Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus & Ella

December, as usual, has been a very busy month for us.  We have celebrated 2 birthdays, traveled to the mountains, and attended more Christmas parties than I care to count.  It has been fabulous, really.

My sweet angel turned 4 this month.  I can’t believe it.  She is such a big girl and carries herself with such grace.  Honestly, you would think she is royalty.


The princess at her party


The barefoot (we’re southern) royal daughter perched on her throne (toy box) opening her gifts. 

This was completely her idea!


The Princess Pony Castle

These birthday festivities have continued for weeks with parties at church and school.  It has really evolved from a birthday to a birthmonth

Despite the attention focused on my darling daughter, I have worked hard to keep the reason for the season at the front of our minds and often replace the word “Christmas” with “Happy Birthday, Jesus”.  Lately, I’ve noticed that when I say “Happy Birthday, Jesus”; there’s always a little voice that adds “and Ella”.

We will probably try to tone things down next year but I will always remember the year that we celebrated

Happy Birthday Jesus and Ella!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Mommy’s so sorry about your hair and I promise to never do it again.” 

These are the words I whispered in my sweet baby boy’s ear as I lifted him out of his crib this morning.  He looked at me with his big brown eyes and smiled and said,


They forgive so easily.

Last night, with my husband as my #1 cheerleader, I attempted to trim my munchkin’s locks.  Just a small trim.  Not a big deal.  One problem.  He wiggles.  This was nothing like that doll head I practiced on as a child. 

The bright side is that I quickly recognized that things were not going well and I stopped.  The result is not terribly pretty.  There is not a straight line to be found and there is a decent amount of choppiness.  However, in the midst of the ordeal,  I had enough foresight to leave enough hair for my hairdresser to work with.  We will visit her this week.

There are no pictures with this post.  I just couldn’t do it. I assure you it’s not good.  In fact, close friends and family have inspected my work and concurred that it’s not good.  Luckily, my baby still has those big juicy lips and huge brown eyes. 

Who’s looking at his hair anyway?

Friday, November 21, 2008

I have a little confession to make…

I take pictures of my family while they sleep.  I know that many people have the occasional “oh so cute” photograph of their sleeping angels.  That’s not what I am talking about.  My computer is the storehouse of many, many folders dedicated to the sleep positions of my husband and kids. 

I really do not know why I do this. Maybe its because they all have so much energy.  They are always moving, running, or jumping.  Honestly, there is just no better time to guarantee a shot than after R.E.M. has kicked in.

These are a few of my favorites:


There are no rules when it comes to snuggling!


This one makes me smile every time!


Almost every night my very manly husband falls asleep in his daughter’s big fluffy, pink bed while she reads him a bedtime story!


This is today’s favorite.  My little handsome fell asleep watching a toy commercial on TV.  I am sure he is dreaming about Christmas!

Friday, November 14, 2008

They’ve got talent.

Somebody has a misguided notion about where lip gloss should be applied…


He may have somehow learned this from his big sister

She (at about the same age) did this…


  Unfortunately, her tool of choice was a Sharpie.


They’ve got talent.  We probably need to reign it in a little.  Maybe apply a little polish, but they’ve got talent!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

He’s a Big Boy!

Our little man has learned how to open the refrigerator.  He found this skill last week and has worked hard at honing it.  As proud as I am of new accomplishments, I knew that this was not all good; but it is hard not to smile when you find your precious little one feasting on a healthy snack that he has acquired 100% on his own!


I know!  He is glorious and those little sucker stained lips just make me want to kiss him head to toe.  What a great day!

I whistled through the afternoon with my little man at my side.  He even helped me fold laundry.  What a good little boy.  He eventually became bored with the bath towels and toddled off to find his own adventure.

Then I heard it, Silence.  I went in search of my little prince.


Why?  That’s all I could say.  My little man had cracked at least a half dozen eggs on his little head.  I fussed. I paced. I grabbed my camera (‘cause that’s just the kind of mom I am).

