Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - A Year in Review

Wow how time flies! 2011 went by very quickly...but I guess that is what happens when you are having fun.

Dotty has grown and changed so much in the past 12 months! It is hard to still see "my baby" in her...she is getting to be such a "big girl"!

This year Dotty had many great things happen to her...(and in no specific order)...
- She became a "Big Sister" to Dylann
- Her Daddy, Brittany, and Dylann all moved back to the WF area and having them closer has been great for everyone...especially Dotty
- She played her first organized sport...soccer...and got her first trophy!
- She started a preschool year without Presley just down the hall (Presley started kindergarten)
- She took her first plane ride...she went to Colorado with the Nichols Family
- She started taking gymnastics lessons...hopefully in 2012 she will master the cartwheel!
- She rode her first horse
- She rode her first camel...yes I said camel!
- She played "Mary" again in the school play
- She wore about 5 different costumes at Halloween
- She is learning to copy printed letters and she can spell her name really well
- She learned to swim
- She cut her own hair...so she got her first official haircut...to fix her hair!
- She got her ears pierced..."both of them"...as she liked to point out to you
- She made lots of new friends and got to spend time with the old ones too
- She turned 4 years old

All in all...2011 was a great year for our sweet Dotty. I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

All About Mamma!

Okay this post is all about me...and since I am in fact Dotty's Mom I think it still works for her blog...

The main reason I am posting this is because I believe the best way to accomplish something is for people to be held accountable. I believe in that...and in guilt.

I want as many people to know about my 2012 New Year's Resolution as possible...this way I might just actually stick to it...out of accountability (and guilt)!

My New Year's Resolution for 2012 is to run a Half Marathon...yep...all 13.1 miles of it...before December 31, 2012. (And for those of you that know my life schedule...I really only have until about the first week of October to get this done because then I am too busy with pecan season!)

For those of you in good shape and/or who like to run...this might not seem like a big deal...but to me this is Mount Everest!!! I do not like to run and my shape is more pear...than good...although I am one plump pear...so as pear shapes go...then I am a good pear...but I digress...

So...by posting this on as many blogs as I have...(which is two...I have this one and the Pecan Shed's...I made it sound like I have tons of blogs...but two is almost more than I can handle) and by announcing it on Facebook (don't look for me on there...the Pecan Shed has a Facebook page..."LIKE IT" if you have not already)...and by telling as many people as I know and some random strangers that I feel driven to share this part of my life with...I am hoping that I will be forced to be held accountable for making this resolution a reality...if I don't then I will feel guilty (see how the guilt thing works?!)!!!

The next time you see me feel free to ask me how my training is going, how many miles I ran that day, or what I had for lunch...on second thought don't ask me about what I had for lunch...it might make me hungry again!

I will occasionally keep you posted on my progress (look how positive I am already...I am assuming there will in fact be progress).

See you at the finish line!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deflated Not Dead...



This entire holiday season Dotty has loved looking at the lights all over town. She especially loves looking at the inflatable lighted displays like those of Santa, Snowmen, the Grinch, etc.

One morning when we were heading to school Dotty noticed that the snowman in front of a house in our neighborhood was deflated and lying in a puddle of nylon on the ground.

Dotty yelled, "Someone killed that snowman!"

I said, "He is not dead he is just deflated. At night they blow air up in him to make him stand up. Then they shine lights on him so we can see him. Then when morning comes they turn off the air and lights and he falls down on the ground like he is now."

Dotty sat for a second and said, "I am not sure if you know what you are talking about Momma."

I shook my head in agreement and said, "Sometimes I am not sure if I know what I am talking about either Dotty...but I do know the difference in a dead snowman and a deflated one."

When we drove by the house again that evening the snowman was back to his healthy, fat, and shining self.

Dotty yelled, "He's alive!"

It was a Christmas miracle!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Love/Hate Relationship

Dotty and her cousin Presley have a "love/hate" relationship. They always say they want to see each other and they usually are thrilled to be around each other for at least 5 or 10 seconds...then all heck breaks loose.

They fuss...they fight...they drive everyone around them nuts!

But when it is time to go...they cry that they don't want to leave each other.

It is really quite frustrating.

I feel for both Presley and Dotty in different ways.

Presley is 6 and Dotty is 4 so of course Dotty wants to do EVERYTHING Presley does...and wants to dress like Presley, eat what Presley is eating...she is even mad here lately because Presley has started losing her teeth and she hasn't.

I have a cousin that is 4 years younger than me and I can remember when Tracey wanted to dress like me and tried to copy everything that I did. It was very annoying for a young kid...however...we grew up to be very close as we got older...and she was the closest thing I had to a little sister. So I know someday Dotty and Presley will (more than likely...keep your fingers crossed) feel that way too about each other.

On the other hand, I can see where Presley at times does stuff to Dotty just to make her mad...which is EXACTLY what Jake used to do to me growing up and I HATED it! In fact...Jake and I spent a good 4 or 5 years barely speaking to each other when we were growing up because all we did was fight! So I feel sorry for Dotty in that respect.

To compound the problem...both girls are only children...and spoiled (yep...I know mine is spoiled rotten). They are not used to having to share toys, time, or attention (especially Memaw's).

I can only hope that as Dotty's little sister Dylann gets older Dotty will learn what it is like to be the "older" one and will cut Presley some slack. I also hope time will make things better.

What I do know is that when Dotty and Presley are around each other for any amount of time I require earplugs, prayers for patience...and perhaps some time alone for me to destress!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Real Meaning of Christmas...

Christmas Eve...Dotty said, "Tonight is the night Jesus was born."

"Yes it is," I said.

Then Dotty asked, "Did you know Jesus died for you and me?"

"Yes I did," I said with a catch in my throat.

Dotty went on to say..."He died so we could go to Heaven. Wasn't that nice of him? I am going to tell him thank you when I get to Heaven."

I couldn't say a word...I just nodded and hugged her close to me. I was so touched by my precious baby girl. Her Nana and her Sunday School teachers have done a good job at teaching my child what is the real meaning of Christmas truly is...and I need to do a better job of teaching her too. Even though I think she is so young to understand it all...she really does understand more than I give her credit for and now is the time to really work at creating a strong foundation in her belief system.

I knew on Christmas morning that Dotty would be overwhelmed with new toys and gifts of all kinds but I was so glad that on the Eve of Christ's birth Dotty took a moment to remind me of what Christmas is really all about.

Sometimes in life our children truly are our best teachers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Candy Cane Addiction

Dotty loves candy canes! I don't know that she has ever eaten an entire regular size one, but she always wants them when she sees them!!!

A few days ago I put plastic candy canes that light up in front of our house. Dotty was so excited, but she has not been home early enough to really check them out...this time of year things are so busy!

This morning while I was loading the car I noticed Dotty was really inspecting the candy canes in our flower bed. I put the last bag in the back of the car and turned to tell her to load up.

I caught her just as she licked the fake light up candy cane!

I laughed so hard I almost fell over!!!!

Dotty laughed too! She said they didn't taste very good.

So I have a new marketing idea...outdoor light up candy canes that actually TASTE like a candy cane!!! I know Dotty would have me buy 100 of them!

Monday, December 12, 2011

He Knows When You Have Been Bad or Good...

Thank heavens for the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". It has made every boy and girl act better in the month or so leading up to Christmas. I know it has made Dotty try to be a "good little girl".

Last night she went right to bed telling me..."Santa knows when you are sleeping and when you are awake."

Then this morning (after only being awake for about 5 minutes) Dotty asked "Have I been good so far today?"

My response was, "Well you are off to a good start. You just have about 835 more minutes to go!"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dotty's Santa Picture 2011


Dotty has had her picture made with this very Santa almost every year since birth! We did miss one year when Dotty was scared of Santa. That year she had her picture made at a mall somewhere and Lena had to pose with her in the picture holding her while Dotty cried. It was one of those...you just have to have...kind of picture.

I mean who doesn't have a picture of their kid sobbing with Santa...it is a classic!!!

Dotty loves Santa now though. She told him everything on her list...and more! I am not sure Santa's sleigh can hold everything Dotty asked for...the giraffe might exceed the height limits!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Choices

Dotty bases all her underwear choices on who she will be seeing later in the day. She wears the panties with the picture of who that person likes most.

For example:
Memaw - Cinderella
Daddy and Brittany - Ariel
Mommy - Belle

I told her today was Jake's birthday and we would probably go by to see him later.

When she was getting dressed she asked me if I had any panties with "Keri" on them. Confused I told her no and then asked why.

She said, "Because Keri is Jake's favorite princess."

We went for Sleeping Beauty...long blond hair and likes to sleep...LOL...just kidding Keri!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pics Taken a While Back...


Christmas Tree Decorating 101

Dotty has a unique way of decorating our Christmas tree. She basically wants all the ornaments (big or small) to be grouped together in about a 6 inch by 6 inch area.

At first you might assume this area would be on the tree within her direct reach. Thus about 3 feet or so up the tree.

Oh no! You would be mistaken.

She wanted me to lift her up to the top of the 7 foot tree to put ALL the ornaments by the star.

After about a dozen ornaments...I was no longer her official "helper". Some ornaments did find their way to other parts of the tree but not many.

