Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cheerio Stalking

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Yes, I'm a terrible mom for admitting that I let the girls eat Cheerios for dinner. On a regular basis. We're in that weird time where Ella is super picky about everything except cereal and yogurt and Sophie can eat anything we are having, but when I don't cook I find it hard to come up with quick, easy things for her on the fly. Ella requested cereal on Monday night and Sophie would not leave her alone. She circled the table and finally managed to get a taste.

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Unfortunately, Sophie understands the concept of "gone gone" and had an absolute meltdown. So much so that she got her very own bowl of cheerios for dinner. Her first.

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Please ignore the fact that I'm wearing Christmas pajama pants and no bra and my face makes it look like feeding cheerios to a toddler is painful. And I apologize for the fact that from this angle, my living room looks completely disheveled and undecorated and much like a frat boy's college dorm-room. We know it aint so!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grocery List



Who says the weekly list can't be a grocery list? Here's what you need...
  1. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 6 low carb, whole wheat, 6 inch tortillas
  3. 8 ounces fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
  4. 8 ounces Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mexican Style Shredded Cheese
  5. 4 ounce can of green chiles
  6. 1/3 red onion, finely diced
  7. olive oil cooking spray
Now I can see how right off hand this list wouldn't sound very appetizing, but trust me. Josh and I love chicken enchiladas and we have a go-to recipe that is heavy on our dinner rotation. It doesn't have traditional enchilada sauce and the ingredients are a bit unconventional, but it is YUMMY. I decided on a whim today to try and modify the recipe for Weight Watchers and we did pretty good coming in at around 11 points per serving (serving size is about 1.5 enchiladas). Now that's a little high considering that there isn't a side item yet, but one filled me up and you could certainly serve it with a quacamole salad or borrow a few flex points to get this on your plate for dinner. Here's what you do...

Preheat oven to 375*. Boil your chicken ahead of time and shred. I like to run mine through the food processor because I'm picky and we kind of like our filling smooth. Here is what mine usually looks like.

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Spray a little olive oil cooking spray in a really large skillet (I actually use our wok) and add your diced onions. I like to cook them on high heat until they start turning brown, but you don't want them transparent or mushy. Then, we add our can of green chiles. I like to toss the whole can in, but you can strain them if you like or dice them a little if you don't want them too chunky.

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After the onions and peppers cook together for a few minutes, add your cream cheese. I like to cut it into cubes or break it up with my spatula so that it's easier to melt. Keep it moving or it might burn. Stir the cream cheese, onions and peppers until it's all melted and mixed together well.

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Now, let's add our chicken and about 2/3 of our shredded cheese. You might want to turn the stove down to medium heat and turn your mixture until it's well incorporated. At this point it resembles warm chicken salad!

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Divide your mixture evenly between the six tortillas. Roll them up and place them seam side down in a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over enchiladas and bake until cheese is melty - about 15-20 minutes.

YUMMY.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wake Up!

It's been awhile since we had a video to share, so I thought I'd post this one of Sophie post-nap on Sunday afternoon. She wakes up SO happy and is always so excited to see you when you go into the nursery to get her. I heard her moving around in there and when I opened the door she was playing happily. I watched her through the crack for a minute until she realized that someone was coming in. So I grabbed the camera and we had a little chat before I got her out.



Please excuse my poor videography skills, the noise machine in the background {I finally remember to cut it off} and the barking dog. Sorry that Sophie talks so quietly and that the flip doesn't pick her up well when her back is to the camera. For the record, in this video she says {her versions of} Beemer, Garan, Uh-Oh, Thank You and Bye.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sneaky

On Saturday, we met K bright and early for a family photoshoot. It was very grey outside, so we were glad for bright blue eyes and pretty green grass. I have had an idea in mind for this shoot for months - I knew I either wanted pics of us waist deep in rye grass or lying on a blanket in a pile. Random right? When K sent me these sneaks this morning I knew I couldn't make a decision. I need help, people!

