Friday, November 25, 2016

Weekly Happenings Post #381 (July 18-24)-- Six Weeks of Sal, a Visit from the Reynauds, and More of Our Summer Routine

I've said this before, but while it's not ideal to me, there are some fun things about finishing these up several months after the fact. It's interesting looking back and noticing in my writing (I just go back and add pictures and such, I write the details out each night) how very tired and emotional I was. I was very happy and very grateful for Sallie and in some ways I felt the most complete and content that I had in years, so it was hard for me to admit that at the same time I was sad and coming undone in a lot of ways. But looking back I can see it so very clearly.

Sarah Lamar was up a bunch during the night and had like three dirty diapers. Ugh. Anyway, Peyton got up around nine on Monday to go work an extra shift and she was up, too and then Graves woke up at ten. I finally put her down in the PnP. She wasn't screaming but she couldn't settle and seemed frustrated. She pottied again and I got up and changed and dressed and fed her. I had a terrible headache and took some medicine and then started a load of diapers and made our bed and straightened some in our room. I ate breakfast, got on the computer, and fixed the big kids breakfast. I fed Sallie again and texted with a friend and then changed over laundry and jumped in the tub. The kids played a little and I did a few things and then they had lunch and rest time and I helped them build a lion den and then mostly just wasted time. I was super emotional and exhausted. After rest time, they played outside. I did a bunch of dishes and straightened and they had supper out there. They came in and we straightened their room a bit and then I read to Graves (Annie wasn't interested surprisingly). I fed Sallie and Peyton got home.

Despite being emotionally fragile and just exhausted, I couldn't stop thinking about how I'd never enjoyed a baby so much.

 We talked and I did some computer stuff and it got late. I really have no idea what I was even doing or where the time went but I finally got to bed.

Salllie got up when Peyton left for a doctor's appointment around eight on Tuesday and then went back to sleep. We all slept past eleven. I got up and straightened in our room and made the bed. I changed and dressed Sarah Lamar and Graves held her while I made the bed. I fed her and started a load of diapers and got on the computer and had my breakfast while the kids had media time.

Annie learned the word "nautical" and she just happened to coordinate with Sallie today in their outfits so I had to take a picture. Also, apparently, not only did Sis look huge compared to Annie at one month she looked huge compared to her at seven years.
 I fixed them oatmeal and did a few dishes and took a bath. Peyton got home and I just broke down. So much was upsetting me and I just couldn't stop crying. We talked and I rested some and then we talked some more. He basically did everything for the big kids and I snuggled with Sallie. Her got Annie and Graves supper that evening and got them to bed early and we watched a show. I felt physically terrible but couldn't go to sleep. I finally got to sleep super late.

We all got up around 8:30 on Wednesday and got ready and headed to Clinton to meet Stan- the pastor at Northshide at Chick Fil A. He was going to come over and visit but Peyton had to pick up something from the pharmacy and the house was a disaster anyway and Peyton knew CFA would be a fun treat. We had a nice visit, picked up the medicine Peyton had left at the store, and headed home. When we got home, we cleaned up the kids' room and got a lot of stuff packed away for latter (they just had too much out) and then I pumped my first bottle this time around and got on the computer. I made the bed and started a load of laundry. I had some lunch and did a few more things and then we headed over to Peyton's parents' house for a visit. We stayed about an hour and had such a good time. We went by Walmart and then came home.

Family Walmart trip exuberance!  

Oh, Sis. Walmart wears me out, too.[As does changing atrocious diapers using paper towels.]

When we got home, Peyton fixed the big kids supper and I fed Sallie and the big kids had a little media time. Peyton went to bed early and I started some laundry, straightened in the study, sent three emails, and read some blogs. I took out the trash and cleaned out the trash can where something had leaked, wiped down the washing machine door, and scrubbed out a plastic bin that had been outside and I wanted to use inside. I worked on a couple of posts and then ate something and went to bed.

Peyton got up on Thursday and made some muffins for our neighbors. He wanted to write a note, though, and ran out of time. It was around nine and I had been up feeding the baby (she slept from two until then) and was looking at my phone and so when he left I scratched out a quick note and dropped off the muffins and casserole dishes they had sent food in off at their back door. I looked at the computer and then went back to sleep until ten thirty. Graves and Sallie got up and I changed her diaper and dressed her and then nursed her and got her settled. I got busy around the house. I made our bed and straightened in our room. I helped the kids pick up their room but they did a ton of it (I mainly helped with books and dirty clothes and such). I collected laundry and started a load, got out some toilet paper and took it to the bathroom and put up a mopping bucket, and folded and put up some towels. I put up dishes and got on the computer and Peyton got home. I had lunch and took a shower and then Peyton did math with Graves and I fed Sallie.