When she went to bed, I tried to move some of the ornaments but my kiddo is sharp! She noticed them the very moment she walked into the living room the next day. And of course...back to the top they went.

(This weekend I got one heck of an upper body workout. 35 pounds of wiggly little girl is better than any P90X routine.)

I pray our tree does not topple over some day! And so does Dotty.

The night we did it she said, "You don't like where I put the ornaments Mommy?"
I said, "It is fine. I just pray the tree doesn't fall over."

During our prayers that night Dotty asked for a real pink dog, rain for Papa's trees, and that the tree would not fall over. I think she has a better shot at the pink dog than that tree making it to Dec. 25th without a crash!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Want What You Can't Have

Isn't it funny how everyone wants what they can't have? And isn't it funny how when you have something you don't really want it until it is gone?

I think this is true from 2 year olds all the way up to 92 year olds.

Dotty complained every time we had to go to soccer practice. It was a beating to get her to participate at all half the time. She would also sometimes refuse to play during games. She just never really seemed to enjoy it a whole lot at times, but we would not let her quit the team.

Last night when I talked to her she asked me, "When can I go back to soccer practice?"
I said, "Soccer is over until the spring."

Whining and complaining followed.

I can assure you if she would have had soccer practice yesterday she would have complained that she didn't want to go! I am not sure this will get better with age. In fact, if my teenage years are any indication...it will only get worse!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Soccer Trophy


Dotty got her very first trophy today. She received a trophy for "participation" in soccer this year. Since Dotty played in a division where teams do not keep score (in fact the coaches are actually on the field with the girls and there are no referees...because the girls are so new to the game) there were no first place, second place, etc. trophies...just participation ones.

The team had a little party at Pizza Hut after their last game today and that is when their coach passed out the trophies. Of course all the girls were thrilled to get them!

We will have one more season in the spring in this division and then we will move up to the next level. At the next level the girls will play 4 on 4, no coaches will be allowed on the field, (nor parents...yes...I was one of those parents who went out on the field with my child so she would stop crying and actually participate...apparently much to the dismay of Tony), and they will actually keep score.

Now whether or not Dotty will play soccer in the future is anyone's guess. She spent most of the season doing dance moves on the soccer field and asked me after almost every game "when can I do dance again?"

So...for those of you friends and family that missed this season's soccer games there is hope for another season...but don't buy your sideline soccer gear just yet (and by sideline soccer gear I mean everything from winter coaches to sunscreen). As we were leaving the soccer party Dotty tried to give her trophy back to the coach...I think Dotty thought it was a commitment she was not willing to make. Either that or she was just needing a nap and being difficult. Either one is a good bet!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daddy's Back

Tony, Brittany, and Dylann moved into their new home in Iowa Park this weekend. They are now officially 15 minutes away from where Dotty and I live. Which is so nice since they had been over 2 hours away from us when they lived in Grapevine.

Dotty was so excited all weekend! She got a set of bunk beds for her room...the kind with the twin on top and the full on bottom...which is a good thing since Daddy, Dotty, and Dylann were apparently all piled in the bottom bunk this morning according to the text message I received.

Usually I get Dotty back from Tony on Sundays but yesterday she was so excited about her new bed and the new house she did not want to go home with me. The entire Nichols clan had been moving stuff all weekend and Sunday night was going to be the first night anyone stayed in the new house and Dotty did not want to miss out on such an important event.

I could not say no to my child wanting to be a part of something like that. While it pained me to have to leave her and be without her for another night...I knew that is what was best for Dotty.

Through all this, both Tony and I have tried to do what was best for Dotty. In many cases, what is best for Dotty is not easy for either of us and at times it can be down right heartbreaking for one or both of us.

I think too often divorced parents put themselves ahead of the children. The parents focus on their selfish needs and wants...rather on what the child needs and/or wants. Or they use their children as weapons against their ex-spouses. From the beginning Tony and I vowed never to be like that with Dotty.

Of course, Tony and I are still Dotty's parents and we are in charge of her so she will not always get to dictate where and when she stays...but last night was her choice. And she chose to stay with Daddy.

As I said my prayers last night, a few tears rolled down my face because I missed Dotty so much. The house just seemed so quiet last night. But as I prayed for my baby girl to be happy, healthy, and safe...I also thanked God that Dotty has a Daddy that loves her with all his heart. Lots of kids out there are not so lucky. Dotty has two parents that love her...so much. And she has many, MANY other people out there that love her too!

Dotty is a very blessed little girl!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dotty's Halloween Costume(s)!

Dotty got to wear her Halloween costumes (yep...plural) many times this year. However she only wore one costume more than once! This year Dotty chose to be several different characters for Halloween. Oh the fun!!!

At her school's Fall Festival she was Jasmine...remember the black hair?! I sure do!
At the school's "dress up day" she was Snow White...no black hair this time!!!
Trick or treating with Daddy in Byers she was Ariel...not sure what the hair was that day...need to ask Nana!
Trick or treating at Spanish Trace with Memaw she was Bat Girl...black cape took the place of black hair!
Pumpkin Caroling with her school at the Red Door Senior Citizen Center she was Super Girl...red cape this time.
And finally...trick or treating on Halloween Night with me she was Bat Girl again...she really liked having a cape!

So...if I can count right that makes 6 costume opportunities and 5 different costumes!!! I have a feeling when Dotty goes to prom or gets married she might have a hard time picking just one dress!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

GOAL!!!

This past Saturday Dotty scored her first goal at a soccer game!

She actually scored TWO goals in that game!!!

We were so proud of our little soccer stud!!!

We didn't even care that both the goals she scored were in the wrong goal!

Dotty was jumping up and down and "high 5-ing" everyone...we just celebrated right along with her!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Black Hair Dye and White Tubs Don't Mix


Last night at Dotty's school they had a costume parade. Dotty wanted to be Jasmine. She also wanted to dye her hair black like Jasmine.

Apparently Tony tried to talk her into a black wig but that did not work. (I think he should try harder next time!) So yesterday afternoon I sprayed my child's sweet brownish blonde hair with black hair dye.

She was a cute Jasmine...and black hair makes her blue eyes pop...but I am still never doing that again...at least not if I am the one that has to wash it out!

Dotty was exhausted from the day (long story...but she got up at 5am and had not had a nap all day) and to top it off she did not want her black hair to go away.

Insert wailing and gnashing of teeth here.

It was quite the trick to get her into the tub and get her hair washed. I am so thankful Memaw was there to help or else I might have started crying too!

When all was said and done Dotty was clean but my bathtub was a black mess! It took me a good 20 minutes to clean it and it is still not like it used to be. I plan to bust out the big cleaning guns this weekend when Dotty is away and really SCRUB!

I also have sent a message to Tony saying that I will NOT do hair dye of any kind ever again. I had nightmares about that stuff all night! No wonder Halloween is so scary!!!

Hair dye at Halloween is now ranked right up there with bunnies at Easter...fine if someone wants Dotty to have that type of thing but I want nothing to do with it! LOL!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Few and Far Between

It is that time of year again...the time of year when my life at work gets NUTS...literally! We will be getting super busy at the Pecan Shed in just a matter of days so my posts for Dotty's blog might get few and far between for the next few months. My goal is to keep a list of topics written down, to be able to find that list in January, and to blog about stuff in more detail then!

However, if anything major comes up...like she wins a Nobel Prize or scores a soccer goal I will be sure to write something up...even if it is a short one!

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Life Needs a Remote Control...

Dotty loves our DVR...she thinks every tv in every place should have a pause button and that all shows she has ever watched should be able to appear again at her command. Dotty also always expects me to drop whatever I am doing in order to work the remote control for her.

While I was in my bathroom getting ready this morning I heard the living room tv come on...then go silent...come on...then go silent...come on...then go silent. I finally got worried and went into the room to see how much I was about to spend on a new tv. What I found was Dotty had learned which button was the "pause" button.

She was a busy girl running from room to room and when I asked her what she was doing to our poor tv...she simply said "I don't want to miss anything Momma so I pause it every time I can't see it."

I wish life were that way. Dotty is growing up so fast and there are times I wish I had a pause button. Sometimes I wish I could freeze the moment and just savor it for a while longer. Other times I wish I had a rewind button...like when Dotty is with Tony and they do all the great fun things they do together I wish I could hit rewind and have her do them again only with me this time...that way neither of us would miss out! (And I am sure Tony feels the same way in regards to Dotty's time with me.)

Life doesn't come with a "pause" or "rewind" button though so we have to make the most of our time. For that reason, I stopped getting ready and sat in the living room with Dotty and watched "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" with her. Of course there were a million things I needed to do but they could all wait. My time with Dotty is precious and because of our life situation I do miss out on a lot of time with her (as does Tony).

I have said for some time now that being divorced is what you want to make of it. If you want to focus on the bad then the divorce will be bad. If you want to focus on the good then the divorce will be good (crazy as that sounds!). Believe it or not (but if you know us...you will believe it) Tony and I have a good divorce. We communicate, we get along, we do things jointly, we can even laugh and joke around with each other. Oh sure there are the not so good times but every relationship has those.

