouldn't appreciate me letting my baby drop into the water, so I nudged her back up the steps, much to her dismay.  I spent the rest of our time at the pool trying to prevent her sneaking around me and jumping in the deep end.  Isn't this an interesting contrast to the little girl who would flip out if the tiniest of waves came anywhere near her toes (only a couple weeks ago)?

Evelyn is definitely at a stage where she wants to walk on her own.  If I try to carry her in a parking lot or even have her take my hand, she usually puts up a fight.  Luckily, she is also very easy going, so she mostly just pouts (versus throwing a full blown tantrum).  Nevertheless, she makes it clear that she would rather not have your help.

She is also growing and learning each day, saying 4-5 word sentences now and communicating very well.  She can climb up onto the couch without having to use a stool or get a boost.  She is drinking out of regular cups without straws.  Every day is full of new words and songs (she loves to sing "Let It Go" over and over and over).  I can't believe she will be two years old in just over a month… the age that Miles and Vivienne were when she was born.

"Baby Evelyn" isn't a baby anymore.  And she wants to be sure that we know it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mezza Luna Lavender Farm

This morning, my friend Pam suggested that we visit Mezza Luna Lavender Farm.  It's only about 10 miles from our house, and it was gorgeous.  The kids enjoyed playing with the corn hole game and having their faces painted by the owner's daughters.  We also cut a bunch of lavender to bring home.  Miles and Vivienne really enjoyed using the shears and our van still smells like heaven.

Cora rode along in the sling with her mom while Will helped pick out the lavender.

So pretty.  And that's the same sling I wore with Miles and Vivienne and Evelyn.  Be still my heart.

Miles and Vivienne love having their faces painted, which is a rare treat.

Viv helped Pam cut a few more pieces for her bunches.  And a tiny green bug went for a ride in Viv's hair.

After the farm, we headed to Chick-fil-A for lunch and to play in the air conditioning for a while.  And after that, we headed to a playground.  I had some hot, sweaty, happy kids.  Thanks for the fun morning, Miss Pam!

(In the above photo, Miles is actually waving "hi" instead of blocking the camera with his hand. A nice change.)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Vivienne Swims!

We go to the pool (either in our subdivision, at Grandma's house or at the Y) probably about 5 days a week… sometimes more often than that.  The kids absolutely love it.  Just this past Thursday, we had quite a development.  Vivienne started swimming without her puddle jumper!

Earlier this week, she started opening her eyes underwater and trying to hold her breath (versus just quickly dunking her head under the water).  She did this for about an hour, and her eyes were red until the next morning.  So I decided to get the big kids their first pairs of goggles, and I think this made a big difference.  They really like being able to see under the water.

This past Thursday, we were at the pool with our friends, Kristi, Daniel and Natalie.  Natalie is about the same age and swimming level as Vivienne.  The girls decided to try swimming a few feet without flotation devices, and they both just took off!  They were swimming back and forth from the stairs to either me or Kristi and then back again.  It was only about 5 or 6 feet, but they were doing this for such a long period of time that we had to force them to take breaks and catch their breath.

Vivienne is slowly building her confidence in the water.  Today she would walk hand-over-hand down the side of the pool and when she got close enough to the stairs, she would let go and kick her feet to the stairs.

I'm hoping that Miles starts venturing out of his puddle jumper soon.  Right now, he's adamantly opposed to removing it.  Evelyn, on the other hand, is adamantly opposed to trying one on.   *sigh*

I'm dreaming of a day when I don't have to be on quite such high alert at the pool.  Between the almost-2-year-old toddler who refuses help of any kind and refuses flotation of any kind (which is a deadly combination) and an almost-4-year-old who is just learning to swim without flotation, I feel like I need a 2-hour nap every time we get home from the pool.

But it's totally worth it.  And I have a killer tan.

Beach Trip 2014

A couple weeks back, we spent a week at Holden Beach.  We do this twice a year, and we love it every time.  This beach is really laid back… not much going on, which is exactly the way we like it.  We rent a house on the beach and just enjoy the surf and the sand, with maybe one or two day trips to visit the aquarium at Fort Fisher or grab some seafood at Calabash.

We started out mid-day on a Saturday for the short 3-hour trip to the beach.  The kids were so excited.  They have been asking for months "How many days until we go to the beach?"  It was so nice to say "One!" instead of "about 68!"

