Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!! (And hello old friends, it's been awhile!)

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your holiday is bright, warm, and sweet. We're in the midst of baking cookies and magic bars and prepping dinner for tonight. Then, once the little one is in bed tonight, we'll get to work assembling some presents. This is our first year to tackle toy assembly, so we'll see how it goes. I'm so excited to see Hadley's face tomorrow morning. It's great that she now knows what is going on and can enjoy the holiday!

I know I've been MIA for a few weeks, but rest assured that I do have posts planned. These last few weeks have just been busy with holiday planning and shopping, travel, and a work project that I finished in mid-December. This month was also made more hectic by the fact that I had to squeeze in numerous continuing legal education hours that I delayed (i.e., procrastinated) in taking until now. The deadline is December 31 and I finished on the 20th-- go me! Hey, at least they are done.

I've also managed to check several things off of my to-do list in the last month: cleaning out the closets in the soon-to-be new baby's room, shopping for cute (or as cute as they get) maternity clothes, packing up infant items to send to my sister for her new baby, setting up a business for my contract work, and assorted other odds and ends. It feels so good to start the new year with a slightly less onerous list of obligations.

And, lest you feel deprived of Hadley info-- my baby is doing beautifully! She was given rave reviews and praise by our pediatrician (and friend) at her 15-month appointment. Our pediatrician said Hadley is definitely precocious. She asked how many words Hadley knows and when I told her probably 15-20, she was super impressed. Apparently, she only needed 3 words to be on track. And, Hadley has added several more words to her repertoire in the last few days, including "towel," "oatmeal," "I don't know," and "bottle." She loves multiple syllable words. When Sean asks her what she knows, she says, "I don't know," except it sounds like "a da loo." It's so cute.

Our new little one is doing well, too. I'm about 26 weeks along now and the little bean is soooo active. I've been able to feel her kicking since about 15 weeks (early, I know!), and now, I can see my stomach move when she gets really active. It's amazing and a little weird at the same time. I have my glucose tolerance test at my next appointment. Other than that, this pregnancy is just moving along. It is really flying by and I have to make myself stop sometimes and just enjoy these moments. Before long, we'll be a family of four and I'm not sure I'll ever have time to slow down again!

And, since I have utterly failed to post a bump pic thus far, here is a pic of my belly at about 24 weeks. I think my belly has about doubled in size since this picture was taken.

We're planning a trip to visit family the day after Christmas and luckily, there is an IKEA within a quick drive of their house. That means we can stock up on baby furniture and other goodies while we're there. I'm anxious to get the new nursery decorated and ready.

That's it for now, folks. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear Hadley: Month 14

My Sweet Pea! This letter is a bit late, but only because we have been spent every free minute at fun play dates and playing in your new playroom. That's right-- you now have a room that is solely devoted to your TOYS. We used to keep most of your toys in the living room, but we really felt that you were outgrowing that space. So, Daddy spent a few weekends cleaning out his "man playroom" upstairs for you. And, you love your new space. I really love it, too. We can reclaim our living room now and you have this wonderful space to pull out all of your toys and play.

Right now, your favorite toys are your baby doll, your stuffed animals, your books, and oddly enough, my headbands. You love to put one of my headbands on your head, usually backwards or across your forehead Rambo-style. You then continue playing with your toys as if wearing a giant headband backwards is the most natural thing ever. One day, you even wore a headband backwards to Costco because you refused to let me take it off of you. I'm sure we got some funny looks that day, but I don't care. I hope you can always be so confident in your fashion choices.

You have really astounded us this month with your understanding of EVERYTHING that we say to you. I can ask you to put something away and you actually do it. And, one day, I asked you to find your water cup and you went and searched through your piles of toys until you found it. Then, you brought it back to me and triumphantly held it up as if to say, "Here it is, Mama! I knew where it was all along!!" You have also developed a love and fascination for the phone this month. You love your play phones but you also really like our cell phones and home phones. You push buttons and hold the phone, usually upside down, to the side of your head and babble away. It is so fun to watch.

We are having so much fun teaching you new things, too. You have learned the coolest things this month, like that a sheep says, "baaaa," and a lion says, "rrrrrrooar," and monkey says, "ah ah ah." You pound on your chest with your fists when you make the monkey sound. I just love that-- even if it isn't technically what a monkey does. And, you learned to sign "love" this month by crossing your arms over your chest. The first time I told you I loved you and you signed back, my heart just melted. I still can't get enough of your sweet love signs. And you are loving blowing kisses this month. You say "mmm--ahhhh" when you do so, and you blow kisses at everyone, even our cat. Your vocabulary is really expanding rapidly right now, too. Just in the last few days, you have started saying, "tiger," "apple," and "diaper." I just love hearing you talk, Sweet Pea.

This was an amazing month and I can't wait to see all of the new things you learn next month!

Your Mommy

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's Official....

We're having another little girl!!! And, she's healthy, measuring perfectly, and is spunky already! During the course of our ultrasound on Friday, the little one managed to maneuver herself from a head-down position to a sideways position to a head-up position. All in the span of about 30 minutes. Over and over again, we watched her kick her perfect, tiny feet out, push off, and roll to a new spot. Then, she would curl up and kick or punch like crazy. It was so fun to watch. She kept her little hands by her face most of the time, too, just like Hadley did in utero. I love that my two little girls are already alike!