One of the blessings I got from being divorced is that I learned how short my time with Dotty truly is and had I stayed married I might not have realized that until Dotty was heading off to college. Children grow up quickly and you don't get their childhood back...so I try to make the most of my time with Dotty. And I will always be grateful for that life lesson...regardless of how I learned it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Puking Princess

Monday night I had a puking princess on my hands. Dotty went to bed telling me her tummy felt bad but she didn't want medicine and she seemed fine...no fever...ate a banana before bed time. All was well...or so I thought.

I may not ever give Dotty a banana before bedtime again! I may never eat a banana again!!!

I went to bed at 10:30 and at precisely 11:30 I was seeing that banana again from a whole new perspective...Dotty had thrown up all in her bed, on her, and everywhere!

Fun times!

I have a weak stomach, but I swear God gave moms superhuman powers when it comes to their children. I just grabbed up Dotty...stripped her down...got her clean clothes on and got the trash can just in time for round two. By the time she was finally done, I was able to put her on the couch with the tv on and went to clean up her bedroom.

Cleaning my kid is one thing...cleaning the bedroom was another. I dry heaved for about 5 minutes before I finally just pinched my nose and did what had to be done. I felt like I had just survived some sort of nuclear warfare when it was all done.

Right about the time I had started the first load of laundry and got new sheets on the bed, Dotty started throwing up again. This time we were in the living room sitting in the chair so I was more prepared.

Dotty was exhausted though. She wanted to just go to bed. By the time I took the trash out I found her back in her bed...and 3 seconds later...yep you guessed it...more sheets, more nightgowns, more pillow cases.

By the time 3am rolled around I was all out of mattress protectors, I was down to only flat sheets left on the bed with towels under them and covering up with miscellaneous blankets, and Dotty and I had both changed clothes several times.

At one point Dotty looked at me with the saddest face and asked "Mommy, when will I stop throwing up?"
"I don't know" was the best I could do.
Then Dotty said, "I hope you don't get sick Mommy."
I teared up at my sweet, sweet baby girl...worried about her momma!

Dotty slept for a few hours but I didn't. While Dotty tossed and turned in her sleep I kept a close eye on her. By daylight I was exhausted and Dotty was thirsty...bad idea.

All the Sprite came right back up. Dotty yelled at the "bug" to get out of her tummy! (At one point in the night I told her she must have a stomach bug...she asked me how it had gotten in there...then she blamed it on her belly button not being closed up tight enough).

By 10am though...almost 12 hours later...Dotty was able to sip Sprite and eat a few crackers. I got her to take a nap and we both slept hard (well she did and I slept with one eye open). She was a happy girl by that evening and we both slept like rocks.

Dotty being sick like this reminds me of when she was about one...she had gotten a stomach bug and she gave it to everyone...me, Tony, Memaw, Nana...everyone! It was awful and I spent many hours on the floor begging it to go away. However, I would take being sick a million times over it would spare my sweet baby girl!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sleeping Like a Rock Star

Dotty likes to live like a rock star in one particular way...she likes to stay up late and sleep late. I on the other hand like to go to bed early and get up early. Needless to say...we are both kind of grumpy at bed time and in the morning.

Dotty also talks in her sleep a lot (fights with Presley, plays with Ava, yells for Memaw, etc.) and she gets up a lot wanting a drink or to go to the bathroom or something. She usually wakes me up at least three times a night for one reason or another. Dotty has never been a "good sleeper" and I have just come to accept it.

This whole week Dotty has been going to bed at almost 10pm but she has been awake every morning by 6:30am (on her own). And every night she is up two or three times needing something, wanting me to sleep with her, etc. I just knew at some point this would catch up to her. Finally it did...

Last night she was asleep by 9:30 and she slept straight through until 7am! Not once did I hear a peep out of her. In fact, when my alarm went off at 6:30 I was shocked I was still in my own bed! And I was so excited to have gotten over 8 hours of sleep...I hit snooze and slept for 10 more minutes!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lessons in Losing

Dotty should have the genetic makeup of a fierce competitor. The Nichols were all great in sports and like to compete. My dad was never fond of losing at anything. Mom was a cheerleader (enough said there).

Tony is still competitive to this day. I like to win, but I also like for everyone to just get along so I don't have that "killer" attitude like some do.

Dotty is definitely a competitor by birth. She does not like to lose and she is not above cheating in order to win (rules get changed quite a bit when you play with Dotty).

I have been trying to teach her that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose...but it is always how you play the game that matters...no matter what the game is...and you should always just try to have fun.

This morning I was attempting to teach Dotty that lesson yet again. She got up at 6am so we had time to kill. We started playing Candy Land. When I won the second game Dotty threw a huge fit, complete with tears, screams, and fist flying.

I (being the calm and understanding mom that I am) told her that if she couldn't play nice then I would not play with her again. I took the game and hid it from her. (Perhaps not the best teaching tool but I still had to get ready and I was short on time.)

More tears, more screams, more fists flying.

Some day I am sure I will cheer on that competitive spirit but today was not that day. I want my kid to know that winning isn't everything. Games (all kinds) are meant to teach us life lessons and to build character. At 4 years old Dotty has a ways to go. I just hope she grows out of this stage. If not, her high school years might be filled with lots of technicals and possibly some game suspensions.

Side Note: I never got T-ed up. Tony on the other hand cannot say that. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pierced Ears

Tony and Brittany took Dotty and Dylann to get their ears pierced yesterday. Dotty has been wanting to have her ears pierced for two years now (as for Dylann...I am not so sure on what her opinion of it was).

Tony said Dotty did great! The guy doing it had to do each ear...one at a time...and Tony said Dotty did not even cry!!! Such a big girl!!!

(Dylann on the other hand apparently was a bit more opposed to the process. Brittany and Tony said she let them know about it too!)

Dotty was so excited to show me her ears when I picked her up yesterday! She ran up to me and said, "Mommy! I got my ear pierced!"...as she held back her hair for me to see her right ear. Then she turned to the other side and said "I got this ear pierced too!"

Glad she didn't stop at just the one!

Dotty picked out pink flower earrings...and she is already wanting me to pierce my ears too (that's right...I don't have my ears pierced) so we can wear matching earrings. Since I don't tolerate pain well, I think I am going to pass on this bonding experience.

Dotty has shown everyone she meets her pierced ears and she always adds, "Presley will be so jealous!"

While this is a true statement...I am not sure I like Dotty's way of thinking on this. But then again...Presley being two years older does make Dotty feel like Presley gets to do everything first...so if she has this one moment of glory...well then perhaps I can overlook her desire to make Presley jealous.

Side Note: I have warned Jake about all this and he agrees...Presley will indeed be jealous!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fashion Police


I don't know what Joan Rivers would have said about Dotty's fashion choices today, but frankly neither Dotty nor I would have cared what she thought. After yesterday's "potty problems", the fact that Dotty wanted to be a "big girl" and dress all by herself thrilled me to no end.

Now when she shut the door to her room and told me not to come in...I was a little more concerned. The last time that happened we had to cut 9 inches off her hair. But I waited patiently outside...fingers crossed.

When Dotty emerged wearing a black and cheetah print shirt, with a tie dyed pink and white skirt, complete with a blue headband...I simply smiled and (to echo her daddy) said "gorgeous". (Of course I also pointed out to her teachers this morning that Dotty dressed herself so they wouldn't think I had gone crazy.)

I have always let Dotty dress herself to a certain extent...weather appropriate is my only condition. I think so often I have to force Dotty to conform to the "world" as I know it that letting her choose her own clothes at this age is the least I can do.

Brittany thought the look was a perfect statement for Dotty's "wild side". I thought it was cute at 4...at 14 we shall see what I think. If we are late for school...my thoughts will probably be the same...

Gorgeous...now let's go!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Potty Problems

Dotty had potty problems at school yesterday...she wet her pants at the playground. At first I just shrugged it off as playing too hard and not paying attention. Then she didn't make it to the potty in time at our house later that night. She was in a ballerina outfit so I wondered if she just had trouble getting the leotard off.

But when she had another accident this morning...I was completely at a loss for what was up with my child. We had a long talk and during the talk she said she wanted to be a baby again.

Aha!

I think Dotty is having a little trouble with being jealous of her baby sister Dylann. Now I am sure this is all normal. I have no doubts Dotty would have been jealous of a second child even if Tony and I had stayed married. I don't think us being divorced has much to do with it at all. I also know that Tony, Brittany, and everyone try to make Dotty feel special.

Tony thought Dotty was just trying to get attention...and maybe she is. I went with the approach of talking to Dotty...explaining to her what makes being a "big girl" so much better than being a "baby"...and I told her that I quite frankly didn't want to continue to clean up accidents.

We made a "pinky promise" for her to try at school today to not have an accident. I made a mental promise to make sure I ask Dotty a million times if she needs to go potty.

Wish us luck!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Play Date Can't Wait

Today Dotty is going to have a play date with a little girl from her class...Ava. Dotty has been so excited about this event that we have had a countdown all week. Last night she was so excited she could barely sleep. She kept asking me "When I wake up that is the day I get to have a play date with Ava?" My response "Yes"...said with so much enthusiasm after the 15th time she asked.

Usually Dotty is not a morning person...she gets that from her daddy. She typically draws out the whole getting dressed and getting in the car process for an unbelievable amount of time. Today was a different story though.

