A Retirement Letter

Dear Mr. Bumb O. Chair,

You have been such an admirable addition to our family. After adopting and welcoming you into our home, you never once disappointed us. You have been loyal to my daughter, and are immensely loved by our family. It’s going to be quite an arduous adjustment to no longer share in your company day after day.

I deeply apologize for my daughter’s growth and strength–resulting in your retirement. If I could keep her from climbing out of your foundation, I would. Thank you for the past six months of your cooperation and support. We’ve shared wonderful memories with you–including several birthdays, Easter, our Marriage Celebration, Mother’s & Father’s Day, family vacations–& not to mention, the numerous ordinary, but nonetheless special days.

You’ve endured a lot while staying with us. You’ve tolerated dried-up sweet potatoes and poop explosions, never once complaining. And while your name was often mistaken for “Dumbo,” “Bumpy,” “Boppy,” and “Dumpy,” by friends and family, you always continued to hold your composure. Thank you for helping make my life a lot easier. You are Man’s Greatest Gift to the World. I would be honored to write you a recommendation should you need it in the future.

I pray you enjoy your temporary home in The Attic. I hope you will consider coming out of retirement in 2.5-3 years, as I will be grateful for your assistance once more. I will miss you dearly, my friend. But this is not goodbye–it’s “I’ll see ya later!”

Graciously Yours,
Momma Kate
(& Emmy)

{love at 6.5 weeks old 1st sight}
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8 Months

Emmalyn Grace
You are 8 months old!
{July 17, 2011}
My Sweet, Sweet Angel Baby,

The past month has been one of many changes and milestones. You are now not only crawling, but cruising through every room of the house. We can’t take our eyes off of you for one second–because if we do, your puppy’s raw-hide conveniently finds it’s way to your mouth. (yes. yuck!) 

You have met so many new faces over the last few weeks, including lots of cousins. Over The Fourth, Mommy, GG, & Grandpa, took you to Tybee Island, Georgia. It was your first vacation, as well as the first time out of Florida. I must brag say, that you were quite the star traveler. You were content either sleeping or playing with books and toys in your car seat. Mommy was a little concerned about how you were going to react to spending a week with 25 family members in ONE beach house, but you loved it! You sucked up all the love and attention. What was most wonderful about the trip, was that your great-grandma was there, along with all nine of her great-grandchildren.
You were especially fascinated by your three year-old cousin Carter, watching his every move and hanging on to his every word. You were entranced by his Lightening McQueen and Holley Shiftwell, swiping them from Carter every chance you got. You weren’t too sure about his little brother, Will, though. It was the first time you had been around someone your size, as Will is one month older, and you just didn’t know what to think of him. Will is a Professional Speed Crawler and I think it may have intimidated you. When the two of you were in the pack ‘n play together, he would literally use you as a stepping stone to get to the other side. I thought it was kind of hilarious and adorable. You–not so much.
The sand was where we could find you. You much preferred sitting in a puddle of water on shore, digging your hands in the sand, over splashing in the ocean. You only tried eating the sand a couple of times, making a sour face when you did. It was remarkable to me how easy-going you were. You made it stress-free for me to lather you up in sunscreen, tote you down to the beach for a bit, then let you splash around in the pool to cool off. Mommy even gathered up enough courage to ‘dunk’ you under the water for the first time. Even though I used to teach swim lessons for years, the thought of putting my OWN daughter under the water gave me butterflies. But I did it! [twice, in fact] And you were a champ! You didn’t even cry or suck up any water. Thata-girl!
This past month has also brought a lot of curiosity. (Some have been known to call you “nosey.”) Before you were even born, I told myself the importance of letting you roam and explore for yourself. [with supervision, of course] Well, Emmy, you must have heard me say that because you are not holding back! You love to venture off, touching every texture, & grabbing anything and everything you can get your hands on. Often times, you are happy to play with your basket full of toys in your room; grabbing each individual toy, looking at it, putting it to the side, then picking up the next one. You do this until all the toys and stuffed animals are sprinkled across the floor, then move on to pulling books off your shelf. 
My favorite part of your growing are the new faces you make. Lately, you’ve found your “surprised” face, widening your eyes and stretching your mouth into a perfect oval. You know you tickle everyone who sees that precious expression. You’ve also begun shaking your head “no,” which has Mommy bracing for the future & already dreading the teenage years 😉 There’s not a day that goes buy where I don’t hear you laugh. Your giggles are contagious, especially when Daddy throws you up in the air, or Mommy finds your ticklish spot.

Mealtimes are going very well. You know how to recognize the sign for “milk.” You start humming, “mmmm…”, followed by fussing until you grab a hold of that bottle. Yogurt melts are a hit in this house. You delicately pick them up with your thumb and pointer, but you haven’t quite figured how to completely get it in your mouth. Apples & sweet potatoes mix were a hit this month (mommy agrees!), as well as pears & blueberries. You eat solids 2-3 times a day, in addition to your bottle. There were a couple of days where you just weren’t interested and I thought maybe you were cutting teeth, but nope! Not yet! Your mama was a late bloomer in the teeth department, so no high expectations here.

Thank you, dear baby, for continuing to sleep through the night. 11-12 hours! wowza! There were a few nights where you stayed up to nine or later, but you mostly lay down by 8; and don’t wake up until 7:30 or 8:30. Oh, how I love you for this. I absolutely never get tired of greeting you in the morning. In fact, I actually get excited about it the night before. No matter what kind of day I’ve had, I know that when I wake in the morning, I can always count on your smile.