Since our ultrasound, we've been going non-stop, so I haven't had much time to concentrate on our big news. But, today, it really hit me. I'm going to have two girls-- and they'll be about 18-19 months apart in age! I can just imagine the matching outfits, shared baby dolls, and fighting over toys now:-). We're going to have so much fun and I can't wait!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


This was Hadley's first Halloween to go trick-or-treating and amazingly, she loved it! I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. Who doesn't love going door to door to get treats from complete strangers??? Unfortunately, Tinkerbell has not yet eaten candy and I'm not quite ready for her to start. So, that means that someone other than little Tink will need to consume her loot from last night. Judging by the Reese's peanut butter cups I devoured for breakfast this morning, I'd say that I have that job covered.

Friday, October 30, 2009

18 Weeks

Okay, so I guess it's about time I come out with the reason I have been so freaking lazy with posting new updates on this blog. Weeks ago, it was because I could barely keep my eyes open for more than two hours at a time. I was so incredibly bone-weary tired. It was a chore to simply load our breakfast dishes in the dishwasher each morning. And then, that went away and I was hit with an all-consuming, overwhelming feeling that I could hurl at any minute. Love that feeling. And then that went away, too. Weird, huh? Now, I actually feel like myself. Almost. Except for that bump that has manifested itself on my midsection:-). Sometimes I forget it's there and catch a glimpse of my profile in the mirror. I usually gasp-- and then smile.

If you haven't guessed, I'm pregnant! Yes, we'll have our second child in early April and we're so excited. And a little freaked out. It will definitely be an interesting experience having two children so close in age, but it's an experience I can't wait to start. We're having so much fun with Hadley that I'm sure the new little one will only double the fun.

Oh, and we find out whether the new little one is a boy or a girl next Friday. I'm so excited and so anxious to find out that I almost ran out this morning in the pouring rain to buy this (which is for sale at Walgreen's stores):

Then I decided that it will be much more fun if we wait until our ultrasound. I'm not good at waiting!! I predict that I will be taking plenty of online baby prediction tests over the next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Someone is ready for Halloween

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Hadley: Month 13

Dear Hadley:

You are 13 months old now, and we are having so much fun with you! You learn something new every day and amaze us with your wit and charm. Right now, everything is funny to you. You giggle constantly-- while you are eating, while you are petting Bella, and especially while you are running around the house. And man, are you running. Daddy asked me a few days ago when you started running and honestly, I can't remember, either. It just happened. You were walking with this wobbly gait one day and the next, you were running as if you had been doing it forever. You have so much fun pushing your little ride-on car around, chasing Bella and Allie, and just exploring your house.

There are a few things you really love this month: Bananas!!!, dancing, and your Baby Doll. Those bananas!! You have always loved them, and this month, that love has seriously intensified. You decided that bananas are THE food to eat for breakfast and you do every morning. As soon as I put you in your chair in the mornings, you start chanting, "nana, nana, nana." And, as soon as I get your banana to slice into your oatmeal, your chants become all-out impatient wails that turn into outright tears when you realize that I have to, of all things, heat up your oatmeal for 20 seconds before you can eat it. You would think with all of that drama that I was starving you, but no, you just can't wait 20 more seconds for that banana. Horrors. Your love for bananas runs deep, child.

And the dancing! You LOVE to dance. You have been dancing for a couple of months, but this month was completely different. You seek out music, pushing buttons on your activity table or push car to start a new song, and as soon as the music starts, you start moving. You shake those hips, bop your head, and swing your arms to the beat. Daddy and I have the best time just watching you bop along to your music.

You also recently developed a deep love for a doll you received as a gift for your birthday. It is a cute, little pink and purple thing that you carry around all day, hugging, squeezing, and kissing. You talk to her, prop her up on the couch and fireplace hearth, and at times, try to get her to sit on your ride-on car seat. You work so hard at trying to balance her on that seat and then you slowly back away to see if she will stay. She usually doesn't, but you are stubborn enough that you keep trying and trying and trying. And, at nap time, when I tell you it is time to go "night night," you look everywhere for that doll and once we find her, you clutch her to you and carry her to your bed. I absolutely love that you have a favorite doll now.

You made huge strides developmentally this month, too. Of utmost importance, we transitioned you to whole milk. And at the same time, we made the transition from bottles to a sippy cup. Amazingly, no one was injured in this transition! I have to admit, I was a little worried. You did great, though. We completed the transition in a little over a week, and you never complained. You are also now almost completely feeding yourself finger foods. You like to hold your food and take bites as opposed to having me cut you little bite-sized pieces. You still let me spoon feed you your oatmeal and yogurt, but other than that, you want to do it yourself. You are such a big girl.

All of a sudden, you also seem to understand just about everything we tell you. This both fascinates and terrifies me. We can tell you to give Bella kisses and you will whirl around, find Bella, and run to her to give her a big, slobbery kiss on the head. One night, you were trying to cuddle with Bella and she was being too wiggly for you to kiss. You fixed that by taking your little hands, putting them on either side of her face and holding her still so you could lean in and kiss her on the top of the head. It was too cute!

