Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I know.  And I know that everyone thinks that their kid is an artistic genius.  BUT, Taylor has really gotten crafty this summer.  I know she’s no VanGough, but she’s relly improved over the last few months, and I never ceased to be amazed at her creativity.


“Ariel and Flounder”

“Me and Adam…because I can’t wait to get married”

For this one, she cut out the fish and glued it onto the sea background.  It has color AND dimension.

In addition to paper, markers, and glue, she also works in playdough.  This one just cracks me up.

We set up a craft station for her in the office, so can go in there and close the door so Caleb can’t get it.  He’s still in the habit of eating crayons and stabbing things with scissors, so he can’t be left unsupervised with art supplies.  Taylor will go back into her craft area for an hour at a time and just create until her heart’s content.  I’m just in awe of how quickly she is growing up.

4 or 14

I think we may be done raising Taylor; she’s ready to raise herself now.  At least she would think so.  Sometimes it is all so clear that she is only four, but other times, I have to remind myself how young she is because she acts so gosh darn old most of the time.

She takes showers all by herself.

She refuses to let us go into the bathroom with her in public now.  This freaks me out in public places, but alas, I do want to encourage her independence.

She gets her own drinks and food out of the fridge and pantry.

She even eats responsibly.  The other night at dinner, she requested more peas and sweet potato fries (which are baked in a wee bit of olive oil, not fried or breaded).  And for dessert, she requests frozen yogurt (which is literally tubes of organic, fat free yogurt that is frozen) or popsicles (which is frozen orange juice).  This is what she chooses.  Occasionally, we have bags of frozen fruit, and that’s a treat!! It’s like little blueberry and raspberry popsicles.

She is the best big sister.  She and Caleb have really started playing together a lot lately, and she is remarkably patient with him and actually likes having him around.  At the playground yestereday, she totally looked out for him and let him follow her around the whole time so I didn’t have to climb the equipment with him as much.  She was just great.  So mature that one.

This change in their sibling relationship occurred after they spent five days separated at different grandparents’ houses while I took a trip and Russ was working crazy resident hours.  I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  They are becoming good friends, and it warms my heart.

Here they are at our Dunkin Donut’s Tie-Dye Free Donut Friday yesterday morning.  Can you even?


Today, my mom invited her two daughters and two granddaughters to a Mother-Daughter Tea at her church.  It was lovely.  The hostesses decorated the tables with fancy linens, flower arrangements, and full sets of china…even real tea pots with matching sugar bowls with sugar cubes.  I don’t think I have experienced that much fancy before.  But it wasn’t stuffy fancy…it was very relaxed and fun.  The owners of the fine china didn’t even freak out when a four year-old and two year-old sat down in front of their finest.

And then there was food….good food.   We are the classiest people by far.  Mom put some chocolate Dunkin Donut holes on some doilies on a fancy dish.  (LOVE her!)

Taylor ate her finger sandwich daintily, with her finger up.

Of course, she also tooted three times during the course of the meal.

And then shoved a cupcake in her mouth.

I think we pulled off Fancy like Fancy Nancy in our dresses, hats, and jewelry.

Even if we aren’t the most photogenic family in the world.

My hat serves mostly as my beach hat, so I had sand all over me by the time the tea was over.  Yes, yes, we are classy folk.


First of all, the picture could be a stand alone post, because, come on, those are some cute kids – all looking at the camera and looking happy at the same time – a first in their 18M of coexistence.

But I need to tell you the story behind the massive bruise between Taylor’s eyebrows.

It’s massive.

And noticeable.

On Wednesday, her teachers asked her what happened.  She responded “I ran into Daddy’s booty”.  They of course were confused and needed clarification when we arrived to pick her up.   Russ begins the story by saying “I wish”.

Whathadhappenedwas we went to Trader Joe’s on Tuesday night.  Taylor was pushing around one of the kid sized carts and got a little too eager and starting running with the cart.  Russ stopped in the produce section, Taylor followed him, but did not stop.  So she ran the cart into his backside.   The cart stopped, but still she did not.  The momentum caused her head to smack into the handle of the cart.   She starts bawling, and Russ tries to comfort her telling her “It’s ok, I’m not mad – it was an accident.”…thinking she was crying because she felt bad that she hit him, not realizing until a few minutes later that she had a large red knot on her forehead.

