taz + belly: January 2011


30 January 2011

A very short video, but my absolute favorite thing about Sophie right now. She gives kisses.

it's a jungle out there

27 January 2011

If you've been reading since the beginning, then you know that Ella was a bit obsessed with The Jungle Book as a little bitty girl, especially this part.

We might not be watching the movie twice a day like we used to, but she certainly still has a thing for elephants. Especially when they're "holding hands".

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On Tuesday, the elephants from the Barnum & Bailey circus were due to arrive in Birmingham. Ella tagged along with mommy to work and we set out at 9:45 for an early lunch. Luckily, they walked in on a street very near my office. Not so lucky, was the bitter cold and falling rain. We waited for awhile on the street, very excited.

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First the train cars started rolling by. We imagine they are loaded with barrels and costume, trapezes and clown cars.

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Then we needed a break from the cold, so Bell hopped in the car to warm up. Don't worry, she kept her nose firmly pressed against the window. She wasn't planning to miss a thing!

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Finally, the elephants topped the hill a few blocks away and we saw them march -- nose to tail -- all the way downtown to the civic center. They actually walk a little faster than you expect them to, so the march itself doesn't take that long, but it was just enough fun to make this little girls morning.

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Just after the elephants made their way down 21st street, the horses were soon the follow. They held their heads up high, despite the rain, and trotted along in their rain coats!

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We can't wait to see all of these guys again on Saturday when we head out for our annual circus adventure.

8 Minutes with Sophie

26 January 2011

This video is boring. I probably shouldn't share it, but I was cracking up at how fast she moves from one room to another. This is generally how my time is spent with her. I am constantly following (chasing) her from room to room, saving her from precarious situations and removing unwanted objects from her mouth. She is a silly girl.

Things you might have noticed in this video...
  1. She is beyond in love with those keys. I think they were in her stocking from Santa. She carries them around and presses that button too many times in one day. I hear Old McDonald and Hickory Dickory Dock in my dreams.
  2. The Sophie Squat. She sits like this often... one leg underneath her and the other propped up like she's ready to take off. I expect any minute for her just to stand up and walk around.
  3. There is dirty laundry in the bathroom floor. Sorry.
  4. My dog barks way too much. Our cat was outside the laundry room window torturing her, as usual.
  5. My voice is so COUNTRY. I need dialect lessons.
  6. She loves blocks, but mostly likes banging them on the floor or the bookcase.
  7. You might notice the paint and trim colors in the dining room. And that we moved the bookcases there from the living room. Don't you love how awesome our orange-y rugs look with the blue walls?
  8. Yes, that was a piece of cardboard she attempted to eat. Par for the course.
  9. Our laundry room floor is yucky commercial tile with a gorgeous metal threshold. That's on the spring/summer list of things to do. This room is getting an overhaul.
  10. There is a booster seat and a potty in my closet.
  11. My children eat dogfood. Enough said.
  12. Snot bubbles? I think that's a first.
  13. Ugghhh -- our laundry room is atrocious. So glad that room is next on the list.
  14. Ella shops at Wal-Mart. AND she got a major haircut this week. She loves it, but I'm still having heart palpitations.
  15. Sophie hates being closed out of the kitchen. Sometimes when I'm in the bathroom she sits here and cries until SD shows her that I'm not in there.
  16. I have freakishly long toes; sorry for that shot. I'm also still wearing Christmas pjs in January.
  17. We once had a "trap door" in the floor outside the kitchen door.
  18. My kids don't mind me at all. Off to the laundry room they went.
  19. I touched up the paint and added burlap to the backs of the bookcases. They now hold an abundance of craft and art supplies, as well as books and toys for the girls on the lower shelves.
  20. Sophie hardly ever waves when I want her to. Geez, you'd think my girls were sick of the camera or something.

Guest Blogger

25 January 2011

Apparently you aren't the only one waiting impatiently for a new blog post. It seems Beemer has decided to take matters into her own hands.

