Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter 2016

Last year's Easter was a blur--C was in the middle of a growth spurt that lasted a week and I hadn't slept for more than 2 consecutive hours in a week. We were having her baptized on Easter Sunday and all of our family was coming in to celebrate and have lunch at my parents' (thank goodness I had the foresight to have the party there and not at my house!). It was such a special day, one that really kept us in the spirit of what Easter is actually all about. This year was different of course! Easter bunny, egg hunts, you name it we were scoring pretty high on the commercial Easter stuff but man oh man was it fun to experience through her eyes!

We started the Easter festivities with a trip to the Easter Bunny at the mall. I was REALLY nervous about Charlotte's behavior because she was not a big fan of Santa but I figured it was worth a shot--all we had to do was leave if things went south. Well, that sweet girl LOVED the Easter bunny--so much so it was difficult to get a good picture while she was petting him and trying to pull his glasses and pointing at him like "OMG do you see this!!??" I finally got her to "wink" and we were able to snap this picture. She didn't want to leave him and kept pointing back at him as we walked away. Sweet girl!

I was not super keyed up about her doing an Easter egg hunt this year because quite frankly I didn't see the point if she wasn't walking. Well, she started walking on the Tuesday before Easter and luckily she had 2 events that Saturday that included egg hunts! Hooray! First we attended a birthday party for her little friend Brooks. This was actually the first baby birthday party she had been to. We practiced hunting eggs around the house that morning so she would be prepared. She LOVED spotting the egg and was pretty serious about putting it in the basket. Developmentally she is at a point where she really likes taking things out and then putting them back in whatever they came from or into another container, so the hunts hit at a perfect time for her. At the party I walked around with her to pick up eggs and we would leave one here and there--or at least I tried to. Miss perfection would leave no egg behind--if she saw it, it went in the basket. 

She acted the same way that evening at the Easter egg hunt to celebrate John Robert's baptism--no egg left behind. She didn't care that the kids were bigger than her or were running around--she was going to methodically collect those eggs and Mommy had better be right behind her with the basket, not chatting with friends. I love seeing little bits of her personality--and I have to admit responsibility for that methodical behavior--that's all me.

On Easter Sunday we went to early church (as usual) and I have to say C was kind of wound up, but she looked pretty in our latest Ivory Pony creation!!

After a nap we went to lunch with my mom's family in Birmingham. C (while wearing her 4th Easter outfit of the weekend) loved visiting and especially loved playing with the Easter eggs and bunnies Aunt Fran found for her. We had to leave pretty quickly after we ate so that she could nap in the car (this nap transition is still going on!) but it was a nice visit.

I love that for a few years, each holiday will be so different. There was such a change from last year to this year and I know next year, when she understands the Easter bunny (or I guess she will--which means I have to do a basket) and can really run around and find eggs will probably be even more fun. She also should start to be able to understand more about the real meaning of Easter and I know that Forrest and I will enjoy sharing our faith with her.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Birthday girl

Charlotte hadn't been around for very long when I started thinking about her first birthday party. I think that's just something that moms do! Even while I was pregnant we referred to Charlotte as our little bunny so I knew a bunny birthday party was in order. I was resolved not to make myself crazy over this party--she's one--but I wanted to make it sweet and special. I luckily found a "some bunny is one" party pack from etsy and that got the ball rolling. Here is a look at my bunny's special day! 

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We had a sit down lunch so the party would work around Charlotte's nap schedule. She actually woke up at 445 that morning and threatened to throw the whole timeline off but hey--it's her party and she can sleep if she wants to! Luckily it all worked out and she napped right up until party time. 

I set the table with my grandmother McCord's china mixed in with my own. I felt it was special to have a part of her there with us! My mom did the flowers and I thought they were so sweet! 

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On the foyer table I had a basket of bunny ears for guests to wear. I wanted everyone to wear them instead of party hats and they were all so sweet to do so! I also had custom cookies by Alison Hathcock for party favors. 
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Showing off our ears!

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Bunny cookies and custom "thank you" tags.

My favorite element of the party was Charlotte's high chair. I found a chair tutu at hobby lobby and had pink balloons tied to the back. I also displayed her custom party hat (compete with bunny ears) and custom bib displayed along with her own special pair of ears. What would I do without etsy!?

