How Are You 4?!

How are you 4?! For every tear I cry over how quickly time passes us by, there’s a happy tear right behind it for the excitement I feel for the next day & the upcoming years… How many memories we’ll make & how I know every day from here on out has purpose bc you’re in it! Your mommy & daddy are so proud of the kind, smart, confident, beautiful little ladies you are.
Just a few ways you’re growing up as we’ve hit FOUR:
  • Dressing yourselves completely – Kara Rose, you often say to me, “Mommy, please leave the room while we change, so we can introduce ourselves when we’re all ready.” (You slowly walk out like a princess or tip-toe out like a ballerina and we “Ooooo” and “Aaaahhhh” over the very creative nicely put right? choices you’ve made)
  • Cleaning up your room – Zoe, you specifically love to make your room look like ‘artwork’ rearranging your toys & animals every night before bed so it looks just right… You actually consider it punishment if we tell you it’s too late to do your room.
  • Letting the dog in & out and help feed him.
  • Getting your own silverware out of the drawer – again, Zo, you love to set the table for everyone & make it look pretty (seeing a pattern)?
  • Basically don’t want me to help you do anything, washing you in the bath (insert the Scrubba Dubba Dance), brushing your teeth (although I must), picking out any part of your outfit at any point (pjs, play clothes, church & school clothes)

 

Current favorites: Color purple, all fruit, animals, playing soccer, break-dancing, reading, mommy cuddles, watching TV/movies, telling your sister what to do.
Kara Rose: Your kind, nurturing heart – you love to make sure everyone is cared for & cry if you think you hurt someone’s feelings or accidentally hurt your sister. However, you’re so smart that you also love to correct people (even adults) and you take the leadership role in every scenario, but you’re already the kind of leader I want to be because every time someone needs to step up & be the bigger person, it’s always you. You already have incredible work ethic & are extremely tenacious. You tell me you love me SO MOOOUUCH every chance you get and promise no matter how grown up you get, you’ll always be my angel. I pray you always remember that taking the high road & being kind is the best way to live life, even though it’s a tough path, my sensitive one.
Current favorites: Color pink, taking pictures, flowers & butterflies, ballet, drawing, taking care of baby dolls, your sister.

 

Zoe: You’re so wild & rough, yet you want to know just the right way to hold and care for your baby dolls. You’re so hard on yourself & get mad if you don’t get something right the first time. You hold my face in your hands and tell me I’m beautiful. Every night in bed, you whisper secrets in my ear and usually you say “I will always love you.” or “You are God’s little princess.” You live life with abandon, my nature-loving, free-spirit – I pray that you hold onto every ounce of it.
Most of all, you’re truly best friends and love each other and everyone around you.  I think you’ve got the “Love God & love your neighbor” thing down – don’t lose it, it’s a tough world out there. You both already know that God loves you & Jesus is your best friend – that’s all you need to remember… and that Mommy loves you bigger than the whole world.
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10 Things I Want You to Know that I Can’t Teach You

The things I want to teach them during these years I’ve been given to raise them are countless. I actually have a pretty extensive list, but… priorities… and they’re 3 (almost 4 but I don’t want to hear that) and if I tried to write it all down, I’d never hit publish! So here are just 10 I’d like to focus on now, because it’s just never too early to raise them in truth. These crucial things, I can’t teach them – knowledge that will only come as a result of life experiences, creating a faith community around them, and doing my best to be their example. I won’t always do it right, but this is my hope and prayer…

 

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My precious girls, please know that:

* You are perfect and loved, not because of anything you’ve done, but because you were made that way.

* You can’t control how people treat you, but you can control how you react to it.

* You are amazing! There is no one like you. No one!

* True happiness is found in love – giving & receiving love, not things. Although, love can hurt, things will leave you empty.

* Bravery doesn’t mean doing something scary – it means standing up for yourself & for others.  Listening to your own voice over your peers and doing what you feel is right, for you.

* Failure is nothing to fear. If you let it, failure can show you how resilient you are and give you the chance to star in your very own comeback story.

* Being happy or not is up to you.

* If you’re going to take a big risk and bet on anything, bet on yourself.

* Your identity isn’t found in anyone or anything – through Christ, alone, you have been made whole.

* I love you.  You don’t have to do anything to deserve it – I just do, with all my heart.