I love what a passionate full face yawner she is. And I have to admit- she ain't the only one yawning. We tired. But, some days- most days- I don't even mind it, you know?

 I helped Annie start her math and talked to a friend on the phone while I folded laundry. Peyton and Graves grilled some stuff outside and I laminated some things and then we all ate.

I snuggled with Sallie, worked on a blog post a bit, read a few blogs, and got on Facebook. I hung up a TON of the kids' clean clothes and then started doing dishes. Peyton ran to the grocery store and Sallie started fussing so I put her in the sling and did more of the dishes. Peyton got home and helped the big kids get supper and baths. I swept in the kitchen and put up groceries and then worked on a blog post for awhile.I read a few blogs, pumped a bottle, and had a snack. I fed Sarah Lamar and went to bed.

Peyton worked a long shift on Friday. He got up and left before eight and I fed Sallie and cuddled with her. The kids and I all slept super late. When I got up, I changed Sallie and fed her and then started some laundry and took some medicine for a headache. I got on the computer and went through my email, watched a video a friend sent, and did a few other things. I went through my reader and texted some friends and it was later than I meant for it to be.

I got the kids working on cleaning up their room and then Sarah Lamar got upset and Graves pitched a big fit over something and it was just a bad hour or so. They finally finished and she fell asleep. I changed over laundry and sorted a clean load. I got the towels out and folded them and got the stuff that needed to hang out as well and left the rest. I fixed the big kids lunch and fixed my own and ate and got on the computer.  I also attempted to make my follow up appointment with the OB, which I thought had already been scheduled. They said they'd have to call me back and that was a bit frustrating. I read some blogs, sent a FB message, and worked on a post. After that, I got the kids set up doing a craft and I did an bunch of dishes. They played awhile and then Annie did some math and Graves cleaned up a bit. I fed Sallie and folded clothes and Peyton got home and we headed to my parents' house around nine. It was super late but it worked well because Cookie and Conrad were in town again and they were getting there at nine. We had great time and then came home and got the kids to their room.

Minnie was very excited that Sallie finally "looked like a human" She's not a huge fan of newborns. Ultrasounds horrify her. I recently found out that when she was pregnant with me and Cookie she felt totally weird and uncomfortable about it. The funny thing is I had just told a friend of mine who is a midwife how it took me SO long (and is still a process at times) to be comfortable with pregnancy and birth and breast feeding. Pretty much to be comfortable with bodies. Honestly when Annie was born I couldn't even describe myself as a woman (I much preferred girl) or say the word breast and both birth and nursing skeeved me almost beyond what I was able to bear and to some extent terrified me. It's so interesting how the things you fear can become things you're passionate about.

 I fed Sarah Lamar and gave her a bath, even though it was eleven at night (she smelled like spit up!) and then talked to Peyton some. I got on the computer and went to bed late.

Saturday was a fun day. Peyton got up and headed into work and the kids and I slept until mid morning. I got the big kids breakfast and fed Sallie and changed her and made our bed and straightened our room. Peyton got his grandmother a Fire and I sent some test emails with pictures. I helped the kids work on their room, picked up around the house, and collected laundry. I also hung up a bunch of their clothes and a bunch of Peyton's and got our stuff ready to go to my parents' that afternoon. I got on the computer and had my breakfast and then took a shower and got ready. I folded a little bit of laundry and fed and dressed Sarah Lamar and Minnie came over to pick us up.

We had a nice afternoon visiting with Cookie and Conrad at my parents'. Daddy grilled and a storm blew in and it's always so beautiful over the water. Graves did get a little hard to manage as it got later and he got wilder, but it was a great, albeit tiring, day overall. Cookie and Conrad left for her birthday dinner with friends and the kids and I stayed a couple of hours until Peyton got there. We all ate the hamburgers Mickey grilled and didn't stay much longer since Peyton's collarbone was hurting. We came home and I talked to Peyton and changed Sallie and then got on the computer.

I went to bed a bit earlier than usual.