She up dressed and ready to go by 7:15am...she doesn't have to be at school until 9am. She was trying to open the backdoor and get in the car before I had even had a chance to turn off the alarm system! I thought...great...wake the entire neighborhood and let them know that a play date with Ava is a five alarm event!

I am about to leave to go get the girls from school and take them to Chuck E Cheese. I just hope the play date is a success...otherwise I might not ever be able to use Ava as a means to get Dotty dressed ever again!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Butterfly Bye Byes



Yesterday Memaw and Dotty caught two butterflies at Memaw's house. Dotty was determined to keep them as pets. When we got home though, I told Dotty that butterflies were meant to be free to fly around and spread their wings. They were not meant to be kept in a jar and stared at...no matter how pretty they were.

Reluctantly, Dotty let the butterflies go...and she cried for a few minutes. It was sad for her to let her new friends fly free. I told her we could catch some more the next day, look at them for a little while, and then let them go too...but Dotty was not thrilled to hear about this "catch and release" program I had in mind.

However, like a lot of 4 year olds, Dotty was soon on to another project. I had bought a lot of pumpkins and Dotty forgot all about the butterflies as she found the perfect spot for each pumpkin.

Watching Dotty struggle to let go of the pretty butterflies reminded me of my struggles to let Dotty spread her wings in this world. As a parent, a part of me wants to keep my beautiful baby in a glass jar where nothing bad can ever hurt her, but I realize that Dotty was not meant to be confined...she was meant to fly. In fact, that girl was meant soar.

They say if you love something you have to let it go. As parents that is so hard to do. I love Dotty so much that a part of me wants her to never grow up and "fly away" but then again when I see her spread her wings and soar...I am so proud of my beautiful butterfly girl.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011


Dotty and I went looking for the "Great Pumpkin" yesterday. Actually Dotty was looking for a "fairy godmother" or a "prince" but I just wanted some pumpkins. We did find lots of great pumpkins (and some really big ones) but we also found a swarm of mosquitoes! Dotty got eaten alive by those things. I practically bathed her in Caladryl. It was the pink kind so Dotty didn't mind too much.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

4 Year Dr. Visit

Today Dotty had her 4 year old doctor visit. She had to get three shots. She only cried for just a bit...and she told the nurse that she thought she might be her friend but after she gave her shots she didn't want to be the nurse's friend anymore. Thankfully the nurse found that funny.

After two stickers and one sucker the tears were all dry before we could get to the car. I do have a sucker now stuck to my cupholder but that is a small price to pay for no more tears.

Dotty was 41 inches tall...37.5 pounds and fell into the 75th percentile for each. She was as healthy as a 4 year old can be. My favorite question the nurse asked me was "Can you understand all the words she says?"

My answer, "for the past 3 years now...just kidding...but I understand her...loud and clear"

Monday, September 12, 2011

4 is Fun!

When my child turned four she got a lot of gifts.

One such gift is the gift of a bipolar personality!

Talk about mood swings!

She can go from "I love you" to "I don't like you" in less than 2.2 seconds.

Luckily I remember the phrase, "this too shall pass" and I enjoy the "I love you" moods and try to survive the "other" moods.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dotty's Spanish Trace Birthday Party


Dotty wanted a party at "Memaw's House" and she had invited several of Memaw's neighbor to this party over the last few weeks. So Thursday between school and Dotty's Jump for Joy party, Memaw threw Dotty a "Spanish Trace Party".

And it was a PARTY...let me tell you. My mother never does anything small.

Memaw's house was decked out wall to ceiling in pink, we had lots of guests, party favors, cake, and all sorts of presents.

Dotty had a blast and I think the guests did too!

Thanks to everyone...and especially Memaw!

(Pictured: Standing - (L-R) Patsy, Bessie, & Memaw; Sitting - (L-R) Pauline, Jean, Dotty, & Gary)

Dotty's First Soccer Game




Today was Dotty's first soccer game. She did great...greeting all her fans. Dotty spent part of the game waving to all the people that showed up to cheer her on...which was a lot!

She did pretty good though. Every time we yelled at her to watch the ball or get the ball and score she would yell back "I am doing my best!" or "I will try my hardest!" Then she would get this very serious look on her face and clinch her fists.

However, after the game she cried because she didn't score a goal!!!

That is okay though...Presley cried at her game earlier in the day. My family went 2 for 2 on tears today.

Side Note: I told all those who were coming to watch Dotty to look for the "pink" team...all the little girls team in this division seem to be pink!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Dotty!

Today at 5:55pm Dotty will "officially" be 4 years old! Trust me...I remember the exact minute! Best moment of my life!!!

This past year has been amazing...difficult at times...but amazing nonetheless. Dotty is (in my eyes) the best little girl to ever walk this world (okay so I might be biased but she is definitely in the running).

I love how Dotty has grown up into a little "person". She has her own ideas, her own opinions (usually the exact opposite of mine), and she has her very own unique and totally adorable personality.

Before I know it my 4 year old will be 14 but in the meantime I am trying to enjoy every moment possible. Even the every day, run of the mill, don't seem too extraordinary moments are treasured. Life is too precious not to treasure all of it.

This morning I woke up Dotty by softly singing the "Happy Birthday" song. She smiled...yawned really big...then said, "Let's get this birthday started!"

She cracks me up sometimes!

The rest of the morning I had a total "Birthday Diva" on my hands. Dotty referred to herself in the 3rd person the entire morning and she called herself "Birthday Girl".

Birthday Girl wants breakfast.
Birthday Girl is done with breakfast.
Birthday Girl wants Mommy to dress her.
Birthday Girl does not like that dress.
Birthday Girl is ready to go to school now.

Birthday Girl's Mom was ready for her to go to school too! Geez! Good luck Mrs. Grace!!!

At school, Dotty went up and down all the halls and into every room telling everyone it was her birthday! At 4 years old this is totally cute. If I tried it next month when I am...well not 4 years old...I have a feeling I would not get the same reaction from people.

We still have much more planned for today. Parties and people coming by to visit...presents, cake, and all kinds of fun stuff! I don't know if Dotty will be exhausted by I sure will!!!

This next year I wish 4 things for Dotty:
1. I wish she will continue to be a happy and healthy girl.
2. I wish that she will have lots of fun with lots of friends...old and new.
3. I wish she will have both successes and failures because both will make her stronger.
4. I wish that Dotty will keep her innocence and her excitement about the world for just a little bit longer. Children see the world so differently and I hope Dotty can keep that point of view for as long as possible.

Happy Birthday to Dotty!!! She is a true birthday diva and princess and all around special girl!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dotty's Soccer Team

Tony told me that Dotty does not know her soccer team's name. It is Tuff Stuff.

I asked him why he thought this and he said she has been saying it wrong all day to people. When he asked why she thought it was the name she was saying, she said because that is what they yell in the huddle when practice is over.

This is true...when practice is over, the coach gathers up six girls ranging in age from just barely 3 years old to almost 4 years old and has them all yell "Tuff Stuff" on the count of three.

One...Two...Three...TUFF STUFF!!!

Apparently Dotty thinks they have been yelling...Stuffed Crust!

We are in talks with Pizza Hut about the possibility of a sponsorship deal.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crazy Hair Day

Dotty's teacher is a lot of fun and today her class was having "Crazy Hair Day"...not the whole school...just Dotty's class.

So this morning Dotty wanted to put her hair up in lots of pony tails and put lots of bows in her hair. She was super cute! And her hair did look a little crazy.

When we pulled up to school Dotty saw all the other kids walking in...without crazy hair. She leaned into to me and said with all manner of seriousness, "Are you SURE today is crazy hair day???"

I just laughed and explained to her that it was just her class and the other students didn't get to have a fun day like that. Of course as we walked into school I got a lot of strange looks from parents. While I considered justifying Dotty's Crazy Hair...I just smiled.

Dotty walked pretty slow into school and kept looking around for other "crazy haired kids". When she saw her class she saw plenty of them! In fact, her hair was pretty tame compared to others.

Needless to say I did not get a kiss goodbye...TGI(crazy hair)F!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crowns are Heavy

Have you ever held a "real" crown in your hands? One that was made from real gold and diamonds and jewels and all that "glittery" stuff?

I have never held one but (like everything else these days) I Googled it. Royal crowns (those worn by actual kings and queens) usually weigh between 2 to 5 pounds. At first you probably think this is not too heavy but get a two pound weight and balance it on your head for a few hours and see how you feel.

Today Memaw sent me a picture of Dotty all dressed up in her princess outfits complete with shoes and crown. The caption said, "...being a princess is a full time job." How true it is.

Sometimes being an only child means that all the focus is on you. While I don't know what that feels like personally (since I have an older brother and he has had his fair share of the sibling spotlight) I do know what it is like to be the mother of an only child.

My world revolves around Dotty...her schedule...her eating...her sleeping...her likes...her dislikes...her good moods...and her bad ones. I spend many moments of my days talking to her, playing with her, snuggling with her...and sometimes just looking at her (in amazement that she is mine).

I often worry that her "crown" (that of being my only child) will someday be a heavy burden for her to bear. I worry that having so much of my attention will not only spoil her but also cause her to feel added pressure in life.

While I hope this is never the case, I do realize that it is a possibility. Growing up I always said the only thing I could go on the Jerry Springer Show and complain about was that my parents loved me TOO much (of course these days it would be Dr. Phil but you get the idea...not a very compelling show).

