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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Oh seriously. An entire week without blogging. What's going on here? Given the context from my last post about parting ways and severing ties, you surely didn't think I would abandon my favorite readers did you? Never! Not even if I wanted to. So here I am!


For the past week, I've been telling myself every night that some day, our lives will begin to settle down just a little bit and that I will finally find out what it means to have "free time." Just as fast as this thought enters my mind, I begin to think that maybe this is it. Maybe this is exactly how we will be spending the rest of our days; one jam packed full day after another. Part of me is alright with that because this life, however exhausting, is fun and most definitely action filled. But, on the only hand, HOLY SMOKES! I need to sleep.


Without further ado, how about me catching you up on the fun ways we filled our days which have taken me away from blogging.


This past weekend we went to visit our hometown to see our parents. We stayed with Eric's parents on Friday night and Elaina and Lincoln found the best of entertainment in the form of the grandpa's dog's cage. Both kids took their turn crawling in and out of the cage at their own will and delighted in shutting the door on the other. Seriously, has Fisher Price looked into this kinda set up for the next up-and-coming kids toy? I had to tear my kids away from this and bribe them onto something new to play with. Isn't it good to see the little guy having the upper hand with his big sis?
On Saturday, Elaina and I enjoyed a morning out of shopping, just the two of us. Our special girls' day treat was a shared slurpee (Elaina's first) as she helped me run errands for my class reunion the following day. She is getting to the age that she is able to handle herself for longer stretches of time and has already come to appreciate our shared time together, just mother and daughter. I totally love having a girly-girl to share this special time with, just like my mom and I did and continue to do. I'm only doing my part to continue the tradition. I would be at fault if I didn't.


What made Saturday even more special is that Uncle Greg brought Colin to Grandma and Grandpa H's house to play for the day. The kids were both so excited to see each other and got along like they have never been apart. My baby Lincoln tried his best to keep up with the big kids and loved being in all of the action. Uncle Greg pulled out all the stops as he became the kids' landing pad as they decided to leap onto him from the toy box. Lincoln wanted so badly to follow their lead and eventually was able to hike his little leg onto the toy box and pull himself up too. All of them were so darned cute, but seeing Lincoln trying to act so grown was sweetly comical for me. His babyhood is just flying out the window with each passing day.

As if having Elaina, Lincoln and Colin all together to play wasn't enough, the big boys (the dad's) decided the Elaina and Colin needed to go fishing. I have to say that it was especially daring since neither kid had time for a nap all day and they had been playing for 5 hours straight up to this point and it was closing in on my kid's bedtime. Yet, they did it and successfully at that. Elaina is truly her Daddy's girl and proved it by helping to catch 3 fish which she was over-the-moon excited about. Greg captured some great little videos of their fishing endeavor which you can enjoy here.

And for the grand finale of our weekend and the whole event that compelled us to travel all the way to our parents' houses for the weekend was my class reunion. Oh yes, good old class of 1993 which boasted a graduating class of 53 students from our small Catholic high school. Pitiful Me signed on with a fellow classmate at our 10 year reunion to do the planning for our 15th year (this one) so that she wouldn't have to do it on her own. Can you believe that there just weren't any other volunteers chomping at the bit to do the planning? More than that, do you want to see the product of our 15 year class reunion of which 15 classmates RSVP's to?


Brace yourself, you won't believe what you're about to see.

SIX! Yes, 6 classmates in attendance. Given that 2 of us were the planning committee, 4 other people obliged their RSVP and showed up. Because we planned it to be a very casual, family-style picnic day, we were expecting 33 guests total (this number including kids). The result; just over 10% of our graduating class. Wow. I think that I've already lamented plenty to any ears that have crossed my path, but I really just found that people's attitudes toward coming (after RSVP "yes") were quite rude and mostly just disappointing. In the end, I was glad to share some time and memories with the ones who did feel this reunion to be worth their all-precious time and I'm just really glad that it's over. Needless to say, there has been no talk of planning a 20th class reunion.



We eventually found our way home after this exciting weekend and every night has just been one thing after another. There are plenty more stories to share and lots of pictures to post, but for tonight this reunion crasher is going to bed. Next time, I'll be sure to tell you all about Lincoln's sleep strike while we were away visiting and helpful hints for berry picking with a 3 year old. Until then... party like it's 1993!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Parting Ways

Yesterday was a landmark of big decisions for me. None particularly life changing, but big nonetheless.