Your face lights up and a huge smile emerges every time Daddy comes home from work. The same goes for when you see your GG, Grandpa, Mimo, & Papo. You love climbing all over your daddy, touching and smacking his face. Another one of my favorite memories from this month is your new love of dance. I’m guessing you got it from watching your animated cousin Lucas, because now every time you hear music, you bounce up and down, kicking your legs to the beat–smiling from ear to ear. Do you see tutus in the future…?
A slight challenge this month as been our errand expeditions. I’m convinced a mother must have been the first to say, “You live and you learn.” Now that you’re older, you’ve embraced your mobility ability, and demand to be unconfined to your car seat. This means extra planning and cleverness on your mama’s part. Strip malls are the worst because do I keep you in your car seat and transfer you from cart to cart? But what if one store doesn’t have a car seat-friendly cart? [ehem, Stein Mart] Which store do I go in first? The one closest or furthest from the car? If I put you directly into the buggy, am I going to have to put you back in the car seat to drive to the other side of the strip mall because it’s one-hundred-and-five-freakin-
degrees outside? Oh, but wait, now it looks like it could rain! Are you as exhausted as I am?! With that being said, you really are well-behaved when we go out in public. I attribute it to the fact that we took you out from such a young age.
This past month also brought your first cold. Poor thing–you were snotty and stuffy for a good week. The boogie wipes could not keep up! But we made it through without a doctor’s visit, and I’m grateful we made it seven months before catching your first cold.

Becoming more boisterous has been a new hobby of yours. You discovered the volume of your voice while we were in Tybee Island. Maybe it’s because there were so many people, and you just wanted to be heard? Well, we’re listening Little One! & so was everyone else in church last Sunday. In addition to being a wiggle-worm, you were bellowing out “Da-Da” in harmony with the organ. I’m still waiting on “Ma-Ma” 😉

My wish for you, Emmalyn Grace, as we head into this eighth month, is for you to continue exploring and pushing your limits (even if mommy isn’t ready), and to never stop showing off your gummy smile!
You light up my life. 
I love you! 
Forever your mommy…
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I Heart America

I’m so thankful we are free to celebrate our country like this:
& this is what happens when you let your little cousin in on some picture-making fun:
we’re having a blast!!
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We Made it!

6 grandkids 
+ their spouses 
+ 9 great-grandkids 
+ 1 great-grandmother 
+ aunts & uncles 
+ 1 ginormous beach house
let the games begin!
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From the Mind of Me

Written last night…
There are so many random things on my mind. All throughout the day, I’m constantly ‘writing’ eloquent blog posts full of clever alliteration, metaphors, & all that other School House Rock stuff in my head. And all day I look forward to the peace and quiet, when my little love rests her sleepy eyes, and I can sit down and blog. But what happens? I’m too tired to think. Too tired to try and be all witty and clever–because truth me told, it doesn’t always come so easily to me. During the day when I’m elbow-deep in sweet potatoes and bubble baths? Yes. But not when I actually have the time to sit down at my computer. Wouldn’t it be nice if what I was thinking would just magically appear in text on a screen? Well maybe not everything, but at least the good stuff 😉

And instead of running to my computer when I feel like I have something important to say, or share, I just become stagnant and do, well, nothing. And I really hate that. Blogging is an outlet for me. Growing up, I always kept a diary or journal of some sort. The earliest I can remember keeping a diary was in first grade. I remember my grandmother giving me many diaries throughout my childhood. One with a cartoon dinosaur on the front. Another with Disney princesses. And of course, all of them had a lock and key. There was something so fulfilling about pouring all my thoughts out onto the crisp wide-ruled lines. 
(BTW, I highly dislike wide-ruled. I much prefer college-ruled.) 

I’d write about anything from the “scary gorilla at the farmer’s market during Halloween” (True story; circa first grade) to feeling left out at school, to what boy I was crushing on that month. There’s something so therapeutic to me about it. And if you’re a blogger, I’m sure you can attest to this, too. I still hand-write my private thoughts from time to time, but with modern-day technology I’m able to share more with family and friends. I blog not for popularity or bragging rights, but as a way to document my life for family and friends, living throughout the nation. I never knew I’d ‘meet’ such friendly and kind people along the way. I don’t think I even realized how beneficial other blogs could be to me. I have read so many inspiring, funny, and informative posts. 

I believe in freedom of blogging, but personally choose to steer away from negative and over-ranting posts. There’s enough negativity in this world. I don’t need to read about it every time I sit down to my computer. If I can’t say something nice, I’ll simply say nothing at all. (Thumper’s daddy was a smart bunny!) Negativity just leads to more negativity and bad moods, in my opinion. What started out as something I wanted to try, and received little support from skeptical friends and family members, has turned into a necessity in my life. Now, I am constantly encouraged by others to keep on keeping on.  


And that’s exactly what I’m going to do!


***For the remainder of the day, I’ll be putting on the final touches of packing for a week-long vacay at the beach! Last year, about twenty family members of mine from Florida, West Virginia, & North Carolina met at Myrtle Beach over the 4th of July; and this year, the gang’s headed to an island off of Georgia, where we’re all piling into a beach house.
Emmalyn & I will be shotgunning with my parents for the five hour drive tomorrow morning. And per usual, the hubster has to work at the hospital 🙁 We will miss him dearly!!!!!!  It’s Emmy’s second time to the beach, but first time on a long road trip, and first time on a real vacation. Wish us luck! 
And if there’s wi-fi like there should be, I’ll be sure to post pics!
Have a safe and memorable Independence Day!!! God Bless!! YAY USA!!!!!!!!!!
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