Sunday, September 30, 2012

Party On: A Sporty 3rd Birthday

My sweet boy turned 3 (3!!!) over the weekend and the theme for his party this year was an absolute no-brainer: sports, sports, and more sports! Y'all? My little buddy loves any sport you throw at him: baseball (his favorite), golf (his other favorite), football, basketball, tennis, soccer. You name it, he loves it. He is quite the little athlete, our little Banks.

Because I am still recovering from a perfectly wonderful weekend of celebrating my favorite 3-year-old, full of family, friends, fun, and fantastic memories I will never forget, here is a photographic summary of the big 0-3 par-tay.

First up to bat (get it?), the decor:

The food table

Concessions, anyone?

Fore! Err...Three!

Empty vegetable can + cardstock = utensil holder

The beverage and favor table

Galvanized "B" tub for the bottled waters (don't worry...there were alcoholic beverages on hand for the grown ups)

Juice boxes + cardstock = easy sport drinks
Favors for the sweet little atheletes

 The loot: Cracker Jacks (of course!), balls, and whistles

Up next to the plate, the food (get it? get it?):

Foods found at your standard concession stand (e.g., corn dogs, hot dogs, sliders, etc.). Yummy! And easy!

Every good sporting event has fresh popcorn...

...And roasted peanuts

Cake balls from the AH-MAZING Dough Mommas. Seriously. Order some today. Delicious!!!

Homemade, Reese's Pieces basketball cake for the birthday boy!

Out-shining us all, the all-star himself (and his little sister):

Custom shirt, made by etsy seller Fly Duds. Personalized visor made by Momma

Athletic little sister, wearing top and skirt made by Momma

My sporty little loves

Could not be prouder to be this little boy's Momma

Our little family of four

Fun for all, come on down!:

There was a mini ball pit for the littlest guests (Raleigh needed to try it out)

A new trampoline, courtesy of Aunt Jess, Aunt Whit, and their families 

Every sporting activity imaginable

And a bounce house of course!

Rounding out the line-up, just a few of the family and friends who made the trip to the Mill to celebrate:

The Nobles, Nettles, and Luton boys


Cameron loves watching her older cousin play sports. Captivating.

Sports are fun for boys of all ages

Four generations

Raleigh even had a few friends come to the party

Teamwork at its finest to install a little something special for the bday boy

Cousin Kristen got in on the action

Back porch relaxin'

The oh-so-proud Momma and Daddy

Closing things out with the face of a little boy who loved his gift from his Momma and Daddy...

His reaction to seeing his gift...

...A big boy basketball hoop!!

It's safe to say we had an absolutely wonderful, never-forget-it kind of day. It's also safe to say the guest of honor thoroughly enjoyed himself. 

Good thing I have three months before the next (first!) birthday party arrives for our littlest family member. Celebrating the big 0-1 is always a doozy...

Friday, September 28, 2012


Just one breath. 

That's all it took.

Just one glimpse.

And I was hooked. 

Just one second.

And I knew.

Just one cry.

My heart was full.

Just one evening.

Life began.

Just one view

of that small hand.

Just one time.

I breathed you in.

Just one moment.

We stood in.

Just one minute.

You appeared.

Just one miracle.

Why I'm here.

Happy 3rd Birthday (one day early) to the one who made me a Momma.

My Peanut. My Buddy. My "favorite little boy in the whole wide world." My sunshine. My Banks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I am...

I am...

