Louisville and Grandma – 7QT

We took a road trip/extended field trip to Louisville for a long weekend. We left Saturday (right after I hosted a Blessed Brunch!) and came home Tuesday. I lived in Louisville for four years in graduate school (1998-2002), and it’s a city that I just love. I’ve been back with my kids a couple of times in order to get together with old friends from school. This time we just went for the fun of the trip and to meet up with my mom, who only lives three hours from Louisville.

We had so much fun when we went to Chicago in the spring, I knew I wanted to take another road trip with the girls, and after I read Haley’s post about their stop in Louisville, I realized it would be the perfect getaway for us while my husband was gone elk hunting this week.

It was fantastic. Here are the highlights:

1.

We stayed downtown, so we walked everywhere. The girls get so excited about seeing statues and street art. They had a few interesting questions about the golden three-story “David” statue on Main Street. They thought this artsy bike rack was pretty cool too.

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Anyone know who this guy is supposed to be?

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2.

I went to Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption.

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Fancy Mass at a cathedral was a first for me. There was even a choir loft and a huge pipe organ and the choir wore robes and everything! It was the perfect way to spend my Sunday morning.

3.

The weather was perfect. We walked to a nearby park on Sunday afternoon, where the girls made some new friends and overcame some fears to climb to the highest heights of the play structure.

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While walking back to the hotel, we came across this random arrangement of bird sculptures:

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4.

On our way to the park, we had noticed a bunch of little girls all decked out in princess costumes walking around. We stopped for lunch in a little pizzeria, and my mom asked someone what the occasion was (she’s not an introvert like me). Turns out, “Disney On Ice” was happening that day at the arena right next door to our hotel. The people we saw were one their way to the 1:00 show, but I got on my phone and managed to snag tickets for the 5:00 show! We even got great seats.

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I think the girls really enjoyed it, and it was such a fun, spontaneous addition to our trip.

5.

The Kentucky Science Center is amazing. We could have gone there all day every day for a whole week and still not have been able to see and do everything. A few of the favorites:

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They also had an actual mummy on display, which my girls (and I) were fascinated by. So. Cool.

6.

Besides the science center, I think the very favorite thing for my girls (maybe THE favorite?) was running in the fountains we saw around town. Supposedly they were trying to “dodge” the water.

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Twice they got completely drenched playing in these fountains. We didn’t make it to the splash pad park, but they didn’t even seem to care.

7.

Of course, the best part was doing it all with my mom. The girls have so much fun with Grandma, and it was wonderful to spend some good quality time with her.

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It was a looong drive by myself with the girls, but I’m so glad we made the trip. I have many great memories from when I lived in Louisville, but it’s so much better to go back and make new memories with my girls and my mom.

Check out Kelly’s post at This Ain’t the Lyceum for a summary of her day at the World Meeting of Families and for more Quick Takes!

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Five Favorites – Grandma and Grandpa’s House

Life is always good when I’m at my parents’ house. My girls are happy to be with Grandma and Grandpa. My husband is happy because he’s fishing. My parents are happy because they get to spend time with my girls. And I’m just happy about all of it. Everyone wins.

Today, I’ve got five of my favorite things at my parents’ house:

1. This stove.

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My husband and I are building a new house, and we’ve looked at a lot of stoves over the past year or two. I have never in my life seen anything like this one anywhere else. This stove is older than I am, but check it out. It has double ovens. It has a little shelf at the back, and the stove top slides forward if you need to use more than the front two burners. It’s yellow, for pete’s sake. I have many happy memories associated with this stove. I love it.

2. And along with the stove, my Dad’s cooking.

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Don’t be fooled by that look. He likes cooking (though perhaps not having his photo taken). He was a firefighter and cooked at the firehouse for many years and got good at it. He spoils us by cooking for us all week when we’re here.

3. This bed:

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My Dad made it for me when I was little. This trip is the first time any of my girls has used it. Both of the bigger girls sleep in double beds in the same room, and this one was the last bed available for little Sis. She’s almost too big for it, but I’m savoring her in it for now.

I’m also (mostly) loving that my girls are all sleeping in the same room, which is a big treat for them. As I’m typing this, I can hear them laughing and talking and playing in their room, though they’re supposed to be winding down for sleep. They’re all exhausted, but it makes me happy that they’re having so much fun together.

4. The weather.

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Unless it’s the middle of summer, the weather here is always better than it is at our house.

5. The time.

Time together as a family. Time with Grandma and Grandpa.

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Time for me and my husband to go on an overnight date in Nashville. Time for me to be with my Mom.