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Blog Nook

18 January 2011

This is where I used to blog. In my "Muted Gold" dining room. I chose this color when we bought our house because I thought it was yellow. By happy accident, it turned out to be a spicy orange that I loved. Six years ago. We haven't changed anything about our living and dining rooms since then with the exception of rearranging some furniture and adding new rugs last year. It was time for a change. While I'm nowhere close to being ready to share the rooms, I thought I'd share a sneak peak and tell you what we did to this one little spot. 

Before, our computer was on an antique sewing machine base topped with a rectangle of glass. We wall-mounted a shelving unit and stashed all of our techy stuff and called it a day. It was okay, but very cluttered and I hated not having a definitive location for everything. What this means to my husband is that he can stash things wherever he wants. Not so much.


First on our agenda was a change of color. We painted both rooms "Cameo Glass" and it is a very light blue with green and grey undertones. I'm very happy with how the color turned out! We also painted all of the dark, dated wood trim a bright creamy white and the change is UNBELIEVABLE. I seriously feel like I live in a different house. Next up was a change of locale. We moved the computer on the opposite wall next to a built-in nook. Before, this nook had lower doors and a matchstick blind covering the top shelves where we stored CDs, DVDs and other television related junk. Today, it looks a lot different.

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By moving the computer to this side of the room I was able to take advantage of the storage and put all of our computer paraphernalia on the shelves. I love that this leaves the desk area clutter free and a lot more organized. We removed the doors and painted out the shelving inside and out and re-used a desk that I bought when Sophie's bedroom was our craft room.

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When I buy fabric for the curtains in our living room, I plan to make a curtain for this area, but temporarily I repurposed a scrap of left-over Martha Stewart tablecloth from K-Mart that I had in my stash. I "whipped" this up on my sewing machine just before bedtime and didn't say a single ugly word. Gran, aren't you proud?

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The top shelf has a few baskets for computer cables, disks and other unsightly necessities. Then I have a shelf for pretties, including our business cards and a box for bills and things that need to be permanently filed.

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The lower shelf is my favorite. I told SD that he could have the desk drawer for his pencil, calculator and notepad, but that the shelves were mine! Aren't I generous? The green boxes hold stationery, thank you notes and samples. I have some boxes and a stack of LPP tags in a glass box for packaging and a pretty butterfly dish to corral my paper clips and 1 million hair clippies that I take out all over the house. The old drawer came from the aforementioned antique sewing machine base and I've repurposed several of them for various things. This one corrals general office supplies we might need while working on the computer.

Not pictured is the contents of the shelves behind the curtain. There we have our printer, modem, wireless router, gobs of cords, batteries, flashlight, phone book, more LPP stuff and my cameras. Lots of stuff we need, but don't necessarily want to look at.

I still need to work on a few things here, but it is coming together. We'd like a new desk chair, I still have to figure out how to organize the cords under the desk and I want something pretty to hang on the wall. I am trying not to decorate too quickly because I have a tendency to fill things up. I want our new space to be quiet and organized and less cluttered. I think I'm gonna have to have a yard-sale.

Radio Silence

Just checking in so you know I haven't completely removed myself from the blogging world. In the last four days we've had two babysitters, painted ceilings/walls/trim in two rooms, painted three large pieces of furniture, been through five and a quarter gallons of paint, eaten six meals of take out and slept WAY too little. My bedroom and laundry room look like an episode of Hoarders while I "shop the house" to redecorate two rooms. We have rearranged everything and are a little out of sorts. I hope to have pictures soon... of the house and life in general, but right now it's a little crazy. Be patient with my radio silence and I'll be back with pictures very soon!

Love Letters: Nine Months

13 January 2011

Seriously... how can you be nine months old already?

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Sophie, I think you've really grown in the last month. More so than any other month so far. I can remember when I felt like Ella went from being a baby to a big girl and here we are again. When people ask how old you are, I cringe saying nine months. It sounds so big. I'm going to turn around and you'll be blowing out birthday candles, wearing ballet shoes, riding a bike.

