Monday, October 10, 2011

My Baby Loves to Dance

Yesterday, on October 9th, my precious oldest daughter turned four.
Where, or where, does time go? To be honest, I've been dreading this day. Turning one was exciting and fun, as was two & three. But four. Four I've had a hard time with for some reason. Over the past few months we've all noticed her just *acting* bigger- phrases she says, or silly jokes she tells. This past year, she's truly gone from "baby" to "little girl". I think that's the part I've had the hardest time with.
She has become so much more independent in the past year. She is able to go entertain herself- she get's crayons & a coloring book out, and can sit at the table by herself & color... and clean up too. She is able to potty all by herself. She is able to put herself in bed for rest time. She is able to clean her room (for the most part). She loooves to brush her hair all by herself. So many big girl things! I can't believe the changes in *just* one year!
Gabbi is an amazing little girl. Absolutely unique from head to toe. She is, what I believe to be, the perfect combination of "tomboy" & "girly girl". She has the best imagination- including her friend "Frances" in on most family occasions. She loves to play princesses- something I never encouraged or pushed on her, but she just loves them so I won't hinder that. As I type she's sitting here with a little Melissa & Doug dress-up magnet Princess. Not only is she dressing her, but she's talking to & carrying on with her- in a totally different world. I love listening to her & watching her play.
At the same time, she loves the outdoors. Camping & hiking are at the top of some of her favorite things to do. She loves to look at the trees changing colors, and on hikes she is constantly stopping to pick up or take a closer look at something. Oh, the things we can learn from a child! While we are such goal-oriented people and just want to get to the destination, my sweet girl reminds us it's not about that destination, the end... it's about the walk we are taking, stop and enjoy it.... take it in! She loves to play sports outside with her daddy. Kicking around the soccer ball, or throwing a ball. She also loves exercising. Her little version of it anyway- which include yoga stretches (not the whole yoga exercise in its entirety) her & I look at on youtube, or doing sit ups/ push ups with her daddy.
She loves to learn, and has started asking so many questions that I (most of the time) love taking the time to explain to her. Why are the leaves changing colors? Why does it rain? And recently, a very important one, what does it mean to be separated from God? I pray her curiosity never ceases, and that I don't burn it out or blow it off because of selfishness & lack of patience.
She is able now to write her name from memory, and can copy words that I write. I don't know what a "typical" 4 year-old's art work looks like, but her pictures are amazing! She draws some excellent pictures of princess, our family, and rainbows.
She is such a silly little bundle of energy. Telling "jokes" she makes up. For instance: "knock knock!" (who's there) "Orange" (Orange who?) "Orange pudding, I didn't say banana!" ... she tries :)
Her favorite color is purple (and pink). Favorite food is broccoli. Her favorite TV show is Strawberry Shortcake. Favorite movie is Tangled. Her favorite place to go is "Nana's house!" Gabbi's favorite animal is a sheep, and her favorite book for us to read is "Take Care, Good Knight" (because it's silly). Her favorite song to sing "God Made Me" (on Slugs & Bugs CD). A game she likes to play is "Duck Duck Goose". When asked who her best friend is, she says Madison (Franse). And she says when she is *all grown up* she wants to be a Princess.
Finally, my baby *loves* to dance! She started dancing right as she turned a year old. I will never forget living in this little townhouse in Powell, where our washer/ dryer were in the dining area. When a wash was running its spin cycle amd making a steady beat, Gabbi sat in her high chair eating lunch, dancing to the beat. No music at all, but she heard music.
She dances everywhere. Up & down the hallway, all around the house. Sometimes, to be honest, it grates my nerves because our house is so tiny... but I'm working on & praying for my ability to let things go. Choose my battles. On most days, I love that she doesn't want to sit still. She is so much like me in that way. I had her signed up for a dance camp this summer, and was so sad when she came down with strep throat the same week. Maybe next year things will work out!
My brother & sister-in-law bought Gabbi & Catie a CD for Christmas last year called "Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies" by Andrew Peterson. There is this song on it called "My Baby Loves to Dance" that I thought of Gabbi the moment I first heard it. I decided to post the lyrics with several pictures of my baby growing up over the years.

