Monday, December 19, 2011

Rory's Birthday Party

Rory's 3rd birthday party was a LOT of fun.  I did a cookies and milk theme and it seemed to be a big hit. Instead of doing it at our house, we did the party at the church where Rory goes to MDO.  It worked out really well and since it was a beautiful day, the kids even got to play on the playground a bit.

We had chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, as well as Oreo cookie cake balls and Kissie pies (as well as a meat and cheese tray and goldfish too). 
These are the cartons of milk that all the kiddos got to take home.  I made them on photoshop, had them printed and then cut them out and assembled them.  I admit that I saw them online somewhere in the past few months, but instead of ordering them, I figured that i could do them on my computer and save a little $$.  They did turn out really cute.  I did little "to go" boxes for the kids to put their decorated sugar cookies and a carton of "milk" in to take home.

Rory's first friend to show up.  L is SO cute and she has twin sisters that are 5 months old.  Love her and SO glad that she and Rory are friends.
The cookie decorating station.  I had done a gazillion sugar cookies, iced them in royal icing and let the kids decorate them with edible markers.  It was a big hit and it was a lot less messy than doing sprinkles and stuff. 

The birthday girl and her giant cookie cake.  She was SO excited that everyone was singing to her.  I  still can't believe she is 3.

All of the little kids helped Rory open up her presents.  She was so good and LOVED having help going through all the presents.

We were cleaning up after the party and these 3 were running around acting a fool.  They have the best time together, I hope that they are friends for a long time.  It helps that I LOVE their Mommies and we have become good friends too.  haha!

Well, that is it for the 3rd Birthday Party, it was a great party and we are so thankful for all of our friends and family that made the trek to Birmingham to be there for Rory's big day. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I know I have been a slacker lately, but the month of November was consumed with sickness.  Rory had a cold, gave it to me, I developed bronchitis (which lasted 3 weeks) and I gave it to Kevin (who is still battling it actually) and then mine developed into an upper resp. infection and then Rory got an upper resp infection as well.  Goodbye November, good riddance!

I will post some pis the mean time, my sweet tiny baby, turned 3 yesterday. in a big, in light of that, my annual letter for her birthday.


Yesterday you turned 3.  You are officially a big girl.  Daddy and I both took off work yesterday to stay home with you and told you that we would do whatever you wanted to do, the whole day was up to you.  You asked for a ride on the carousel at the mall, and to go to lots of toy stores.  So, that is exactly what we did.  As I sat you up on the reindeer on the carousel at the mall, and buckled the belt around you as you hung onto the brass pole with white knuckles, I was suddenly struck by the sight of your little hands.  The last vestiges of baby and toddler could barely be seen.  Long gone are the little rolls of fat at your wrist, but for the longest time, you still had the dimples on your knuckles.  Yesterday, I noticed, that they too were on borrowed time.  Your hands are beginning to look like a little girls.  I admit, a part of my heart was sad.  My days of snuggling you up, and your little toddler roundness melting into me are numbered.  It has gone so quickly, much faster than I could have anticipated.

You are a wonder my sweet girl.  You are all girliness and sass rolled into one.  You have such a big heart, and can't stand for anyone to be upset.  Your best friend A, at your birthday party on Saturday, was really upset when they got there, and you kept trying to hug her and tell her that it was OK and that you loved her.  My heart swelled with pride as you asked all your friends at your party to help you open  your presents with you, not caring for a moment that they were "yours."

We had lunch at Johnny Rockets yesterday and when they found out it was your birthday, they brought you a dish of ice cream with chocolate syrup and whipped cream and then they all sang you 'Happy Birthday'.  As they sang to you, you got timid all of a sudden and smiled that sweet smile of yours and ducked your head down.  Sitting there, with my arm around you, I could feel your back vibrating as you giggled that little girl giggle that I love so much and then it happened, after they were done singing, you lifted your head up, with a huge smile on  your face and said, "Thank you everyone."  I could have died, right there!  Oh, my sweet, sweet baby girl, my heart leaps with love and pride!

