Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Meaningful Memory

I've been wanting to do this post since my last bah-humbug post and have been afraid that I won't do it justice.  I will try tonight and see how it all comes out.  First, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We sure did!!  On that last post, I referenced that article from a blog that I don't know, Jen Hatmaker.  I had never read her before but that doesn't mean that I won't check in from now on to see what she has to say.  There are several blogs I read of people that I don't know.  At times, this feels really weird to me and sometimes I find myself questioning whether or not I should keep reading it.  Most of them are very public blogs that millions of people read so I don't feel like too much of a stalker.  One of them is Enjoying the Small Things by Kelle Hampton.  She is a beautiful writer and her blog really took off in the public eye when she had her second baby that came with an "extra magic chromosome" as she calls it; Downs Syndrome.  Anyway, she wrote a post at the beginning of the month and at the end of it she asked what your most magical, meaningful childhood memory of Christmas is.  For me that is a tough question.  There are quite a few because I've always had a very blessed Christmas experience.  But, when I truly sat and thought about it, all those Christmases growing up I came down to one person in my life. 

When I think back on my Christmas memories she is the person that I see.  She always truly enjoyed her time with us at Christmas time.  I loved going to the airport or to the MARTA station to pick her and Grandpa up for the week.  There was always so much anticipation.  And, I was always so excited to show her my new Christmas outfit on Christmas Eve when we would all get dressed up to go to church and then have a nice dinner.  And, she always came with us to church then even though throughout the year she didn't go to church, not having been raised Catholic.  On Christmas morning, she just loved watching us open our gifts and I know she has so many memories of all her grandkids and our excitement on those mornings after Santa had come.  I still remember the year that I found out the truth about Santa and she sat down on my bed with me and asked me about how I was feeling and if I was okay.  I will always remember watching the movie "White Christmas" with her and how she loved singing the songs with us and seeing the girls dance in the movie. 

She is my most Meaningful Memory.  Since she has had her stroke (6 years ago) and I have been married and had at least Brice, Christmas has been different.  We used to always be together ON Christmas Day but now we (Reynolds) usually travel to Charlotte, NC to see her before the actual day.  My Aunt Deb has been gracious enough to go pick Grandma and Grandpa up in St. Louis and fly them down to Charlotte so that we could all see each other for the holidays.  This year we did it differently again and my grandparents stayed in St. Louis and my aunt's family went there to see them while my parents stayed here to spend the actual Eve and Day with us.  My cousin Jonathan and fiance are now up in St. Louis and my cousin Kristen is in Chicago so we (they) made it all work.  I, of course, hated not getting to see my grandparents at Christmas time this year, especially since they have never met Kyle.  While I know things must change (with new spouses, and babies) and new memories have to be made, it still stung a little, or maybe a lot, when Jonathan sent me this picture with the caption, "Merry Christmas from Grandma".

I love you, Grandma!  Merry Christmas to you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Next Christmas

I have been in a bah-humbug mood today.  The rain, the rain, the rain.  Having the kids home with so much excitement.  Not having all the shopping and wrapping done yet.  I think I'm just kind of ready.  Ready to celebrate.  All day today, I just kept thinking things such as, "Next Christmas...I won't wait until the last minute to do this or that or whatever".  "Next Christmas, I will plan things for the kids to do."  "Next Christmas, it will be easier..."  Then, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror while Kyle was up on my shoulder.  I wanted to cry.  "Next Christmas...I won't have a baby."  And, then I looked down at Anna who was playing with her princesses on the steps, "Next Christmas, I won't have a three year old little girl...or a six year old little boy."  I am realizing that this year is probably our last year for Brice to think there is a Santa.  And, frankly, I am totally okay with that.  I was reading Moments With My Miracles (see sidebar) yesterday and she had a link to another blog post and it hit home.  Moments With My Miracles' post title was "This Christmas".  I will enjoy this Christmas and everything that it is worth but Next Christmas will focus more on what this blog post has to say.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Claus

