Emmy’s BFF

There’s nothing better than seeing your child happy. And over the last seven months, I’ve witnessed my young daughter extremely happy. I know a lot of her happiness has to do with meeting her best friend, Whitney. In January, Whitney’s mommy, Meri, and I began planning playdates for the girls. In doing so, we found out we had much more in common than just two brown-eyed little beauties. Not only are we both only children, but we also went to the same college and are sorority sisters! 
I knew right away Emmalyn and I had hit it off with Whitney and Meri. We all instantly felt comfortable with one another, and that’s difficult to find. Usually either the kids hit it off, but not the moms; or the moms hit it off, but not the kids. We often times laugh because the girls are so much alike. Their vocabulary and sentence structure is beyond a two year-old level, creating quite involved and entertaining conversations amongst themselves. Their personalities are also right on par with one another, too. They’re outgoing and sassy… always bringing attention wherever we go! I owe so much to Meri, who took a chance on us when she found out we would be moving eight hours away in a few months, on our first play date. She could have easily decided not to invest in us, & I was afraid we wouldn’t build a friendship based on this elephant in the room, but that never once stood in the way. If anything, it brought us closer together–teaching me to live in the moment & savor each and every day like it’s the last.
During the last several months, we have gone on so many great adventures with the girls–splash pads, water parks, music classes, gymnastics, picnics, amusement parks… just to name a few! My favorite memory with the girls was when we had a “Best Friends Photo Shoot” at a local park. There, we dressed the girls up in princess costumes and had a picnic. It was nostalgic to see such a young and pure friendship.
A rush of emotions fell over me when watching the girls chase one another through the park. I felt a sense of sadness that we have to move away when the girls are still so little. & I felt thankful that my daughter has gained such a great friend to keep for life. But not only did Emmalyn gain a best friend–I did, too. Meri’s friendship means so much to me, and Emmalyn seriously adores her. One day, Emmalyn ran to Meri and said, “You’re my mommy.” You’d think I’d be upset or a little jealous, but I wasn’t. I was thankful that Emmalyn could feel so comfortable around someone else, and think of her as a “second mom”.
While Emmalyn and I won’t get to see Meri and Whitney weekly like we’re used to, I know we’ll all remain friends. It’s heartbreaking at times to hear Emmalyn ask to go to Whitney’s house, or ask if Whitney will be at the park we’re going to, but we’re determined to stay in touch by having FaceTime play dates, and traveling back and forth to see one another. We’re even setting up a toddler “pen pal program” to keep the girls connected! It’s not every day you make a lifelong friend!
 
 
~
good friends are like stars.
you don’t always see them,
but you know they’re always there.
~
 
loyally,
katie 
*p.s. the professional looking photographs (a.k.a. non-iPhone pics) were taken by Steven Verlander Photography

The Day Being a Mommy Sucked.

I have never been more humiliated & embarrassed in my entire Mommy Life. Or, quite possibly, my entire life in general. What would make me feel this way? Taking Emmalyn to the movie theatre.

Whoever thought taking a two-and-a-half-year-old to the movies must be out of their damn mind. Oh wait–that idiotic person was me. Yep. I thought it would be adorable to take her to see Monsters University since she loves watching Monsters, Inc. (aka “Silly Monsters”) at GG & BopBop’s (my parents) house.

I have to commend my little girl because she did sit through the entire previews plus the ‘short’ they played before the movie even actually began. I became so confident that she was enjoying the movie–she was sitting on my lap and laughing. Up until about half-way through. Then everything changed….

We were sitting in the very top row, at the aisle. The theatre was completely packed. Well, Emmalyn decided she was going to watch the movie from the stairs. At first I didn’t like this idea–I wanted her to sit like a Big Girl in her seat (aka Mommy’s lap) but decided it wasn’t worth fighting over. Have you ever read the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Yeah, well that was the story of my life. If You Give Emmalyn a Stair … She’s going to want the stair below it …. and below that one … and the next one… I kept pulling her back up to our row, but she threw a fit! That’s when the few glances started. Whatevs. I could handle that.

But after several times of this “stair game”, I’d had enough, and carried Emmalyn out into the hallway, leaving my dear parents to hold our seats. I sternly explained to her that if she wanted to watch the movie, she needed to sit in her seat, NOT the stairs. So we tried it again. She listened for a good while, then the same thing happened. She would sit nicely on the top stair for a few minutes, then creep down one, then another, and another…

I took her back out AGAIN and AGAIN explained the situation to her. So AGAIN we went back to our seats.