For the past 3 years, I've been going to see a chiropractor for a sprained sacro-illiac that had gone undiagnosed for 2 years after our loss of Ella. The chiropractor finally concluded that the sprain was my body's way of coping with the extraordinary amount of grief and suffering and the direct result of physical and emotional trauma. Put in relation to Ella's passing, enough said. Prior to seeing him for my pain, I had been consulted and/or treated by a physical therapist, neuro-muscular massage, podiatrist, and a physiatrist, all to no avail. The chiropractor was the very first to even begin to ease my pain in my side and in my back. Soon, weeks turned into months and months turned into years with an end result of my pain still not diminished and all of my leg muscles being shorter than ever. Until now, there didn't seem to be an end in sight for my bi-weekly office visits. Last night I entered his office with a different vibe. A need to move beyond what he could offer. He helped me to devise a stretching routine which I need to incorporate at least 10 minutes each day and I cancelled the remainder of my scheduled visits. Now, I just have to be willing to do my part and keep up my motivation. 10 minutes a day. I can do that. I have to do that.


Since I seemed to be on a roll of making big decisions yesterday, I confirmed my thoughts of quitting my venture as a Tastefully Simple consultant at the end of this year. My feelings of severing ties with this opportunity have weighed heavily on my mind for a few months now and I've taken much into consideration. I feel that I've given it a fair shot for over a year at that point and it's becoming an obstacle in my life. Part of me is saddened, yet a bigger part of me feels relieved. The parties and new connections have been fun as well as the discount on the food items which have treated my family very well. While I wasn't foolish enough to believe that I would become rich overnight, I've learned that it is not the money maker I had hoped it to be. In addition, I've found that it does require much of my so called "free-time" (you know, when I should be stretching) and I just feel that it has become more of a burden to find the motivation when it comes to paperwork and computer work when I would rather be blogging or spending time with my family.

Last night I felt a little sad. And a little bit bad. I have a lot of mixed emotions, most particularly toward my little business venture with TS. I guess that in the big picture, both my chiropractor and TS have been there when I needed that little something to make me feel good and productive and I have no regrets for either. With that I carried myself to bed into the arms of my sweet and supportive husband who didn't try to analyze, criticize or even coax me into rethinking or regretting my decision. When everything is said and done, my husband and my kids are really what always makes me feel my best and who make everything I do so worthwhile.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Peeks and Valleys

Clips from our weekend:


High: We enjoyed a nice evening hanging out with some friends on Friday night.

Low: Elaina is still covered in mosquito bites she got while picking berries in the woods with Eric. Friday night we basted her in bug spray.
High: On Saturday, Eric enjoyed a guys' day out four-wheeling with his buddies while I had a Mommy-day playing with my little buddies.

Low: We met up with Eric and his friends for dinner and our kids were the least content kids to sit through a meal which made me wonder why we left the house in the first place.
High: Our meals were delicious but the server got Eric's order just a little off and sent him home with a fresh, full entree done accordingly, even after Eric told him that it wasn't a problem.

Higher: Since we drove separately to dinner, I sent the kids home with Eric and went mall shopping and grocery shopping all alone. I so much felt like I had run away from home as it was midnight before I finally returned home.

Low: Shopping until midnight makes this Mommy really tired the next day.

High: We were looking forward to taking the kids to the county fair on Sunday afternoon.

Low: It was getting too late and decided upon the local playground instead.


Lower: It was a scorching 86 degrees outside and we were all baking in the afternoon sunshine.


High: We returned home to play in the water table and sprinkler.

Higher: I've got memories like this to share.





Friday, July 18, 2008

Check Ups

Just so you know that I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I always feel behind, this one is a doozy. Eric and I took the kids for their yearly well-baby visits on Friday morning. What's that? Oh, Lincoln turned one 2 months ago? YEAH! Isn't he the one whose mother is always behind? Yes, I'm afraid that's the one.

My thought was I would take both kids in June, splitting the difference of their May and July birthday's. Lincoln would be a little late and Elaina would be a little early. So much for that plan. They were both late! The reason that it gets to be so hard to get the kids to the doctor when they're healthy is because the doctor's office is only open the same hours that I have to be at work and their limited Saturday hours only allow for one nurse scheduled. When my kid has to get four shots, they (and me) prefer to two nurses to do multiple shots at the same time, versus repeating 4 shots one after another.

So this morning we made a family day out of the ordeal. I scheduled the very first appointment of the day and Eric and I both took the kids in. Surprisingly, Elaina didn't need any shots and everything looked good. Even the low grade fever that she has been running for a couple days didn't register any concern.