Peyton worked but the kids and I slept so late on Sunday. We got up and I pumped a bottle- as much as I didn't want to, it was the best time. I ate my breakfast and Graves had his and then I made a list for the day and took a shower. I dried my hair and made our bed and straightened in our room. Annie and Graves played for awhile and then I fixed them lunch. I fed the baby and they had rest time. They fought more than usual and Sallie was cranky and it was a bit rough.

Sunday marked six weeks with our Sallie Baby and I was feeling so emotional thinking about her first days. Peyton took this when she was zero days old. I'll treasure it always. It was hard not to hold her ALL THE TIME. Not because I thought it was better. Not even because she demanded it like her brother did. But because Cowebs and all (good grief, that poem makes me bawl). And because, with some exceptions, I just didn't want to put her down. So I didn't.

After rest time we cleaned up their room and Graves was so not into it. He finally did some and he got to watch one show (instead of two) and Annie had time on the iPad. I finished straightening some things and did some laundry.

 Those sweet blue eyes!

The kids played and I fixed their supper and they ate. I got them settled and Peyton got home and we watched a show. I stayed up too late. I did some stuff on the computer, did math with Annie, and fed the baby.

The next week was our first little family trip! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Letter to (Five Year and Five Month Old) Graves

 Dear Graves,

You are at such a fun age right now. Recently you were eating a red popsicle and you said "hey, this red thing is the color of my father'a light saber". Sometimes I think you almost truly believe you are Luke Skywalker. I remember when Annie was five and the way she lived so much of life in little imaginary world. It's such a wonderful age!

So, I ran into a little guy at the Baptist church who thinks he's an Episcopalian. Hahaha. You dropped your crayon under the seat and told me "I'll get it at the Peace...or when we go get the bread". Next month, Dude. This is as liturgical as Baptist gets.

One really neat thing happened recently. It's so hard to know what you guys are and aren't absorbing sometimes. So, you had become quite stuck on playing with weapons and killing all the bad/good/"bad and good" people. This of course, coincided with beginning to love Star Wars. We were trying to gently guide your play (like the category of "bad and good people") while also giving you freedom to explore concepts in this world that Papa and I are uncomfortable with (see: violence). So we struck a deal that if you would ditch any weapons that look somewhat convincingly like real weapons (old metal cap guns made to look real, etc), we'd go buy a nerf gun or something similar as long as it couldn't be mistaken for a real weapon.You  agreed and we headed out one night to pick it up. Ann Peyton has no interest in weapons and said as much- but we agreed that she could also pick something out.We arrived at the store with vast choices- and you had trouble deciding. We ended up checking out two stores and as AP settled on her toy, but you were still unable to decide. AP changed three times and bought something because it's what she came to do- she typically NEVER asks to buy things and is happy with what she has, but when she's going to purchase something, she'll be walking out with something it seems. You, however, are quite different. You daily- and I mean DAILY tell us whatyou'll buy with your next birthday money. So, we pushed you to choose or we'd be leaving empty handed and you said something that stunned us, as you're able to do so well. "Papa", you said "didn't you say if you saved your money you could buy more later because you would have more." After we recovered from the initial shock we told you yes. We had been hoping y'all would absorb this in the next few years at some point. You looked up and said, "I think I'll just wait to get something later." WHAT?! This is the guy who daily makes mental list of what to buy- including things you don't really care about just because you like the concept of buying things. It just goes to show that we never really know which lessons will sink in as we're trying to teach them to y'all. We were blown away you got this concept (I don't know that Ann Peyton really even has much of a grasp on it yet). You can't count to eight yet and you have trouble with concrete objects, but you can can pick up this sort of thing much easier than Annie. You guys teach us so much and we love experiencing so much of life with y'all. 

The other day, I heard a crash and then you brought me the shower curtain, rod, and liner. Hours later, I heard another loud noise and came in the kitchen and found a piece of the kitchen table on the floor. The funny/ironic thing is, you had had the best morning you'd ever had at church. Literally. You were relatively quiet and still during the service- not the way Annie is, but exceptional for you on your best day. And your Sunday school teacher bragged on how sweet and responsible you were helping out a new little girl. AND you left all your action figures in a bag on a hook like I instructed you to- you told me that you really wanted to obey me. But when we got home I found you slinging around a jug of chocolate milk and then the shower curtain and then the table. Annie said the chocolate milk would have been the worst if it had busted but you said the table was because a nail came out and if you stepped on it "it could bleed you". Honestly, we are realizing on the daily that you are a lot more perceptive than her and have loads more common sense. I wouldn't trade either of you.