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^ Her first ever selfie when we went antiquing this afternoon ^

 Being here makes my heart feel so full.

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Head over to Call Her Happy to see what things other folks are favoriting right now.

7 Quick Takes, Damma and Tuppa Version

We are visiting my parents this week. Otherwise known as “Damma and Tuppa” by Sis.

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 ^^Every day, “Where my Tuppa?,” she says.

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Here’s what we’re up to:

1. My Mom recently hosted a big Lego event at her library. As a result, she has a gazillion Legos these days. I have a love-hate relationship with Legos. I love them because I think they must be a great toy for imagination and stuff. I hate them because, well, they’re Legos.

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My girls have had a blast with my Mom’s Legos. Which is great, because I won’t need to get any since they can play with them here. Or maybe it’s not great, because now they know they like them, and they’ll ask for them at all the birthdays.

2. My Mom is teaching Miss to sew. This brings back many memories:

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Makes me think of my Grandma teaching me stuff. And when my Mom taught me to sew. Oh the nostalgia.

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3. Happiness is playing outside without heavy coats. Or snow pants. Or mittens (otherwise known as my nemesis).

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Put on jacket. Slip on shoes. Go outside. Freeeeedom!!!

And my kids like it too.

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4. Sis is obsessed with flying things. Birds, planes, “coppers” (helicopters).

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Which is quite fun, since my parents live near an Army base where they have lots of “coppers.” “Where copper gooo?” and “Copper slow dooown!” were her favorite phrases yesterday.

5. My girls went to story time at my Mom’s library where she gave them these obnoxiously loud lovely flute things.

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These will be a great toy to keep at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Forever.

6. About once a year, when we come to visit my parents, my husband and I leave the girls with my Mom and Dad,

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and go to Nashville for an overnight date.

I really enjoy going out to dinner at a nice restaurant, but we have date nights at home fairly frequently, so that’s not the best part.

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^^ Miss asked me for a picture of me and her Daddy on date night for a frame she is painting. Soooo, camera timer ^^

The best part of the overnight date?

Date breakfast.

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And date morning lounging:

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I slept in until 7:15 this morning and still got to linger over my coffee and reading. Pure luxury.

For more Quick takes click HERE!

Kentucky Family Fun

It’s that time of year again where I bring you the we’re-at-my-parents’-house-here-are-a-ton-of-photos post. This post will include all of the same elements that always make an appearance in those about Christmas with my family.

1. Silliness with Grandma (and playing with my old toys):

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^^The girls decided that Barney, my huge old teddy bear, was sick, and they were doctoring him in Grandma’s bed.

2. Watching our favorite Christmas movie, Heidi:

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^^Baby Sis was even enthralled by this, the best holiday movie ever.

3. Story time at the library with Grandma:

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^^She could not understand why she couldn’t just go get in Grandma’s lap for a story.

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4. And of course, a big holiday free-for-all with my brother’s family yesterday.

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We haven’t seen my brother and his family in a long time, and it made me so happy to see my kids and his kids jump right into cousin-ly camaraderie.

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It was awesome to have my whole family together. Six adults + Seven kids (two of which are toddlers) = Crazy and wonderful.

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The present opening was just as chaotic as ever, and just as fun.

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Everyone got pretty tired out by the festivities.
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More silliness with Grandma:

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After my brother and his clan left the girls got dressed in their new princess PJs, which Lass had been begging to put on from the moment she opened them.

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They danced around in their new finery, with Lass breathlessly proclaiming, “I’m Snow White! I am really and truly Snow White! All my dreams have come true!”

At the end of the evening last night, we put on a movie for tired girls (and tired parents).

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We have one more day at Grandma and Grandpa’s before hitting the road to go home on Saturday. We’re packing in as much quality time as we can.

A Holiday Movie Tradition

Have I mentioned how much I love holiday traditions?

Yes. Of course I have. I’m a holiday tradition junkie.

One of my favorites is the tradition my Mom and I have of watching the movie “Heidi” every Christmas. I know it’s not a popular holiday movie, but we’ve been doing it every year since I can remember (you can read about the girls’ first exposure to it last year here).

My Mom and I recite the dialog together. “I think there ought to be a Frau Schultz!” and “My word! A gorilla!” and many, many more lines of this adorable movie.

We laugh heartily at the same scenes, every. time.

This year my girls laughed with us.

For the first time, my girls actually paid attention throughout the movie and seemed to get into it (Lass got distracted for a while in the middle, but was pretty attentive for the first 30-40 minutes and the last 15 or so).

