Saturday, April 9, 2016

and now you are FIVE, Henley Mayes

oh Henley. can I just freeze everything about you right now? just don't grow and don't get older and most of all..... DON'T GO TO KINDERGARTEN! (sob)

you, my oldest girl, turned 5 a few months ago. you counted down from about 3 months and had a paper chain the last 30 days. whew, were you ready to be five. your birthday request was to get your ears pierced and then go visit santa and show him your new earrings. we had a long converstaion about responsibility and you were ready. that morning, you chose one gift to open and lo and behold, tap shoes! you were so funny tapping away on the back porch.

we drove down to claire's that day to get your ears pierced. you were SO BRAVE. she gave you a bear to hold and did them one at a time (not what mommy was imagining). you flinched a tiny bit but the second one didn't faze you at all. and when you were finished, you tiny little diamonds sparkled in the sun and you were thrilled. beautiful girl.

you are five and fully ALIVE. your brain must be like a hamster on a wheel on turbo drive. sometimes (a lot of the time) it makes me kinda crazy. the way you go from this to that and then this and forget to turn off the water when you wash your hands or put away your dirty clothes or get dressed as soon as you get out of bed or put on 5 different pairs of shoes each time you need to go inside or out. it's like your ideas are faster than you can keep up with sometimes.

you are so much like me. you and me babe, we are dreamers and creatives and big idea people. you have your sixth, seventh, ninth and sixteenth birthday parties already planned. sixth is build a bear, seventh is bowling party with friends, ninth is hunting a deer just you and daddy and sixteenth is a trip to new york city "to see lady liverty". you even said you'd save all your money to buy your own plane ticket. sweet thing. i think we'll take care of that one for you.

everytime we get in the car, you start telling me about this years halloween costume ideas. i mean, we've got 8 months. but boy are you always thinking about it.

another thing you do that i love is your getting ready skills. you love to pack your own suitcase and any little things you think you might need for trips. you get your outfits ready days before we need to- boots and jeans for the stock show, nikes and workout clothes for a walk, bows and dresses for church. i've been known to do the same.

you are so fiercely independent. you've learned to make your own microwave pancakes (get them out, put on plate in micro, press "sirty, sirty, sirty {thirty} and the butter and syrup), wash grady's bottles, and are determined to change a wet diaper.

speaking of grady, you are his biggest fan. "oh hey, mom. HI GRADY!! good morning, bubba!!!" you guys sit toegther and watch tv all the time. he falls asleep in your lap. you cheer him up and he grins a million watts of smileage your way. you LOVE him. pretty precious.

lately, we've been getting ready for kinder registration. i mentioned we might go this wednesday and you ran up and dressed yourself and put your own hair up all ready to go in about 10 minutes. then mia threw up and derailed your plans. mama was so relieved. :) no, i'm glad for you to go and excited (not as excited as you, dear one) but BOY WILL I MISS YOU SOMETHING CRAZY. i guess since we didn't do preschool and it's just been you and me and then mia and then grady and just us everyday, i am going to have a little shock without a little gerbil around each day. you are so, so, so excited. you have talked about your backpack and lunchbox and even save snacks you get just for kinder. you wonder about your classmates and teacher. i told you about buying your lunch in the cafeteria and you couldn't believe that. about bringing birthday treats. then you spent an hour deciding on what little trinket you would put on top of your cupcakes. (it's little rings for the girls and toy cars for the boys, currently). you even want to just hop on the school bus the first day. heck no, baby, this mama is driving you there and back for a while to make sure all the world doesn't swallow you up. :)

big changes ahead for us.

today is the first day of october, which means baby month! henley just brought me my phone and said, "mom, mom, it's october!! this is the month of OUR BABY!!" saying she is excited is quite an understatement.

for a while there, I was really struggling (? not sure if that's the right word) with this third kid of ours. for about 2 years, we've (I've) had some serious baby fever and knew one more would be a good fit for our family. and when we got pregnant really quickly (reeeeeeallly quickly), we were thrilled and excited. and shocked, a bit. but those first few months threw me for a loop.

