Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mackenzie - 11 Months


It's May 11, 2014 (Mother's Day) and you are 11 months old today.

 Your personality grows with every milestone you hit. You really came out of your shell when you started crawling and pulling up on things. You have stood up a few times without hands. I think you are a few months away from walking.
Chloe showed you how to play the piano

You are talking a little. You say "uh-oh," "hi" and "up." You tried to say ball and you are so close to ma-ma and da-da in the correct context.

You love to look at pictures of yourself. There is a 8x10 in the hall of you and we have to point at it and talk about it every time we walk past it. You laugh when we tell you, "That's Mackenzie. That's you!"

You still take two naps a day. You are so go to bed around 6 or 7 and don't wake up until 7 the next morning. All that sleep and you still take long naps. Every now and then you'll skip your second nap.

You adore Chloe and you enjoy chasing her around the house. Most of the time Chloe enjoys it, too. You love being outside and bounce and wave your arms like mad when I raise the garage so we can go for a walk. It's difficult to have you outside because you want to be on the ground crawling. That's fine, but you also like to eat everything you find on the ground and we have too many acorns and leaves for that to be safe.
first spaghetti dinner

Your favorite foods are broccoli and bananas. You are doing well with your sippy cup but you really don't want your formula in it at all. Only water. Not sure how well this transition from the bottle is going to go next month.

love those legs
We took you to the church nursery a few weeks ago and you were hyperventilating from being so upset. You really are quite cautious of strangers. Your separation anxiety is going away, but VERY slowly.

your father's daughter
You are wearing 9-12 month clothing and size 4 diapers. You are wearing a size 2 shoe. You're hair is getting blonder by the day and your dimples are still so adorable! :)

new swim cap we found shopping with Shorty

We love you Mackenzie Jewel!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mackenzie - 10 Months


Today is April 11, 2014 and you are 10 months old!

You started pulling up to stand yesterday. I think you are a little late, but once you started pulling up you were a most things you do.

using everything you can to pull up

You are eating two and sometimes three solids meals a day. You are drinking out of your sippy cup like a pro. I need to start switching your formula to the sippy cup with your meals.

Your favorite things are still your sister and bathtime. You really enjoy being outdoors, but it's a challenge for me since you want to eat the leaves.

You laugh a lot these days...mostly at Chloe. You girls are really great together.


You are saying mama, dada and baba. But I still don't think you are using them for any particular reason. I swear you've said "up" and "hi" a few times. It's a bit early, but Chloe talked early, too. I have my listening ears on now every time I'm with you to see if what I think I'm hearing is real.

my Texas girls in the bluebonnets
You can clap and wave now. You really only wave if we say "bye-bye." You are also pointing. The other night at dinner you thought it was funny to point at dad while you were eating. You guys spent a few minutes pointing at each other and amusing yourselves.

You are about to celebrate your first Easter! Shorty made these two dresses for you and Chloe.

Sisters - Easter 2014

I can't believe we will be celebrating your first birthday in two short months!

We love you, MJ!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chloe at 3 1/2

I haven't shared much about Chloe lately. She has always been such a light in our lives. Every single day she gets funnier, cuter and more brilliant. This post will be a little all-over-the-place, but it goes with Chloe's personality. 

Some of her favorite things are donuts, ice cream and watermelon slush from Sonic (we limit these things). She loves spending time with any and all of her friends. Her favorite movies right now are Ghostbusters, The Nightmare Before Christmas (she calls it ChristmasHalloween) and Cars. Although, we recently added Frozen to the favorites list. (Hooray a chick movie!) Her favorite toys are her cars. She enjoys coloring and riding her new bike.

new big girl bike!

such a happy girl

She cracks me up. If she doesn't like what I tell her she says, "Mom, you are making me VERY serious." I really should write down every funny thing she says. Yesterday she told me that she is going to marry me when she gets older. I told her I was already married to Mark and I could only be married to one person. She said, "that's ok. I'll marry you when I'm bigger." 

We are in a big "Why" stage. Everything that happens she asks us why. If Mark and I are together, she will ask us both almost like she doesn't believe what the other one says.

She has also started telling fibs and lies. We had to explain the difference between the truth and a lie. I think she is starting to understand. 