I can ask you to hand me something or to share with me and you immediately hand it to me. We constantly tell you to "sit down" in the bathtub and you do-- albeit slowly sometimes. Speaking of the bath, you LOVE your bath. You jump with glee next to the bathtub while we prepare your bath water and giggle and splash once we put you in. You have the best time "swimming" in the bathtub.

You have become quite the little chatterbug lately, too. You are saying "nana" for banana, "apple," "Daddy," "Mama," "no, no, no," "yeah," "bye," and "all done." My favorite is when Daddy gets home at night and you squeal, "Dad--eeee," when he walks in the door. I love to watch you two together.

I love you, Sweet Pea, and can't wait to see what this next month brings!


Your Mommy

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Overhaul

I love this time of year probably more than any other. When the weather starts to turn a little crisper and the days get shorter, I start nesting like crazy. I want my home to feel warm and cozy and to smell like hearty stews, chilis, apple crisp, and pumpkin pie. Just maybe not all at the same time.

On Sunday afternoon, I spent a little time "autumnizing" the house. I packed away our summery throw pillows, pulled out my cable-knit throws, unearthed my box of fall decor, and bought the same soy candle I buy at this time every year. To me, it smells like Fall and I just can't start Fall without it. This candle, called Harvest Pumpkin, is at Target for $7.99 and it smells divine-- and lasts forever.

To warm up our living room, I arranged a few warmer-toned throw pillows on the couch. I'm in love with the sparkle on the little, brown pillow. I'm a sucker for sparkly.

Every year at this time, I cook a couple of things for the first time in months: chili and pumpkin bread. Both smell and taste amazing, and there is just something about these rituals that make me feel content. I also headed to the grocery store on Monday to pick up a few knobby gourds. I just love the look of gourds on my kitchen table in October.

I also put out some ceramic pumpkins. I love these, but because I don't like a lot of clutter or superfluous stuff sitting about, I always have a hard time deciding where to put them.

And, I love how this time of year, some of my decor looks a little spookier. This candlestick holder is one of my faves and this time of year, it looks a little like spooky fingers to me. Ahhh haa haa. Now all I need are big, round pumpkins to sit on our front porch... and to carve on the night before Halloween.

Please ignore my wrinkly table runner... the iron is on strike

Do you decorate your house for the changing seasons? Or, just for holidays?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Teething Strikes Again

There have been days over the past week when I honestly have felt like I live with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I can leave the house with a sweet, content child and at some point within the hour, she transforms into a fire-breathing, red-eyed monster who could eat me for breakfast. Seriously.

We were at the grocery store yesterday morning and about halfway through our shopping trip, about the time that my cart was filling up and we just had to pick up a few more items and check out, Hadley completely melted down. She threw the miniature pumpkin she had been holding to the floor, almost maiming an innocent bystander, and started wailing, screaming, and thrashing like a banshee. It was brutal. People were staring, I was trying to console her to no avail, and at the same time, I had to decide what to do with all of the groceries in my cart. Do I check out with a screaming baby? Do I put them all back while she loses it in the cart? WHAT DO I DO???? Long story short, I was that woman in the check-out line with the screaming child that everyone stares at and no one will make eye contact with. It was fabulous. Then we got in the car and she was fine. She stopped crying, smiled at me, and sang the whole way home. What the ----?????

I'm blaming my sweet baby's violent mood swings of the past week on teething. Hadley has about a gazillion teeth coming in all at the same time, and I think the pain is messing with her coping mechanisms. She's just never like this. She's always happy and content, but lately, she can be okay one minute and crazy the next. It's a learning experience for sure. For instance, I now know not to let her hold produce at the grocery store as she can be extremely dangerous when angered. And, when the meltdown occurs, RUN! Hopefully, those pesky teeth will break through soon and we can all return to our normal lives. I'll keep you updated.

On happier notes, I have almost taught Hadley to say "BOO" for Halloween. When you ask her what a ghost says, she replies with, "bahhhh." She's so close. And despite her teething pain, Hadley entertains us every night after dinner with music and dancing. She plays the same song on her activity table over and over again while dancing madly to it. You should see her shake her little booty and flap her arms. She really gets down. It's the cutest thing ever!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baked Southwestern Corn Dip-- Yum!

Sean digging in

The last time we made the trek to visit family a few hours away, we brought home a bag full of their fresh-grown sweet corn, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. I was in heaven. Until I realized we could only eat so many ears of corn on the cob. That's when I remembered this delicious recipe for Baked Southwestern Corn Dip. My mom found this recipe in our local newspaper years ago and we have since adapted it to our tastes. Our family almost always has this dip at holiday parties, but I figured, why not in the middle of the summer? And, for kicks, why not have this dip for dinner instead of an appetizer? It's full of yummy veggies so it can't be completely unhealthy, right? Yeah, just read the list of decadent ingredients.... it's definitely not health food. But it is seriously good!!