on one hand, I was so excited about this new addition. but it's just been me and my chicks for a couple of years. doing all our girl stuff, in an easy routine. was i crazy to change all that? no buckling car seats anymore and no high chairs and no diapers and no carrying a kid around anymore. we go just about anywhere we want without worrying if the girls can "handle it". life is easy. what are we thinking?? plus, i LOVE doing life with these chickies. us 3. this is why i wanted to stay at home with them. to do everyday life and explore and learn and have fun.

i let the guilt of that set in for a while. i felt bad to question this gift, this easy addition. of course, i wanted this baby. of course. and life is not going to stay just us 3 at home, anyway. hen is nearly in kindergarten. and then mia will be gone the next year. embrace the change. let the family grow and enjoy the baby challenges again.

UPDATE: i am finishing this post on february 9. grady will be 4 months old in a few days. it has been a fairly smooth transition! grady is the easiest baby, happy all the time. our family NEEDED him. what was i worrying about?? i'm planning to write a "on the day you were born" for grady and can add all the details in there.  i smile seeing my apprehension above.  it's funny how God knows all this- the worry and the guilt and the thankfulness and transition. he sees it all and knows how it's all going to work out and it does and it's wonderful.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

mia turns 4!

happy fourth birthday to you, Mia!

oh, you sweet little one. i just put you to bed on the last night as a three year old.  i feel like i've been telling people you were almost four for about 6 months. you just never really seemed only 3. isn't that weird? maybe because you and henley are such a unit that since she definitely didn't seem three, it would only make sense that you were older as well.

i have your selection in the oven, devil's food cake with chocolate icing. i believe your words were "ummm. chocolate. and more chocolate on top." you also just GOBBLED a bowl of spaghettio's. you are SUCH a noodle eater- always asking to eat "noodles with a little sauce and a little meat and a little cheese". you also love yogurt, as in every single morning. strawberries. cherries. muffin bars. pineapple. doritos. almost any nuts- pecan, almonds, peanuts. sausage. and anything and everything dipped in ranch.

speaking of nuts- one of your favorite things to do lately is crack pecans on the back porch using the nut cracker. you will expertly shell each pecan and give me half each time. for christmas, you even got a sack of pecans!

and that also proves your generosity. you'll give away your candy, gum, share your stuffed animals. you love to share and willingly to it. such kindness.

you love playing outdoors, especially making "salads" and "potions". you mix up berries, birdseed, dirt, grass, leaves and water in bowls and buckets everywhere. you dig with shovels and stack rocks. you gather flowers and seeds and leaves everywhere we go! my car is full of all your gatherings! you also love gathering treasures while we shop, getting the tiniest sequins and sparkles, tags and pins.

 you love having the dogs chase you and petting the cats. moshi sleeps on your bed every night and you'll carefully crawl in and sleep up by the pillows just so you don't disturb her and make her jump off. no worries, she always comes back to snuggle with you.

you love your stuffed animals and for your celebration tomorrow, you want to go to build a bear and make a special stuffed animal. you have pre-selected a tan bear named sandy. (i sure hope he's available tomorrow!!) you also love, love, love little things- toys and figures and animals. you set up little scenarios everywhere. your big gift is a huge collection of littlest pet shop animals and homes. i'm so excited for you to open that one!

you have the funniest, cute way of speaking. "dwady" is how you talk about little brother. who you like but aren't obsessed with, unlike henley. you like grady sitting with you, as long as he's happy and still. you do go in and attempt to soothe him if he's crying. but mostly you like his toys and animals!

you are a beautiful little girl. you don't like to have your hair brushed and cry every time. you wake up with wild, wild bed head and don't mind having that crazy mop all day long. even if it's all in your face. your hair curls up in the back and it is one of my favorite things ever. you have long eyelashes and bright hazel eyes. you run with a skippy shuffle that is hilarious.

you still prefer your tricycle. you still would rather get pushed on the swings. you can buckle up and finally learned how to open and close the back car doors by yourself. you holler "mom, i go poop!" a million times until i come to wipe your hiney. i hope when i'm 99, i still can hear "mom, i go poop" in my brain.