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Insight on Our Trip to Disney: Turning Three

It’s always been a dream of mine to take my children to Disney World (I never went as a child). With the combination of ‘free under 3’ when I’m used to paying double for everything & their love for all things Mickey & Friends and princesses, we decided this was the best time for their first trip, and if I may say so, it was the perfect time. There is a fairly small window between being old enough to know the characters & being able to handle the exhaustion excitement and being young enough to truly believe & be wowed by all the magic, which was the best part to witness.  You’ll see…
Warning: extremely photo heavy post – and this is actually highly paired down!
If you want tips and details on how we planned our trip, head over here.  
To see behind the magic of it all…
We drove in on a Saturday night, after their birthday party, so we decided to stay our first night in The Castle Hotel (much less expensive than staying on property, yet a seriously great start to our trip) It looks like a white castle & all the staff referred to The Kraze as ‘Princess’ the entire time, what more could you want?!
We slept in to recover from our road trip and party madness the day before… ate breakfast by the pool, opened a few presents from Grammy & Pops & got a good nap in before heading to Disney.

Day 1: Epcot (half day)

Walking into our first park, the cool touristy mom, with my camera and map ready game face on!

*Tip: I totally recommend making a stroller sign to hang on the handle bars so you can easily spot yours in the sea of strollers.

We decided Epcot would be the perfect park to start off with just a half-day, as there really isn’t much for their age group here, but in my opinion, the best way to set the tone for the trip.  Starting with a meet & greet with Mickey & his friends was absolutely perfect. 
I mean just look at this beaming smile!

Day 2: Animal Kingdom all day

You might notice a theme throughout: Kara Rose is being held in almost all the character photos.  She absolutely loved them… until they got close. Then she would hide behind us.  She’ll literally tell you, “I’m just a little bashful.”  That’s ok my little girl, you own it!

Zoe’s little thumbs in the corner of this pic…
My best attempt at getting a photo of our shirts I made.

Not surprisingly, she favored the rides, and would say “Higher!” “Faster!”


And this is how they felt about me taking their picture by the end of the day… and by that, I mean after lunch.

After nap (yes, we got naps in every day!)…

Look at that brave girl going to Baloo all on her own…
King Louie really wants a hug from you too…
Aaaaannnnd… she ran, but was happy to pose for the picture as long as someone held her!

But wait!  When she’s in her element (pretty much anything to do with singing & dancing), she’s as brave as they come.  She was actually IN the show and went around the entire stage on her own!! 
I cried I was so proud and happy for her! 
Again, no shocker, she favored the shows & Festival of the Lion King was probably our favorite.

He was thrilled I made us shirts!

Best attempt at getting them to both smile for the camera together before leaving Animal Kingdom.
*Tip: These bags were perfect for carrying their autograph books & pens!

Day 3 (AM): Hollywood Studios 

Anxiously awaiting her breakfast with Doc @Hollywood & Vine

A surprise dance party with her very favorite, Sophia!
This smile is what I was talking about. I mean Zoe = cloud 9!

Holding out her princess gown for Sophia
Sully & Mike Wazowski are consistent faves so we just couldn’t miss them while we were here!

Where else would we be with this level of excitement but the Frozen Sing-Along?!

How can I not include a pic of Daddy kissing one of his girls?!
Sometimes he’s just as difficult as the little ones!

Day 3 (PM): Magic Kingdom

Of ALL the things to do at Disney, the carousel was one of their favorites.

Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner @ 1900 Park Fare

She was quite smitten with Prince Charming! Kara Rose was too “bashful”.

I mean the utter joy…
*Tip: If you’re celebrating a birthday, wear your birthday badge everywhere you go & you’ll get one of these – breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Her name means ‘life’ and she’s full of it. Her favorite person to make laugh is…
her sister – her biggest fan.
Day 4: Magic Kingdom all day
After 4 days and 1,000 pictures later, this was the best I could get… and it was only breakfast (which happened to be our favorite)
We had to carry that cupcake umbrella around with us the entire day (yes, even at breakfast they get cupcakes at Disney).

 Then Pluto came up and wanted a bite…
He just got it all over his nose, then thought my face would be a good place to wipe it off.

But was nice enough to clean it off for me… The Kraze definitely thought it was funny.

The Tea Cups were definitely a favorite – I lost count how many times we rode them.
I’ll just say, you only know how funny this is if you know my dad. I’ll also say, grandparents will do just about anything for their grandchildren, especially this Pops.
*Tip: The Birthday Badges got them in every show they wanted to be in.
We went to the pool back at our resort for lunch & fun before nap time, since we knew it would be a late night…
Dinner at Chef Mickey’s!
This is real life guys… bbq sauce on my elbow and didn’t even know it… or that Mickey was right behind me.
Zo obviously really enjoyed her gazillionth cupcake of the trip.
This was right before Wishes started at 9:45PM, and they were still going strong(-ish), thanks to all the continued excitement… and sugar from the cupcakes.

Day 5 (Last Day/Half Day): Magic Kingdom:

*Speaking of the birthday badge, Peter Pan noticed them from the stage & shouted Happy Birthday to them in the middle of the show!!
This was the best thing we just happened upon! 
You should actually schedule it in so you don’t miss it!
Tinkerbell had to have been our favorite character.  She really interacted with the girls and took a lot of time with them.