They cracked up at the craziness that resulted when Heidi let the monkey in the house. They were distressed with Grandfather was placed in jail and couldn’t find Heidi. They were on pins and needles about “When will Clara walk?”

I can’t even express how happy I am that I could share this tradition with my girls this year. I watched them watching it almost as much as I watched the movie.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

 

 

Dressing Up, Kentucky Style

You’ve seen lots of posts showing my girls’ dress up adventures recently.  They’re really into it.  They’re just like their Mama in that way.  I’ve also posted recently about the dearth of dress up items in my Mom’s closet when I was growing up.  She came through with a few fun things for the girls yesterday though.  Check out this hat.
It was made, of course, by my Grandma.
Lass loved it.
The girls loved seeing their Grandma try on this clown costume, also made by my Grandma.  It is actually a full clown costume with a baggy one piece suit that has big buttons down the front.  But I’m not sharing that photo.
When I wrote about my Mom’s dress-up-lacking closet recently in this post, I mentioned the one item she did have that I loved to dress up in – the beautiful silver shoes.  I forgot about the beautiful silver purse that went with those shoes.  My Mom brought it out yesterday and I was so happy to see it.  Seriously.  I gasped and exclaimed, “The silver purse!”  The girls are loving it too.

Miss really got into carrying it around.

Before I gave it to the girls, I opened it up to make sure there wasn’t anything in it that they couldn’t play with.  Turns out I was the last one to use it.  Here’s what I found:

This is what I used to carry in my purse.  My keys, “address book,” and um, FBI identification card?

Miss enjoyed my special purse contents too.  She was very animated in discussing the importance of having her “message” (the FBI card), her “keys to go for a trip in the car,” and her “book to read in the car” in her purse.

I love playing dress up with my girls.

Things I Loved This Week

I lost my camera cord for uploading photos for a few days.  I found it yesterday and uploaded a ton of fun photos from the past week.  So here’s a big post of some things I’ve been loving this week, chock full of lots of pics. 
I’m loving new fashion statements.
My Auntie sent a package last week with some things for all of the girls.  My big girls had a field day with these headbands and balloons.  I love that they put the headbands on like little hippies.

When I was little, I was very into dressing up.  I used to have a field day at my Grandma’s house because she would let me play in her jewelry box, which was full of tons of necklaces and clip on earrings.  My Mom’s jewelry box, on the other hand, was sadly lacking fun dress up items, as was her closet.  I think she owned one pair of high heels.  They were silver, from my Auntie’s wedding, I think. I loved that one pair of beautiful shoes.  My Mom just wasn’t really a shoe gal.  Or a purse gal.  Or a clothes gal.  Therefore, my dress up options when I played in her closet were nearly nonexistent.  My girls will not have the same problem.  They get into my closet and have a field day with all sorts of heels and purses.

They have a box of their own things in their play room too.  Shoes have been big this week.

I’m loving sister bonding.

These two have really gotten into wrestling in the past few days.

But they’re always super sweet and gentle with Baby Sis.

I’m loving watching this one.

I’m loving conversations with my girls.

My two big girls are so chatty and have so much to say.  Lass’s language is really exploding and she is starting to speak in sentences.  She can say just about anything, though sometimes it’s hard to understand her at first.  She makes me smile and often laugh with the little things she says. She loves to play “Shark” right now, and so she tends to yell the word any time she’s in the mood to play, which is quite often.  It makes me giggle that her pronunciation of the word is “Shart.”  Yep.  Full volume.  All the time.  It cracks me up.

I also love listening to my girls talk to each other.  They have real conversations now.  Miss understands Lass nearly as well as I do, so they talk about all sorts of stuff.  I love that Miss calls her “Honey” a lot and likes to try to teach her new things and tell her what to do.  She’s trying to help her learn ABCs and counting.  It’s adorable to watch and listen to them.

Life is so good.

