Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Valentine's Day 2013

I meant to post this *on* Valentine’s Day, but here we are a week later… Story of my life. ;-) We had a fun day. I’ve never paid much attention to Valentine’s Day before, but once you have kids it is a lot of fun. It is what you make of it.

Paul woke up insanely early and bought purple flowers for me. Beautiful! He also made me breakfast in bed, and helped me get Savannah ready for school. I loved it.

Flowers

It was Caroline’s first Valentine’s Day! Her grandparents sent her an adorable little outfit. They also sent a hairband, but I completely forgot to put it on her.

Caroline's first Valentine's Day!

My gift to Paul – a collage of pictures from the past 11 years we’ve been together.

Collage I made for Paul

For Savannah’s class at school, I decided to make heart-shaped rice krispie treats. They were easy and unique, and came out exactly how I wanted! We used pink marshmallows. The intention was to have Savannah help me make them, but a migraine took me out and Paul ended up making them after she went to bed.

Valentines for Savannah's class

Valentines for Savannah's class


dear Caroline: seven months

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Valentine's Day 2013

Dear Caroline,

Today you are seven months old! You are getting SO big, and you continue to be adorable and charming all of us. This month you had some big things – your baptism, starting solid foods, and your first Valentine’s Day.

You have really continued to come alive this month, responding to your name and recognizing us when we come into view. You usually flash big grins when seeing your Daddy, your sister, or me. You LOVE getting your sister from school – I think you miss her! Now that you’re sitting up, you often join your sister in the shopping cart which both of you think is pretty awesome.

Our family

This month, we had you baptized at our church. Your Grandma and Aunt Mamie drove up from Orlando for that. You wore the dress your Grandma made, that Savannah also wore. You looked so pretty! It was a very special day. Our church is small, so everyone knows you, which made the ceremony even more meaningful. The other members of the congregation promised to pray for you and help us raise you! You are so lucky to have so many people who love you.

Exersaucer!

You are such a happy, wiggly baby. You want to go, go, go. You aren’t crawling yet, but you love to move and bounce. It is difficult to get you to sit because you would rather stand! You even will stand for a very short bit while holding on to something. You aren’t completely steady while sitting, but the amount you fall is getting less and less frequent. You don’t particularly love to be on your tummy, but there are times when you’re okay with it, and generally you scoot yourself around in circles, trying to find something to reach and investigate. You really love to sit and investigate things, reaching out to get a toy. I’m sure you will be crawling in no time!

Speaking of reaching, you are ALL about holding anything you can get your hands on! When I’m holding you (which is still your favorite place to be), you search around with your hand until you find something. Sometimes it’s my phone, or a toy, or if all else fails – my hair. It immediately goes into your mouth. You are a pretty happy baby, though you don’t like to remain in one spot for any length of time. You really love the doorway jumper, which has been a great place to put you while I shower or cook dinner. You like the exersaucer when I’m sitting down checking my email. You don’t care for the swing anymore; you want to be entertained!

I love bananas

This month, you started solid foods. I wasn’t going to push it, but you have been watching us eagerly as we ate, making chewing motions with your mouth. You are VERY interested in food, even though you don’t have any teeth yet! We started you off with mashed bananas, which you loved and got everywhere – all over your outfit, your hair, and the couch. You also have tried carrots, avocado, peas, pretzels, and bread. Those last two were not my intention, but your sister loves to hand you food and you are happy to take it. You eat pretty well, considering it is all new to you. We need to expand your list of foods a bit – those are just the easiest for now.

I am so excited to see you growing and look forward to watching you explore and learn in the months to come!
Love, Mommy


traditional Cracker Barrel pictures

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My BFF Beth and I have a tradition of taking pictures of our kids at Cracker Barrel. It started with this picture, that we took for a cloth diaper photo contest (which we won):

Savannah and Maddie
March 2010

We went a while without taking another picture – we did stop at Cracker Barrel once, only to forget our camera in the car and by the time we were done eating it was too dark. After that, we started being a little more intentional about getting pictures.

Traditional Cracker Barrel shot!
May 2011

Traditional Cracker Barrel picture
September 2011

(Then a bit of a break because we both had babies and tended to stay home when we visited each other.)