I admit it, I think seeing Santa is kind of a pain in the butt.  Justin has all these great videos of himself when he was a kid going to see Santa and I can only remember having one picture of myself on his knee, screaming.  Part of that is probably due to the fact that I was told the truth when I was only 7 years old.  I then promptly ruined it for my the four year old sister.  Mean.  Awful.  Pretty sure she might still hold that against me.  I realized just how mean this was on our trip to Disney when I heard Brice say to Anna, "You know, Anna, that is not the real Mickey Mouse, it's just a guy with a head on."  I tried to shush him quickly hoping that maybe she hadn't heard or understood completely.  He has questioned Santa a couple of times this season until yesterday when a letter arrived from the big guy himself.  Brice was sold.  Only for a minute did he ask, Did Mrs. Grimes write this because this is the same lettering she uses (font)?  I totally lied, "No, Santa probably just knows that you know how to easily read that font.".  Ugh.  I hate lying to him because he is so smart.  I want him to always "hear the bells" (Polar Express) and believe in the magic and the love of what Christmas is.  I tried to soak up this visit with Santa for those very reasons.

We took the kids last Friday afternoon and walked. right. up.  No line.  Spoiled kids don't even get it!  I didn't even have Kyle fully dressed!  Brice jumped right up on his seat and talked (would like a magic set, Georgia watch, and surprise) and even gave a "Go Dawgs!" and barked.  Yes, he barked with Santa Claus.  Anna was still apprehensive but she told herself and us that she wasn't going to cry this year and she didn't.  She didn't want to sit next to him, just stand but she told him herself what she would like for Christmas this year (bike, Cinderella DVD, Cinderella doll).  Brice then told Santa that Kyle might need some new baby toys and some diapers.  It was the easiest Santa trip ever.  If it was always like that, I might not dread it or think of it as pointless.

The official pose that we bought.  I just thought they all looked sweet in this one.  No fake smiles and no tears.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Anna's Birthday(s)

We had family over early in December so that we could celebrate Anna's birthday with them.  Then, of course we headed to Disney but were back home for her actual birthday on the 13th.  That same day she had her Christmas Program at school and I fear this will be the story of her life.  Somehow though, I know Anna will not let her birthday be overlooked.  After her program and school party, I had cupcakes and we sang to her and she soaked that up.

First, pictures from the family celebration.  I'm sure you can guess what the theme was...

 Eyeing those presents.
 Grandad asking her which one she was going to open first.
 Cinderella and Prince Charming play set.
 She received a puppet that you can change the face on...Brice wanted to try it out first.
 She had a bad cold so we made her pick out a piece of cake to put the candle on and that way she would only be blowing on her piece.
 Three years old!

 Had to document Pa eating cake!
 Anna and Nana playing with her new tea set.

And, then here are the pictures from school...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Favorites From Disney

On our 3rd day at Disney World, we went back to Magic Kingdom.  It was so fun because there was no pressure to get everything in, we were just able to do our favorite things.  Although, I'm pretty sure Brice's favorite was in Hollywood Studios when he learned how to draw Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.  He went to the attraction that showed how the cartoon artists do it and then sat down to do his own.  Here are a couple of pictures from Justin's phone.

And then there was my favorite memory from the whole trip.  We knew they lighted the castle at 6:15 every night so the last night after dinner, Anna and I headed over to get "seats".  I walked right up and we were in the third "row"!!!  The whole lighting was awesome and just puts you in he Christmas spirit.  Combine that with the wonder of a 3 year old Cinderella obsessed little girl and you have true magic!

(sorry for the sideways video at first, Justin didn't realize he couldn't edit the video and was trying to capture the whole castle.)
But, in all seriousness, this was my favorite mother-daughter moment to date.  I had tears in my eyes the whole time thinking about my sweet girl and her actual birthday and how close we came to losing her and I just couldn't soak up the moment enough.  In case you can't understand her, she says, "Say Bippity-Boppity Boo, Fairy Godmudder" and then wants to know where she is going and then "I want to get in that castle."  Feel free to watch it over and over again like we have. :)

So, after all that magic, we just sat and looked at the beautiful castle and then had a nice man take our picture as a family.  These turned out so well, I would have used them for Christmas cards except Kyle wasn't with us. :(

