today, you are four

**this post should have went live yesterday, but in all the haste of  the birthday, I never even checked to see if posted. I’ll have a birthday party recap tomorrow**

my Braylen,

Today you woke up a four year old. Try as I might, I can’t wrap my head around this new age for you. Four!

That’s roughly 1,460 days since we welcomed you into our hearts and lives with much joy and anticipation.

You are smart, BK. So very smart. You know all of your letters and sounds, recognize some of your sight words, love to read books and add numbers. You are so curious about letters and sounds and learning to spell words. You write your name like a pro and you want to write everyone else’s name, too! You’re good at memorizing books and retelling stories. You make your kindergarten-teaching-mama very proud.

I can’t wait to see you be a great big sister to your baby brother. You love him so much already. I don’t think you quite know what’s coming, you’re just excited to get to feed and hold a new baby. I have no doubt that it will take some adjusting, but that you’ll fall into that role with ease. I think you two will be the best of friends one day.

You have the sweetest heart, the best smile, and the most contagious laugh. You are incredibly content and your love for life is evident as your eyes light up over the smallest of treasures like tiny purple flowers that grow in our yard and rocks you find on the sidewalk. You are collector of random things, they become your treasures, like flowers and leaves, but most mostly rocks.

In your third year we’ve watched you grow taller, your eyes have turned from blue to green, your curls aren’t quite as a tight as they fall somewhere past your shoulders these days. You traveled to the beach several times, to Disney World, to Atlanta, to Chattanooga. You are a great travel companion, and my right hand girl. You know where all the good stores are like Hobby Lobby and Starbucks, and you’ll eat Mexican with us any day of the week. You started dance class, and I love seeing you decked out in pink each week. You love seeing your friends and twirling in circles.

You are a social butterfly. From the beginning, you always have been. I don’t know that it will ever change. You quickly take center stage anywhere we go, chat with anyone we meet (or even people that we haven’t met), and you want to know everyone’s name. You love princesses and shoes, but most of all, you love my jewelry and shoes.

You are so inquisitive, you have a question for everything. Nothing is ever left unknown to you, if you wonder about something, you quickly ask someone what it means. You are full of energy, only crashing at bedtime. When you wake up, you’re full speed ahead for the entire day. Still and quiet are rare for you, on the rare occasion you want to snuggle or fall asleep in my lap, I treasure that time more than you know.

You are such a good and perfect gift from God and I can’t even remember what it was like before you, but I know that life is better because of you. Your daddy and I love you more than the world, or as you like to say to the moon and back. 

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ordinary mary’s extraordinary deed

I received the book Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed in the mail a few weeks ago and I’ve read it aloud to BK more times than I can count. It’s one of her new favorite bedtime books and I love it too, because the message is perfect for my almost four year old.

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You see, I’m a huge believer that kindness is key. Key to everything we do in life. It is the deciding factor in relationships, it has the power to change lives, it is one of the ultimate tests of someone character. At the same time, I don’t think that kindness is something I can necessarily teach my child. It’s something that I have to show and do, it has to be a part of who I am to become a part of who she is, and that’s an overwhelming task at times.

Which is one reason I love this book so much. In the book, ordinary Mary, an ordinary child, with an ordinary life decides to pick blueberries (ordinary, of course) for her neighbor. Her neighbor bakes muffins with the blueberries and sets off a chain reaction. The book shows that one act of kindness by any of us (big or small) can make a difference to everyone in the world when it is paid forward. I love that the book shows how a simple act of kindness can change the world. How it can spread from person to person, making everyone’s day a little brighter. Everyone in the book used the resources they had to help other people, to show kindness to other people.

And that kindness? Well, it made all the difference. As BK’s fascination with this book grew, I knew it was the perfect time to let her kindness shine through an ordinary act, just like Mary. We thought long and hard about what we might do, about who we might help, and she kept going back to baking cookies for her daddy. After a little thought, we decided that we would bake cookies for everyone at Allen’s business. She was so excited as she talked about everyone who works for Allen and she wanted to be sure everyone would get cookies.  We packaged them up with a sweet note, and sent them with him to work. She’s been talking about it for days now, so we decided to brainstorm and come up with a few other things we could do to spread kindness, like Mary did in the book.

 

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She’s obsessed with gum ball machines, and decided that she should leave a quarter in the machines for other kids. So simple, yet so perfect. I love that she thought of it all on her own, that’s what it’s really all about, watching her learn and grow, watching the lessons that we instill come back is such a full circle moment as a parent. It just took a little encouragement and example, and a perfect lesson from this sweet book.

