Here's to some Happy Trick-or-Treating!!

In just a few hours, a lot of fun will commence for our family. It is time for trick-or treating! I think I'm more excited than my two-year-old daughter right now, that is, until she realizes she gets candy in exchange for a few simple words tonight at every door we stop at.

Last year, when she was one, trick-or-treating was more for my hubby and I and the thoughts of Halloweens that would be. Well, now that our inquisitive little daughter is learning and memorizing the world, I believe this year she will "get" Halloween and it will be all about her. I love that!

So I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

We started the weekend with a Halloween Parade of Preschoolers, and Georgia loved showing off her Elmo costume. She loved it so much, she wouldn't take it off when we got home. I think it's a preview of what the night holds for us.

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Let Them Be Little - I Heart Faces Challenge

The photo theme at I Heart Faces this week is "let them be little." Don't we just love watching our littles be just that... little?

I shot this picture down at Atlantic Beach, NC, of my husband and daughter. She wanted to fly, and my husband gives her wings in so many ways, least of which is spinning around in circles while raising our daughter up and down.

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Check our more little ones at I Heart Faces:


Potty in the Potty!!

Years from now, when Georgia is a teen or ::gulp:: a young woman, I wonder if she'll decide to read this blog I have kept of her life. If she does, this will be one of the posts that makes her roll her eyes and give me that look (I know the look it will be because I'm well-versed on the look myself). Then she'll say, "really mom, really? That's disgusting, thanks!" Me, I will just laugh and then promise to give the link to this post to any boyfriend she has in the near future.

But until we get to those days, we have these days... which are currently filled with tiny panties splattered with hearts and rainbows and Dora scattered around the house, a pink plastic potty resting next to the ceramic version, constant reminders of "don't forget to tell mommy or daddy if you have to go potty" and the occasional yellow puddle on the floor. Yes, as of last Thursday, this house and all of its occupants are in potty training mode.

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It took a day or two for Georgia to really get it, but now I think we're having more successes than misses, and we've almost filled up Georgia's potty sticker chart.

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But - and here's the part where moms and dads will nod their heads in understanding, Georgia will one day scream "mom!" and everyone else will wrinkle their nose and say gross - up until today our potty successes have only been of the number one variety. That is, until today. Georgia pooped in the potty!! There, I said it, it's out there. Potty success!

I must admit, it is slightly odd that we parents beam with pride and do silly "potty dances" due to a lump of, well, you know, in the pink plastic potty. But hey, it's all relative... and we have one less diaper to pay for today.


Pumpkins are in the Air.

At the first hint of fall, how many of us rush out to buy or collect armfuls of pumpkins, gourds, colored leaves, cinnamon pinecones or brooms (a southern favorite), scarecrows and anything else that conjures up the emotion of autumn? How many of us start to perfume our kitchens with the scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and pumpkin spice? Then there are the hay rides and pumpkin patches and evenings spent up to our elbows in pumpkin "guts" and carved faces.

Yes, for many of us, fall has arrived in full spirit, yet I find that I have done almost none of these things so far this year. It's a shame, because I truly look forward to fall all year, so I don't know why I'm slow to the gate this year and am not sharing in the pumpkin-spiced rituals with my daughter... yet. Well, I have a list of reasons in my head, but I won't bore you.

But finally, finally, a bit of fall graced our home this weekend.

First, we actually bought a pumpkin (and two tiny ones too) at the grocery store. I know, the grocery store? But the next thing will remedy that. I also made a reservation at a local farm for an animal tour, hay ride and pumpkin patch visit for this Tuesday! Georgia will (hopefully) love it.

And then comes this morning... and the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon. Have you ever made pumpkin pancakes? They are heavenly... and Georgia helped me make some for breakfast.

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(puppy had to help)
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(yes, this is my daughter eating butter... pure butter!)
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Ahhh... a bit delayed, but welcome fall into my home. I'm sorry I didn't open the door sooner. Fall is just lovely.

And those pumpkin pancakes were pretty darn lovely too! :)


October Should Start with an "F"

That way I could have a blog title with a great alliteration - F____ Festivals or F____ Fairs! I mean, every single weekend of October is filled with festivals and fairs. Since Oct. 1, we've had the Seafood Festival, the MUMfest, the Coastal Carolina Ag Fair, the Chili Festival, the Mullet Festival (the fish, not the haircut... although that would be cool), the NC State Fair and too many county fairs to count... and that's just in our area! Talk about too many choices on the weekend.

So no "Foctober Festivals" for my title, yeah, that doesn't even sound good, does it? I guess I could make do with "Fall Festivals" if I want some alliteration that much. Or maybe the "Festival Family" since we've been to a festival every weekend for the last three weekends! And although funnel cakes and some kind of fried candy bar on a stick have become must-eats at festivals as of late, should I mention I haven't eaten either? Georgia and I did share one of those honking-big turkey legs though... yum. And she got her first taste of cotton candy.

This past weekend was the Coastal Carolina Ag Fair. I figured Georgia would like the animals. Well, there were a few... like chickens.

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But while there weren't as many animals there as I had hoped, there were ponies!
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Georgia did not want this pony ride to end - she LOVED it! She cried when I pulled her out of that saddle. So we had to find a substitute.

Enter the horse on a stick:
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Have I ever mentioned how much she loves merry-go-rounds? But who doesn't?