Baked Southwestern Corn Dip
About 2 cups fresh corn or 1 Can Yellow Corn Kernels
1 Can Sliced Black Olives (2-1/4 oz)
1 Can Ro-Tel (10 oz)
1 Can Black Beans (15 oz)
1 Medium Fresh Jalapeno Pepper (2 Tablespoons Chopped)
2 Jarred Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
1 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or Pepper Jack Cheese
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Mayonnaise

Cooking Oil Spray
Tortilla Chips for Dipping

Preheat Oven to 350
Drain black beans and Ro-tel tomatoes (and corn if you used canned). Mix drained vegetables and corn in a medium size mixing bowl. Add jalapeno, roasted red peppers, both cheeses, and mayonnaise. Stir well.

Spray a 2 quart baking dish lightly with cooking oil spray. Pour the dip into the dish and smooth the top. Bake until the top is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. Spicy bulk sausage also tastes great in this.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Little Tinkerbell (and NEWS)

Now that fall is finally approaching-- even though it hardly feels like it here yet-- I'm working on getting my little bug ready for Halloween. I love Halloween!! The costumes, the cool weather, the face paint, and, of course, the candy. Last year at Halloween, Hadley wasn't quite two months old yet, so we dressed her in a bunting bag costume. She was a little ladybug and was so cute it was ridiculous.

This year, Hadley will be about 14 months, and she is totally old enough for a real costume. I have had the best time scouring shops for little toddler costumes. I wanted something fairy-like with a skirt or tutu, but most importantly, I wanted the costume to reflect Hadley's personality. I finally found the best costume last weekend. It's a Tinkerbell costume and is girly and frou frou and even comes with sparkles. The costume is much greener and less yellow-y in real life. And, best of all, the costume requires no headpiece, which Hadley will most definitely not wear.

I tried the costume on Hadley as soon as we got home and her response was mixed. At first, she pulled the skirt out, looked at it, and then looked at me like, "Huh???" Then, she quickly forgot about her costume and went back to playing. I guess that passes the test, right? She looked so cute in it, too-- like my own little fairy princess.

Now, I'm on a quest to find a treat bag, preferably one that is monogrammed. On pretty much everyone's recommendation, I searched Pottery Barn Kids, but their stock seems kindof blah. I want something a little girly yet generic enough to work year after year. This is one possibility I have found:

It's close but I'm not completely sold yet. Let me know if you have suggestions!

And now, for the big news of the day, I have a new little niece, named Caitlyn Grace, who was born yesterday! She is amazing and beautiful and if I get permission from my sister, I'll post pics soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Design HELP!!

Just recently J Crew added a Q&A for the men's section entitled "Jack Knows Best." Men can send in questions they can't ask anywhere else about appropriate clothing 'n such! Great Idea!

Send your man to the J Crew men's section for the rest of the invaluable info!

Some sample question:
How long should my pants be?
Where can I wear a linen suit?
When do I wear a crew-neck sweater versus a V-neck?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Hadley: Month 12-- Happy Birthday, Sweet Pea!!!

Dear Hadley:

Happy Birthday, my sweet baby!!!! You turned one a few days ago, and I am still amazed that a whole year has passed since your birth. I remember those last, few days before you were born as I prepared meals to freeze, made last-minute purchases for your arrival, and generally nested like crazy. I remember the first moment I met you when you stared right into my eyes and pursed your lips into a sweet rosebud. You did that with your mouth for the first few weeks, and I spent most of that time just staring at you and taking you in. I remember introducing you to our family and friends, bringing you home for the first time, settling in and developing a routine with you, and struggling through those rough, first weeks of breastfeeding. I remember when you learned to roll over (both ways), began cooing and then babbling and jabbering, began smiling and laughing, learned to crawl, stand, and then walk, and finally, started talking. It has been an amazing ride, Sweet Pea, and I have loved every moment with you.

Your birthday was a fun, fun day. You, Daddy, and I woke up early to take care of last-minute preparations for your big birthday bash, then we had a nice, relaxed lunch, and got dressed for the party. You took a looong nap that day and woke up about 15 minutes before your party started. I was getting a little worried that you were going to sleep through the party, but you woke up just in the nick of time!

Your party was so great, too. We had tons of family and friends there to celebrate, and you had so much fun playing and opening presents. You didn't really know what to make of everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to you, but you really LOVED your cake. You started out daintily dipping one little finger into the icing and tasting it. Then, once you realized how good that icing was, you dug both hands into the cake and shoved as much of the cake and icing into your mouth as you could. You even shared your icing with me and Daddy. You are such a sweet baby!

You have really grown from an infant into a little toddler this month, little one. You took your first steps at the beginning of August and by the end of August, you were walking pretty confidently on your own. You decided one day about mid-month that you were ready to walk instead of crawl, and you practiced constantly. Now, you pop up and walk just about everywhere. You still only make it a few feet, and sometimes only a few steps, before you plop back down, but you're getting where you want to go.

You are also talking now. You repeat words that we say, you consistently say "book," "banana," "Mama," "Daddy, and "bye," and you scream "BELLA" all the time. I'm not sure Bella really appreciates it, but you definitely get her attention-- and ours, too! Speaking of books, you LOVE your books right now. You have always loved for us to read to you, but this month, you realized that you can ask us to read to you. And, you do-- constantly. You have a favorite book that you get down from a table in our living room and bring to me. You then flip the book up into my lap and say "boooo" and smile really big at me. After we read the book, you flip it into my lap again and say "aga, aga," as in "again, again, Mama." And, we read it again and again and again. Sometimes we read your books 14 time in one morning. I make sure we switch up your books, but you always come back to your favorite. I love that you are loving your books. I'm thinking you are going to love to read as much as Daddy and I do.

