blogging about daily life from Griffin, Georgia

the big day

Category: Personal | Comments (2) | Valerie @ July 30th, 2008   

Can you believe it? She is 2 years old!

After having an “event” like this I always sit down after it’s over and think, “what the heck just happened?!” But the craziness didn’t matter, it was still a day I will never forget. Amidst the children running around and the mass hysteria that seemed to be going on, there were plenty of times when I would stop what I was doing and look at Brittain and everything around me became silent. It was as if I was watching in slow motion as I watched Brittain smile and laugh and enjoy the friends and family that surrounded her. What a difference a whole year can make. Last year the party was for us…and so we could have pictures to show her later what we did. This year was most definitely for her. She loved every minute of it.

Brace yourselves because I have TONS of pictures from this momentous occasion. There were cameras everywhere, but these are a mixture of photos taken by me, Aunt Susan, and Bradley Kirkland.

I finally decided on a zebra theme with the colors of black, white and hot pink. I found the cutest outfit for Brittain online and had the cake made to match. She was too cute!

As we sang “Happy Birthday,” Brittain actually sang along. When it was time to blow out the candles, I was prepared to lift her up and offer her instruction on exactly what she needed to do. Before I could even lift her up to the height of the cake, she had already blown them out!

Brittain was surrounded by all the people she loves the most. It was wonderful seeing her have so much fun. I wondered if the day might overwhelm her, but she seemed to take it all in stride.

My sister planned something really special this year. She, and the rest of my family pitched in to have Brittain’s blog printed and made into a book. I was overwhelmed! This birthday post will be the last one before the book goes to print. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. I finally have a baby book for my child!

The “after party” was almost as much fun as the birthday party itself. Aunt CC and Uncle Matthew spent the night, so after the party ended and the guests went home, we kept celebrating.

These two years have flown by and have been more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. I look forward to the many more years to come. Thanks to all of you who love and support Brittain and remain shining lights in her life. Her light shines brighter because of you.

We had Brittain’s party after her actual birthday, but doing this only meant she got to celebrate twice. On the 13th, Gramy and Papa picked her up and took her out for a nice breakfast at Waffle House and then to get the sand for her new sandbox! We got home to set it up, and as soon as we did, it started raining. But, that didn’t stop us. We all stood out there in the rain while Brittain tried out her new ladybug sandbox. She LOVED it (and still does)!

your comments

Category: Personal | Comments (0) | Valerie @ July 29th, 2008   

One thing that I really think Brittain will enjoy once she grows up is reading what all of you had to say in response to these blog posts. Although you can post comments on the blog itself, many of you choose to email me instead. In an effort to make sure these comments don’t get lost in my inbox, I thought it might be nice to include them in an actual post. Yay. I don’t have to try and keep up with them anymore!

Betsy Harris, you win the award for the most responses without a reply back from me! Do you know that I have an email in my “Drafts” folder that I started writing to you in April? Someday I will finish it and then neither one of us will have any idea what I’m talking about because so much time will have passed. Oh well. Maybe I’ll just start a new one. :-)

From Aunt CC:

I just looked at the blog. Oh my gosh. . .those photos really are great!!! I LOVE her expressions in all of them. . .and your subtitles were great!! It made me want a visit from y’all ASAP.

From Kelly Spradlin – college friend from Clayton College, mother of 2 boys

Responding to “One Year Down” post on Brittain’s 1st birthday and the story of the night before Brittain was born.

I have five friends whose blogs I regularly check (which is to say about once every month or two), and I have just completed my most recent check of Brittain’s. I must make a few observations…….

The hand made hats- ADORABLE. I have no idea how you found the time, energy, perseverance, etc, but bravo. They were adorable.

I also loved the “smash cake pictures”. I would also like to point out that Valerie had on a pink sequined dress- a bold move with the cake so nearby! I still don’t wear white because of the filth my children get on me. Must be nice to have girls……..

I further enjoyed reading the recap of the ”night before Brittain”. Even though I had heard the story before, I still started laughing at the image of Valerie, her mother, and Dan sharing a bed.

Anyway, this started me thinking of James’ first birthday, and what I remember feeling so strongly on that day, was “my baby is gone (one year old), and I have to have another immediately!” Unfortunately for me, Matt was not of the same mindset, but I was TRULY obsessed with the idea until the time (one year later) I found out I was pregnant with Justin. Which made me wonder………Is Valerie ready to reboard the baby train?

We will wait with baited breath for your reply.

(P.S. I did not feel this way at Justin’s one year old birthday. I just wanted to sleep)


From Jeff Holland – Aunt CC’s co-worker at the Ritz (and good friend)

Cecilia just told me you had updated your blog so I quickly put all of my work to the side to focus on what is really important – Brittain.

What great pics (and writing of course)! You have to be so proud of such a great kid (is saying kid politically correct or should I say girl, Brittain, princess…).

Guess the only question is, at what age would you be comfortable with Brittain and I dating?


