Saturday, April 7, 2012


Hello family,

Sorry we haven't posted any new pictures since Mary was born 5 months ago. We spent all of last week at Disneyworld, and now that we've recovered from it we thought we'd post the pictures. Evelyn says it was "sooooo magical". We all had fun, but it was probably more magical to be in the stroller than to push it all day.

We went there to celebrate that Nathaniel is finishing his PhD soon (June-ish). For years we had planned to go on a cruise when he finished, but if we went on a cruise we'd have to take Mary, so we decided on Disneyworld instead. We were there for 6 days. There were 4 separate parks, and each one was enormous. I had no idea that the place was so huge. There are 58,000 employees there. Don't ask how many tourists. We were paranoid about losing our girls all week. Our favorite place was Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. Here's Cinderella's castle. (Mom, remember you can click on these pictures to make them appear larger).

Mary was strapped to my chest the whole week. She was the easy one, she was either asleep in there or she was smiling at everyone. It isn't hard to get a picture of her like this one. Despite getting sore shoulders, I like having her strapped to me because then everyone smiles at me.

We thought we'd go in March to beat the heat and the crowds. It was still a little crowded from the spring break crowd (apparently spring break can be any week of March). It was unseasonably warm, so we tried to go out in the mornings and evenings and avoid the middle of the day.

We got a discount for going during an off season. We stayed at a disneyworld resort and got to eat at restaurants all week. At the end of one day Stacey and I realized the girls had eaten ice cream 4 times. Yikes.

We went to some restaurants that had characters walking around. Grace was excited to see Winnie the Pooh.

Grace and Evelyn with Snow White.

Grace's favorite movie is Mary Poppins so she got really excited to see her. They talked for a few minutes. It was adorable to see Grace get starstruck.

My four princesses with Cinderella.

Something I could relate to. These cars weren't made for legroom though. After getting off of rides like this one the workers would say "make sure nothing fell out of your pockets". Then Evelyn would make sure that she still had the Mickey Mouse-shaped glitter in her shorts pocket that she got at the parade from Tinkerbell. She calls them "sparkles".

This is my favorite picture from our trip to Disneyworld. Most days ended this way.

Another day, another Pooh.

I asked Tigger if he liked to bounce and he started jumping. Evelyn asked why he didn't jump with his tail. False advertising.

Waiting to get into the "Tiki Room".

At the Animal Kingdom. I got sunburned, but we were able to keep the girls from burning.

We owe Nathaniel's mom for giving us this stroller, it was a lifesaver. We put some serious miles on it.

Mary was easy, and Evelyn was pretty well behaved, but Grace was too excited to nap so she got cranky in the afternoons and slap happy in the evenings. We got lucky on this day and she fell asleep in the stroller.

It's a 10 hour drive from from Nashville to Disneyworld. At least it's supposed to be. The trip there was pretty quick cause I drove most of the night. The return trip was excruciating. We tried to drive back on Saturday March 31st. We found out that's the last day for the senior citizen "sunbirds" to leave their apartments in Florida, so on that day there were tens of thousands of them on the interstate. There's only one interstate, and the traffic alternated from 40 to 10 MPH, mostly because of senior citizens driving motor homes. So it took us 2 days to drive back. Stacey took this picture of how I felt about that.

The girls are good travelers though. This trip was relatively easy on them because we stopped every 90 minutes for pit stops. That also contributed to the picture above. Driving all night is far less painful.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

More pics of Mary

Stacey and Mary are finally coming home this morning, after 3 days of recovery in the hospital. Stacey needed every day, she's been hurting, but she's now regaining some of her mobility and she's much happier.

I'm sitting in the hallway outside the room writing this post and filtering out some of the parade of people that want to go through the room every 30 minutes to wake her up. She's exhausted.

Here are two of my favorite pictures:

Evelyn and Grace have visited each day. They love their little sister. No, I didn't do their hair that cute, our friend Michelle did. If I take one step toward Grace with a hairbrush she starts to spasm and yells "Owie, owie!".

Grace really wanted to read Mary a book. She's been practicing on her dolls for months but now she gets to do the real thing.

Evelyn and Grace took turns kissing Mary back and forth for a few minutes. We were all laughing, it was so cute.

Here are my 4 princesses. (Stacey doesn't like being called my queen, all the queens in the Disney movies were evil.) I'm feeling thoroughly outnumbered these days. Whenever I'm getting more attention than I can handle I say "Do you know what we need around here?" And Evelyn finishes for me by saying "More little girls!"

Since she was born we've called Evelyn our "stinkerbug" because she's very stubborn. Grace has always been our "squishybug" because she has a higher body fat percentage than a baby seal pup (which has finally come in handy since it's getting cold at nights and I'm too cheap to run the heater). Mary is quickly earning the nickname "sleepybug" because she's way more sleepy than our first 2 girls. Our main problem is keeping her awake long enough to eat. Even after I change her diaper with my cold hands she only cries for 30 seconds, then she's asleep again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mary Darlene Dodds

Just a quick post, then when I'm not so tired I'll write a more thorough post. Mary Darlene Dodds was born at 8:40 AM today. She is 21 inches long and weighed 8 lbs 1 oz, but I think she's pooped away at least half a pound by now. (Update: I was trying to make a joke, but the pediatrician just told me that Mary really has lost 8 ounces, so I was right on! Apparently this is normal, but I don't remember this much poop from my first 2 girls. I probably blocked it from my memory.)

Stacey's labor was going along well but it slowed down so the doctor was going to break her water. When she went to do that she felt the umbilical cord between Mary's head and the birth canal, so she said she had to do a Cesarean section. It is extremely rare for the doctor to be able to notice the umbilical cord in the way, so we were very blessed. If the doctor hadn't noticed then we would have gone along with the delivery and pinched off the umbilical cord. Then the baby's heart rate would have dropped and they would have had to do an emergency C section, and we could have lost our precious little Mary.