Savannah and Maddie
October 2012

Traditional Cracker Barrel picture
February 2013

During this most recent visit, we decided to start the traditional pictures with our second borns as well. (Notice the shirt Caroline is wearing!)

Traditional Cracker Barrel picture, Take Two

And all the kids together… I love this picture so, so much.

Traditional Cracker Barrel picture


young house love!

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One of my favorite DIY and home decor blogs is Young House Love. I’ve been following John & Sherry’s blog for several years now, and I feel like we’re all BFF’s. They recently wrote a book and have been going around the country on a book tour. The minute I found out they were coming to Atlanta, I immediately RSVP’d. My BFF Beth, who lives in Birmingham, is also a huge fan and decided it was definitely worth the trip.

Yesterday, Beth drove over and met us at Ikea. We put our girls in Smaland and got to wander around the store for a little bit before meeting Paul, who then took the two girls home while Beth and I (along with our babies Alex and Caroline) had dinner and went to the book signing. The line was SOOO long. We were actually near the end, and waited almost 3 hours. And I have to say – it was COLD. It had been raining most of the day, and the temps were in the mid 40s. It wasn’t so bad except when the wind would pick up. Brr! Bad day to forget my coat!

Beth and I with Alex and Caroline

We were so excited when we first got a glimpse of John and Sherry! They’re real! I felt like a fan girl.

Proof that I was there

Proof I was there – I signed their guest book. My handwriting looks horrible because I was shaking from cold and from excitement, and was holding Caroline which made it harder.

Our turn is next!

And then… our turn was next! I was practicing what I was going to say to them when I got the chance. Then… they waved us over! Beth and I walked up and handed them our books. “Hi!” John and Sherry said to us. They were just as they appear in their blog. Warm, enthusiastic.

And me? I wasn’t expecting this… but I completely froze. My mind went blank. They asked me some questions, and I answered but no more. This isn’t like me! I never expected that I would be so starstruck that I wouldn’t say anything!

Beth and I with John and Sherry!

We took a picture together, and then moved on. It was over. I am sad that I couldn’t be warm and chatty back with them, but alas. I am so glad we went though! It was so much fun, and I loved hanging with Beth for that time.

Autograph!

Aren’t you jealous? I will treasure the book always. :-)


coconut oil – a slow convert

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96070-OrganicCoconutOilCaroline has a bad case of cradle cap. Actually, it’s not that bad – my pediatrician said it was really mild – but since Savannah didn’t have it at all it seems bad to me. :-)

The pediatrician recommended olive oil, but I found that messy and I felt like I was anointing her. (Heh) Someone else recommended coconut oil, so I decided to try it. Apparently coconut oil is the new (old) miracle cure for anything. I’ve heard about it a lot, but never really investigated myself. So the next time I was at Trader Joe’s, I picked up some Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. The first thing I noticed is that it smells soooo good. I want to eat the whole jar. It smells like coconut I guess, but to me it reminds me more of cookies. Yum.

One awesome thing about coconut oil is that its melting point is 76 degrees, which means it melts on contact with your skin. At first I melted it over a flame until I realized that step was unnecessary for what I was doing. ;-) So I actually keep it by the changing pad and dig out a little bit with my fingers and rub it all over Caroline’s scalp. The result? No flaky skin. Also, her hair looks FABULOUS. That may be coincidence, or it might be the coconut oil, but her hair is full and sooo soft. I’m a fan!

I have to repeat every few days, but so far that’s fine with me. (Cradle cap is just a cosmetic issue anyway.) I also use the coconut oil for diaper rashes. So far, it’s worked the best of all the “natural” ointments I’ve tried. (Caroline is less rashy than Savannah was, so I don’t need it too often.) And another unexpected benefit – I lost my deodorant after our trip to Florida for Christmas. Coconut oil worked in a pinch until I could buy more! I will say though I tried it for 6 days straight and after the first few days it stopped working for whatever reason – even after showering.

Anyway, I’m sure I will continue to explore all the benefits to coconut oil. I haven’t brought it downstairs to use in cooking yet (I think I need to buy a separate jar for that), but I’m sure that’s the next step.

And just for fun, pictures of Caroline’s hair right after I rubbed her scalp with coconut oil. (Savannah wanted in the pictures too.)

C-hair1 C-hair2 C-hair3