Another First!

This time we are talking the Kiddie Park! What a great place to introduce Lauren to the world of amusement parks. It’s a place where she can enjoy just about all of the rides and if it were up to her, she would have been on them all – over and over again. I guess Lauren got the love to be dizzy and have her stomach relocated to her mouth from me as Ryan can not stand roller coasters nor does he have the stomach to go around and around. I guess LP is lucky I can still tolerate them (although I’m sure there might be some in the near future that will require me to visit the chiropractor afterwards). I digress…

Lauren had a wonderful time at the Kiddie Park and we were so glad to share the experience with her grandma & grandpa. Our first stop was riding around in circles on the back of a turtle as we were jerked around. I’d say the first few minutes were enjoyable enough but for a kiddie ride, it was about 5 minutes too long. Children’s attention spanes only go so far and when they are surrounded by a lot of other rides, Lauren was ready to try, “that one” about half way through. The little cars that she drove herself were another matter however. She was so cute! She’s such a serious driver, hardly taking her eyes off of the road to look up at all her fans crying her name and definitely not going to take her hands off of the steering wheel to return a wave. She had such a good time driving herself that we had to revisit the little cars again. We also enjoyed a train ride and then the carousal (it’s been a long time since I’ve been on a carousal…I don’t remember them being so fast! All I could envision was LP going over the side – I hung on super tight!). Lauren road on a truck with her Grandma and I even gave in to her continual request to go up in the airplanes by herself. It was a night filled with family, fun, popcorn and staying up past her bedtime. I guess that’s pretty much what summer is all about, right?!

Check out some pictures of us at the Kiddie Park, click here!

The Inseparable Trio


Before a few days ago, Lauren would play with her dolls Chloe and Baby Doll when it was convenient. However, now they have to go everywhere in the house with her. In the morning before getting out of bed she’s already asking for them. When going downstairs for breakfast, they must accompany her. When in her highchair, both dolls must be propped up in daddy’s chair, wearing bibs (she also demands that I wear a bib quite frequently…whatever it takes to get her eating on those mornings we are rushing off to swim). They are even present during lunch. Today while I cooked, LP placed a bib on Baby Doll and put her in her highchair. After serving her a lunch a varies plastic fruits & veggies, she wiped Baby Doll’s face and hands and then followed the same routine with Chloe. Snack time is now a time to lay on a pallet of pillows with her two dolls as they all share a banana. The past two nights Lauren has even requested them to be at the foot of her crib while she sleeps, but last night there was no such request so we put her down with only her dog Soda and blankie. She had another little stuffed dog and bunny at her feet instead of her dolls and that seemed just fine…until 3:00 am when she woke up crying. This is so unlike LP but instead of rushing up, I gave her a few minutes to see if she could calm herself. As soon as she started calling “Mommy, Mommy” I was getting out of bed. Then she called out, “Babe Doll, Chlow.” I knew then what the problem was and brought them upstairs with me. I found her sitting up in the corner of her bed just too cute not to smile. She had gathered up all three stuffed animals that were in her bed and was hugging them tightly. I searched for her blankie but couldn’t find it until Lauren informed me that it was in her “hand”. I placed Chloe and Baby Doll at the foot of her bed and asked Lauren if she wanted to go back to sleep, she just shock her head yes and continued to sit up so I then asked if she wanted Mommy to lay her down. Another yes. She tossed and turned for quite some time after that but finally settled down. The dolls must have done the trick. And they were still in the exact same place when I greeted her this morning. I’m sure as the days go by, we will have a whole photo album on here devoted to Lauren’s adventures with “Chlow & Babe Doll”.

A Splishin’ and a Splashin’

Last summer Lauren just loved her kiddie pool but was not too sure about Grannie & Papaw’s big pool. This year over the Memorial Day Weekend at Ryan’s family reunion it was clear that Lauren wasn’t going to have any reservations about the big pool…so we enrolled her in swim lessons this summer. It’s a Mommy and me class that introduces the kiddos to the water and teaches the parents how to handle them in it. Lauren is in heaven each time we step into the pool. It’s hard to say which part she likes best because the whole class is pretty much just a big party for her. She loves sliding into the pool and can’t get enough of floating on her back – which she is pretty much doing completely on her own. She also enjoys jumping into the pool from a seated position as much as when she’s standing up. She always comes up with a big smile and giggle after being submerged and generally only takes a second before she’s requesting, “more”. Lauren is the kid that is kicking her feet and slapping her hands in the water in order to splash it in her own face. She’s completely unaware that the waves she’s making is also splashing the other kids and they aren’t as excited by the prospect of getting their faces wet. I was even taken back by the fact that she intentionally splashed the instructor in the face the other day. I’m not sure if she really knew what was going to happen when she did it because she looked as surprised as Ms. Glynda. Is this really my mild-mannered, sweet little girl?? It is so amazing to see her coming out of her shell some place else besides home – and I’m starting to think that this is only the beginning…the shy little Lauren might be a thing of the past…does that mean my sanity as well?? And as much as Ryan and I talked before of how much fun a pool would be, it’s certain that if we do ever get a place that could accommodate the type of pool we’d like…LP’s love for swimming might just solidify the deal. Lauren is having such a great time at swim, we enrolled her in the July classes too where she should be learning some new things. We all can’t wait to see what’s still to come! Watch out, Natalie Coughlin!!