Song Bird

Last night I had some special girl time with my eldest before bed.  We painted her fingernails.  She chose blue, of course.  While waiting for them to dry we made some funny faces and sang some songs.
My girl loves to sing.  Both of my older girls do, in fact, though Lass is still working on the words a bit…  Miss goes all out in singing her favorites.  She lifts her chin up and belts them out at full volume.  In the car, in the playroom, at the store, on the swingset, wherever.  We were even informed by her teachers that she sings like this at school.  I absolutely love that she does this.  I think it might be a little bit hereditary, because I think I used to sing like that when I was a kid too (okay, I still do).  I remember singing with my mom and my Grandma a lot.  My Mom and I used to rock out to “Barbara Susanne Stripe” (a.k.a. Barbara Streisand), Neil Diamond, and Barry Manilow on 8-track. Or we’d sing all sorts of kid’s songs: You are My Sunshine, Eensy Weensy Spider, Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, and so on.  My Grandma is a very talented musician, and she used to play the piano and teach me lots of old-timey songs.  I think singing is an expression of happiness.  It’s good for the soul.
We sing a lot in our family.  My husband plays the guitar and we sing along with him in the evenings.  The girls and I sing lots of little songs during the day.  We sing while we play, while we are in the car, while we do just about anything.  I’ve had strangers chuckle at me for singing with my girls in the grocery store.  I think it’s usually a nice, friendly chuckle.  I hope.  I’m no vocal sensation, but I can carry a tune.  And who doesn’t love a moving rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in their grocery’s produce section?
Anyway.  Back to last night.  After Miss and I finished with her nails, while they were drying, she was singing her latest favorite song, “Whistle While You Work.”  I especially love when she sings the songs from Snow White, because she doesn’t just sings the words, she does the vocal trilling “ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…” like Snow White does.  I don’t know if that’s the right term to describe it, but it’s so cute.  And since I can’t really describe it well, I captured it on video.  Though my girl sings loudly and unselfconsciously almost all day long, like most kids her age she was a little less willing to do it on command.  When I first asked her to sing for the camera, she said that she had “run out” of singing.  But then when I told her that I wanted to take a video of her and she could watch it afterwards, well, I could just see the wheels turning as she thought about that.  The video below is not characteristic of how she usually sings.  She’s more timid and much quieter than usual.  But I couldn’t help but smile when I watched and listened to her sing her song.  I hope you will too.  

Girls’ Rooms Made Over

As I have mentioned several times, I have been crafting stuff for the girls’ rooms for the past few weeks.  I think it has been my form of nesting.  I am finally near enough to completion that I can reveal what I’ve been working on.  Here’s a look at Lass’s room.

I’ve already posted about how to do the growth chart.  If you want to know how, see the tutorial here.

This is basically what Lass’s room looked like before (check out how tiny Miss is in this pic!).  All of my girls’ rooms had fairly pathetic wall decor, so I decided to use a few ideas from Pinterest, add a few ideas of my own, and make them much more fun and interesting.

I got the idea for the fabric rings from Pinterest.  They are so easy and cheap and really make a big impact I think.  I am not completely happy with the balance of the circles in Lass’s room, so tonight I made a couple more circles and will try adding them tomorrow to make it look better.  But I still love it even as it is right now.

I also spruced up the other side of her room.

This is what it looked like before.  I needed to take this huge rocker and move it to Baby Sis’s room, so I brought Miss’s old reading chair in and added some shelves.

I love the finished product.  My mom made these curtains!

Baby sis’s room still has a bit of work to be done, but the wall above her crib is done.

This used to be Miss’s room.  We were initially going to move Sis into our third bedroom, which was previously a guest room, but at the last minute decided to move Miss in there and put Sis in Miss’s room.  The main reason was because we couldn’t find a good place for the huge rocker pictured above in the other bedroom.

This was Miss’s crib that we converted to a full size bed when she moved into her “big girl bed.”  We converted it back and Miss got a new big girl bed you can check out below.  I made a couple of crib sheets for Sis’s crib and used the bed skirt that my mom and I (mostly my mom) made for Miss’s room before she was born.

The biggest transformation has been in Miss’s room.  We painted it this green originally to match the fabrics for Sis’s room, but the color works just as well with Miss’s new bedding.

In her old room, Miss had rails on the sides of her bed.  She was ready to have those taken off, as the only thing they have been needed to keep in her bed for the past several months have been all the “friends” Miss had been sleeping with.  I got these planter baskets from Hobby Lobby and they have been a perfect way to keep the friends within reach, though not right in the bed.

This was Miss’s reading corner in her old room.  The chair went into Lass’s room, Miss got a bigger chair, and the bookshelf stayed where it is for Baby Sis.  It’s attached to the wall, so Miss got a new book shelf.

Here’s Miss’s new reading/vanity corner.  I got her this cute little vanity to replace the dresser that was in her old room (which stayed in there to serve as a changing table for Baby Sis).

She has adjusted remarkably well to this move, considering we decided to do it kind of last minute.  She loves her new stuff, especially the vanity.  I also took some fabric flowers (left over from the arrangement I made for her that you can see below) and a few upcycled food cans (I made sure to remove all sharp spots) that I painted in coordinating colors, and I put them in one of the blue boxes on her shelf for her to use to make her own flower arrangements.  This has been a huge hit with her.

