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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

currently {october}

Maybe its the whole two kids thing. Maybe its just a parent of a newborn thing. Maybe its just a "me" thing at the moment. Regardless, I'm sad to report that my brain has turned into absolute mush.
This too shall pass. I have a feeling that once we mellow into October, we'll be finding a routine. Routines are my best friend and, surely, they will return the solidarity of my brain.
For those of you that are new to this, think of it like a coffee date. I'm having an iced mocha with two extra shots of mocha {because I'm 15% adult and 85% child, apparently}.
Here's what's up with me:

The weather! It's cool that we start our chat by talking about the weather, right? Consider it an ice breaker.
Look, when you live in a place that has four very true seasons, the weather is a legitimately popular thing to talk about. Around here, we're over the humidity and the sweat on your forehead after exactly seven seconds outside. By this time of year, we welcome fall with open arms.
And holy cow, October in Alabama is the best. 75 and sunny most days. 
Crispy leaves starting to fall. No more grass mowing. SEC Football in all its glorious obnoxiousness. Pumpkin patches everywhere.

This kid started back to school and got to have his first field trip all in the same week. 
We made it a family affair and the four of us had a great day with Jake's preschool at Lyon Farms.

Y'all know that homemade, family coordinated costumes are my jam.
Unfortunately, I'm getting a bit of a late start this year {as in, I haven't yet}. But supplies are on my dining room table and a super great idea is in my head. I have three weeks to prep some costumes before our first Halloween event. Until then, let me distract you with this cuteness of years past...
Costumes of  2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014

 A family vacay! 
A serious family vacation that includes the four of us, my parents, my younger brother and his wife. 
Backstory: When I was a kid, we used to vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama each summer. This sweet lady in my dad's church offered us a week at her beach side condo every August. So for some 20 odd years, that was our family trip. 
Obviously us kids grew up and I think that sweet lady finally sold her little spot on the beach. Its been about ten years since we've seen the place. But back in May, the family was sitting around discussing how we needed to throw a group trip together and that going back to Gulf Shores would be fun. A little googling and some property rental booking and boom, condo #326 is ours again!
The same condo! Yes, its been totally updated {umm, thank goodness!} but its the exact same spot that we spent so many family summers. 


It should prove to be an interesting adventure with a newborn, but we're excited about Eliza's first trip, a little beach time, and enjoying the Gulf Coast Shrimp Festival!

I'm not superstitious so I'm willing to share this without the need to knock on wood or do a double-jinx-back chant. 
Because this lady is sleeping through the night!

{From our baby dedication at church Sunday. She has clearly been getting right with Jesus!}

That's right! At the ripe age of 7 weeks, we have a champion eater and sleeper. 
In all honestly, I'm freaking out about how fast time is seeming to pass and hold old she is. I've barely got my brain wrapped around the fact that she's here and boom, she basically grows up on me. Quit it, Eliza. Quit it right now.

Well, the sleeping part is cool. You don't have to quit that, girlfriend...

So maybe I'm a little bit behind on my reading list. Maybe I bought this book in June. Maybe I thought for sure that I'd read it while sitting around the NICU in August. Maybe I thought I'd crack the cover during my many hours of breastfeeding or pumping here lately. Maybe I have plans to take it to the beach. 


Regardless, this is the book on my nightstand. I know its good. I just know it is. Y'all cheer me on and surely I'll get back to reading on the regular again.

So that's the latest around here. Better get back to it!
I'm pretty sure someone needs to be fed or changed or played with.  Happily obliging!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

all about Jake {3 1/2}

This guy has allowed a lot of attention to be devoted to his sweet little sister lately. He knows that she'll have cute monthly pictures and updates and he's okay with that. But he'd also like me to remind you that's he's 3 1/2 now and pretty stinkin' awesome.

While we were at Vanderbilt with Eliza, this sweet thing got to stay with his grandparents. There was endless spoiling and always a playmate so he was happy as a clam. But we were really excited when they all came up to Nashville to visit us. My parents would get their own hotel room and Jake got to bunk in with J.B. and I at the Ronald McDonald House. He loved it there!

Jake wasn't old enough to see Eliza in the NICU so he had to stay in the other parts of the hospital with someone while the rest of us were upstairs. My heart just melted when he'd ask various doctor's and nurses to bring his baby sister down.  

But his day did finally come to meet his sister once we were released. 
And he's been doting on his sweet little sister ever since.

He's been such a great help around the house. And has been incredibly patient with all the "shh"ing and constant running around to his sister's appointments. The perfect big brother!

And gosh, he's growing up so fast!!

He's still the ultimate jabber jay, with a vocabulary as big as the sky! And I adore his imagination! He tells the best stories and makes up the funniest games. It's going to be so fun to see where all this personality takes him.