These are the things I'll remember most about nine months...
  1. Gone are the days of quiet Sophie who falls asleep without a whimper. When you have an opinion, you make yourself known. You still don't cry a lot and you aren't overly fussy, you just seem to have found your voice. You squeal with delight, you yell to get our attention, you mimic us when we make funny noises. You fuss a little when we put you to bed, but we're working on that. We've talked about it and I hope you can agree that less fussing at bedtime is really the way to go.
  2. You are eating so many different foods! You still love baby food and I've yet to find anything that you will turn down, but you are starting to explore and eat things that your daddy and I cook for dinner. You love bananas, waffles, tortillas, tomatoes, spaghetti-os, shredded cheese, mushy cheerios and powdered donuts. Seriously. Who doesn't love powdered donuts?
  3. You have two of the CUTEST little teeth. They are both on the bottom (just like your sister) and when you smile we all get so tickled. It gives you the most mischevious little look on your face. I think you must be getting another one on the bottom because you rub the spot right next to them all the time. I love that little snaggle-tooth smile.
  4. Guess who can give kisses? They are open mouthed, slobbery kisses, but the sweetest ones I've ever had. Some days you'll give them all day long and other days you are stingy. The one thing I've learned, though, is that if I hold you up over my head and lower you towards my face, you'll give me "shugen" every time.
  5. You've got that pincher grasp down pat. Not only are you picking up foods and feeding them to yourself, you can pick up a leaf or a bug or a hair barrette on your little radar from twelve feet out. You have the ability to pick up those tiny little things with two fingers and manage to sneak them into your mouth before I can catch you. We had quite the little scare with leaf particles this week and I'm regretting teaching you how to pick things up!
  6. Your vocabulary is already expanding. You can say "da-da", "bye-bye", "hi" and "uh-oh" with confidence. You'll throw out a "ma-ma" when you're really sleepy or really mad and your trying really hard to say baby. You have a little plastic baby at Garan's house and you say "ba-ba" every time you pick her up. We're working on Ella. If you want to spend all of your time with her, it's high time you know how to say her name.
  7. You are kind over the whole 'rock me to sleep' situation and it's bittersweet. Do I love being able to lay you in your crib and walk away? Yes, but I sure do miss those sweet snuggles. I think more than anything I miss that you need me to rock you.
  8. Nap times are a bit confusing at our house right now. You need them, I know you need them, you know that I know that you need them. The problem is, we're all a little confused about when you need them. Some days you take one, other days it's three. Sometimes they are thirty minute power naps and for the last few days I've had to wake you from a three hour nap at 8 o'clock to feed you dinner and bathe you, only to put you right back down. It must be a growth spurt, but I'm ready to settle back into a routine.
  9. We learned this week that you are pretty much smitten with cold air. You have laughed and giggled every time we walk out into the below freezing temperatures, despite your hatred for hats and jackets. You get giddy and pump your little legs with delight.
  10. You are in love with our dog, Beemer. I'm sorry that I can't say the feeling is mutual. She has a love-hate relationship with little girls and you just haven't won her over yet. She growls at you and turns her nose up, but she wants to stand right beside you at all times. You, on the other hand, want to crawl all over her and inspect her ears and are positively ecstatic when you hear that rumble in her throat. We laugh at her all the time because she doesn't want you to pay her any attention, but she'd like to be near you just the same. I'm hoping you can compromise and settle into some kind of relationship pretty soon.
  11. It seems you are still a momma's girl, as you follow me from room to room on a regular basis. You are starting to play more independently, but only when I'm close by. When you can see me, you smile and giggle and play so well, but as soon as I'm out of your sight the fussing begins. In the afternoons when I pick you up from Garan's, you are almost always napping. We like to see how long it takes you to hear my voice and sit straight up. It's usually pretty quick and the look on your face is always so sweet. I love seeing your little hands reach for me.
Sophie, I've already started planning your birthday party and even ordered invitations and cupcake liners this week. How can it be that it's 2011? I am going to cherish these next three months and try to hold to my baby just a little bit longer. Thank you for being such a little snuggle bunny and indulging me when I want to carry you around.  That weight on my hip makes every moment just a little bit better.

And for posterity, you are still wearing a size 2 diaper, just now getting too big for your 3-6 month onesies and wearing a size 1 shoes. You might be long, but girl you are TINY. You drink four 6 ounce bottles each day and three meals of baby and/or table food. Not to be confused with the MANY times you see one of us eating and sidle up to beg with Beemer.