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I found a cake on Pinterest that I was dead set on having and luckily my local bakery was up for the task. I love the fondant bunny and little plaque with her name. The bakery gives first birthday babies a free smash cake so I chose pink with white frosting! 
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I also had these cute napkins made and we used my friend Kelly's pink depression glass plates for cake.
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Charlotte's dress was bought for her by my parents but of course I picked it out. I wanted her to look traditional and classic and I think this proper peony dress was perfect. 

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The highlight of the day in my opinion was when we sang happy birthday to her. We had practiced during the week and for some reason she cried so I was afraid with all of the people there she would get really upset. Forrest held her so she wouldn't be scared and she ended up being mesmerized by the candle and not at all afraid of the singing. I was so emotional during the song--my little baby was one year old! So much happened in that year and in that moment I felt it all. All her milestones, her sweet little smiles, the long nights, the cuddles--every part of that year was wrapped up in that song for me. 

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Charlotte loved the cake--she had practiced with cake earlier in the week and even learned how to scream "CAKE". She wouldn't get really messy with it but she wanted to lick as much icing as possible! 

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Her guests got her the sweetest gifts!! Thank you all!
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When the day was over all 3 of us were exhausted and we each took 3 hour naps. I told Forrest that it had been my favorite day since she was born. She was surrounded by so many who adored and loved her. I couldn't believe that we had come to that point so quickly. We are so lucky to have her as our daughter and I was thrilled that her day had been so special. Even though I know she really didn't understand what the day was about, she had so much fun and hopefully felt so loved. 
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Monday, March 21, 2016

13 months

Charlotte's princess sash that we use each month for her photo has enough velcro numbers for me to take her pictures for several months--I will refrain, as I kind of think that is a 1-12 month thing. Still it makes me sad only because it means she is growing up. I feel silly saying that because of course you want your child to grow up but at the same time you want to keep them little forever!

I digress..
This month has been a really fun one! Charlotte seems more and more like a little person. She is toying with the idea of taking just one nap. She still usually sneaks in two but I'm becoming less and less sure of when they will be. She used to be very very regimented (her doing, not mine) about her naps and all of a sudden they have gone haywire. If she won't take one I don't fight it--she will not do it if she doesn't want to and there is no use frustrating myself over it. I know this nap transition may take a while and we might go back and forth a bit so I'm trying to be patient and go with the flow. That's hard for me, you know, but she's a baby--she gets to win!

She is still not walking--and that equally bothers me and thrills me in that I'm so ready for her to be able to do it because it's the next milestone but again, it means she won't be a baby. Plus, she is already into so much and I know she will be wide open once she is on two feet! She can stand on her own and can push her shopping cart and her walking lion toy (and the baby stroller we got her as an Easter present/bribe to get her to walk) but she just won't walk. She looks like she is about to, takes one step, and then is over it. We've gotten her to take about 5 steps in a row on her own but that's it. I know she will do it in her own time!

Update! On Tuesday March 22 she took off! Just like that. She was trying a little during lunch but she waited until Forrest and I both left for work to walk unassisted around the house for rachel! Luckily rachel is quick with a camera so she got it on video and sent to us. I was so proud!! She of course doesn't exclusively walk yet but it's so precious when she does! 

I can tell she really understands what we are saying to her and that she is trying so hard to communicate with us. Sometimes it breaks my heart because I just don't understand and she looks so frustrated! Overall though we generally can tell what she is trying to say which makes things very easy sometimes! She has her own little baby words and sounds for things that are so cute! This month she added "what an owl says" to her repertoire of animal sounds (which she does better than saying real words--not sure if that's right or not haha) and every now and then she is saying mama. She is really into pretending right now. She likes to pretend to feed her baby or her giant Elmo balloon and makes an eating noise when she does it. She also loves playing with her kitchen--stirring pots and putting them in and out of her cabinets can occupy her for a long time.
Instead of finding eggs she stirred our the grass..

 She also will blow on her pots sometimes to say they are "hot". If you give her a spoon she will stir just about anything! She also really likes babies and will hug and pet them and stuffed animals and anything else she likes a lot, including framed pictures of us. She has gotten to where she will pat us too and it makes us melt! 

