Advice for turning 10

We celebrated you turning 10 last night! An entire decade!! Where has time gone?  I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do, but the memories will last even without the pictures. You are loved by so many and it shows with all that always come to celebrate you. You are a really lucky girl! You have already started developing your own identity and who you want others to see you as. You have transitioned from MK to Madelyn to Maddy. [You'll never be Maddy to me-- sorry kid that name is taken 😊] Whatever you decide to go by, you will always be my Kooky Lou! As you continue to become your own person and let your personality shine, remember these 10 things.

10- Never loose your Glow

  You have always stood out from the crowd and did things your way in your time. It's okay to stand out and be different. I know I sometimes question your clothing choices, but you don't care. While this sometimes drives me crazy, it is one thing I love about you. You like what you like.  Don't ever feel you need to change who you are to fit in.



9- Little eyes are watching

You are getting older and becoming a role model for the little eyes. This is your cousins, younger dancers, kids at school. Everywhere you go, little eyes are watching. You won't always know they are watching, so be mindful of what you do and say. Don't do something you wouldn't be proud to see Anna (or anyone you love) do! 

8- Play hard and get dirty

Give life your all. Don't forget what you love to do, even if it isn't the popular thing to do. Put on make up when it's time but don't forget how to kick the soccer ball or play in the mud. You may not be the best, but give it a try and have fun doing it-- whatever it is. 






7- Words Hurt

You've experienced this some this year but it's only going to get worse as you get older. Your words are going to hurt your friends' feelings and their words are going to hurt your feelings. Think about things before you say them. Ask yourself, how you would feel if someone said it to you? Is it helpful to the other person? Be respectful when you talk to people- young and old alike.

6- Never stop reading

You have loved reading for as long as I can remember. Never stop reading. Read for fun, read to learn, read to escape reality, read for adventures... whatever the reason-- just keep reading! 

The more read the more things you will know. The more you learn the more places you will go! - Dr. Seuss

5- Remember your village and choose 5 

 The old saying is "It takes a village to raise a child". You have a large village, use it! There will be things you don't want to talk to me and Daddy about- find one of your 5 and talk. What is this 5? 5 adults in addition to me and daddy-- you have lots to choose from. These are the 5 people who you truly care what they have to say. They are the people who will call you out when you are being a jerk but be your biggest cheerleader. Don't be afraid to talk to them, but more importantly, listen to what they have to say. They will help you be the best you, you can be. 

4- It's okay to be wrong


You are smart! Being smart does not always make you right. It is okay to to be wrong and admit you are wrong. I know this is something you struggle with. Being wrong is a chance to learn and grow. Learn from those around you, even your friends. Being a friend is about give and take. Give your opinion, listen to other's opinions and come to a compromise when needed. Take corrections and learn when you are wrong. 

 3- Don't stop believing! 



Believe in magic. Believe in yourself. Believe in your friends. There will be people that doubt your beliefs and try to sway you to not believe - don't stop believing!  Follow your dreams and make magic happen.You want to be a professional artist and dancer - believing you can be successfully at both and working hard will get you there. 


2- Be last; don't rush through life


You aren't always going to be the best at everything and that is okay. Take your time and make sure you do a good job. You don't have to be the 1st in line. You don't have to be the 1st done with your test/homework. You don't have to win everything- and you won't. There will always be people better at things than you. Take your time and improve your skills. Let others cut you in line, pass the snacks to the person behind you and wait for the next one, be a helper and don't be afraid to be last. 

1- You may out grow our lap, but never our hearts! 

Daddy and I will always be your biggest fans, no questions about it. We will love you at your best and at your worst. The years are coming where you will want to do your own thing and be with us less. Remember the values and morals we've taught you and always stay true to who you are. There will be peer pressure to do things you know you shouldn't do. You will try things as you get older. You will hide things from us and be sneaky. Daddy and I want you to have fun and enjoy life but be safe and make smart decisions. No matter what, you can always call us- night or day. We will be here for you.


