When You Give a Toddler a Kitten

When you give a toddler a kitten, cuteness abounds. Even if you feel a little sorry for said kitten because she is definitely taking a fair amount of abuse all for the sake of teaching a small child how to treat her.

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“Here kitty, kitty, kitty…”

The sweet savor of victory! Even if Luxe resorts to pulling them out by one leg…or their throat. Whatever works!

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This is the girls’ little female kitten. Her name is Pippa.

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It appears that Pippa’s attempts to run at this point are futile. You shoulda’ tried that beFORE she caught you, honey.

And then there were two! Pounce is Pippa’s brother. He’s a glutton for punishment. He comes running anytime anyone comes outside. You would think he’d go running as soon as he saw who it was outside, but no… He’s obviously starving for love no matter what he has to endure to get it.

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I think Luxe has figured out that she can basically paralyze him with this style of choke-hold. I’ll be submitting this to Webster’s Dictionary when they need a visual representation of the word “mischievous. Pounce says, “Haaaaalllppp!!!” and Pippa’s look clearly says, “I hate my life.”

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But, just look at that little face. Such love and glee.

Thank you, Pounce and Pippa, for being so patient with a baby. Certain animals just seem to know.

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All in a Week’s Time

Taegan was home on Spring Break all last week and we always try to do some fun things when she has a little time away from school. Fortunately, she had several cousins staying right up the road at my mother-in-law’s, so that made it even more fun. We started off Monday with a nature scavenger hunt after the farmer finished feeding hay. I took these photos with my phone.

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We enjoyed it. They enjoyed it. And a good time was had by all.

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Also during this week, we jumped in full throttle with potty training Luxe. It wasn’t going well.

Me: Luxe, where do we go pee and poop?

Luxe: In the toe-wet.

Me: So, why aren’t you going in the toilet?

Luxe: ‘Cuz I don’t want to.

I was in need of some reinforcements and the timing of spring break couldn’t have been better. I suggested to Taegan that she might be just the right person for this job and she squinted her little eyes and gave me a look that said, “What are you trying to pull?”

Mind you, this is the child that consistently says she’s never having kids “because they’re too much work.” Astute and accurate observation. I’ll make sure I tell her that she better feel really fortunate that I was not as sharp as she is at 24…otherwise she wouldn’t be here. And then I did it again.

And again.

But back to my story, I decided a different tactic would surely work to get Taegan to give potty training Luxe a shot. She’s competitive by nature, so I said, “I bet you could do this way better than me.” She took the bait. Show Mommy up? I’ll play. She asked Luxe if she needed to go on the toilet. Luxe, of course, followed her back there and I sat her on her potty seat on the big toilet. We don’t use the little one…because she can get off it.

So, Taegan’s in there reading a book and I hear Taegan ask Luxe, “Do you want me to hide?” Luxe says, “Yeah.” Taegan opens up the cabinet door and gets behind it and what.do.you.know….Luxe goes potty!!! I’m whooping and hollering; Luxe is grinning from ear to ear; and I’m pretty sure a person couldn’t have wiped the proud smile off of Taegan’s face for the next couple hours. Because Luxe did it again and again for Taegan. To the point Taegan started referring to it as “working her magic.” She’d call from the bathroom with Luxe and say, “Mommy, I worked my magic again!” Luxe obviously thrives on pleasing her sister. Now, she’s going like a champ for all of us. We’ve had a few accidents since Thursday when we started, but many, many more successes.

So, thank you, Taegan. I gladly bow down to your potty training prowess. 🙂

Meanwhile, Luxe continues to work on mastering the very necessary skill of drinking out of the hose.

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You can’t be a farmgirl and not get this down.

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Then, on Friday, we decided to take the girls–namely Taegan–to chick day at the local feed store. I don’t like chickens. I’ve made that very clear in past posts, but chicks are cute and I thought I might be able to work a little photography around them in spring photos with the girls. Taegan is the farm animal lover. We would have everything if it were up to her. Chickens, bunnies, cows, horses, ducks, goats, sheep, pigs–you name it, we would have it.

 

I’m also the type of mother that has a hard time saying no to things that teach responsibility. Taegan is a very practical, responsible realist.She’s never really been into playing pretend or fairy tales. If she plays, it usually has a real-life component to it and she tends to  give things a long, hard think before she commits her time. And she really wanted some chickens. And she told me she would take care of them and gather all the eggs when they started laying.

Works great for me because I do like eggs.

So, here we are at the feed store with a box.

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This chick is ready for her chicks…even down to knowing what kind she wants. Yeah, we had to have all that figured out, too. We looked up every breed they had available and picked out our favorites. The farmer asked me, “Now, are the ones we’re getting good layers?”

My reply: “Oh, we don’t care about that. We’re going purely based on looks.”

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Here’s the whole fam.

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Luxe can’t figure out why Taegan’s so happy, what we’re doing here, and why there’s all this incessant chirping.

So, we get up to the chicks and they.are.cute!!