  • Adjusting to life in a small town. Coming from Atlanta, Fort Mill is slightly smaller. This means there is no longer a Starbucks on every corner. This means I have to drive more than 2 miles to get to the grocery store. BUT this also means that there is this soothing, peaceful calm that welcomes us on our back porch each evening. This means that everyone, and I mean everyone, waves as they drive by my children and I as we go on our afternoon walks around the neighborhood. This means that I am forced to slow down and enjoy the small things, which just so happen to be the big things when I step back and get some perspective. 
  • Absolutely, head over heels, in L.O.V.E. with my new job as a stay-at-home momma. Oh, there are some trying moments for sure, and I am more physically exhausted by the end of the day. But even my hardest day is better than my best day was as a working momma. Because I get to be with my babies and see the world through their eyes. So, tiring? Yep. Rewarding and an absolute dream come true? You betcha. And I hope anyone and everyone who reads this knows that again, I feel very, very, very lucky to get to have this job at this point in my life. The blessing does not go unnoticed, and there have been grateful tears to my hub more than once a week so far. 
  • In complete disbelief that my little buddy is turning 3 this week. Say wha?!? Y'all? I swear I was just being wheeled into the OR for his delivery after my body opted not to proceed with labor after a looooong day of progress, that later stalled, that I was later quite grateful for, after he was born and weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces and was 23 inches long. Thank you body. But I digress. Y'all? My little buddy is turning 3 this week. Which means in 3 more years he'll be in kindergarten. Which means 3 years after that he'll (hopefully!) be a fluent reader and, likely, having to re-teach me those elementary school math tricks. Which means 3 years after that he'll be a TEENAGER. Which means 3 years after that he'll be driving. Which means 3 years after that he'll be in college. Which means SLOW DOWN time because I am not ready for him to leave home yet! We still have footballs to throw, basketballs to shoot, and bugs to collect.
  • Feeling so, so blessed that I am the lucky one who was chosen to be Raleigh's momma. She makes me want to be a better woman, every single day, just to make her proud. Her two-teethed grin and genuine belly laugh make my heart soar. Seeing her crawl with all she's got, often to keep up with her big brother, tells me that she is a determined little soul, one who does not let anything get in her way. She likes to sit back and take things in but then will dive in head first when she is ready. But also? She is going through quite a bout of separation/stranger anxiety right now. This means she is only happy when her momma is within her sights (or, in contrast, when her momma is out of her line of vision and thus momentarily forgotten). I don't mind though. I just soak up these extra snuggles from my girl. Because one day, when she is a teenager, I have a feeling she won't be as welcoming to her momma.
  • Thankful, blessed, grateful, in awe of true and genuine friendships. Some (the best!) take the form of sisters. Others (the other best!) take the form of women I have known for over 10 years--those who love me, love my hub, love my babies, support us, support my life. Lift me up. Let me fall. Pick me up. Share their lives with me--what a privilege to know them. To love them and their hubs and their babies. They know who they are. They make life, well, full. And fun. And fantastic. 
  • In love, love, love with my hub. That is all.
  • So excited that Fall is upon us. If not for the leaves changing, bite in the air, smell of autumn, arrival of college football, time for hearty soups for dinner and hot coffee accompanying breakfast (okay, who am I kidding? Coffee is a must for every season, every month, every day), at least for the arrival of Pumpkin Spice Lattes. 
  • Admittedly, tired. We are still unpacking, still making lists of things we need for our new home, still figuring out my daily cleaning schedule (since the house cleaner was left behind, along with my job, in Atlanta), still trying to learn how to cook (hopeless), still in the midst of final party preparations for this weekend's birthday bash, still recovering from a very fun weekend full of family, and still learning how to be the best stay-at-home momma I can be. It is the best kind of tired, though.
  • Still so happy that all three of my biological siblings were in town, at our new house, at the same time, over the weekend. After a day spent wedding dress shopping for my baby sister (!), my sibs, their spouses/fiances, my niece, my hub, my babies, and I were able to kick back, relax, and enjoy a little football, family, and fun. And adult beverages. Perfection.
  • Tired. Did I mention that? Time for bed...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In Her Eyes

In her eyes, he hung the moon.
Each morning, she can't see him too soon.

She watches him with curious eyes;
Takes in each smile, frown, and sigh.

She follows every step he takes,
Mimics every move he makes.

She breathes him in, from head to toes;
Trails behind wherever he goes.

Her smile is biggest when he is near.
Her giggles, unstoppable. Her heart without fear.

He is her hero. Her shining knight.
To her, all he does is right.

She loves that boy like no other.
He's her one and only, her big brother.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Family Fill-In

So, I am now three weeks into my new job as a stay-at-home momma.

I have already learned so much over these three weeks, about myself as a momma, about my kiddos and their needs, and about my new life, that I will post about over time. 

For now, though, I thought I'd post a little something I like to call "Friday Family Fill-In." From time to time, I'll post about our week's activities, in order to (1) document what we do so I can re-use these activities with Raleigh when she is older, (2) share ideas with other mommas who may be looking for fresh ideas for their kiddos, and (3) use this as a forum for any other mommas who want to share fun things they do with their kiddos, 'cause I am certainly new at this stay-at-home momma gig and always looking for new activities.

Regardless of when I was working a full-time job as a pediatric neuropsychologist, or now, in my new job as a stay-at-home momma, my goal has ALWAYS been to enjoy every second I am blessed enough to have with my little buddy and little lady. That being said, I recognize that allowing for independent play and freedom of choice in what we do are extremely important,  developmentally appropriate, activities. And I certainly allow time for these things throughout the day. Actually, one of my most favorite things is to sit back and watch my little guy's imagination run wild.

However, I also aim to have a planned activity for each day as well as lots of outdoor play in the afternoons after nap time. For us, the latter is a no-brainer since my son loves being outside more than his momma loves sweets (which is a LOT).

Anywho, I thought I'd kick off this "Friday Family Fill-In" by sharing one of my favorite planned activities, one I anticipate that we'll be doing quite a bit: reading a book and then tailoring the day's activity and snack around it. 

Last week, we read The Big Red Ball and the Little White Kitten, a book Banks knows all too well and one I thought would capture Raleigh's little 8-month-old attention span. 

After our morning read, we made, what else, the big red ball:

 A little red yarn + a red plastic ball and voila 

This was followed by some freaky lookin' delicious kitten peanut butter toast:

The next day, Banks wanted to continue arts and crafts related to The Big Red Ball... book; so, we made the "squishy orange fish" from the book:

Banks doing his new, most favorite activity, cutting. Raleigh getting in on the action.


And what an easy snack that followed, Goldfish of course!

Why I thought a picture of a bowl of Goldfish was necessary is beyond me. 

Banks then requested to make the "fluttery blue butterfly" from the book:

We had so much fun! And Banks was so proud of his art projects.

One day this week, we elected to ready The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

I'll let you guess the creative creature creation that followed:

 Practicing using the glue stick

And for a snack, caterpillar kabobs. Delish!

I am loving that being a stay-at-home-momma is letting my creative, 5-year-old side come out.

Please stay tuned for the next "Friday Family Fill-In" post, coming soon...