Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Hope You Dance

I have big dreams for Mimi, and one of them is that she will be a contestant on one of my very favorite TV shows So You Think You Can Dance. If you're a fan of the show, I'm sure you secretly wish the same for your daughter, but it's no secret around here. Mimi will be a great dancer . . . at least I hope.
An amazing dancer must start somewhere, so we started with ballet.

Oh my goodness. Have you ever seen anything more precious?
We enrolled Mimi in the Tutu Tots class at Baby Take a Bow. It is absolutely the cutest dance studio I've ever seen, and the owner Kristin and Mimi's teacher Nikki are so sweet and patient with my little monkey. When I registered Mimi, all of the 2-year-old classes were full, so we decided she was mature enough for the 3-4-year-old class. Ha ha ha haaa . . . yeah, right. At the beginning of the classes, she has been so excited to be there that she followed the other girls in and sat on her carpet circle.
About three minutes into stretches Mimi's attitude totally changed. She noticed herself in the mirror and made funny faces and twirled and kicked her little slippered foot out into the air. She marched around the other girls in circles while singing Frosty the Snowman to the top of her lungs. She ran and jumped and squealed with delight. She threw herself on the floor and announced that she was very sleepy and was going night-night. Meanwhile the others learned first position and "teddy bear arms." So maybe ballet might not be her thing, but I'm not giving up hope just yet. We're trying Hip Hop for the spring session, which might be her thing.
I can't quite remember what the issue was that she had with Isabella's shoe, but it must have been pretty funny.

And I truly hope that she dances.

Last week I was working near Peoria, which I've realized is southern Illinois. Okay, basically anything south of the Chicago suburbs is considered southern Illinois. Lots of beautiful farmland and gigantic windmill contraptions. And country music. I haven't heard country music on a radio station since I've lived in Chicago, so as I was flipping channels a warm, fuzzy feeling grew within me as Lee Ann Womack sang.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)

Ah, tears. I get so overwhelmed with all of Mimi's energy and curiosity at times, but I couldn't be happier about the little girl she's becoming.
I'm also pretty happy about how Mack is, well, so stinkin' happy. I don't mean that he's just pleasant -- he's HAPPY with a capital H. All. The. Time.

I can never be upset when I see his sweet little squinty smile. I can't seem to get a video to upload on blogger in less than a bazzillion hours, but I did post a hilarious video of his cackle on Facebook recently. I've never seen a baby laugh as much as he does. Whenever I need calming down from sitting in ridiculous traffic, I just pull up that video on my phone and laugh until I have tears in my eyes.
How great are these legs?

I hope Mack dances, too. And not after some girl has to force him or after he has had a few beers. Watch out, dance floor. The Darbys are taking over.

But whether Mimi is a ballerina or not, she will always be a princess. Excuse me, I mean a "pwinsthesth." We can't stop making her say it with her sweet little lisp. We keep her dress-up clothes in a pull-out drawer in the ottoman, and when she gets restless and wild I'll tell her to look in the drawer because there's a surprise.
"A thurpwise? Oh, wow! My pwinsthesth dwesh!"

And the little ugly burgundy velveteen thing in her arms deserves an introduction. Meet Teddy Bear.
There's a funny story behind Teddy Bear. There's a restaurant in Memphis named Mortimer's that normally serves people above the age of 50 with meat and veggies and food I normally don't find appealing . . . but I was pregnant at the time, so just go with it. Anyway, this was at a time that eating at a restaurant with Miss Priss was quite difficult, so Clint had gulped down his dinner as quickly as possibly so he could entertain Mimi. He let her run around the bar while I finished eating, and meanwhile they made friends with a nice lady who was sitting at the bar. The lady left after a while and returned with a present for Mimi -- the little velvet bear. She told Clint she lived near the restaurant and had a box full of toys for whenever her grandchildren visited. So we left Mortimer's that night with an old bear that reeked of cigarette smoke and moth balls. I have tried to hide Teddy Bear at the bottom of the toy basket, but he emerged about a month ago. The two have been inseparable.