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They had ducklings, too! I’m getting some after researching why I would want them. Has anyone ever had duck eggs? I read that they’re more nutritious, better tasting, better for baking, and that ducks lay year round–never really going through a rest time. I also read that ducks are excellent pest controllers (bugs, ticks, grasshoppers, etc), won’t dig up your yard and gardens like a chicken will, and will even kill small snakes if given an opportunity. Sign me up!!! Sounds like the best pet ever!

Seriously, I’m totally getting some ducks.

We told the man what chicks we wanted. He placed them in the box. We paid for them. And now we are the proud owners of some pretty cute little chicks.

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If you ask Taegan, she will accurately tell you exactly which breeds are which, but we’ve got 2 Welsummers, 2 Barred Rock, and 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes.

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And one happy little chicken-loving farm girl.

She puts her shoes on every 20 minutes, opens the front door, and says, “I’m going to check my chicks. You gotta be fast if you wanna’ catch those Welsummers! I just have to swoop in cuz they run!” I think she’s holding a Silver Laced Wyandotte here.

It was an eventful, productive spring break. I miss Taegan when she’s gone. She creates so much material for my creative processes.

Puddle Buddies

We had a puddle jumping session a few nights ago. My sister-in-law, Staci, is visiting along with my two nephews and naturally anytime there’s a good rain, puddles are going to happen.

Where there are puddles there will be muddy children.

Here’s the cast of characters:

Taegan:

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The oldest of the four and instigator of all things ornery. Look at those eyes. Mischief. Intelligence in spades. Spirit. Sparkle. Pray hard for us.

Drayson:

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Rough and tumble, fearless, all boy. There’s very few daring things I haven’t seen this little guy attempt. But, look at that sweet, mud-splattered face.

Carson:

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Carson has always been a calm, quiet type (at least around me). He’s shy, sweet, and is usually more content to observe from the sidelines  (sidelines meaning wherever his mommy is). Give him a rock and a stick and he’s good!

Luxe:

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Prissy. Purposeful. Pint-sized sweetness with a smidge of sass. Puppy dog eyes at level 10. Curls for days. Lover of all things cute and cuddly. This was taken after one too many times of being splashed in the face with mud. That’s a look of “Mommy, PLEASE! Can’t a girl get a little time in the mud puddle by herself??”

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To start things off, though, we’re all still relatively clean. Testing the waters. Onesies and shorts are remaining mostly white.

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Sticks and rocks again…Boy, they’re just the most interesting things!

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A good, dry time is being had by all.

And then…

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there were four.

Taegan thought a little too much good, clean fun was being had. If you’ve been following along over the years, you know my eldest has no problem getting as absolutely filthy as she can get.

Exhibit A.

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Exhibit B.

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“Walk with your nose in the air, little lady…even though there’s dirt all over your hiney.”

 

And the grand finale.

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“Dirt Road Camo”

Yeah.

Naturally, she took it up on herself to show everyone the joys of getting a run at the puddle from above in order to land in it with as much splash as possible.

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The race was on after that between Taegan and Drayson to see who could make the biggest splash.dsc_4330

 

On the days she’s not being heart-meltingly sweet and responsible, it’s this:

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A perfectly timed jump just to splash Little Sis. Even though I felt kinda bad for Luxe, I knew exactly what these kinds of antics do in the reward centers of an older sister’s brain. Let’s all just hope this is as bad as it gets and I don’t pay dearly for my raising…

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Whew! I finally got it to myself.”

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“Ohhhh, I see…feelin’ a little bad now, aren’t we?” Meanwhile, I can’t appreciate Luxe more for bringing out the affectionate side of Taegan. Not only does Luxe get the hugs and kisses that she dearly loves and bestows on all of us, but the farmer and I get to enjoy a few extra from Taegan, as well. That wasn’t the case before Luxe. You were lucky to get to steal them. “Hey, Mommy, is it just me…or would you say I won this?”

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At this point, I’m not sure Drayson’s boots are being effective at their job.

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Dirt roads…country kids…rain…boots…and a love of mud = puddle buddies.

More Photos by the Sea

It was one my favorite things ever to see my girls experience the beach for the first time! That’s one of the best parts of being  a parent–getting to see your kids take in the world. How they process it. Seeing things through little eyes that haven’t seen much and listening to their thoughts about it. They absolutely loved it!

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Getting photos of my oldest at this moment has to happen with her being unaware. Depending on the mood, she’s either too busy or too shy for much picture-taking, but I sneak them in when I can.

Taegan was a little afraid of the ocean. The sandbar in Destin extends a great length into the ocean, so you can go out a long way and still be in shallow water, but we couldn’t ever entice her to come past the rough part where the waves roll into shore. She was a beach bum most of the time and successful in talking Aunt Bailey into taking her to the pool that was close by.

The little one, on the other hand…

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She loved walking along the shore and letting the waves crash on her feet…or her knees…or her waist. Truth be told, we had a very difficult time keeping her out of the water! Luxe has no fear. Caution is not a word that occurs to her. Taegan was even cautious at this age, so I’m not sure what Luxe being the exact opposite means for the future. Probably some gray hair and a few strokes along the way. I love her adventurous spirit and sweet disposition, though! Taegan’s cautious spirit is wonderful, too! She’s a strategic, practical thinker who doesn’t mind some responsibility. She’s thoughtful in the sense of thinking of everything. She doesn’t let her parents forget much and she looks out for Luxe.