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#1 -- Conceptually, this is what I had in mind. I love that it isn't "too" posed and I LOVE the grass. What I don't love? My face.

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#2 -- Again... love this and everyone in it. But me. Why am I so weird looking here? I don't think that even looks like me.

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#3 -- Then the sun started peaking out, my necklace broke {Ella is playing with the beads here} and the girls got happy. I love this one. Love. I look like myself and everyone is smiling and cooperating. My only problem here is that I'm letting go of this image in my head of the grass in front of us.

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#4 -- The laying a pile picture. I pretty much love everything about this. It is casual and un-posed. We were just playing and laughing because Sophie refused to cooperate. She was crawling over my shoulder after a pile of rocks just outside the frame of this photo. We were having so much fun here {even SD} and it shows. Is it weird that you can't see his face? Would you love this hanging in your house?

K is sending me a disk with a bazillion images to choose from before I purchase a canvas, but she sent me these because she knew they were what I was looking for. Any suggestions, friends?

Birthday Girl

In the midst of planning Sophie's first birthday, I didn't want to overlook this sweet girl. Beemer is 8 years old today! I never had a dog growing up and Josh doesn't remember not having an inside dog for the majority of his life. We agreed that when we finally got one together we would get a Weimaraner. We had been married seven months when we picked a breeder from the newspaper and set out for Tupelo, Missippi to pick her up. The breeder was nice enough to meet us halfway and she even brought several female puppies to choose from. She was the runt of the litter and Josh picked her out. I did get to pick out her cute Hawaiian print collar, though!

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Beemer, April 13, 2010 -- The Day Before Sophie was Born
Beemer has crazy separation anxiety, is very high-maintenance and barks all the time. She sleeps in our bed, sheds, lays on the furniture and bosses Sophie around. She's been know to eat crib mattresses, dig holes in the yard and make terrible messes. BUT. We love her. She is crazy affectionate, loves a good snuggle, swims with us all summer long, keeps my toes warm at night, always cleans her plate {and mine} and is the most laid-back, un-energetic weim I've ever heard of. We might cringe before opening the door every afternoon, dreaded what might be found, but I cannot begin to imagine what life will be like without her.

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Beemer, Summer 2002 - About 12 weeks old
Just today, Ella asked on the way home from church how long Beemer might live. We told her that she might live until Ella turned 10 years old, but that only Jesus really knows. She wanted to know if she'd be in heaven and if Jesus would take really good care of her until we go there. She was curious about whether or not He had dogfood in Heaven. Even though these conversations are so funny, I can't help but have a little twinge of pain and dread when I think about her not being here. We've talked about if we'll get another dog and if we'll keep it inside or if we'll choose another breed. I can't imagine a house with no Grey Ghost walking around.

Just for fun, I thought I'd do a little round-up of posts where B took the stage...


Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Fete: The Paper Products

It all started with the paper products I wanted to use. I ran in Party City one afternoon to pick up taper candles for her cake and solid white plates since I'm not a fan of "themed" party goods. At the suggestion of my best friend I found a pack of three white tissue poms for under $10 and picked up two rolls of light pink crepe paper streamers to braid and hang from the chandelier in our dining room. I also found two packs of dinner napkins that would help establish a color scheme and overall look for the party. I grabbed one pack of green and white lattice print napkins and one pack of pink and white polka dotted ones.

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I had some paper straws left over from Ella's party that were supposed to be red. In all actuality they are more hot pink, so I picked up some lighter pink ones and mixed them together. I think with all of the other colors, it helps them not read so red. I started out thinking we would have all bite-sized treats and ordered the tiny cupcake liners for mini-cakes. That was until I saw a fantastic idea for decorating standard sized cupcakes and completely changed my mind. I went back to the same etsy shop and picked up these pink and white zebra ones, as well as the green and white dessert cups. I think, including the napkins, all of this goodness cost me under $15. I'm going to use the cups to stack white powdered donuts and the tiny liners to hold bite-sized brownies, fudge, rice crispy treats, marshmallows and jelly beans. I realize this sounds like a haphazard list of food out of context, but we are doing a kid friendly desert bar with easy to feed foods.

