Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Traditions

The day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year! And definitely not because of the after Christmas sales. I'm not brave enough (or crazy enough:) to go out in the wee hours of the morning and jab some elbows into other mommas on a mission for the latest toys. We continued our family tradition of going to WalMart to "cut" our tree. I don't know if it was because we went to the newer (nicer!) store that was recently opened near us, but WalMart was much busier this year than it was in years past. It wasn't horribly busy, but the past two years the store was practically dead so it was a little bit of a shocker.

Anyway, we got our tree, along with a few tree-decorating essentials (sugar cookies and egg nog). While we were picking out the tree, I saw a pile of limb clippings off in the corner. They had some trees on display to show the different sizes, so I'm assuming the clippings were from those few trees. Jared laughed at me, but I snatched those things up! There was no one out there for me to ask if it was okay for me to take them, but the way they were just haphazardly tossed to the side, I can only imagine they were going to be thrown away. I didn't want those beauties bio-degrading in a landfill without serving some purpose for greater beauty, so I'm giving them a home throughout our home. On the mantel. Maybe a wreath. Who knows :)

We got home and thus began the decorating. Except not till the next day. Actually, the day after that. Sunday. That's when we decorated. On Friday we were too tired. On Saturday we went over to Lake City to have our third and final Thanksgiving meal. This time with some of the local Rollins family. Charlotte had a blast playing with James, and has since not stopped asking about him, Toto, Pop, and Mel ("May-el" as Charlotte says, with a little Southern accent). On the drive home, Charlotte started screaming for no reason. She's not the best travel companion. We stopped in Baldwin to let her get out of her car seat and go to the bathroom, hoping that she might just have to poop. No poop, but she did calm down, until we tried to put her back in her car seat. She started freaking out again. We asked if she wanted the baby's seat to ride beside her. It was just tossed in the backseat, but after we snapped it in the seat beside her she calmed down. Strange child.

So, Sunday afternoon we finally began the decorating of the tree. And here come the pictures...

Charlotte glitterfied. All of this glitter was previously on a Mickey Mouse ornament. I am expecting to find some glitter in the toilet in the next day or two.

You might notice the red puffy eye in the above picture. She got into a fight with another mosquito. The mosquito won. This is what it looked like this morning.
Please disregard the fact that she was wearing the same outfit this morning as she was last night. I may or may not have been too lazy to put pajamas on her before bedtime. And this may or may not be the first time this has happened.

I'm sure you can't even tell, but her favorite ornaments were the blue, glittery balls.

She saw the topper, recognized it as a star, and from then on has been calling it a hat

Hanging an ornament other than a blue, glittery ball

We ended the evening by reading a musical book, "O Little Town of Bethlehem" to her

This time of year is special to begin with, but having a child to share in the excitement makes it all the more fun and special. She gets excited about seeing the decorations, lighted trees, and all the hooplah of the season. I know that's not what it's all about (it's really the hokey-pokey, right? haha:), and we're doing our best to teach her what the true meaning is, but it's so much more fun for me now that I have a family of my own who I can enjoy it with (or "with who/whom I can enjoy it", since you're not supposed to use a preposition to end a sentence with :)... I know that's the rule, but dadgummit, sometimes it just sounds better with a preposition at the end. And do you really expect someone who uses a word like "dadgummit" to follow all the rules of grammar?)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Funny Book

Now that we are officially in the holiday season, which is heavily based on family traditions, I thought I would share with everyone one of our family traditions. It's not something specific to this time of year, but a fun tradition nonetheless.

While Jared, his brothers and sister were growing up, his parents kept a "Funny Book" for their family. They wrote down all of the funny things the kids said or did to make sure they wouldn't forget them and be able to recall them to their prom dates :) It's something that we've started for our family as well, and now that Charlotte has started talking, we've been adding to it more frequently. A lot of the stories aren't as funny when written out, but it at least helps us remember each story, and we can remember how funny it was at the time. Even if it was a "You had to be there..." sort of thing.

Here are a few stories from our Rollins Funny Book...

Prior to Brittany’s Lingerie Shower, Jared asked…“Do women try on the lingerie for each other at a lingerie shower?”