“Happ Dada Day!”

That’s Lauren’s interpretation of Happy Father’s Day. We had a very eventful day of being outside…picking & eating mulberries from the tree in the backyard, picking “flowers” for Daddy (which are really tiny green persimmons that have fallen off the tree but LP is insistent that they are flowers…to her credit, they do look like little flowers), washing cars, and splashing & sliding into the kiddy pool. At the end of the day, we were all worn out. While today was a special day to celebrate the Father’s in our lives, it’s important to share our gratitude and love for them as often as we can. Sometimes in our busy lives I find it easy to take for granted all that Ryan does as a father. I’m so fortunate to have Ryan by my side every evening as we play, bathe & put Lauren to bed. As drained as he is from a long work day, he never complains about sharing in all of the duties of parenthood and both Lauren and I are truly blessed. I hope that Father’s Day was a memorable day for him and while we didn’t spend the day doing anything spectacular, we sure did enjoy spending the day together as a family. As Ryan put it, just two years ago we were anxiously waiting to meet the little girl inside me – we really were totally unaware of how much joy she’d bring to our lives. And now because of her, I get another chance to honor Ryan for the wonderful person he is as we celebrate him on “Dada Day”. To see some pictures (okay, several pictures) from Father’s Day, click here.

Twenty-one Months Old

We are only a mere three months away from Lauren’s second birthday…how amazing, terrifying, and quite frankly a little p1100125-1.JPGunbelievable!! My baby is almost two years old!! This past month has been filled with so many moments that made Ryan and me laugh and beam with pride. It’s impossible to jot everything down – I just hope that I can note enough so that we will always remember these wonderfully amusing and joyful times!!

Lauren is slowly becoming quite the little chatter box – especially when she first wakes up. A few of the strange things that I can recall her repeating over the past few days as I climbed the stairs were “sit up” & “lay down”, “arm pit”, “apple”, and “green grass”. However, since LP will pretty much repeat anything that you ask her to, it’s not the talking that’s most entertaining…it’s the words that pop out of her mouth completely unprovoked by us that we now find most intriguing. It’s these words that open a whole new window into her amazing personality. Little things that seem to come out of the blue but at the same time make perfect sense. For instance, how Lauren has taken up saying “Amen!” as in agreement with you. I know that’s not the context she’s heard it in but gosh it sure is cute! The other morning Lauren was dancing around the bathroom in an effort to make us late for swim when I heard her exclaim “tip toes”. Sure enough she was walking around on her tip toes and was quite adamant that I do the same. I was all in as it got her going and out the door in record time! Next time she’s sliding around on her head with her bottom straight up in the air instead of walking, I’ll have to try “tip toes!”

There are times I’m concerned that she may becoming a little bossy…to her credit, I think she might just be taking cues from me. After helping me put some clothes in the dryer, I instructed her to “please close the door”. She looked at me and blurted out something. I was blank – really had no idea what she said so I repeated my request about the door but this time a little slower and louder (It’s great having her help me, but it’s definitely not always the fastest and does take patience). Apparently she caught on to this technique and repeated her gibberish back to me, a little louder and sterner as well. I just stared at her blankly so she kept repeating it until finally the light went on…she was asking for a dryer sheet. And really – she was saying dryer sheet as clear as day! I guess it was just so unexpected that I neglected to actually hear what she was saying. Now when you don’t catch on to what she’s saying the first time – she tends to use her “Mommy voice”.