You also have this adorable thing you do right now when something makes you happy. You bunch your little hands at your chest, scrunch up your face, and smile really big. I love when you do that! And, your laugh. Right now, you are so incredibly giggly-- at everything and nothing at all. You giggle at Daddy, you giggle when I hand you something, and sometimes, you just giggle for the heck of it. You are definitely a giggly, little girl.

I love you, my sweet baby and can't wait to see what this next year holds. If it is anything like this last year, we are in for a wild ride!!

Your Mommy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm Here-- I Promise!!!

I so owe you guys a post! I know I've been MIA for the last couple of weeks, but I have a good excuse, I promise. I've been meticulously planning and prepping for Haddy's big birthday bash during just about every waking moment for the past couple of weeks and unfortuanately, everything not party related, including this blog, kinda fell by the wayside. Oops. But, I'm back now. And, all of my hard work on the party really paid off! The party was fabulous and so fun-- more details and pics to come.

My baby is one!!! I still can't believe it and am still a bit in shock. We have spent this week recovering (i.e., relaxing) from her big birthday bash, attending Hadley's one-year checkup, and organizing Hadley's toys since she really racked up at her party. I hope to post Hadley's 12-month letter tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

Oh, and my amazing sister-in-law, Jennifer, will be posting guest blogs on her favorite topic, interior design. We share a love of modern design and I'm so excited to read her posts. The first two she posted in late August are great. You can find the posts here and here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Guest Blog: Holy Makeover, Batman!

I was going to wait till next week for this one, but it was simply too good to hold back. Eric Teng from took a weekend to be fabulous and makeover some drab IKEA dressers. I have to be honest, I have seen these night-stands at IKEA many times and have never looked twice at them, but Eric has transformed them into pieces of art. Stain, paint, beautiful pulls, and elbow grease are all it took. OH YEA, and the foresight to see the nude dresser and dream up something spectacular! Check out the before and after.

I think I'll be going to IKEA sometime soon!

First Guest Blog! Swoop Desk review

Hello all! I'm Jen, Keri's sister-in-law. I'll be doing a weekly guest blog about anything and everything design related! I have been anticipating reviewing this desk for a while because of how pleased I have been since I bought it! It is the Swoop Desk from CB2 and is one of the best desks for the price.
For $299.00 the Swoop Desk from CB2 has been sittin pretty in my room for the past six months, and it is about time I share the gospel of this amazing deal! Sleek, modern design is the tip of the iceberg, this is a very functional, very consumer friendly desk. Easy to set up when it arrives in the mail, unless of course you do what I did and put the little white shelf wall in backward and have to take it all apart again to get it right the second time!! But I digress, once it is set up, you'll find that it is the perfect size for its purpose. I can comfortably fit my laptop, notebooks, drink, pens, etc on the main part of the desk for easy access to all, and the drawers are very useful for storage of office supplies. I have read some reviews saying that others have found this desk to be too top heavy but I have not found that to be true at all. The legs are very sturdy and I have never once felt that I had to be easy with it so it wouldn't wobble or whatnot. Ok, back to the best part, the price. There are many other desks on the market that cost more than the Swoop Desk for the same quality, and that just doesn't seem very enticing.

The Nelson Swag Leg desk will cost you a pretty penny for the George Nelson name, not that the George Nelson name sitting in your office is anything to sneeze at, but running a cool $1745.00 at, for me and mine, this is just simply not an option at this point in life! But as you can see they are very similar in design and stay tuned into the guest blogs because soon I will be showing you a very easy tweak to the Swoop Desk to make it look a little bit more like the classic Nelson Swag Leg.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

She's Walking!!

Hadley is officially a walker, a toddler, a (slightly) ambulatory human being. There's no stopping her now! Although Hadley took her first steps at the beginning of August, she has seemed ambivalent about walking until the last few days. I guess when you crawl at the speed of light, there's really no incentive to try to walk where you need to go. But, for some reason, she has been practicing walking constantly for the last two days.

Yesterday, Hadley was standing by a chair in our living room and decided to walk across the room to me. She bravely took four wobbly, jerky steps to get to me before plopping down on her bottom. I excitedly called Sean at work to tell him this exciting news, and his response was, "You were supposed to knock her down if she walked while I was at work!" As if! Hadley and I spent the rest of the afternoon praciticing. And, just for fun, when Daddy got home from work, Hadley walked for him, too. That's my girl!

I am trying to get Hadley's new skill on video, but this is proving to be quite difficult. As soon as we turn the camera on, Hadley goes right to it, turns the little viewing monitor so she can see it, and then proceeds to kiss the baby on the screen. It's adorable, but it really makes getting movies of her very difficult. I'll see what I can do, though.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Well, I think we did it. Hadley has finally caught her first cold. I know, I know-- I made this proclamation here. But really, that little malady was merely a farce. She was better by the end of the day. This time, I think she is truly sick. Runny, runny, snotty nose, a slight cough, raspy breathing. It's great fun around here. And, what I love the most? When Hadley decides she would rather wipe her nose on the couch than let me we wipe it for her. So lovely.

