Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Pep Talk

Do you need some encouragement today? This will surely cheer you up!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Headband Giveaway!

When I found out we were having a baby girl, I won't lie, I was excited at the idea of dressing her and putting bows in her hair! I'm not one to put her in BIG bows, but a few small bows and flowers look pretty cute! However, my poor baby is pretty bald on top, so this is where headbands come in...

Photo by Lindsey Lee

Before she was born I found Snuggle Bugs Bowtique on Etsy and I have purchased several headbands from them. I am pretty sure she makes the cutest felt and crocheted flowers and bows, and they make for great pictures!

I contacted Steph, the shop owner, and asked if she'd be interested in giving away a headband to one of my readers. Because since M was born, I have gotten dozens of questions on here and instagram about where I get her headbands! Why not just give one away!

She has some really cute stuff in her shop right now....I love all of her headbands for Valentine's Day!

So...would you like to win one?? Just leave me a comment below telling me who would wear the headband if you won, and enter your info in the rafflecoptor! I will pick a winner next Wednesday.

**I was not paid or given a product to do this giveaway! 
I am doing this because I love the product and wanted to share with others!**

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

3 Months

Oh sweet girl, another month has passed, and you're another month older. On Friday, you hit the the three month mark, and just like the past 2 months, I cried to your dad telling him that you're going to be in college before we know it. Of course he rolled his eyes at me, but it's amazing to me how fast you're growing. 

This month you have really turned into a baby, and you're definitely not my little newborn anymore. Before you were here, your daddy and I watched a video (Happiest Baby on the Block) where they talked about how babies have a "fourth trimester" outside of the womb. Somewhere around 11 or 12 weeks, it was clear to me that you were leaving that phase, and we haven't really looked back! You are so smiley and happy these days, always talking and making noise, and I've even managed to get a couple of laughs out of you. It's definitely my favorite sound. I am looking forward to more of it!

You are really one of the happiest most content babies, but as I've told a few people, you are not a "go with the flow" kinda baby. You certainly know what you like and you let us know if something isn't going your way. Your personality is shining through more and more each week, and we love seeing it.

You are still a great eater; you nurse about 5-6 times a day. It's sort of funny, and sort of a pain, but you really don't like for me to talk to anyone while I'm feeding you. You get very upset and give me dirty looks if I try to chat on the phone or talk to your dad while you're eating.  You're still sleeping through the night (9pm-8am) with no trouble in your crib, and we're still swaddling you each night. I love going in and unswaddling you when you wake up and watching you stretch. You give the biggest grins when you wake up. I am a little afraid of the 3 month sleep regression that so many have warned us about, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, I'll take the great sleep at night! Your napping got a little bit better as we got closer and closer to the three month mark. You usually have one really good nap in your crib each day, around 1.5-2 hours, and then about three 45min naps. 

We just tried out your Bumbo chair the other night, and you were a big fan! This didn't surprise me though since you love sitting and standing up! I'm thinking of trying out your exercauser later this month. I'm not sure if you're still too small though. You still love your play mat and bouncy seat, and I'm able to get so much done around the house thanks to your love of the Ergo carrier! I can wear you for hours in there and you're happy as a clam. In fact, we've started putting you in there for walks since you seem to just fuss when we put you in your car seat. Hopefully you'll start to like walks more when we can put you in the regular seat of the stroller. 

You have gotten better and better at getting your hands to your mouth, and you love to chew on your fingers and suck your thumb. You also have a "lovey" that we keep near you when you're playing or in your car seat, and that also always manages to find its way to your mouth.

One thing I've really loved about the past month, is that you've started to notice the dogs some! I love that we can lay you on the floor on a blanket, and if one of the dogs walks by, your eyes begin to follow them. They both love you so much. I think that love will grow overtime...especially when you start eating table food! 

Baby girl, we love you so much. The past 3 months have flown by, but it also seems weird to think about life before you. We're so glad you're ours!

(no doctor this month, so these are my estimates)
Weight: About 14 pounds
Height: About 25 inches
Clothing: A big mix of 0-3 and 3-6. If you're wearing something that snaps at the crotch, you pretty much have to be in 3-6
Diapers: Size 1 in disposables
Eyes: Still very blue!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Monday

Another week of meals to post about! 

Last week I was in Richmond visiting my family, so I sort of took the week off from blogging. I also sort of took the week off from taking pictures! I did manage to snap a few pictures from my mom's kitchen table! Hope you'll link up below!

1. Spicy Sausage Pasta - I made this a few weeks ago and LOVED it so much that I made it for my parents and brother. They were also big fans. Again...if you haven't made this one, you MUST!

2. Another night my mom made lasagna with garlic bread and a salad. As always, it was delicious!

3. On my last evening in Richmond, we celebrated my mom's birthday. She turned 53 on Saturday, so we  celebrated with steak sandwiches, cucumber salad, and sweet potato fries!

Then we had a banana bread cake that was so yummy! Do you like how we represented her age with the candles?

4. And then this past weekend I made Gumbo for us, and boy oh boy, it was GOOD! This recipe from Samma is fabulous. The roux is a bit tricky ( I burnt my first batch and had to start over), but once you get it right, it is the perfect companion for a chilly evening. 

Hope you'll link up your meals below....

Monday, January 21, 2013

No Photo Menu Monday!

We're in Virginia for the week and I left my camera back in North Carolina, so no photos this week!

Last week we enjoyed....

Red Wine Pork Chops (I'll post the recipe later) with baked sweet potatoes
Ham, Provolone, Salami, ad Green Pepper Paninis
Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken over Brown Rice with Snow Peas

Hope you'll link up!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Soup Friday!

I made this soup a year ago, and added it back into our menu rotation this week. I was going to share it on Menu Monday, but saw that Kelly was doing a soup link up on her blog and thought I'd  share today! It's such a yummy soup for a cold day. The weather has been quite gross here this past week, so it made a wonderful dinner (and leftovers) in our home!

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 bacon slices, chopped
  • 3 italian chicken sausages, removed from casings
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 32 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set bacon aside.
2. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomato, oregano, and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return bacon to pan. Stir in 2 cups water and broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Add orzo, and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente. Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until heated. Remove from heat; stir in salt.
3. Serve with crunchy bread and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Baby (and mommy) Must Haves

My sweet baby is twelve whole weeks this Thursday. Time truly does fly once you have kids. Before M arrived, I loved reading others' posts about what items they found useful for their newborn. I know that every baby is so different, and each mom has different tastes as well. But if you're expecting a baby and wondering what in the world you should register for, then I hope this list helps you some. Babies are tricky! They're all so different and you have no idea what they're going to be like until they're here. You're bound to buy or register for at least a few things that aren't too helpful for you! But it's nice to hear what others liked so you have a starting point....

 Our Must Haves...

This is the bouncy seat we got; it's by Carter's and we and M love it! She's been sitting in here since the day we brought her home from the hospital. When she was a newborn, we loved it because it was a snug place for her to sleep and we could put her in it anywhere in the house. Now that she's bigger, she  loves sitting here and looking at her "animals." We have a swing too, but she definitely seems to prefer the bouncy seat.

I have to admit, I didn't want this carrier. I had originally registered for the Bjorn, but J's aunt bought us this one. She had heard good things about it from young moms that she knows, and suggested we try. And I am SO glad she did. We've been able to use this from the very beginning, as well, since she also bought us the newborn insert. I also have a Moby and K'tan. We like those, but this is definitely my favorite carrier. It's worth every penny.

We loved these in the early days! They "hold" much better than the muslin ones we received. The flannel almost acts like a 's wonderful!

As M got bigger, she was busting out of the regular swaddle all the time. I started using these around 4 weeks, and they are much more effective at keeping down strong arms! She still manages to get her arms up from time to time, but overall, we have been very pleased with these. 

This was sort of a last minute purchase for us. We had already purchased the BOB with a car seat adapter, but after talking to several friends, I decided this might be nice to keep in the back of my car for quick errands. I'm so glad we purchased it! It is so light and easy to fold up. We love our BOB, but I will admit, it's huge! It's great for the neighborhood and parks, but the Snap N Go is ideal for trips to the doctor, Target,'s great! I also bought mine on Craigslist for $25. I would highly suggest searching there before paying full price for this! I think most moms only use this for a few months before baby is big enough for an umbrella stroller, so it's easy to get it used but in great condition!

There are obviously dozens of toys you can hang from your baby's car seat, but these are what we have. I got these as a gift and didn't think much about them. I hung them on her car seat around 6 weeks, and they make her SO happy. She smiles and coos at them. She definitely enjoys having something to look at in her seat.

We got this playmat for M, but I think that babies love any playmat that they're put on! I chose this one because I like that it's 1) gender neutral and 2) it doesn't scream "baby." The patchwork design was pretty basic. M sits under here for large chunks of time; she loves it! 

Breastfeeding Must Haves....

This is an item I almost didn't put on my list, because I really don't use it much now, but my Brest Friend Pillow was with me ALL THE TIME during the first few weeks after M was born. I ended up having an unplanned c-section, and this really helped breast feeding feel comfortable in the beginning. I didn't have to put any of the baby's weight on me, it could all rest on the pillow. If you want to nurse your baby, I would definitely recommend this. Nursing can be tricky for so many reasons, and having this to help me hold my baby correctly in the beginning helped a lot. I even took it to the hospital with me and one of the lactation consultants helped show me how to use it properly. Also, I bought mine used at a consignment sale for about $10. If there's something you want that wasn't purchased off your registry, check out local consignment sales and Craigslist. You can get stuff for a steal!

My friend Lindsey told me about these tanks. They can attach to any nursing bra which means you can essentially make any shirt a nursing shirt! I don't like lifting up my shirt to nurse and having my belly hang out. Because if I'm being honest, my belly isn't something I want to be showing off these days. But these eliminate that completely. I know I could just wear nursing tanks, but I've found that they're not the most supportive. This is the best of both worlds! A great bra, but still allows you to wear a tank and cover up your belly! I love these.

So there's our list! There are dozens of other items we love and have been using over the past 12 weeks, but these are the ones we love the most. 

If you're a new momma, what's on your list? 
Are there any items I included that your baby hated? 
Any items we have in common?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Picnic in the Park

This past weekend, we had some gorgeous weather here in Charlotte. On Saturday and Sunday the high was above 70. It was a nice treat for January! We embraced the nice weather by going to a picnic at a local park. I recently joined a mommy/baby meetup group (found through, the same site I found my beer group through!). After attending just one event, I met a group of moms who all live near me and have babies close in age to M.  I've gotten together with them a few times for different events, and it's been nice getting to know them and their babies. We thought it would be fun to get together over the pretty weekend and to bring the husbands along. Babies, sunshine, food, wine....a perfect Saturday afternoon!

All the moms and the babies! I have to admit, before I went to my first event, I was totally terrified. What is it about being an adult that makes it so much harder to reach out and make new friends? I'm really glad I took a chance and got together with some strangers who are now becoming friends!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The return of Menu Monday

After an almost three month hiatus thanks to the baby, the holidays, and all the wonderful food others brought us, I'm back with Menu Monday! I'm going to do the link up again, but may stop in a few weeks if there's not many people posting. I love visiting others' blogs to see what they're cooking, so I hope you link up!

Here's what's been cooking in our kitchen since the start of the new year...

This was GOOD. Like, I want to eat it every night kind of good! And easy! Add this to your meal plan NOW!

I found this recipe when Leslie posted about it on her blog awhile ago. I love Pad Thai, but every time I've made it, it has not turned out good. This recipe was great! I added in shrimp to ours. Only suggestion is, it's a tad dry. Next time I might make more of the sauce. That would make it perfect!

J made this meal. And it was REALLY yummy! 

Hope you'll link up your own meals!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Brain Dump

Happy Friday!

  • I plan to start Menu Monday on Monday! I'm getting back into the swing of cooking again, and we've been meal planning regularly for a few weeks now. I debated doing the link up again, because I found that a lot of people weren't linking up. But then a few of you asked about it on twitter...decisions, decisions....
  • Know how you know you have a new baby and your mind isn't working so well? You order something online and have UPS send it to your old address. As in, you go through the entire checkout process and type in your former address. By the time you catch your mistake, it's too late and the only way to get your package without paying a $20 change of address fee is to drive across town to pick it up. I might know someone who did that....
  • I haven't seen a single one of the best picture nominations this year. I know I have a new baby and all and don't get to the movies much, but I would love to sneak in at least a few of them before the awards shows! Any of my Charlotte friends want to go to the movies with me?
  • Last week I started watching The Lying Game on Netflix and I'm so sucked in. If you liked Pretty Little Liars, you need to watch this show! It's cheesy, but so good!
  • J got me Ugg slippers for Christmas. I'M OBSESSED. My feet are so warm and cozy these days. 
  • In the past week, I've watched M completely transform. It seems like she's gone from a teeny newborn to a real baby. She is so much more content, she has begun to soothe herself when she's upset, she puts herself to sleep in her's amazing. I think we may have reached the end of the "4th Trimester"....I hope I haven't jinxed anything by putting this in writing!
  • It's going to be in sunny and in the 70's here in Charlotte this weekend. I am looking forward to being outside some with my little family!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas 2012...only a few weeks late!

I know we're in mid January, but I never blogged about Christmas! Please excuse this post since it's mostly going to be a big photo dump. I love having our holidays documented and going back and reading about them. Can't let Christmas 2012 slip through the cracks!

We spent the week of Christmas in Richmond with my family. It was M's first big trip, and I think everyone loved spending time with her! Actually...I don't "think" that, I am positive that my parents and brother had so much fun with her!

With my brother, her Uncle Jason! He doesn't do diapers, but he sure can make her smile!

On Christmas Eve, all dressed up for church!

Christmas Morning! We figured this was our easiest Christmas ever as far as shopping goes. 2 month olds don't need many presents. Santa brought her a stocking full of some books, a few toys, and some hats, 

After opening presents on Christmas morning with my parents, we drove to Northern Virginia to see my Mom's side of the family. This was M's first time meeting her Great Grandparents and my cousins, uncle, and aunt.

This is how we got her to nap...on a folded up blanket on the floor, broken out of her swaddle (she's so long!) and with white noise from my phone.

Four, my nana, my mom, and M!

We were missing my sister and her boyfriend, but it's still a nice family picture!

Our little family of three!

The day after Christmas, someone was sporting one of the hats Santa left in her stocking!

And this just makes me laugh. My parents have two dogs, and one of them, Leeander, was just enthralled by the baby. Like, truly obsessed. Every time we turned around, he was sitting here....

On the 27th we headed back to North Carolina, but before we hit the road, we made a stop to see J's parents who had just gotten back in to town from two days on the road. We had originally planned to spend all of Christmas Eve with them and his siblings, but his grandfather in Wisconsin passed away about a week before Christmas. He was able to see his whole family in Wisconsin at the funeral, but M and I did not fly out there with him. We were sad that she didn't get to meet all her aunts and uncles and cousins on this side of the family, but she'll definitely get to see them all at her uncle's wedding in July, if not sooner! 

Here she is with her Granny and Grampy

And one last shot of the three of us!

And that concludes baby's first Christmas! It was my favorite Christmas yet!