From Mimi

Responding to “Potty Training in Less Than a Day” post:

Valerie, that’s great!! Of course, I had already had my big laughs but you told it just like it happened and that made it even funnier. Sunny Brittain doesn’t sound half bad…….

From Uncle Terry
Responding to “Potty Training in Less Than a Day” post:

Your uncle Terry has set aside some special time to counsel you at no charge, inasmuch as you are the mother of my favorite great niece, Brittain. Just call for an appointment at your earliest convenience.

From Faith DeAngelis, mother of Uncle Matthew
Responding to “Mommy Brain” post:

I just wanted you to know that I am sitting here laughing so hard my coworker thought I was crying…
Boy you just made my day.

I recently had to tell a woman that her skirt was tucked into her underwear… thankfully we were still in the ladies room, but she was quite appreciative as we all would be.

The Walmart story just put me over the edge too, laughed a lot at that one. Where were those nice people who could have easily said “excuse me, ma’am but did you mean to expose your breasts in that manner??”

Thanks for the morning laugh. See you in November!!

From Christy Maetz, college friend from Clayton College, mother of 2
Responding to “Mommy Brain” post:

Okay I don’t know about everyone else, but your mommy moments just gave me the best laugh I’ve had in long time!! I want to hear MORE!!!!!

From Kelly Spradlin
Responding to “Mommy Brain” post:

I have never laughed so hard…………

One time when James was about 12-18 months and I was in a grocery store trying to figure out how much a bunch of bananas was, I realized I could no longer do math in my head. (Simple math- 1 and ½ lbs of bananas for 99 cents a pound). I asked the produce boy, who was about 16, to help me. He just stared at me like I was an idiot, and finally said, ‘Seriously?”. That was a sad day…

One chilly morning we were running late (to where I can’t remember), and I couldn’t find Justin’s jacket. I finally remembered that I had washed it the night before. I went in the laundry room, and snatched it out of the dryer, forced it on him, and shoved the boys in the car. We stopped at a CVS on the way to get something, and I was flying through the store, leaving two small boys to chase after me. I finally stopped and turned around to wait for them, and saw Justin trotting towards me, something bouncing and hitting him in the face with every step he took. As he approached me I realized that there was a pair of black lace panties stuck to the velcro on the front of his jacket. I was not the only one who noticed……..

Don’t even get me started on the number of times James has shown up at school with his clothes on backwards. Let’s just say, it could not be counted on one hand.

Thanks for the laugh

From Stacy Golden
Responding to “Mommy Brain” post:

Valerie…you really need to write a book. i love reading your blog and i can’t imagine if i had an entire book to flip through…you are hilarious :) i wish i was in the sunnyside pediatrics when you did this 😉

From Betsy Harris, High School English teacher and good friend

Although it’s impossible, Brittain actually gets more beautiful every single day! (‘Course she’s got great genes, on both sides of the family, so that may account for her good fortune.) I can’t wait till she starts in on funny utterances. Maybe she has already. After all, she’s around some very verbal people!

If you and Dan never do anything else right in your lives, you have done enough simply by creating Brittain. Take good care of that angel–promise?

From Matt Robinson
Responding to Shawna Herring’s photos:

WOW! That was AWESOME….I kept thinking, that’s what life is all about right there.

You are definitely blessed, my dear…thanks for sharing it with me!

From Joe and Ginny Shriner
Responding to Shawna Herring’s photos:

Dear Valerie,
What a wonderful, wonderful gift! Joe and I just LOVE Shawna’s blog of Brittain! Oh my goodness, she is absolutely the most precious of little girls. Her pictures truly capture her dear, dear, lovely and loving little personality. . . Her inner light! Thank you so much for sharing it all with us! Please tell us that her blog and slideshow will always be available to view! It’s a keeper! I can see how you’d want to have one each year as she grows and changes. Wow! Again, thank you!!!

Happy, happy birthday, Val! May you have a blessed year! We think you all are so very dear and special!

P.S. I/we NEVER get tired of your blog updates either!!! (And that’s the truth – to quote a famous quote!)

From Jana Blanchard
Responding to Shawna Herring’s photos:

Those are such wonderful pictures, Valerie!!! Brittain is absolutely adorable. I know that you’ll treasure those pictures forever…Brittain and the family. They are great! Shawna did an excellent job!

From Brandi Thornhill, mother of Emma Grace Thornhill
Responding to Shawna Herring’s photos:

Valerie –

What can I say…you never cease to amaze me with the beauty your family portrays!!! The essence alone is breathtaking.

I am sure you have read the following reply a multitude of times at this point, but WOW!!!! I wasn’t emotional this morning until watching the slide show….now I am going to be a bucket of tears all day.

From Uncle Matthew
Responding to Shawna Herring’s photos:

pictures were incredible…..i knew they would be b/c an amazing photographer combined with a beautiful family is a no brainer! you guys should be in a magazine…..!