Well…

Fool me once, shame on you… Fool me twice shame on meFool me three times and it’s time to get the eff out of the theatre.

Even with just minutes left of the movie, I carried a crying and kicking 24-pounder down the entire flight of stairs, out of the theatre. She was NOT happy. But there was someone who was even UNhappier than she. Care to take a guess? That’s right… ME!!

I was utterly embarrassed to be holding a kicking, hitting, and screaming 2.5 year-old while everyone was filing out of the theatre. I felt as if every single person’s eyes were burning into me. Judging me. It was awful. & I was furious.

I didn’t talk to Emmalyn the entire car ride home. The strength and effort it took to put her in her car seat should have awarded me an Olympic Gold medal in and of itself. Conveniently it was nap time, so I swiftly changed a (still) crying toddler into her jammies, and set her into bed.

That’s when I lost it. I try not to cry in front of my daughter, but I just couldn’t help it. With Blake currently being 1,300 miles away, I just couldn’t hold it together any longer. Emmalyn looked at me with those big, brown eyes of hers, and a big pouty lower lip, and said, “Don’t cry Mommy. What’s wrong?” I explained to her that I was very upset with her behavior at the theatre. That it made me very sad that she was kicking, hitting, and screaming.

She leaned over, told me she was sorry, and gave me a kiss.

Suddenly, it doesn’t suck so much to be a Mommy.

loyally,
katie

* So, anyone else have a similar experience? Tell me I’m not the only one! What did you do in this situation? *

Our First Flight–We Survived!

Welp, we made it back in one piece. Flying with a two year-old was quite interesting, to say the least.

Here’s a break-down of our trip and what I learned…

Flight to Texas:
Who’s terrible idea was it to make a child get out of their stroller to go through security?! Obviously they don’t have any children, otherwise they’d know that it’s absolute hell trying to get a toddler back into the stroller. My husband is usually the one to do such manual labor, when said toddler is kicking and screaming and squirming all over the place. Finally, between my mom, dad, and me, we manage to get Emmy into her stroller.

*Lesson Learned: I would suggest putting the stroller through the conveyer FIRST, that way I could work on getting Emmalyn in while the rest of our stuff was being scanned. Plus, Emmalyn would have already been in the stroller, freeing up my hands to unload everything off the conveyer.

While waiting at the gate, Emmy had a grand time running back and forth alongside the windows, pointing at the airplanes. She even spotted the University of Central Florida triathlon team and shouted, “U-C-F! Go Knights!” (The guys got a kick out of it)

www.katievanbrunt.com
 {i apologize for the crappy iPhone pics}

I made the decision not to bring Emmy’s car seat on the flight, but rather check it at the gate. (I also didn’t want to check it at the curb because I was afraid it would get beaten around too much.) The downside of all that was that we had to carry it from the car to the gate. In the end, not a huge nuisance.

So like I was saying, we let Emmy sit in the “Big Girl Seat” and she thought she was hot stuff. I thought for sure having her sit like a big girl was going to be the ticket to a smooth flight. But alas, I was wrong. When it was time to buckle up, Emmalyn didn’t want any help doing so. Normally she can buckle her regular car seat, but with this seat belt she had it backwards and refused to let anyone help her. Typical two year-old. She was thoroughly convinced she had it right and nothing was going to change that.

The flight attendant came over and told us we needed to get her in her seat. So… the screaming began… My daughter was quite frustrated and mad at me for forcing her in her seat.

Once she was buckled in, she seemed to settle down and was onto her next discovery.

www.katievanbrunt.com

One of the biggest suggestions I received from friends was to give her a lollipop at take-off. This was a huge deal for me because I’ve NEVER given Emmalyn a lollipop before. It’s a personal choice, but I strongly believe in not feeding my child(ren) candy. However, I made an exception because I was more concerned about her ears hurting with the change in pressure.

I laughed because Emmalyn looked at me and said, “What’s this? How does it work?” when I gave her the lollipop.

Side Story: Jelly Beans were the center piece of my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah (the reasons for going to Texas) and Emmalyn picked up every.single.one off the floor and threw them in the trash! That’s my girl! 😉

But I digress.

Overall, Emmalyn did OK during the nearly three-hour flight. Curious George on the iPad entertained her for a while, then a new game on the iPad. Then Girlfriend wanted to climb all over me, which drove me insane. But not as insane as when she wanted to go potty. Have you every tried to bring a two year-old into an airplane bathroom with you?! It should be an Olympic sport, people! Enough said.

