Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In the South, fall signifies lots of things--the start of school, the promise of cooler weather, the beginning of everything pumpkin-flavored--but here more than anywhere else in the entire country, most of all, fall signifies the start of college football!

This morning I woke up at the crack of dawn (along with the rest of the world's football fans) with a glimmer in my eye and adrenaline already pumping through my veins. It's game day! It's finally game day! (And, yes, I shed a quick tear of excitement in my car this morning as I thought of tonight's game. Whatever. I've been eager for this day all year.) We're University of Georgia fans here in the Shove household and plan to raise Emma Vance "right," wearing her Sunday best to Saturday's games, bleeding red and black, and calling the dawgs in her sleep. She'll grow up knowing of only two football conferences: the SEC and "other," because, well, isn't that pretty accurate? :)

Seriously, today is the start of the most wonderful time of the year around here. I'd easily say buh-bye to ol' Saint Nick and pine trees if I had to choose between the two, because, you see, in the South, there are five seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall...and football season. And, as I sit here breathlessly waiting for kick off, I can hear my sweet baby girl chanting in her sleep already: Go dawgs!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

To School

I know, I know. But everybody else is doing it, so... ;)

I thought to name this post "Back to School" (which would seem logical), but since it's E.V.'s first time ever going to school, "To School" captured the day more accurately. :)

Ryan and I had talked about sending Emma Vance to preschool when she turned 18 months old, mostly because it seemed to be the age at which all of our local preschools' classes began. However, when a friend of mine emailed me that her little girl was attending a 1s class (from 12 to 18 month olds) at a nearby church preschool and that there was one spot left, I was intrigued. We snatched up that last spot at the last minute, and (excited first-time-mom moment) today was E.V.'s first day!

The 1s class is only one day a week for three hours, and it's almost like an "Intro to Preschool" class. I figured that it was a good way to break her in for next year's real preschool schedule, a great way for my social child to be around other one year olds, and an enticing way for me to get some "stuff" done without a child clinging to me (read: FREEDOM!). The class does "gradual entry," which means that today we went for one hour with the kids, next week they'll go alone for two hours, and then finally the third week will start the normal schedule. This system was great because although E.V. was perfectly happy to play without me, I got to see her happiness firsthand and to meet some of the other parents in the class. Plus, let's be honest, this whole "gradual entry" method just as much for the moms as it is the kids. :)

This morning, of course, Emma Vance woke up at 5:30 a.m., ready and rarin' to go (MY child, who woke up early due to first day of school excitement). We were up for an hour before she finally decided it really wasn't time to get up, and then, when the alarm finally did go off at 7:45, I couldn't wake the dang kid up (RYAN's child, who begs for "one more snooze alarm" and feigns sickness to stay home from school).

When I finally was able to rouse her, I got a good look at her hair. Dear Lord, what happened to my child in her crib last night!?! Seriously, this was Ramona Quimby-level bad hair. (Which she thought was HILARIOUS. Me? Not so much.) I got myself ready in record time and spent what should  have been our first day of school picture-taking time trying to wrangle the hair-tastrophe in as much as possible. (Don't worry, we got her pictures post-preschool, and, shhh, no one will ever know. Except for that I just told you. Dang. Oh, well, now the whole jig is up, and you know I'm not perfect. Ha!)

After a morning full of debacles, I'm glad to say that E.V. had an awesome FIRST first day of school! Emma Vance has never been shy or tearful at my absence, but you never know with a new environment, meaning that a morning full of fun and free of crying was a win. E.V. was like a fish in water, happy to explore a new place with new faces. There were toys and kids and crayons, snack time and books and nice teachers--and we even peeked in on a music class on our way out. The only hitch is that she has to learn not to put things in her mouth :/, which was a rule she tested over and over and over today. Oops, we haven't really crossed that bridge yet in our home...sorry about that! {insert anxious laughter as I pull a crayon out of her mouth for the FIFTH time in an hour}

I'm sure in the future there will be a few days where she cries as I drop her off, or, let's be honest, days where I  cry as I drop her off, but I can honestly say that I'm so excited for her to be transitioning into her own person with her own experiences. Now, if I could only guarantee that she'll love school as much as I did (and not take after her dad in the area of academics, ahem), we'll be all set. :)

"Why are we UP, Mom???"

THIS hair. Oh. My. Goodness.

We did it! Ready on time. Well, kind of.


I'm trying to not post pictures of other people's kids, bur really? How could I resist this one? Adorable!

I wonder what E.V.'s favorite preschool activity will be? ;)

We celebrated a successful first day with a Mommy-Daughter date at CPK.

