Sunday, July 29, 2012

(Past) Time For a Haircut!

Yesterday I finally found (and took) the time to go get a haircut. The first one in 2 1/2 years! My sweet husband took the 4 kids to the park while I got 14 inches cut off. Now I am trying to decide where to donate my chopped off hair to. I have done "Locks of Love" before, but I know that there are other organizations out there now that does the same type of thing. Suggestions?
Here is a picture of my new do!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Little Moments

First of all... Happy 1 month to this little gal:

She gave us her first "real" smile last Wednesday, (7/11/12). Ansley and I were talking to her and all of a sudden she gave us a big grin. We both got so excited and kept trying to get her to do it again and again, but she only decided to do it once after that. Every time I tried to snap a picture of her grinning since then, I would be too slow or wouldn't have my camera around when she would smile. Tonight while taking her 1 month picture, she decided she would give a big grin to the camera! Look how precious!!

Cute picture #2:
This morning Vada woke up early to nurse, and went back to sleep. Ansley had come into our bed sometime during the middle of the night (which isn't uncommon... actually it isn't uncommon for all 4 of them to be in there!) and was snoozing also. I heard Vada crying and was unloading the dishwasher, and once I finished and went to check on her, Ansley had given her the pacifier, snuggled up beside her, and they both were asleep. Ansley thinks she is Vada's mommy, and could easily win the award for best big sister ever! :) These are the moments that make my heart smile!

Two of my sleeping beauties!

(Sorry- I had to add just one more picture!) :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kid's Fest!

On Sunday we took the kids to Dollywood for the Kid's Fest event. My parents get us season passes every year and last year when we took the kids to Kid's Fest they absolutely loved it, so we definitely wanted to take them back. One of their favorite things during this event are the plays they do based off of three children's books, Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad, The Little Engine That Could, and Otis. I think  Jackson and Ansley now have the songs from these plays memorized if you would like to hear them! :)

They have a dining with characters breakfast, and although we didn't make it this year (we went last year and the kids loved it!), we did walk up on Strawberry Shortcake out and about and snapped this quick picture:

Jackson is getting tall enough now where he can ride a couple of the bigger rides and smaller roller coasters, and Ansley was even tall enough this time to ride the Rampage (or as they call it, the grampage)!
 Ansley Kate loved her first ride on thr Rampage

Jackson enjoyed the Rampage much more this year than he last year.

Jessica, Mom and Dad all went with us, so when Elsie (and obviously Vada!) was too short to ride a certain ride, there was always someone else to take Elsie to another ride or to somehow distract/entertain her so she wouldn't have to sit around most of the day.
 Elsie riding the Busy Bees!

When Jackson and Ansley went to ride the scrambler with Mamaw Di and Jessica, and Vada was hanging out with Papaw Fred, Eric and I took Elsie for her first ride on the Shooting Star. The super sweet older man that was working the ride said that if she didn't like it after the first time they took us up and brought us down, he would stop the ride and let me get her off. I wasn't sure how she would respond to the ride, and the way you are strapped in it is impossible for me to see her face. So, I got the Ipod out so I could hold it out in front of her and see her reaction. I am so glad I did.... because I ended up with this:
 She LOVED it! :)

Dollywood is great for nursing moms in the fact that they provide nursing rooms throughout the park that are equipped with air conditioner, rocking chairs, changing tables and a restroom. Vada was awesome all day long and spent most of the day like this:

If you ever go to Dollywood on a Sunday, I suggest you go to the chapel there at 11:30, for a wonderful short church service. We have been going to this church every year when we go to Dollywood since I was a child, and I love taking a few minutes to be in a small, old church that is always packed full of strangers (with many times the porch standing full of people), inside a theme park, worshiping Jesus. When the congregation stands together and sings those old timeless hymns, it is always so beautiful and blesses my soul!

There is a new roller coaster this year at Dollywood called Wild Eagle. When we were getting ready to leave dad told me and Eric to go ahead and go ride it while he, mom and Jessica watched the kids. Thankfully we didn't have to stand in line long at all! Now, I love roller coasters, but the one thing I don't love about them is the part where they go up.... I am scared of heights and that time when you are climbing up the track, along with the clicking noise it makes, has always freaked me out a little. The downhill part, the upside down loops, twists and turns don't bother me at all, it is just that part going up. When we started going up I instantly closed my eyes, because I don't think I've ever been on a roller coaster that was so steep. We were nearing the top so I stopped holding my breath and opened my eyes, and then it started slowing down. I realized that they usually don't slow down THAT much before they go across the other side and start going down, and it was then that it completely stopped. At the very top. 210 feet up in the air.  We were stopped at the top for 7 minutes (some girl on there was timing it), but there was a lot that went through my mind (I am not going to make it down these steps if we have to walk down, Vada is going to be starving by the time we get off of here, we are going to fall backwards, etc.) in those seven minutes. I almost had a panic attack, but it started and the ride was smooth sailing from there! I'm sure Eric had to try really hard not to laugh at me for getting really freaked out, but thankfully he didn't! :) Even though it looks intimidating, it isn't at all. It is actually really smooth for a roller coaster, and lots of fun!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This week Jackson and Ansley attended Bible School at Mabel United Methodist Church and had a wonderful time. Dad wasn't able to make it to commencement, so when he got home they wanted to sing some of the songs they learned. Love their sweet little hearts!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Elsie's Minnie Party

On Sunday, July 8th, we had Elsie's Minnie Mouse themed party for her 2nd birthday. I felt a bit guilty that I didn't do as big of a party that we usually do for the kids, but since Vada was only two weeks at the time I just didn't have the time (and energy!) to get it all together. Thankfully my parents have the perfect party backyard that we are always able to use, so that way at least I didn't have to stress too much about having to get things ready here.  Even though it wasn't as "big" as usual, we still were able to celebrate her with a lot of our family and friends, and most importantly, Elsie had a wonderful time and would excitedly tell everyone, "It's my birthday!"
Here are some memories from her day!
Her banner I made (I was really excited when I found a free download of Disney font!)

