From bunkbeds to full sized bed, Pierson wanted a new room for his 7th birthday and a new room is what he got! Lots of hard work and dedication from my husband went into putting it together, but check out this post for your kid’s bedroom ideas!Read More
You know it's strange, with this one, I kind of felt like she would stay three forever. Two flew by but there were weeks and months of her being three that I remember longing for her to turn another year older. Well, here we are...at 9:56pm on September 14 she came into this world with hardly two pushes. "Look out world, I'm HERE!" is what I felt like her newborn self declared. From that minute, our Reese Elisabeth-Morgan has been nothing short of fearless, feisty, fabulous and NOW, she's four!
Today for the most part, was pretty magical. I took the day off work to celebrate her birthday and we were so excited to spend a whole day together. Asa bought cupcakes for she and I to take to her preschool to celebrate snack time with her friends. We got there a little early so I was blessed to make it to some Chapel time. Reese sat on my lap and we listened to the story of Baby Moses and the kids recited Bible verses and the Lord's Prayer. It reminded me so much of my own Christian school elementary days, and I truly felt so blessed to be a small part of that part in their day. She sat with her friends at their table, everyone enjoyed seconds, and she colored some before we left to go back home. Once we were there, I surprised her by telling her I had made her a nail salon appointment; she has gotten her nails done once before with me and she absolutely LOVED it. My sweet friend Jess at Dollface Beauty and Brows booked me a slot with her co-worker Amy, who now runs the Glossry inside the shop; an adorable mani/pedi setup!
Beforehand, we got ourselves some hot chocolate and a hot caramel apple cider, thanks, Please and Thank you! And Reese was feeling all sorts of spoiled, as she should! I had so much fun chatting with her in the booth; we talked about what a great morning it had already been and what she wanted to do next (which was go look around different shops nearby).
At the salon, Reese sat perfectly still and picked out a shade of pink and a second bottle of all pink glitter. Amy was so sweet and patient, listening as Reese chatted her ear off. The other ladies who came in and out of the shop complimented Reese for her beautiful curls and for how good she was being.
And I think that's where I just want to mention that it's been a little hard for me to write this post tonight. Wait, what? Ashley, what are you doing? Okay hold on. Do any of you have a 3-year old? Or at one point HAD a 3-year old? No, Reese isn't three anymore; but technically all day today until 9:56pm she still was, right? The past year has just been really hard on me emotionally and mentally--not constantly, but her moods would come in waves, and sometimes Reese has been sweet as pie and others, she's cutting straight to your heart with words and statements you can't believe just left her mouth. Tonight for instance, after everything we did together and the money spent ON her, she looked at me and said, "I don't like you." Shortly after that, I told her that she couldn't open another birthday present in THAT moment, and she said, "You're mean."
Didn't I just spend literally ALL day with my daughter? Spoiling her and helping her feel beautiful and loved and celebrated? I know that you're not supposed to take the words of a toddler or ANY child to heart. But sometimes that's just not possible! It felt like a slap in the face. Like everything I had just done didn't matter. That maybe, just maybe, my daughter DIDN'T like me.
Anyway, I won't continue a giant sob fest here on the blog, and the truth is, I'm fine. The end of her fourth birthday didn't go as I had planned, there were way more tears than I ever want to remember (so why am I writing it down?!!?), and overall, my mom heart is kind of aching at the fact that my kids ARE getting bigger--they're getting older, they're turning MORE human, and I know with that, comes lots of hurtful words, calloused phrases, and tons of opportunities for growth and redemption on ALL our parts. But I also know that she DOES love me. There's really no one else that she prefers (she loves you too, dear husband, but we all know this has been the last several years!) She isn't trying to be purposefully hurtful, at least I don't think? And I know she too, is just learning what's right and wrong.
I promise we really did have a GREAT day, and the weather temperature wise was just right... before the coffee shop and nails, Reese let me take some portraits of her in a tree covered space near our house. We talked about the colorful leaves, looked at different bugs, and she made me laugh, a lot.
And we also explored some shops downtown Louisville this afternoon, admiring things we couldn't afford and sending me into panic at several moments at the thought of her dropping something expensive (ahem, everything we saw!) It was fun to hold hands and just giggle together, and I had some sentimental visions of our probable future together. My girl loves shopping, but I think more than anything else, she loves quality time.
Reese Elisabeth-Morgan, I do love you. And no matter what you say over the years, I promise to forever be your very best friend. You are brave, passionate, independent, and you have already in four short years, taught me SO much. While it hurts a bit to watch you and your big brother grow so quickly...please know that I will always be here. I'll always be your shoulder, your hug, your belly tickle, your lullabye, your prayer warrior, your friend, and your mom. Thank you for being you, I am so excited (and slightly terrified) to see where four leads you!
To all the dog lovers out there, well, I think you'll be able to relate to this post quite well. I've once been called "the most sentimental person ever," and because I fully embrace that characteristic, yes, I am writing a blog post dedicated to my now eleven year old dog.
Humphrey Bogart, the dog that most of you know VERY well, turns eleven years old TODAY. When my feet hit the floor I saw him sleeping on my side of the bed. I dropped to the ground beside him and kissed his face a thousand times, telling him, "Happy birthday, Buddy!" My daughter Reese woke soon after and excitedly reminded her brother that today is Humphrey's birthday! I had to rush for a work meeting, but as I left, my husband and the kids were singing him the birthday song. Celebrating pets birthdays may seem kind of strange, but if you're anything like me, than your pets are pretty up there in equality to your kids. (Okay, THAT may be a stretch...I am not fully equating our animals with our human children, however, I will say that MY love for all of them is pretty dang close in measure.)