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And just to follow up on yesterday's invitation post, here they are in their printed glory. You can see the ribbons I added to reinforce the bookmark look and the slight sheen the UV coating gives them. They are pretty durable cardstock and resemble any bookmark you would pick up at the store. I am so happy I went in this direction -- now I'm thinking how much fun bookmarks would be for Valentine's or Christmas cards next year!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

First Fete: The Idea

I cannot believe I'm planning a birthday for this little girl already. How has it been eleven and a half months? We took her one year old photographs this morning and are knee-deep in birthday preparations. There is much to share over the next three weeks as we close in on our celebrations, but I thought I'd start by sharing my party theme, decoration ideas and invitation suite.

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{bookmark front}

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{bookmark back}

I am so lucky that my girls are both book obsessed and decided to use that as inspiration for a first birthday fete. We don't really need toys at this house, so a book party was perfect. I opted for long, skinny invitations that mimic the shape of a bookmark and that people can reuse long after the party. I had them UV coated and added ribbon tassels to complete the look.


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{favor tags}
Instead of party favors that included candy and toys that no mommy wants to bring home, we found cute little board books in the dollar bin at Target a few weeks ago. They have a vintage flair that works really well with our decorations. I printed these cute favor tags to stick on the back of each book so that the guests would remember their gift from Soph.

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Additionally, I made these cute bookplates to send out with the invitations. I hope our guests will fill them out and place them in the cover of their gifts so that Sophie will be able to look back and see the sweet little notes her friends and family left her in honor of her very first birthday!

I've already ordered super-cute cakes and cupcakes, bought paper pom-poms and old fashioned streamers to hang above the dining room table and found colorful paper straws, desert cups and cupcake liners. We have an adorable new outfit and fancy birthday crown and I've booked the best photographer in town to make sure we have plenty of photos to share. Things are coming together and I'm getting ready to put these invitations in the mail. Two more weekends to finish up things around the house and we'll be celebrating God's latest and greatest gift in our life!

Friday, March 25, 2011

French Fry Love

Just in case you've been wondering, her affection for the french fries hasn't waned.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly List

Since lists are pretty much my favorite kind of post and I love getting out all of the small, funny things I want to share in one fell swoop, I thought I'd start a (semi) regular blog series of Weekly Lists. Who knows what all they might contain or how frequently they will appear, but I'm going to enjoy them whenever they decide to show up.

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  • I know I haven't shared any pictures of our living room since my weekend run to IKEA, but I promise those are still on my radar. I started painting my dining room chairs over the weekend and since I now have an official deadline (more on that later) I'm kicking it into high gear.
  • Sophie's birthday party is in just under a month and I'm not freaking out yet. That is a very good sign, but I'm sure it's short-lived. I have most of the decorations purchased and/or designed, the menu planned and the cakes ordered. Hopefully I can get the final details hammered out and start sharing my ideas with you soon. Let's just say it involves lots of books.
  • Did you read about this on Monday? I'm trying to decide what I think about it. On the one hand, I really want my girls as safe as possible for as long as possible. On the other hand, I'm thinking I'll be in a rear-facing booster myself before it's all over with.
  • Do you shop Land's End? Apparently they have "overstocked" items on their website and there are tons of great kids clothes on clearance. I bought the Belle a box full of stuff at an average of $6 for each piece. I got a promo code for $20 off your purchase of $75 or more and free shipping AND you can pay with PayPal. Score!
  • Josh started his new job this week and we are so thrilled. Now if only I could convince him to do drop off in the mornings and make dinner for us every night and we'd be doing good.
  • A few "new to me" blogs I've adopted as daily reads since the beginning of the year that you might like to try: Abode Love, Skinny Taste, To My Wife, and 7th House on the Left.
  • After her bath time on Monday evening I was snuggling with Ella and noticed that her eyebrows were a little wet. I looked at my hand after I rubbed her eyebrow and she started giggling. She told me she put Vaseline on them because she wanted them to be shiny. I'm in love with this kid.
  • I read this book yesterday. Seriously, yesterday. It was SO good. You can download it for $6.13 like I did and read it on your lunch break!
  • Finally, we're taking family photos this weekend in a big green field with our dog and fantastic photog. The girls have new dresses and headbands, I have a new top and daddy has a button down found in the normal rotation that just happens to coordinate. I'm excited for our first family session as a family of four.
The lists you guys leave in the comment section some times crack me up! Have anything you want to share? Leave us a link to your weekly list or share below.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Worm

