taz + belly: April 2012

Hoppy Birthday

18 April 2012

Sophie's bunny bash was perfect. She was happy and healthy (for the first time in over a week) and giggled every time you said the words birthday and party in the same sentence. She sampled her cake, read her favorite story book, hunted eggs with her friends and opened a fabulous selection of birthday gifts. She clapped after the birthday song and blew out her candles like a champ. I only have about 250 photographs to upload and organize, so maybe I'll be ready to share the details in a month or two. Kidding. Sort of.


This is her "cheese" face. Now every time you aim the camera in her direction this is the face she makes. No more cheeky grins, just teeth. K & I did manage to catch her unaware a few times, so there are some sweet smiles to come.

My Sophie Girl

14 April 2012

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Two years ago today, our lives were irrevocably changed. Things went from quiet and scheduled and organized to crazy, colorful and spontaneous. You were always whirling around leaving tracks behind you. It wasn't long after you acheived mobility that your sweet daddy dubbed you Taz. You will proudly declare it if asked what he calls you. The response is usually closely followed with "Gran calls me Monkey, Ella calls me Wild Woman, Heidi calls me Booger". And you are. You've proudly acheived each of those nick names for good reason.

Sophie, you are tiny, but you pack a big punch. You are a firecracker - spunky and spirited, with an incredible sense of humor and a twinkle in your eye. You are adventurous and mischievious. You challenge me in new ways every day and compliment your sister so well. You never sit still and more often than not, are a blur on the landscape. I have stretched and adapted and grown so much in the last twenty-four months and you have been an excellent teacher. You are stubborn and determined and want to do everything yourself. You have mastered carrying a step-stool around to make you tall enough for big girl chores like brushing your own teeth and opening the door for Beemer to come and go.

You are such a blessing in my life and an incredible joy to be around. I love you because you belong to me, my daughter. But I like you because you are an amazing little person. I love watching your face light up when you figure something out and seeing the pieces click into place behind your eyes. My favorite moment of the day is when I pick you up in the afternoons. You give the best hugs. We even call the squeezes because the word hug just doesn't do it justice. I love how you pat my back when I hold you and how you request rock-a-bye baby when we snuggle. I love that when I ask you who made Sophie and the animals and the rainbow, you say "God did." I love how no matter how strong willed and difficult you may be sometimes, you can grin your devilish grin and all is right in the world once again.

Happy Birthday, Soph. Your momma loves you bigger than the moon.

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This picture captures one of my favorite Sophie faces. This is just the moment you begin to sing "Por la Bible tells me so." I love that you still refuse to sing the line before this one.


13 April 2012

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Meet Marley. Isn't she darling? Pop made the big announcement on Sunday that his little girl belongs to my little girls. To say that they were excited would be putting it very mildly. Josh told Ella that we needed to name her and without any hesitation she declared her Marley.

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I'm sure those of you who don't live in the "country" you are staring at your screen wondering why we would want a cow. I know. We will keep Marley and let her make lots of babies, who will either be sold or make more babies! Fortunately, nice cows fetch a pretty penny and we might be able to add some dollars to the college funds because of this pretty girl. These two couldn't care less about that, though, they just wanted to know if she could come home with us! I'm guessing you know the answer to that.

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Of course, we had to take a closer look.

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Just for some perspective, in the middle of this grove of trees is the house and behind that is the barn. At the very right-hand edge of the photograph you can see a tiny red tree that Molly was hunting eggs beside in yesterdays post. 

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This shot puts the house to our right and Marley to our left. It looks back towards the far pastures, a fishing pond and the creek. Out of the frame to the left is the big red hay barn.

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And lest you think there were only a few of us trudging around the pastures in our Sunday best...

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This is what it really looked like. We are NOT afraid of cows around here. Chants of "Woo Baby" were heard from the majority of these kids. That is Pop's cow-calling-phrase of choice.

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Now, THAT's Easter.

