Derrick's Birthday Day

Tradition has it that on April 20th, the Carter family takes a trip to the other side of town to enjoy a breakfast of sugary, 'hot now' goodness.  This year was no exception.  

I have to admit that I had a small moment of panic when we were getting ready to walk out the door. This is exactly where we headed, on D's 2nd birthday, when I fell out of our garage door and fractured my foot.  8 months pregnant.  I made sure NOT to wear flip flops! I had some small flashbacks but thankfully we were all safe.

We let the birthday boy pick out the doughnuts...well, some of them.   If we wouldn't have intervened a little we would have ended up with 11 chocolate with sprinkles  and one sugar coated one.  He felt like he picked them out anyway.

He was so excited!  I'm sad this picture turned out so blurry because it would have been really cute! 
{Lesson learned:  Take the good camera even if I do look like a crazy lady.  I'm pretty sure I did anyway but still ended up with yuck pictures.  Boo!} 

Jenny Kate had her first non-grocery store doughnut.  She was a fan.

A big fan.  She probably would have eaten doughnuts all day if we would have let her!  This one takes after her mama! :)

Derrick was VERY into his sprinkle doughnut.

And his chocolate one too.  But don't let him fool you, he didn't eat TWO doughnuts! (Although we sure would have let him!)   He took about two bites of the first one and maybe two bites of this one.  He just made them both all soggy so no one else would touch his once we got home.

Jenny Kate figured out how to drink out of a straw at KK.  We had no idea she knew how, but the girl wanted some lemonade slush and she figured out how to get it!  Now there is NO drink that is safe.

We had a yummy time with these two sugar-loaded kiddos.  

After KK we headed to the wonderful Walmart.  

We let Derrick pick out a toy for his birthday.  His real present isn't coming for a few weeks and we wanted him to have something, so he got to pick it himself.

There is a whole toy section and I don't think we left the Monster Truck isle.  The boy is obsessed!  He was so cute trying to decided on his purchase.  He kept saying, "Look Mommy!  This could be fun!"  I love watching him in the toy isle.  He never begs for anything but he sure enjoys looking.  He took his time and made his big decision.  

A combo pack of Avenger and the silver Grave Digger.  He already has that Avenger and at least two other Grave Digger trucks, but he wanted the silver one and he couldn't be happier with his choice!  (Although I know you can't tell that here!)  :)

Yesterday I took him for his 3 year old well visit.  Everything was great but we have to go back in six months for a weight check.  He weighed in at a whopping 22.8 lbs.  He's three.  Dr. B said he didn't want to wait a year to check his weight again, so I'm kind of panicking trying to figure out how to get the boy to gain weight.  I'm not sure what happens if he doesn't gain.  He weighs the exact same as he did when he was there in January.  When you're that small and that young, not gaining an ounce in almost 4 months is pretty much a weight loss.  I don't want to feed him trash just to make him gain weight.  I'm desperate for some advice!  I need some healthy, wholesome, nutritious foods to help this boy grow!  Anyone?!  Please!!



Happy THIRD Birthday, Cheeks!!

Wow!  Happy THIRD birthday.  That just really seems crazy. 

I've been sitting here for the last hour or so reading back over some old posts from the night you were born and your first and second birthdays.  I love to see how much you've changed and what we, and others, said to you on those special days.  I've had tears pouring down my face as I look back over your little life.  I'm so amazed by you, Derrick. 

This has been a very life-changing year for you and you've handled it like a champ!  Here are just a few of the things that stick out to me the most:

Becoming a big brother is a BIG deal, and I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about it.  Boy, did you prove me wrong!  You have been such an incredible big brother.  We've had a few moments here and there, but they've been so small and so infrequent that I almost can't even think of times when you've appeared jealous.  You love your sister, and you have from the very beginning.  I had no idea how incredible it would feel to see my children love each other like the two of you do.  It ranks right up there with one of the best feelings in the whole world.  I hope that the two of you continue to be best friends forever.