From Uncle Terry
Responding to Shawna Herring’s photos:

Thanks Sweetie, they are wonderful. I just finished watching and listening I might add. Can’t wait for Aunt Janice to see them, but it’s only 2:30 A.M. and she might be angry if I wake her up.

From Jessica Chunn, college friend from FSU
Responding to Shawna Herring’s photos:

Wow! is about all I can say. I still say you’re the most beautiful one in those pics. :-) Brittain has the cutest faces. It kills me. I am sending the link to my parents now.

From Uncle Terry

Got them. Great snap shots, but how can you miss, you have such a beautiful subject. I think I even might make good pictures with her. I am sure Aunt Janice is showing her off at work today because I made sure she got the pictures first thing.

From Aunt SuSu:

We learn, maintain, and grow as people and as a world from what we have learned and recorded from our past. The scrolls and books and logs before us have been very protected in archival storage so that we may not lose who we are through history.

You have captured the best of me in the pictures with Brittain. My light shines and shows through when I’m in the presence of that little girl. I’m happy to know that those who come after me, who view that book, will know me through the love I felt while spending time with such a special and sweet soul. The way I look smiling at Brittain is the way I would like people to remember my face long after I’m gone.
Thanks for capturing the best of me!

From Betsy Harris

If Brittain isn’t the world’s MOST photographed child, I can’t imagine who is! She is so beautiful! In my view, she looks more like you, Valerie, the older she gets. Do other people say that, too? At any rate, keep that blog updated, will ya? It’s fun watching her grow up.

From Betsy Harris

Hilarious! Valerie, you are such a talented writer. Maybe you’ll be your generation’s Erma Bombeck. You can take an everyday experience and convey all the nuances of it–the humor, the frustration, the victory. You go, girl!

From Betsy Harris

Perhaps your paragraphs ARE long, but they’re never boring! I love watching Brittain grow up. And it’s also fun to see and read about Cecilia, Jenny English, and everybody else in your world. Keep up the GREAT work!

From Amanda Gay, mother of Kyla Rose

Kyla Rose and I were just looking at Brittain’s blog together and she saw the pic of you, Cec and Brittain from Cec’s B’day party. She said “There’s Brittain and Aunt Balerie and Mommy.” My own child even gets us confused!
BTW, the “boogie” entry is about the funniest thing I have ever read in my life!

From Brandi Thornhill

This is my favorite picture!!! I am such a sucker – everytime I receive an update message, I think to myself (don’t read it, you will cry)..then I begin to read and I cry!!!! You are such an inspiration to all mothers!!!! You are beautiful, involved, passionate, and Brittain’s hero…thank you for allowing me the pleasure of being a part of “your favorite life”!!!!

From Betsy Harris

As always, a lot of news and wonderful pictures on Brittain’s blog. That’s an especially nice tribute to Lindsey. Are her parents on your e-mail list?

Oh, and by the way, I LOVE the pictures of Brittain and Aunt Cecilia in the tent!

From Mimi
Responding to “Love Letter to my pookie” post:

Well if that’s not the most beautiful letter……I am so glad that you put those words down on paper. Brittain will never be able to mistake how you felt about her at every age.

Love you the same way.

Love letter to my pookie

Category: Personal | Comments (1) | Valerie @ July 13th, 2008   

It’s hard for me to believe that it was 2 years ago you came into my life and changed it in ways that I never knew possible. That day, when I held you in my arms for the first time I knew I would never be the same person again. I always thought that I loved as much as humanly possible, but you showed me that I was wrong. You showed me how to love to the depths of my soul.

I dreamt for so long of who you would be. What you would look like. The personality you would have. I figured you’d be wonderful. But even the most vivid, perfect dreams could have never revealed your perfection. I still look at you today and think, “She came from me? Really?”

You make me laugh. You make me cry. You surprise me with your ability to comprehend and understand things that even some adults can’t. It makes me happy and also sometimes scared seeing how much you’re like me with you’re tentativeness in so many situations. Then I see how completely different you are with your ability to draw a crowd and make friends with your charm and sensitivity.

I love it that you’re affectionate. You love to play and you have an unbelievable imagination, but I don’t have to ask you twice when I want you to sit in my lap or cuddle with me on the bed. You love to give and receive hugs and kisses, which works out great for me because I give you plenty of both!

I feel as if you’ve been in my life forever. I find myself already dreading all of those days where I have to watch you take steps to growing up. Next month you start preschool! I still can’t believe it’s already here. I don’t think any amount of mental preparation is going to prevent me from crying the first day I have to drop you off.

Thank you for letting me occasionally hold you in my arms the way I did when you were a tiny baby. Thank you for letting me rock you before you go to sleep even though there’s no comfortable way to hold you in that rocking chair anymore. Thank you for making me the proudest mom in the world.

I cherish each day that I spend with you. Forever will never be long enough to have you in my life.

Happy 2nd birthday, baby. I love you.


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