And speaking of another two who've been inseparable . . . they're beginning to like each other a little more. Makes my heart smile.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

I love the idea of a new year -- a time to start over. I like to say things like, "Oh, I'll get to that after the new year." Okay, maybe I like to think it's the time to take care of my procrastination. I mean, what else do I have to do when there is no shopping, decorating, or traveling and packing to do . . . just snow and coldness and staying inside? This year I not only plan to write down my goals but also how I plan to reach these goals. Yes, I'm a salesperson with goals and this is how I function. So my goals for the new year are as follows:

1.) Spend more date nights with my husband. If we don't have time alone, then we start to get mad at each other for no reason. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but I think we forget to talk to each other when the babies are around. You know, at least talk about things only pertaining to us as adults like silly nonsense that no one else would understand. Inside jokes and such. Lucky for us we have a fantastic nanny who is willing to work late occasionally, and if she can't then she has about 100 other girlfriends who might be able to do so. We are doing a good job with this one so far. We went out to a fantastic dinner the night before New Year's (that's the thing to do when you get old and don't feel the need to fight the crowds), went to see Weezer (SO FUN! School of Rock even performed a couple of Weezer songs in between sets. Yes, there is a such school, and it's only a couple of blocks from my house), and we have tickets to Wicked for next week. Also, we just got David Gray tickets, and I am so grateful to my sweet hubby for all this. I don't expect the dates to always be this extravagant, but it's a great way to start out a new year.
Since we had no plans on NYE, Clint decided to make a fantastic steak and lobster dinner for us. It was a first for making lobster, and it was yummo! Good wine also helps.

2.) Potty train Mimi. This one I wanted to go back on because it really seemed like a lot of trouble. She could basically change her own diaper, so why rock the boat? Because she's smart enough to use the potty, that's why, so we bit the bullet and dove right in. Lacy showed up my first day back to work after New Year's, and she had a plan. Thank goodness because I didn't. She set her phone alarm for every 5 minutes to take Mimi to the bathroom, and they basically spent that Monday in the bathroom. There were a few accidents that day, and they talked about using the potty when she needed to go. Thank goodness when I got home that night there were no accidents. And there were no accidents the next day. By the weekend she was out of the diaper at night. 99.9% of the credit goes to Lacy, and thank goodness she knows more about kids than I do.
The convos from the bathroom are hilarious now. With a very determined tone and serious face she said to me one night, "Mommy, I not poo poo in my pants. I only poo poo in the potty. I not poo poo my pants ANY. MORE." Okay, okay, Mimi. Don't be so hard on yourself. When I'm not looking she occasionally gets the potty seat and holds it up to her face while singing some silly song about, "Look at me, I'm celery," that she learned from Olivia the Pig." She sings and reads books and tells stories. But she gets the job done. Big girl.
3.) Get Mimi to sleep in her big girl bed. I don't know when or how this will happen because she loves the crib. We tried for a few nights and failed, so any suggestions will be great.
4.) Finish thank you notes from Mack's baby gifts. It's a work in progress.
5.) Find more time to sew. How do I go about getting more hours added to the day? I see all these wonderful children's clothes, and I know I can make them -- and I even have tons of fabric and a sewing machine and patterns. All I need is more time.
6.) Not get stressed about work. I let it become stressful recently, and that is a big no-no. I can only do a certain amount of things from 7:30-5:30, and I have to let go of what I cannot do.
7.) Soak up every second of Mack's baby-ness. It is going by sooo fast. He's rolling over, laughing like crazy, eating baby food, holding and playing with his toys, and he makes sweet sounds and is so soft and smells so good.

And he's getting bigger . . . thank goodness he is, but I can't help but want him to stay little.
LOVES his jumperoo. It's difficult for me to get a good pic because he won't stop jumping. Mimi still wasn't even big enough to get in this thing at this age.
8.) Try to make my children love each other. I try so hard to get good photos of them, and this is what Mimi does, "I go night-night, Mommy. I not take picture with baby Mack. I go to sleep." Seriously? I have a million of her being a little sass, and he is laughing at her. There's probably not much I can do about this, but I'm going to try. I try to force Mimi to hold him and kiss him and play with him, and she just squirms away because she's way too busy for baby Mack.

9.) Try to remember the funny stuff Mimi says:
"I wear my toot-toot (her word for tutu)! I not like my jommers!" She likes to run around naked in her "toot-toot."
"Oh no! Ru-ru, don't touch the pire (fire)! It's too hot and danger-uch!"
"Water!! Whoooooa, water!" and then she laughs hysterically. We don't really know what this means, but she started saying it to Clint when he read books to her at night.
At night when we put her down for bed, she asks us, "Will you pwease sing Jesus loves me this I know they are weak he is strong?"
"Mommy, here 'da mote control. I watch Woody-Buzz! I watch Monsters! I watch Bwangelinga (Angelina Ballerina)!"
Every day when I get home from work she runs to me to give me a big hug and says, "Mommy! I so glad you're here!"
When we ask Mimi if she's ready to go night-night, she responds with, "No thanks. I dance." or she says, "No thanks. Maybe later."
All meals are called "lunch."
She has a problem with tooting and then announcing it to the world. Guess who taught her that one.