We're going on day 4 of this little illness and I'm crossing my fingers that we're on the tail end. If not, I may need to move to a little bed and breakfast until the snot subsides. I'm not sure I can take much more of the ickiness.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dear Hadley: Month 11

Dear Hadley:

You are 11 big, amazing months old now! Already, you are acting like a little toddler. You took your first steps alone a few days ago and are prancing around constantly with the aid of one of our hands or a piece of furniture. And, the attitude! Oh my. You let us know instantly if something is not going exactly as you want it. You have this squeal that you emit when you are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs. It's one for the books. But most of the time, you are a happy, content baby and love to learn new things and play with us. You mimic just about anything we show you, copy sounds that we make, clap constantly, and have started waving at anything and everything. Lately, when we walk through the house together, you wave as if you are in a parade and want to make sure your onlookers see you. You also wave to Bella and Allie as we pass them in the house. They rarely respond but you hardly notice. You are happy just to see them.

You spend most of your day cruising around the furniture, or any sturdy object that will support your weight, and walking while holding our hands. You walk very confidently when only slightly touching something. But, the minute you don't feel like you are holding onto something, you plop down on that bottom. It's a security thing for now, but I think you will be walking in no time. A few days ago, you were practicing walking between Daddy and I and you would reach for our hands as you walked to us. One time, you let go of Daddy and couldn't reach me, so you took a few steps all on your own to get to me. I think you were as surprised as we were! You haven't done this again, but I expect you just have to work up the courage.

Your favorite toys right now are little, plastic balls and little, puffy cars and trucks. Your Maggie and Pop are helping foster this love by giving you new balls and trucks to play with, and I jokingly told Daddy that they are going to make a tomboy of you yet. But, you really do love these toys. Your favorite activity right now is to stack toys. You have learned that a ball fits inside a cup and your cup fits inside bowls and you practice this constantly. If we show you a new configuration, you work on that, too. It's so cool to see you learn these things and then apply them.

Things you love this month include cheese crackers, blowing raspberries on our shoulders and knees, your Bella, of course, and any other dog you meet, pasta, cheese, and pancakes. You also LOVE your shoes. You will play with them for hours and actually sit still when I put them on you. You try to put them on by yourself and hold your feet up for me when I put them on you. You may like cars and trucks, Sweet Pea, but you have a little girly side, too!

Unfortunately, this month wasn't all good. You experienced your first loss this month with the passing of your dear grandmother, your Daddy's mom. Memaw had been battling brain cancer for four years, and I hate that you will not remember the short time you had with her. She was a beautiful, talented woman who you inherited your beautiful looks from, and I am grateful she got to meet you and that you were able to spend even a small amount of time with her.

Time is so fleeting. Your first year is rapidly winding down and I sometimes feel that I don't know where the time has gone. I love that we have experienced so much in one year but at the same time, I want to stop the clock and hold you right where we are now. I know I can't do that, though, so I'm determined to cherish and remember every moment. I love you, Sweet Pea.

Your Mommy

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This is one of my new, favorite pictures from this last month. Well, this one and this one:

I love the image each conveys. The sweet, calm, little lady in the first and the mischevious, little imp in the second. Hadley definitely has a little of each in her. By about 3:00 every afternoon, I start hoping her mischevious side is tuckered out. Maybe one day that will happen, but so far, this little imp is keeping me busy. And I couldn't be happier!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Family Resemblence

It's no secret that Hadley and I look absolutely, 100% nothing alike. Instead, the general consensus is that Hadley looks just like her Daddy. In fact, people feel so strongly about this that we are routinely accosted by strangers who feel the need to point their similarities out to us. There are occasions where I see the similarities, too, like when Sean and Hadley are playing a game and make the same facial expressions. Then, it is so easy to see where my beautiful baby got her looks.

But, most of the time, I find it a little hard to see the resemblence. Really, I'm much too close to them to objectively make that comparison, and the fact that Hadley is a young girl and Sean is a bearded man doesn't help any. My imagination can only stretch so far. That's why I was so happy to find this picture of Sean's mom as a baby. This picture was taken when Sean's mom was 6 months old.

Do you see a resemblence to someone??

This is Hadley at 8 months old making a similar expression. Can you believe how much they look alike in these pictures??? When I saw the picture of Sean's mom for the first time, I got chills. I felt like I was looking at a picture of my baby. Now this is the kind of proof I like. Pictures of two people at the same age making the same expression. I can see the resemblence without any imagination whatsoever. Whew. Life is easy again.

And, I couldn't be happier that both Sean and my Hadley look like Sean's mom, a beautiful, amazing woman.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Today officially marks two weeks that we have been pacifier free! We did it!!! I am still shocked at how easy it was to wean Hadley of her pacifier. We simply stopped giving her her pacifier and she never once lost her mind, cried for the pacifier, or otherwise indicated that she couldn't go on without it. In fact, it was as if she completely forgot about the pacifier. I'm sure we got lucky and Hadley was just ready to give up her pacifier anyway. But still, I'm claiming this as a victory.