We ended our trip with a relaxing picnic on the lawn while the Festival of Fantasy Parade (in the background) went by.
There’s no way you’ll squeeze everything into one trip, which is really great because you leave feeling filled with happiness but plenty more to look forward to for next time… in a couple years. Whew!
The Kraze celebrating three at Disney see what I did there? was truly a dream come true for all of us!
For tips on planning your time in the parks (how we didn’t wait in a single line more than 10 minutes) & how to make the happiest place on earth even more magical, stay tuned for the next post!
?Do you have any special Disney memories or tips to share? Please let us know in the comments (I’m sure this won’t be our last trip)!



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Valentine’s Day Party with a Purpose: Sharing the Love

I happen to love Valentines Day.  I LOVE love and the reminder to set time aside to show those we love the most. Of course, it’s easy to show our children how much we love them, but are we teaching them how to love others?  There are two things that 3-5 year olds totally understand: 1) Superheros and 2) wanting to feel loved. I’m a sucker for the children in children’s hospitals and their parents, and it was easy to explain that there are children in hospitals that have real battles that they bravely fight every day, which makes them REAL Superheroes… and we want them to know they’re not alone & they are loved.  We’re so thankful to Henri’s Bakery for hosting us and their ah-maz-ing treats.  Keep scrolling to find out what they were and see all the love-ly details and a couple free downloads at the end!
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Kraze-isms

A Testament to the TWO SHADES

I should have started doing this a long time ago.  They’ve been saying “Aw man!” and “No way!” since they were 18 months old; but lately, they have really been cracking us up, and when people ask what they can say now, there is nothing they can’t say!  I absolutely adore them coming into their own, so I just had to write these down and save them!

For those of you who know them (or think you do), see if you know who said what!

  1. Climbing through the jungle gym to find the slide, to a total stranger: “Hey boy, help me.” 
  2. Only to me… almost every day: “I will always be your angel.”
  3. When she accidentally hurts someone: “I am so very sorry.” If it’s on purpose, good luck getting an apology.
  4. “I’m a big giiiirrl ( beeg grrrr)!
  5. “That is so sweet of you to share!”
  6. When you say, ‘What’s up?’ or What cha doing?’: “I’m just here.”
  7. “You’re a good friend, Mommy.”
  8. Affectionately to her daddy, or anytime she sees him, really: “Daddy’s a big boy!”
  9. If I get upset (even if I’m not crying): “Want me to wipe your tears?”
  10. “It’s ok… I’m right here.”
  11. “I’m workin’ on it Mom”
  12. She likes to smell things & say: “Mmm… That smells delicious (da-wish-ous)!” it can be a flower, food or a piece of paper
  13. Whether you’ve offered help or not: “I do by self.” yes, by self
  14. “What cha doin’ Dad?!”
  15. EVERY time the wind blows: “My haircut’s gonna blow away!”
  16. Anytime something is shocking or exciting: “O. MY!”
  17. “Mommy told you not to do that! You better listen to Mommy!”
Answers below…

 1. Zo 2. KR 3. KR 4. Zo 5. KR 6. Zo 7. Both 8. Zo 9. KR 10. KR 11. Zo 12. KR 13. Zo 14. Zo 15. Zo 16. KR 17. KR
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Two Turning Two – What I Want You to Know

Your second year of life has been incredible to witness.  Rather than a year of milestones, it’s been a year of firsts. I’ve been able to take a step back and watch you take on life, form an opinion and see your imagination grow. Our bond has begun to bloom into a friendship. Every night my prayer is of complete gratitude for every moment we share and every memory we make together and humbly asking for many MANY more years of them.

The ways I love you, amount of love I have for you and what you bring to my life are infinite.  There are so many things I want to teach you as you get older, yet there are a few things I just want you to know now…
  • I’m so glad you happened to me.
  • You are my favorite work of art.  God is a masterful artist and you are His masterpiece.
    • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
  • Each day brings many moments that make me utterly grateful to have daughters.
    • Kara Rose, every night you stand on your stool and I brush your beautiful long hair is an intimate moment for me…
    • Every ‘Manicure Monday’ when you excitedly run to my nail polish drawer and pick out just the right color for me to paint your tiny toenails – I cherish these moments that can only happen bc I have daughters.
  • I hope you always look at yourself the way you do now, grinning from ear to ear the moment you see your reflection, knowing that’s the reflection of the perfect miracle you are.
    • “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full and well.” Pslam 139:14
  • I hope you always find joy in the little things like you do now.
    • Zoe Drew, the way you look up at the moon in amazement, think you see Tinkerbell in the stars and don’t pass by a flower without noticing, takes my breath away. Thank you for reminding me to revel in God’s creation.
  • I love witnessing you so confidently being you and not trying to be like your sister or anything other than who you are.
  • You are so incredibly blessed to have a twin sister who can walk through life right by your side! 
    • “Two are better than one… if either of them falls down, one can help the other up” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
  • I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day… What can make me feel this way? My girls!