All day, you would say, "I am 3 years old, now I can ...." I want you to always know that, regardless of age, you can do whatever you set your mind to.  Last night, after you fell asleep, I went back into your room, as has long been a habit, and prayed over you again.  I thanked God that 3 years ago, in a hospital room in Birmingham, AL, we were blessed with the gift of you.  We never could have known, your Daddy and I, sitting in the hospital room the night after you were born what you had in store for us.  I remember sitting there, Daddy holding you all snuggled up in his arms and we just looked at you, totally in awe of this tiny baby, that knit us together so perfectly.

Last night, as I knelt on the floor next to your bed, I brushed a curl off of your cheek.  I love to look at you when you are asleep, I can catch glimpses of that tiny baby, all wrapped up in a blanket.  I studied your little nose, and the way that your eyelashes rested on your little pink cheeks.  I ran my finger across your sweet little hand and reached down and patted your little round toddler bottom.  Carefully, I scooped you up, careful not to wake you and snuggled you in my arms close to my chest.  For a minute, I sat there and rocked back and forth and just breathed you in.  Oh, these moments Rory, I don't ever want to forget them.  I sat there for a minute or two, just looking at you, and in my mind, thanking God for the blessing that you are to us.  I asked God to help us remember in those moments when you are so stubborn and hard headed that those traits, although difficult for us now, will come in handy when you are older and are battling for Christ.  I asked God to help you retain your sweet spirit and compassion for other people, but to help us to teach you to recognize people who might take advantage of you. I sat there and rocked you and tried to drink in every last second of you, on the day that you turned 3. 

I don't know how long I sat there, but as I began to lay you back down, you opened your eyes and said, "Hi, Mommy, I love you."  I said "I love you too, tiny girl", and kissed your soft, curly haired head, and you drifted back off to sleep.  I hope that you know how much those 3 little words mean my sweet baby.  I love you, to the moon and back, always will.  Can't wait to see what 3 brings you Rory, God Bless you my sweet, tiny girl. 

All my love,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

AWESOME Chicken-n-Dumplins

I saw somewhere that you could use canned biscuits for dumplings in Chicken-n-Dumplings.  I have been fighting a major cold lately and a good batch of C&D sounded perfect, so I tried it last night.  It is AWESOME!  This is by far the easiest and fastest recipe of chicken and dumplings I have ever made and they are REALLY good. Here is my recipe:

1 lb of chicken
1 tbsp of Salt
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 onion chopped. (I bought the prechopped onion in the little container at Pulix...I HATE chopping onion)
1 can of plain canned biscuits
1 box of chicken stock (I don't remember the ounces, but it is not the little can, but the box kind, you know what I mean?)

Boil chicken in water with the salt and then prepare however you prefer.  We like ours cut in small chunks.  Combine the soups, onion and chicken stock in a dutch oven or pot with a lid and bring to a boil.  Once it is boiling, flatten out the biscuts and cut them into strips.  I cut each biscuit into 4 strips and then cut those in half so that my dumplings are short and easier to eat.  Add the dumplings one at a time to the boiling soup.  Don't be alarmed when they puff up and float to the top!  Once they have all been added, reduce to a simmer and cover them.  Let them cook for at least 20 minutes.  The dumplings will get not puffy and become dumpling-ie (not a word...whatever) and it is really delicious.  Let me know if you try it.  I am telling you, REALLY easy, and REALLY good!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


We trick or treat with our babysitter and her family in their neighboorhood.  This year, S was a devil and D was a vampire.  If you asked Rory what they were, she would tell you "Nanna is a fairy and D is a bampire, but he just drinks red juice, he won't really bite."  We got a few pics when it was still day light.  Thankfully.
Here, Rory is not so sure about D.  She is giving him the shifty eye in the pic.  The next two are not the greatest pics, but I think that her expression is funny, so I included it.  Once she got used to him in the costume, it didn't bother her, but at first...she wasn't so sure.
See what I mean?  We were cracking up at her looking at D like "Alright buddy, I am not so sure about you!"