We had a parent/teacher conference a few months ago. Her teachers are pleased with her development. Where she really shines is in her physical abilities. They said she is advanced with her gross motor skills like jumping, climbing ladders and standing one one foot. They also said that she does an excellent job at concentrating on her work and will work diligently to finish any school work. Circle time is another story. When she doesn't have something to do with her hands she finds it very difficult to focus. 

she drew a picture of a "ghostbuster and a slutty ghost"
She meant slimmy, but she keeps saying slutty and I think it's hilarious!

With her physical abilities in mind, we put her in a soccer camp that started this past Monday, March 17, 2014. She had a choice between soccer, ballet and gymnastics. It was no surprise she chose soccer. It's really the only thing she knew. We play with her soccer ball at the park and in the front yard quite a bit. I have to say she really is a natural. I'm impressed by how much control she has at 3. 

She's writing her name well. She can spell her name, mom and dad. She knows her alphabet and can write all her letters. She knows the sounds the letters make and we are working on some phonics books so she can start learning to read. She has memorized several books and can 'read' one particular book (Just a Little Luck...A little critter book) word-for-word. I love hearing her sweet little voice tell me the story.

Dr. Seuss Day at school...she dressed up as Fox in Socks

I let her get on the computer twice now. The first time I showed her how to use the mouse and the second time she was an expert. It amazes me how fast these little ones absorb information. The only reason I even let her on the computer was because she kept asking me to "watch PBS kids dot org." I tried to explain that it wasn't something to watch, but rather a website. So I took her to the computer and showed her what is.

Crazy Hair Day - Fauxhawk

Her dislocated elbow. The doctor at the ER gave her a wrist brace.
That helped a lot

She had to go to the Emergency room in January. She fell off the couch an dislocated her elbow. I thought she had broken her wrist. But apparently a nursemaid elbow does funny things to your nerves and was making her think it was her wrist when it was actually her elbow that hurt. Anyway, the doctor at the hospital was no help. They gave her a wrist brace and some Tylenol. That night she kept waking up screaming. She said, "Mommy, my arm isn't being very nice." I took her to the pediatrician on Monday (two days later) and they immediately realized the problem and reset her elbow. 20 minutes later she was pain free. I love our pediatrician and all the staff! ***Just to be clear. We went to the doctor two days later because it was a weekend and they were closed...not because I was ignoring my daughter's pain.***

She has also had two ear infections. We went 3 1/2 years without any and then had two in 2 months time.

picture from Chloe's teacher. She put her coat on upside down.
Miss Caitlynn thought it was funny because it looks like a bustle. 

riding go-carts with daddy
Chloe loves race cars!
Chloe also loves to sing. She loves Roar by Katy Perry and Let It Go from Frozen. She's also been singing Happy by Pharrell Williams. She dances a lot and it's really funny. I need to get it on video, but I doubt she would let me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mackenzie - 9 Months

Mackenzie Jewel,

It's March 11, 2014 and you are 9 months old today. I remember this time last year. We were at the rodeo and you weren't due for another 3 months. Now you are here with us!

9 months old
You are crawling now and starting to pull up. You haven't made it onto your feet yet, but you are getting on your knees and getting pretty close. You have a bruise on your cheek where you crashed trying to pull up on the wall.

inspecting the grass. probably watching your sister.

Your favorite things are: your sister, being outside and bath time. You dislike: being fed, having your nose wiped and when we take something away from you.

You have 5 teeth. You are starting to use your pincer grasp to feed yourself. You have refused to eat baby food the past week and only want things you can pick up yourself. I'm still not able to get you to use a sippy cup very well. We have three months to get it done. 

You are always pretty serious. Seriously cute.

You love any attention from your big sister.

You are still sleeping from 6:00pm to 6:30am. Thankfully time changed so now it's more like 7-7:30. Your 6pm bedtime made it hard to do anything in the evening. You take 2-3 naps. Usually only 2.

You are saying baba, dada and mama. Just the sounds. You aren't associating them with anything.

eating the grass
 You love being outside in the grass. If we open the door, you crawl as fast as you can towards it. Sometimes we get some tears when you don't make it before we shut the door.

This brings me to my next point. I've always said you were our chill baby. That's still true. BUT, you can throw fits like I've never seen a baby do before. Case in point is the video below. You like to rock on the rocking frog. See what happens when you don't get your way in .2 seconds.

I think we have a new drama queen in the making.

an attempt at a good sister pic

snot face wants to see the camera.
You are wearing a size 4 diaper and 12 month clothing. We go to the doctor on Thursday to see how long and chunky you are...kidding. You really aren't that chubby of a baby. You are perfect and squishy!

pulling up to your knees

playing with the cute baby in the mirror. I adore this picture.

feeding yourself. a morning ritual.

snot faced and swinging in the backyard

Chloe likes to push you in the swing.

