The Magical Imagination of a Two Year Old...

I love anything that is magical and/or imaginative.  I believe these things make life exciting and creative.  the problem is, that most adults don't see life as "magical" most of the time and they sure don't use their imagination enough.  Those are the things left to small children.  And THAT is exactly why I LOVE getting to spend time with Parker Ann.  She is at that age (will be 3 in August...) where her imagination is blossoming and it is so exciting for me to see the twinkle in her eyes as she shares this "magical" experience with me.

This past weekend, I decided that I would go pick her up on Friday and she would spend the weekend with us.  Oh, I'm not that person who has schedules or plans; when it pops into my head...we just do it!  And so our "Magical, Imaginative Weekend Adventure" began...

Friday night we decided to make home made pizza!  Parker Ann LOVES to help cook and I had recently purchased a couple of the Martha Stewart cooking utensil sets for kids so we put them to good use.
                             Poppi had to show her how to roll the dough out with her rolling pin.
                              Of course, a good cook HAS to taste the food along the way!

We also spent a GREAT deal of time in the tree house.  That's where a lot of our fun, imaginative conversations took place...
Parker insisted that I climb up in the tree house with her and stay there while she attempted to climb UP the slide!
                  What a "Cutie Patootie"!  And yes, that would be Oreo Cookies on her face.

While up in the tree house, Parker talked about how we could sit up there during the rain and never get wet because we we inside, under the roof.  We listened to the birds sing and the wind blow and it took me back to when I was a kid in my own tree house. tree house was actually in a tree with a couple of boards and I propped myself against some limbs.  But the feeling was the same; just being outside and letting your mind wander to all the possibilities...
We even brought books up into the tree house.  I bet you never knew how fun it could be to read books there!
                                                      And we played on the swings too!
I bought her a little chair like my big ones and she was thrilled with it!  That chair moved all over the back yard during the weekend!
                                                            And Clementine watched us...
                              Parker LOVES Clementine!  And has many conversations with her.

That night, after dinner and before bedtime, I made ice cream cones for Parker and Poppi.  When at the grocery store earlier that day, she picked out strawberry ice cream for her and chocolate for Poppi!

Parker does not sleep in a baby bed any more and this was the first time she has spent the night with us since being in a "Big Girl Bed".  I asked her if she wanted to sleep in CaCa's bed or with Poppi and me. Guess what she chose?!  YEP!  We had waited a LONG time for a grand kid to wake up between us on a Saturday morning.  Even IF I woke up during the night with a big toe in my belly button!

After a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, I drug out the finger paints and dressed Parker in one of my tee shirts...
At first she asked me where her paintbrush was and I said, "We get to paint with our hands and fingers today"!  I assured her it would all wash off and that she could paint on the paper OR the driveway.  As you can tell, she caught on REAL quick!
                                 But the sun was in her eyes, so she had to don her shades!
    At the end of this little activity we BOTH had paint all over us!  OH, but what FUN we had.

Playing with a child brings us to places in our adult lives that have been locked away for many years.  It is sad that as we grow up we often times lose focus of the truly simple things that made us so happy as a child; like reading books in a tree house and feeding the birds and fish, petting a cat and feeling the wind blow across your face, imagining that you can do anything and nothing can stop you.  Oh, what a carefree feeling it is to escape to a child's world if only for a few days.  We should all do this once in a while and refuel our imaginative spirit...It really is "Magical" and GOOD for the soul!


Our Newborn (Do-It-Yourself) Photo Shoot...

Before I left Cleveland, Caitlin and I had this wonderful idea.  You know how much we love to "Do-It-Ourselves"...well, we decided that we would take Holli's baby photos ourselves.  Oh, we bought props and prepared and even said, "How hard can it be to photograph a newborn baby?  And we will be saving LOTS of money too!"  About two hours into the five hour photo shoot, we knew that inside the baby was laughing at us for saying such a thing!  All I can say was..."WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE WE THINKING?!"

I snapped some shots with my cell phone, while Caitlin used the camera.  Here are some of the results...

Caitlin made these awesome pinwheels!  They will eventually go on the wall above Holli's baby bed.
                                                  Caitlin was the one to position Holli...
                                                            And snap the photographs...
I was her assistant and part of my job was to hold Holli and keep her happy between the changing of the props.
                                                        I LOVED this part of my job!
             And Holli took a much needed naps during this long day of photo taking.
This is the sweet blanket that her Uncle Dave made her.  Doesn't she look like a little pea in a pod?!
                                                                     Our little princess.
                                                                         What an angel!
                                             Caitlin made this adorable hair piece for Holli.
I LOVE this photo.  We had to have a Native American piece since this little baby is a registered Choctaw!
                                                         There's that great pinwheel wall!
                                                                     PURE SWEETNESS!

OK, so I will admit that photographing a newborn baby is easier said than done!  BUT...once again, we have walked away with not only some beautiful photographs but also some beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.  And THAT made the entire experience well worth our time and effort.


The Art of Bathing a Baby...