I'll end with our annual birthday questions. Each year since MK was 2, I have asked her the same set of questions. It's fun to see what has stayed the same over the years and what has changed as she has gotten older. 

here are 9 year old answers 
8 with link to age 7
Everything else is linked on this blog 

 Annual Birthday Questions

What is your favorite color?   anything metallic
 what is your favorite toy? LPS
What is your favorite fruit? pineapple
what is your favorite TV show? Bizardvark
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? popcorn chicken or pizza dippers
What is your favorite games? Roblox
What is your favorite thing to wear? a jumper
what is your favorite snack? rice crispy treats
what is your favorite animal? grey fox or red wolf
what is your favorite song? Never fully dressed without a smile by Rihanna
favorite book? Warriors
 best friend? Hollie and Ali-Cat
eat for breakfast? waffles
thing to do outside? play soccer
favorite drink? grape juice
favorite holiday? Easter
take to bed with with you? Madyson Bear and Ice Cold 
what do you want to be when you grow upa professional artist and dancer
where is your favorite place to go? Dance
What is something Mommy always says? hurry up
What is something Daddy always says? I love you
What's your favorite thing about 4th grade? the teachers that plan the fun activities
Anything else you want people to know?girl scout cookies are *thumbs up*

Grandma Sally

I started this post months ago. I had a hard time starting it and apparently never finished it. 

I've debated writing this blog post and what I would write, but here it is.

I don't remember when I first met Grandma Sally but I'm sure it was shortly after I moved to Florida in 2009. From the beginning, she treated us like family! She has treated MK like she was her granddaughter and loved her even more.

Some of my favorite memories innclude:
- Easter 2009. This maybe the 1st time I met Gma Sally. We moved to Tampa in Feb 2009, so April could have very well been the 1st time we met her. She had the best Easter baskets for the kids. (she really put the Easter bunny to shame some years!)

Easter 2009, Largo, Florida

 - Grandparents Breakfast 2013. MK's school host a breakfast for kindergartners and their grandparents to celebrate Grandparents Day. It is always the Friday before Grandparents Day. It was not realistic for any of MK's grandparents to attend. Luckily she had the best Grandma Sally around! She drove over to Tampa and attended. It was less than a month into a new school opening and still a bit hectic! If you know anything about MK's school, you know there is ZERO parking. To say it was hectic is an understatement. None of this bothered Grandma Sally! She was there and happy to be shown off by MK!

Grandparents Breakfast 2009, HAMS

This was as far as I got when I originally started writing. Re-reading it, makes me want to finish! So here is some more, especially since we just had our 1st Easter without her!

Grandma Sally kept MK, Sunii and Dell for Jenn, Chrisy and I to surprise Beth at her baby shower when she was pregnant with Holden. I get a call that MK has lost a tooth (her 1st tooth!!). She didn't have a loose tooth when I left her. Grandma Sally played Tooth Fairy with the best of them. She even sent me lots of pictures along the way. Of course I can't find any of them now.

Grandma Sally also support MK's cookie sales. She always bought at least one box of Samoas.

I'm going to end with the video I made for her memorial service.

Last year of single digits

[Warning- this is a long post! If you make it all the way to the bottom, leave a comment so we know you celebrated with us!!]

Where have the years gone?

We've had a great week celebrating Madelyn turning 9. Sunday we went for pedicures with Mama Jenn and started working on decorations.
1st Pedicure

 Monday we celebrated at Girl Scouts with Aahna, whose birthday was the 14.

Wednesday I took cookies to school and the class started by singing Happy Birthday and eating cookies!

Then Wednesday night, we went to see Smurfs: The Lost Village with Ali and Lori.

Friday night was her annual birthday sleep over. We had it the night before her party this year since the day after was Easter. I probably won't do that again since they didn't want to sleep! They did their own "Zombie" make up. One more joined us before the night was out.

Saturday was the big day! We woke up and had "World famous" pancakes.

Then the girls went with Melissa to a Easter egg hunt and I headed to Jenn's to decorate.

When you don't like cake.....

We ended the night dying Easter eggs. I didn't get any pictures of that but got MK posing.

We continued the party on Sunday celebrating Easter. The Easter bunny made several stops for MK this year.
Easter at home

Easter from Mama Jenn and Gma Sally

 We ended the birthday celebrating by completing her annual birthday questions. Some of her answers are defintely whats on her mind right now and she didn't put any thought into them! I type exactly how she answers.