Oh, and back to that whole first-day-of-school-picture-thing...yeah. Not. So. Easy. :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Raising a Non-Tomboy

"Mama? Does this Clinique Black Honey Lipstain really look good on anyone?"

We have a budding makeup artist on our hands, folks.

Really, it's probably more accurate to say that we have a budding artist on our hands, considering that today E.V. pulled one of my paintbrushes from her hidden stash, paraded around with it proudly and then strummed her dad's guitar (rather melodically) with it--as her dress slipped down to around her waist. (Hey, nudity has always had its role in performance art.) But, for the sake of today's post, let's focus on the makeup aspect of her interests...

I suppose it's my fault. I have this weird thing where I physically can't apply makeup standing up. Since Amityville is low on bathroom space, that means I've taken to plopping myself down in the middle of our bedroom each morning with my makeup bag. Emma Vance always plops down next to me, rummaging through my case to see all the lovely little things Mommy owns. It's been this way since she's been mobile--almost seven months now--and up until recently, it's been rather innocent. HOWEVER, now that it's occurred to her what makeup actually is, i.e. fun grown up stuff that makes lovely marks of beautiful color, she's been more curious about it. It started out slowly with her handing me my makeup ("Thank you, dear. What a good helper you are!"), and then evolved into her trying to apply my makeup FOR me, which was cute until she'd jab my eye with an eyelash curler and then squeal out of pride. She started to become even more intrigued, carrying my powder around like a precious bauble and grabbing at my mascara wand as I applied it (and then, of course, trying to lick the mascara off her hands--logically).

The real trouble began when she realized that some makeup items had simple pull-off tops, tops that even a baby could operate! I give her props--the first time I found her pilfering my makeup all alone with her newfound uncapping skill, she had undone a lipstick and correctly managed to apply it to (near) her lips; on the other hand, shortly thereafter she mistook eyeliner for lipliner, and, well, let's just say that day she learned the Goth look isn't really "her." I'm pretty sure she's eaten a bit of my concealer stick and perhaps even some chapstick along the way. Oh, and then there was the time I forgot I left my makeup out, only to have her come running up to hand me my eyeshadow--minus the flip top and plus a few claw marks. (It took a loooong bath time to get her nails to not look like she'd clawed a dirt pile for fun...) With all of this makeup exploration, I've tried to take it in stride, although I do admit Amityville's poor carpet is taking the brunt of the abuse. Sorry, landlord! {nervous, apologetic laughter}

I wasn't really a tomboy or a super girly-girl growing up, and I've always wondered how long it would take to see which side of the fence E.V. would fall on. Well, here we are, nearly 14 months in, and her makeup obsession--coupled with her love for my jewelry and closet and her proclivity to declare "Pretty!" to anything she sees and likes (including her own reflection)--means I think we have a girly-girl on our hands. And I do have to admit, I'm okay with that, although my makeup collection may have another opinion on the matter...

Creating an all-in-one lipstick-eyeliner. (She's got a creative streak, this one.)

"Um, dear, I think you missed your eyes by about six inches..."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sick + Six

This seems a bit too familiar...

Well, we all knew that teething is terrible. (That's been evident on and off over the past six months around here!) Now we also know that croup is crappy.

This week has been really hard for Emma Vance. It started out with her being way, way cranky, and when she finally let me feel her gums, I realized the reason for her bad attitude. Four fangs and two molars were bulging, ready to emerge. (That's SIX teeth at once, people! To put that into perspective, when they all emerge, she'll have DOUBLE her current number of teeth!) I was glad to have figured out why she wasn't acting like herself but sad to think that the next few weeks were doomed to be characterized by a whiny baby with a mouthful of aching gums.

Thus, when she was SUPER fussy Thursday, I assumed her teeth were about to break through soon. However, as the day wore on, she got worse and worse, to the point where I barely recognized my child. Typically E.V. cries, like, rarely, but all day Thursday she was full of tears and complaints. Ryan and I attributed it to her teething, put her to bed and prayed for a better day Friday. Yeah right. She woke up all throughout the night, crying out with a raspy voice, coughing violently along with scary, labored breathing and a feverish forehead. By the time 8 a.m. rolled around, we were desperate for the pediatrician to see our wheezy, miserable baby.

Upon entering the dreaded exam room (you know, the one where they place all the sick kids? the one where you KNOW it's just covered in other kids' germs...), it took about ten seconds for the doctor to declare that Emma Vance had croup, which I'd heard of but knew nothing about. Basically it's baby laryngitis--a kid-to-kid virus that causes a sore throat, loss of voice, dry cough and fever. (That's what I get for taking her to the gym daycare!) He said that it'd be two to five days before the laryngitis "broke" and that we'd know we were in the home stretch when she became phlegmy.

