2013,  Brayden,  Charlotte,  December,  Family,  Hanleigh,  Vacation

Happy Holidays…We’re Keeping It Real

I’ve been keeping this blog updated every month for over six years without missing a beat. For some reason, I always put off writing the post and work on other priorities, but the minute I start uploading pictures and reminiscing about the prior month, I find myself getting lost in admiring my wonderful family, laughing at the funny photos, and really enjoying the process of keeping this blog updated.

That brings me to something I’ve realized recently (not sure why it took me so long!): I tend to go through the motions of writing out a detailed list of all the activities that kept our family busy so others can see what we’ve been up to. I’m sure that’s interesting to some extent and will definitely help us to remember what we did when we look back on the posts 10 years from now, but life isn’t just about the day-to-day events…it is about what we learned as a result of parenting. I want our kids to look back on these posts and see not only the absolutely adorable things they’ve said and done, but the absurd ways they’ve acted, the meltdowns they’ve had, the nasty notes they’ve written us (like I used to do!), etc. I’ve hesitated to include that information because I wanted to keep the posts completely positive, which I intend to continue moving forward, but I also want to “keep it real” so we can use it as a learning experience, a reference point to see where we were and how far we’ve come…you get the idea. “You take the good, you take the bad…” as the Facts of Life once said.

That being said, six is tough. Raising a six-year old girl, that is. Whew…revenge is sweet and I am sure in for it. We are dealing with meltdowns, screaming, whining, and kicking quite often. Thank goodness all of these things aren’t happening at once! But, we do encounter this behavior out of nowhere. What is tough is that we do everything in our power to combat this by picking out clothes the morning before, setting an alarm clock, helping out, etc., but there is no rhyme or reason what changes a morning’s tone from happy to upset. I have decided also that there is no such thing as the “terrible twos”. Anyone who says there is such a thing doesn’t have a six-year old yet. We’ve watched a parenting video and try to take tidbits from it, read weekly newsletters on the developmental milestones (which, apparently six is the age of defiance…you don’t say?), and just tried to be more patient (me, in particular). Deep thought of the decade: parenting is tough work (I expected this), but no one can prepare you for its challenges. We want our girls to blossom into respectful, kind, beautiful women who are determined and centered. It’s sometimes very hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel, but keeping discipline at the forefront and encouraging these important characteristics day-to-day will get us to that point…it just may take a bit. I need to remind myself of this often when it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. What we are doing is the most important job there is: raising little humans to be the best they can be and treat others the same. All this being said, Brayden is a true joy and is such a good kid. She behaves better than most kids her age and excels in so many things, so we are very thankful for that. I think it’s just us parents that need a lesson in adjusting to children who are growing up.

Hanleigh is exerting her independence in other ways as well. Everything continues to be “mine” and she wants to “my do it” with everything (getting out of the car, sitting at the table, brushing her teeth, etc.). We are working on potty training more and she has a bit more interest in it lately. She will tell you after she goes in her diaper that she needs to go, but isn’t that consistent about it. I know she’ll let us know when she is ready. Hanleigh got her “big girl” toddler bed this month (we converted her crib) and absolutely loves it. So much so that during nap we find that she is in and out of it, gathering baby dolls and books and filling it up (instead of sleeping!).

Once again, Pickles visited us in December and found even more crazy ways to land than in our last house. The girls really enjoyed seeing him each morning and telling him what they wanted from Santa. Check out the Pickles series of pictures in the photo album. We had a wedding shower at our house for my cousin, Katherine, and her fiancé, Rob. I had a work trip to Oakland and got to see Thad/Stephanie while I was there and finished the visit with a wine tour to Napa/Sonoma with my co-workers. We had a great time and I spent too much money on wine! Trent and I had an evening away in Raleigh for a massage and then whisked off to his company party where we forgot how old we were and stayed out too late dancing. It was a blast, but my body can’t take the late nights out as well as I could in college. There was a birthday party, girls’ dinner out, a trip to a children’s library, and holiday parties at the girls’ schools, but we really enjoyed having a relaxing holiday break where we didn’t go anywhere! It was wonderful. We did have nine cousins stay at our house for Katherine’s wedding, so it was bustling with lots of kids…but we had an absolute blast with everyone!


  • Trent overheard Brayden one evening when Pickles had landed in her room saying, “Pickles, if I turn my light off at 8:15pm like my Daddy said, will you tell Santa I listened. Also, can you tell Santa I want a harmonica?”


  • After all of the cousins left to go back to Kentucky, Hanleigh kept walking around the house saying, “Where my cousins go?”
  • M&Ms are now referred to as “Num-nums”
  • She used to call Brayden “Baden”, but now her speech is developing more, so she calls her, “Bwayden”. What is funny is that she thinks she is saying “Brayden”, so we mess with her and say, “Oh, Bwayden?” and she says, “No mommy, Bwayden!”

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