 This is Kev's boss and our sitter's Dad.  He is pretty crazy about Rory and since Kevin was working and it wound up being on a day that he had off, he went trick or treating with  us.  As the evening wore on, he wound up carrying Rory on his shoulders part of the way since she didn't want to ride in the stroller, but didn't want to walk either.
My little Jessie, always on the move.  I made her costume from a shirt and jeans that I picked up at the consignment sale for her school for $5 total.  I split the inseams of the jeans, cut out a chaps-like shape and sewed it into the inseam and then added felt fringe and made loops on the pants at the top to hold her belt.  I took a boy's button down shirt and painted it to look like a western shirt.  She looked pretty cute and it was a CHEAP costume.  I think I had $10 in it total counting the cow print fabric that I made the chaps out of.  Kevin bought her a real western belt with her name on it at the Fiddlers Convention in Athens.  I didn't figure it in to the price of the costume since she can for sure wear it again.
She is trying to pose like Nanna was.  Oh goodness Rory... I am not ready for the sassy teenager poses yet!
Now, the actual Trick or Treating.  I didn't realize that she was flipping us off until I uploaded this picture to the blog.  Haha!  Funny!
Two of S's friends came over to ToT with us.  Rory was excited that there was another cowgirl.  She made sure that teenage cowgirl knew that "there is only one pink Jessie."

Rory and Nanna.  I took a bag to dump her candy in every few houses since I knew that the bucket would get heavy and I knew that she would be leaving candy Hansel and Gretl style on our trail. 
The first house after I had emptied the bucket, she told the person that was handing out candy "Thank you, but that is not near bucket is still empty."  We laughed and I assured her that there were more houses to fill up her bucket.
See...shoulder ride...told ya!  It was a life saver.  Bless her heart.  I brought her sneakers with us in case she got tired of clomping around in boots, but she wouldn't take them off even though she told me that her feet were "super tired."  I had the stroller for her to ride in, and she did some, but once Mr. G offered to let her ride on his shoulders, the stroller was quickly forgotten.
Flying.  She was high up, Mr. G is about 6'4"
We got back to their house and Rory was really disappointed that we were done.  She said we could go eat 5 candies and then we can go again.  She had a blast and it was nice for her to have some other people to ToT with.  My little Jessie really russelled up some good candy. ;)

School Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Patch

So, I know that I mentioned that Rory is going to MDO 2 days a week from 9-1.  This has been SUCH a great thing for her.  She LOVES it and her teachers are just great.  Last week, they went to the pumpkin patch on Tuesday and then had a Halloween parade and party on Thursday.  I am combining both events into one post since they are both school. 

These pics are WAAAY out of order, but for whatever reason, blogger won't let me rearrange them, so whatever.

After the kiddos got their pumpkins from the patch (aka the lawn of a local church that had been inundated with pumpkins), we tried to get a pic of them all together.  The Mamarazzi were all waiting, but of course, a bunch of 2 and barely 3 year olds were not that cooperative.