Some other current favorite words are “neat”, “uh-oh”, “too hot” (very seldom is it ever too hot…sometimes not hot at all. Her Daddy keeps reminding her about the consequences of crying wolf but she hasn’t taken heed of his warning yet), and “right here” (as in sit right here, put it right here, or it is right here). Lauren has corrected me after calling her “cute” with “cutie pie” instead and is beginning to say “thank you” without being asked. LP loves to count however we are still ironing out a few kinks. Counting to ten for her always goes like this…”one, two, three, four, six, eight, ten!” However, no complaints – we are so proud of her. She’s starting to understand the concept of numbers and can generally look at four items or less and tell you the correct amount. She also gasps the idea of “a lot” being a big number. Now if you ask her how many of something that she wants (and it’s something she really likes), her standard answer of “two” has been replaced with “a lot”. And we can’t mention favorites without including swimming, playing with her tea set and doll houses, licking envelopes (if allowed she will lick them until there are holes in the paper…repeating the word taste over and over again), and of course playing outside when it’s not raining.

The rain has been quite a challenge lately. Lauren doesn’t understand why Hailey is allowed outside in the rain and she is not. I’ve had to explain to her several times that dogs have to potty outside even when it’s raining. The other day, that answer was followed up by Lauren quickly dashing through the kitchen into our bedroom. In seconds she was back carrying her little plastic dog Frito while saying, “Freedoe outside! Freedoe outside!” How on earth could I deny her that request?!?!

To see more pictures from Lauren’s 21 month photo shoot, click here.

A Right of Passage


Last summer every time a little toddler saw Lauren their response was always the same…baby. I found it funny as it seemed to me that they were mere babies themselves. Now it’s Lauren who is the toddler that proudly proclaims, “baby!” each time she sees one – or even another toddler for that matter. However, I think the idea of a baby might be better than an actual baby for her.

Recently Lauren had the opportunity to meet her new baby cousin Merrick. All the way down to my parent’s house we talked about Baby Merrick and LP seem quite excited by the prospect of holding his hand…well, in her words, “pet”. Okay, wrong word but no foul intent on her part. Knowing how much joy and pure pleasure she gets out of petting cats and dogs, it’s easy to understand why she would use that word and it was done with only admiration and affection. So, how did the first meeting go?! Honestly, Lauren could have cared less about Baby Merrick. Sure he had cute little hands and feet and a tiny nose…but I guess maybe she wasn’t as impressed by those things as the rest of us are because that’s nothing new to her. She was quite taken by the little ring hanging from his carrier however and each time she sees one now she identifies it with “baby seat”. I guess I should be proud that Lauren did take one fond memory away from their first meeting and I’m sure as she gets older she will appreciate his cuteness as much as the rest of us do. To see little baby Merrick, click here.

Saying Goodbye

It’s always hard to say goodbye…especially when you know it’s your final goodbye. This week our family had to say goodbye to our beloved Hairy. It’s such a sad thought when you know he was taken from you…by five vicious dogs that I want to hate but in reality feel sorry for because it is the ignorance of their owners that allowed them to become that blood-hungry pack. I hate to be graphic, but my heart aches as I think about my dad finding Hairy, comforting him as he took his last breathes. I’m so glad that Hairy wasn’t alone and that Daddy helped him find peace before he died. I’m truly


heartbroken knowing that my dad had to experience that at all but I know that the times in Hairy’s life that he needed my dad the most he was always right there for him. In the last moments of his life, he held him…providing him that unconditional love that they have shared for the past 10 years. It’s that same love and compassion that Hairy experienced the first time he met my dad. Not many people would be willing to bring home an abandoned dog that was extremely dirty, matted, and had tons of unruly hair but my parents opened up their home and their hearts for Hairy. As the story goes – they took this poor little dirty dog that they lovingly named Dirty Hairy to the groomers and he came back a schnauzer – and appropriately renamed him Hairy. But don’t let that fool you, Hairy took every opportunity to reclaim that “Dirty Hairy” title. He was a dog that would have never been happy inside and my parents’ land give him the perfect place to run, smell, hunt and then come back to loving arms, a full bowl of food and a warm bed. By taking in “Dirty Hairy” my parents gave him a life that he was certain not to have. And by comforting him in those last moments he didn’t have to leave this world alone. I’m sure some might think I’m silly to have such strong feelings for an animal but as a child I was raised to believe that your pets were a part of your family. With practically no extended family to speak of, my parents used our pets to teach us the Aunt-Uncle-Cousin relationship. With each of us having our own pets, we learned responsibility, compassion, and how to grieve when they died. These are lessons that I hope I can teach Lauren as well as my parents taught me. Hairy touched all of our lives and we are grateful for 10 wonderful years. Here are a few pictures of our little Dirty Hairy, click here.