Robby and everyone else left Ohio and I decided to stay for another week to help Caitlin adjust to becoming a new mommy.  Oh, she was quite impressing me already but there were a few things she needed help with, such as laundry, dishes, late night rocking and preparing meals.  The one thing, however, that she wasn't real confident in doing was bathing a baby.

I suppose I just took it for granted that everybody who has a baby,  automatically knows how to change them, feed them and bathe them.  I forgot that a baby doesn't come with instructions or the innate ability to just "know" how to take care of them; and THAT is why grandmothers are needed.  It makes us feel wanted and needed to be asked how to do this and should I do that; I suppose it is some sort of consolation prize for growing older.  Thus, when Caitlin decided it was time to give Holli her first bath, she asked me to do it and let her watch and learn.  The second bath time, it was her turn.

Before we began, Caitlin said she wasn't sure she was going to be able to do this after I left and just show up on my doorstep in June saying, "Mom, please bathe this baby; she hasn't had a bath since you left!"  I laughed and told her she would get the hang of it; "Bathing babies," I told her was "like bathing a puppy or kitten".  They didn't necessarily like it right now so you just need to get it done.  There is plenty of time for those "fun bath times" when Holli gets a little older.  I also reminded her that you can move the baby around, it won't hurt them.  I told her to recall how they held her up by her feet and slung her around when she was born!  And so with those few instructions, bath time began...

                                   Unwrapping sweet little Holli in preparation for her bath.
                                    "What in the WORLD are these two about to do to me?!"
You need to talk to them while getting them ready for their bath...and, of course, the paci is a MUST!
Test the water and put some in the bottom of their little tub.  I love that mesh sling!  It makes rinsing their back side off so much easier.
                               And try as you might, they are still most likely going to cry...
Then bundle them up in one of these cozy, hooded towels, pop a paci in their mouth and suddenly they become content again!
Bathing a baby isn't that difficult, it just takes a little practice and in due time, they will begin to enjoy it; when they learn how to splash around...and then they will ask to take a bath and not want to get out.

I'm so glad that I was able to be here to help give Holli her first couple of baths and I will miss not getting to do it on a regular basis.  Although I have complained a LOT about the weather here, I find as my time winds down, I dread leaving.  It is going to be very difficult to get on that plane Saturday morning and fly home, knowing that I won't be able to see my daughter and grand daughter until June.  But there is nothing that can be done about it; that is just the way things are, so I must soak up every minute I have with them and savor all of the precious memories we have made,  to take out and wrap myself in when I become lonely.  Four more years...I'm just not gonna think about that right now.  I vow to treasure the moment...


More Southern Visitors and a Very Sad Good-Bye...

This week has been quite busy.  Mimi, Papa, David and Codi all left and in their place came Justin, Sarah and Parker Ann to see sweet little Holli.  We Face Timed several times and Parker Ann was beside herself with excitement to see her new little cousin in person...

Their plane didn't arrive until Tuesday evening late but they headed straight over to have a look at Miss Holli...

                                               Uncle Justin introduced Holli to Parker Ann.

    Look at the excitement on her face when she got to hold her little cousin for the first time!

                                                              Sweet "Kissin' Cousins"
                    She said, "I wanna hold her tight".  And Holli didn't seem to mind at all.
                                             Aunt Sarah checking her new little niece out.
                   Parker loved helping Holli with her Boppi (Parker's name for her paci...)
                                        Robby snapped this picture of me with my two girls...
                                            Holli got her first bath while Parker was visiting...
                                 OK...So, Parker insisted on "joining" Holli for her first bath!
                                        My two sweet girls in their jammies, ready for bed.

While they were here, we also took Parker Ann on a little trip to the Cleveland Aquarium.  She had a great time there...

Holli also got to go on her first and second outings...
And she is an AMAZINGLY wonderful baby!  She sleeps, eats every 3 hours and we change her diapers.  I prayed that she would be this way since we all live so far from here and Caitlin would have no help.

And then it happened; one of the days we had been dreading...It was time for Poppi to leave.  Leaving is never easy and appears to get more difficult each time we have to say good-bye.  I cannot even explain the feeling if you have never had to leave someone you love so dearly over a thousand miles behind.  When Robby began to say his good-byes to Caitlin and Holli, I could see that Caitlin was attempting to hold back the tears until we left.  They embraced for a while and then he turned to Holli, holding her close, kissing her little head and whispering in her ear that he loved her so much and hated that he wouldn't see her for a while...

 I hated to see him leave too, but knew it was time for him to get back to work.  Robby has his "special baby song" that he sings to all babies ("Hush, Little Baby"...); it calms them and puts them to sleep.  He told me that he wanted to sing it to Holli one more time before he drove off but didn't think he could do so without crying, himself.

I have one week left here and although I have already been here a month, it seems that this last week will most likely pass more quickly than the four previous ones. I plan on spending as much quality time with my daughter and grand daughter as possible...soaking it up because I know that when I get on that plane to head back south I will leave a part of me here.  No, saying good-bye will never be easy and I will never get used to it.  How in the world will we ever make it for four more years?!