I was introduced to Humphrey back in October of 2007. Growing up, I had a white Labrador Retriever named Holly, and I knew by Facebook stalking (you all do it) that the guy I was into (my now husband) had a Chocolate Lab. I was thrilled to spend a day with both, as that guy had invited me to meet at the coffee shop he worked at for a hot beverage. I walked out the back glass doors where his back was towards me. His dog however, saw me in an instant, and hopped up, greeting me with massive paws on my chest. He almost knocked me to the ground and I remember being so appalled at this--MY Lab, was perfect. Like, literally though, she turned herself into my brother's service dog, and basically never left his or my parents side. She was quiet and sweet, never licked, and lord have mercy, NEVER jumped! (Basically she was half human, we are all convinced, and her other half was angel.) I knew then, Humphrey was NOT part human nor part angel. Little did I know though....my heart would be transformed.
Humphrey got kicked out of his house shortly after this meet-up, because he had 'bit' the mailman. Asa ("that guy") was living with his parents and therefore, so was his dog. Well, Humphrey never actually DID bite the mailman, he excitedly had jumped on him and left BARELY a sliver of a red scratch. Regardless, that was taken very seriously and the humane society demanded that Humphrey be quarantined completely for two weeks. Asa's parents weren't mean or anything, but they just didn't exactly want them on their premises anymore. Before we decided that he could live with me [obviously Asa and I moved QUICK, because we had spent every single day together SINCE that coffee date, and I had in that time frame got my OWN puppy--our Golden Retriever, Elsa]; Humphrey did something kind of dumb. It was a Sunday morning, we had just got back to Asa's parents from church, and we saw Humphrey running down the driveway towards us to greet us. The funny (not funny?) thing IS, is that Humphrey had started the "quarantine" and had been locked in Asa's bedroom for the short couple of hours that we would be away. He has always been ASA'S DOG, and made this abundantly clear to all of us when we noticed he had busted out of the basement bedroom window, in order to GET to Asa who pulled into the driveway. He didn't have a scratch on him that day and wagged his tail, greeting us how he always did--with an over abundance of pure energy.
We decided that day, I would take him and keep him at my house, where he could hang out all day with Elsa. She quickly became his best friend and long lost companion--his disposition changed immensely in the coming weeks and months; though that may be largely due to how much more exercise he was getting? Asa and I went on walks daily with our dogs--taking them to open fields and letting them run ramped. Humphrey has always been the extreme, and Elsa has always been the quiet graceful one-- together, they make the most amazing duo.
Since I probably can't write one single post talking about all ELEVEN of Humphrey's years, I know I need to wrap it up. In June of 2011, he gave us quite the scare when he and I were playing fetch. Throwing a stick and him catching it completely wrong resulted in a punctured artery in his tongue and LOTS of blood. That moment was one of many that I realized how THANKFUL I am for Humphrey and how much I freeking love his soul.
Even when, for instance, he ate the entire Christmas ham. Or when he tried to burn Asa's parents house down by managing to turn on their stove when he hopped up for leftovers. Or when he ate a twenty pound bag of dog treats and we witnessed the results of that ALL night long. There have been quite a few (more than we can count) mishaps with this dog, but even and especially with those memories, he is the most lovable and protective friend.
We've learned this summer, that his neck has a disc that is showing wear and tear from age. Our vet explained it to us like one of us having a rotator cuff issue and it causing immense arm pain--Humphrey's neck was so sore and he was in SO much pain; he would holler out and was hardly able to move at all. Luckily it doesn't seem to be too major, and with the nerve meds he's been on and anti-inflammatories, he is already back to his normal self. See a trend here? He's just amazing. He is still on medication (I am guessing will always be?) but is no longer limping, is playing with his favorite ball, and goes out back to sunbathe on some of these incredibly hot summer afternoons. He begs 24/7, licks our faces, and his number one priority is being with us, wherever we are.
Asa shared this sweet birthday post on Facebook today with a photo I took a few days ago:
"This old man is one of my oldest and most loyal friends. Today he turns 11. Humphrey became part of my family when it was just he and I. I was battling depression, and had very little direction in life. He never seemed to care about those things. Humphrey was with me as I built a life with Ashley. He has protected us through 4 moves, and this week a 5th. He has been the gentle giant to both of my not so gentle children. Happy Birthday to great big lug of friend! Praying for many more happy returns!"
I feel like this sums (granted, a very LONG summary) our sweetheart of a dog pretty well. He was Asa's first, to walk beside him through some pretty dark days, and quickly jumped into the rest of our hearts. Michigan trips, lake swims, hikes, and more, he's been there for them all. I'm excited (and admittedly also nervous) to see where the months and next years take us. Eleven is a big birthday, and this guy deserves the world! Oh, and if you haven't noticed where I stand now, ten years since meeting him, I know now that Humphrey is also half human, half angel ;)
The Company Store gifted Humphrey with an amazing dog bed for this birthday. Made of memory foam, it is easier on his joints, provides extra comfort, and is great for older dogs like this sweet man. We've washed the cover several times already (because hello shedding Labs), and it looks just like the day we received it. We are so grateful, and I think Humphrey is too! [Full disclosure: ALL the other animals sleep and cuddle on it as well. Ha! It's a hit for all of them!] Thank you, Company Store!!
Clearly from above, boxes are currently our life at the moment. We are excited to get in to our new house and for the next pages of our story to be written! Thanks for following along, and if you wish Humphrey a happy birthday, I'll be sure to tell him! We are cooking him a burger now and about to sing together as family.