Monday, September 26, 2016

Life Update

Hello little, forgotten blog. I know it's been a month (and then some), but let's do a mini update today...

We spent a few days at the beach with my parents at the end of August

M started preschool...She seems so big this year

Snuck in a few last trips to the pool before it closed last weekend.

We've been watching football! Our Panthers are off to a rough start, but my Duke Dogs are looking great this fall!

M started ballet! She's been looking forward to this for quite some time!

Got to see Zac Brown Band with some friends. What a great show!

And somehow...I have no idea how we got here...but I'm planning a first and fourth birthday party for both kids! I cannot believe T will be ONE in less than two weeks, and M's fourth birthday is the last week of October. I know it is cliche to say this, but time really does fly. T is now on the move and into everything. He's been walking for awhile, but just this past week we've crossed the bridge from where he now chooses walking over crawling and it's wonderful! And M...well, I really could go on and on about all the ways she's growing and changing and becoming such a little girl. She amazes daily with her thoughts and observations. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Summer Odds and Ends

Summer is flying by at rapid speed. I don't quite know how we got to the middle of August, but I do know that it has been a hot one and we're sort of ready for the routine and predictability that comes with fall. 

A few summer highlights for us that haven't made the blog...

M spent a few days without us up in Virginia at my parents' house. She had a ball and I know they loved their quality time with her. Meanwhile, we got to spoil T and let him feel like an only child for a few days.

We got to see a few of J's good high school friends and their babies over the past few weeks. One set of friends were visiting Charlotte and we got to catch up and play for the afternoon. And then we spent a long weekend with our other good friends at their cabin in the mountains in Virgina like we do every summer. This summer was especially fun though because their little boy is about a month older than T, so it was fun watching them play together for the weekend.

Been making so many great new summer recipes...two favorites to share! Grilled Flat iron with Charred Tomato Relish and burgers with heavy cream and Lawry's Seasoning. Strange, I know! But I heard Laura Tremaine talk about this on the Sorta Awesome podcast, and we gave it a try...they were delicious. If you like a good juicy burger, add this to your next meal plan!

Saw the Dixie Chicks here in Charlotte with 3 long time friends (and J and one friend's girlfriend) last weekend, and the DC were just as great as they were the last time I saw them in 2003. We bought these tickets back in November and I have truly been stressing about leaving T with a sitter and a bottle since about February, but he did great and we had the best time. It was even more special getting to see them with such old friends.

The Olympics! They've been so fun and I've loved watching Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles and Kerri Walsh Jennings and even goofy Ryan Lochte with his blue/white hair compete each night. Only problem with the two weeks that the Olympics are on is my extreme lack of sleep. I find myself parked on the couch till midnight each night. I'm loving it but I'll be glad to see it finish on Sunday!

M did a fun 3 day camp at her school for four weeks in July with her school pals (have I mentioned before how much she has LOVED school and her friends and the teachers there?) and then a few different days at Art Camp at a local children's art studio. T's morning naps have made it hard for us to get out and do a lot of fun morning activities, so we're all thankful for these fun activities for her. 

Hamilton has been a theme for my summer. I guess you could call it a theme because it has been on nonstop basically every day, all day. If you haven't listened yet, you must listen all the way through from start to finish and read the lyrics on your first listen through (and if you have Amazon Prime, it's free on Amazon music!). Even if you don't care for musicals, this one will change your life. (I realize I sound a little dramatic, but y'all, it's THAT good). We splurged and bought tickets to go see it in NYC in March which is FOREVER away, but I wanted to feel confident in knowing T would be weaned when we go. I'm over the moon excited for it. 

We celebrated eight years of marriage on July 25. We had a wonderful and peaceful dinner at CustomShop while two sweet friends babysat for us. It was refreshing to have a night out with just the two of us. 

We have one more beach trip before summer ends. We're heading to Myrtle Beach for part of next week with my parents and I think it'll be a fun way to end the summer. 

Monday, July 18, 2016


As anyone with a three year old will tell you, it is a challenging age. They are fiercely independent and their little personalities are blossoming. They are also strong willed (which is good and bad), and they're too smart for their own good somedays. thing no one told me that was so great about three, was the understanding of "silly." Somewhere around the time M hit 3.5, she started to get the concept of silly. Taking silly pictures, making silly voices, playing silly games....she is really into the silly thing. When we watched Inside Out recently and they talked about the main character's "goofball island," and I immediately got it. M definitely has a goofball island in there!

When we were at the beach last month, we went out one night to get a picture of the kids dressed in matching outfits (this was their first time I intentionally matched them in T's 8 months and now I get why moms do it!). M was more than willing to let me take some pics of her with her brother, but she made me promise to let her take some silly pictures first. DEAL! As I was taking them, I knew I was going to love them, possibly more than my "real" pictures I was trying to get. These are my favorite, because if you didn't know any better, you'd think she was mad in them, but they really are her silly faces. J and I were practically crying later that night when we were looking through them. They capture her so well right now. 

I think this one is a preview of her at 13...

The thumbs are my favorite part in these... 

I am not even sure, but the slanted jaw is quite the silly look I guess...

And my favorite "not so silly" picture...

Three and a half. It's the best sometimes.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

9 Months

Time is flying. I have no idea how this little guy is nine months. I know you hear all moms say that, but it's the truth. I feel like I was still pregnant with him yesterday.

Lots of new developments in this little guy's life since my last update back at six months. 

I went back and re-read what I wrote about him at six months, and it's crazy how much he has changed! At six months, he was just starting to sit for short spurts and occasionally rolling. Now the boy is NONSTOP! He crawls any and every where, including up the stairs if he sees the gate is open. He pulls up on everything and cruises around. He loves to be under our dining room table, which has a big bar down the center of it. He climbs over it with ease. He doesn't care much for a push/walker toy, but does like to push his activity table around and "walk" with it. I should also mention his favorite place to crawl to is M's room. It's like he knows that's where we keep all of her small toys, and any time he sees her door open, he makes a beeline for her room. 