This was the first beach trip where I didn't even pull out my SLR camera.  I took all the photos with my iPhone because it was just easier to manage.  Also, there are very few pictures of Miles, because he is at a point where he pretty much hates having his picture taken.  Vivienne, on the other hand, requests to have her photo taken continuously.  We might just have to hire her a personal paparazzo to make her happy.

As soon as we arrived at the house, the kids ran straight for the beach.

It became immediately apparent that Evelyn wanted NOTHING to do with the ocean.  She loves the sand, but she would say, "No!  No!  No!" every time a wave came anywhere near here.  If a wave got close enough to touch her foot, she would start to try to run away from it.  The only problem is that she still can't truly run, so she would inevitably fall down and then the dreaded wave would get her hands and her knees and feet wet, and she would erupt in a puddle of tears.  She was more than happy to play in the sand all day, though, and that was fine with me.

Grandma and Grandad accompanied us on this trip.  It was great to have them there to experience the tranquility and sunshine with us.  The kids love playing with them, and it's just a special time together as a family.

If Evelyn did not have the most beautiful dark skin already, this trip surely put her over the top.  My little island baby became more and more tan with each passing day.  The darker her skin gets, the brighter her beautiful yellow bathing suit gets.

It is so much fun to see Evelyn in things that Vivienne was wearing not long ago.  My favorites have to be the bathing suits.  So… stinkin… cute.

Miles and Vivienne spent much time playing in the sand.  Jason and I would dig them big islands and moats.  They would climb up them and slide down.  We also dug enormous holes that they would jump into.  We played chase with them in between the holes (the holes were the "safe spots" and they would run back and forth between them trying to outrun us).

Miles could be content in the ocean forever.  I am sure of it.  He loves to sit and observe something and learn how it works.  He sat in the surf for nearly half an hour, watching his little green plastic hoe as it gently rolled up and down the sand with the waves.  He was mesmerized.

Of course, all this sun and water means that we had great naps and way, way, way too many episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba.  (Surely the people who make that show are on drugs.)

Jason and I went out in the surf one afternoon and did some boogie boarding.  It was a lot of fun and I eventually learned to catch some waves.  Miles also enjoyed it, though we had to give him a push to get him going.  Evelyn just loved dragging her boogie board around on the sand.

This was one of my favorite sand jumping shots.

And there can never be too many kisses for Grandma.

Vivienne is in a pretty serious "princess" stage.  She is constantly looking for ways to make a cape or a train or a dress.  She had a limited selection of clothing on the trip, so this sweatshirt became her cape.  She would hook it onto her bun and wear it around.  She's my ham sandwich, for sure.

Daddy got lots of upper body workouts with this shovel and wet sand.

All of our napping resulted in some pretty epic bed head.  This started as some perfect pigtails.  By mid-day they were looking pretty sad (but also pretty cute).

Evelyn is in a strong sharing phase.  She always likes to be sure that everyone has what they need.  In this case, she decided that Daddy needed a couple handfuls of wet sand.

It is fun to see Miles and Vivienne making up games of their own and running in the waves together.  They spent quite a bit of time doing this, and I love to just sit back and watch them.

On one of our last days there, Miles and Vivienne sat out in the low tide making sand castles.  They preferred the "drip method" on this particular day.  This building went on for at least an hour.  The tide was rising, so we gradually moved further and further up the beach as the waves engulfed our creations.

The girls are always happy to ham it up for the camera, but Miles is avoiding it.

When we took our afternoon at Calabash for some good Southern fried seafood, Evelyn just couldn't keep her eyes open anymore.  She fell asleep in the car and then slept on Daddy's shoulder until the greasy deliciousness made its way to our table.

My boy in his natural state.

And one day I finally caught a good photo of Miles before he protested and ran away crying.  :)

Miles and Vivienne spent many, many hours in the surf with us jumping over the waves and looking out at the water.  Miles will do this until his lips turn blue and he is shivering like a leaf.

Unfortunately, Grandad spent most of this trip under the weather.  He caught some sort of virus that kept him inside for most of the trip.  Luckily, none of the rest of us seemed to catch it.  On the way home, though, the exhaustion from all the fun hit Evelyn hard.

As I'm typing this, Vivienne is asking me, "Mommy?  How many days before we go to the beach again?"

Hmm… at this point, I think it's only about 90 or so… so close and yet so far.