He said “Cheese!”.

Do you ever feel like you are just not being taken seriously?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Own Little Fairytale


Halloween delivered to us a ferocious dinosaur and a beautiful flying ballerina princess.


Our Dinosaur roared on cue while still holding on to his “pap”. 

Do not be fooled by those fluffy cheeks and big baby eyes.  This dinosaur was quite strong and would take down the strongest man for a small taste of candy.


Our Ballerina flew all about town visiting  family and church friends and finally landed back home in a big pile of this…


The Dinosaur & Ballerina appear to have developed quite a problem.  They wake early in the morning bellowing for treats and crying over ailments that only candy can cure. 

The Evil Duchess has hidden their stash high out of reach and will only dole it out after healthy meals. Will the Dinosaur & Princess overtake the Evil Duchess and win back their candy? 

To be continued…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our journey in pictures

There is nothing I love better than looking at pictures of my family.  Even the blurry ones make me smile. 


Recently, as I perused our history in pictures I noticed that something (or better yet someone) was missing.  I realized that some day my children will grow up and say, “Where was mom?”  I became determined to find pictures of me with my family and I did.


Here’s a picture of my sweet baby and me at the park.  It appears that one of us was just not into it, so I continued my search.


Here’s a recent photo of me with my beautiful children at my husband’s office.  Once again, there appears to be a bit of distraction. I think we have a theme. 

I then remembered our beach trip and felt confident I would find a nice picture there.


This pretty much sums it upI think I will put my journey for the perfect picture to rest.  I suppose that If I were honest with myself, I would admit that these photographs better reflect my journey than a posed portrait of a perfectly groomed and smiling family (but a girl can dream!).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where’s my muffin?

One day last week my husband made yummy chocolate chip muffins for breakfast. (I know.  He’s a keeper!)  I left mine on the kitchen counter while the coffee brewed.   Upon returning to the kitchen, I discovered that my muffin was missing.  There were however, a little pair of eyes watching me. 

I asked those little eyes, “Have you seen my muffin?” 

This was the response…


Definitely not guilty, huh? (note the grubby hands, cheeks, and countertop)  I then asked, “Did Daddy sneak in here and eat my muffin?”


Immediate relief.  Because I’m mommy and I can read minds, I knew he was thinking, “Yeah, that’s the ticket.  Daddy ate the muffin.  Let’s go with that.  Good thinking, mommy!”

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

Before you get too excited, this is not an awe inspiring post aimed at getting you excited about the upcoming holiday season.  Instead, this is a glimpse into what happens in my house when I’m not around.

One evening last week I was lounging on the couch, reading a book and enjoying a nice “me” moment.   Little man was playing trucks and his big sister was floating around the house with a mini flashlight, a favorite toy.  Life was good.

I was vaguely aware that my light wielding daughter was moving in my direction but  I continued with my exercise in relaxation.  Before I knew what happened, my sweet angel shoved her flashlight into my left nostril and peered at me with her big eyes. I was stunned and very still.  She then said in her sweetest and most excited voice,  “Sing the reindeer song, Mommy!  Sing the reindeer song!” 


I manage to remove the offending flashlight from my nose and with a little inquiry discovered that this is a game that Daddy taught my precious princess.  Oh, thank-you, Daddy!

I then laughed until I cried or maybe it was just the residual effects of the flashlight.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Groceries, butterflies, and prayer

I have to confess that I am not an organized person by nature (those who know me well are laughing at this understatement). However, something magical happens when I begin to prepare for grocery shopping.  The result is a carefully organized list that allows me to do my shopping as quickly and efficiently as possible.  I say this to preface today’s story.  How do things go so terribly wrong?

As I shopped today, I attempted to make the food choices that would be healthiest for my family.  I pondered the cereals and selected that highest in fiber, lowest in sugar, and most delicious.  I even bought veggie corn dogs so that the kids can enjoy a yummy treat without all the extras that are bad for them.  Then as I stood at the meat counter selecting the chicken breast we would have for dinner, I noticed my sweet angel out of the corner of my eye.  What’s she doing?  I then realized what was happening and all I could do was  call on the Lord for strength.   She had leaned over and was walking up and down the meat counter, licking it!  One more time.  She was licking the RAW meat counter! I think I blacked out for a moment. 

