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Happy Birthday Greenleigh & Happy Mom-iversary to Me!

Today I’m feeling just a little sentimental…  You see, this little girl turned 5 today.  Seriously, where does the time go?Greenleigh Birthday Collage 600As much as I feel like that all my kids’ birthdays should be the valued the same, there’s something about Greenleigh’s birthday that’s a little bit more special.  Because it doesn’t just mark the birthday of a sweet, funny, and kind little girl, it also marks my anniversary of becoming a mom.  It’s my mom-iversary?  Whatever it’s called, it’s the day that my world got turned upside down and inside out.  It’s the day that I met my first child, who keeps me on my toes each and every day.  It’s the day that my life stopped being about what I want, and started being about what she needed.  Over the past 5 years my life has grown and changed in more ways than I ever could have dreamed. I celebrate this day for her but also – a little bit – for myself.  Five years down, a lifetime to go.

Little Girl, Big School

Yesterday was a wake-up call of sorts.

My alarm went off early, the baby slept late, I scurried around the house to get tired children screaming the word “NO!” ready for school, and then ran Everett and Hazeline to daycare across town before driving Greenleigh to our local elementary school for Kindergarten Round Up.  It was a preview drill, preparing us for what is going to happen come August – a new school, new friends, a new schedule…complete with early wake-up times that no one in my house is quite prepared for (as evidenced by the fact that we were 17 minutes late for the whole affair, missing about two-thirds of the program).

As Greenleigh and I sat in the school cafeteria on little benches – intended for little bodies – listening to what was left of the presentations by the guidance counselor, vice principal, and reading specialist, it was clear just how different next year is going to be.  Then we toured the classrooms, saw the fields and playground, and met a couple of teachers before landing in the cafeteria for cookies and milk, which if you ask me, is how all tours should end.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get a little choked up about the whole thing (though the cookies did ease the pain).  How did she get so big?kindergarten2

Of course, I’ve known this whole kindergarten thing was coming…I’ve just been in denial, I guess.  But yesterday was a wake-up call that could not be ignored.  It was clear that in 4 months there will be no more 9:30am school drop offs, the girls will be in different schools for the first time ever, and I will be working around the school’s vacation schedule, not the other way around.  And while her new school may have a playground, but there are no toys.  This is BIG kid stuff.  My kid is a big kid.

As I posted on Facebook – “I’m. So. Not. Ready.”

But Greenleigh?  Well, she couldn’t be more excited.

She practically begged me to go back to kindergarten this morning.  But lucky for me, kindergarten doesn’t start until August.  Yesterday may have been a wake-up call, but I can still press the snooze button on this one and keep her little just a while longer.

There’s no doubt I’ll be a basket case on that first official day of school in August.

Celebrate Special Moments with Disney Palace Pets at Build-A-Bear Workshop (& Giveaway!)

Disclosure: I received the Build-a-Bear Palace Pets photographed below in order to facilitate my review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Can I be a proud mama bear for a moment?  Because Greenleigh’s really been shining in school lately and I can’t help but share.  At the beginning of the school year Greenleigh’s teacher did some preliminary testing…and for the most part, it came back very good.  Out of the 4 areas that were tested, Greenleigh was above average in one area, average in two areas, and ever so slightly below average in the final area (phonological reasoning, which I had to look up to figure out what it actually was).

I expected the school to do more testing towards the end of the year, but I was extremely surprised when the school sent home a mid-year testing score sheet last week.  And the results were better than before.  Much better.  Greenleigh is now above average in all 4 areas, and in 2 out of the 4 areas, she scored the maximum amount of points allowed.  Simply put, she’s brilliant, not that I’m biased or anything.

Although I’ve already told her that I’m really proud of her and all her hard work (because, honestly, all of that improvement was her dedication and hard work, not me nagging or pushing her), I’ve wanted to acknowledge these accomplishments with a small gift, or as she calls it a “special surprise”… I just wasn’t sure what to do.  Until these little guys showed up on my front doorstep.  Seriously, how adorable are they?

In case you’re not familiar, these fashionable friends are called Palace Pets!  Palace Pets first debuted in June of 2013 as part of the Disney Palace Pets App (I actually remember the release of the app vividly because my girls were so excited about it) and feature the pets of each princess.  The app allows kids to not only meet each princesses’ pet and learn the story behind the pets, but also allows kids to interact with the pets.  After a little over 6 months on tablet/phone screen, Build-A-Bear Workshop has brought the Palace Pals into the workshop.  And in this case, into our home!  The white puppy on the left is Pumpkin – she’s Cinderella’s dog – and the orange kitten on the right is Treasure – she’s Ariel’s cat.  Each one retails for $25 and can be dressed up with a Fancy Dress ($13.50) and accessory kit ($12.50).

So I decided to put our brand new Palace Pets out on the coffee table and surprise the girls when they got home.  And although this was really a surprise to reward Greenleigh’s hard work at school, the nice people at Build-a-Bear were kind enough to send one for each of my girls because…well…my sanity.  Besides, it’s okay to reward cuteness every now and again, right?  And Hazeline is pretty darn cute.