You are such a big boy now.  You love to help daddy, and you've really started to get interested in helping me in the kitchen.  You'll clean up messes when you spill things (although they're not to my liking...but I know, you have to learn somehow), and you really watch out for Jenny Kate and her habit of eating everything she can find.  You'll say, "Mommy, Jenny Kate's eating dirt (or whatever random object she's found)."  It feels like in the past few weeks you've really made the transition into being a little boy.

You have such a big heart and you are so, so sweet.  Watching you interact with other kids just makes my heart melt.  You are very kind and concerned with your friends' feelings.  Last night when we were shopping you made some weird noise and said, "Me and 'Efin' made that noise when we were at Nona's house."  (Ethan and his family came down from NC for the HBH golf tournament and you, Ethan, and JK stayed with Nona during the tournament.)  "You did?" I said.  "Yes, and I made Efin feel 'com-fa-ble' when we were at Nona's house," you replied.  "Efin is my friend."  Buddy, hearing you say that made my day.  I love how much you care about other people.  I love that you're a "nice" boy, and I really, really hope you stay that way.  As you get older, being the "nice" boy won't always work in your favor, but I promise that it will in the end.  I need you to trust me on this one.  Your kindness and big heart will take you far...keep it!

While you are a super sweet guy, you are most certainly not free from the tantrums and bossiness that comes with the 2-3 year old territory.  You will push me to my limits, on purpose, just to try to make your point known.  You'll scream and wrinkle those eyebrows in a heartbeat when something makes you angry, but that's part of growing up.  I know things will get way worse before they get better, too.  That's ok, though.  I'll take it.  I know you're trying to figure out your place in the world, your feelings, your opinions, and what you can and can't control.  These fits are definitely part of our everyday life, but I'm still standing by what I said.  You are a sweet boy, and while I really hope you cut back on the tantrums, I really hope you keep that sweetness!

We signed you up for preschool a few months ago.  You won't start until August, but August seems to be getting here way faster than I thought it would.  I'm so excited to watch you experience this next chapter in your life, but boy does it make me want to hang on to you and keep you home with me forever instead.  It seems unreal that it could be time for that already.  Daddy and I felt very comfortable about leaving you there, and after watching the kids play for a little bit (and convincing you that we weren't leaving you there right then), you warmed up a lot and you've even talked about going several times since then.  I know you'll do well and I'm sure I'll cry a lot more about it than you will.  I'm excited to meet the friends you choose and how much more independent you become, but it really is a reality check about how much you've grown up.  It's kind of bittersweet....but I'll be ok, I promise. :)

You've gotten really into singing lately.  We have some adorable videos of you singing and you love to watch them.  You'll actually agree to sing for the camera because you enjoy watching yourself so much!  You still enjoy the music super LOUD and if we really pay attention, we can hear you singing as we drive down the road.  You're about two beats behind, repeating every word you've just heard.  You have some favorite songs and you know a lot of the words to those.  Last night you were walking around the kitchen singing, "God's not dead he's sir-we a-wive.  Wor-wing!  Wor-wing!  Wor-wing like a lion!"  (God's Not Dead by the Newsboys)  I love that you like to sing, and I especially love to hear you sing praise music.  Your little voice is so precious!

I want to wish you a very, very happy third birthday, Cheeks.  These three years have been the best ever, and I wouldn't trade a single second of them for anything.  You are such an inspiration to me and you have taught me so many things about this life.  It's because of you that my relationship with Christ has deepened, and it's because of you that I've learned to treasure those seemingly little moments in life.  Snuggling with you, watching you play with JK or your friends, seeing you ride your bike for the first time...they are all moments that remind me how precious life is.  We don't take moments with you for granted.  There's nothing here that's guaranteed to be here tomorrow and we want to take advantage of what we've been given.  You've taught us that's what it's all about.  I can never tell you how much I love you, but I pray that you can feel the love that I have for you.  I love you so much that literally, I can feel it in my veins.  I am so thankful that God chose me to be your Mommy.  I'm so thankful that he has loaned you to us to love and to learn from.  You are an incredible blessing, but you have been incredibly blessed, too.  You'll never be a "normal" kid and I'm sure that there will be times in your life where you see that as more of a curse than a blessing.  But Derrick, you are so blessed.  You have been given a chance and it's up to you to make the best of it.  There are way too many kids like you who aren't here to celebrate their third birthday, and I want you to remember that.  I don't want you to think about it to feel guilty or bad in any way, but to remember to be thankful.  Be humble.  Know that you are a living, breathing miracle and that it's only by the hands of God that you, or any of us, are here.  I pray that your life can bring others to know God's power and His love and that you boldly share that with people all throughout your life.  Happy birthday, buddy.