10.) Be happy. I know that sounds like a silly goal, but I totally think it's a choice. Sometimes we like to think that the whole world is against us and we're so unlucky, but have you ever been around people who are less fortunate but are really, really happy? Some of the most negative people I have ever met have so much more than they could ever need -- family, friends, a warm home -- but they choose to be pissy. So I'll choose to not be. I have absolutley everything I could possibly need. I'm not in jail. I'm not in the hospital. I will not stress about a dirty house or not having time to make dinner. I can order pizza or sushi delivery. I will not stress about traffic. I have Pandora and an IPod. There is so much for me to be happy about that there's not enough time for me to be unhappy and stressed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Whew, I've had a lot of catching up to do, huh? I realize it is January 16 (only 4 more months until my birthday! Oh, and happy 4th birthday to my sweet nephew JR!!), and I am STILL finishing Christmas posts . . .but I must finish them before I move on to my "usual everyday ranting and raving and showing off my beautiful children" posts. So let's wrap it up, Jeri Anne.

Anyway, I think the song says it perfectly -- Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Who doesn't love twinkly lights and warm, cinnamony smells in the kitchen and the baby Jesus and family togetherness? Only a Grinch I suppose, and even he warms up at the end. In my world Christmas is a season that begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends whenever I get around to taking the tree down. Oh, the ginormous tree that took up 3/4 of the den . . . it is now taking up 3/4 of the outside stairwell propped up against our neighbor's door. They finally returned home from South Africa yesterday and Clint had to inform them that they cannot open their door to the back stairwell because there is a 2 ton Christmas tree that will fall in on them. I guess we could prop it against our door OR take the dang thing to a dump, but I digress. Anywho, back to the final Christmas post: The Nixon Family Christmas.

Growing up in my parents' house in Kendrick -- this is what my dad calls our community even though I think there is no such thing -- Bobby and I woke up at like 3:00AM and made everyone else drag themselves out of bed to see what molded plastic million-piece nonsense Santa had brought us that we would string all over the house for everyone to step on. Then mom would make some sort of breakfast -- sausage and homemade biscuits or maybe pancakes with syrup and, get this, peanut butter (strange, but we love it) -- and then we'd all find a place to pile up and get nice and cozy and go back to sleep. Only to wake up and eat the most amazing turkey and dressing in the whole world. And of course the entire month prior was filled with watching It's a Wonderful Life, peanut butter and crackers dipped in white chocolate, Santa Claus sweaters, classroom parties and drawing a number for a present, school-made ornaments on the tree, and a ridiculously crowded Belk's and JCPenny. And family. Finally making time to see family that we hadn't seen all year and then remembering that we really did like those people and should remember to get together more often. Mmmmm, nostalgia.

Okay, back to 2010 . . . sorry I'm getting off-topic. It's early Sunday morning, and Mimi woke me up at 6:00 to go potty -- that's right. Potty. Girlfriend is potty-trained -- even at night. But that's a whole other post I'll get to later. Anyway, so I'm sitting in my kitchen since I couldn't go back to sleep and am drinking coffee, warming up by the fire, and smelling the cinnamon rolls baking in the oven . . . and, longest run-on sentence ever . . . and downloading all these photos and thinking about the excitement surrounding pulling out all the boxes of Christmas ornaments as a child -- I still remember the way that box smelled like cardboard and cinnamon -- is really making me all warm and fuzzy . . . sooooo . . .

. . . now we have our Nixon Christmas at my sister's house in Nashville. Well, actually a 'burb called Brentwood, and I LOVE being at her house. She has done a great job of making her home look all fancy and such, but it is very, very comfortable and actually fits our ginormous family -- I guess that's what we get when my parents decide to have four kids and then we all decide to have more babies. I love a ginormous fam, by the way. So everyone was able to make it except Bobby's family in Cali, who we missed dearly -- maybe I should photoshop them into some pics . . .

Bebe, Coco, Amos, and baby Mackaroni.
I think Mack has some magnets in those fat cheeks of his that just draw people in. No one can seem to stop kissing him.And we did a lot of this: jommers and Phineas and Ferb. Here we have Lainee-Luckett, Anderson, Nicholas, and Meemers. And, yes, the girlies do have matching jommers . . . and it wasn't even planned. They just both came down the stairs with them on before bedtime.

I love a big breakfast, and Amos knows how to deliver.
One morning she did a waffle bar with all the fixins -- fruit, nuts, and even chocolate chips. She makes me look so bad as a mom. If Mimi ever has a slumber party, I'll probably just leave a box of Pop-Tarts on the counter and go back to bed.
And of course it was a hit! (Can you see all the snow out the windows? What a nice treat!)

Over Christmas Mack turned four months old (can you believe it?), and I decided it was time for rice cereal -- wahoo! And did he love it?