I've got to share a  few recent conversations, as well...
Papa: "Graves, you already have a spoon (to eat breakfast) buddy."
Graves: "I don't work well with one spoon."

Graves: (with geniune sadness) "I wish she'd stay a baby forever"
Annie: "Ugh, GRAVES, people are fun at every age."

Graves: "How about this...every day we get two meals of cereal?"
Momma: "Um...nope."

You are so sweet and wonderful. You often make your way to our bed in the early morning hours before dawn has broken. And Sarah Lamar likes to cuddle after she eats breakfast around seven or eight. The spot between y'all is all mine. This soft, still hour is one of my favorites and one where y'all both feel like babies to me.

You are amazing and wonderful and we love you so much.

Momma (and Papa)

P.S.  Your pants and top are a 4T.


Letter to (Seven Year and Five Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton,

There's been a lot going on lately. First of all, your cousin Simeon turned seven and had a Star Wars birthday and that was super fun. In less happy news, Granny finally went to heaven. We had been spending a lot of time with her and it was time. It hurts, but I'm very at peace about it. I hope you guys remember what a wonderful, special person she was.

We also started going back to church after taking a little break when Baby Sallie came. The first day back there was some serious teeth gnashing before we left home when I wouldn't allow you to wear your shark pajama top under yourbishop dress.

A friend at church asked you if liked having a baby sister and you basically shrugged and said "ummm". Which is pretty much how you feel. You are a big help, though, and I know you'll enjoy her a lot once she can walk and and talk and play.

You've been helping me prepare a meal about once a week and that's been really fun. I let you pick a recipe and we work on it together. You are also such a nature girl! You were cracking me up the other day- using a Talinti ice cream pint for toad catching.

You finally lost your first tooth.  You were brushing with baking soda and you told me that you said to yourself "Oh my gosh! Is that a clump of baking soda in the sink or is that my loose tooth?!?"

You Aunt Cookie was so upset with me because we aren't fairy people. Papa asked you if you'd like to leave your tooth and see if a tooth fairy came for it and you said "Eh, I don't think that's real". We then asked you if she wanted us to just get you a little happy and you said "Nope, I don't really need anything". Somebody has caught onto Voluntary Simplicity (and hates having more junk to clean up).
What you did get was a special solo date with Minnie. There aren't toys or dollar bills that will make you as happy as that.

Another recent favorite quote from you was when you said "Momma, after my bath can I have a few minutes for tobogganing?" Tub time with Annie, in which, after the water is drained you slide around on your tummy emulating a penguin.

One of Minnie's good friends just acquired a pet bird and Minnie picked up just you and took you for a special visit. You wore your bird dress and asked me all morning when Minnie would get here. You LOVED meeting "Jill" (the bird) and told us all about how you drank lemonade. You also told me that you didn't want to stay TOO long because you might miss Graves (who was already missing you before you left and who told me he missed Sallie while she was in the nursery for three hours- y'all are all a little co-dependent, haha). I told you just to talk to Minnie about it before they got there and I was sure she'd understand. You said "oh, I'm sure she will- Minnie knows how much I like Graves!".

For school, you did a family tree project and you made these super involved (though not necessarily "pretty" or even neat) pictures of Papa dispensing and me serving grilled cheese sandwiches. This is one area of homeschooling I've really started to ponder. You guys are slowwwww. In one sense, it's concerning because the world is not going to slow down for y'all and the end goal (or one of them) is for you to be able to function in it. But in another sense, I really have no desire for you to adopt the pace most of our society functions at, that many in our culture claim is necessary. Like everything, I'm sure there's a balance to be found somewhere.

That said, when you get on a roll, you get ON A ROLL. One morning awhile back you woke up, dressed, brushed your hair, and finished cleaning your room that you and Graves had started working on before going to bed last night before. Papa took Graves to run errands and they were gone for a good while. I had you and Sallie and we did school literally that whole time. YOu did math with no complaining and even started a worksheet on a lesson I hadn't taught yet (and was pretty successful with it). I told you that you could have a break between math and English and you begged to keep going. We even made time to do a sewing project I've been putting off and write a thankyou note. Then you asked if I could read aloud to her and then you could do her narration work while you had a snack. I think a LOT of your good attitude is that we're being much more consistent with you. Which, duh, structure and routine and met expectations make your momma much happier, too. And really, most people. Graves and Papa could care less and they can fly by the seat of their pants if they want, but I think we all benefit.