So began our miserable quarantine. They gave her an oral steroid at the doctor's office, which normally I'd refuse but she was so miserable I'd have said yes to any treatment at that point. We were sent home with the advice to rest and stay inside, which we've been doing for a few days now. It's been hard because of those dang incoming teeth, which didn't let up once the croup came on. Not only have we been dealing with a sick baby, but also six teeth coming in--simultaneously! Seriously?!?

Overall, we've just been snuggling, eating a lot of cheese and bananas (soft stuff), and resting as much as possible. Poor Emma Vance has been waking up throughout the nights, ravenous for a few sips of formula to soothe her dry, scratchy throat. (Poor Mom, too! Those newborn-esque nights are tough a year later!) The really difficult thing has been that even during the day all E.V. really wants is a bottle of formula. She asks for it ("Baba?") constantly. It seems to be the only thing that really soothes her, and since we had almost completed the bottle-to-sippy-cup and formula-to-milk transition, it's been a big set back. But, really, what do you do when your kid is hurting? I figure we'll get back to the big girl stuff once the little lady's feeling like herself again. "Two steps forward," right?

The good news/bad news is that although she awoke this morning sicker than ever, it was at least accompanied by a cough proclaiming that we've officially entered the phlegmy stage. Although the yucky cough and runny nose have made for a day full of Pixar movies, pajamas and lounging (where ever the tiny patient wants--including on the dogs), I believe that we've survived the worst of it. It's only a matter of a few days, now, before she should be back to herself again. Well, at least back to her teething self again. Ugh. Why didn't God design these things to happen one at a time?

Sick little lady!

The nurse checked to see if our wheezing baby was getting enough oxygen
(which she was). This whole toe-monitor-thing perplexed E.V. quite a bit...

She kept choosing a book about disobeying to read.
Is this a good sign or bad sign? ;)

This was the most comfortable position to watch "A Bug's Life..."

...and this worked for "Toy Story." :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Peach + Mint (Emma Vance's First Birthday Party!)

(That's the same peony from E.V.'s Gender Reveal!)

I can't believe I've delayed so long in writing this post!

I loooove throwing parties (crafts!), and the second they're over I'm ravenous for the pictures (always from the amazingly talented Carrie Tabb). However, when the last of the trash bags has been taken to the curb, it's as if all of a sudden the adrenaline wears off, it hits me that I'm EXHAUSTED, and I realize that I don't want to think about anything related to the six weeks leading up the party...and then it takes the next six weeks to recover! :) I was re-looking at these images for the billionth time today and thought, "Man, it's about time to share these lovely photos of such a fun time!" So here we are.

Emma Vance's birthday was at the end of June, and her peach-themed party was two days later. Since Amityville (obviously) wasn't a good option to host all of our friends and family, we rented a pavilion at our local park, ordered BBQ from Jim 'n Nicks (yum) and decked the halls with peach and mint. It was HOT-HOT-HOT, and even though that's a "no duh" for summer in the South, I had the misguided idea that I'd actually get to wear my hair down for the party. That lasted about 10 minutes into set-up. We were prepped for the heat with King of Pops (heaven), lots of cold drinks and a giant fan, and although my tissue paper flowers melted in the heat (which I did NOT predict would happen), the summer sun wasn't as scary as I had thought it would be. Overall, everyone hung out, ate and played (with toys and bubbles and each other). We sang "Happy Birthday," E.V. smashed her cake and (I think) everyone enjoyed themselves. It was exactly how I imagined it would be. :)

P.S.: A HUGE thank you to Alli Finlay and Ashley Glover for being my set-up slaves! Only a true friend would let me boss them around and still like me at the end of the day. :) And, oh, a special thank you to Alli who always gets me through those last crazy days (and nights) before all of my events. You rock.

Here's Emma Vance's first birthday party told in pictures:
(Curious for more? You can click here to see them all!)

(FINALLY taking all those monthly pictures was worth it!)

Crawlers & Cruisers area for all of E.V.'s little friends.

Confession: I have an unhealthy obsession with flowers. 


(Remember that re-frosted cake? Worth it. ;) )

Smash cake!

(I made that clay peach--which took a million coats of paint to cover...)

('Atta girl!)

The birthday girl had TWO King of Pops!

We played "toljabee," where you guess which toy (and thus future
career) the baby will choose.

(Of course I thought she'd choose the dog...)

She chose the dog! Future veterinarian!

Singing "Happy Birthday!"


(No one warns you about the clean up...)

Mmmm...birthday cake!

Party favors, of course.

post-smashing outfit = a must

While we cleaned up, Carrie and Alli took these AWESOME pictures...thank you!!!

Clean-up is a beautiful thing...literally!