And, those are our Favorites From Disney!!!  Posts to come, Anna's birthday celebrations, (as if Disney wasn't enough!), and seeing Santa.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Day in the Life of Cinderella

Go ahead and get yourself a drink and maybe a snack because this is going to be a long post.  I am going to try and combine Anna's birthday with our second day of Disney.  I wanted to remember what she is like on a day to day basis so I will be interjecting little tid bits throughout the post of  A Day in the Life of Cinderella ("Cindergrella").  And, first let me say, Happy Birthday to my Dad!!!  I know Anna was one of the best gifts I ever got, but I'm pretty sure me having Anna on his birthday was by far the best gift he has ever received!

Our second day at Disney World was the big day.  As in, we got to meet not only Cinderella but Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Mermaid.  We were able to book a lunch in the "country" of Norway of Epcot and it was delicious.  Anna knew we were going to be going and had her dress all ready to go.  I took Anna over to the area early so that we could get her all ready for her princess lunch.  Then, I just let her be in her own little world, which Anna does very well.  Hanging around the house, she often will just walk around, singing her songs, pretending she is either one of the princesses or Deedee Doodle from the Doodlebops.  I love watching her pretend and will sneak up on her sometimes just to observe.  She also loves to read to her baby dolls or pretend that she is a teacher with her students.  She loves music and always has a song request when riding in the car.

So, here she is in her own little world just before the lunch.

When we arrived at the lunch, we were immediately taken to meet Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  Anna was so excited and brought her coloring book that she wanted to show all the princesses.  She had me fix her hair just so and put earrings on her so that all the princesses could see.  This is also so Anna, must be "together" every day.  She had her picture made with Belle and then had Belle sign her sticker book.  She was shy but very smitten as well.

After we met Belle, we sat down and had lunch and then the princesses came out and it was just so sweet watching her meet them.

 Trying to pose like a princess with her hands.
 She finally got to meet Cindegrella!!

My favorite part of the lunch was when Snow White came over to see Anna and she said, "Well, hello there, what is your name?"  Anna threw her hands up in the air and said, "Cindegrella!!" very loudly.  She was so proud to be dressed like Cinderella and Snow White just laughed and said, "Well, of course you are!".

Other cute things Anna says are, "fanks" for thanks, "ho-tale"=hotel, she pronounces her l's very well and we love when she says words like "jelly", "silly".  She also says, "Daw-de" when saying "Daddy" and one of my favorite things is when she is crying and upset and we say Anna, calm down, stop crying, she responds with "But my tears still make me cry" and a fresh set of tears roll down her face.  Other cute phrases, "I want to be holded", "I felled over", "It's okay, Kyle, don't cry", "Bwice, whachoo doin'?", "Was that me or you Bwice?" that was said after a toot at the dinner table!  If only I could bottle up her little voice, I would!

So, after all the princesses made their rounds, they had a parade with all the little girls in the restaurant.  Anna didn't want to go at first but did line up and followed all the other girls around.  She did well until the little girl behind her wanted her to line up straighter and tried to gently direct Anna.  Anna wanted no part of someone touching her back and was a little upset after that.  It was really such an awesome day for her and for me just watching her meet her favorite ladies.  Little did I know that the most precious memory was about a day away.

I will post tomorrow about the rest of our 2nd day at Hollywood Studios and leave you with a typical Anna day.
-Usually wakes up around 6am
-Pancakes and pink chocolate milk for breakfast
-Loves to watch the Doodlebops
-picks out her own clothes and accessories to match
-plays very well by herself and/or leaves for school easily
-still naps about every 3rd day for about 1-2 hours
-rubs her Carly-bunny's ears to go to sleep
-rubs her own ear when Carly isn't around
-can take herself potty
-still not going through the night dry (will be bringing this up at her check-up)
-is a fairly good eater
-goes to bed between 7 and 8 each night depending on naps
-loves books and to be read to
-still loves for me to sing "You Are My Sunshine" and knows all the words
-such a sweet girl and will spontaneously say, "I love you."
-gives the best hugs...when she wants to
-still is feisty and spunky as the day she was born

Happy Birthday, Anna!  We love you!