 Annie, you are so much fun right now. I love Age Seven. And I love you so much.

Momma (and Papa) 

P.S. Your jeans are (I think) a 6 and your elephant top is a 7. You are obsessed with it! 


Monday, November 21, 2016

Letter to (Five Year and Four Month Old) Graves

Dear Graves,

As usual, I have some fun stuff, interesting stories, and hysterical quotes to share with you.

We've been having a lot of fun lately- you attended your cousin's Star Wars birthday party recently and we've all been cooking together.

Papa singed up for a shift in Oxford awhile back and Walgreens pays for his hotel and his driving time (and apparently the hotel will throw in the crib without charging the standard ten dollars if you ask nicely) so we decided to all go along for the ride. It was our first trip as a family of five and it was actually a lot of fun. It had been awhile since you had been so we took y'all on a little campus tour and even had a mini civil rights lesson at the James Meredith statue.

Y'all really enjoyed the hotel stay and having breakfast in the lobby after we dropped papa off was a big hit as was having cable. Then we had a few hours to kill until Papa's shift ended so we ate lunch at Newk's, visited Petsmart, and had dessert and enjoyed the play place at CFA. We picked him up and walked around the square and spent about an hour in Square Books, Jr. while it poured. Sarah Lamar woke up for a good bit (perfect!) and we shared an early supper at Ajax and headed home. There were a few pull my hair out moments and I do HATE driving in unfamiliar places, but overall it was pretty easy. You guys are, gratefully, pretty flexible. (I, typically, am not.) You and Graves fell asleep on the way home said "oh no, we'll probably be on that bad schedule again". By which you meany y'all go to sleep at two in the morning. Win some, lose some.

One of the funniest things you've said lately was one the trip. We were watching Animal Planet at night in the hotel (ain't what it used to be, guys) and it said "the male frog will attempt to mate with anything that has a heartbeat...even a toad." And then you asked "it can even mate with a human?!?" Good question, Graves, but hard nope on that one.

We lost Granny at the end of the Summer, but before she died we made several trips down to see her. I remember you were talking about the first time we went after Sarah Lamar was born. You were talking about Baby Sallie and you told us "I think she made a new friend named Granny. And she has an old friend named Graves".

Speaking of Sallie, you are just so sweet to her. You let her borrow Green Blanket and you told me one day that "It's very hard for a tiny girl not to cry" I asked you why that was and just said "Well, that's how it is with babies...don't know how to control themselves." That's actually sorta how it is with five year old boys, too, haha.

So many people have told me they see you in her. It took me awhile bun I finally saw it. It's the noses. It is so the noses.

I will say, it is revolutionary having you and Annie be big enough to trust. As responsible as she was, I didn't trust Annie alone with you for ten seconds at two. But I pretty much started leaving you guys alone with her day one. I mean, I wouldn't go take a nap or anything and I don't leave her in the middle of the floor but I secure her in something and go about my business and trust you and Annie not to do any damage. That's a HUGE thing, especially with you and something I wasn't expecting to be a reality for years We talk a lot about guidelines and safety and you've really impressed me. You do love to "hug" her head, which looks terrifyingly like a choke hold but is actually pretty gentle and she's SUCH a sport and never cries and rarely even wakes up.

Back during the Summer, I had a really hard time with her being the last baby we're having this way. You ask me often if we can have "just one more". And it broke my heart to tell you that Sallie was our one more. But it's gotten easier and I think you've adjusted to the idea, too. And I'm hopeful we'll either foster or adopt someday down the road. 

Of course you still have so much fun with Annie. One thing y'all love to do is making a "train" out of the kitchen chairs when I move them into the den to mop. Y'all usually make your first stop in the Amazon Rainforest because it's so "close" and then head on to (usually imaginary) planets. Y'all recently let Sallie be the conductor!

You are such a sweet, precious, funny boy and we love you so much!

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. You are wearing two different men's shirts- one is a large and one is a medium, I think =)

Letter to (Seven Year and Four Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Annie,

Well, I have a few things to fill you in on. Backing up a few months. One fun thing we did this Summer that I haven't shared with you yet is a trip we took to Oxford.