My Big Girl

11 January 2011

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I know she's growing, but it kind of hit me hard when she went from laying in my lap drinking a bottle to sitting up in a high-chair feeding herself! We had been talking about how she was having a hard picking up bites for herself just a few days ago. Over the weekend, I put some chicken on her tray to distract her for a moment while I ate a few bites, when all of a sudden she was stuffing her mouth full of food!
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She's been eating big girl food for over a month, but self-feeded is a little different. So far, we've tried pasta, english peas, carrots, bananas, waffles and chicken fingers. On Monday night I made crockpot tacos and the meat was too spicey for her, so I tore up a tortilla and gave her a pile of chopped up tomatoes, shredded lettuce and cheese. I call it an inside-out taco and I think it might have been her favorite meal yet!

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Doesn't she look pleased with herself?

An Ice Day

10 January 2011

In Alabama, any talk of snow is a big deal. A huge deal, really. Schools shut down, business close, roads are impassable and grocery shelves are empty. When talk of a "major winter storm" started getting tossed around mid-week the entire state went into a state of panic. I bought groceries for the second time in six days, stocking up on formula, diapers and Little Debbie brownies. We borrowed a generator and bought way too much gasoline. I cleaned house top to bottom and washed every stitch of winter clothes we owned. If we were going to get an extra day at home together this week, I did not want to be pre-occupied with laundry and housework!

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We watched from the porch and front windows all night on Sunday in anticipation. Ella sang songs about the snow and caught a few flakes on her tongue while running around barefooted. I wish I had known to let her build a snowman after dark and stay up late to enjoy the ridiculously beautiful couple of inches we got. Instead I woke up to this. It might look really pretty in the pictures, but looks can be deceiving.

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This white stuff is ice. A nice inch thick layer of ice on everything. Not only did it make for very slippery roads and a very quiet neighborhood, it pretty much eliminated any hope of a snowman in our yard this morning.

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The good news? Ella didn't even notice. Aside from the snowman issue, she was happy as can be with this winter wonderland and declared it "Ella Day" where we would do exactly what she wanted all day long. First we went on an "adventure" and took a long walk around our neighborhood. Beemer was beyond thrilled to run around and chomp on the ice and was always looking for something else to get into.

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The first toboggan I put on didn't really work out so well. I asked SD why he took this picture of me looking like a homeless person and he just laughed. Seriously... why is my hat like that??

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These two girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Ella gave us directions on what all to do and Sophie was happy to tag along. We have laughed all weekend about how much she likes the cold weather. She was pitching a royal fit inside when I was putting two layers of clothes, mittens and a coat on her and as soon as we walked out onto the porch she started kicking her legs like crazy and squealing. I think we found her happy place. Considering she's teething and hasn't felt well all weekend, it was a nice reprieve.

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There are certain disadvantages to living across from a high-school: afternoon traffic, a lovely view and summer band practice. On the other hand, having an entire football field full of ice to stomp made it all worth it today.

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See, seriously giddy!

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By this point, SD and Sophie were ready to go inside and they took Beemer with them. Ella really wanted to find another "village" to walk through, so we set out on foot.

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First stop, train tracks. Clearly the trains weren't moving today, but the boxcars were topped with a nice pile of ice and made for an interesting adventure.

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Perhaps Ella's favorite part of our walk downtown was pointing out icicles. If you live in our area, you might have heard it. She screamed ICICLE every time she spotted one.

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We walked around the downtown loop and saw the churches lined up and iced over. We considered spending some time on their playground, but were afraid daddy would start to worry.

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Instead we snapped a picture of ourselves in an empty store's window, where Ella got pinged in the cheek with an errant icicle and then we posed for pictures under the trestle bridge.

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We finally headed back home and spent some time looking out the windows with Soph. She wasn't really excited when Ella and daddy took another walk later in the afternoon, so we talked to the kitty cat and waited for them to come home.

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Despite the snow fail, we managed two yummy crockpot meals over the weekend, a ridiculous amount of Netflix and far too many Reese's cups. To satisfy our last little longing, we decided that a Doh-Man would have to suffice.

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