The Day

12 April 2012

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I always remember to schedule someone in our family to come by before church to snap a few family pictures in front of our porch. Always. Well, this year I completely forgot and we had to rely on the tripod. SD & I both laughed because this might be my favorite Easter picture to date and we were running like crazies. I was setting the timer, running in heels and a maxi dress through very wet grass and we were swapping kids so that no one got icky grass on their feet until the last minute. I realize not everyone is smiling here (thanks, Soph), but I love it just the same.

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Some of my favorite memories as a little girl are of Easter lunch at my great-grandmother, Granny's, house on the lake. If it was warm enough, we would run down to the pier and dip our toes. We played in her huge collection of gaudy costume jewelry, ate way too many Reese's Eggs and admonished Pop for eating eggs while we hunted in the front yard. My girls are equally excited to spend Easter afternoon at the farm.

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After everyone was sufficiently filled (at least for the first time) the littlest ones got ready for an egg hunt, while the daddies and their helpers stashed eggs in the front yard.

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There were many prize eggs to be found and Ella racked up with some dollar bills. I wonder if she's remembered that she stashed them in Sweet Daddies pockets? I love this picture of me and my sweet girl, even though my dad completely photo-bombed the background! What I can tell about this picture, that you probably cannot, is that Ella has a VERY loose tooth on the bottom and it makes her smile look completely different to me! I was a nervous wreck that the tooth would disappear during the festivities.

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Just like every other year, we attempted to get a picture of Pop & Granmom and all of their grandchildren and great grandchildren. We were lucky enough to have our Great Aunt Vera here for the day, so she joined in the fun. The best part about these photos to me is that we took approximately 487 and they all look completely different. People are talking, Sophie is complaining, Ella is wiggling her tooth and Justin is standing so far away from the rest of us?! Do we stink?

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There are also some very interesting things that happen when you have Easter on the farm. Like calling the cows, watching the puppies run through the pastures and hearing the donkeys (affectionately named after my grandparents, Frank & Mary), ahem, have a little too much fun while we were trying to eat!

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Any guesses what happened next?

Guess who came to visit?

11 April 2012

At almost two (4 days to go!), Sophie is at the perfect age to enjoy most everything. Talking about her birthday and the arrival of the Easter Bunny has elicited much excitement at our house for the last several weeks. Sometimes I wonder how much she's really understanding, but when I went into their room to announce the EB's arrival, she was giddy and couldn't wait to check out the goods.

I know that everyone celebrates a little differently when it comes to Easter. Sometimes, baskets aren't even a part of the equation, some people do candy only and others make it look like Christmas. I try to find a happy medium and fill our baskets with things we would otherwise need for Easter along with a few fun surprises. I also let up on our limited sweets mantra and we indulge a little for the holiday. Both girls got plenty of candy in their basket and we skipped our cinnamon rolls in favor of Reese's Cups and M&Ms. I can tell you that everyone survived, we brushed our teeth and ate healthy again on Monday!
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And just in case you do something different, we leave our eggs for the EB. He hides them all around the living/dining room and leaves lots of goodies for you to find!

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In Sophie's basket there were bubbles, an echo microphone, a glove/ball, shovel, watering can, bathingsuit, headbands, books, coloring books and a hair barrette to match her Easter outfit. She also got a chocolate bunny, M&Ms and a few small Reese's eggs.

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Ella got a straw basket for the beach, a new Bible with her name on it, Nike running shorts (this was by far her favorite item), the new Fancy Nancy chapter book, Sun Sand sandals for church, sunglasses, bathingsuit, shovel and leggings/hair barrette to go with her Easter outfit.

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Ella wasn't present for very many photographs. She was too busy hunting eggs and devouring candy. I got some great video and it wasn't until after their baskets were disassembled that I realized no one was taking pictures! These were all of the aftermath.

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The girls managed to find all but two of our eggs and we had decided Beemer must have had a midnight snack, since even the EB himself couldn't manage to locate the missing eggs. Fast forward a few days, and they were spotted by Ella last night from the dinner table. Two eggs in the dining room chandelier were the source of many more Easter smiles.

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