So, her story was true, but she left out the cart part, leading people to wonder if her Daddy in fact had rock hard hind parts.

laugher fills this house

Hey, I’m still here, kind of.  If you heard a big sigh of relief yesterday, it was me after my sabbatical was approved for this summer.  Holla!  Blogging more often will be among my sabbatical goals because it helps me keep my sanity partially in tact.  But for now, it’s going to be sporadic city around Better Days parts.  I could not, however, not blog about Taylor’s hilarity this morning.

While I was in the shower, she crawled into bed with Russ.  When I came out of the bathroom and the light shown into Russ’ still asleep eyes, he rolled over and put his arm around Taylor and gave her a big hug….to which she replied, “Uh, you’re disgusting!”

I laughed SO hard.  When she realized that she may have hurt his feelings, she clarified, “But you smell good”  – apparently his arm had landed on her mouth during the hug and she was noting that he tasted disgusting…maybe…or maybe she was just trying to spare his half-asleep feelings.

Then, at breakfast, we were all sitting together, which is a rarity in the morning.

Taylor mused, “You know, black is the darkest of the colors.”

Me:  “Yes, that’s right.  Which is the lightest of the colors?”

Taylor: “Yellow”

Me: “Hmm….what about this (pointing to her white napkin)?”

Taylor: “Oh, white”

Russ: “Actually I think she may be right because white isn’t really a color”

Me:  “True, white is the absence of color…Taylor, you may be right”

Taylor:  “That’s because I know everything.”


Me:  “Taylor, you are funny”

Taylor:  “I know”

I’m glad she’s a confident girl.

Later on in the meal, she declared, “It’s like we’re in a meeting”.  Funny, smart, confident, and also a PK.


In other news, Caleb LOVES syrup:


He also enjoys climbing:


A few weeks ago, Taylor declared that one day she would play basketball and wouldn’t be afraid of the buzzer.  We are one step closer to that day.  Russ took her to Columbia today to watch the USC women’s basketball team play.  They are pretty good this season and are coached by an Olympic gold medalist with a pretty impressive rap sheet:

Dawn Michelle Staley (born May 4, 1970) is an American basketball player and coach. Staley is a three-time Olympian and was elected to carry the United States flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics. She was named the University of South Carolina women’s head basketball coach on May 7, 2008. After winning the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, she went to play professionally in the American Basketball League and the WNBA. In 2011, Staley was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history.

Taylor had a lot of fun and even got to meet the players and the coach and shake their hands afterward.  She was pretty excited.  She got a poster, and Pops gave her these little cards of all the players that he got with his season tickets, like baseball cards.  She came home from the game and wanted to put them all on her wall in her room.

She says her favorite players are #0 and #1 and the coach.

It’s good to bring a little diversity to her purple, flowery, princess, girlie room.



Russ’ gut punch

Back in February of this year, Taylor got engaged on the bus.

She and “T” have been growing in their fondness for each other since then.  Taylor talks about him all the time.

During football season, Taylor declared that she like Carolina AND Clemson because T liked Clemson.  We definitely need to work on this!

Last week, she said that she was going to marry T and another little boy whom we’ll call “C”.  Even though we try to tell her that she can’t marry two people, she keeps insisting.  But I think T is still her favorite of her future husbands.

Later last week, she was talking about how “E” was wrestling with her, and T pulled him off and told him to leave her alone.  Her own little knight in shining armor.

It’s funny that whenever I pick her up she is running around playing rough with the boys much more often than she is playing with the quiet girls putting together puzzles or playing with the dollhouse.  At first, Russ thought this was great – preferring a rough and tumble girl to a prissy girl – until he realized that this extra time spent with boys meant she was spending more time with boys, and T in particular.

She missed that last 2.5 days of school because of a mystery fever, and has been asking to see her friends each day.  Today, I finally let her go visit when we picked Caleb up.  She walked into the room, and “T” was the first one to run over to her to say hello.  I could tell that they were both really excited to see see each other.  He told her all about the day they had been having.

Then they had a little spat.  Taylor said that she got the plates for their class Christmas party (we got Christmas plates today for another party and she got it confused).  He corrected her and said, “No, I’m bringing the plates for the party.  You must be bringing something else.”  It was hilarious because it totally could have been a married couple arguing over a miscommunication about who was supposed to buy the plates.

But after the brief preschool spat, I told Taylor that it was time to go.  T gave her a big hug, even picking her up off the ground.  As we were leaving, he yelled out, “Your dress is really cute”

When we got into the hallway, Taylor smiled slyly, giggled, and recapped, “T said my dress was cute.”

And with every story about T, Russ’ heart breaks just a little.