you can fall asleep in 3 minutes and sleep in every position in your bed. you are daddy's buddy because you are so easy- give you a phone with a show and you'll go anywhere and be fine. you are so LOW DRAMA. you love to wrestle and rough house, often poking daddy and running off. we chase you and you scream and laugh the greatest belly laugh. you are sturdy and tough, tall and lovely.

mia, i could go on and on about how i love you. you are all sweetness, stubbornness and smiles. you are happy and  good and kind. i love watching you become who you are going to be. thank you for being my number 2, my new big sister and ringtail tooter. i sure do love you.

happy birthday!


on the day you were born, Grady James

on the day you were born, Grady James Immel

i'm writing as fast as i can tonight, feeling like i need to get in mia's birthday (which is tomorrow) and hen's birthday (which was 2 months ago) and your birth story. i want to remember all these details and my terrible memory PLUS our busy life makes me know if it's not written, it will be gone, long gone.

your actual due date was october 19, which is fun because it's your mamie's birthday! the pregnancy was pretty uneventful. i had to watch my sugars- diabetic with mia and also with you. i never got very big with you, even 2 weeks before i looked like some people do at 6 months. but man, i felt like i was going to POP! my belly was sooooo tight and i felt like there was zero room to spare. you got the hiccups often and would kick regularly in the evenings. made me think you'll be a night owl like daddy. i ate pretty healthy. i couldn't get enough hummus and jerky and almonds and all things protein. it was also the best peach season in years and we ate more peaches than ever. i loved spinach smoothies before pregnancy but couldn't stomach them during.

as the day got closer, our doctor said i wasn't dilated and we should probably set a date to induce. i felt so funny planning this- it seems so unnatural to set it based on our schedules and what day of the week would be most convenient. i really wanted to know exactly when it would happen to make sure the girls would be ready and mamie and molly would have their sub plans completed and grades in. i didn't want to have contractions and wanted to have my toenails looking great. aren't those all silly reasons! you decided you'd be the final say in all this!

we decided that thursday, october 16 would be the big day. wednesday the 15th was our first choice but dr. olvera wasn't available. well, tuesday the 14th, i had a visit and was thinking perhaps i would get admitted- had been having a few contractions and made daddy go with me, just in case. the bag was in the car and i was ready. unfortunately, dr. olvera said, nope! you aren't ready at all. see you thursday. whew-i thought! i called everyone and said, THURSDAY!

even though i was having some big contractions, i went to tutor mallory at the library. we finished up and i wanted (needed!!!) a pedicure so i went over and got one. as i watched modern family, i got contraction after contraction. i felt badly because my nail tech kept asking me something (are you having a baby? are you in pain? who knows) but i couldn't understand her and also didn't want any  "extras" so i kept saying "no, thanks".... she kept a close eye on me! i left and met everyone at home. i took a shower around 10 because man! my back was hurting and i was having some serious big contractions. i kept thinking of dr. olvera's medical assessment though- no, this baby isn't happening for a few days. well, after that shower, i tried to get some sleep but wasn't able to sleep- one after another. maybe i ought to be tracking these and see how frequently they are happening, i thought. i downloaded an app and was surprised to find they were about 5 minutes apart- and i was even missing some of them! when i realized that, i got a little freaked out and woke up your daddy. "i think i need to go to the hospital, even if they won't check us in. i'll just wait in the car." we called pop (dad? can you come over? i think we need to head to the hospital and he said "BABY TIME!!!" and hung up on me) and he was at our house SO FAST and we woke up henley and mia and loaded them up. they were a little sleepy but also excited for this bit of adventure!