Poor baby Lincoln was overdue on his 6 month shots (a surprise to both the doctor and myself) because every time we had been in, he was dealing with an earache or just getting over some other symptom which doesn't time well with inoculations. And then came the four big, fat shots into his little chub thighs. On the bright side, Lincoln settled easily with his very first cherry lollipop.

Dr. Joni determined that both kids are sailing in the 50th percentile category and even estimated Lincoln to grow to around 5'7. With that said, he'll not only look like Eric, he'll fit in perfectly to the height category of Eric's side of the family. Custom made, what can I say?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sparkelaina

Elaina has recently discovered my fancy box of sparkly powder that I had shoved in the way-back of my dresser drawer. It was shoved back there for the same reason that it was discovered by. Anyhow, it contains a powder puff pre-filled with sparkly, scented powder. Needless to say, it was love at first shine for my three year old.


In the past few days, this sparkle powder has served as Elaina's go-to-fix each morning for some extra girly pampering for the day. This morning she seemed quite alarmed upon examining her outstretched arms and realizing they were missing their lovely shine. She told me that she was missing her "sprinkles." I told her that as soon as it was time to get dressed, I would powder her. All of five minutes passed and without warning, Elaina somehow went into full-blown "fragile" mode. Everything on her hurt. Her forehead hurt. Her foot hurt. Her arm hurt. Her hair hurt. Very delicate, that girl. I asked her if some sparkle powder would make her feel better and with the very most pathetic, whimpering, "Mm-hmm" she could muster, I fixed her fragile little self with just a pat of of my powder puff. I somehow doubt that Lincoln will go for this magic when he turns 3. Second thought, I really hope Lincoln isn't into powder puffs and sparkles past age 2. What kind of magic do you suppose I could conjure up from a toy truck?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hair Despair

If I were to tell you that there is one thing that I only do once a year (if I'm lucky) what would you guess that one thing to be?

Anyone? Anyone?

Ooh, I'm a little afraid to consider what you might be guessing. I'll tell you. I pay through the nose to get my hair highlighted. Superficial, yes. Worthwhile, usually.

Since this summer has rolled around I took into account all of the upcoming events in which I would like to present with my new golden kissed locks in tow. With all things considered, I chose to break the bank and go Monday evening for a shaped up hair cut and the ever loving highlights.

I should preface this story by saying that since Eric and I have lived here for 10 years now, I have only found one other stylist (who moved) and the one I am currently going to that I really like. With that said, I'll begin to tell you the reason I will never go back to my favorite stylist for highlights. My Girl, let's call her Mandi, because that's pretty much her name and she's not a blog reader, was touching up just a little portion on my bangs and just by some freakish, careless accident splashed bleach into my right eye. Yeah, I'm talking straight from the brush, slopping into my eye and my cheek simultaneously. I don't believe that the word pain even begins to describe how much my eye hurt instantly. Mandi felt absolutely terrible to the verge of tears out of concern and I tried to reassure her that I knew full well that it was purely an accident, but Dear Lawrd that hurt! Within 10 minutes, I had recovered enough to be able to see through my tears and for her to get me done and out of there. When I got home, 3 hours later, Eric (the king of safety and hygiene, by profession) told me that I absolutely had to rinse my eye for at least 10 minutes. Oh, not that! I have learned that I am mostly alright with just about any other kind of doctor getting all up in my business, but when it comes to touching and messing with my eyeballs, forget it. Scary. I did as he said and followed with a very damp and cool wash cloth covering my eye for the next hour. Within this same time, I had begun to experience the most severe headache I have ever had. It felt like every teensy corner of my brain and sinus cavities were being disinfected and stinging with a rolling stream of bleach.

As if it couldn't get any worse than that, (wait I guess it could have; I could have gone blind and didn't) but on the superficial front, my highlights sucked. Instead of my hair being transformed into a gorgeous caramel and honey kissed splendor, it was orange. Faded and orange. With a tinge of brassy for good measure. It was horrible.

Tuesday, I opted to take a *sick* day, (mental health day) (whatever you want to call it because work has been incredibly SLOW) and made the most of my post headache trauma. I called Mandi to let her know that my eye was much better, but I wasn't especially thrilled with my highlights. She asked me to come back for a re-do, minus the bleach in the eye.

This time, after another 3 hour stint of sitting around with a roll of aluminum foil crammed into my head, I had blond highlights and brunette low lights. More of what I asked for, but not quite right. When I got home and took a closer look, my hair appeared to be brown-ish, with faded white looking straw colored strings running through it. Do I really need to tell you how ugly this looked? It looked like I had been sleeping in a haystack the way the color stood out against the brown.