The food table, Minnie Rice Krispie Treats, & Ice Cream Toppings

Elsie with her Minnie Cake

Elsie's cake her daddy made- great job, Eric!

Elsie loved when everyone was singing "Happy Birthday" to her, and she even helped them sing!

               Blowing out her candles!                                                 This girl loves some cake!

Decorations, Presents, & Icees

Present Time!

                                                  Elsie instantly wanted to put on her new Minnie undies!

Our family at Elsie's party!

Elsie wanted to take a dip in the pool (in her new Minnie undies, of course) after her party, so Jackson, Ansley, Abigail, Amelia, and Aunt Tiffy all joined her!

I had crocheted Vada a Minnie skirt and hat to wear at Elsie's party, and then it was so stinkin' hot that she wasn't able to wear it there. By the time the party was over, it had cooled down a little so we could put it on her and snap a couple of pictures.

Thanks to everyone that came out to help us celebrate our sweet little Elsie Miles! She had a wonderful time and has loved playing with all of her new Minnie toys!

 Elsie and some of her new birthday toys!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy 8 years, emc!!

Today, July 10, 2012, Eric and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary! 
Eric woke me up with a kiss and told me "Happy Anniversary," with his coffee in his hand and ready to leave for work, while I, still half asleep with a swaddled baby snuggled up in my left arm, gave him a kiss back and responded with "Happy Anniversary, babe!" So romantic. . . aren't we! :)
We were able to go to a nice dinner, at one of my favorite places, Casa Rustica, while my mom kept the 3 oldest kids.
 I still thank God every day for creating the perfect man for me, and for giving us our 4 amazing blessings. I was looking through some pics of us on our past anniversaries, and thought I would post them here as well!

First Anniversary- we went to Williamsburg, Va to Bush Gardens & Water Country, USA

2nd Anniversary- we rented a cabin in Gatlinburg and spent our time away by hiking (where we walked right up on some bears on a trail in Cades Cove), went to Dixie Stampede, to Dollywood & Splash Country.
3rd Anniversary- We had a new baby (Jackson was 1 1/2 months old) so we just went out to eat with baby in tow! :)
4th Anniversary- With a 13 1/5 month old and being 8 months pregnant with Ansley, we just went out to eat for dinner.

The night before our 5th anniversary, Eric and I ran The Bear up Grandfather Mountain. I tried (and part of the time really wanted him to! ha) to get him to go ahead and run at his pace and not hold back staying with me. It was a fun, (and tough!) race.
5th Anniversary- We went to Suba's for dinner, and then to Barter Theatre to watch The Wizard of Oz
6th Anniversary- I had delivered Elsie at 9:05pm the night before, so we were still in the hospital for this anniversary!

7th Anniversary- We spent the day tubing down the New River with our family, and went out to dinner that night, just the two of us.
8th Anniversary- We went out to dinner, with our baby Vada who turned 3 weeks old today!
 Happy 8th Anniversary babe... I love you!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Elsie is Two!

Two years ago today, on July 9th, 2010 at 9:05 pm, our third little blessing, Elsie Miles Clifton, was born- (only 7 days past her due date)!
Elsie Miles at the hospital

Being introduced to her big brother and sister!

My sweet baby girl

In the past two years she has provided us with so many precious moments, memories, and lots of laughter! She has gone from being the perfect little baby that never cried, slept through the night at just a few days old, and always smiling, to our adorable, feisty, sassy and hilarious daughter. She keeps us entertained daily with the stuff that she says and does, and when she is around you can be certain that you will not be bored!
We spent Elsie's big day celebrating her and doing what she wanted to do. She started the day with snuggling her two new Minnie Mouses she got for her birthday while watching Yo Gabba Gabba, ate some birthday pancakes, played outside all day, and then had some pizza (one of her favorites!).
 Snugglin' up with her Minnies with watching Yo Gabba Gabba!

Birthday Pancakes!

At two years old Elsie loves Minnie Mouse, singing, dancing, playing with her Barbies and baby dolls, watching Yo Gabba Gabba, playing outside, giving hugs and the girl loves to eat.  Her brother and sisters are her best friends, and she especially loves to pick on them as often as possible (she gets this honest from her Papaw Fred's side of the family!).  
Elsie and her best friends! :)
One of my favorite parts of every single day is at night after we say our prayers she always says, "I wanna rock you mama," and so I rock my baby girl in the rocking chair in her room while she holds her blankie and cuddles up to me. She, (like all children), is growing way too fast so I will take full advantage of my time rocking her as long as she will let me.  Because. . . at one moment you have this:

then you blink and they are one:

and the next thing you know they are TWO years old!

Happy birthday, sweet little Els! We love and are so proud of you!

A couple of videos on Elsie's birthday!