Here are a few pictures. More later. In case you didn't know, you can click on these pictures to make them larger.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Evelyn's Birthday Party

Here are some pictures from the party.
Evelyn recently turned 3 on Dec.30th. We were planning on doing a low key party except the past year Evelyn had discovered all that birthday parties could be and CONSTANTLY reminded us of what she wanted. It was always the same. "I want a PINK birthday." When people would ask her WHEN her birthday was, she would always respond PINK! So the bar had been raised for this past birthday. I knew I couldn't get away with just a simple little cake and ice cream. So, I sent out the birthday invites to her friends and told them it was going to be a PINK birthday. With lots of help we decorated the entire living room with pink everywhere! We covered the walls with pink fabric. Evelyn loved it! Nathaniel and Evelyn baked a cake together and Nathaniel decorated it. He did a wonderful job. I was really impressed. I had to laugh though. He treated this task of cake decorating as he would his research which involved a pen and a pad of paper and searching every cupboard and hidden nook in the kitchen. When he would get an idea of how to use a certain item, he would say "Ah Ha" with pure delight, grab the item from the cupboard, set it on the table and quickly write down his wonderful idea. By the time he was done I think there was more items on the table, than in our cupboards. :)
We played lots of wonderful games like: Pin the teira on the Princess, Find the Princess, Pink pinatas full of necklaces and rings and candy, the last thing Nathaniel and I did for them was a little skit. It was so cute!! The girls really loved it. It was about what really makes a princess beautiful. (Smiling) Nathaniel was the mirror on the wall and I was the princess trying to get ready for a ball and I kept asking Mirror Mirror on the Wall am I beautiful for the Ball? He would keep saying No until I realized that I needed to smile. Then at the very end we danced the Waltz to "I am like a Star." from the primary songbook. It turned out super super cute!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Grace's glasses

Sorry it's been so long since our last post. We have lots of pics and videos that we should post, we're just deadbeats.

Grace is 15 months old. In the past 6 weeks her eyes have started to cross. Her left eye in particular looks inward toward her nose from time to time. At first we thought it was our imagination, but it got worse and worse until we finally took her to a children's eye doctor. She was tested and the doctor said Grace is very very farsighted, and that her eyes are straining to focus and crossing too much. So that explains why she still isn't walking! The poor girl hasn't been able to see anything but a blur. We're just glad we caught it so early, this kind of problem often goes undetected until age 2 or 3. It was impressive that they can determine the prescription of a baby. The doctor had lots of toys to distract her, and she shined special lights into her eyes and determined the proper prescription based on how the light diverged when reflecting back from her retina.

So we just got Grace's glasses today. They're adorable. The earpieces wrap 270 degrees around her ears to keep them on. They're thick though, and a little heavy, even though they used the lightest lenses they could. Her little eyes are magnified, and she looks beautiful with them on. This video below is a little dim, but we'll post more pics and videos later. We're getting a new camera that will take much better videos.

Evelyn is jealous, since Stacey got glasses last month, and now Grace has some too. She keeps wanting to wear Grace's glasses. She even squinted and said, "See, I need glasses!" Nice try stinkerbug.

We've had the glasses for half a day, and so far we've kept them on her nose for a total of 30 minutes. She left them on for a long time during dinner. Hopefully she gets used to them fast. Stacey and I are anxious to catch her up. She is generally disinterested in reading books and in coloring, go figure. She also never watches movies, so now she might give the "Your baby can read" videos another chance.

Ok, now it's been a day since we posted that video, and we just got our new camera. So we've gotten much better pictures and videos than our old camera could take, so I'm including those pictures below. Also, Grace has been keeping her glasses on all morning!!!

Grace is loving her new glasses. She's so happy in this picture because she's having much more success using her spoon now that she can see the individual Cheerios.

In this picture you can sort of see that her left eye still looks inward. We'll have to talk to the eye doctor about that.

I don't know why she started crying, but I think this picture is adorable. I was just giving her her favorite treat, frozen blueberries, and she turned on me.

I love how babies look right after they realize they're crying for no reason.

I love our new camera. The videos have fantastic quality but they take up 100 MB per minute, which is too much to upload to the blog, so I've reduced the resolution of this video. At least the videos aren't dark like on our old camera!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The best of Grace

Grace is turning 1 year old on Aug 26th. My mother-in-law (Diane) asked for 12 of our favorite pictures of her to put on a quilt. Here are our favorite pictures from Grace's first year.

We're so blessed to have Grace in our home. She loves life, and loves using her new little body. She's always so happy, and if she isn't then something as simple as a tickle or a tire pressure gauge always does the trick. She admires her big sister, and they love to laugh together. I have discovered that the most beautiful sound is of my two little girls laughing together. The worst sound is of them screaming for my attention as I try to make dinner. Oh well, you take the ups with the downs.

Monday, July 19, 2010


One beautiful clear morning, our family decided to go the the nearest Greenway to ride bikes. After 5 miles however, it started to downpour! Many people we saw were pulling over to protect themselves from the abrupt flow of rain but Nathaniel and I kept biking away. We soon exited the dense raincloud to find people happily enjoying their morning stroll in sunshine. Drenched from head to toe we, yelled "Go back! Go back! It's coming." I wish I could have taken a picture of their expressions as we passed by. It was priceless.

By the time we got to our car, the raincloud had switched directions leaving the sky once again beautiful and clear. Even though we had a few confused stares, we had fun nonetheless.

It's hard to tell but Nathaniel and I really are soaked. The girls were kept dry in their little trailer.