Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweet as Sugar

My Abby Grace. Sweet as sugar.

She is a lot of things for only being 4 years old. Of course, she would correct me to say that she is actually 4 1/2. But, we all know I'm in no rush for her to get any closer to 5.

Anyway, like I was saying, my Abby Grace packs a lot of personality into her tiny body. She is smart, strong, funny, sassy, motivated, outgoing - honestly, it feels kind of silly to list her qualities this way. Just one word, like each one of them is just a simple description. I could write pages about each of these qualities. Examples and anecdotes to illustrate just how complex and wonderful she is. There is one thing about Abby that Matt and I always come back to though. One thing that stands above all the rest.

Her heart.

My daughter has the most loving heart. The most giving soul. The most thoughtful and sweet and intuitive and caring spirit that I have ever known. At only 4 years old (4 1/2), she continually amazes us with her love for others.

She really loves people. Really develops special relationships with others far beyond the ability of a typical 4 year old. She remembers you. Remembers what you like, remembers stories or jokes you have told, remembers games that you played together. Remembers what is important to you and what is going on in your life at the moment.

She tries to make everyone happy. For example, I always joke with her about not wanting her to grow up. She knows I am kidding, but she also realizes there is some truth to it too. She'll say things like, "Don't forget - when I grow up you get to meet my babies." And the other day she explained how she would always live close by, "I'll move into the next neighborhood with my family. When someone in our neighborhood moves away, just call me on the phone and tell me which house it is. I will run over here and get the house and then I can always live very close to you. Just don't forget to call me right away so someone else doesn't get to that house first!"

There is another story that I was reminded of tonight that really gives a glimpse into her heart. One afternoon, Matt was in the playroom with Abby while I was helping Drew with some homework. All of a sudden, I heard her crying - loudly sobbing. I ran back to the playroom to find out what was wrong. I was sure she had been badly hurt.

I opened the door to find her sitting in Matt's lap and he was holding a book.

The Giving Tree.

I asked what was wrong and Matt simply explained, "the book made her sad." In between sobs, she emphatically denied this. She kept insisting she was "just tired." She ran out of the room.

Matt explained further, "As I kept reading the book, I could tell she was just getting sadder and sadder. Her face was changing and I could just see that she was really upset. Finally I told her that I thought everything was going to be ok. That was when she started sobbing. I couldn't console her. That's when you came in."

Abby wouldn't admit it, but that book had broken her little heart. At only 4 years old, Abby consistently shows a level of empathy for people that I rarely even see in adults. She understands people's emotions. She is always thoughtful and loving and generous when it comes to interacting with other children and adults.

She wants to get to know you. She wants to talk to you about anything and everything. She has instant connections with people that she meets. And some are even more special than others. For example, my Papa and my Grammy. For some reason, she just has this special place in her heart for them. Of course, they are my grandparents and they are family so we would expect her to love them. But there is something different there - a special love she has for them. We rarely ever get to see them, but she asks about them all the time and wants to know how they are doing and when she will see them again.

This past Saturday we took the kids to a Gator football game. During the 4th quarter, we had tickets to go sit in the box with Matt's company. As soon as we walked in, Matt introduced us to one of his co-workers, Sophia. Right away, Abby was smitten. There was an instant connection. After a few minutes, we went down to sit in the seats and watch the game. Next thing I knew, Abby was asking to go back up the stairs. Matt thought she wanted a snack, but I knew immediately where she was going. She wanted to talk to Miss Sophia. Sure enough, I found her a few minutes later sitting at a table and chatting away with Miss Sophia. She was in her element and happy as a clam. What's the big deal about a football game when there is girl talk to be had?

Matt later told me that Sophia said to Abby, "When I have a daughter, I want her to be exactly like you."

Oh, my sweet Abby Grace. I am so proud of your heart of gold. There are so many qualities about you to love. So many moments that take my breath away.

I am so grateful for the privilege of being your Mama.

So very grateful that you are mine.

Monday, November 16, 2009


About a week ago, Matt was outside playing basketball with the kids while I got some things done around the house. Drew and Abby kept running inside every few minutes for a "huddle." After eavesdropping on them a few times, I decided to pull out the camera and take video. Here's a little peek into what was going on...

Just to clarify, we ARE Magic fans in this house. However, the Lakers are currently the champions. So, every time Matt and Drew play basketball, Drew insists on being the Lakers while Matt is the Magic.

There are so many things I love about this.

I love that they run into the house to keep their plans a "secret" from Matt because he pretends to listen to their huddle. And that while they are inside, Abby still hushes Drew so that Matt can't hear them.

I love that this captures their personalities - Abby is the chatter box and the one in charge and Drew just goes along with the plan. I love that Drew is being so sweet with Abby - passing the ball to her and letting her shoot the baskets instead of doing it all by himself.

I love that the plan is for Abby to pretend she is sleeping, yet as soon as they get out there they make Matt pretend to sleep so they can score a basket on him.

I love that Matt has two hoops set up - a little one for Abby and the tall one for Drew.

Mostly, I'm happy that I caught these moments on video. It wasn't anyone's birthday or a holiday or a special occasion. It was a normal Saturday afternoon of kids playing with their Daddy. It is these moments that I'm conscious to commit to memory or to photograph/videotape. It is these moments of getting along with each other and using their imaginations and having fun that I want to remember. Not just the special occasions, but the everyday things that make these children such a joy to be around. To remember their sweet voices and little bodies - just as they are.

I LOVE this age for both of them. We really couldn't be having any more fun...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Easily Entertained

I love my camera. I have always loved pictures and scrapbooking. I have kept scrapbooks filled with photos and memorabilia ever since high school. Back then, all I needed was construction paper, fancy scissors, and Elmer's glue.

I took my hobby to a whole new level once Drew and Abby came along. I love scrapbooking - documenting the memories, being creative, time spent with friends - all of it makes me so happy.

I also love taking pictures of my kids. I got my first digital camera when I was pregnant with Drew. Several cameras later, I finally have a digital SLR that I LOVE! I have had it for a year and a half and I have taken well over 10,000 pictures with it. I still only use it on the automatic setting (gasp!), but the quality of my pictures has drastically improved and it is even more fun to edit and scrapbook them!

Recently, I was editing the pictures from Abby's last day of preschool. That morning, we had gone to pick up cupcakes (decorated with little graduation caps) for the class. I took this photo of Abby with one of the cupcakes.

The colors in the photo are a little too warm, so I was trying to edit the picture to balance out the color. It was then that I noticed something...

Do you see it too?

No, it's not just those sweet freckles that are beginning to appear on her nose. However, I have fond memories of my Dad counting my freckles when I was a little girl, so I do the same thing with Abby. And, it's not her birthmark that becomes more prominent when she is really happy or really upset. Cupcakes make this little girl VERY happy!

It's something wrong with her pretty, blue eyes. There is a speck of orange in them. What in the world is that?

It's me! I was wearing an orange shirt that day. You can clearly see my reflection in her blue eyes.

This made me laugh out loud!

Obviously, I am easily entertained...