I feel like it was just yesterday that Kevin and I were walking into a hospital in Raleigh, NC to meet our daughter.
Today this sweet girl turns three.
Three, y'all - THREE!
That whole saying "the days are long but the years are short" is so very true. Some days seem to last for-ev-er. (Get the Sandlot reference??) Then I blink my eyes and it has been 6 months. Blink again and it has been a year. Is this what happens the older you get? Does time somehow speed up. How have three years gone by without me even realizing it.
She's definitely not a baby. Not really even a toddler anymore. By her own definition - she is a "big girl".
Though it does make me a little sad to realize we'll never have those baby stages with this certain little girl again, I look at her and am so proud of the smart, independent, creative, hilarious "big girl" that she has already become.
There is NO TELLING what the next few years have in store for us. It's probably best that we can't foresee the future, or we might be nervous about what is to come! With her outgoing and fearless personality, not to mention her current lack of self-control, I can already imagine the future notes from her teachers, the bumps and bruises, and OH, the drama! But, along with all of that will come lots of laughter, memories that we would never consider changing, and stories that will be shared for years to come.
This girl makes us laugh every single day and yes, occasionally cry! From the moment we found out about her right up until today - the past 3 years have been an adventure.
And it has been the best adventure ever.
Happy birthday, Kate! We love you. And to quote from one of my favorite movies (which came out on the DAY you were born- August 10, 2011):
Last Thursday my dad turned sixty, so to celebrate his birthday, Kevin, Kate, Kristi, Davis and I all went to the lake for the weekend! On Friday, we had a delicious birthday dinner (which my dad cooked) and then dug into a lemon pound cake with ice cream.
I am pretty sure Kate thought it was HER birthday, and she more than enjoyed blowing out the candles. They weren't trick candles, but there was ONE candle that just kept coming back. It was hilarious to watch, and made me realize that we better get trick candles for Kate's birthday in a few weeks!
Of course we needed to get a group picture to document the day, thanks to the self-timer. First the serious one.
And then the silly one. Although I think the guys need a lesson in what a silly picture is!
Saturday would have been a boat/lake day, except it rained all day long. So, we went bowling! This was Kate's first experience with bowling and she loved it.
Between the bumpers in her lane, and the metal rack that helped her line up the ball, she almost beat us all! N
Later that afternoon, I asked her how she liked bowling and she said "It was AWESOME, Mommy!!"
It was a fun few days for us all, and I hope Pick enjoyed his birthday weekend also!
Y'all. I started this draft so long ago that I forgot this was here! Some of these are old (like, all the way back to Easter), but they're still funny to me. And of course, they are all something I definitely want to remember one day down the road. One thing I have come to realize, is that Kate's personality just keeps on coming out more and more the older she gets. When she was 6+ months old, we were so excited to hear her laugh and see those smiles. Then she started walking and we felt like we were really starting to see her personality. She was not shy, and would go to anyone. She was almost always a happy baby. We just thought we saw her personality then, but we had no idea. When she turned 1, we felt like we really saw that spunky personality. And then when we turned 2, we realized how much MORE personality she really had.
We're to the point now, where I'm almost scared to know what Kate will be like as a elementary schooler! How much bigger of a personality can one little person get? There is NO TELLING what will come out of her mouth. The things she says are so funny, to us anyway. And lately, she has developed an almost teenage repertoire. Here of a couple of things I hear from her on a daily basis. (Be sure to insert the applicable attitude and tone of voice, of course.):
Oh, come ON, Mom!
Watch and learn!
Just doin' my job.
I already told you once. I'm not going to tell you again! (Pretty sure she's just repeating what she heard from me on this one!)
At the end of dance class one Thursday afternoon, Kate's teacher handed all the kids a sucker as they walked out of the door. Being the mean mom that I am, I took it away from Kate and told her that she could have it when we got home. I didn't want her to get the sticky mess all over my car. Of course, this did not go over well with Kate at all. She started screaming, crying and just throwing a typical toddler tantrum. I tried to calm her down, to no avail. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get her wrangled into her car seat and strapped in. From a few homes down the road, a dog started barking. Kate immediately stopped crying and our conversation went something like this:
Kate: "What's that, Mommy?"
Me: "I don't know. You tell me. What is it?"
Kate: "A dog! He's barking!"
Me: "He sure is. What is he saying?"
Kate: (Pauses, thinking....) "He says 'Give Kate sucker!!' "
Let me preface this by saying, neither Kevin or I drink. We don't think alcohol in and of itself is wrong (although it can be), but we have made a personal decision not to drink or have it in our home. I'm not trying to start a discussion on alcohol, but just needed to set the stage for this story. SO.... Kevin and I were discussing dinner plans one night. Kevin turned to me and said "Who's cooking dinner tonight? Papas and Beer?" (Papas and Beer is a Mexican restaurant in our area.) Well, Kate must have liked that option, because she got really excited. The only problem was she kept saying "Yeah, Mommy! Let's go pop a beer!" Um.... no.
For all you parents of Frozen-obsessed children: We're in that stage where Kate wants to go everywhere with me, and by everywhere, I mean everywhere. Like, even the bathroom. So one day I went into the bathroom and closed the door. The next thing I know, Kate is banging and pounding on the door as hard as she can, and demanding to come in. I tell her to wait, and I'll be out in just a second. It's silent for just a minute, and then I hear her softly knock and bust out in song- "Elsa? Please, I know you're in there! People are asking where you've been. They say 'Have courage." and I'm trying to. I'm right out here for you. Just LET ME IN!!!"