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“Ocean! Come to Mama!” My thoughts exactly, kid. 🙂

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“Too close! Too close!”

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Another one of my most favorite things right now is watching her run. It is hilarious! She’s very bow-legged and has chunky, sweet baby thighs. On top of that, we’re not setting any speed records anytime soon, so the mixture of all that makes for the best kind of entertainment.

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See, look at her–she’s back in it; just can’t get enough! And we can’t get enough of watching her. I can’t help but think God is looking down on all of us enjoying His creation with the same expression the farmer has seeing her enjoy these moments. I’m in love with this photo and all that it speaks.

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The Farmer took this one with his phone and I think it’s just precious.

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Love these two so much and everything that I’m still learning about them! Looking forward to exploring many, many new places with them!

Taegan Dresses Up for Spirit Week

Whew! I survived last week. I was creative. I baked. I shopped. I worked. I counted. I did no cleaning. I snapped pictures. I took deep, cleansing breaths. I did not maintain my sanity. And now I’m back, mostly recovered with only a small amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I don’t think I could have chosen a more inconvenient time to be 8 months pregnant. It’s really cramping my style. Usually, I thrive on the crazy and mostly enjoy it. I’m a high-energy person. I like to be involved.

However, some alien form of Breauna resides as the dominant personality in my body right now. She’s not as much fun…maybe because she has to heft a bowling ball around 24/7 amidst all the other fun things that come with the third trimester.

Anyway, last week was Spirit Week at Taegan’s school followed by their Fall Festival Friday night. I’m a PTO officer this year, so naturally, this was going to be a VERY busy week.

First, let’s talk about Spirit Week. Every day was themed.

 

DAY 1: PAJAMA DAY

I didn’t get a picture of Taegan that morning because Monday was the only day I was going to get to work. Picture time didn’t happen because Mommy was too busy trying get herself ready. (And if you knew the hoops I have to jump through to get a picture of this kid, you would know ain’t nobody got time for that). Taegan wanted to wear her red and green plaid Hello Kitty long, flannel nightgown. I got it for her last Christmas and, granted, it is adorable, but it screams “Merry Christmas!” I tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted. Nothing else would do but Christmas Hello Kitty. So, in the pouring down rain, I walked my galoshes-clad 4-year-old into the school looking like Christmas morning.

 

DAY 2: STORYBOOK CHARACTER DAY

Figuring out the storybook character for Taegan to be wasn’t hard. In fact, it only seemed natural for our tutu-wearing tomboy with crazy curls and she just so happens to be the main character in some of our favorite books. None other than Fancy Nancy!

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I bought Taegan a tiara with feathers on it and lots of pink beaded necklaces. We had the rest covered. You can’t see from this picture, but I pinned her mess of curls into a…mess of curls and stuck a few hair bows amidst it all. Ooo-la-la! She was darling. (That’s fancy for sweet). 😉 I tried to encourage her to say “Merci” any time there was an opportunity, but she drew the line at that.

 

DAY 3: WACKY WEDNESDAY

I love children’s books and I’ve read Wacky Wednesday many a time. I had this. I really knew I had it when I saw the look on the farmer’s face at the outfit I was carrying around… that look of “Are you serious?” You betcha! I was on the brink of genius! Don’t question it! See, look, even the picture’s all wacky because she’s nut that won’t stand still.

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But, I crossed right over that brink with her hair. Vertical pigtails!!

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She looked in the mirror and laughed at her whole ensemble. I take pride in it. If one can pat themselves on the back for wackiness, I did it on Wednesday.

 

DAY 4: SPIRIT DAY

There was a home game that evening and it was “Pack the Gym Night.” So, the kids were to wear their school t-shirts or red. Well, low and behold, my child owns not one dress, shirt, pair of pants, or sock that is red. Nor does she own anything with a tiger on it (the school mascot). So, I believe we went to school that day wearing a purple shirt with a fox on it.

We went to the game that night and she got her face-painted with tiger paws. We ended the night with spirit.

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DAY 5: SUPERHERO DAY

I wanted to superhero day right, but my daughter isn’t in to superheroes, so I wanted to come up with something about her that was something special.

I thought, What does Taegan like to do? Be outside or bee bopping around the farm with Daddy.

What is Taegan good at? Well, her little head is filled with various facts about the farm. All of the cows’ names, who’s going to calve soon, who had a heifer or a bull, which ones are dry or need to be milked on the bucket according to leg paint and ankle bands, which ones have recently had “masatitis.”

What is Taegan’s 4-year-old passion? This farm, the country, dirt, and cows. It’s her life.

Then, it hit me. Taegan’s super power needed to be something to do with our dairy. And then the slogan came to me.

DAIRY GIRL: FEEDING AMERICA ONE GALLON AT A TIME

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Complete with cow ears, a cape, and the dairy farming staple: black rubber boots. I’ll never top that because it truly is who she is. Farmers are definitely superheroes and she was so proud to wear it.

As you can tell, Mommy had just as much fun (if not more) with Spirit Week as Taegan did.