A little look at a few of the firsts you experienced this year:

The day you took your first steps – one week apart!

You’re first 5K

First time you picked out your own shoes. This is that opinion I was talking about – I love it!

First day facing forward in your car seats – you were amazed!

First boat ride – You weren’t so sure at first, but “fast boat” became the topic of conversation for quite some time afterward

Your first firework show – Kara Rose, you weren’t too sure about this & no one could make you feel safe like Daddy

First trip to Legoland – Do you see how silly you are?!
Zoe’s first selfie – haha!
You love having your picture taken and taking pictures of others, always telling everyone, ‘Say cheese!’
First time berry picking

First Braves game

First experience body surfing – For weeks after, you’d both say, ‘Surf ocean!’

First day of preschool – I’m sure I cried more than you did. Just look at you – you’re growing up so fast!!
First mani/pedis at the salon. 
Kara Rose, you loved every moment and held your little feet and hands out so perfectly still!
Zoe, you loved having pretty nails, just not sitting still to have it done! 
Aaaand, I just want you to see how much you love your sister at this moment – you girls care for each other more than I would’ve imagined any 2 year old is capable of. 

I love you bigger than the whole world!


~ Your Mommy

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Happy MOM’s Day!

The definition of Mom: The woman who loves you unconditionally from birth, the one who puts her kids before herself and the one who you can always count on above everyone else. 

… Just telling her your problems makes you feel better because mom’s always know how to make it all go away.
Even if you fight, know that she’s just looking out for your best interests.
“Where would you be without your mom?”

-Urban Dictionary

… a bit of a contrast to the definition of Mother: a woman in relation to a child or children she has given birth to – don’t cha think?

Now, I struggle with ‘mommy guilt’ on the reg… I think most of us do – right?  I honestly thought the moment I became a mom, I would instantly never say another curse word & be the definition of love, kindness and patience, but I make mistakes constantly & question if I’m doing everything right.  This is rather exhausting to me because I’ve left my corporate job, that I worked very hard for, to devote my life to my family.  I put them first & myself last – I cut no corners when it comes to the girls’ development & nutrition and try my damnedest when it comes to their character and spiritual development by being a fantastic mom, but all too often, my saboteurs tell me it still wasn’t good enough.  This isn’t for a raise or even a pat on the back… Come on – no one’s here to see it! It’s because I want my girls to look at me like I look at my mom, who stayed after work to clean the office for years to pay for my dance lessons (which actually took me pretty far in life, getting me college scholarships & taught me more about self discipline and hard work than anything else), who taught me by example that you create your own opportunities and the list goes on… so thank you Mom.

  • Thank you for not letting me quit or give up on anything… ever.
  • Thank you for not rescuing me in some of my hardest times but standing by my side instead, even though I know you wanted to… so bad.
  • Thank you for seeing more in me than I ever saw/see in myself.
  • Thank you for your amazing banana bread and chocolate gravy (it’s ok to be jealous)
  • Thank you for all those Girl Nights of at-home mani/pedis, movie marathons and eating condensed milk straight out of the can or cake batter (again, it’s ok to be jealous – don’t judge us).
  • Most of all, thank you for being my friend… my best friend.
  • Oh wait!!… Most of all (x2), thank you, from both me and the KRaZe, for showing me what it takes be a great mom!
Also, thanks for willingly embarrassing yourself for my amusement! 🙂

All this said, I’m no longer trying to be a perfect mom.  Someone very special to me recently told me, “You don’t want them to look at you as perfect… they need to see you tired and resting in God.  They need to see you sinful and repenting.  They need to watch you fail and fall apart sometimes so that you can model for them how Jesus lifts you and strengthens you and meets your needs.” – Wow!

Kara Rose and Zoe,
I thank God every day for choosing me to be your mommy.  Being your mommy means I get to have a front row seat to your awesomeness, kiss your boo-boos, do Ring Around the Rosie 20 times a day, cheer you on when you give it your best shot to get that spoon from the plate to your mouths, and that you know how it feels to be loved unconditionally.

The day we brought The KRaZe home
So here’s to you Mom and all the wonderful Mom‘s out there that just love your babies and are giving it your best shot.  

My favorite line: “What if I told you there is someone that actually… currently… holds this position right now… billions of people actually… MOMS.”

I’d love some comments below on your fondest memories of your mom and/or of being a mom!

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