I do love Dotty more than life itself...but I never want my love to be overwhelming to her. She will always be my princess...I just hope the crown doesn't get too heavy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marketing Genius

I took a lot of Marketing classes in college. I have even used some tricky techniques a time or two to entice my customers to buy things at my store. I also think that my knowledge of marketing strategies makes me a better consumer. However, Dotty is so innocent that she is easy prey for toy marketers.

For this exact reason I do not let Dotty watch Nick on t.v. All morning long they have commercials running for toys and games and everything else any child from the age of 8 months to 8 years old would love to have.

Today I wasn't paying that close of attention and I just say "Dora" on my t.v. guide. I turned it on for Dotty and left the room. Three seconds later I was being summoned into the living room with a "Hurry! Hurry! You are going to miss it!" cry from my sweet child.

What I was about to miss was an add for a toy...it was furry, it barked or purred, it drank real water and really made a mess on the floor (if you failed to take it out for a walk)...you get the idea. Dotty wanted one of each. My first thought was "no way"...my second thought was "who has a grudge against parents so bad they would create this toy"...and my third thought was "a marketing genius".

I simply told Dotty we would see about the toy. Before I could find the remote to change the channel, two more commercials came on and Dotty NEEDED both toys...asap...PLEASE! (At least she remembers her manners when she is demanding things.)

One toy was a toy set that had no less than 100 small pieces and if you lost even one of them the whole set would not work...of course batteries were not included.

The other toy was a pirate type thing...clearly geared toward boys...but as Dotty told me...she was open to playing with all types of toys...not just girl ones.

I changed the channel as fast as I could. God love Nick Jr. and those who created it. NO COMMERCIALS!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dotty as Bridezilla

Yesterday Dotty dressed up like a "bride" at Memaw's house...complete with veil, shoes, and bouquet. She even had Memaw and me serve as her "bridesmaids"...but we were more like slaves if you want me to be honest.

I don't usually let Dotty watch anything but Disney movies and Nick Jr but somehow that girl must have seen the show "Bridezilla" because the word Diva does not even begin to say how demanding Dotty was.

Memaw and I were told when to walk, how to walk, when to talk, what to say, and we were severely scolded if we did not obey. I am telling you if looks could kill I would be dead several times over by now.

After plenty of time had passed playing "bride" (let me tell you 30 minutes felt like 3 hours) I told Dotty it was time for us to go home. When she asked if she could wear her bride's outfit home you had better believe it that I did not object. I value my life too much.

However, when she requested (that sounds better than demanded...but we all know the truth don't we) that I wear my veil home as well (our bridesmaid's outfits were quite elaborate) I tried to decline. When I saw what was about to be the result of my refusal (and Memaw's pleading look for me to just give in) I decided to withdraw from this battle in hopes of winning the war.

I got several double looks from the people who passed by...but it was all worth it. I had a happy girl...a happy bride...and a happy ending.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flashing the Catholic School

Dotty and I live across from a catholic school. We love it. It is not a big school so traffic is not bad and we get the benefit of people slowing down in the "school zone". Plus for 3 months out of the year there is practically no traffic at all.

The only down side is when school is in session and we have to acclimate back to students walking by, parents dropping off kids, etc. The first few days I watered my plants outside with my curlers in my hair without even really realizing it.

Today was the best though...Dotty usually comes outside with me when I water to play or help me water or just enjoy any temperature below 110 degrees and she is usually still in her pajamas at this point. This morning she was playing with her mermaid dolls in a puddle I had made for her when she hopped up and rain inside to go potty. When she came back out I told her I was almost done and to grab up her mermaids so we could go get ready for school.

In an effort to not get her nightgown wet, Dotty hiked up her dress and bent over (tushie facing the school) to get her toys. I was too late to stop the action.

Dotty had just done a full moon to the catholic kids and parents.

I did not know whether to be mad, be embarrassed, be on the lookout for CPS, or be amused. I chose to be amused but Dotty and I did have a talk about what we have to be wearing when we are outside...#1 on the list is panties.

I am also still on alert for a call from CPS...and I have a feeling that if I were catholic this event would call for a Hail Mary or two.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 2 - Not as Much Excitement

Day two of school was not met with as much excitement as day one. In fact, with less than 30 minutes before we needed to be walking out the door, Dotty was refusing to get dressed, eat breakfast, or let me do her hair. She was complaining of a headache (I am beginning to think I say that I have one too much to her...although I have had some horrible migraines this summer...lack of rain I am sure).

After I calmly counted to ten, I pointed out to Dotty that in order for her to get a blue snow cone AFTER school...she had to actually GO to school. I am not sure how this bribe will work when the snow cone stands close down for the winter. But for today it got her up and moving...s-l-o-w-l-y...but moving nonetheless.

Of course when we got to Mrs. Grace's class I could barely get a hug goodbye.

As I walked down the hall I heard all the crying and tears of the 2 and 3 year olds who were going to school for the first time. It reminded me of Dotty's first few days when she was 2 and started at this school. Those days were hard ones...on her and me.

While I am glad she does not cry and hang on to my leg anymore...there is a part of me that is sad that she is growing up so fast. Before I know it she will be heading out to Kindergarten, then Junior High, then High School, then College...it will all happen in the blink of an eye.

So tomorrow if she is moving sort of slow and wants to dance to one more song before we leave...instead of demanding that she get in the car...I plan to just dance and know that all too soon the song will end.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School 2011-12


Dotty went to her first day of school today. She actually goes year round but she has a new teacher now and a new classroom. This classroom comes complete with a bird named Beaker and a fish named Norman. Hopefully this will keep Dotty from asking for a pet of her own for at least a week or two. Dotty is super excited about her new class and of course I am super excited about anything that makes Dotty super excited!

(Side Note: On a personal note, for me I realize I am not "Mother of the Year" but today I felt totally inadequate. I only took two pics of Dotty on her "first day of school". Several parents were not only taking no less than a million pictures but they were also videoing the entire event. I even think one set of parents actually hired a film crew to document the entire process...step by step. That poor kid will someday have that video showed on his first date, high school graduation, and at his wedding no doubt.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dotty's 1st Soccer Practice

Tonight Dotty had her very first soccer practice. She is playing in the "under 4" division due to her birthday. However, she will be 4 before her first actual game. Thus she is one of the older girls...although she is not one of the biggest girls on the team...she is still sort of petite.

She did fairly well overall. She was a little timid and seemed sort of shy but she listened well and had fun so that is all that matters.

I am trying to not be a "helicopter" parent...thus I am trying to not "hover" over her. But it is hard!

I am not sure she will be in the World Cup in the future but she might score a goal or two during her soccer career.

I just wish it was indoor soccer...I prefer climate control!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Highlights from Dotty's Vacation

According to Dotty the best things about the Nichols family vacation were...

#1 The airplane ride! It was Dotty's first but the thing that impressed her the most was that "they served you drinks!" Dotty got a Sprite on the way to Denver and a Coke on the way to Dallas. She informed me Dr. Pepper was not an option.

#2 The minivan. While Tony and Brittany appeared less thrilled about their wheels in Colorado, Dotty was apparently very sad to see the minivan returned. She asked both me and Brittany if we could get one. Needless to say, both Brittany and I declined to trade in our SUVs.

#3 Smurfs. The kind you get in the McDonald's Happy Meals. It appears Dotty got 3 different Smurfs while in Colorado...and to an almost 4 year old that is way more impressive than the Rocky Mountains.

I know Dotty got to do a lot of great things and spend a lot of quality time with her family. It is always just so funny to me how kids view things in life...what is important to them...or at least what they say is important to them.

The best part of the vacation for me was seeing Dotty's face when I picked her up at the airport in Dallas. Priceless! I still get teary just remembering it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Half Way There...

I am about half way through Dotty's vacation with the Nichols. While I have got a lot done, I am missing her quite a bit.

Last night I did not even want to go home to a quiet, empty house. Normally I would have a million things to do...laundry, dishes, dinner, etc. But when I don't have to give a bath, play dress-up games, or dance with Dotty I am able to get things done faster...therefore everything was done up on Sunday.

The evenings when Dotty is home usually seem so hectic and fast. Last night felt so empty and slow. I sat back in my room and watched my tv show and I did not even have to set the DVR in order to watch it.

Life with an "almost" four year old is definitely more difficult...but it is also way more fun. I know Dotty is having a blast on family vacation (in fact I hear she is practically living in a hot tub) but I am ready for my little girl to be home.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Plane Ride

Yesterday Dotty took her first plane ride. She flew Southwest Airlines with Tony, Brittany, and Dylann (it was also Dylann's first plane ride but I have a feeling she was not as excited as Dotty was).

I heard Dotty did a great job on the flight. According to Tony there were lots of "Whoo Hoos" from Dotty and they were stated in a loud, excited voice. Luckily the other passengers were friendly and enjoyed her excitement...or at least faked it.

Dotty will be gone for over a week on vacation with the Nichols. The Nichols go on vacation every year and it is a wonderful family tradition that I always want Dotty to be a part of.

While I am thrilled Dotty is getting to share in that side of her family's traditions a part of me already misses her terribly. I have not been away from her for this amount of time since December 2009.