Papa singed up for a shift there and Walgreens pays for his hotel and his driving time (and apparently the hotel will throw in the crib without charging the standard ten dollars if you ask nicely) so we decided to all go along for the ride. It was our first trip as a family of five and it was actually a lot of fun. It had been awhile since you had been so we took y'all on a little campus tour and even had a mini civil rights lesson at the James Meredith statue.

Y'all really enjoyed the hotel stay and having breakfast in the lobby after we dropped papa off was a big hit as was having cable. Then we had a few hours to kill until Papa's shift ended so we ate lunch at Newk's, visited Petsmart, and had dessert and enjoyed the play place at CFA. We picked him up and walked around the square and spent about an hour in Square Books, Jr. while it poured. Sarah Lamar woke up for a good bit (perfect!) and we shared an early supper at Ajax and headed home. There were a few pull my hair out moments and I do HATE driving in unfamiliar places, but overall it was pretty easy. You guys are, gratefully, pretty flexible. (I, typically, am not.) You and Graves fell asleep on the way home said "oh no, we'll probably be on that bad schedule again". By which you meany y'all go to sleep at two in the morning. Win some, lose some.

 You are so funny and so stubborn. I had taken a break from homeschooling when Sallie was born and the week we started back you just couldn't wait any longer. You and Graves were dressed up as Batman and Robin and you keeps pressuring me to start back again and the book I put on hold to help me do so had already gotten put back once so we strolled up to the library right before it closed one Saturday, costumes and all.

Papa worked two out of town (but within driving distance) one week. One night he got home at one in the morning and he said that he saw no reason to be especially quiet since everyone should be pretty well asleep but then he heard a loud and hearty (and somewhat villainous) HA.HA.HA! which was followed by a back and forth between various action figures. You and Graves were both up and were waiting for him to get home and went to bed within two minutes of him tucking y'all in.

We had kind of thought y'all we caught up in playing but y'all fell asleep minutes after they saw his face. Another night you feel asleep on the couch with him and during the night he got you and snuggled with her, which you typically don't like like (he and Graves LOVE to snuggle anytime, anyplace, and probably with anyone and I do, but very much on my own terms). I asked you if you knew he snuggled with you and you said "yes, I snuggled with his feet before I fell asleep". You missed him so bad!

Speaking of Papa, after Sallie was born he and I were talking about how funny it would be if we had two really laid back babies who morphed into super intense, tightly wound (though incredibly amazing) bigger people (you and possibly Sallie) and one very high needs (though also amazing) baby (Graves) who morphed into one of the most easy going people I know. I have absolutely no confidence in what James Dobson says about how you can tell their personalities at like six months.

Of course I have some "Annie and Graves stories" to share. One day awhile back, I found Graves outside the bathroom door. When you don't have much self control and your sister is a tiny legalist and has anxiety about RULES, you play games with a bathroom door between you.

Another day I opened the freezer and realized that y'all had frozen these plastic peas and turkey (?!?) Y'all are such weirdos, but you are weirdos who are becoming increasingly adept at getting your own food from the fridge and freezer. Again, you win some, you loose some. After that, y'all started pretending to freeze your Star Wars figures in "carbonite". Sometimes I worry I don't interact with y'all enough, but I love that you two don't know the word "bored" and are so creative when I give y'all space to be.

A box of math manipulatives came in the mail one day and y'all ripped the box and started making things right by the front door. And awhile back you made panther "claws" with toothpicks and ponytail holders! Another thing y'all love to do is making a "train" out of the kitchen chairs when I move them into the den to mop. Y'all usually make your first stop in the Amazon Rainforest because it's so "close" and then head on to (usually imaginary) planets. Y'all recently let Sallie be the conductor!

Besides Graves, I've been spending some time thinking about other friendships in your life. I took a picture of you and Aubrey this Summer at the pool and it made me so reflective. For seven years (and for sixteen months over a distance of twelve hundred miles) you two have maintained such a sweet friendship and loved each other so well. I'm so grateful you have known a true "best friend" so early. I hope you two are always close!

Annie, I love how smart and creative and fun and resourceful you are. You are such a pleasure and we're so very thankful for you.

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. The watermelon dress you're wearing was mine twenty five years ago and I have no idea what size it is.