Oh my word, like a catfish loves a dirty lake! (I just made that one up -- terrible, I know). I cannot shovel the food in fast enough. Bubber is a baby food-eating machine . . . it's what keeps those cheeks so fat.
And Mimi also learned a fun trick while at my sister's house -- a front roll! She couldn't let Mack steal the spotlight, so in the middle of the den she just stood on her head and flipped over. We had worked on this at Little Gym forever ago, but I guess she was finally ready.
The hard-working men of the family. More alike than they'll ever care to admit :).
Of course there had to be more presents. Mack loved all of them . . . and Mimi loves that she gets twice as many toys to play with now because of him.

Oh, and what's that? Is that what I think it is? Why, yes, it's JESSIE! Woohoo, Toy Story!

Mimi squeezed her Jessie all weekend.

I just squeezed her.
And the toy of the year for our family was Dance Central on Kinect. Oh my goodness -- even Poppaw and Grumpy (Coco and Nick's other granddad -- how fun is the name Grumpy?) did some back-up dancing that I would kill to have on video. If you've ever seen us at a wedding, you would know that the Nixons have moves. While they might not always be very good moves, at least we know how to "dance like no one's watching." Luckily, the grandchildren also know how to shake it, and I'm so glad that they aren't scared.
These two girls really had to practice their moves on Dance Central . . . because they were going to need them for when Amy and I took them to . . .

the Usher concert! Oh yes we did. I'm still in shock myself. We heard the advertisement on the radio a couple of days after Christmas, and it was all the girls could talk about. We came home from shopping that afternoon, and they promptly marched themselves upstairs to get ready for the show. What?! We didn't tell them we were going. We didn't have tickets. But they were determined, so why not? And what a way to wrap up the holiday -- Christmas and Usher. I think the two go hand in hand.

Snow Day!!

I NEVER imagined that when we left all the snow and cold temps behind in Chi-town that they would follow us to Tennessee for Christmas. Never in a million years. But I'm so glad they did.One thing that we are lacking in Chicago is good sledding hills. We can ice skate and build gigantic snowmen, but there's nowhere in the city that we can hurl our bodies down hills on plastic sleds . . . but my sister's neighborhood in Nashville is a sledder's dream. So the whole family bundled up -- just check out my crazy dad on the left. Of course my family should have the best snow gear, but I left it all at home. Thank goodness Target had one pair of snow boots in Mimi's size.
Super-sledding champion Nick ready to hit the slopes again.
Of course my sister would have some kind of designer furriness. I'm sure she even had on make-up and hairspray. Geez.

But I loves her, anyway!

Awwwww, Bubby loves the snow . . . and his daddy. He could have hung out in it all day. Sweet, fat little monkey. And luckily I did bring his itsy bitsy gloves and fuzzy dinosaur get-up.
Poppaw finally warmed up a little and was a fantastic sport about it all. He even sledded a few times . . . after making sure there were no children on the hill that he couldn't crash into. By the way, Mimi loved sledding, and she even went down the super-long hill all by herself a few times!

Posing, of course.

The next cover of Cool Sledders magazine . . . just don't tell Clint there's no such thing.

And the million dollar shot -- Bebe loved sledding! Who would have ever known? She's a bit more of a daredevil than most people would ever imagine. Try to picture her barefoot skiing while climbing on a guy's shoulders . . . because she once did that sort of thing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Twas the Night Before Christmas . . .

. . . and all through the Darby house . . .

. . . lots of little creatures were stirring.

The Christmas Eve festivities take place at Clint's parents' house, and we always have more food and presents than we can handle. I love that Mimi is old enough to really play with her cousins JR and Olivia. They sang and danced and ate and ran and ran and yelled and ran. Whew. By the way, doesn't JR look quite dashing in his fancy tie? He told his mom that he just had to have a tie for Christmas Eve dinner. So handsome.

And I am not very good at taking photos in low light, so I had to get a better one of Olivia.

Mack was on duty in case things got out of hand.

But as soon as he went on break, everyone had to pass him around and kiss those fat cheeks.

But Uncle Jeff seemed to bore him the most.

See what I mean? Geez.
Don't you know they totally called each other and planned the purple dress and black cardigan outfits? Mimi noticed that she had a pile of presents and soon realized that although Santa already came to her house that wasn't the end of the presents. What a lucky girl.
Oh my, and someone got a "Woody-Buzz" present . . . but to her dismay, it wasn't hers! Sweet JR let her play with it all night though.
I'm sure someone just burped or tooted or something really cool like that.

And later in the night (much, much later) we finally put on our jommers and had to go to sleep before Santa showed up in Memphis. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!