And he's sweet. Gosh, he's sweet. His tender little heart is such a kind reminder to me of just how gentle some spirits are. I hope he never loses that tender part of him. 

As far as the every day stuff... 
He's doing much better with eating pretty much anything you put in front of him. He still isn't a big fan of meat, but will usually try it. 
He's around the 50th percentile in growth so perfectly average in size. His pediatrician estimates he'll be around 5'10" when he's fully grown. 
He still sleeps pretty well. Getting him to chill out enough to actually sleep in the big task, but after that, he'll sleep 11-12 hours at night and take a two hour nap each day. So yay for that!
 He's in the beginning stages of learning to read - knows his letters and their sounds. He's just trying to put them all together.
He still loves Thomas the Train more than anything else, but has expanded his horizons to construction trucks and animals too. He's big on books, being outside in his tree house, and playing pretend constantly. He loves to have music playing at all times and is known to bust a pretty sweet move of his own.

And now that life has settled a little bit, Jake got to head to school again. He goes to our church's Mom's Morning Out preschool three days a week and absolutely loves it! 
I love that he has something to keep him busy and active several days a week, without keeping him away from his crazy momma too much.

Love watching this little one grow and learn!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

diy nursing pads {tutorial}

So I realize that this post may not really apply to all readers.
But y'all know me, gotta always share what I'm up to.

I hate disposable nursing pads. Hate them. I think they're thick and ill-shaped and a waste of money.
I also hate having a newborn and looking like I just entered a wet tshirt contest. 

So I decided to make myself some washable nursing pads for cheap. 
I nabbed some $3 flannel and went to work.

To get started, you have to figure out two things: how many sets of nursing pads you'd like and what thickness you need. I decided to make six sets {so a total of 12 pads}. And I decided to use two pieces of flannel per pad {relatively thin}.

That means I need to cut a total of 24 flannel circles. When it comes to cutting out a bunch of circles, I'd recommend folding the fabric over a few times. I drew six circle and folded up four layers per circle. 

Then pin two circles together. And sew.

I did a zigzag stitch around the outside of the two flannel circles.

Then just trimmed the threads and edges. 

I've been super pleased with these! They contour without the need for darts in them and they are super lightweight. Two thumbs up!

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Friday, September 18, 2015

simple strawberry cheesecake {recipe}

You know, I feel like I missed out while I was pregnant {again!}. No crazy cravings. No crazy appetite. Just the same old, same old. 

Not that I'm totally complaining. Considering the fact that I have the will power of a goldfish, it was probably in my best interest to not experience this. Otherwise, I'd likely be the size of a house... Nope, in retrospect, not complaining at all. Thankful. This is post has now been converted to a thankful post.

So I guess I ultimately don't feel too guilty indulging in some sweet goodness like this. And considering the fact that I'm now relied on to keep two small people alive all day, the fact that it takes mere minutes to prep is a miracle!

: :  Ingredients  : :

- 1 can of sweetened, condensed milk
- 16 ounces of cream cheese (softened) 
- 1 quart of strawberries (diced)
- graham cracker pie crust 

Start by softening up that cream cheese so it can be mixed. Then pour in the condensed milk and blend. 

I like my cheesecake to be pretty and pink. So I tossed about a fourth of my strawberries in and mix the bowl for a couple of minutes. 

Then just add the additional strawberries and stir gently. 

Pour over your pie crust. 
(feel free to be a fattie like me and overfill that bad boy.) 

Then toss in the freezer for a few hours! 
To be honest, a slice of this cheesecake will melt down somewhat quickly. So you can just leave it there as you grab each piece. On the hour. No? Just me? Whatever. I'll claim breastfeeding cravings. 

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

one month old! {eliza}

A month old! What?! Someone explain to me how this is possible. I can only assume a Delorean and Doc Brown were involved because I have no other idea how quickly time has passed. 

So let's get down to it. 
Sweet Eliza is simply the best baby on planet Earth. She sleeps like a rock, eats like a champion, and snuggles like the coziest little butterball there ever was. 
{I could also add that she grunts like a goat, burps like a thirteen year old boy, and is by far the gassiest member of our family... but I guess I shouldn't mention those things for fear of ruining her ladylike reputation.}

She had her first spina bifida clinic day at Vanderbilt yesterday and left the building with positive reports from all of her specialists. The incisions from her closure surgery and shunt surgery all look great and everything is working as it's supposed to. And she has no need for medicine, additional surgeries, or leg/foot braces to combat any spina bifida issues at this time. She was cleared to be a "normal baby" for three more months! 

So the basics... 

