He = HOPE!

Most Easters we go at a less-popular service to allow room for visitors.  Well this Easter we had our own visitors, so we went on Sunday morning!  My mom was in town from Philadelphia, and my cousin Mike's girlfriend Heather (they moved to Bham a few months ago...we are LOVING having them here!!) went with us, too!  Pastor Chris' incredible message combined with being in church on Sunday morning, the actual morning Jesus was ALIVE again, was amazing.  I left church floating, and have been relishing in the hope of my Jesus ever since.  I'm here right now, but I won't be here forever.  So instead of focusing on all of the 'things' here, I need to be consumed with the hope of Heaven.  Such a simple truth, but so freeing!
Easter pix this year were interesting.  I'll just post them and try to explain...
Lunch at Firebird's.  Obviously the outdoor seating was a poor choice for a picture!  Sun-in-eyes-squinting!
My mom's attempt of all three!
Maybe I can get a good one at church?  Nope!
Miss Heather!

Miss Anna was at church, too!!
Annual egg hunt at the Smith Family's home.  Our favorite Easter tradition!!
Sweet Sisters!
My Family!
(No, we did not force Ellie to hunt for eggs, or hold her basket!)


Daddy/Daughter Dances

Y'all know I love a good comparison.  Three kids.  All three years apart.  Makes it easier on this mama's brain to remember who did what when!

The Daddy/Daughter dance fun started at our house when Ellie was four and taking ballet.  Her ballet school sent out an invitation to a dance for just girls and their dads.  Robbie couldn't wait!  Ellie couldn't either, of course!  She wore a sweet smocked bishop, her hair in its usual one-side-pulled-back-in-a-bow, and a wrist corsage.  Ellie's favorite part was watching her ballet teacher's helper performance for the evening's entertainment.
Mary Claire was 18 months old (and obviously having none of this nonsense!).
Fast forward to the next February.  Ellie is now five, and has requested something a little fancier to wear to this year's dance.  A bouttonierre for daddy and a wrist corsage are an absolute must.  Word on the street is that there was more dancing in 2011, too.  
Mary Claire was clearly not in the mood for photos that evening.  Could also be that I wasn't up for battling with her since I was newly pregnant with Robert!

Apparently Robbie and Ellie skipped the next year, but that was okay, because in 2013, he got to take both girls!  Mary Claire went to the Daddy/Daughter Dance where she takes ballet, and Ellie went to one with her Girl Scout troop.
Mary Claire immediately knew she was wearing the same dress El did, but needed her monogram on a sash.  She was also adamant about a wrist corsage for her and bout for daddy.  Done.
 The sassiness.  MC knows what she wants to wear, how she wants her hair, shoes, accessories, you name it.  Then when you take her picture, this is the 'I nailed the look I was going for' pose.  Love her!
 Not sure where Ellie was for these pictures!  Maybe golfing.  Or maybe standing behind me trying to get Robert to stop crying!
 Look at my sweet girl!  Robbie's mom ordered Ellie this dress because she thought she needed it.  And she was right!  You'll see that MC ends up needing it, too!  Ellie was super-excited to go dance with Robbie AND to wear her favorite jewelry...charm bracelet and cross necklace.  This dance was held in Robbie's high school's cafeteria, making it that much more fun!
 Apparently Robert was happier about this dance!
 Okay.  This is where I can see my girls growing up!  Ellie chose a dress from the Von Maur clearance rack (cause that's how roll!), had to have a purse to carry her lip gloss in, and wanted her hair in a side pony.  

 Robert isn't in this picture, but he's definitely in the room!  Real life!
 MC chose this dress from Tar-jay.  It ended up costing more than the Von Maur dress!  The sequins, layers of tulle, and precious smile on my girl's face made it totally worth it, though!!  Curls and a purse were MC's other requests.  She and Robbie had a great time!
 Look twice!  This is MC the next year (this year, really!).  Wearing El's dress from two years before.  Again, wrist corsage and bout are required (per MC).  The girls also made Robbie wait until they were completely ready and downstairs before he could see them.  Precious!
If this dress came in my size, we would totally rock the Mother-Daughter look.  Ellie was not digging that she didn't get to shop for a dress (I bought it at a consignment sale), so we picked up this fun headband, tights, and shoes and she was perfectly fine.
 Even though El is not officially in a Girl Scout troop, we were emailed about the dance.  Ellie didn't blink an eye before screaming, "YES!"
 My new favorite picture of my girls.  Ellie is loving that she's all dressed-up and ready to go out with Robbie, while MC is loving that she has on her favorite sweatshirt, pj pants, and scarf.
Again, I guess Robert is not in the mood to be photographed.  Never a problem with the girls!
No matter where Robbie takes them, these girls have the best time.  I'm always so excited to hear the stories from how their 'dates' went!  Thank-you, Robbie, for loving our girls enough to show them how a perfect date looks!