They made these shirts and were all supposed to wear them to the patch.  M (on the end) is a 5 day a weeker so she was coming back to the pumpkin patch the next day with the MWF group, so she didn't wear hers.  They were made from their hand prints and were really cute.  I couldn't find a 3 pack of shirts in Rory's size, so hers looked kinda like a dress.  Whatever, it was cute and she loves wearing it around the house.The little dark haired boy next to Rory is who she says that she is going to marry.  Oh we go!
This is before the patch.  We were all waiting in the sanctuary of the church and "Farmer Ben" came in to read a story about Halloween and pumpkins.  Here are a few of the kiddos.  Rory's 'Bes Fwend' A.L. is the little girl in the shorts with the big brown and orange hair bow.  She and Rory hit it off the first day and have been pretty inseparable since then. 
Farmer Ben
Snack time, before picking their pumpkins.  Rory and A.L. again.  Told ya, they are joined at the hip and from what their teachers tell us, they are quite the gruesome twosome. 
Back out to the patch.  Rory was really confused about why there wasn't a hayride or any slides or play equipment available.
"I got one!"
OK, so now the Halloween parade.  Rory was a "pink Jessie" from Toy Story for Halloween.  I made her costume and it was really cute (as you will see tomorrow in the Halloween post) but I knew that it would get filthy and since I made the fringe on the chaps out of felt, I knew that it would not wash that great, so I whipped up this little outfit for her school Halloween day and also, to wear to our nephew's Bday party at the playground on Saturday.  She was happy with it and could have cared less which one she wore, as long as she got to wear the pink boots.
The Spiderman with the mask on is Rory's self determined future spouse.You notice that they are standing together. 
Well, that is it for today.  Tune in tomorrow for the final pumpkin related post...Halloween!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tate Farms

Get ready for a "Pumpkin-A-Palooza" for the next 3 posts.  Today, it is all about Tate Farms.  A few weekends ago, my Uncle Mark was in from Florida to visit.  We decided that we (Kevin, Mom, Tim, Mark, Linda and Charlie) would take Rory to the pumpkin patch.  My Mom and I took her last year, but Tim and the rest of the crew had never been.  It was a bit warm that day, but we had a great time!

Riding the tire swing horse.  Last year, she wouldn't touch these with a 10 foot pole.  This year...bring it on horsie!

Rory was riding on this thing with the other kids and none of them could figure out how to make it go around so my Mom jumped on.  Rory thought it was hilarious, the other kids...well they thought it was weird.  Way to go Lovie!

The stereotypical pumpkin house picture.  Did I mention it was slightly warm? 

The corn cribs.  Rory loves the idea of the corn crib, she likes jumping in and out, she is a daredevil.  However, as soon as a piece of corn got in her shoe...forget it, she was outta there!  She can not stand things getting in her shoe.  Our trips to the beach from the summer proved that piece of sand and we had a melt down on our hands.
Picking out her tiny pumpkin. She specifically requested a 'tiny pumpkin' and went through quite a few before finding her perfect one.  She would pick one up, look at it, and throw it over her shoulder "Nope, this is not it" and go to the next one. 
On the way out of the patch, Hollywood was wearing Lovie's glasses (because her great Mommy left hers in the car) and she sat on the pumpkin and said "Take my picture right here" and so I did. 

There are more pics than this, I guess I forgot to upload them all.  Oh well, I am at work and can't do it right now.  Maybe later...or maybe not!

Stay tuned for rounds 2 and 3 on pumpkins in the next 2 days.  I really do promise this time, I am scheduling them to post...for real!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blog Slacker

I have been slacking on the ole blog because I said in my last post that my next post would be more beach pics and quite frankly, I haven't had the patience to sit down and watermark them (which I try to do with any pic that shows R's face).  Well, I will post them eventually, but for now, here is just a random post.

First, a few "Roryisms"

She got a Snow White dress up dress the other night from Target.  I let her put it on before her bath, while we were unloading groceries.  She comes prancing in the kitchen:
R: Mommy, I am Snow White, have you seen the Second Drawers?
L: Second Drawers?....Do you mean Seven Dwarfs?
R: That is what I said "Second Drawers"
L: No, I haven't seen them.