What is your favorite color?  Maroon/burgundy
what is your favorite toy? my Zoomer Meowzie
What is your favorite fruit? chocolate covered strawberries
what is your favorite TV show? Little Big Shots
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  chicken
What is your favorite games? Warrior Cats Untold Tales
What is your favorite thing to wear?  my flower jumper
what is your favorite snack? star crunch
what is your favorite animal? any type of cat
what is your favorite song? Frost by Blixemi
favorite book? The Warriors Saga
 best friend? Hollie and Mahli
eat for breakfast? cereal
thing to do outside? play soccer
favorite drink? Fanta
favorite holiday?  Easter
take to bed with with you? Madyson Bear and Ice Cold
what do you want to be when you grow upa Professional dancer
where is your favorite place to go? Elsa Pardo Dance Center
What is something Mommy always says? don't ask again or the answer is no
What is something Daddy always says? love you
What's your favorite thing about 3rd grade? you have 2 teachers and they are both very kind
Anything else you want people to know? my favorite thing to do in my free time is dance. my favorite video games are minecraft and roblox. i have lots of stuffed animals most of which are cats. my favorite holiday is easter because it is so close to my birthday and it means spring is here, which i love. my favorite thing about being 9 so far is I'm a year closer to 10.

Other things about MK from the last year.
She won her grade Science Fair and got to compete in the district competition.
She is an alternate on the competitive dance team and her love for dance has grown.
She loves Shadow more than anything.
Her favorite thing to do is watch YouTube videos. she wants Minecraft tutorials, DIY or anything else she can.
She has become quite obsessed with the Warriors Car series. She has read 3 series of 6 books in the last year. She draws Warriors all the time. She plays role play games centered around Warriors.
She took the Florida State Assessment (FSA) for the 1st time and finished it so early she slept more than half the time allotted.

This is already a really long post, but I'm going to end it with birthdays through the years.
1st Birthday - Sandcastles at the beach

2nd Birthday -- Cupcakes at the park

3rd Birthday - Dr. Seuss at the park

4th Birthday -- DISNEY! (she also had a party with friends)

5th Birthday - party was a a craft party at Jo Ann's Fabrics

6th Birthday -- Pump It Up!

7th Birthday -- Pajamas and Pancakes

8th Birthday -- Harry Potter

9th Birthday -- Luau (this was her sleepover pre Luau)

Who would you be now?

Eleven. It really doesn't seem like it has been 11 years since you made me a mommy. Eleven is a big birthday in our house. You would have gotten your Hogwarts letter today! What house would you be sorted into?

It's been a good day! Birthdays are for celebrating, not being sad! I woke up to lots of Facebook memories and everyone wishing you a Happy Birthday. You are still so loved by so many. You continue to have such a huge impact on so many people.

MK and I spent the day getting ready for her Luau. She requested a pedicure and then we went to Mama Jenn's to make decorations for the luau. It was good to be busy so that I didn't get sad missing you. I always go through your scrapbook and other pictures around your birthday. Today I found some I don't think have been shared in a long time, so I'm going to share them for everyone to see.

Happy Birthday my Princess Angel Butterfly! 

It Takes a Village

It truly does take a village to raise a child. I wanted to do a blog as a special shout out to all the DADs that have had a hand in raising me and Madelyn.

Let's start with my Daddy/Pops

We don't see him often, but when we do, he jumps right in to play and make sure the kids have fun. He hasn't missed sending a card for birthday or Christmas since MK was born.

I wouldn't be the person I am today if it were not for the influence of Paw Paw (aka Dee Wee). He stepped in when he didn't have to. He has always considered me, Brother and Lulu as one of his. Our kids see him as Paw Paw and look forward to hanging out with him. He makes the best pancakes and would give his shirt to someone in need.

When Wes is gone, I could not do it without my Brother (and Nat!). He and MK have always been close. When MK was barely talking, he convinced her to call him Uncle Awesome and he called her Princess. All these years later, it still comes up.

I would be doing a disservice to do a post about DADs in our life without talking about Big Poppa! MK loves to play with his beard and give him cuddles. He accepts everyone for who they are and doesn't judge others- every! He is the most accepting person I know. He is a great example of who to be and how to treat people.

My favorite DAD is the best dad I know. He sacrifices and misses so much to ensure we have what we need. We miss him so much and dread March-July because we know everything we do will be without him. MK is so much like him but yet so different. I am blessed to have him as my partner in this crazy thing called life!

There are so many more I haven't listed. Daddy Dave, Ed, Jim Smittle, all our HAMS Dads, our EPDC Dads.

Thank You to all the wonderful men that played a role in shaping who I am and to those currently helping shape the person MK is becoming!