After dance on Thursdays, we often just go out to eat to make things easier. So Kate and I pulled into Moe's after her most recent dance lesson, and were just meeting Kevin over there. I hadn't really told Kate where we were going, so this is our conversation as we pull into the Moe's parking lot: Kate: We going to eat? Guacamole??. Me: Yes, Kate. We're going to eat dinner at Moe's with Daddy. Kate: That's what I'm talking about!
Kate and I are waiting in line at WalMart when somebody comes over the loudspeaker and pages someone to the front. Kate looks at me and says "Was that Papa calling me?" When I told her that no, it was not Papa she got a REALLY excited look on her face. She turned to me and said "That's God talking??"
We've been talking to Kate a lot this week about Easter, what it means, and the story of Jesus' death and resurrection- obviously in toddler terms. So tonight I asked her how Jesus died, expecting her to say "on the cross" like she has the past few times. This is the story I got.... "Umm.... Jesus fell in the river. And then He said "oh no!". And then the crocodile came along, and snapped him on the arm. And Jesus died."Never a dull moment with this child.
For the past few weeks, when we would punish Kate or tell her no, or something else that she didn't like, she would look at us and say in an angry voice "UNTIE!". She has seriously said this about 50 times- after getting a spanking, or under her breath when we tell her not to do something, or really anytime she's not getting the reaction she wanted. We had no idea what in the world she was talking about, but just the way she was using that word, it didn't sound nice. I'd even ask her "Kate, was what you just said to Mommy nice or was that mean?" and she would indicate that it was mean. So, we kind of took it as her form of cussing at us! We would tell her not to say that, and put her in time-out if she would say it to us, but we still had no idea what she was really saying or what it meant! We just knew she thought she was being mean. Well, we finally got her to tell us where she got it from and it came from the movie Tangled. She kept saying "Rapunzel said it to her Mommy when she was mad."
So today, we sat down and watched the movie with her just to see what exactly Rapunzel was saying and how she used it. We were asking Kate "Has Rapunzel said it yet?" and she would say "Nooooo, not yet!". Well finally, toward the end of the movie, she said it. And Kevin and I about DIED laughing.
It is the part of the movie where Rapunzel confronts her mother about being kidnapped as a baby. She is angry and hurt, and her words come out in just an anguished/mad tone. She looks at the woman that she's always called Mom and says "I'm the missing princess, AREN'T I??"
So now we realize that every time Kate gets mad at us, she looks at us and says "aren't I"!! I guess we will let her keep saying it. It is so much better than some of the alternatives!
Kevin actually blogged about this story himself (complete with a video example). You can check it out on his blog, here.
On our last day of vacation, we packed up the car and left by 8am to head to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia. We have been wanting to take Kate there for a long time, but hadn't made it yet because of various reasons. We picked this day to meet up with Kate's birth family and we thought the zoo would be a great place to go. It ended up being a perfect place to meet, and we all had fun visiting with Lori and Bobby, and their extended families!
We got to the zoo a little after 10, and the very first thing that Kate wanted to do was.... ride the carousel! I think if she'd had her way, she would have ridden the carousel for 3 hours. We let her ride twice, and then told her we had to move on to something else.
After the carousel, we started making our way around the zoo to actually see the animals.
Kate was our little tour guide the whole time. She got a copy of one of the maps, and led us around the zoo the entire time. I think she spent the majority of her time that day looking at the map, pointing in some random direction, and saying "This way! Come on guys!". See the map in her hand in the picture below? She never put it down.
The giraffes were probably my favorite. They had an area where the animals could come right up to you, and you could feed them if you wanted. Kate was content to just look at first.
But then she worked up enough courage to feed them!
The zoo area itself was pretty big, so even though we thought we would be able to see everything in about 2 hours, it really took a little more than 3 hours. There was SO MUCH to see.
This is Kate with two of her aunts - Lori's sisters! She loves hanging out with the "big girls".
And even though I loved the giraffes, this was my other favorite exhibit- the TIGER, of course!
After the zoo, all 11 of us headed to Cracker Barrel for a late lunch, and a little more visiting before we all got on the road back to our homes. It was a great visit, and we are so thankful for our relationship with all of Kate's family.
When originally started the whole adoption process over 3 years ago, we were not exactly sure what an open adoption even was. Of course since we had no idea what it really was, neither one of us would have said that we were 100% comfortable with it. But, after getting educated by our agency on what open adoptions entail, Kevin and I decided that if we had a choice we would prefer to have an open adoption. Although, we were still somewhat nervous as far as what that meant. Adoption is a scary thing! There are so many unknowns, but sometimes that's where you can see God at work the most. And boy was that true here. Yet another example of how God's plans for us are so much greater than anything we could have planned for ourselves.
While we may not have been sure of an open adoption when we first started considering adoption, 3 years later we couldn't imagine any other kind! We have been beyond blessed by adding Kate to our family, but we feel like our family has grown by not just 1 tiny little firecracker but by so many more, including her entire birth family. We may not all have the same last name, but this just another branch on our family tree!