 I encourage you to check out the posts below and see how others a spreading kindness after reading Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed. 

showering baby boy

I had a beautiful baby shower this past Saturday to celebrate our sweet baby boy. The countdown is on around here, and we’re less than three weeks away from his scheduled arrival date. It seems like a million years in some ways, but I know I’ll blink and be getting my things ready to check into the hospital.

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I love how fun and intimate this shower was, it was at my house and I invited my closest friends and family. It was nice to be able to sit and talk, to catch up and laugh with everyone who came. The food was delicious and the cake tasted just as good as it looks in the pictures.

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I’m going to incorporate this thumbprint tree in the nursery after I let all of of our visitors (once the baby arrives) add their name. I think it will be a special keepsake for years to come.

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And how cute is the nail polish? I loved seeing all of the shades of blue!

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I always love getting to see these two ladies. We’ve been friends since kindergarten and share some incredible memories.

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And a huge thank-you to everyone who hosted the shower and made the day so special, and to everyone who came and celebrated with us. Here a group shot with my hostesses who truly went above and beyond to make this day perfect.

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Braylen was excited to see all of the new things for the baby. She’s been playing in his room lately, rocking her baby dolls and getting tons of practice in before he arrives. I think she’s going to be the best big sister and I can’t wait to see her in her new role.

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Speaking of showers, I also had a diapers and wipes shower at school last Tuesday. I only have a picture of the cake, but I had a great time. I work with a wonderful group of women and I am so thankful for all the love and support they have shown.

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a weekend away

It’s  Spring Break for me this week, and we planned a little trip to Chattanooga a few months back. We knew that we wanted to go somewhere, and take BK on vacation one last time before the baby arrives. Our location is perfect, we’re a short drive from the beach or fun cities like Chattanooga and Atlanta. We ultimately chose Chattanooga because it’s only about 2.5 hours away and it boasts of some fantastic attractions for children (and tons of great food).

I’ve been joking with Allen that I need to either plan a vacation or have a baby to actually get to spend any time with him, I think I told you before that his work schedule has been crazy. We left when he got home Friday night around 9:00. The great news? BK slept the entire way, she didn’t wake up until the next morning, nestled in an unfamiliar bed. Her first words? This place is really different, but I do like it! 

We start Saturday morning off with a trip to the Chattanooga zoo.

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Map-obsessed BK served as our official tour guide.

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She and Allen rode a camel, the great thing about being so pregnant on vacation is that you automatically get to opt out of things like this. I’m always happy to not ride a camel and observe from ground level.

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Allen’s brother and his family happened to be in Chattanooga as well, so we met them for lunch at Urban Stack, grabbed cupcakes, and headed to the pool for the rest of the day.

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We woke up Sunday to much cooler temperatures and later start times on most attractions. We had planned to take it easy and visit the Creative Discovery Museum, but we were about an hour early. So we walked down to the aquarium and spent the first half of the day in one of the aquarium buildings before eating lunch at Blue Plate. After lunch we saw the rest of the aquarium and watched an IMAX movie.

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After the movie, we went back to the hotel for more swimming. Except, I didn’t swim, another pregnancy perk (there is no swim suit in my house that will fit me and I’m certainly not swim suit shopping at this point).

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Monday we headed over to the Creative Discovery Museum and spent the majority of our day there, before grabbing something to eat and heading back to swim.

Do you notice a trend here? I could have saved a ton of money and stayed somewhere local with a heated pool. That is all BK wanted to do. Which is completely fine, especially since she was showing off her much improved swimming skills. I couldn’t believe how far she’s come and with a little help from Allen, she was swimming underwater across the shorter end of the pool. I think she’ll be ready to go after another round of lessons this summer.

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We headed home on Tuesday morning, but decided to make a quick stop by Ruby Falls on our way out. Of course, BK loved being in a real cave. 

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We had a great time and I can’t believe we are so close to welcoming a fourth member into our family. Up until this point, I’ve really felt like this pregnancy has been dragging along, but I’m taking a step back and savor these last few weeks.

Splish Splash!

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We’re wrapping up our long weekend in Chattanooga, I’ll be back to regularly scheduled posting on Wednesday, but I wanted to share a fun giveaway with you tonight! It ends Wednesday, so be sure to go ahead and get those entries in, it’s a prize pack I’d love to have for our newest addition. I’m going to be super excited for whichever lucky mom wins this fantastic prize bundle.

You can learn more on the 4 Moms Facebook page by clicking here.

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Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

Good luck!

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