Needless to say, I've been greatly disappointed. My solution? Color it all. Start over, start fresh and get the straw out of my hair. I dumped a whole box of "nutmeg" hair color onto my hair and gambled with how much I was going to destruct my highlights and the overall health of my hair. The result was mixed; the front of my hair is very brown, there are some caramel colored low lights that shine through the back and my hair has managed to retain somewhat of a healthy appearance despite all of the chemicals being thrust into it with a short 48 hour period.

Talk about disappointing! Six hours of my time wasted sitting in the salon chair, my highlight money right down the drain,(literally) and nothing but regular old brown to show for it. Luckily Mandi gave me a fair enough discount otherwise, I would be out of my mind with regret and anger. So, what the heck do I do now? I still haven't achieved the color that I so desperately wanted and I'm still out of money. Should I settle and be happy that I can see and my hair hasn't fallen out or should I move onto another option to see about really being able to get what I wanted in the first place?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Favorites Trio

I haven't really done this before and I hope it doesn't come off as being tacky, but since this blog is my record keeping of my kids' childhood memories, I figured I may as well. I wanted to highlight Elaina's three favorite birthday presents that she received this year. Also, this has gotten me thinking how cool it would have been to see what kind of presents I got when I was three years old. My hope is that Elaina finds it just as interesting when she's a young adult, while at the same time, laughing at me for using the word "cool."

So, here we go, first on the birthday roster is the horse and carrier that Elaina loved immediately. It took about three days for Elaina to come up with the perfect name to call her horse, but she very thoughtfully decided upon "Stella." I think that Stella is the perfect name for her new friend. Stella also came with a comb and an apple and carrot which are magnetized to cling to the horse's mouth. All which lead me to think, "Why didn't I come up with this idea?"
The next great gift comes from Grandma and Grandpa H. Elaina had expressed interest in a computer and I wanted to supply her with something that could grow with her and that didn't have 786 functions which only an engineer could figure out. This little keyboard is awesome. I would highly recommend it to anyone buying a birthday gift for any child in the 3-6 age group. Elaina has been dragging it with her to the baby sitter's house, on car trips and even to bed with her. It's use is simple and helps to teach letter, sound and word recognition in a fun, animated way. Better yet, it has various stages of learning starting at the top of the selector and progressing downward from basic to comprehensive learning.

Lastly, CROCS! Just like her Mom! These little darlings came from Grandma and Grandpa W. As much as Elaina likes toys, books and games, she also really likes clothes and shoes. She's been going through a phase where she asks where everything came from and who bought what for her. When I reply that I had gotten a particular item for her, she drops what she's doing and rushes me with a hug and says. "Oh, Mommy, Thank you so much for getting this for me! I love it. Awwe." And yes, she is the one making the "awwe" sound. Talk about gratitude. And since all of her little friends at the baby sitter's house have Crocs, I knew Elaina would like some too. Grandma was so thoughtful to even jazz up her new shoes with a Cinderella and heart shaped Jibitz. This is all Elaina wants to wear now and she loves them! She begged to call Grandma right away to tell her thank you. She tried to squeeze the phone to send Grandma a hug.
So that's what topped the birthday list this year. I'm thinking that I may just continue to spotlight the kids' favorite toys and gifts as the list grows. I do think that it will be fun for them to look back to see what they played with when they were kids and how the styles change. As for anyone else, you may just be able to refer to my list as a "personally recommended" guide to gift-giving for toddlers. Thank you to everyone for the lovely gifts and very sweet birthday cards for Elaina. She loves them, Awwe.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kids on the Fly

Has it really been that long since I posted new pictures? Well, holy smokes, it sure has. Lucky, I'm here to now to end the dry spell and catch up a long, long weekend of greatness. Only 6 days late.