On the Honeymoon, leaning back in his kayak off the coast of Maui while gently rocking back in forth in the swell, Jared mused…“This is just like lying in a hammock, only uncomfortable.”

One night in September of 2007 we were going over our family verse (Col 3:17-20) and Jared asked Brittany if she thought she was submissive. Of course she said she was, so he asked her to give him an example of how/when she was submissive. She said "No, I don't wanna!"

While working together in the nursery at Grace Community Church, Brittany was watching one of the children, Zack, play with a ball. It was inflatable and clear and had two smaller balls inside of it. Brittany asked him, “Are you having fun with that ball, Zack?” Jared replied, “I don’t know that I would call it that…” because he thought she had said, “Are you having fun with that ball sac?”

While watching the pre-game activities of a Florida State football game, Charlotte saw the flame lit on the spear and ran up to the TV and began trying to blow it out. (Approximately 22 months old)

While loading up the van to go visit family, Jared and Brittany were making several trips in and out of the garage. Charlotte could tell we were all going somewhere and grew tired of the in and out (and the let-down of when we would come back inside), so she looked to her Daddy and asked, “Hey! Wanna go?!” (2 years old)**

**A prime example of something that you just can't explain how funny it was in words. But just having this story written down will help us remember her expression and the tiresome sound in her voice as she was asking if we would like to go already.

And in full disclosure, I must admit that I have the most entries in our Funny Book. Apparently, I say more dumb things than Jared. Or at least the dumb things I say are funnier or more memorable. Such a good thing to be the best at, right?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has as many things to be thankful for as we do. I could list them all, but I don't want to make ya'll jealous and start coveting my life. My life sure isn't perfect, but seriously, I have it so good and am grateful to the Lord for His blessings.

We started off the morning by watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving while eating homemade bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits. I remember seeing the Great Pumpkin and A Charlie Brown Christmas as a child, but I think this may have been the first time I saw A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It's hilarious, folks. Jared and I were cracking up throughout the whole thing. "A must-see family movie," says Brittany.

We had planned to have Thanksgiving lunch with my stepmom's family today, but because of her stepdad's health, the lunch at his place ended up being canceled. So plans changed sort of last minute to spend the day with my dad's family over in Hampton instead. My Dad is the oldest of 11 kids. Nope, not a typo. 11. As in eleven. They grew up on a farm so I guess needed the extra help for milking cows :) Anyway, I suppose when you have 11 kids and an umpteen number of grandkids (in the upwards of 25... plus those who've married... plus the great-grandbabies), you get used to last minute guests. And like every Southern family, there's always way more food than can be eaten. So we spent the afternoon visiting with the few who were there (only 25 or so. A very small crowd for a Meng gathering.). Charlotte enjoyed chasing Pop's dog around the house. Pop's dog endured being chased around the house by Charlotte.

Like all grandparents, Grandma and Pop have lots of pictures of their grandkids around the house. Jared was holding Charlotte and pointed to the picture below and asked her who it was.

Charlotte, very confidentely, answered, "Charlotte!"

Can you say "Mini-Me"?!

Seriously, how cute is that picture of Aaron and I? Our arms around each other and everything. I'm pretty sure candy or ice cream was involved to get that pose :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ABCs and 123s

No comments about my awful singing, the unmade bed, or clothes hangers scattered on the floor. I was going to get the mess cleaned up, but just decided to keep it real for you :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Naomi's Middle Name

Naomi still does not have a middle name. Poor thing. But we now have a list of names that we like! Baby steps, right? ("Baby steps", how appropriate...)

Naomi Anne Rollins
Naomi Kate Rollins
Naomi Lynn Rollins

I've put a poll up on the right hand side of the page. Please vote for your favorite! The only rule is that you can't be offended if we don't pick the one you chose or whichever one wins. As the ones who contributed DNA to this child, we reserve the right to pick the least popular, the one you didn't vote for, or one that isn't even on the list. Contributing DNA makes one pretty powerful in these situations.