"My Baby Loves to Dance"
My baby loves to dance,
She loves to spin around
She's only two feet tall,
But I don't mind at all
She hears a song in every little sound.

And my baby loves to move,
She settles on my chest,
She doesn't stay for long, a moment and she's gone

She's off to find another heart to bless.
And the leaves were turning golden brown,
People came from miles around,
To see her when she came to town.
Then I turned to walk outside,
Stood beneath an Autumn sky,
I felt a season falling,
And a new one taking flight.
My baby loves me so,
She loves me as I am.

She lifts her little hands,
Her wish is my command

I'll pick her up forever if I can.
-Andrew Peterson

Gabbi, we are in awe of what the Lord has done in you over the passed four years! You are growing up to be such a beautiful little girl- you are learning and doing so much! Our prayer is that as you grow & continue to learn, the Lord would open your heart to Him. That you will learn & believe His love for you. He loves you so much more & so much better than we ever could. Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Catie-Bug Birthday!!

Seeing as how Gabbi's birthday is on Saturday, I think I should get a post on here about Catie's!

On Friday, September 9th, Dustin & I were able to take Catie out on a Birthday Date! The first of what will be a yearly tradition with each of our sweet girls. As our family grows, especially in these little years, individual attention seems to be precious & hard to come by. So on our babies' birthdays, we want to be able to take them out, on their own, and devote some quality time to just them- doing whatever they choose to do. Of course, this will look different for each child & different with each age. This year, for instance, Catie couldn't exactly tell us where she wanted to go. But we know this girls looooves pizza, so we chose based on what she likes!
In an effort to find good, handmade pizza and stay in the Old North Knoxville community, we decided on Harby's Pizza & Deli. Well, it wasn't until after her birthday we were told we should have gone to Pizza Palace on Magnolia. But ah well... Harby's was good, but not somewhere we'll be going back again, I don't believe. Catie sure didn't complain!

After pizza we headed to Marble Slab.
How sweet it was of the girl at the counter to give us her little kiddie cup "on the house". They don't typically do anything special for birthdays at Marble Slab, but I guess that little face is just irresistable! We got Catie "Cake Batter" ice cream with sprinkles. I never will understand sprinkles to be honest, they don't have much taste, but kids love them. I guess I understood them when I was a kid :) I enjoyed my Key Lime ice cream with graham cracker mixin'.
Honestly, Catie loved eating, but I'm not sure she really enjoyed the quality time as much as we did. Especially since she cried almost the whole way to the pizza place for her "Sissy". But next year she will understand more... and we're looking forward to our time with Gabbi this Friday.

Saturday, Sept 10th we loaded up & headed to Adair Park for Catie's Minnie Mouse birthday!

My super talented friend Lauren Pulliam made Catie's Minnie pillowcase dress.
And I was able to get a bit crafty on a few decorations as well.
Catie's little friend Zoe came out to play & celebrate with us.

My brother, sister-in-law & our little nephew came out. Only something as special as Catie's birthday allows for Ben to wear something other than UT Orange on game day! Notice his little Mickey ears :)
My daddy, the self-appointed family photographer, often drives people a little nuts with his checklist of group shots at family functions. You'd think we were at a wedding sometimes. But we all have to admit, years down the road we'll be thankful for shots like these. Four generations of ladies! My girls, myself, my mom, grandma, and *great great* aunt (great-grandma's sister). She lives in Newport News, VA and this is the first time she's been able to be out here with us to celebrate a birthday!
My grillin' man & his friends.

Sweet, silly friends. Gabbi adores little miss Adah.

Apparently someone doesn't like all the attention that comes with being sung to. I will treasure this picture always!

Yummy Rita's Cake! Mom has been getting the girls' cakes from there for two years now. They are delicious, as well as adorable.

I just love birthdays!!!
It is my prayer that as we celebrate our children on their special day, we are always pointed to the One truly worth celebrating. We want our children to know the One who has entrusted them to us, the One who created them uniquely, individually, and perfectly. That HE never makes a mistake, that they are beautiful because they are made in HIS image & that they are lovely because HE loves them. We are forever grateful to the Lord for blessing us in such a mighty way- with our beautiful & precious baby girls!