We sure do love you, Mackenzie.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mackenzie - 8 Months


Today is February 11, 2014 and you are 8 months old today! It's been a rough month for you little girl. You have kept an ear infection through one round of antibiotics and are currently on a second round. You were sick most most of your entire 7th month.

On top of that, you are getting your top teeth. I'm pretty sure all four are trying to come in at the same time. You already have two lower teeth. Considering all the pain that you're in, you've been a pretty happy baby. You are fussier than normal the last week or so though. I think it's mostly teeth because we never even knew your ears were bothering you. We only found out you had an ear infection because we took Chloe to the doctor and they heard you coughing so they wanted to look in your ears.

8 Months old

You can get yourself into a sitting position now and you started crawling today. You don't crawl very far, but you will be zooming around soon. Chloe's pretty excited about it. But I suspect her tune will change once she realizes that it's more difficult to keep you away from her things. She's pretty good at sharing, but on her terms.

You babble a lot now. Lots of da-da-da and ba-ba-ba. We are trying to get you to clap and wave. 

You are much more interested in eating now. You like carrots, sweet potatoes and oatmeal with pears. You don't really like any of the meats...pureed meat sounds disgusting.

Your favorite toy is a squeaky monkey teether.

You love to cuddle. As much as you like to be alone in your room for quiet time, you like to be near someone when you are with us. You prefer that someone to be Chloe, but you settle for mom or dad.
Chloe dressed MJ up in her best

You can still fit into 9 month clothes, but are quickly outgrowing the onesies because you are so long. You are wearing a size 3 diaper, but I think we are about to move up to 4. 
Chloe is always asking to take pictures with her sister.

You take two naps a day and you are champ at putting yourself to sleep for naps and bed.
love these girls

You love, love, love bath time! We are letting you and Chloe take baths together because you sit up so well now. It makes bath time so much easier on this mom. haha. Plus, you girls like to splash together. 
bath time prep

You still look like you are going to be our little blondie and you have just as much (if not more) hair than Chloe did. It's harder to see your hair because it's lighter than hers was, but there is a lot of it. You have a bit of a reverse mullet. It's longer at the front, top of your head. We used to style it into a faux hawk, but it's too long to stand up now.

see my teeth?

We are enjoying getting to know you, MJ, Kenzie Kenz.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Granthamania Eurotrip 2014 - Part 3 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Two days in Paris and we set out for Amsterdam. We opted for a train, again. The train rides were really great. When we boarded the train in London, we had to go through security like we were taking an airplane. We didn't go through any security at all in Paris. We just got on the train and went to Amsterdam. I guess they have open borders because we didn't have to have our passports checked either. It was just as easy as driving from Texas to Oklahoma.


Train ride from Paris to Amsterdam
probably in Belgium 
Below is our hotel room in Amsterdam. We stayed at the Luxor. It was two streets away from the red light district and it was great. We did have a mix up and paid for an extra night because they had another guest with our same last name. But, they realized the mistake and put us in a larger room and removed the charge. 
by far the nicest hotel we stayed at

I know these pictures don't do this city any justice. I would love to go back in the spring or summer. This is the oldest city that we visited architecturally. They said a lot of the buildings date back to the 1500s. It amazes me that this city is so well laid out for it's age.


We rarely encountered moving vehicles. Most everyone walks or bikes. There are bikes lined up along all the housing and the bridges. I have NEVER seen so many bikes. And junky bikes, too. They don't seem to care what the bike looks long as it has aired up tires and a functioning chain, they drive pedal it. Many of the bikes were "customized" with spray paint or other decorations.

the bridge in the background is lined with bikes
They said most of the people here own boats. Apparently in the summer, everyone gets out on their boats to hang out. I saw a picture of it in our hotel and you can't see the water for all the boats in the canals.

they say everyone owns a boat and that's the thing to do in summer

Below is the Anne Frank house. We toured it. People were so quiet throughout the tour. I was pretty impressed with how reverent everyone was. The two stories that the Frank family occupied with another family was much larger than I expected. It still wasn't big enough to be comfortable for 2 years of hiding without any access to the outside world! It was four rooms split between 2 floors. The staircase to get to their hiding spot was more of a ladder and it was still hidden behind the bookshelf. They had the posters and pictures that Anne pasted on the wall of her bedroom on display in her room. I haven't read the diary since 7th grade, but I plan to read it again soon. One thing that really touched me was an interview they did with her dad, Otto. He said that he and Anne were close, but when he read the diary he was touched by how insightful, wise and affected she was by everything (I'm really paraphrasing here...). He said his conclusion was that no parent ever truly knows their child. I suspect that's true of every relationship, but it made me a little sad.