around 12:15, we drove on down. after a painful drive to stone oak, we arrived at the hospital (after trying 3 different entrances which were all locked, made it to the labor and delivery unit. when i told them this was baby #3, they moved us along QUICK! I was checked and already at a 7! they rushed around- couldn't get my epidural until i had a iv, and my veins kept rolling. finally around 2 am, the anesthesiologist came and gave me some medicine that had the side effect of making my face itch like CRAZY! daddy thought i was going to scratch it off! finally, everything was working just right. they came and checked me out and said, hey- are you ready to push this baby out? and whoop! grady james, you popped right out into this world at 4:04am. the best part? it was october 15th, which would have been your nana's 70th birthday! i feel like even though she never got to meet you, you have this totally special bond of sharing a birthday with her! i'm sure she was watching all of the excitement of seeing little ole you arrive into this world, your daddy grabbing you right up and checking you out. you weighed 8 lbs 3 ounces and were 20 1/2 inches long. you had more hair than your daddy! :)

one funny thing that night was that daddy and i weren't completely agreed on your name! i knew i wanted grady but we had also tossed around the name august and just weren't fully decided. we thought probably john grady or grady james? well, during my labor, when the nurses asked, i told them you would be grady. and as soon as you were born, daddy said "grady james". that worked because if we had named you john grady immel, you and your uncle john would both techincally be "john immel" and that might have caused some confusion in life!

we had your big sisters come to the hospital (on their way to the zoo with mamie and molly) and they were pretty darn proud! after some checkups, we headed out of the hospital on thursday afternoon. we picked up chick-fil-a (a nugget platter) and headed home. we had a front porch full of adorable decorations from my mops friends- wipes and tractors and socks! streamers everywhere and pictures of you. the girls spent the night at mamie's house so we could settle in and your little life with us began!

i am crazy for you, little one. you have these giant dimples and bold eyebrows and twinkly eyes. you smile at everyone and are generally, the happiest baby we've had. you love your sisters and watch them all the time. they love to have you sit with them while watching tv and you often fall asleep in their laps. we take you everywhere- no time to sit around doing nothing- and you are the best. christmas shopping, eating out, playdates, storytime; you started this life as a part of a busy gang and can hang pretty well. we all have adjusted well to being 5 instead of the 4 we've been for so long. you are our favorite boy and we love you!

Monday, July 7, 2014


hi there.

feeling thankful. 

family coast trip. reunions. parades. fireworks. summer.

makes a girl content and grateful.

 I looked around my messy kitchen last night and caught a glimpse of all these little things that make my heart happy.  I don't have to look far to find happiness.

 do you buy the OOPS paint from home depot? I'm kind of a hoarder... but good colors and cheap!! tonight's finds.

 sweet hubby who brings the biggest, brightest sunflowers home. 

 favorite summertime treat- hill country peaches from fredericksburg.  seriously, 3 so far today.....

 my favorite candle burning in the window above the (MESSY) sink. white lights on the back porch.

 a painting made by the chicks for the little brother's nursery.  (did I mention baby #3?!?! yay!!) a sweet and patient aunt who will paint for hours with those girls.

 this show. do you watch it? i love joanna's style! come do my house, please??

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

for you, my Henley Mayes

oh, my sweet little Henley.

i feel like overnight, you've just turned into a KID. a funny one.

i guess i never did the whole 3 year old birthday letter.  let me say, your birthday coming right before Christmas is so tough.  i am sure you'll know this your whole life.  you kinda get birthday gifts mixed in with Christmas gifts from everyone and i bet when people think they've given you a little birthday money, it was just Christmas money.  and it's hard to get people together, when they'll be coming in for the holidays the next week, so they just wait. i mean, it is cool when you get to go with Mamie to see Santa ON your birthday AND you are first in line to sit on his lap because it's your birthday. that kinda stuff is pretty cool.

you are pretty proud of being 4.  you don't really want to wear anything that isn't size 4 clothing.  even though your skinny little waist is about a 2T but your legs are 4T. lots of leggings and tights for you. your hair is also a mystery, in addition to the skinny waist.  how in the world we got a blondie blonde daughter out of these parents is beyond me.  you have crooked bangs all the time, bless your sweet heart.  once, the hairdresser said "oh, mom trims your bangs, doesn't she?" hmph! they're just right, in my eyes.  thank goodness for them, too, since you wiped out on the skateboard (that we hardly ever bring out) and banged your head on the driveway.  nice bright pink goose egg, but hidden by the bangs!