I love you to the moon and back...



Happy Birthday buddy!  You already know that Mommy is way better with words than I am, so this will be short and to the point.  

I honestly cannot truly remember how life was without you.  I love being able to watch you grow (albeit very slowly) and develop your own opinions.  You really are a very caring person and that makes me so proud.  Like mommy said, being a caring person will not always work in your favor.  You will get hurt, but all those you have cared for will help get you through.  I love that Jenny Kate has you as a big brother.  I know she will be "bigger" than you soon, but I know you will always be the protector. 

I have to again thank you for changing my life.  My walk with Christ was nowhere close to where it needed to be.  Having to hand you over to a surgeon and not being in control made us give control to God.  I would change your "special heart" in a second if I could, but your heart made me give mine to God!  It is my hope that we can provide a nurturing, God-loving home for you and your sister to grow up in.

I absolutely LOVE hanging out with you.  You are so funny and energetic.  I love that you are singing with me now (we aren't that great, but its OK).  I love putting you to bed when you FINALLY calm down and we rock.  You like helping me when I have Papaw's truck.  I am pretty sure you have two career paths right now.  1)  Lawn Care, 2)  Pest Control.  You love Papaw's lawn mower and constantly ask when he is bringing it over and you used to love your sprayer until it broke. 

You make me laugh, you make me cry, and you make me smile!  I love you buddy!!!

You are such a special kid! 

Happy birthday buddy!!!  I love you more than you will ever know!!!


Getting Ready

It's officially Birthday Week!!

Derrick got upset today because he wants to 'go to the party' and we kept telling him it wasn't time yet.  He quickly forgot all about it when we unloaded the "monster truck tire" for his party on Saturday.  This year is going to be so much fun since he finally understands what 'birthday' means.

And well, birthdays are kind of a big deal around here!


Magic Beans

Derrick found this little note and baggie on Easter-eve.

Inside the bag were magic beans!  We hurried (so quickly that we didn't even bother to wash the cheese off of his hands) outside to plant the magic beans.

Derrick got to work while Jenny Kate supervised. 

He took his job quite seriously.


We asked Derrick what he thought would happen with the magic beans and he said, "Maybe they'll grow way up high like in Ricki-ticki-tavi!"  (A little mix between Jack and the Beanstalk and Ricki-ticki-tavi...they're both in the same book. :)

The supervisor was excited to see what would happen too.

The beans worked their magic!  On Easter morning we went to check on the beans and....

Someone was pretty excited about the magic.  And the sugar.  It's too bad all but one of those suckers already magically disappeared.  :) 

I love that he's old enough now to have fun with 'magic'!  It brings the child-like excitement back into the holidays for us.  No worries, our boy knows the REAL reason for Easter.  Our Easter festivities coming soon.

PS I cannot take credit for this awesome magic bean idea, I swiped it from here.

PSS  If any of you locals haven't signed up for the Hope for BraveHEARTS Golf Tournament this Saturday you really should!!  Check our website for the details!!



Growin' up...the big TEN months!

Jenny Kate, Jenny Kate...you're in double digits now. I can't believe that you're ten months old already!

You have turned into such a little girl lately. You don't seem like much of a baby anymore at all. You're so full of personality!

You love attention.

You like to be chased. When you have something you're not supposed to have (which is quite often), and you see us coming for it, you'll take off and crawl so fast! You'll make a little shrieking squeal and laugh as you crawl away as fast as you can.

You are not ashamed to carry things in your mouth that you want to take somewhere else. You're like a little puppy sometimes.

You're pretty social. You are very interested in other kids and are not too shy to crawl right over to them and stare. Sometimes you try to join right in. If they're smaller than you, you don't hesitate a bit!