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This is Soph's new favorite thing to do. I decided when we moved the bookcases to the dining room that we should leave room on the bottom shelf for a few things for the girls to play with. Most of the board books a few other "baby" storybooks migrated here from Ella's room and they are much loved. I think SD & I clean these books up out of the floor 3+ times a day and she finds herself here again throwing them over her shoulders. 

Not only does she like throwing books, but she likes looking at them. She pages through her favorites and drags them across the room for you to read. She'll get up on one knee and hold them up in the air and grunt until you read them. Sometimes, she crawls up in your lap. She loves pointing things out and turning the pages.

I am so glad we have another bookworm on our hands and now I'm really excited for the upcoming birthday party. I had a pretty ingenious idea there and this increased love for books just confirms it everyday. See you back here soon with some sweet birthday party ideas.

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This is Sophie's new go-to face... it cracks me up every time. It helps that she has doesn't have her top
middle teeth, but does have the ones on the side. She is such a snaggle-puss and makes the silliest faces!

Monday, March 21, 2011

We're Home

I figured the best way to celebrate our new home was to show you what was making the Rock House especially pretty these days. We have these huge loropetalums all across the front of our house and a few smaller ones along the roadside. The ones near the house are 6-7 feet tall and they are quick to get out of hand! I'm sure they might look better a little smaller, but can you blame me for letting them go? They get SO pretty in the spring.

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Did you find your way here okay? Any problems with the site redirecting you? What about Google Reader - if you are sucessfully reading this post within a feed reader could you let me know that it worked out okay? In fact, I'd love for you all to comment on this post, just to reassure me! Let me know how you read LPD and if you had any problems with the transition.

Pretty princess posts will be back tomorrow...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Guess Who?

Guess who took her first spin on the boat today? SD has been soaking up his last week of "freedom" before starting his new job on Monday. He's had some time to do things around the house, spent a day with his two best girls and spent quite a bit of time on the water. Ella had been begging to go fishing with him and today was the day. I packed her a sack lunch, she was very particular about her outfit and I had to get her up early and help her get dressed and ready for her big day.

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You might ask, how did it go? Not very good; the pictures are a bit misleading. Daddy said her major complaints were that the "boat was moving too much", "it might tip over", "we might sink" and "I can't see the shore". My personal favorite story from the day? She needed to potty and wasn't thrilled about being held over the side of the boat. I'm guessing that's right around the time they packed it up and headed home.

I think next time we'll just fish the catfish pond on the farm.

Packing Our Bags

Well friends, the time has come. We're MOVING! It was time to secure our very own domain name, so in just a few days all of these lovely posts will moving across the interwebs. You'll still be able to find us at www.thelittleprincessdiaries.com. Isn't that exciting? There will still be lots of pretty pictures to look at and even more funny stories, we just thought it was time for a home of our very own. I'm hoping the transition will be seamless and that you'll be quickly redirected to the new site. If you are already "following" the blog, you shouldn't skip a beat, but for those of you subscribing in Google Reader or any other feed reader, you might need to subscribe to the new one once we are up and running. Don't forget to change any bookmarks, links in your blog roll or buttons in your sidebar. You can find the new button in the sidebar now and it's already set up for our new address.