you say the funniest stuff. this morning, i was working in my craft room and you were playing doctor with lillian.  you asked me to write out lillian's name and  diagnosis.  when you came back in, you had written some "reportments" and "erpscriptions" for her. hilarious.  see the XR XR XR? because I had told you medicine is sometimes called RX.  haha.

i've decided a good description for you would be "emotional". not dramatic, like causing drama... just reacting to things with great EMOTION. you have learned to ride your bike pretty well, using training wheels.  but when you fell down in the driveway, and skinned your knee, you screamed and ran at me instantly and fell again in your distress, which skinned your hands as well.  when you are excited, you are like bouncing off the walls excited. almost obnoxious, which i know sounds horrible to say about your own kid. :)

you love blueberries, hot cocoa, cookie crisp (thanks, david), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bean and cheese tacos, pancakes, bacon.  you have a super sweet tooth, and thanks to the parents you were blessed with, plenty of opportunities to indulge.

one thing that makes me so happy (and also frustrating at times) is your desire to create and make.  you love to come into my craft room with me and make little projects with fancy scissors and paper.  downstairs, you have some supplies- paper, colored pencils and scissors- and it's an everyday thing for you to make letters and gifts for others, leaving scraps and supplies everywhere.  you get our junk mail envelopes and use those, taping them closed and writing someone's name on them. and heaven forbid if i toss them into the trash at night when i clean up and you see your letter in the morning! i moved your little table upstairs for some space for a while and you have been asking nonstop if i would bring it back down so you have "some space to do your work".  tonight, i promise, dearest!

we saw frozen last week, FINALLY! it was even super late, all of our friends had already seen it. trip and anna kate would sing all the songs and you two poor sheltered things, didn't know the words but bless your hearts, would dance and TRY to sing it all. we bought the DVD and have watched it a couple times already. as i type this, you and mia, are acting out the scene where anna tries to wake up elsa.  you guys know the words, "wake up elsa, the skies awake, so i'm awake, so let's go play" and "i can't anna, i can't control the power". and cue the "do you want to build a snowman" music.  silly girls.

you're still crazy about ballet and dancing- when we meet someone, you get into first position and point your toes and twirl.  maybe coping with being shy?? it's funny.  you slip on leotards and "pointe shoes" every chance you get. here's your latest ballerina picture... see the bun? we need to work on hands...

you aren't BAD at all- but you do get into some mischief.  you are forever taking my shampoos and soaps and adding them to your bath or washing your pajamas in the tub.  yesterday, i came outside and you and mia were smashing up a bag of saltine crackers all over the driveway. but when i made you sweep it up, that was a fun game for you, too. you have been drawing with pens on everything lately.  your first cabbage patch from Santa and your new doll from this Christmas.  when you got in trouble, i made you write (copy) a letter to Santa and "mail" it to him on your Valentine balloon. you seemed to think this was really fun... you kept restarting the letter to "make it look nice for Santa". ;) and then dang if that stinkin' balloon wouldn't float up and then got stuck in the tree in the front yard.  so much for my tactics.

you have switched over to loving on dad again- for a while, you weren't kind to him. it was pretty mean.. you'd move away from him if he sat next to you and cry when i left for tutoring and you stayed with him.  but now, things are good and you are sweet to him. thank goodness- that made me sad!

i sure love you and your quirky and funny and sweet personality. you are headstrong and independent.  while these things can make me lose my patience sometimes, i know i'll be thankful for those traits as you get older. you are smart and beautiful and i'm so glad you're my #1 girl.  keep up the shenanigans, little dearie. i'll miss them, someday!

i love you so!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

So I won't forget...

This one is a short one:

Came in from helping set up for a fair. David still in bed. Chickies all set up in the kitchen getting a breakfast snack for themselves. That snack involved pouring syrup right onto spoons and drinking it. Wet wipes right underneath to catch the syrup that was everywhere on the kitchen floor. Yes, a lecture followed but I kinda smiled at their idea....