You love to dance. You dance to anything and everything and even have that same little arm move that Derrick used to do when he was your age. (Are dance moves genetic? :) You were rocking out last night when Daddy and Derrick were jamming on their guitars. Apparently to you they were making beautiful music...and you were the audience, so that's all that matters. :)

You still think your brother hung the moon.

You're still quite the mama's girl, but you're really starting to love being with Daddy. You think he's so funny! Keep working him girl, you almost have him right where you'll want him.

You are super silly.

You can stand now for as long as you want to. You just pull up and let go. You'll stand on your own and play with something or squat down and stand back up with no problems at all. I was certain you'd probably have taken a step of two by now, but you haven't tried yet. You're a super fast crawler so I can't imagine what life will be like when you can walk. Who am I kidding?! You're not going to be a walker. I'm pretty sure you'll just start out with running!

You love to eat.

You will joyfully eat anything we give you. If you see someone eating, you think you must be eating too. You've tried all kinds of foods now and you seem to love them all. There's only one thing you've tried that we know for sure you don't like...jalapeno peppers! I can't imagine why! We actually gave you that accidentally. (I promise!) I made some mango-avocado salsa the other night that we had with dinner. You love avocados and mangoes, so you were chowing down on it. Daddy decided to let you try a little bell pepper and when he put it in your mouth you made this really sad face and your eyes filled with tears. It looked like someone had just taken away your favorite toy! You let out one of those really sad, pitiful cries so he fished it out of your mouth (it was tiny) and we decided that bell peppers hurt your feelings. As it turns out, it was in fact a piece of jalapeno pepper, not bell pepper! Sorry girl! :) We totally understand why that one made you cry!

You're loving your sippy cup. All we've given you is water, and to be totally honest, that's probably what we'll stick to for now. (You've had juice twice in your life and you weren't a huge fan, although it's been a little while.) But you LOVE water! You're getting pretty good at holding the cup up high enough to drink it by yourself and you love the independence. When you see us coming with your cup you get so excited! 

Milk in your cup makes you cry! :)

You are a happy girl most of the time. When you're not happy you're furious, but I'd say you're happy about 90% of the time. Seems pretty good to me, especially thinking back to how we started out!

You play well on your own.

You still put every. single. thing. you touch in your mouth. I'm pretty sure 'the grosser the better' is your motto.

You love to swing.

You're starting to talk a lot. Most of it is not in English, but Derrick tells us all of the time what you're saying. Apparently the two of you have your own language. According to him, most of the time you're talking about CeCe or Cars. And occasionally monster trucks.

You say 'Da Da,' and we think you're either saying 'dog' or 'doodie' (one of our dog Andy's many nicknames). We're not sure which, but it's always when Andy is around. It comes out as "Duh" or sometimes "Duh Duh" or something like that. You started making the "B" sound recently and we think you're working on saying 'Bubba.' You FINALLY started giving me a little recognition, but it comes out as "Na Na." That's ok, I'll take it! When I walked in the nursery at church to get you Sunday you saw me and said, "Na Na!" It's so exciting to hear you calling me, and I'm sure Nana will be super excited that her name will come easily for you!

You love to laugh! You just giggle all the time. I've been thinking so much lately about how much you remind me of Jenny. It's not just your name, but you really make me think about her so much. A few weeks ago marked seven years since she's been gone. I've been thinking over the past few weeks about how I hope so badly that you stay silly and giggly. Jenny, Miranda, and I used to get in trouble all the time for giggling in class. I'm not sure if we usually had a reason, but if one of us giggled, we usually all ended up with our names on the board. All the way up through high school it was like that. I really, really hope that you stay a silly, giggly little girl. It's so much fun and I promise, even if you get your name on the board with your little girlfriends, you won't get in too much trouble. (As long as you're not being ridiculous, of course! :)

Jenny Kate, we love you so, so much! You have such a fun little personality and we love watching how it develops even more every day. You are snuggly and sweet when you want to be, but you are spunky, sassy, and on the move most of the time. While you keep us on our toes, there's no other way we'd rather you be than exactly how and who you are. We love you, sweet girl.

To the moon and back!