Anne Frank House

bikes everywhere
According the riverboat tour we took, Amsterdam has a housing shortage. So all along the canals you will see house boats. The windows were open on some of them and we could see inside them. I wish I could have toured one. They had one available for tour, but we didn't see it.
see the houseboat?
 Amsterdam has a housing shortage, so people live on house boats.

such a great city!
I tried mayonnaise on french fries (apparently a Dutch thing). I like mayo, but I still needed a little ketchup mixed with it to make it taste the way I like. :) I thought it was funny how big the mayo packets were. 
they put mayonnaise on their fries
Below you can see the dancing ladies. They are quite crooked. Can you see how they lean? Mark had noticed a lot of buildings leaning even before the tour guide pointed this out. We kind of wondered how their building codes are and if anyone has ever inspected this stuff. But I suppose if these buildings have been around for hundreds of years, it's probably a non-issue. 

the dancing ladies of Amsterdam...don't Google that
You'll get a lot of stuff about the red light district

We mostly just walked around in Amsterdam. We stopped at a few bars to drink an Amstel or a Heineken. We ate burgers, but we never tried an apple pie. That's a big regret for me. I think they put cheese on them. Not sure about that.

at night from an outdoor patio at the bar

on the bar patio
they have heaters outside, so you can still enjoy the outdoors in the cold weather
I took this picture from the riverboat tour. There are so many bridges in Amsterdam. Around 1500!
seven bridges
can't see all seven from this picture, but they go back as far as the eye can see

first of the seven bridges

We did walk around the red light district. I didn't take any pictures. I didn't want to get yelled at by one of the hookers. Pictures are frowned upon. It wasn't nearly as "seedy" as most people probably think. Of course we were never walking around super late. Maybe midnight was the latest we were there. The women stand in the windows in their underwear. A lot of them were applying their makeup or messing with their phones while we walked around. We did see a few of them opening doors to explain their rates to the men who were interested. I'm not going to lie. It bothers me that there is a market for this and I question whether the all the women involved are there voluntarily. But I had to see what this red light district was all about. I saw parents walking down the street with their kids in tow and nobody even glanced at the hookers in the windows. The women weren't revealing anything more than a swimsuit would allow. 

We went into one coffee shop called the Bulldog. It was decorated like the inside of a tree with toadstools everywhere. I'm pretty sure that would mess with your head if you were tripping (hallucinating). That's not my thing. 

a Heineken cheers to our last day.
Amsterdam was a great way to end our trip. We had been running around like crazy in London and Paris to try and see as much as possible. Since Amsterdam is much smaller and a lot more laid back, we were able to rest a little more. It truly was our favorite place.

We left Amsterdam after two days. We had to fly into Iceland first then on to New York. I was worried about getting stuck in Iceland. But, we got stuck in New York instead. I'm surprised they let us land. New York already had nearly a foot of snow.
That's Iceland out there.

Mark and I raced to get to our terminal to change our flight to the earliest flight the next day. That was an adventure that resulted in me screaming (no exaggeration) at a NYC bus driver. Long story short...they took us out of the airport and to a subway station. Then they threatened to not return us to the I freaked. Don't mess with a mom trying to get home to see her babies. And yankees, you are no match for an angry TEXAN. haha

JFK airport...snowing like it's the North Pole
We made it back to the airport. Got the earliest flight for the next day and spent the night on the airport floor. It wasn't fun, but we made it back to Austin the next day! Thanks to my mom for watching the girls and extra day!

Our bed for the night. JFK airport floor. Terminal 5 baggage claim.
For the record, I was mad at that bus driver and I do wish I had been able to remain calm. But I was really impressed and appreciative of all the New Yorkers who stayed at work to help all the weary and stranded travelers. The people at Jet Blue were so helpful and friendly and they were worried about getting home to their kids for the night, too. But they didn't take it out on us. I'm always impressed by how friendly/nice people in New York are...I feel like you always hear how rude they are. Other than the bus driver, that has never been my experience.
airport the next morning.