Monday, July 25, 2011

A Picnic in July

Catherine turned two on Sunday. What better way to celebrate than an indoor picnic birthday party?
First of all, I must give credit where credit is due. Tara did all of this. The idea came up and she ran with it. All the details that went into the party were her ideas and her creations. I can only take credit for the cake...and all I did was order it.  Thanks so much, Tara!

To celebrate Catherine, we set up a picnic in our dining room, complete with pillows, a blanket, umbrellas, a balloon sky with clouds and a personal picnic basket for each child. There was also a cookie bar with a white picket fence, a lemonade stand and a milk and cookie cup for everyone.

The kids loved it. It was the cutest thing seeing them all eating their PB&J, Cheetos and drinking their root beer. After everyone finished their baskets, they got a pin making kit and made their own flower pins. It was precious!

At cake time, Catherine stood there with a serious look on her face while we sang happy birthday to her. I was surprised to find out that she knew EXACTLY what to do with those candles and blew them right out!

Catherine had a great time at her party and loved having all of her friends there to celebrate with her on Saturday.

Of course, keeping with family tradition, on Sunday, we celebrated Catherine's "real" birthday (Hannah kept calling Saturday her "fake" birthday) with our little family of 5. We spent Sunday afternoon outside jumping on the trampoline and playing in the clubhouse. (For dinner, we had Catherine's favorite things, "Dog dogs" (hot dogs) and chips, follow by some yummy petifores from Shelby Lynn's.

She opened her presents from us and her favorite thing was, by far, her new baby. She was so funny playing "mommy" with the baby all night. If anyone so much as looked at her baby, she yelled "NO NO! DAT MIIIIINNNNE!"

When we ask her "How old are you?", she holds up one finger (or all ten if she's feeling feisty) and says "I TWOOOOOO!" (How can she be two!? She's my little baby!)

Two years old! You are such a big girl. Time has flown by and the joy you have brought to our lives is immeasurable.
 I love watching you play with your sisters. You may be the smallest one, but you are definitely the one in charge these days. You love Emma and Hannah, equally, but differently. Emma is more like a mommy to you. You love to hold her hand in the car on the way to school and sit in her lap, if Daddy and I are busy. Hannah is your partner in crime. I catch you and her telling secrets, plotting and planning your next move together all the time.
You are so sassy and happy most of the time. But, you can thrown down like no other! I think it is HILARIOUS when you "genie blink" people, if you are mad or just not in the mood.
You have been anxious to "peepee in potty" and we are planning on tacking that in the coming weeks. You are so strong-willed and as we try to teach you right from wrong, we never want to break that strong spirit of yours.
I cannot wait to see what the next year with you holds for you, Little Grace. We all love you to the moon and back!
Love, Mommy

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Up in two...or was it three?

At the beginning of the summer, Emma decided she wanted to learn to water ski. (I was beyond excited. This child is/was scared of EVERYTHING. To see her come out of her shell made me jump for joy.)

Of course, the moment the words came out of her mouth, I grabbed my phone and called Daddy Brooks. He was as excited as I was. We all know how to ski and have been doing it since we were younger than Emma. (Word is, Honey was able to get up on her first try. Pure legend, if you ask me. I've seen her get her hair wet ONCE, other than a shower, and that was this weekend!)

So, the next time we were in Hot Springs, there were a pair of kid skis waiting for Emma. (The brand is Ho Skis...really. HO SKIs? And, it's proudly written in large bubble letters on EACH ski.) The skis even came with a How-to-ski DVD. Emma watched it and wasn't too impressed.

So, that time, she opted out of skiing. We didn't push her too much, but were all anxious for her to try. The weekend of the Burton family reunion came and she decided it was time. We loaded up the boat and Travis got into the water with her. As they were getting her skis on, she decided she wasn't too excited about it. She started crying and wanted back in the boat.

Like any impatient forceful loving mother would do, I begged her to try it just once. So, she did and she fell. Water got in her eyes (OH THE HORROR!) and she said she was done. Travis pleaded with her to try it just ONCE more. She agreed.

After much delay on her part ("my skis are slipping", "I have sunscreen in my eye", "my life vest is choking me"), she said she was ready. Daddy Brooks pushed the throttle and Emma popped up out of the water. Unfortunately for her of all the instructions she was given by 800 different people, no one thought to tell her "Once you get out of the water, stand up." So, Emma skied about 200 yards with her booty dragging the water.

At that point, she was done. She was ready to go back and play in the pool. Honey was one of the few (there were 19 of us total and not everyone could go out on the boat at once) that stayed behind.

This worked to our advantage later in the afternoon. Honey was "dying" to see her ski, so Emma agreed to give it another shot. Same routine. Travis in the water. Emma getting nervous. Except this time, she said she was ready, Daddy Brooks hit the gas and....

Notice Travis in the background. That's one PROUD Daddy!

OH YEAH! She popped right up and did AMAZING! Jon, Travis and I took turns getting in the water with her to help her start off. She skied for so long that eventually, she was falling because she was so tired.

I was so SO proud of my girl. The cheering that was going on from the dock and the boat could be heard around the cove. Everyone was so happy for her.

As for Emma, well... she's already counting down the days until she can get back to Hot Springs and ski all over the lake!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Family Reunion 2011

Last weekend, we went to my parents to get together with my Dad's side of the family, the Burton (Williamson, Pray and Vitali) family reunion, at my parents house on the lake. There are 19 of us total and we all live in different places. We ALWAYS get together for, at least, a day around Christmas. As we all get older, move, gain more responsibility via jobs, families, etc, it is very hard to manage even around Christmas. So, when we all found a weekend in July to get together, everyone jumped at the chance to mark calendars.

Friday, everyone arrived at their own pace for dinner/desert and a boat ride. However, it was off to bed at a decent hour (at least for our group) in preparation for a fun-filled day on the lake.

Saturday, we got up to a yummy breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage courtesy of Hannah and Daddy Brooks.

After breakfast, we got on our swimsuits and headed out to the pool. We spent the day tubing, playing in the pool, eating, playing baggo and teaching Emma to ski (I'll do a separate post about that adventure.). At one point, there were 16 of us "in" the pool (Uncle Bruce counted and since Nicole's feet were in...she was in). My Dad, Uncle Bruce and Travis Pray (who are ALL over 6 ft tall...biiiig boys!) decided to preacher seat into the pool at the same time. It was like a tidal wave and scared the pooh out of Catherine.

Saturday night, we did what we all do best: Eat! We had a traditional southern fish fry with all the fixin's. It was A.MAZ.ING! After a night time boat ride, discussion of Casey Anthony (my opinions in another post), fighting over the last big of what I like to call "the best dessert EVER" (which a dirty diaper from C caused me to lose to the oldest Burton, who shall remain nameless Daddy Ben) and lots of laughing, we all headed to bed.

Sunday morning, we ALL went to church with GrandDa and Daddy Ben. We took up TWO full pews. After church, we went to breakfast together and then all headed back to our homes sun-tanned, bellies full and happy. I love my loud, crazy family!