Look for us Monday at our new home; be sure to mark your calendars so you aren't left behind! Worried about the transition? You can always email me if you have any questions.

xoxo,
Kristin

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blue Skies and a Birthday Boy

Last Saturday afternoon, we spent some time outside enjoying a gorgeous day with beautiful blue skies.

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We were celebrating this boy's first birthday. Lake is one month older than Soph, almost to the day. Ryan & I get to enjoy each other's company while our littles play together. It is awfully convenient that our kids are all the same age. It makes you wonder if God knew what he was up to or something?!

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He wasn't sure what to think about everyone looking at him and singing to him and he wasn't having ANYTHING to do with his birthday cake (although, I hear he dug right in later in the day).

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That didn't keep him from opening his gifts and playing puzzle with Sophie, though. This little farm puzzle was from us and has nice chunky handles to move the pieces around. These two were so sweet and shared the puzzle pieces with one another.

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Guess who else got lots of face time? Grey & Ella are pretty inseparable when they are together and neither of them were very happy when it was time to go. They have been friends since they were tiny and always have so much fun when we have playdates. Ella told everyone that she was spending the day with her "boyfriend."

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Want to know what the very best part of the day was? Enjoying cupcakes in the sunshine. I don't think we have to worry about Sophie ignoring her birthday cake. I'd say a mess is a pretty safe bet.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How About a List?

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  1. SD went to the Alabama basketball game tonight, so it was just us girls. We had a quiet night with Chipotle for dinner and Teen Mom is currently paused in the bedroom. I'm about to snuggle in and enjoy.
  2. My mom took some pictures of the girls today in these new outfits she made. They are staying with her this week for spring break and it's great because I get to hang out with her in the afternoon AND she makes them tons of clothes. It's a win/win. The outfit on Ella will be in Garan's shop very soon - you can click the button in the sidebar to visit her and purchase some goodies. Sophie is getting to keep hers for the birthday party.
  3. Speaking of birthdays, the invitations arrived today and I cannot wait to share them. My plan for the party has evolved a lot over the last few months, but I'm really happy with the way everything came together.
  4. I ordered this spectacular crown for the birthday girl to wear and some pretty cute headbands for our family photo shoot next month from this cute shop.
  5.  Did I mention I ate Chipotle for dinner? YUMMY is all I have to say about that.
  6. I started the 30 Day Shred on Sunday. I'm sorry to report that I skipped this morning because my legs hurt so bad from all the squats. I promise I'll jump back on the band wagon tomorrow. I have got to get myself in shape for swimsuit weather. Who am I kidding? I'll probably wear a muumuu again this year.
  7. I know I don't talk a lot about our jobs on the blog, but I try to keep personal and business lives as separate as I can. Maybe you wonder what we do, maybe you don't, but I have a major praise in this category this month. SD has a new job that he'll be starting on Monday and we are very proud.of him. It will be a pretty big adjustment for us all, but we are beyond happy that with the exception of a few weeks a year, his traveling days are over.
  8. I'm selling lots of invitations and announcements these days. Most of them aren't winding up in the etsy shop, because I've had lots of local business. I'm currently working on my first wedding and three birthday invitations that might be my favorite work in a long time. I hope to post some images later this week.
  9. Just to follow up on jobs and design work, we are getting back together with Dave Ramsey. We broke up for awhile last year, but it's time we make amends. I really, really wanna scream "I'M DEBT FREE!" I'll let you know when that happens, but I'm guessing you'll be able to hear that squeal wherever you are.
  10. It is really quiet in my house right now. Ella, Sophie and the dog are all asleep... it's a miracle.
  11. I'm thinking about a minivan. Am I too cool for one? Not cool enough? Thoughts?
  12. I'm having a yardsale at the highschool (near our house) next month. I have a ridiculous amount of things to get rid of and I'm saving up for a present for myself. Wanna contribute? Come by between 7 and noon on April 2nd and stock up. Can't make it? Email me and come by early... the fewer items I have to haul down the street, the better.
  13. Well, I'm headed to bed. TM has been waiting just long enough that I can get through with no commercials. That and a Weight Watchers ice cream sandwich makes me a very happy mommy.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Love Letters: Eleven Months