The rest of the shopping trip was a blur.  During checkout, the sweet lady at the register questioned me about all the opened items in my cart.  I just pointed to the baby and continued loading the conveyer belt.  My spirit was broken. 

We were about to leave when our sweet customer service lady asks, “Is your daughter sick because her face looks sick?”  This brings me out of my fog.  I immediately think she has licked up some type of super germ that has quickly overtaken her little body (too much Dateline!).  I then look at her precious face and can only laugh.  You see, we attended a fabulous party this weekend that included face painting.  My angel was painted like a beautiful butterfly.  It appears that maybe we left the butterfly on a bit long and the result is an odd pink and blue mix that gives her a bizarre look that is somewhere between surprise and sickness. 


My prayer for today is thank you Lord for our food, our family, and for face paint ‘cause it gave me a good laugh when I needed it.  Oh, and please spare us from the meat counter super germs! Amen.

Monday, September 22, 2008

And this is why I love you today…


Baby boy, I love you for so many reason but these are a few for today.

  • You are such a big boy and have learned how to climb out of your crib all by yourself.  I was able to witness this feat today and while it gave me pause to see you dangling, unsupported from your bed; I applaud your courage. You are a superhero!

  • When you threw up this morning you were so considerate and managed to do it in the bathtub (with your big sister).  It was so thoughtful of you to save mommy the chore of cleaning the carpet. What a wonderful little man!

  • When I rescued you from the yucky tub, you clung to me and made me feel like the most important person in the world.  You smiled at me in a way that let me know that we were all going to be okay.  You are a comforter.

  • Despite your sickness, you still managed to muster up enough energy to climb upon the kitchen table, peer out the window and talk to the lawnmower.  You really are a champ!


Sweet girl, you know Mommy loves you so much! You gave me so many reasons today.

  • You are so creative and have renamed your baby brother, Baby Sephoe.  I don’t know where this name came from but it seems to fit and I am so proud of your creativity.  You are an artist.

  • When Baby Sephoe spilled (your term) in your bathtub this morning (and on you and your toys and your towel) you proclaimed that we had an emergency on our hands and immediately rushed into action. You have a heart for adventure and are always eager to help.  You are a rescuer!

  • Even whilst we all huddled together in the shower trying to wash away the remnants of the emergency, you pointed out the sillier points of mommy’s anatomy and giggled.  You bring humor to every situation. (even if I don’t always laugh!)  You are my own little comedian!

  • When it was time to rest, you asked if I would snuggle you on the couch and you said to me, “Mommy, you’re my best friend.”  Baby girl, you are my best friend, too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Race Report

Every year our local track club hosts a Labor Day race on the mountain with 10K, 5K and 1 mile distances.   Last year we decided to make it a family event.  Jake ran the 10K, I ran the 5K and Ella ran the 1 mile fun run (with Daddy in tow). We had so much fun that we decided to make this an annual McMonkey Family tradition.

We intentionally waited until the night before to tell Ella about the race, and it’s a good thing because she spent most of the evening running laps around the house and bending over imitating a breathless runner. (I think we may have overdone it a bit watching the Olympics!) 

Race morning was filled with excitement, more running, and lots of talk about winning.  Here’s the official race report:


They set off at a blistering pace.  Ella’s pink shorts and Jake’s orange shorts made for a bright combination that was easy to pick out in the crowd!


 After about 14 minutes I saw a pink blur coming across the horizon.  It was my baby girl and she was going strong.


So strong, in fact, that she apparently started a little bit of preschool smack talk.  Her pacer (aka Daddy) says that she leaned over to the little boy in orange and said with 3 year old confidence,  “I’m beating you.” (Once again, a little too much Olympics.)