Next up, the bottle. We're going to start phasing it out at one year, which is in about a month. This one should be interesting-- as in, I expect the world to fall apart and much resistance to ensue. Stay tuned.

Best Friends

Hadley LOVES her dog, Bella. She simply cannot get enough of her. When Hadley sees or hears Bella enter a room, Hadley's whole face brightens and she squeals with delight. Then, she screams, "Bella!!!," and tears off in her direction as if she hasn't seen her in days. And, those two together are hilarious. Hadley tries to "pet" Bella by grabbing her fur and holding onto handfuls at a time. Bella tries to play with Hadley by crouching in front of her or by dangling a toy near her face. And, the kisses. That dog gets more kisses in a day than I get in a week. Bella gives her fair share of kisses to the baby, too.

If Hadley is within ten feet of Bella, Hadley will lean in with a big open mouth to kiss Bella on the top of her head or on her cheek or nose. And, in typical Bella fashion, Bella responds with great big licks to Hadley's face. Hadley could not be happier. I, on the other hand, would prefer that the licks not come into contact with Hadley's face or open mouth. We're working on that one.

For all of the fur pulling that Bella endures in Hadley's presence, she seems to genuinely love Hadley and enjoy being around her. Bella typically seeks Hadley out in the house and routinely joins me when I retrieve Hadley from her crib after naptime. I'm sure the treats that rain down from Hadley's highchair have a lot to do with Bella's continued and saint-like patience with Hadley. The fact that Hadley typcially offers to share her Cheerio's and dinner with Bella probably helps, too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A difference in perception

At Hadley's Little Gym class last week, a little boy toddled over to Hadley and gave her a big, open-mouthed kiss on the top of her head. After much oohing and ahhing by the mommies, he leaned in and gave her another one. That time, Hadley tilted her head up and kissed him back.

My response: That was so sweet. Look at my baby returning kisses!!

Sean's response when I told him: She's way too young to be kissing boys.

And therein lies the difference in men and women. The end.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My First Award!

Thanks to Cassie for so kindly giving me my first award! Cassie's websites, Cassie Craves and Life Ensues, are two of my new favorite places to stop each day for a read.

Thanks again, Cassie! And now, I am passing this award on to a few bloggers that I have recently discovered. Here are the rules:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog along with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve recently discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

2. Finn's Garden

3. The Shooting Allens

4. The Kimmers

5. My Journey Through Motherhood

6. Sophie and Hannah's Big Adventure

7. Our Best Bites

8. Our Sweet Life

9. The Most Awesome Stuff Ever

10. The Higher Nest

11. Lime in the Coconut

12. Oh Brooke

13. Good Things Catered

14. Picky Palate

15. Noble Pig

Two Days and Counting...

I think we've kicked the habit! I'm probably jinxing myself by writing this, but Hadley has now gone two whole days, since Tuesday morning, without touching, looking at, or crying for her pacifier (her paci). She had only been using it when she was sleeping at naptime and at night, but still, she loved that thing. She would wake up in the middle of the night and search for it in her crib. And, she would play with it and sing to it when she woke up in the morning. I figured that taking her paci away would be akin to the world ending, but for some reason, she doesn't even seem to notice that it's gone. I think I'm a little more sad and sentimental than she is to see it go. But, at the same time, I am so happy that we don't have to worry about taking it away when she is old enough to really understand.

Did anyone else's little one use a pacifier?? If so, how did you phase it out/ wean your child from it? I'm half expecting our world to drop out from under us in a few days when Hadley remembers that thing. Keep your fingers crossed that that doesn't happen!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sweet Corn and Cilantro Salad

Here it is, my recipe for Sweet Corn and Cilantro Salad-- finally! I promise that I have very good reasons for posting this so belatedly. The main one being that I wanted to re-make the salad and actually measure things out for you. Instead of just giving you rough directions, like add a little of this and a little of that, I wanted to actually give you a RECIPE. Imagine that. Unfortunately, I rarely measure when I cook. I just add ingredients until I get the dish the way I want it. I rarely have failures with this method, but I also rarely have specific recipes to share, either. So, I'm working on that.

Another reason I've been slow to post this? I'm just lazy-- er, busy. Really, we have been super busy this week with story times, Little Gym, play dates, and more. Who knew a baby could have this many social engagements?

Anyway, back to the recipe. I can't take full credit for this salad, or really much credit at all. My mom has been making this salad for years, and I simply tweaked it a bit after I claimed it as my own. My mom's version of this salad uses white shoepeg corn, yellow onion, and tomato. I like to jazz up the textures and flavors by mixing corns, like sweet golden and white corn . I also love the fresh flavor of cilantro in this salad and now add it every time I make it. For a kick, you can also add fresh jalapeno, pickled onions, or pickled jalapenos. Anything goes with this salad-- and it is always a hit. I love to take this to parties and cookouts since it is so easy, yet so tasty.

Sweet Corn and Cilantro Salad

2 cans corn (white shoepeg, sweet white, sweet golden), drained
1 small tomato, diced
1-2 tablespoons of yellow onion, finely diced (go easy on the onion in this... as the salad sits, the onion can get very strong)
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly torn
Up to 1/4 c. mayo (we use light)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mix the drained corn, tomato, onions, cilantro, and mayo in bowl. I would add a little bit of mayo at a time to make sure that 1/4 c. is not too much mayo for you. I don't like a lot of mayo, so I usually add just under 1/4 c.

Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for about an hour prior to serving.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sprinkle, Sprinkle, Little Star: Our Trip to the Sprinkler Park

Sprinkle, Sprinkle Litle Star,

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

Sprinkle, Sprinkle Little Star,

How I wonder what you are!

What a fun day with my little Star (and our play group friends)!!

**Hadley is pictured with her Aunt Kacey in the first few pictures.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dear Hadley: Month 10

Dear Hadley:

Happy 10 months, Sweet Pea! This was your first June with us and your first experience with our local summer weather. Let me just start by saying, I am so sorry. Summers here are tough-- we have temperatures reaching the low 100's and humidity so extreme that you melt the moment you step outside. But all of that aside, summers are also so much fun. There's swimming, picnics, parties, vacations, and of course, ice cream. And for me, summertime now makes me nostalgic. I spent last summer melting in this crazy heat while I was pregnant with you. Consequently, I will now forever associate summer with your pregnancy and the last few months before I met you.

I sometimes wonder if you realize that you have now experienced three seasons since your birth. Do you realize that it was cold just a few months ago and now it is so hot that going outside is almost unbearable?? Do you realize that you used to wear layers and layers of clothes and now you hardly wear even one? I'm betting you will tell me all about these crazy things when you start talking.

We're making the most of our summer together introducing you to lots of fun warm-weather firsts. We went on our first family vacation to Florida in June with your aunts, uncles, and cousins. We stayed at a cool resort and you swam in both a pool and the ocean for the first time. You loved the pool, but you were a little underwhelmed by the beach experience. We also bought you your own little pool for our back porch. It blows up to just big enough for Daddy and I to sit in it with you. And, you love it. You splash and kick and squeal with delight when we go swimming. I love to see you so happy.

Recently, we enrolled you in a class at The Little Gym. I wanted to make sure you had plenty of educational and physical stimulation and the social interaction is just icing on the cake. You are in a class called the "Birds," which is for babies 10 months to 19 months. You are the youngest in your class, but you are giving the big kids a run for their money. At our class last week, you bested all of the babies by hanging unassisted on the parallel bars, something that completely amazed your teacher. I kept telling her that you have a crazy, monkey grip and that such feat did not surprise me at all. She, however, could not get over how strong you were and kept asking me where you were hiding all of those muscles. When I told Daddy about your athletic feats, he immediately declared that he was going to enter you in the Strong Man competition. He was so proud of you. And he wasn't really surprised, either. We've both had to pry too many things out of that crazy grasp to not think it is entirely possible that you can suspend your weight from those little hands and arms.

Just before Melissa let go to see if you could hang on your own. You did!!

We are also in a playgroup with about six babies and this week, we went to the local sprinkler park for the first time. All of the kids loved it, especially your cousin Ayden, and you had fun letting Aunt Kacey run you through the sprinklers. The best part was that once the sprinklers turned off, you could sit on the ground and splash in the water. It was just like your bath but without the drama of having your hair washed.

You reached a few more important developmental milestones this last month, too. You are now almost entirely transitioned to "finger foods" and love trying new things. You get excited when Daddy and I are eating and reach eagerly for the food on our plates. One of your new favorite foods is blueberry pancakes. Yummy. You also now have two new teeth (the second bottom tooth and one top tooth) and are working on the third (the second top tooth). That top tooth should be in any day now. That means that you have effectively gotten all four front teeth in the span of about five weeks. When you decide to do something, you go all the way, kiddo! You have also mastered standing on your own, cruising on furniture like a champ, clapping, dancing, and walking with assistance. You are such a big girl!

You tend to think you are too big sometimes, though. You have decided in the last month or so that you no longer want us to change your diaper or dress you. The moment we lay you down on your changing table, you flip over and try to crawl away or you just sit up. That makes changing you such a delight-- and changing you by myself is always an adventure. Your grandparents, Maggie and Pop, babysat you last weekend and they had the unfortunate experience of having to change your diaper. They are convinced that it takes four people at a minimum to do this job. I just laughed because you and I know that I manage to do it on my own. At least, most of the time.

GG, Maggie's mother and your great-grandmother, said that Maggie did the exact same thing as a baby. GG would start changing Maggie on one side of the bed and would end up at the other side of the bed before she got the new diaper on. And apparently, I was exactly the same way, too. At least you got it honestly, sweetie.

You have learned a few new "tricks" lately, too. You love to hide your face and then pop out to look at us. You laugh so hard when you do this. You mimic Daddy and I when we raise our hands or hit our hands on the table. You love to be the leader, too, and usually get us to copy you. You also have recently started shaking your head no when we ask for kisses. Then, you usually give us kisses anyway. And, you have started walking around your little activity table, over and over again, bopping to the music. It's like you have to see how many times you can go around without sitting down. We love to watch you play, Sweet Pea. It's so fun to watch the wheels spin and to see you learn new things.

I love you, Sweet Pea, and am having so much fun with you. I can't wait to see what new adventures we have in July.

Your Mommy

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