Christmas is much more entertaining with a 3.5 year old!

Other highlights…

She occasionally will say she’s getting presents for Halloween instead of Christmas.

We finally made a paper chain to show how many days before Christmas, because she was waking up every morning and asking if it was Christmas yet.

She was/is SO excited about the Christmas tree. She loved picking it out, decorating it, looking at it, etc.

She tells me every morning she woke up in the middle of the night and heard the elf flying back to Santa.

She calls Juan the elf “Pinocchio” most of the time.

This morning, I warned her that Juan the elf was watching her…she turned around, saw him, and said, “But he’s still smiling!”

We went to Target yesterday, and my mom came to scope out gifts. She and Carlyn went to the car afterwards while I bought presents for grandparents, and when I came back out, I handed them off to Mom and retrieved Carlyn. When I was putting Carlyn in the car after my mom drove off, she said, “I know you just went and got Ariel.” I insisted I didn’t (I really didn’t!), but she didn’t believe me. Mom swears they didn’t talk about anything I was doing while I was in the store.

She keeps us on our toes, that’s for sure! I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when her sister is joining in on all the fun!

fresh look

The girls somehow made their way outside as their daddy left for work this morning.

I went with it, and we ended up staying outside for about an hour.  Mumford and Sons played in the background as we laid around on the hammock, snacked on crackers, rode the scooter, and raked some leaves (this quickly ceased when I raked up a baby brown snake! YUCK!). Carlyn ran around trying to find red leaves, and by the time we went inside, she had a nice little pile.

As she searched for her leaves and gasped when she found the red, orange, and yellow colors, I sat there thinking of how lucky I am to have someone around me 24/7 that is so excited about the little things in life. There is something about a child’s excitement that is contagious. Carlyn is exceptionally happy most of the time – in fact, it’s exhausting some days. However, I often find that when she gets excited, so do I.

I posted just the other day on Facebook about how Carlyn found a little container of bubbles, left over from a wedding reception we had gone to. She was so excited, and when I blew the bubbles, she and Blakely just ran around in circles squealing. At one point, Carlyn was twirling with her arms out and she exclaimed, “Oh, what a wonderful day! I love EVERYTHING!” I couldn’t help but just smile at my sweet little girl and admire her joy. (It brings to mind a scene from the movie Knocked Up, where the men are watching the little girls run after bubbles…the dad says something like, “I wish I could be excited about ANYTHING as much as they are about bubbles.” I think about this a lot!)

As she exclaimed over and over again about her leaves this morning, I realized that I have not enjoyed fall (or summer, or spring, for that matter!) as much as I have with my children in a long time. Before my kids, I rarely took the time to look out and truly enjoy the changing leaves, the clouds in the sky, the seashells on the beach, or even the cows and horses in the pastures along the road. I was missing out on the beauty surrounding me – I didn’t have someone as innocent as a 3-year-old child reminding me, on a daily basis, to slow down and notice it.

In The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, he talks about something that has stuck with me ever since I read it. He talks about the grace given to us from God through Jesus Christ as a gift that we don’t have to do ANYTHING to earn…us receiving it has nothing to do with how good we are, or what we have done for God in return. He talks about how Jesus told us to become like little children, and he says we don’t take this seriously enough. He compares it to a child on Christmas – a child doesn’t hesitate to take a gift from you; they expect to receive it, and they are joyous when they do! They don’t get caught up in the details.

Why aren’t we like that with the free gift we are given – salvation for eternity?

Anyway, as a parent, I feel a constant responsibility to take advantage of every teaching opportunity that is presented – which, with a 3-year-old especially, is ALL THE TIME. Every moment is a chance to teach spelling, or counting, or shapes, or colors, or manners even.

However, I feel like my girls are teaching me just as much as I am teaching them. Because of her and Blakely, I take time to look up at the blue sky, or have a random dance party, or pay attention to the bugs and sticks in the yard. And I’m thankful for that.

Carlyn’s New Love

Carlyn has a new love…and her daddy couldn’t be more proud.

It’s Clemson football.

We were blessed this year – Andrew’s dad purchased season tickets to the Clemson games without wanting to use them, so we got to go to pretty much every game. The seats were great – in the West End Zone, shaded, with a wonderful view…and better yet, kids were all around us!

We went to two games this year on our own, but we decided to take Carlyn one game…and boy, did we start something! She went with us to every game after that first one. Well, Andrew and I went to Atlanta two weekends ago with some friends to watch the GA Tech/Clemson game (fun trip, horrible game!), and Carlyn just cried and cried because she couldn’t go see the Tigers. 😦

We tailgate with my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and she has a blast. Being at the game took a little while to get used to – she loves watching the balloons get released (“MOMMY, IT’S LIKE THE LANTERNS!” from Tangled, for those of you who haven’t seen the movie) and band playing…but the volume of the stadium upset her a few times. She LOVES being in the end zone, though, and she cries every time they kick a field goal and she doesn’t catch it. She even got on the Jumbotron her first game – she was shaking her pom poms during halftime and they filmed her! It was so exciting. Also during her first game, she kept asking if the players were being bad because she kept hearing them say they were taking a timeout. 🙂 Yesterday was the first day she actually got the cheers right – we have laughed at her because she will spell “C-S-O-S-O, N!!!!” and she’s so excited…she just couldn’t get those letters right. She also would say, “5, 3, 4, 5, fight, fight, fight!”

Yesterday was the last game of the season, and it was so much fun for her. We left at 8 am to drop Blakely off with my grandparents (too bad she puked right as we got there! YUCK! We think she gets carsick), tailgated some, and Carlyn made it through the whole game…well, almost. She fell asleep on me during the fourth quarter, which was crazy because it was so loud! She made some friends around her – they colored, played with my phone, and ate suckers. She has already asked several times about going to Clemson again to see the Tigers play!

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