This prompted him to stick out his tongue and pick up his pace, leaving my angel in his dust.


Bless his heart.  He really under estimated my little princess.   With 10 yards to go she kicked into high gear.


Here’s my little red-faced Ella running to the finish line in a full sprint.  And, yes, that’s Mr. Orange watching those little pink shorts run away.


What’s this? The finish line ribbons are pink!! 

You can try but you will never convince my sassy little 3 year old that she didn’t win this race; because she’ll tell anyone that will listen, “I beat that boy!”

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

I guess the old saying is true because when I went outside yesterday evening to call my husband in for supper, this is what I found…


My very talented husband had been working on one of our cars and had apparently rubbed his hands up and down his face.  Why would he do that? 

Upon returning inside I found this…


My precious baby boy had finished his meal and had also rubbed his little grubby hands all over his face (and his clothes and his high chair but what I can say, he’s an overachiever).

But in the midst of all of this dirt there is a shining light.  My sweet grubby-faced baby does see the value in clean hands.  In fact, he makes regular trips to the bathroom just to wash his hands in that water-filled basin that is so conveniently located right at his eye level.  I’m so proud!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let us dance…

Almost every afternoon my kids and I turn on music and dance.  We leap, we twirl and we shake our booties.  It’s not sophisticated but it is a special time we share that no one really knows about.

Today I was particularly disgusted with the state of the house and was busy picking up toys, gathering laundry and generally raking the clutter together when my sweet angel asked if we could dance.  I almost told her to wait and then my mind was flooded with the thought that she’s only going to be this little, this loving, and this mine for a little while. 

You see, tonight my husband will attend the funeral of a child who attended his home church.  I have no doubt that God is working through the life and death of this beautiful girl and that his perfect will shall be accomplished; but the human part of me continues to struggle.  

I am not proud to admit that I have questions and I have fears and I just want to hold onto my kids extra tight in an attempt to protect them from this big bad world.  (I know, God, you’ve got them and thank you.

God’s still working on this part of me.

So in the meantime, we danced, we sang and we even ate peaches on the carpet.  All this with dishes in the sink, laundry in the hamper and toys almost everywhere. I will never be mistaken for Martha Stewart but somehow all that just seems a little less important.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Her worm crawled OUT of the apple


This is what our wonderful preschool teacher whispered to me as I picked up my precious girl at school today.  It is a good thing that I read the note that was sent home yesterday or I might have been a little confused by this statement.  It appears that the new rating system involves an apple, a worm and a bucket.  Obviously, the worm is not supposed to come out of the apple but we are all terribly grateful it did not fall in the bucket!

I didn’t  love to hear the news about the condition of the worm but I realize we will have ups and downs and some days will be better than others.  I know we are all still adjusting to the whole “school world”.  I just hope God understands my prayer when I pray that the worm stays in the apple.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Update to our Glamorous Life

We have started a new trend in bathroom decor.  It is called toilet paper in a basket.  Chic, huh?  Can you guess who what inspired this brilliant idea?


Monday, August 11, 2008



The above is a photograph I took this afterno0n, but do not be deceived.  Glitz and glamour do not live here.  Nope!  This is the collection of crystals my 18 month old has plucked from the dining room chandelier throughout the day.  He removed a jewel or two each time he visited until he had this extraordinary collection.  Impressive.

I also found him perched upon the kitchen counter this morning sipping the remnants of my morning cup of coffee and rummaging for snacks. (I do feed him but he never gets full!)  This was after I discovered him in the shower with a pump bottle of hand soap, attempting to give himself a waterless bath.  It is so much fun now that he can open doors by himself.

How, you may ask, am I able to record these transgressions? Worry not.  The little criminal is safely behind bars.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

She has left the nest

My firstborn, precious baby girl started her first day of preschool today.  It seems like just yesterday that she looked at me and said, “Mommy you're my best friend.  You’re my precious angel.”  Well, actually it was yesterday which made it even more difficult to leave her! 