It is hard on me to miss out on moments like Dotty's "first plane ride" but I have to remember that Tony misses out on a lot too. That is just the lives we now lead.

I am so glad Dotty did get to share her first plane ride with her Daddy. I know that is a memory he will always cherish. I hope they have a great vacation and a safe one too.

Side Note: I also want it to be known that when I went on Nichols Family Vacations we had to drive 10+ hours to our destinations. Flying was never discussed. Just wanted to point that out. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Next Donald Trump...

Dotty could make even Donald Trump stand up and say "Yes Ma'am!" She is one bossy child. And if you don't jump to it...

You are fired!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Guilty One...

I think all parents feel at least a little bit of guilt at least some of the time. It sort of comes with parenting. You get a cute baby, sleepless nights, lots of hugs and kisses, diaper duty, first words, first bad words, first steps, potty training, going off to school, going off on first dates, going off to college, etc. etc.

I know I skipped a lot of "firsts" in there but you get the idea...you get the good with the bad. Guilt is one of the "bad things" that comes with parenting.

All parents wish they had more time to spend with their children, more money to give their children nicer things, and so forth and so on.

Working parents feel guilty about working. Parents who stay at home feel guilty about not having as much money as they would have if they worked. Even those who make millions and billions of dollars and have all the free time in the world probably still feel guilty about something.

As a divorced parent I think the guilt is stronger...or maybe I feel that way because that is the only life I know. I feel guilty that Dotty has to split her time with me and Tony. I feel guilty that I miss out on things when she is with Tony and I feel guilty that Tony misses out on things when she is with me.

I feel guilty that Dotty will not grow up in a house with her biological parents. And because of that guilt I probably do some things differently than I might have done them if the situation was different.

But on the other hand...all parents are simply doing the best they can. I know my parents did. I grew up with both my parents home every night. I grew up with my parents going to almost everything I did...in school and out of school. To some people looking from the outside in...it would have seemed I had the perfect childhood.

But nothing is perfect. My parents were not always happy but they made certain sacrifices for me and my brother that I will always appreciate. They did the best they knew how to and they gave me a great childhood.

No person is perfect. No situation is perfect. Nothing is perfect...even if it seems that way...you can bet it really isn't perfect.

What I hope Dotty will someday know is that Tony and I are not perfect people and we are not perfect parents...but we try...we try really hard.

I am lucky that my divorce was non-confrontational. Tony and I fought over nothing. We were civil. We were caring. We were committed to still being the best parents to Dotty that we could be. We put Dotty first.

So often I hear and see people going through divorces where children are involved and I am appalled at how some people behave. They use children as weapons. They use children as pawns in their sick games to hurt each other.

I am lucky that Tony and I have not and will not ever do that to Dotty. We might not live in the same house but we are the same parents she has always had...will always have. Our lives will change and things will change but the one constant is that Tony and I will love Dotty...so much...until the day we die.

One thing I don't feel guilty about is that I think I value my time with Dotty much more than I did before the divorce. That is one of the silver linings I know came from our divorce. I know my time with Dotty is not unlimited. I know there are days I will not have her. And for those reasons I try to value my time with her.

I am not saying that other parents don't value their time with their children...but until you have experienced what it is like to know that your time is limited I don't think you can understand where I am coming from.

I have said time and time again that Tony is a great dad...and he would always have been a great dad...but I think he became a better dad when he moved out. I hope I too became a better mom through all of this.

And if that is the case...then there is no guilt about that.

Friday, July 29, 2011

First Sleepover...

Dotty had her very first sleepover Tuesday...well sort of.

Presley invited Dotty to spend the night with her and I went...just in case.

The night had its ups and downs but the girls didn't kill each other and there was only 3 rounds of tears...one bandaid...and about a million "stop fighting with each other" statements.

By 10pm the girls had tried sleeping in Presley's bed...then Presley's floor...then Jake and Keri's bed...and the final outcome was Presley in bed with Jake and Keri and Dotty in bed with me in the guest room.

I don't know if you would call it a successful sleepover...but the girls did sleep.

I call it a toss up...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons Learned...at 10pm

Last night Dotty and I both learned another "life lesson". We learned our lessons at 10pm (or sometime after that) and after a couple of hours of Dotty being...well just cranky.

Dotty seemed tired to me yesterday. Blame it on the heat. Blame it on a short nap. Whatever...but she seemed non-too-happy.

At 7:30 I made her take a bath and...gasp...wash her hair! According to Dotty, that made me the worst mother ever!

Then I let her watch tv in bed until 9pm when I made her...gasp...turn it off! Again, worst mother ever according to my child.

After an hour of me telling Dotty to...
Stop playing
Stop kicking me
Stop demanding I turn on the tv again
Stop getting out of bed
Stop making excuses
And...GO TO SLEEP!
The final straw was when Dotty pulled my hair...I was done.

I got out of her bed and got in my bed. Normally I lay with Dotty until she goes to sleep and then I go sleep in my bed the rest of the night but tonight I was done.

I told Dotty she would have to go to sleep on her own, by herself, in her bed.
Let the wailing begin.

Dotty cried loudly and at first begged me to come sleep with her (pleases included) ...then she demanded that I come sleep with her...then she said she never wanted me to sleep with her again!

I remained calmly in my bed and with each burst of tears and yelling of words I would simply say "Dotty go to sleep."
After about 10 times of that and a good minute...maybe minute and a half...Dotty was out.

See, I told you she was tired.

While it was a very short time that I listened to her cry, it felt like an eternity to me. I prayed asking God to give me the strength to not give in. I knew I had warned Dotty over and over again and I needed to stand firm (because as the old country song goes...You have got to stand for something or you will fall for anything...).

I knew if I caved then Dotty would try to make me cave again and again and again. But if I stood firm then maybe the next time Dotty would listen to me because she knew I wasn't making a threat...I was giving her a promise. And the next time might not be about going to bed...it might be about running into the street, talking to strangers...or later on...taking drugs, drinking and driving, missing curfew, etc.

I don't know what lays ahead for me and Dotty but I know I am trying to get my bluff in now when she is 3 because if I wait until she is 13 it will be too late.

So another lesson learned for Dotty...a million or so to go.

The lesson I learned last night is one I already knew but I seem to be reminded of just how true it is every time I am faced with it. When I was young and got in trouble my parents would always say the old saying "this hurts me more than it hurts you". Back then I did not see how in the world it could. Now I see that while they were punishing me, it was breaking their hearts.

As a parent you never want to see your child sad or mad or hurt or crying
...especially if you are the one who brought on such things...but there is a time and a place where such things are needed.

Dotty was asleep in less than 90 seconds...I was up for well over an hour worried that she would hate me in the morning...or when she is 16. I love Dotty so much and I never want her to be upset with me but I also know that the right choice is usually the hardest one to make...and that is what I try to show Dotty every day of her life.

This morning Dotty woke up and her first words to me were...Can I watch Peppa Pig on the living room tv?

But her second words to me were...I love you Momma!

At that is the end of our lesson today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Kick Off to Soccer...

Today I registered Dotty for her first ever organized sport...soccer. She has been wanting to play ever since she watched Presley's first game.

Due to her birthday, she is in the Under 4 division (although she will turn 4 shortly after her 1st game). The entire "enrollment process" was a little hectic and there were hundreds of people trying to sign up boys and girls in all divisions. I briefly met the coach and basically got the "I will call you" statement from her so I guess I will find out more later on...when things are not so loud and confusing.

I am sure today was the first of many sports signups for Dotty. Tony and I are both big sports fans and we love to play many sports ourselves. Dotty is always kicking balls, dribbling them, running and jumping...this girl loves to be active. I am really looking forward to watching Dotty grow to love sports. I can't wait to cheer her on and also try to not coach from the stands.

In fact, I don't want to ever coach her period. I simply want to enjoy my child enjoying sports.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Visit from Lena

Howard and Ruth Ann have had several foreign exchange students live with them.

The first girl was Thaty from Brazil. She was here when I found out I was pregnant.
Next was Tara from Germany. She was here when Dotty was born.
Next was Lena from Germany. She was here when Dotty was 1.
The last was Bara from the Czech Republic. She was here when Dotty was 2.

All the girls have been really amazing young women. We have all grown to love and adore them and have kept in contact with them even when they have returned home. Dotty has especially adored Lena and Bara...mainly because she was old enough to play with them and to remember them. (She also remembers the fact that those girls did pretty much whatever Dotty wanted them to do.)

Lena has been in Texas visiting for several weeks now and Dotty and I had her over last night for a visit. It is always good for a "mother's heart" to see how much her child loves someone, but when you see that love returned it really does a heart good.

I have always been able to see on all the exchange students' faces just how much Dotty means to them. They all truly care for her just like family and that is the best gift they could ever give me.

I don't know if I could ever let Dotty go live for 10 months in a foreign country with people I know nothing about...but I am sure glad the parents of those four girls did so. I feel truly blessed for having known each of them.

Maybe some day Dotty and I can go visit Brazil, Germany, or the Czech Republic...or maybe all three!!! And if Dotty does want to go study abroad I hope she can live with one of those girls by that time...although there will be rules...no driving, no drinking, no drugs...and no dating!!!

Side Note: That last part is sort of an inside joke :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wardrobe Choices...