Can you believe that they are both holding still?Our very first fourth of July parade! Notice the jeans in JULY! Aack! Lincoln loved the parade. I was concerned about the blasting, blaring sirens of the fire trucks and emergency rescue squads as they rounded out the end of the parade, but both kids seemed more interested than scared. Which was good. Lincoln, (my non-waving child) actually waved to the last units in the parade like he was sad to see them go.
We ended up partaking in the little homecoming activities of a neighboring town for the first time as they celebrated the fourth and we were very much impressed at the amount of activities and entertainment this little town put out. We even enjoyed the fireworks display from our friends' backyard.
Even more impressive is how we gambled with both kids behavior as we kept them out way past their bedtimes and even exposed them to fireworks for the first time (Lincoln anyhow). Lincoln took some down time before catching his second wind and pulling through happily. Elaina laughed hysterically and deliriously at the fireworks while Lincoln snuggled in my lap and took it all in.
And for another family first, we went to our local community pool. I put all of my germaphobe tendencies aside and just rolled with it.
At one point, Lincoln was falling asleep in his pool floaty and so I made him a nest in his stroller while I attempted to catch some well overdue rays. That lasted all of 5 minutes. And he was up.
And for Sunday's finale, Eric took Elaina fishing for the first time. She was so excited to go out with her Dad and was anxious to do everything, just like Dad. Before Eric headed out the door, I pleaded with him not to let my baby touch worms or fish. Especially worms. I got turned down. At least, for the love of God, take the sanitizing hand wipes! No again. I know I shouldn't pass along my issues to my children, but you don't even know how much worms creep me out. Ughh! Okay, she can touch the worms, if she wants to, just don't encourage her to, mmkay?
Could she be any more my girl? It turns out that Elaina wasn't really interested in touching worms. Or fish. All of my insides wanted to shout with joy and relief upon hearing this. I want to allow her freedom to explore and learn, but please keep the gross stuff to a minimum. ( I know that's so wrong. But worms? Okay, it's just me.) 'Atta Girl Elaina! You make Mommy and Daddy so proud!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Technical Difficulty, you lose!

For the past few months, no, make that YEAR, our computer has been running very s-l-o-w-l-y. And I mean s---------l---------o----------w.

Apparently, it was feeling a little rundown with a couple (dozen) (or more) viruses and spam-crap. (Spam-crap; ever heard of it?) And when our computer decided it wanted to be done working, it conveniently shut itself down. Oh, and did I mention that it's s----l----o-----w? So, let's say when I would go to reboot it, it would take just about 10 minutes to put me back to where I wanted to be. We've not had a good relationship, me and computer.

Enter, my husband. While Eric is mostly proficient with computer applications, etc., etc., all the stuff I don't understand, he pulled everything off our computer and breathed new life into it's formerly pokey self. Now she's running like a Dell of a gal!

This would be the reason for my latest blog hiatus, bur be forewarned, I have loads of pictures and stories to share with you about our wonderful fourth of July weekend. I just need somebody to reboot me and give me a fresh start every now and then to get me up and running too!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Opinions?

And so... notice anything new?
What's the consensus people? What do you think of the new appearance of my blog? Go ahead and be complimentary, flattering or just plain old honest about what you don't care for.

I've learned that Eric isn't overly impressed, nor am I for that matter, that the box that holds the body of the test isn't wider. Since I chose this standard to format, I don't think there is anything I can do about making it wider. If any of you genius bloggers do know how, please share. I did prefer that my text looks larger and since kicking it up a notch, my post look as though they will never end. Other than that, I think I was just ready for a change. I liked my girly pinky screen when this was just exclusively Elaina's blog, but since Lincoln, I've been thinking that it needed a less fru-fru-fluffy approach. What I came up with is pleasing to me as it's not overly girly, but lends itself to femininity and classiness.

Oh, and how about my blog song? Don't you LOVE it? I stole it from some else's blog as I was entering a whole bunch of pay-it-forward contests (that I didn't win) but I did win my new favorite song! Um, anybody know who sings it? (Hello GREG!) I think that I've listened to it over a hundred times now and can't even think I'll get tired of it. It's bouncy, it's sassy and I lah-lah-lah-lah love it! Everybody clap your hands together now!

So, share your comments with me about what you think. Good, bad or ugly. I'm still wondering what color I made the comments section.

And the reason is...

From time to time, I feel like it's my privilege and my right to do some creative editing on my part as the exclusive writer of this little ol' blog of mine. Okay, whatever. Basically, you may want to check out this birthday post that I've written to Lincoln and this one to Elaina that I squeezed in with a back date.

The reason that I sometimes hesitate on my most important post and the sole reason that I am a self admitted horrible return e-mailer is because of timing. I feel that if I don't have time to make it just perfect, I don't do it. Ironically, my strive for perfection sometimes presents in such a way that it back fires on me. When I don't do my kids' birthday letters on time, I feel like a bad parent for not making time on their special day and when I don't promptly return e-mail, I look like an uncaring friend. So there you have it, my dirty little secret of posting. Feel free to take a minute to click on back and see if my timing paid off.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Stalling in my pasture

Why, oh why was I blessed with an extra helping of the procrastination gene?