Picking a name this time around has been quite the challenge. With Charlotte, the name Charlotte popped into my head, I asked Jared how he liked it, he said it was a winner. A couple days later, he asked how I liked Michelle for a middle name. Thus was Charlotte Michelle. Naomi, on the other hand, was not quite as simple. We had a list of names we liked but none that we really loved. Actually, Naomi was never actually on the list. We had seen it several times on baby name websites and books, but it never popped out to us enough to put it on the list. Then one day, Ta-Da! There it was, suggested to me by Nymbler, a website that you can enter up to six names that you like and it will give a list of an infinite number of names that it thinks you might like as well. I seriously spent hours on that site. I saw Naomi, fell in love, e-mailed it to Jared, he like it, that was that. Whew! I never understood the parents who made lists of names and couldn't decide. You hear a name, you like it, that's your kid's name! Unfortunately, not always.

Funny story. Not super funny. Just sort of, huh, that's kind of funny...

The one name that Jared and I both really liked was Olivia. But there is a little girl in our church a few months younger than Charlotte named Olivia and we didn't want to be the copy-cat couple, especially since they would be so close in age. So Olivia wasn't an option.

A name that I liked from the beginning was Claire. But I didn't like the sound of Claire Rollins. The "r" sound at the end of Claire and beginning of Rollins was too hard to say. So that wasn't an option.

The other name that I really liked that Jared never got on board with was Vanessa. His reason? It made him think of the character on the Cosby Show and he didn't want someone else to come to mind when he heard his daughter's name. Okay, I can respect that.

But once he said that I realized that three of my favorite names were all characters from the Cosby Show. How funny is that?! I know, not super funny, but sort of, huh, that's kind of funny... Right? Humor me, folks.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No, I'm Not Having Twins

Throughout the pregnancy with Charlotte and Naomi (yes, I'm still pregnant with Naomi...), I have been quite amazed and appalled by some of the things people choose to say to a pregnant woman. I will grant you that I am in a slightly more hormonal state (if you speak with Jared, he will likely exaggerate this condition of mine. Please feel free to ignore his opinion:), so I might be a tad more sensitive to some comments received, but I do strongly believe people need a filter between their minds and their mouths. What you say to a pregnant woman is likely to be translated differently than what you said or how you intended it. And you do not want to make a pregnant woman angry. Or cry. So for anyone who has not been pregnant or been around a pregnant woman to know how she thinks, here are some things to put on your "What Not To Say" list.

"Are you sure you're not having twins?" or "Are there two in there?"
No, kind sir or madam, but thank you for implying that I am large enough to have two beings inside of me.

"Wow, you're huge!"
Umm, thanks. No one likes being told this when they aren't pregnant. Why would being pregnant change this fact at all? C'mon, folks!

"Are you pregnant or just fat/gaining weight?"
Don't mention the words "fat" or "gaining weight" to a pregnant woman. At one of my appointments during Charlotte's pregnancy, a doctor told me that my weight gain was a little high. While I know it is his job to be concerned and keep me informed of the progress of the pregnancy, if even a doctor's comment about weight is translated in a pregnant woman's mind as, "You're fat and you have a chunky butt," the layperson commenting on the subject doesn't stand a chance of getting out of that conversation without great offense to her. And to be on the safe side, just never ask this question. One day you will ask it of someone who is not pregnant and you'll be in an "open mouth-insert foot" situation.

"Are the doctors concerned about your weight gain?"
Seriously? Did you seriously just ask that?

"You'll never make it to your due date"!
Thank you for implying that I am that large. Much appreciated.

"This is your second? No wonder you're showing so early." or "... No wonder you're so big."
For the most part, unless you're telling her that she looks great or is "all baby", it's best not to comment on her size. Ask her how she's feeling or how much longer till she's due. But comments about her size are generally going to be taken badly.

And about the stomach-touching... It's always a good idea to ask if this is okay. Especially if you don't know the person. If I were to approach a non-pregnant stranger and begin patting and rubbing their belly, they would likely look at me like I was insane. Please do not be surprised if I give you, dear stranger, the same look when you touch my baby belly. I don't so much mind the touching from people I know, but for some women, the belly is completely off-limits for everyone. Ask before you touch.