After all the shuffling around of rooms and furniture and all the crafting and sewing I’ve done (2 growth charts, tons of fabric circles, two crib sheets, and three large cardboard initials), I’m extremely happy with the results in all the girls’ rooms.  I have to give credit to my husband for all the work he did to help (moving lots of furniture, putting up a chandelier, putting together several pieces of furniture, and many other “Honey-Do” tasks). One of the projects I’ve been really happy with is the cardboard initials I did for each of the girls.  The initials came from Hobby Lobby.  I used Mod Podge to come up with three different looks for them.  They were all very easy.

For Miss’s I used torn pieces of scrap book paper and Mod Podge.  I just put the Mod Podge down before placing each piece of paper, used enough overlapping paper to cover the whole letter, and then put a final coat of Mod Podge over the top when it was all done.

For Lass’s letter I started by painting it green, and then cut out these flowers from the fabric that I had used to make her crib sheet.  The fabric flowers got Mod Podged in place, and then I again put a final coat of MP over the whole thing when it was done.

Baby Sis’s letter was done by just Mod Podging some of the leftover fabric from one of the crib sheets I made onto the cardboard.  This one was a little bit more tricky to figure out the best way to piece the fabric to get the whole letter covered and still looking nice.  I started by cutting strips of fabric as wide as the depth of the letter and covering the inner “V’s” of the N first.  Then I just used one big piece to cover the front of the letter and outer sides.  I had to wrap around a little bit, but it turned out great.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past several weeks.  I still have a few more projects I would like to get done, but they don’t feel as pressing as these did.  Each of my girls has a pretty new look for her room, so I’m satisfied.

A Getaway

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent last week at my parents’ house.  The girls were amazing during the 10-hour drive, both on the way down and on the way home.  I do love the portable DVD player for a long road trip!

We had a great time visiting with my parents.  As usual, the girls were mesmerized by my mom.  She’s the Baby/Toddler/Preschooler whisperer, I swear.  Lass didn’t even need any warm-up time this visit, which made it even more fun.  We made a few trips to the library where my mom works.  The first trip was so I could get on the internet for a bit to check out some restaurants and hotels in nearby Nashville (more on this below).

How cute is this little one typing??

The second trip to the library was for story time.  The theme for the week was the letter “P,” so my mom read “The Princess and the Dragon,” we did puzzles, ate popsicles and pretzels,

and played with puppets.  There was even a Puppet Parade, which really made an impression on Lass, as she continued to grab my mom’s puppets and say, “Mach, mach, mach,” repeating the parade over and over at my parents’ house for the rest of our visit.

The girls had a blast with these ancient laundry baskets.  The things Grandma comes up with…

And I captured a few photos of their attempts at making pouty faces.

The weather was beautiful and warm, so we got to play outside.  The girls loved picking up rocks, examining moss on the ground and playing in the leaves and dirt.  Lass may have even eaten a little bit of dirt.  But just a little.

She was very interested in the birds.   She kept saying, “Buhdie!  Buhdie, ah doo? (Birdie, where are you?)” and looking in vain for some birds to fly by.

Miss found this rock and named it her “Little Cutie.”  She insisted we bring it into the house and then that we bring it home.

It has been carried around with other important friends like Oopsie Bear, Toodie, and Twinkers.

Very special indeed.

One of the best things about our trip was that my husband and I actually left the girls overnight with my parents one night and went to Nashville for an overnight date (hence the internet search mentioned above).  We got a nice hotel room in Downtown Nashville, went out to dinner, sort of slept in (only until 7:15, but my mom said Lass was up at 6 that morning), lounged around and got an awesome room service breakfast, and then went to visit my brother and his family for a bit, including my brand new nephew who is just 4 weeks old.  It was such a relaxing little getaway.  I have never left the girls overnight before, except Miss when I was in the hospital having Lass.  It was kind of weird, but also kind of awesome.  My husband and I both agreed that the next time we are ready to do it again (in another 18 months or so!), we should go for two nights.  I agreed, though by the time we were getting ready to go back to my mom and dad’s, I was really anxious to see the girls.  I missed them a lot.  So we’ll see about two nights.  But the one night we got was fantastic (thanks again mom and dad!).  And apparently, my girls barely even noticed we were gone.  What a great practice run for when I am gone to the hospital to have Sis.

It was, again, as always, a wonderful time with my mom and dad.