Seriously, I look around my house and see so many things that need done and have needed done and things that I should have done months ago and wonder to myself, how can I get so behind in such a short amount of time?

I do manage to keep up with the basic needs of the household. I mean, we do wear clean, laundered and pressed clothing. Dinner is cooked and cleaned up each night. All of us keep bathed and groomed pretty consistently. And I can walk through my house without tripping over mounds of mess and disaster. What I'm talking about is how I can let myself blatantly ignore important things like transferring funds from my Tastefully Simple parties. Not putting away my consultant supplies from my last TS party. 2 weeks ago. And not making myself concerned with the baskets of unclassified "stuff " that have been laying in the upstairs hallway for over 3 weeks.

How is my OCD self okay with this mess? I really can't figure it out. Even more than that, I can't seem to make time for my precious, all-important blogging. What gives? Every day I'm thinking of new things to share and I feel like I'm in the hole with about 14 new topics I wanted to touch on here. Now where will I find time for that? I see that other moms keep up. Why can't I join their club? Is there a coffee drinking minimum? I've been thinking about starting the habit and being hyped on caffeine for 20 hours out of my day, but I don't know that I can bear as much as the smell of coffee.

Well, before I get lost in more random ramblings, let me share the instances of cute that have happened here.

Mommy: Elaina, do you need to go potty?
Elaina: No Momma.
Mommy: Are you sure? It's been a while.
Elaina: Momma! Momma, look at my butt! (pulling down her pants to moon me) It doesn't need to go potty!

And then there's my sweet Lincoln who, unlike his sister, prefers music over books and reading any day. Everything in his world stops to watch and listen to me sing (he doesn't judge my off-key, tone deaf, rhythm) and always claps his hands when I finish. As I was holding him tonight, I was singing him a little made up Lincoln song to which he awarded my finale by dropping his blanket and toy car from his hands to begin to clap for me. Maybe he's just glad I stopped.
Darn he's cute.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Elaina Turns 3- (really)

Dear Elaina-

Happy 3rd Birthday my sweetest Angel!

Elaina, you are all of my joy and all my heart wrapped up into your sweet little self. Three years already. Amazing. With yet another year passing, I can say that my record of not taking a single day with you for granted is still going strong. Every time I look at you, hold you and even just thinking of you, I thank God that He made you OUR daughter. And as much as your Dad and I both love you, I can't even see for a second that you could belong to anyone else but us. You are our custom made miracle and I love you more than you will ever know.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your former 2 year old self. I've heard of the "terrible two's" but with you, you were nothing but terrific at two. Upon your last birthday, I was so much looking forward to all that the roller coaster ride of a two year old toddler had in store for us. What we experienced was a sweet, little girl who within her second year grew out of her stumbling, learning and exploring phase of a one year old into a well spoken, polite, young lady who knows what she wants and has a sense of humor about everything. Even at two years old, you have a gift of being able to recall specific events and details about the most random things. Not only is your memory sharp, but your verbal skills hit the roof in the past year and your imagination leaves me in awe.

Although we've all had a rough time as of late with you being somewhat particular *ahem* about eating, I totally get you. You're a little bit stubborn; you have blueprints in your little head of how you want things, the order in which you want things and how things should work. I get that. How did I not birth you , Child? You are so me. Amazingly, I feel that I have more than a special connection with you. I feel that I have a way of listening to you and being able to know what you're really saying and feeling. I don't know if every natural mother has this with their biological children but you and I are together. There are plenty of times that I just want to hold onto you and press my heart and my love into you and never let you go. For this we have a game where we pretend that we're glued to each other and act like we can't come undone. I know that my love for you will never come undone.

Elaina, you amaze me. You truly leave me in awe of what a 2 year old is capable of. You don't even know how much I am looking forward to for your 3rd year. We've just started to experience some mother-daughter moments that I've waited my whole life to share. You are my little, best friend. I will never know how God stopped the universe long enough to make us such a special match, but I'm pretty sure that He knows what an incredible job He did. Every day, I believe that I am the luckiest Mom in the entire world and Baby, there's no one who could have ever loved you more.

My sweet Love, I am excited to see what you have in store for us this year. Most days, I feel like you can't get any better than you already are and then the next day comes along and I feel that way all over again. You excite me, you inspire me and you've given me happiness like I've never known. Thank you for the greatest 3 year ride of my life, my sweet daughter. I can't wait to begin the journey of the next year with you.

All of my love, my sweet Angel,
Love, Momma