The festival the weekend before was a two day event for us. On Saturday, I had to make a public appearance at the MUMfest for work. So while I stood under a tent and greeted people I've never met and signed autographs (something which is still weird to me)...

... Georgia and my husband went off to explore the festival on their own. I missed out on the family fun.

So, when the hubby wanted to go do some work of his own on Sunday, Georgia and I took off so I could enjoy the festival with my little lovely. And enjoy we did. Remember that big, tasty turkey leg I mentioned earlier? Don't for a second think Georgia's too girly not to dig into that thing with both hands:
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And there's cups of lemonade that compete in size with Georgia...
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And where there's people eating food by the water, there's seagulls. So we chased them for a bit.
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Funny, we never caught one.

Georgia found amusement and laughter and happiness in everything around her:
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And I found my happiness in just one:
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Ah... FALL FESTIVALS... I wonder which one next weekend will hold?


She's 2, She's 2... I Can't Believe She's 2!!!

How can I put into words the last two years? For a woman who makes a living talking and writing, right now I'm coming up a little dry.

My baby turned two yesterday!

Let's see... who is this little brown eyed girl today?

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She loves Elmo, he lights up her face every, single time. She sings "La, la, la, la, Elmo's world" often. She asks to watch "Elmo's World" most every morning... and afternoon... and evening. She loves her Elmo T-shirt her daddy bought her at Target. But it's not all Elmo. Cookie Monster, whom she just calls monster, and Super Grover get honorable mentions in the obsessed department. Sesame Street is a pretty big hit in our home.

But there is something else Georgia loves even more than Elmo, and it's something that makes me very happy. The girl loves books. Her favorite right now is "Wacky Wednesday" and "The Cat in the Hat" and "There's a Wocket in My Pocket." She sometimes will disappear into a corner and just read and read aloud to herself. It is honestly one of the most precious things I've ever seen. And she's really good at making up a story to go with the pictures. She also is very insistent that mama and dada read to her regularly... and don't dare try to tell her your busy.

Georgia sings her A,B,C's, and she can get through the entire alphabet. She counts to at least 15 and is getting better and better at actually counting objects correctly. She knows her days of the week, sung to the tune of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Georgia identifies the colors red, pink, yellow, black, white, blue, green, brown and orange. She is always very proud when she gets a new pair of shoes and delights in taking them off herself. (Do we have a shoe-hound on our hands?) My little lovely loves to dance and loves to sing and loves to smile. She has just started smiling for pictures when I ask her to, and it's adorable! She loves to go for walks and Dandelions, watch out! She picks every one she can find.

Georgia is also a daddy's girl and sometimes fights for his attention with me. We have our squabbles and stare offs from time to time, but can I blame her? Georgia's daddy is the best. I'm glad she adores him so much.

On that note, Georgia's independent streak can be as wide as a canyon sometimes, but then like any child, it becomes as narrow as a needle. But when the canyon appears, temper-tantrums and a battle of wills become common. My daughter is not one to step down easily. I hope she keeps that with her always, to a degree. It will serve her well in life.

This year's birthday celebration was a little changed from last year. For birthday #1, we headed back to Georgia where 20 or so family members and friends gathered to celebrate the day Georgia came into our lives. Today, it was just the three of us - Georgia, mama and dada. It was perfect. A day of smiles and love and celebration.

We headed to Georgia's two favorite places. First, the aquarium...

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Then we went to... come on, you know!... the beach!!!

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We ended the day with cake and presents and the singing of "Happy Birthday." This year, Georgia didn't cry when we sang. I guess mama and dada's singing is just better. :) And the party was full of red, lots of red, and you can probably guess why... ELMO!

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And did I mention the presents... and presents, and presents? This little girl has finally figured out what brightly-wrapped bundles are all about...

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My little girl. How I hope and dream for you every day, and I know as the birthdays continue to come, one day you'll have your own hopes and dreams. I can't wait to see what they are, but my hope is that my dreams carry you a little longer so you'll stay my little girl for a time. Watching you grow up is beautiful but at times, bittersweet.

Happy Birthday sweetheart... the girl who will always have my heart.


Who Sees a Trend Here??

Weekend = Beach.
Weekend = Beach.
Weekend = Beach.
Weekend = Beach.
Weekend = Beach.

But can you blame us? One of the reasons I wanted so badly to move back to the East Coast was to be close to the beach, and we are now even closer than I had imagined! So of course the beach is always on my to-do list. This past weekend was no different. We headed to the North Carolina Seafood Festival on Saturday.

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The festival was only minutes from the beach, so after we walked a lot and ate our fill of seafood, I don't think my husband was too surprised when I said a walk on the beach was a necessary stop.

This is why...
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Give me the most stressful week and this can just wash it all away, wave by perfect wave.

Or maybe this is why the beach is a must...
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Our little one LOVES every moment spent with her toes digging into the sand or flying above it.

Or maybe it's searching for shells nestled in the sand...
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I think with each one I pick up, I pick up a little bit of lost sanity from the busy and hectic work weeks.

Or perhaps it's what a stick or a rock or just a finger can create when it meets wet sand...
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Georgia delights in her wide open sand canvas.

Or maybe it's the cries of gulls...
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Or the lullaby of waves...
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Or the constant laughter of a truly happy little girl...
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No matter what it is that makes this place so wonderful, I will take more of this...
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... any time I can get it. It's my sandy soul survival.


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