Now, I do understand that there are some women who have gone through their pregnancy feeling beautiful, love being told how large they are getting, and love having people touch all over their baby bellies. They are an anomaly. A rare breed. Not the average pregnant woman. For the sake of not having your head bitten off, assume that all pregnant women have a crazy case of raging hormones not to be reckoned with. Play it on the safe side. Tell her she's beautiful. If she's in the latter part of her pregnancy, she likely doesn't feel it. And even if she may not look beautiful on the outside, she is carrying a precious gift from God and that is a beautiful thing. And just typing that thought made me tear up. My hormones are fine, I swear :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

I can barely believe it, but two years ago at this time, we were holding our precious newborn, "ooh"ing and "aww"ing over how cute she was, and ""ing over the fact that she came three weeks early. She has brought so much joy and so many smiles to our lives. It really is hard to remember what life was like before she was here, even though it was only a two short years ago.

We had a small, family party for her this past Saturday and she had a blast!

Apparently, she was not a fan of our singing

Much more content after blowing out the candles

Ready to tear into all the presents

A little mommy

And here are just a few of my favorite pictures from her first two years...

On her birth day, in the arms of her proud Daddy

As if she wasn't gift enough, she gave us her first smiles on Christmas day

How I coped with things when she was two months old :)

The day of her Dedication

Seriously, this smile melts my heart

Just over one year old at her Aunt Shannon's wedding

Looking so cute in her Christmas dress!

Taking care of business in her Daddy's office

Happy Birthday, Charlotte Michelle!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

Last week we down to Disney with some of Jared's family and we had a blast! It was the first time Charlotte and her cousins, Anson & Ella, had been there. Like any excited parent, I took a ton of pictures and will just give you a recap of the day in photographs...

Charlotte and Ella in their limousine

I thought I would be smart and take a picture of the sign for the parking lot we were in... You can see how well that worked out...

Riding the "Choo-Choo"


Anson riding down a slide in Toon Town... I can't believe how tall and skinny he's getting!


Pop and his girls

I've never even thought of doing it that way before!

Riding the Winnie the Pooh ride

Waiting to fly on Dumbo!

Ella and her Prince Charming

Not a great picture of the two of us but it's better than the three previous we took

Ready for Mickey's PhilharMagic show. Charlotte giggled and squealled through the entire thing! It was so much fun just to watch her!

Little Minnie Mouse

Family photo op on the Jungle Cruise

The kids "steering" the boats

All three of the kids were so good throughout the day, despite this being the only nap taken (and it was only 40 minutes)!

And my favorite picture from the day: Charlotte on her Prince Charming's shoulders when she saw Mickey Mouse for the first time!

The postcard-worthiness of this photo with the castle in the background, combined with how excited she was to see Mickey (with a few pregnant hormones thrown in for good measure), I was fighting a few tears. Charlotte loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (the first thing she asks for when waking up is "Mickey"), so she was thrilled to see him in the parade.

We could not have asked for a more perfect day. The weather was fantastic, the crowds and lines weren't too bad, and the kids behaved themselves all day long. I know Charlotte won't remember this trip, but she had so much fun and seeing her face light up at seeing Mickey was so worth the trip down there. Plus, kids under 3 get in for free! And this was only the first part of our long weekend- I'll try to share the rest of the photos tomorrow (try to contain the excitement, folks!)

Arin will be blogging about the trip soon, too, and as soon as she does, I'll likely steal borrow some of her pictures :)

We're So Corny

Last week, Charlotte and I met some friends from church, my mom, Aunts Darleen and Diane, and Amber & James at Conner's A-Maize-Ing Acres in Hilliard. What's Conner's A-Maize-Ing Acres, you ask? It's a corn maze on a farm. What's a corn maze? It's a maze of corn. Paths were mowed (or harvested?) in the fields of corn and we had to find our way through it. Great country fun! Along with the corn maze, they had a hay ride, a little train for the kids to ride, a playground area, and a barn where you could pet the animals. The kids seemed to really enjoy it and it was fun to visit with some family and friends.

Charlotte and her cousin, Farmer James :)

At the end of the maze, the kids could pick their own strawberries.

No swings were harmed by the huge pregnant lady in the taking of this photograph (Photo stolen from my friend, Lynn, via facebook)

Charlotte claiming her pumpkin (This was about 0.4 seconds before she saw ants crawling all around her and took off running)


We wrapped up the day by playing in the corn box. Like a sand box, but instead of sand... corn!

Amber and James

James did not appreciate being taken out of the corn box. Who knew corn could be so much fun!