The minute the girls got home from school they made a beeline towards the boxes.  Greenleigh immediately picked the box with Treasure in it because there was a small bit of blue and purple showing through one of the windows of the box, and Greenleigh loves purple.  Hazeline happily grabbed the other box and they both began open their new friends.  They were so excited!And, of course, once the boxes were opened, they recognized the princess dresses and tiaras and were in love.  Hugs were given.Both girls loved their pet’s sparkly attire, rhinestone adorned collars, and fabulous shoes.  ‘Cause if it’s one thing my girls love to do, it’s accessorize (pearls to preschool, anyone?)!  And while it was initially a fluke that Greenleigh grabbed the box with Treasure in it, it actually matches her personality.  Treasure is a very playful and curious, just like Greenleigh.  And it’s that curious, inquisitive nature that has caused Greenleigh to do so well in school.

Disney’s Palace Pets from Build-A-Bear Workshop were no doubt the prefect way to celebrate Greenleigh’s accomplishments (and Hazeline being cute).  I’m so glad we got a preview of these well-dressed pets.  If you want to check out the Disney Palace Pets for yourself, you can see and make them now at Build-A-Bear Workshop!

Want to win some Build-a-Bear Workshop magic of your own?  Great, because today, I’m giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader!  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be yours.  Good luck everyone!
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Hitting My Stride

Two weeks ago, I drove Greenleigh across town on a Sunday morning so she could get her nails done.  We must have passed 25 other nail places along the way, but there’s only one place that Greenleigh likes to get her nails done.  Ridiculous?  Absolutely.  My husband thought I was insane.

But you see, this is stuff the stuff I understand.

For years I’ve struggled to understand Greenleigh.  To interpret her cries and whines.  To understand the need for constant attention.  To decipher her words.  Greenleigh was in no way the go-with-the-flow baby that I needed in order to slowly ease into motherhood.  My transition into motherhood with Greenleigh was hard.  Very hard.

But getting pretty nails?  That’s easy.  That’s something I totally understand.  And if she prefers the place in our old neighborhood on the other side of town, that’s okay with me, I’ll happily drive her.

Nails are just the beginning though.  Lately, I find myself understanding Greenleigh more and more – her princess addiction, her love of shopping, the way she prefers to wear dresses, her love of dance class, and how she wants her hair done in a new and creative style each day (although, we’ve already discussed that I’m incapable of actually doing it).   Sure, she has her moments of rough and tumble, but for the most part, she’s a girly-girl – a subject in which I have extensive training and experience…you know, from being me.  I was that girly-girl growing up.  Even today, there’s still a good bit of that girly-girl in me.

Erajh says that I’ve created a monster, and maybe he’s right, but I prefer to look at it as me hitting my stride.  I can do this.  I finally feel comfortable in my parenting skin.  These are things I understand.  After 4 years, I finally “get” her.  We have this girly-girl language that we share.

And the other night as Greenleigh grabbed a Michael Kors bag off the shelf and hugged it (at a huge sale going on at the outlet!), I couldn’t have understood her more.  Before we left the store, she picked out one bag that she wanted to get right away and another that she wanted to get when she was older…you know, next year…

It’s official – I’ve hit my stride in this whole parenting thing.  I’ve got this…for now.

Making Her Flower Girl Debut

About a year ago, Erajh’s cousin was kind enough to ask Greenleigh to be a flower girl in her wedding.  I’m not going to lie – I was more than a little nervous.  I mean, as a former bride myself, I totally understand the desire to have your “perfect day”…and a 4 year old’s whims tend not to lead to perfection.  I was also a little concerned about if she’d actually want to walk down the aisle with everyone watching her.  So for months we talked to her about being a flower girl, we showed her the dress she would wear, and practiced.  Hell, we even turned on our own wedding video (for what had to be maybe the 3rd time ever) to show her the flower girls in our wedding.  As we ventured to Chicago earlier this week, I knew we had done all we could, but still worried if she’d make it down the aisle.

On the big day Greenleigh got her “pretty princess” hair done early in the morning…and then I spent the rest of the day praying that it wouldn’t fall and spraying it with hairspray.  She looked beautiful!

Waiting to go down the aisle… 

Apparently, I totally under estimated her tendency to be a ham – she was actually excited to go down the aisle and wanted to walk by herself instead of with the ring bearer (I wish I had a better picture of it, but it all happened so fast.  I’m just going to cross my fingers that the photographer got a great picture that I can buy.)

She was even good during the ceremony.  Squirmy, but good.So as it often turns out, I worried for nothing.  Her flower girl debut was a huge success and we actually had inquiries about her being a flower girl in other weddings before the night was over.

I’m still recovering from our journey home – 4 1/2 hours in delays, 6 gate changes (not a typo), and 2 little kids made for a very eventful return flight – but I’ll have more about our trip later this week, along with some great giveaways!