Emmy threw another fit when we had to put her back in the seat belt to land. & again when we had to put her in the stroller after exiting the plane. Exhausting.

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Our time in Texas was filled with family, new friends, and plenty of laughter and memories. But that’s all for another post.

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Flight Back Home:
Again we had to take Emmy out of the stroller, and again, I wanted to beat up the person who implemented this rule. People were staring at us: Emmalyn screaming, and me with a determined-to-survive-this-flight look on my face, dodging innocent passerby’s.

*Lesson Learned: Never judge people dragging little people at the airport.

At the gate, Emmalyn didn’t want to sit still–she kept running off amongst a sea of travelers. Thankfully I could take turns chasing her with my parents. Not sure what I would have done if I were by myself… who would have watched my bags while I ran after her before she boarded a flight to Mexico?

Because Emmalyn wanted to play *musical air chairs* on the first flight, I thought maybe it might be a better idea to bring her car seat with us this time. It was worth a shot, right?

*Lesson Learned: BRING CAR SEAT ONTO FLIGHT!!!

Best! Decision! Ever!

www.katievanbrunt.com
{with Silly Putty, a.k.a. “peanut”}

Although she fought me getting into her seat, it was smooth sailing, er–flying, from there. I believe she did so well on this flight because her car seat brought her a sense of comfort and order. She didn’t ask to get out once during the entire flight. {Except for when we were descending and she said she needed to go potty… thank goodness for Pull-Ups!}

On our way to land, Emmalyn looked at my mom and said, “I can’t hear.” Poor thing, but it was cute. Thus, her second lollipop in history was distributed 😉 A little while later my mom asked her if she wanted a drink of water to help with her ears and she said, “No, I can hear now!” When we got in the car to go home she told my husband, “My ears are all better now.”

// // //

Overall, I’d say my first time flying with a toddler was a success. I know it could have been a whole heck of a lot worse… like the poor parents several seats behind us…. stuck with two very young, screaming children.

I was proud of my girl for going with the flow on this new adventure.

& proud of ME for surviving, too!

Now I just need a vacation from my vacation!

loyally,

katie

Our Cowgirl Boots Are Packed, Y’all

Tomorrow, I will be taking my girl on her first airplane! To Texas.

To say I’m a little nervous is an understatement.

If you know me, you know I’m a total planner; complete with a check-list of my check-list, and a chock-full of realistic possibilities stacked up in this little head of mine.

I imagine the worst-case scenario not because I’m a pessimist (I’m not!), but because I want to be ready. I expect the best, but prepare for the worst. I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA 😉

Overall, Emmalyn is a great kid. Strangers often comment on her laid-back demeanor.

But she’s two. & with that comes the “Terrible Twos.”

It’s funny because my husband and I have to remind ourselves that she is just two. We often *forget* because she’s so verbal. She talks better than some four-and-five-year-olds. So when she throws a ginormous tantrum we look at each other and say, “WTH? Why is she acting like this?”

“Oh yea.. she’s TWO.”

So anywho…. I’m nervous that she’s going to show her true colors on the airplane. & my husband isn’t going to be there to “lock her down” when she’s kicking and flailing her arms all over the place. Girlfriend is strong, yo!

I’ve reached out to people about their Tools of the Trade, to keep a curious toddler occupied, and here’s what I’ve collected:

Lollipops for her ears (which I’ve never given Emmy before)
A new toy… I bought a mini “I Spy” book with a mini magnifying glass, plus a friend is lending us a sticker book
Band-Aids (for her to open and stick all over herself)
Snacks!!! (granola, raisins, veggie straws)
iPad with headphones
empty H2O bottle
Books/Flashcards (I bound them together so they don’t scatter all over the place. Thank you, Pinterest)
Change of clothes
Emmy’s “nigh-nights” (her blankets) A MUST!!
Magna-Doodle
Plus, we are checking her stroller and car seat at the gate

// // //

Any seasoned mommas have advice for a newbie like me?

So our trip doesn’t look like this…

Please & Thank You!

& don’t forget to wish us luck!! =)

loyally,
katie

My 2 year-old

Having a two year-old is hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun!!
[1]
Weekly gymnastics class
[2]
Learning how to climb her dresser
{mommy also learned how to remove the dresser from her room}
[3]
Strawberry eating picking
[4]
Playing with mommy’s mascara
[5]
Family bike rides!
[6]
Weekly music class
[7]
Beautiful smiles
[8]
Park play dates
// // //
loyally,
katie

A quick note.