Weight: 8.5 lbs
Height: 21 inches 
Eats: Just breastmilk, but like a boss. 
Sleeps: On four hour rotations, which isn't half bad at this age. Still on her belly for the most part. 
Favorite things: Snuggling! Girlfriend is as cozy as they come and would much rather nestle into you than her darn bed. A warm bath is a close second to being snuggled. And she also seems to really enjoy her Mamaroo swing. 
Hates: Clothing changes and being hungry. Those are basically the only things that have her crying, which is a rare act. 

All in all, Eliza's first month has most definitely been a roller coaster. But from weeks in the NICU to settling in at home, she's proven herself to be resilient, even-tempered and positively adorable.

What more could a mom ask for?? 

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

diy baby legs {tutorial}

When Jake was a baby, I'd heard of baby legs. They seemed cute, but maybe a little too cutesy for my style. Or maybe too cutesy for a boy. I don't know, but they just never happened for us. 

Now I have a little gal. A little gal that got a "no pants/skirts/waistlines across her back incisions for several weeks" verdict when we left the hospital. Amidst all my crazy baby girl clothes shopping, this possible actually never occurred to me. So when I came home to just a couple of sleepers that Eliza could wear, I was scratching my head. 

Then... baby legs. Perfect! She could still rock all those adorable onesies without being half naked or cold. 

Obviously I didn't want to wait to order some online. Girlfriend needed them, like, yesterday. Nor was I going to pay $12-$15 a pair for them. Nope. 

So with the help of my sewing machine and some $2 knee high socks from Target, Eliza got some baby legs pronto. And with all of the crazy fun knee high sock options that I saw, I have no idea why anyone would pay for the real thing rather than make their own.

So start with those knee socks. And go ahead and hack off the feet.

The length of your baby legs will depend on the size munchkin. I'm making these for the tiniest of newborn legs and using a length of 10 inches total. If you have a larger baby, I'd recommend measuring them and adding a little length on. Keep in mind that you want to be able to bunch them a little too. 

(Once you've settled on your length, check out your width too. My itty bitty babe has legs too small to keep these socks up, but if your little one is already rocking those thigh rolls, you might not need to take in the width at all!) 

To bring the width in, just turn the sock inside out and sew a seam up the side. You shouldn't have to take much off, even with a newborn...

If the width fits, trim off the excess.

The elastic that was once at the knee end of the sock will work perfectly, so we just need to add something similar to the other end.
(Some of the steps in this tutorial are hard to explain, but easy to see. Thus the pictures! Feel free to consult those if things get confusing.) 

Center your seam and cut two slits on either side at the unhemmed, foot end of the sock. They should be about an inch and a half to two inches long and this will give you two little flaps at the top of each sock. 

Fold the flap over once, and then again, and then hem along the edge. Then flip the sock over and hem the top of the other flap. Don't worry if those corners look a little rough. 

Once the top edge of the flaps are done, sew a diagonal line starting about an inch about the edge, coming in towards the center. This will cut out those ugly corners and make a nice tailored bottom edge to fit around the ankles. 

Trim off your excess and flip those bad boys right side out! Yay! Baby legs!  

Me being, well, me, I decided to make a pair in the basic colors - white, black and grey - to be worn with just about any onesie she already had. I'm well aware that that likely means I'm not doing this whole baby legs thing correctly since most of them are in crazy patterns and flashy whatnot. 

Oh well. At least my gal is a little warmer now!

I think she likes them!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

diy felt garland {tutorial}

We are so glad to finally be settling in at home with our newest little addition.

 As I'm slowing weeding through some emails and getting back to "normal" life {as a mom of two little critters now!} I'm so grateful for all of your kind words of encouragement and congratulations. Eliza is an amazing little girl and we are so thrilled to have her. 

Thank you for following along with us over at Expecting Eliza too! One of the many questions I got this week was about her bassinet in the NICU. So today I though I'd pop back in and give a quick how-to for that sweet little garland that decked out her tiny hospital space. 

This garland is great for all kinds of projects. And completely customizable as far as the shape, color, size and length! I choose do use hearts in the colors of her nursery because I'm matchy-matchy like that... 

You can grab your felt and cut your own shapes completely freehand if you like. Or even use a pattern to trace them onto the felt sheet and then cut them out. But I can be messy and I wanted these to be just right (and not have any of my own wacky tracing lines on them)

I printed out some quick hearts on freezer paper then ironed the freezer paper right to the felt.  

Once you cut out the hearts, the freezer paper pattern just peels right off. 

I also did the same with the letters. 
Using printed letters definitely made these better looking than if I had freehanded them...
 {or "freecut" - is that a thing?}

Last, you run the shapes or letters through the sewing machine in a row to hold them all together in that fancy garland style.
This little project has so many options for any occasion, so its an awesome catch-all.
I ran this garland around her NICU crib to jazz up the space a little. 
It was the sweetest. 


Sweet baby. 
Eliza is such an incredible girl- sleeps great, eats great, gives gassy grins to one and all. 
We're so thrilled to have her home!

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