I have a very relaxed policy when it comes to Dotty's wardrobe choices...especially when we are needing to be out the door in less than 2 minutes and Dotty is no where near being dressed.

Today Dotty picked out her dress and shoes but I told her she needed to dress herself so I could make her lunch. We had exactly 30 seconds to get out the door in order to be on time for school.

After a good 5 minutes of me asking Dotty if she was dressed while I was gathering up the 100 bags Dotty and I take every morning...Dotty came into the kitchen wearing the clothes that were laid out for her...as well as a gold crown.

Now I had two choices...

1. Tell Dotty to take off the crown which would hurt her feelings and cause an argument.

2. Tell Dotty she looked as pretty as a princess and get her in the car.

I chose #2.

With that choice we were still late for school (but only by about 5 minutes), we both got a few looks when we walked into school (the kids were looking in awe...the parents...not so much as "awe" as "awww"...the pitying kind of awww too), and Dotty was super happy.

The only thing I cared about was the very last thing I just mentioned...Dotty being super happy.

Now a lot of parents might not support their children's wardrobe choices. They might insist their kids do things like match or dress weather appropriate or even not allow them to wear their Halloween customes past October. I am not one of those parents.

My philosophy is that when you are almost 32 wearing a crown is not acceptable. When you are almost 4 it is still borderline cute.

Dotty only has a few years left where she can wear a crown out in public without it being Oct. 31st, her birthday, or the Queen of England's birthday. Thus, I want Dotty to wear her crown(s) as often as possible.

After all she is my princess. And she always will be...crown or no crown.

Monday, July 18, 2011

VBS

Dotty's school is at a church in town and this week that church is hosting Vacation Bible School so Dotty is going to that in the mornings with her class. I was telling Dotty this news as we were getting ready. I told her she was going to learn about Jesus and God and about why being a good person is the right thing to do.

I told her she would probably get to draw and color, learn new songs, make things...she might even get to dress up or see other kids perform a play. I was trying to really hype VBS up for her.

She stopped me and asked, "Is God a girl?"
My response, "No..."
"I wish God was a girl." - Dotty
"Why?" - Me
"Because if God was a girl then she would probably wear a crown and lots of jewelry and beautiful makeup..." - Dotty (said in great awe and wonder)
"Well...okay..." - Me (said with great confusion and awkwardness)
"Do you think that even if God isn't a girl we might still get to put on makeup at vacation bible school?" - Dotty asked (full of hope)
"Doubt it" - Me (pretty sure on that one)

On the way to school Dotty sent up a small prayer...can you guess what she was praying for??? Here is a hint...if CoverGirl was sponsoring VBS Dotty would be thrilled!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dinosaurs...

Dotty is a smart girl. I know I can be an overly proud mom at times but Dotty is a pretty smart little girl.

The other day we were driving home when Dotty asked me if there were any dinosaurs left on Earth (and yes she used the word Earth). I told her that all the dinosaurs had died and are now extinct. I even explained to her what extinction was (or at least in terms a three year old can comprehend).

Dotty sat and pondered it all for a minute then she said..."God created the dinosaurs right?"

"Yes He did" I said.

"And God could create them again if He wanted to right?"

"Yes...God can do anything."

"But God won't create dinosaurs again because they are so big and have sharp teeth and would eat us right?"

"Those are probably the exact reasons God will not create dinosaurs again."

"I am sure glad God made dinosaurs and then decided to make people."

"Me too."

While she may learn about Darwinism and evolution in school some day, I am glad to know that in her heart Dotty believes 100% that God created all things...the heavens, the earth, and the dinosaurs.

(Side Note: Later that night Dotty prayed to God to send rain, to make her a "real" princess, and to not make anymore dinosaurs.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Little Help Here...

For those of you who have raised children I need some advice.

Dotty was filling me in on her weekend with her new baby sister Dylann. She was telling me about changing her diapers and singing to her and Dotty even gave Dylann a bottle.

Then Dotty said to me, "Brittany feeds Dylann with her boobies. What is up with that Mommy?"

After I almost choked on my diet coke I told her that Brittany was breast feeding Dylann. When Dotty still did not seem to understand I pulled up the "La Leche League" website. Bad idea on my part. That just made both Dotty AND me more confused!

(Side Note: I am just kidding about the La Leche League website. My actual response to Dotty when she had more questions for me was "ask your daddy"...I sure hope she brings up the topic while I am in the room. Tony is uncomfortable with a great many issues dealing with women. I can't wait to see how he would handle such a topic with Dotty!)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Store Owners Beware!

Dotty has recently been known to have some "sticky fingers". The last few times I have had her in a store she has picked up something and put it in her pocket. Luckily I have caught her and reminded her we have to pay for things before we can keep them or take them home with us.

I am not sure if it is just Dotty's age...the fact that she doesn't really comprehend shoplifting. Or if it is the fact that she is used to simply getting whatever she wants (spoiled does not even begin to describe this child). Perhaps it is because I rarely take her into a store so she does not understand the proper procedures. Or maybe it is because she can take whatever she wants to take at my store and I usually don't bat an eye about it (the benefits of a family owned business and also being spoiled). I am not sure.

No matter the reason if you know Dotty and you see her "shoplifting" please laugh for a few minutes but make sure you tell me or Nana or Tony or whoever she is with so we can pay for merchandise.

However, Nana draws the line at buying $25 gift cards...just so you know! Beware...a fit may follow.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dotty's Thoughts...

Over the last few weeks Dotty has said some pretty cute stuff and I just have not had time to write them down. Here are a few...

You are Perfect...

One night Dotty and I were sitting in a chair watching "Peppa Pig". On this show many of the characters refer to Daddy Pig's tummy as being too big.
Dotty looked at me and said, "Daddy Pig has a fat tummy."
I said, "It is not nice to say that about someone."
Dotty replied, "Your tummy looks a little fat Mommy."
I responded, "You should not tell people they have fat tummies. It will hurt their feelings. Just say they have a perfect tummy."
Dotty thought for a moment then said to me with a bright grin, "Mommy you have a perfectly fat tummy."
I stopped trying at that point

5 O'clock Somewhere...
Last Wednesday Nana and Papaw were going to pick Dotty up at 5pm to take her to see her daddy. Dotty was very excited and was having a hard time waiting for the time to pass. When she asked me for the hundredth time if it was time for Nana and Papaw to be here I told her it was not 5 o'clock yet.
She then said to me "It must be 5 o'clock somewhere."
Jimmy Buffett would be so proud!

Better with Memaw...
A week or so ago I took Dotty to the Great Wolf Lodge. We spent all morning there playing and having a big time with Jeri and her boys. Then Dotty and I went to see my grandparents and play at their pool. By the end of the day I was worn out and exhausted but had loved every minute of being with Dotty. When I asked her if she had enjoyed the day she said, "Yep. But it would have been better if Memaw was here too."
I can't win for losing.

"C" is for Chick-fil-a...
I am a little concerned about my child's education. The other day she saw the capital letter "C" and said, "That means Chick-fil-a".
Of course my bigger concern might need to be her eating habits. Although she is a girl after my own heart...I LOVE Chick-fil-a!

That is Spanish for...
There are certain words and phrases I do not like Dotty to say. I don't like her to say...hate, stupid, dumb, butt, crap, etc. I know these words can be used in generic ways but Dotty tends to use them with their negative connotation. I really don't like Dotty to say...I hate you...You are stupid...etc.
When Dotty says these words or phrases she gets a stern look, gets reminded of why we don't use them, and sometimes gets put in timeout (depending on the situation).
Now Dotty has found a loophole. Whenever she says something she knows she is not supposed to she tells me, "It is Spanish for..."
For example, the other day Dotty said, "I hate this show."
When I started to get on to her she said, "That is Spanish for I want to watch another show."
Later she told me I was stupid. The minute I opened my mouth to scold her she said, "Mommy, that is Spanish for I love you."
While my Spanish is not so muy bueno...I think for a Fall class we might need to enroll Dotty in Spanish 101.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It is Official...

As of just before 6am this morning Dotty "officially" became a Big Sister!

Dylann Marie was born weighing 5 pounds 14 ounces.

I hear Mom, Dad, Dylann, and Dotty are all doing well. (Dotty's main concern when they got the call early this morning to come over to the hospital was whether or not Nana was going to make her take a bath...funny girl!)

Thanks to Nana for all the updates.

I wish all the best to everyone! The fun has just begun!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Big Sister Day...

Since yesterday was Father's Day and last month was Mother's Day and Dotty knows their is a Grandparents Day...

Dotty asked me, "When is Big Sister Day?"

I told her we would have to make it an official day sometime after Baby Dylann arrives...that way Dylann can help Dotty celebrate.

Dotty is now planning the event that might outdo any Presidential Inauguration Ball!

So far I have been told there will be balloons, ponies, lots of tiaras and lots of pink and purple, flowers, dresses, and perhaps a real princess would attend.

Does anyone know what Kate and William have planned in July??? Dotty would like to offer them the first right of refusal.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dotty Does Not Have a Future with the CIA...

Yesterday when I took Dotty to Tony we had a little Father's Day gift that Dotty was supposed to give to him on Sunday. As I handed Dotty the bag to take with her she took the gift sack and then turned to Tony and said...

"Daddy we got you a shirt for Father's Day."