Hey There, Elliebelle!

It's come to my attention that Ellie and her friends have discovered our blog.  The third and fourth graders at Ellie's school are all given Chrome books (laptops) for the year.  I dreaded having to essentially add a fourth child to our family, but it's really been okay.  The worst incident was when Ellie and another student picked up each others' Chrome books after safety patrol one afternoon.  It may or may not have taken me an hour to figure out whose Chrome book she had taken.  Cause, you know, they're locked for safety.  So all you see when you turn the thing on is whatever background the student chooses.  Thankfully this incident occurred before the school system changed everyone's background to the same thing (let's not even think about why this happened!), so El knew the laptop belonged to a boy who likes Ole Miss.  Goodness.  That was fun.

Anyway, one day Ellie googled herself.  (I know, parent of the year for letting my daughter play on Google unsupervised.)  She found our blog and has now caught up on her life from age two until whenever the last time I blogged was.  Her friends have also started reading the blog.  Thinking it's time to update and attempt to keep things a bit more current.

So, sweet Elliebelle, my goal is to blog at least once a week.  And you're allowed to keep me accountable!


Happy, Happy!

Two out of three of our chickies' birthdays have come and gone in the last couple of months.  
The El didn't have a party this year.  I decided that with three kids, three parties in three months is a little bit too much.  So Ellie and MC will be on an every-other-year party rotation.  Instead, to celebrate turning nine (whoa!), Ellie had two friends spend the night and we did her favorite things: eat pizza, celebrate with cookie cake, and watch a movie.  Done and done.
Robert's third birthday was a couple of days ago.  We invited his best buddy Carson and Carson's family over for hot dogs (I know, gourmet) and cake.  Simple, but fun.  (Of course Miss Anna came, too!)
Next up is Mary Claire!  On August 19, she will be six.  WHAT?!



The day after Christmas, Robbie and the girls and I took the train into New York City.  My brother Greg offered to go with us (not to lunch for some strange reason!), and we jumped at that!!  He did everything...bought our train tickets, told our cab where to go, met us after lunch, and led the way to Times Square.  We SO appreciate Greg!!
I made reservations to eat lunch at the American Girl store sometime in November.  Our lunch was at 11:30, which was perfect.  We got there just in time to check our coats, then we were seated.  The food isn't the best in the world, but that really didn't matter.  The experience was fun!
In the taxi with my companions for the day...Kanani and Samantha.
The girls in the taxi.  They loved it.  Robbie and I did not love that they kept changing the channel on the tv in the cab to inappropriate shows.  We remedied that by making them stay on the map screen.
In true Mary Claire fashion, we hit the bathrooms at the American Girl Doll Store first!  They are always intrigued with the Dyson hand-dryers.
 I tried really hard to get sweet pictures during our lunch, but the girls were not having it.  That was my cue to put up the camera and enjoy time with my chickies!!

This was about the tenth picture that our sweet waitress took!
After lunch we shopped with the girls so they could spend the gift cards we gave them.  Both dolls got their ears pierced.  Ellie was a little freaked about making such a commitment, but was okay once she saw how cute Kanani looks with her earrings.  MC chose a hair kit for her doll and Ellie got a cheer outfit and a book.
The AG store is right across the street from Rockefeller Center, so we met Greg and walked to see the tree.  Both girls wanted to ice skate, but once they saw how long it took to just get to the rink because of all of the crowds, they were fine just watching everyone else skate!
 Times Square is only a few blocks away, so we followed Greg there next.  I wanted to take the girls to Toys R Us, because they'd already been to FAO Schwarz when they were younger.  Next time we will skip Toys R Us altogether and go to the M&M store or even back to FAO.  Toys R Us was crowded and junky.  All three floors of it.
We loved seeing all of the signs and lights on Times Square.  Ellie was excited to see where they would drop the crystal ball on New Years Eve.
Their favorite was watching a breakdancing troupe that had hundreds of people gathered around.  I, personally, didn't see a thing because I didn't have anyone to pick me up!!
At this point both girls were thirsty and cold, so we knew it was time to call it a day.  Robbie got snacks and drinks for the train ride home, then we once again followed Greg down to the subway.  
The girls were so good about always holding our hands.  They never complained about walking (and we walked a lot!) or the crowds.  I was super-proud!!
We were all thankful to be on the train home with our coats and hats and gloves and scarves OFF for a little bit!
 Mom got us at the train station, so we didn't have to find our car or anything.  Mass transit really does rock!!
When we got back to Mom and Henry's house, Robert was waiting for us.  In one of the girls' tank tops.  Mom was worried that Robert would be cold, and she couldn't find any undershirts for him.  That would be because we live in Alabama, Robert is the third child, and we don't have undershirts.
Fun day with our girls, made possible by Mom and Uncle Nick!!

Images by Freepik