Forrest taught her to pick flowers (she is very into flowers too) and to give them to mommy which is just too sweet. I have a little vase full of pansies she has brought for me. She also likes to put the top on and off of just about anything and is starting to figure out her shape sorter..very slowly but surely. 
She has also had a big month adventure-wise! She had her first weekend spend the night with my parents when we went to North Carolina and she did great! She also went to the zoo for the first time and absolutely loved it! 

She also went to Noccalula Falls (in Gadsden) and played on the playground, rode the train, and went to the petting zoo! 

I think her favorite part of the month (and mine too) was when we took her to see the Easter bunny. I was afraid she would be scared but she absolutely loved him! She wanted to pet him and to pull his glasses! 

She also got to ride the carousel at the mall, which she liked but didn't care for being strapped in. She did enjoy the balloon they gave her at the end!
I also finally had her one year pictures taken. I can't wait to see them! She did a great job and of course our amazing photographer Lexie had some cute ideas! 
She kept screaming "cake" during this part of the shoot! 
This month has been so full of fun! Now that daylight savings is over we are spending lots of time outside and it has been so nice! Now that she is walking I think we will be outside even more! We are looking forward to warm weather and many play days ahead! 

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Can you be too cozy?

That was the question on my mind this past weekend. Forrest and I went with Lance and Julie on a "partners retreat" to Highlands, North Carolina this past weekend. It was a great weekend to get away and talk about the future of the dental practice and make some decisions but also to relax and unwind and have some grown up time. This was the first weekend we had ever left Charlotte and I was very nervous leading up to it. We did a practice night where she stayed with my parents two weekends ago and that went well so I was actually less concerned about leaving her this weekend than I was for that one night. I thought I might feel guilty but I ended up feeling guilty about not feeling guilty for leaving her--go figure. Turns out motherhood is a lot about guilty and worrying, worrying about guilt, guilt over worrying or not get the idea. Anyway, I threw my guilt free self into the Smith's car at 8:30 on Friday morning and thoroughly enjoyed the most relaxing of weekends! We stopped in Atlanta at Canoe for lunch--I took zero pictures as I was cramming food in my mouth the entire time. Yum--delish--must go back for dinner one day! Afterwards Julie and I cut off the work talk and watched a movie (like grown ups do) for the rest of the way to Highlands. 

We were staying in the Falls Cottages at Old Edwards Inn and I was thrilled! Old Edwards was supposed to be the height of luxury and comfort and it did not disappoint. We were greeted in the lobby with champagne and free Dove ice cream bars--please and thank you! Then we waited by the fire as the bell men took our luggage to our rooms. And wow--these rooms! They were suite style with a sitting area with fire place, large bedroom, bathroom with separate tub/toilet room. The bathroom floors heated up to 120 degrees--yes 120 degrees. The showers had 5 shower heads (maybe 4--who was counting?). 
(Full disclosure this is Julie's room--I literally took zero pictures)
There were multiple robes and slippers. It was the epitome of comfort!! We changed and headed back to the lobby for "Manhattan Social Hour" so the boys could enjoy manhattans (ick) and Julie and I enjoyed the fine surroundings...
...class is a pug pillow! 

We had dinner that night at Madison's, the on property restaurant. It was so yummy but we were all really tired so we didn't linger. Forrest and Lance ordered the tomato and jalapeno soup as an appetizer and it was so spicy they couldn't eat it. A lady at a neighboring table, however, scarfed it down, so we laughed about that the entire trip!
The next day the boys went fly fishing with their super fun guide, Dan. 

They were gone basically all day when it was supposed to be a half day trip and kept texting us to go shopping or something because they were going to be late. We didn't care--as we were in the coziest spa ever made! We literally were there for 7 hours! We had massages and pedicures, visited the whirlpool, freshened up using their 14 head showers (those I did count), have lunch in the spa cafe, have snacks by the fire, and nap in the nap room! Seriously-the coziest of days!! 
That evening we ate at Wolfgang's. Wow--again. It was German and boy was it good! Everything was top notch and the atmosphere was perfect! Afterwards we went to the hummingbird lounge for warm drinks before bed. 
Before we left the next morning we stopped for breakfast in the local grocery. Yum yum!   We most definitely needed that weekend away but we were so ready to be back with our girl!  If you need a peaceful weekend away I highly recommend Highlands and Old Edwards!  (They even shipped my curling iron back to me!)
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