She started the day with big hair, a banana, and a lot of excited talk about the adventures  to come.


Here is the mandatory first day of school picture with the sparkling white shoes.  (they will never look this way again!)


I got teary as I left her.  She was unfazed.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that she’s trying to give me the brush off in this picture.


Someday I hope to be as resilient and brave as my children.  They jump into new situations without hesitation.  They seek out new friends and don’t wait for friends to find them, and they quickly bounce back when things do not go their way.  Maybe when I grow up.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Run as long as your little legs will carry you

This is the motto my son lives by.  He starts the day running and goes and goes and goes.  He is no Forrest Gump, mind you.  He runs with a purpose.  Yesterday’s purpose was apparently one of self discovery because this is how I found him.


Precious, but I quickly bundled him back into a diaper and clothes so that we could avoid spreading those baby booty germs about the house. 

Today was a new day but the same race continued.  Bryce ran and ran.  He ran so fast that he ran right past his morning nap.  Unfortunately, naps are hard to outrun and Bryce ultimately lost the race, but I think neither of us were prepared for the finish line.  He fell asleep on the rug while I was changing his diaper!  I guess babies “hit the wall” sometimes, too.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things I learned at the beach

I was blessed enough to spend the weekend at the beach with my Mom, sister, and 5 kids.  Relaxing?  Maybe not.  But we had an incredible time together and learned something new every day.



Lesson 1 : Little monkeys will make their own fun when the DVD players stop working.  We moms should give them the chance more often!



Lesson 2:  Popsicles taste especially good when shared in a bathtub full of friends



Lesson 3:  Sometimes a Southern Girl just needs to get comfortable and eat a bag of chips.  (European style!)



Lesson 4:  We should all be as confident and comfortable with ourselves as a 1 year old.



Lesson 5:  All the packing, planning, whining (mine), and sleep deprivation were worth it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wrong answer, Mom!

My daughter is 3 1/2 which means that we inevitably get to visit the bathroom at all of our favorite shopping stores. During a recent visit to the lovely facilities at our local Wal-Mart, I had one of those “Mom Moments”. I really can’t blame this experience on my sweet girl or even myself. Here’s the culprit…


Yep! It was the toilet’s fault.

When I first discovered auto-flush potties I thought it was the wave of the future. So nice that I no longer had to risk dropping a shoe in the toilet while balancing on one foot trying to flush. (because there is nooooo way Misty’s gonna touch the handle in a public bathroom!) What I never fathomed was that someday I would squat down in front of one of these fancy contraptions, holding my three year old, trying to make sure that neither of us comes in contact with what we refer to as “booty germs”.

Well, this is how it happened. We had both assumed our positions. My precious girl does her business, uses her toilet paper and then casually (or so I thought) asks, “Mom, does this potty flush?”.

Me: “Yes, baby, it flushes.”

Ella: “Does it flush by its own self?”

Me: “It sure does.”

My little angel then lets out an awful scream and leaps onto me in true McMonkey fashion. I have to admit I was caught off guard but not so much that I was willing to let me or my baby touch the public bathroom floor. I then somehow managed to stand and that’s when I realized that Ella still had her used toilet paper in her hand and was rubbing it all over my clothes. I started to yell, now.


Ella: “No! No! The potty’s gonna get me!”

Me: (while trying to pry the dirty hand off me) “Throw it in! Throw it in!”

Ella: “It’s gonna be loud! It’s gonna get me!”

I finally managed to pry it out of her hand (ugh!) and got her dressed. I then took her to the sink and scrubbed off as many of the booty germs as I could and tried to ignore the giggles coming from one of the stalls.

This experience has taught me several things. First, the questions my kids ask are seldom casual even when they appear so. There is often a bigger picture I need to search for. And second, always be on the lookout for leaping monkeys.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

There Was a Little Girl




There was a little girl

Who had a little curl

Right in the middle of the forehead

When she was good

She was very, very good,

But when she was bad she was horrid.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow