Thursday, October 31, 2013

Oink Oink!

Happy Halloween!

We plan to take M out to a few friends' homes tonight to fill her little bag with candy, but we celebrated big this past Saturday at our neighborhood parade and party! Last year we missed all the fun since I was still in the hospital with my newborn. We were excited to take her this year, and it was even more fun since we had so much family here to go with us. (My apologies in advance for the fact that I'll be doing two posts with her in her piggy costume!)

When we headed to the party, someone was more than ready for a nap...can you tell?

But it didn't take long for her to perk up and want to join in the fun!
This is her with my Nana who came down for the weekend from Northern Virginia. I just love this picture of the two of them!

The cuteness! I just about died when her costume came in the mail last month! Her nickname has been Piglet since she was about 3 days old, so it wasn't tough deciding what she should be for Halloween!

My sister and her boyfriend got to enjoy the fun too. Their beagle, Jerry, got dressed up like an alligator. M was a big fan!

Here she is with all of our visitors/my side of the family who were in town!

Pretty sure we've got some molars coming in. Her hands have been in the back of her mouth for the past couple of weeks. It's hard to get pictures with them out of her mouth.

Happy Halloween my friends!! Hope you have a fun day celebrating!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Birthday Fun

What a FUN weekend we have had! I was sad to see it go on Sunday night.

For M's birthday we had LOTS of family come to town to celebrate with us, which was such a blessing since we have no family locally here in Charlotte (or even in NC, for that matter!).

Before I blog about her fun party this past weekend, I want to write about this past Friday, her actual birthday. 

When I put her to be on Thursday night, I gave her an extra big hug and we rocked a little longer than usual, knowing that in the morning, she'd look the same and pretty much be the same little lady I put to bed, but as any mom knows, there's a definite change that occurs when your baby wakes up on her birthday.

Here she is with my mom on Thursday before bed. I'm pretty sure they were watching Elmo on my mom's phone. My big girl LOVED having her Gigi here with us last week. She's in Detox mode now that it's just boring old mom and dad.

On Friday morning, she woke up in a great mood and had some eggs for breakfast that J made her. 

After she decided she was "done" with her eggs, my mom, J, and I sang happy birthday to her with a candle on a chocolate donut!

Pretty sure she liked it! She just didn't like having sticky fingers!

On Friday mornings, we go to music class, which is her favorite activity of the week (she adores her music teacher)! It was even more fun on her birthday, because not only did we get to sing happy birthday to her, but her Gigi got to come with us!

I got her this shirt back in August specifically for her birthday month!

After music, we came back home for a quick morning nap, and when she woke up, my sister and her boyfriend had arrived with their 2 beagles. They drove through the night from New York City to spend the weekend celebrating our little girl. When she got up and came downstairs to see her new guests, she was definitely most excited by all the dogs! No surprise there!

We took everyone to lunch at Chuy's, and then played by the fountain outside after we were done. It doesn't take much to make my girl happy!

After her afternoon nap (which was way too short due to all the fun she knew she was missing!), we had a pizza night in and played at home with all her visitors! Her first birthday was a low key one, but absolutely perfect. And amazingly, I didn't cry all day (but tears were definitely shed Thursday night!).

Monday, October 28, 2013

12 Months

Well my little girl, we made it 12 months together.

These past twelve months went by in the blink of an eye, and just like that, you've gone from a teeny tiny newborn, to a cuddly pudgy baby, to a toddler who is into everything.

Here's what's been going on for the past month...

I honestly feel like there wasn't a whole lot of change from last month! You're still nursing 4 times a day. You're still sleeping 12 hours at night with 2 naps during the day (although, I do think you may be dropping one of those). You still eat 3 meals a day. You're still in love with dogs. And like last month, you still have 8 teeth, no new ones (but we're working on some molars, and they are proving to be way more painful than the first 8)!

Your walking has only improved this month and you've become a pro! It's amazing how fast you can get around now, and the days of walking with your arms over your head are long gone! However, we do laugh at you when you walk at nighttime and you're starting to get sleepy because you look like you're just a little bit tipsy!

You are very inquisitive and want to explore everywhere we go. You love putting small items inside of big items and then taking them back out. You also love opening and closing the doors. You don't like the car, but you and I did our first big road trip alone this month (5.5 hours to Richmond), and it went surprisingly well.

About a month ago you were very unsure of strangers and being left without Daddy or me, but you've become a little more social and seem more comfortable with others. You had LOTS of family here for your birthday, and you loved bouncing from lap to lap. 

During an average week, we go to music, story time, swim lessons, and bible study where you go to the nursery. Daddy likes to joke that we have a busy social life! We meet up with friends through out the week too, and you love seeing other babies your age and big kids. Hopefully the weather won't get too cold here soon, because you also love trips to the park! This is much more fun now that you'r a big walking girl.

On days when we're home, you love to play and just have free range from room to room. We read a lot of books, and you love just sitting and turning the pages in your books on your own. Some of your favorite toys are stuffed animals, bowls and spoons from the kitchen, mommy's necklaces, your new car from Gigi and list could go on and on!

You don't have many new words, but you do "talk" all the time! I think you might be saying "all done" after meals, but it's hard to tell. You still say dog, and I am pretty sure you know your dad is DADA. Although you don't say much, it's neat seeing how much you understand! I can say something like, "get your shoes" and you do just that! It's amazing seeing your little mind grow like that.

Little girl, we love you to the moon and back! The past 12 months have been a wild and wonderful ride. Your daddy and I just can't get enough of you. Can't wait to see how much you grow in the next 12 months!

12 Month Stats: 
Weight: 21 pounds, 14.5 ounces
Height: 30 .5inches
Clothes: Pretty solid mix of 12 month or 18 month, or 12-18 month if it's from Old Navy or Baby Gap!
Diapers: Size 3 in disposables; 4 snaps open across in the BG cloth, all the way unbuttoned down.
Teeth: 8, 4 on top, 4 on bottom
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Pretty light brown locks all over!

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25, 2012

One year ago today, at precisely 6:33 pm, we celebrated the birth of our daughter

It was truly the greatest day of my life. 
I know all moms say that, but I don't think I understood just how life changing that day/moment would be in my life until it actually happened to me.  It was painful, it was rough, it was long, I was swollen like a marshmallow for hours days weeks after her birth, but despite all of those things, I loved every second of it. 

On the eve of her birth last year, I sat on our deck with my husband and cried big, fat, ugly tears. I wasn't scared about being a mom, or the responsibility it would bring to my life, but I knew inside that every single part of my life was about to change. Everything in my life that made me ME, was about to get flipped upside down. And that was a big and scary thought. We were getting ready to embark on an adventure, but it felt as it there were no roadmaps or directions.

Here I am one year later, and my oh my, I had no idea what a wonderful change that little eight pound four ounce baby girl would bring to our lives. Not a clue. She has certainly flipped our lives upside down, and they are better for it. 

I went back tonight to my blog archives and read the post I wrote on the night before she was born, and I reread this line from a sweet friend's text to me that night, as I was trying to keep my emotions in check...

"It's overwhelming, to say the least. It's like saying goodbye to one part of your life and opening the door to the most amazing thing you'll ever experience." 

When I read this last year, I thought, "Wow....what powerful words." And now that I'm here, on the flip side, I can easily say that no wiser words were spoken to me my entire pregnancy. When I became M's mom one year ago, I did say goodbye to a piece of me. There's no doubt about it. And while that was a little sad and scary, what I got in return...words can't even begin to describe the joy this new life has brought me.

The past 365 days have been a blur. A blur of family, tears, snuggles, diapers, quiet moments and loud ones, worries, smiles, laughter, and most

Best year ever. 
I can only imagine how much greater it will get from here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

12 Things...

On Friday of this week, my little girl will be a year old. 
Twelve months. 
As we've gotten closer and closer to the big day, I've been thinking about what the past twelve months have taught me. I've learned a lot about myself, about being a parent, about my husband, about babies.

So without further ado, 

1. When a friend has a new baby and you take her dinner, throw in a bottle of wine or cupcakes. Donuts are a nice treat too. Any of these are a huge treat to a new mom.

2. Turns out, I can actually eat really fast. If you ask my husband what one of his biggest pet peeves about me is, he'd probably tell you that I'm a terribly slow eater. But having a baby has totally changed that (and I hate it). I can now eat my whole meal in a fraction of the time it took me to take a few bites. I miss being able to eat a meal at my own pace!

3. Cloth diapering really isn't all that hard...early in my pregnancy with M, I knew I wanted to give cloth diapering a try, but it also sort of terrified me. I was a little hesitant to invest in, because what if I hated it? What if it was just a lot of extra work that caused extra stress to my life as a new mom? But y'all...cloth diapering has been one of the easiest parts of M's first year. I won't lie, we had some hiccups and had to adjust our whole system when she started solid food and it did get a little messy there for awhile, but once I worked out the kinks, we've been smooth sailing again. If you're at all interested in trying CD with a new baby, do some research and I say go for it. It has been so much easier than I ever imagined it would be!

4. Pumping is, hands down, my least favorite "mommy duty." I don't mind nursing, I don't mind changing a blow out, cleaning a high chair three times a day isn't even that bad. But having to pump is just the worst. I hate every part of it. My hat goes off to exclusive pumpers. You're a rockstar in my book.

5.  I don't have to wash my hair every other day like I once thought.Or every three days. Heck, I've managed to stretch it to five days some week. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver to a new mom (and the mom to a mobile baby who just never stops.)

6. There is no baby just like in 2013 I have loads of information right at my fingertips. I can google anything or ask a question on twitter and find an answer in seconds, but sometimes, those answers don't work because each baby is so so different. What may have worked for a friend's baby, may not work for mine. And what may have been a lifesaver for us, may not work for someone else. And that's okay! Each family has to figure out which methods of parenting work for them.

7.  My husband can sleep through anything. Literally, ANYTHING. I, on the other hand, can be waken by even the tiniest of squeaks that our baby makes on the other end of the house. This still proves true, twelve months in.

8. Finding a network of other new moms to connect to is crucial. For your sanity and for your emotions. I was lucky enough to find two groups of Charlotte moms that I am in Facebook groups with, where we share questions, funny stories, the high moments, and the low ones. These groups (plus the wonderful mom friends I have form twitter), have played a major role of support to me in the past twelve months. I think it's easy to feel isolated as a new mom, but put yourself out there and form relationships with others who are in your shoes. It will do so much good for you!

9. Listening to your husband read books with funny voices and making up songs and wearing your baby in the Ergo and helping her "fly" up the steps....all these things are why you will fall in love with your husband all over again.

10. There's nothing quite like the first few week of the newborn haze. It's a crazy, blurry cloud you live in, but it's also such a sweet special time and I would pay big bucks to relive it all again. A friend called it "the new family cocoon" and I really love that image. As sleepless and exhausting as the first few weeks were, and as sore as I was from my surgery, I loved it. EVery second.

11. Every new milestone your baby passes (smiling, cooing, rolling over, sitting up, first tooth, crawling, standing, walking...) will seem like the greatest moment of your life, and will most likely just melt you to pieces. I think back to when M was six weeks old and we had friends visiting her and she was laying on her playmat just smiling away at the toys hanging above her and I wanted to cry with excitement seeing real smiles from her. My tiny little girl suddenly seemed SO big. Before I was a mom, these little things seemed cute when someone else's child did them, but when it was MY baby, it seemed just incredible.

12. There's nothing that can compare to being a parent. It's easily the best (and hardest) job I'll ever have. Before I had a baby, I thought I was pretty well prepared since I had two dogs and had taught elementary school. HA! I was so wrong. Sure, those things may have helped me in some ways, but there's nothing that can prepare you for the immeasurable amounts of love you will feel for this tiny little person you have been given the honor of raising. It's a job like no other.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

some of the good.

I've spent the past few days, sort of feeling grumpy and bitter. Last week was one of those weeks where I just felt like I was in a funk. Nothing in particular made me feel this way; just little things here and there, and honestly, I've just had a bad attitude. I thought about blogging about some of the things that have been not so great, but really...who wants to read that? Instead, how about a list of all the good in my life right now?
  • M's birthday party! I've had so much fun planning for her little party that's happening at the end of the month. I'm really not a party planner, but it's been fun putting together some crafts and fun things for the big day!
  • The Archer Farms k-cups from Target. I know that may seem like a silly thing to put on this list, but I am really digging my vanilla bean creme brûlée coffee each morning.
  • Our dogs. A year ago at this time, the thing that worried me most about bringing home a baby was how it would change the lives of our dogs, Layla and Rosie. I was a basket case the morning we left for the hospital, mainly because my pups had no clue how their lives were about to change. Here we are almost a full years later, and I'm so so happy at how much they love M and she loves them. Layla still has her moments where she will let us know she doesn't want to be around the baby, but for the most part, it has been so fun and so neat seeing their relationship develop.
  • A few nights ago, I got the brilliant idea to make a Phil Collins pandora channel, and's been life changing (slight exaggeration!). It's a fabulous combo of the best music from the 80's (think...Journey, Genesis, Foreigner, Rick Springfield...)
  • Breastfeeding. I really owe a full post to this, but I have to be honest and say I am so so grateful that M and I have made it a year nursing. This was a goal I had, not one I published on here or really told anyone about, but I'm really darn proud that we've (almost) done it. Nursing my baby has been one of my favorite parts of motherhood, and I know that as we begin to wean (I'm not in a rush, but I know it's going to happen sooner, rather than later), I will really miss our quiet moments in her glider together (even though some of those moments are NOT  so quiet anymore, and she's smacking my face and trying to nurse while doing a handstand...).
  • The new album from The Avett Brothers, Magpie and the Dandelion. Good stuff.
  • Cheerios. Don't know how we'd successfully get through most of our errands without these little snacks and the quiet they provide. And that is why they made my list of "good!"
  • Finding a pair of skinny jeans for a very reasonable price that fit me and STILL fit me after 3 or 4 wears. One thing that irks me is jeans that fit for one wear and then need another wash so they don't feel stretched anymore. I think I've finally found a pair that works for me...and they're from Old Navy!
  • The look M gets on her face when we show up at the park these days. She love, love, loves to swing, and her excitement is just contagious. And pretty hilarious.
  • A husband who works from home. We have our days where I think we all feel a little cramped being home together, but overall, I think it's pretty cool that J gets to see so much of his daughter, and we never feel like he misses out on any of her big moments. It's definitely a blessing having him here on a daily basis. And it's super helpful. Just the other day I did our grocery shopping during her nap time while he worked downstairs. I feel really fortunate. 
  • My best friend from home is getting married in December to a fabulous guy, and not only am I thrilled for her, but this weekend I'm attending a bridal shower for her, and in two weeks I get to celebrate her some more at her bachelorette party. I am so excited to not only celebrate, but this also means I get to see her TWICE in the next month, which doesn't happen often since she lives about 400 miles away!
  • FALL. Need I say more?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pumpkin Patch x2

We (we really meaning just me) really love pumpkins and fall over here, so we've been doing our part wearing boots, cozy sweaters, and drinking PSL's (again...only me). Even though the weather here in Charlotte hasn't really gotten the fall memo, we're still celebrating the fun of fall and spending time outside!

Last Thursday, M and I headed to the pumpkin patch with some friends. We did the hay ride, picked out a pumpkin for M, and had fun exploring all the fun activities they had set up.

Not sure what's going on with this grumpy look. She really did have fun! 

Oh wait, she probably looked like a grump because I picked her up like she was a BABY or something. This child is miss independent now that she's a walker.

And then on Saturday morning, we headed back to the pumpkin patch so J could help pick out some pumpkins with us (also, I could only manage to purchase one pumpkin when it was just me and M...there was no way I could carry multiple pumpkins back to the car!)

See those little "wings" of hair above her ears? They slay me.

Pretty unimpressed by riding in the wagon with pumpkins...

As we were leaving, a cute family was taking pictures of their baby girl here by the tractor and hay bales, so I offered to take one of their whole family. In turn, they took one for us. I love when we manage to get a picture of all three of us! Doesn't happen enough. Also love that M is reaching out to the camera in this one! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Westport Brunch

In addition to getting to attend the wedding of our cousin Shannon this  past weekend up in NY, we also got to spend time gathering and catching up with family! I wish I had been better about taking more pictures (does anyone else say this after a big, fun weekend?). On Sunday morning, we gathered with lots of family and a lot of the other wedding guests for a big brunch at Stonysides. M had a fun time chasing after her big cousins! She is at an age now where she is just fascinated by "big" kids! 

It was a chilly morning for brunch, but also beautiful! Fall is my favorite season, but it's even more amazing in the mountains.

We found an old rocking horse that was a big hit, and I'm pretty sure it's older than her grandparents...

My sweet girl. Traveling with a baby is tough work, but boy oh boy, taking her new places and introducing her to new family members is also so much fun.