At Emma's skating birthday party, Rory put on a pair of toddler skates (you know, the ones that go over the shoes).  She was having a blast!  It was time to go, so I told her we needed to leave
L: Rory, the party is over, lets go give them back the skates
R: No, I am not ready yet...I am weel-wee good at this skating.
L: You are really good at it, but it is time to go
R: But I like it...I put my skates on and I say 'WOOOOOO' (high pitched squeel)

She is MAJOR into pretending.  Lately, she talks about getting married, all the time.  Kevin is SO not thrilled about the shift in conversation.
R: When I grow big, I am going to wear my marry dress and marry Daddy.
L: You can't marry Daddy, I am already married to him.
R: But I love him, I want to marry him.
L: He loves you too, but you will have to find your own boy to marry.
R: One day, I will find my boy that God has for me and we will be married.
L: Yes, that is true
Kev: Stop talking about this Rory, you can't date until you are 35.
R: I am almost 3
K: We know.

After measuring her waist and ankle for some pants that I made her, she wanted to measure me.
R: Let me see your foot Mommy
(Hold up my foot)
R: Hmm...16.  Let me measure your leg
(she uses the measuring tape to my knee)
R: Just what I thought...30-10.  Let me measure your bottom.
(she runs behind me)
R: Wow Mommy...60-2-11....Wow, that is big.
L: Thanks for the vote of confidence Rory
R: Sure Mommy, no prob-um
Other news.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching.  Wow, like really fast.  I have got to get on the party planning for Rory's Birthday, and fast!  I have the theme and location, but I haven't taken pics for the invites or done anything of the planning variety...gotta get on that.

Rory wants to be a pink Jessie (aka Cowgirl) for Halloween.  I bought cheapo jeans at a consignment sale because she doesn't own jeans, and wont for as long as I can hold off on them, and am attaching cow print to them to make chaps. I also bought at the consignment sale a white button down boys shirt and I painted it similar to Jessies' from Toy story. I am not sure I like the shirt because it is SO stiff from the paint on the shoulders, so she may wind up in an appliqued shirt with it, we will see.  So far, so good.  Her pink boots and hat will be super cute with it. 

We contemplated taking Rory to see the Rockettes Christmas show in Nashville this year...then we found out that it is $80/person for all 3 of us.  I don't think that I can stomach paying $80 for Rory to have a seat, when she is going to be in our laps anyway, besides the fact that I think that $80 per person for both Kev and I is a bit steep too! Unless we can find discount tickets...not happening.  YouTube, here we come!

Glad that it is cooling off outside.  Rory has a lot of cute fall clothes that I am excited for her to wear...bring it on Mother Nature!  Rory is bringing all these Fall themed things home from school and I am LOVING it!  They are going to the pumpkin patch later this month and we had to send 3 T-Shirts to school for projects over the Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays.  Can't wait to see what my little Monet comes up with!

Speaking of school...Rory is LOVING IT!  As in, begs every day to go.  She has made a lot of friends and when asked who her friends are, she names off a bunch of girls.  I asked her if she had any friends that are boys...she said "No, boys are gwoss."  Kevin started clapping.  Her teachers did say that she plays on the playground with all the boys, jumping off stuff and climbing and stuff...doesn't surprise me. Thrilled with her preschool and THRILLED that she is loving it!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Beach

Ok, so here is the first of 2 beach posts.  I will do the other one with the pics that I made on the beach, hopefully, tomorrow.

This is the first morning that we were there and the water was still really choppy from the Tropical Storm that had just passed through.  The weather the whole time that we were down there was beautiful, no rain, barely any clouds.  Just perfect.

My Mom and Tim went with us and it was SO nice to have another set of eyes to watch Rory on the beach.  Luckily, this year, she wasn't as interested in the ocean and didn't bolt towards the water at every chance that she got. 

Rory and Gee, walking and looking for seagulls or as Rory calls them "little fellas."  She kept chasing them saying, "here litta fellas...Rory won't hurt ya"

Rory and Daddy playing in the sand.  She LOVED the sand and loved even more wrecking any structure that we made out of it. 

This guy and his family were staying in our condo and he was out on the beach every morning fishing.  He caught about 25 catfish (I had no idea that catfish were in the ocean) that he kept throwing back (or maybe 1 catfish 25 times?) and then all of a sudden, he started calling in our direction saying that he thought that he had a small shark and asking if Kev or Tim could help him pull it in.