My girl is amazing. I could watch her movements all day. At only two years-old, she has such a natural confidence in her step–one I don’t even carry at twenty-six. Her spit-fire personality lures other children, even twice her age or more, to follow her around.

I can’t help but laugh to myself as she kicks off her rain boots to frolic about the backyard, barefoot. A girl whose eyes mimic mine, certainly does not take after me in this sense. She definitely favors her mommy, but is as independent as they come. Which, I must admit, I rather like about her.

loyally,
katie

A Chicka Chicka Birthday Party

A cool, overcast morning welcomed the start of my baby girl’s second birthday–a day I had been anticipating for a long time. Months of visualizing, planning, and creating was finally here. My favorite book as a child was about to come to life for my own daughter. 
Life is so much sweeter as a mother. 
I enjoy life immensely more, seeing things through my daughter’s eyes.

As if on cue, the clouds opened like a curtain, debuting the Florida sunshine. My vision of Emmalyn’s second birthday party was exceeded, above and beyond. Emmalyn was surrounded by a plethora of friends and family. The best part was that we actually had littles at her party this year! Seeing Emmalyn race to her friends in excitement, and introduce them to those around her, was a favorite moment of mine. (That–and the adult relay race we had!)
: : :
Just like last year, we hosted her party in our backyard. We’re sure going to miss this oasis when we move for B’s residency this spring.
 Chicka Chicka Bounce Bounce
Mama’s & Papa’s Mimosas
{spiked pink lemonade & sparkling peach moscato}
The guests signed a brand new copy of the book. Someone did not tell this mama that books cost $17.99 nowadays!? WTF?! I think I’m going to have people sign in a *themed* book every year for Emmy’s birthday.
Chicka Chicka Chicken (from Chick-fil-a) & Flip Flop Fruit
 Pileup Pasta
Full Moon Favors … a.k.a. Chocolate-covered Oreos with sprinkles!
Dare Double Dare Dip
Happy 2nd Birthday!
A B Cookies & Boom Boom Brownies
{a.k.a. diabetes brownies & death by cookies}
The moment Emmalyn had been waiting for all day!
 ! C A K E !
Yes, my child WOULD put all the candles back on the cake instead of actually eating the cake.
just a few of Emmy’s friends…
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It was a perfect day, for a perfect party, for a perfect little girl.

Thank you to everyone who made her party possible!!

& a special shout-out to my husband, who helped make Emmy possible 😉
loyally,
katie

Two.

My baby girl will be two in two days. 
I cannot believe it.
I cannot. I cannot. I cannot.
{the little engine who could, anyone?}
What was I saying?
Oh yes! Emmalyn will be two on Saturday.
It’s crazy. 
You know, when Emmalyn turned one, it was exciting to me. It meant we had *survived* the first year of parenthood. But now that she’s turning two, I’m kind of sad. It means she’s not a baby anymore. Now, some could argue she hasn’t been a baby for a while now with the way she can carry on a completely comprehensible conversation with strangers, but otherwise she’s a baby.
Two is not a baby anymore. She’s seriously so grown up. I know, it sounds kind of ridiculous, but she is. She says things like:
“How are you?”
“Where are we going next?”
“Name’s Emmy. Nice to meet you.”
“Indy’s a good boy. I feed Indy Cheerios. He’s hungry. Indy’s so funny.”
“May I have it?”
“Come here. I have to tell you something.”
“Did you have fun at yoga, Mommy?”
It’s unreal.
She knows her ABC’s, counts to 16, counts backwards from 6, can spell “Emmy”, and can do a forward roll. She sings songs from The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, in addition to the toddler standards.
& turning two would not be complete without a full-on tantrum in Target. One that involves kicking, screaming, and throwing oneself onto the floor–all because one does not want to sit in the cart.
Like I was saying, she’s not a baby anymore. 
Because I always look on the bright side, I know I should be thankful my daughter is two. & trust me, I am. I am seriously so super blessed to have a healthy and happy little girl.
But for reals… TWO?!
: : :
more to come // we are celebrating emmy’s 2nd birthday this saturday… chicka chicka boom boom style
even more to come // how i am doing two years after postpartum depression

: : :

loyally,

katie