We've been enjoying a lot of time at the pool this summer, and I am LOVING my water ring sling for him there. I don't know how I'd survive in the big pool with him and M without this thing. It is the best! When we're in the baby pool he wants to crawl around and splash like crazy and has torn up his little toes, so I've started making him wear his socks in the pool to protect his feet. He looks so silly but it actually works great!

He eats every meal like it's his last meal. This has definitely been the biggest difference between my two kids. M didn't really eat much until I dropped nursing sessions after her first birthday....not T! He wants to eat a LOT at every meal. And we've yet to find a food that he doesn't like. He definitely has his favorites (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and MEAT!), but he'll eat his veggies and cheese happily too. He has tried pretty much everything we have at meal times, and just this past weekend I gave him some peanut butter on a waffle and he gobbled it up. He still nurses four times a day (we just recently went from five to four), but his feedings are fast. He usually eats when he gets up in the morning, after each of his naps, and again before bed. He used to nurse at bedtime till he fell asleep, but not anymore. Now he usually nurses for about six minutes and rubs his eyes, so off he goes to his crib and he's usually out within five to ten minutes. 

He has become such a great napper since he started crawling. At first it kept him up for awhile because he was busy practicing his new skills of crawling and pulling up in the crib (we definitely had to lower his mattress a few months ago!), but now all his moving wears him out and he usually sleeps for a good one to two hours in the morning and afternoon. 

LOTS of babbling and "talking"...he will say Mama and Dada, but I don't think he associates them with us. We're working hard on "All Done" and "More" in baby sign language for meal time, but so far he just laughs at us and thinks we're doing jazz hands at him. 

Has 5 teeth now! Those top two made him pretty fussy for a few weeks, but since they've come in, it's been smooth sailing. He didn't even seem to mind the fifth one that came in on the bottom. 

Not long after my six month update, we moved him to his convertible seat in the car. He can see M in it a little better, and when I go to unbuckle him, the first thing he does is lunge his body forward to see her. It's precious.

Speaking of his big sis, they've started to "play" together a little more, and while there are definitely tears (from both of them) from playing to rough or someone taking a toy from the other one, it is definitely the cutest. She loves to lay on the ground and have him crawl over her back. And they love to "high five" or bang on the table together. Watching their relationship grow has been one of the coolest parts about having a second kid. 

Took his first vacation last month to the beach and loved it. He ate the sand, tried his best to crawl away into the ocean, and slept like a champ in his pack n play (another huge change from his sis). He had a runny nose and a fever for some of the days we were there, but even still, he was such a good baby and very laid back.

Favorite toys right now are anything he can chew on. Everything you hand him goes in his mouth. He also loves to get his hands on magazines and tear them to pieces. And he loves his busy board J made him a few months ago. He also has gone on a few bike rides with J and M in the new bike trailer with his new tiny helmet. He likes it, but also seems a little unimpressed. 

Weight: 22 lbs 8 oz (89%)
Height: 31 inches (>99%)
Diapers: size 3 in disposables, cloth are unsnapped all the way and 4 across at the top
Hair: getting long and very brown with a slight red tint in the sun
Eyes: So blue
Teeth: 5!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A loss...

A week ago today, I was out running errands, and I had left my phone in the car. When we got back to the car, I had a string of text messages from a group of high school friends. Another friend of ours from high school had died earlier in the week, after fighting a hidden battle with postpartum depression, leaving behind her husband and her four month old daughter. This was a text message no one wants to see.

Allison was a friend I hadn't seen or even spoken to in years, but we had kept up through out the years over facebook. Allison was the kind of girl that was the definition of kindness or confidence. She was so smart, passionately loved Jesus, athletic, a strong leader....the kind of person you'd be proud to call your friend or daughter or sister. She was our school's SCA president when we were seniors, and she went on to be a part of ROTC at Clemson University, and then became an elementary school teacher. All of her friends on facebook have commented on how they will never forget her smile or laugh, and I too would agree with that one hundred precent. She was always so happy.

At a football game during our senior year

I share all of these little tidbits about what I remember of her, not to only honor the kind of person she was, but to show that postpartum depression can take ahold of anyone. It is almost impossible for me to think that someone who shone the kind of light that Allison did, could be swept into the darkness that could only come from PPD. It is heartbreaking for me to think about the place that she must have been in. To feel so alone and so isolated as a new mom.  I think we have all heard of PPD, and the extreme cases where a mom takes her own life, but we all assume, that it won't happen to us or someone we know, but I don't think I'll ever take it that lightly again. It is a real disease and it needs to be talked about.

If you know a mom with a new baby (really, any mom who has had a baby in the last year!), check in with her. Ask how she is feeling. And then listen. Show her you care. Take her a meal, stop by with coffee for her, offer to watch her kids for just an hour so she can go out for a pedicure or a run by herself. If you're far away, set aside time to talk with her on the phone. Send her a card. Order delivery pizza for her.  There is a fear of being stigmatized for saying we are struggling, or that we're not as happy as we "should" be with a beautiful and healthy baby at home. If you have a friend who does reach out to you, LISTEN to her and offer hope and help. Many women show the typical signs of PPD, but not everyone does and some suffer alone. If you are a new mom and something just seems "off,"please talk to your loved ones or your doctor. Just tell someone. There is power in our words. Allison is remembered by so many as one exuded joy. If PPD can effect someone like her, it can change the live of anyone.

We love you Allison. The world was a better place because of you.