We all went running in his direction and needless to say, it was not a shark, but a 30lb Redfish.  It was HUGE.  Clearly, he didn't throw this one back!  Mom and I both made the comment that we felt terrible for the fish when it was laying on the beach dying.  I know, I am a wussie, whatever...
We also went to Tacky Jacks one night.  Due to the time that we were down there, there was NO ONE there so we got great tables and immediate seating in the restaurants.  I snapped this pic of my tanned baby while we were waiting on our food.
No beach trip is complete without a pic of a beach sunset.  If you look close, you will see a crane standing on the beach.  We think that he had a nest somewhere around our condo because he/she was out every morning and every evening while we were there.  Mr. Crane was clearly used to people too because he would get really close to us if we were sitting on the beach.
If I had taken the time to edit this, you could see him better.  Oh well!
One morning, Rory got up and said that she wanted to go to the beach and build sand castles before her breakfast.  So we put some clothes on and headed on down.  It was a bit cool in the mornings since the storms had brought a bit of cool air with them. 

My girl was really happy to be getting in some beach time, even before breakfast!

Look at those tiny feet! 

Rory and her "diggers" which is what she called the shovels.  She sat on the beach this morning for probably 35 minutes, in the same spot, and just played.  It was lovely.

WE also went to the Zoo and on a Dolphin cruise.  The Zoo there is very small but really, lovely.  You can buy a $2.00 cup of food and then feed the animals as you go along (well some of them at least).  It is very kid friendly and Rory LOVED it.  We got there not too long after it opened and the animals were very active and knew what the cup of food looked like, so we got to feed a lot of them.
These are deer and reindeer.  They had found this space in the fence where they could fit their noses. They were so sweet and gentle!
This fella was hungry I think.  He didn't roar, but we did get him on video 'talking' or whatever you would like to call it.  It made your chest rattle.  Glad he was behind a fence.

More feeding deer.

One of the few pics from the Dolphin cruise.  We did a Groupon for a glass bottom dolphin cruise before we left.  Rory was not a fan of the boat at first, but she kinda warmed up to it.  We didn't see many dolphins, again mostly because of the storms, the water was a bit churned up and not as clear and calm as it usually is.  We did see some, but just didn't get really close.  No matter though, we had a great time!

More beach baby photos.  She had 2 swim suits and wore them both most every day since one was generally always wet.  Somehow, I only got pics of her in 1 of them, and it is the same one as last year.  Oh, well.
We spent a lot of time in the indoor and outdoor pools too.  It took Rory a good day to get used to the puddle jumper, but once she did...look out! She had no interest in letting anyone hold her.  Of course, we stuck right by her, she is much more confident in her abilities than we are.

After a few days in Orange Beach, Mom and Tim went home and Kev, Rory and I drove to Fairhope to meet Kevin's family for the weekend at The Grand, just to round out our week long holiday. After a week with 4 adults, Rory was thrilled to see her cousins. 

The kiddos spent a lot of time at the pools and we even drove back to Gulf Shores on Saturday so that the boys could go to the zoo too since they had not ever been.  Our 2nd trip to the zoo was in the late morning, early afternoon (probably around 11ish) and the animals were not interested as much in food since they had already been fed and really wanted to take naps in the sun.  The Zoo doesn't take long, maybe an hour, so we had lunch at LuLu's and then headed back to The Grand, for more swimming.
Dark, horrible pic!  But I wanted to remember Rory and Brock laying on the bed after swimming, watching Blues Clues while we waited for room service pizza to show up.
Crazy monkey boy Brock.

BeBe and all her 'Grands.
Our last night on vacation. We sat on the balcony and watched the sun set over the water again. 

When you are at the beach and witness this fire on the water at sunset, you can't help but be amazed at the wonders of God's creation!  There is nothing like witnessing it with the 2 people that you love the most.  It was a spectacular vacation!

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