I guess when you are three (going on four) years old the fact that she waited a whole half a second before spilling the beans is a major accomplishment!

I don't know what Dotty will be when she grows up but I have a feeling CIA agent is not a good career choice for her right now.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Today Was Not Water Day...

Today Dotty was in no mood to get dressed, to brush her teeth, to eat breakfast, to go to school...

In her own words..."I don't want to do NOTHING!"

Since her daddy used to teach English, I am sure the use of a double negative will have to be addressed at a later time.

I did not have time for such things this morning.

When Dotty finally got in her carseat to go to school she said, "I wish everyday was water day."

Amen!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wish Every Day was Water Day!

Today was "water day" at Dotty's school. It is so easy to get Dotty up and dressed for school on water day!

I wish every day was water day!!!

Of course after 10 minutes of watching the teachers get sprayed by water guns, hugged by wet children, and listening to all the squeals, screams, and yelling...I am sure the teachers at school do not wish every day was water day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Skinny Cats...

When I help Dotty take off her shirt or dress to change clothes or to get in the bath tub I always say "skin a cat".

I don't know why I have always said this. I am sure it was said to me a million times as a child and I bring it up because of my own youth. But who really knows why we do the things that we do???

So last night as I was getting Dotty ready for the tub I said "skin a cat" when I pulled her dress up over her head.

Dotty looked at me and with all seriousness said, "Momma...why do you always say that? Are there no skinny dogs?"

I laughed so hard I had to sit down...good thing the toilet was handy...bad thing was the seat was up because...well I have a 3 year old so who knows why the seat was up?! I am sure when I notice something is missing it will be clearer to me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Techno Kid

Yesterday when I picked up Dotty from Tony in Decatur, Tony told me Dotty had not had a nap that day. I was worried she would fall asleep on the car ride home and then stay up late that night.

My worries were short lived.

The minute Dotty got in the car she took my Galaxy Tab and started playing her games. She also had her DVD player going with her Barbie DVD.

At one point she had the Tab sitting on top of the DVD player and she was in no mood to talk to me. She was multitasking!

I was interrupting her techno time! How dare I try to talk to my child that I had not seen in two days?!?!

Needless to say, Dotty was happily entertained the entire way home...no time for sleep!

What did kids do before all these tech gadgets came along? Oh yeah...we sang terrible songs and annoyed our siblings...or at least that is what Jake and I did! My poor mother!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dotty's First Haircut



The Mullet...When Dotty cut her own hair.



Lynsey Erickson and Dotty after Dotty's "Correction Cut"



9 inches off the back to "even things up"!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Making a Mountain Out of a Mullet

I love the saying I heard an ESPN radio guy say once..."A person's true character comes out when everything is going wrong." I tend to believe that. I also tend to panic at times as a mother.

Many times I make mountains out of molehills...as the old saying goes. However, last night I was pretty proud of myself.

Jeri came over to eat with me and Dotty. Dotty is crazy about Jeri and vice versa. While Jeri and I were visiting at the dinner table, Dotty was eating a Popsicle and watching a Barbie movie. Dotty then came in the kitchen to get her safety scissors from the drawer.

Now I know what many of you are thinking but I was a hawk with Dotty when she first started using scissors and now I felt like she knew what to cut and what not to cut.

Good thing I can admit when I am wrong.

Dotty took the scissors into her room. Yes...a warning flag went up but I try to not hover over Dotty. I was going to give her a few minutes then check on her. Well five minutes was all that girl needed to cut roughly half her hair off...the front half.

Dotty had given herself a mullet-type haircut.

Now the look on my face I am sure was priceless. But I did not yell. I did not get mad. Dotty...knowing she is not supposed to cut any hair...hers or others...ran back to her bedroom crying.

I followed and explained that I was not mad. I told her we would have Lynsey fix it the next day. And then I reminded Dotty that we do not cut our own hair. Mommy does not cut her own hair. Memaw does not cut her own hair. Daddy doesn't. Brittany doesn't. (I almost added Nana to the mix...but that would have been a lie.)

I told Dotty that Lynsey went to school to learn how to cut hair and that is why Memaw and Mommy let Lynsey cut our hair. After a few more minutes of crying (Dotty...not me...I did hold it together) and then playing "Angry Birds" on Jeri's phone (again...Dotty...not me)...Dotty seemed okay and the rest of the night went by fine.

Today for school Dotty wore what was left of her long hair up in a ponytail with LOTS of clips to hold up the shorter sides.

Wish Lynsey luck tonight as she tries to fix Dotty's home haircut!

I promise to post pics soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Afternoon with Chuck...

Because it is so miserably hot outside these days I have been looking for fun things for Dotty to do in the afternoon that center around an air conditioned building...preferably not our house because we both get bored there.

Yesterday when I got Dotty from school I had the brilliant idea to take her to Chuck E Cheese's. It was 3:30 in the afternoon so I was hoping it would not be crowded and Dotty would not want to actually eat there.

40 bucks and an hour and a half later we left Chuck E Cheese. Dotty was thrilled with her two plastic heart rings and her tiny box of Nerds candy. I was thrilled to have survived!

The one upside to the trip was that we sat in the photo booth together and got our picture made. It was such a high quality photo that now I can check "Christmas Card picture" off my list of things to do!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Praying for the Pod...

I always love Dotty's prayers. She is so sweet and sincere and down right hilarious at times.

Last night she prayed for rain...she is a good farmer's granddaughter after all. She prayed for a puppy dog. She prayed that she would become a princess some day.

Then she prayed for an iPod.

Yep...my 3 year old prayed for an iPod. And then she got specific.

She wanted a pink and purple iPod. She wanted one with games, pictures, and music. And she wanted one that Mommy would know how to turn on (now that would take divine intervention).

She went to sleep after that but when she woke up this morning she asked me if I was going to get her an iPod today. I told her she had asked God for one (knowing full well God is not Santa but Dotty sort of thinks He is).

Dotty thought for a moment then put her little hands together and her head down and whispered, "God, please make Mommy buy me an iPod today."

She looked up at me and just smiled. I plan on finding the Garth Brooks CD with the song "Unanswered Prayers" on it to play for Dot today.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Packed and Ready

Dotty packs up her things EVERY time we go ANYWHERE!!! And if she is going to see her Daddy for the weekend she packs up almost her entire toy room!

I am not sure if all kids do this, if it is just a phase, or if Dotty is just...well special?!?!

I don't fight her on the packing. Life is too short.

She fills up one bag and asks for another...I get her one.
She fills up all the bags we have (and being girls...we have LOTS of bags)...I get her old birthday gift bags that I saved (originally thinking I would use them to scrapbook with but really...who am I kidding???).

Dotty's packing does two things for me.
#1 - It occupies her so I can get some stuff done.
#2 - When I unpack her toys I often clean out a few and donate them.

So I think it is a win/win situation.

Tony on the other hand just looks at the back of my SUV and shakes his head. I am sure he wonders why in the heck I let her do this.

Oh that reminds me...Dotty's packing also helps me out in one more way.
#3 - I don't have to be the bad guy and tell her she can't take that stuff with her...Tony does.

Payback for the caterpillar buddy!!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We Had a Visitor...

The other night Dotty and I had a very busy "visitor" at our house. His (or her...I am not really sure) name was "Nobody".

The first time I realized Nobody was at our house was when I went into Dotty's toy room and the popcorn was thrown all over the floor. She was sitting calmly in a chair watching her movie. When I got on to her for making a mess with the popcorn she told me she didn't do it. I asked her, "Well if you didn't do it, then who did?"
She said, "Nobody."

Later that night I walked into the living room to find my area rug all rolled up and pushed to the side. I asked Dotty, "Why did you roll up the rug." She said she didn't do it. I asked her, "Well if you didn't do it, then who did?"
She said, "Nobody."

When Dotty was taking a bath I came back in the room from getting a warm towel out of the dryer and water was all over the floor. I got on to her for turning our bathroom into a man made lake. She said she didn't do it. I asked her, "Well if you didn't do it, then who did?"
She said, "Nobody."

At that point I informed both Dotty and Nobody (who must have been hiding because I could not see him/her) that it was bedtime and it was time for Nobody to leave. I also told Dotty that since Nobody had not been a very good guest in our home I would appreciate it if she did not invite him/her back.

The next morning, I was getting Dotty ready for school when I found a trash can turned over in the floor. I got on to her for making such a mess. She said she didn't do it.

Oh great! Here we go again!

I said, "Well if you didn't do it, then who did." Although why I asked I don't know since I already knew the answer...or did I???
She said, "Nobody's Cousin...her name is Presley just like my cousin."

I could not help myself. I started laughing so hard I cried. That made picking up the trash not seem so bad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Take It With a Grain of Salt...

Last night I went in to check on Dotty after she had been asleep for an hour or so. I bent down to kiss her on her cheek and she started to stir. She sat up and asked me for a drink.

When I brought her a juice box to sip on (with her eyes still shut) she mumbled sweet words to me. She said, "Mommy...I love you most."

Now of course that melted my heart and brought a smile to my face. However, as Dotty laid her head back down on her pillow and snuggled in to drift back off to dreamland she also whispered "And I love Cookie most too."

For those of you who don't know...Cookie is Brittany's dog.

At least I won't be lonely at the top!