    Sophie,

    How are you eleven months old? How are we on the heels of your very first birthday party? I am up to my ears in party planning materials, invitations, decorations and ideas. Every time I make a decision or a purchase, I ponder at how we got here. You are such a precious little girl and we have spent every moment of the last eleven months soaking you up and loving you as hard as we can.

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    At eleven months, you weigh just over 18 pounds and are 30 inches long. You are still wearing a size 3 diaper and finally started to fill out your 9-12 months clothes. I unpacked bins of Ella's clothes over the weekend and found tons of things she never even wore. You are more than ready for spring and summer weather! 

    You are still drinking about 22 ounces of formula every day, but I have bought my very last canister. I plan on picking up some whole milk this week and I'm going to try alternating between the two or making half and half bottles. We also fed you the last of the babyfood this week. I'm sure you'd be content to eat it for awhile longer (you haven't met a fruit or vegetable you don't love), but you do so well with table food that I'm not going to worry about keeping it stocked. Tonight you had a cheeseburger and baked fries for dinner... yummy! You really like oatmeal or cereal bars for breakfast, cheerios and goldfish for snack time and you love sandwiches or spaghetti for lunch. We have been feeding you whatever we eat for dinner and recently you've tried grilled zucchini, squash, hamburger steak, pork chops and hashbrown casserole.

    You are very adventurous and love to be outside. We have recently started putting you in the baby swing and are so impressed that you love it. Ella never liked to swing (even until she was over two years old), but you have taken right to it. You just smile and giggle, no matter how high we push you. Recently, I've let you crawl around in the grass and you aren't quite sure what you think about that scratchy stuff. This weekend, we spent some time in the driveway letting Ella ride her bike and practice hitting the baseball. We decided to put you in your walker again and you loved it! You drove yourself all over the carport and driveway and picked up quite a bit of speed.

    You still aren't walking, but I keep thinking it will happen at any time. You are standing up for long periods of time all by yourself, even in the bathtub. You have taken several steps at a time, but you get nervous and sit down. Your daddy and I remark that you "dislocate your shoulders" because if we try to hold you under your arms, you flip them over your head and slide out onto the floor. Adults need to have you in a very tight grip! You are still crawling from place to place and then pulling yourself up. You are the fastest crawler I have ever seen and love to be chased or surprised when you come and go.

    We've started putting you in the pack & play to keep you confined, but you just hang out and play. Your favorite toys these days are books and play food from Ella's kitchen. You still love to kiss and snuggle your baby doll, but you haven't shown any real attachment to her or any other toys. You like your paci, but only at bedtime and during nap. When you get up in the mornings you leave it in your bed and sometimes I find that you've put it back in the paci pouch* yourself.

    You've added only a few words to your vocabulary this month, but they are very important ones. You can say thank you and Ella. These might be mommy's favorites. You have also started playing pee-pie (what we call peekaboo) yourself and it is so sweet. Sometimes you use your hands to cover your eyes, but you usually use a blanket or clothes that we've taken off. You also remove your socks and shoes every chance you get and love to hide in your sister's room. 

    Your personality is really starting to blossom this month and it's fun to see how different you and your sister are. She was so talkative at this age, but wasn't much of a mover. You on the other hand, use your words wisely and are into everything! In fact, as I type this you are giving the dog a run for her money. I can't wait to come back here in another month and see how many things have already changed.

    We love you sweet Sophie-girl,

    Mommy

    * I got so tired of Ella throwing pacifiers into the floor out of her bed and never being able to find a replacement in the dark, that we hung a fabric pocket on the rail to keep the extras and we showed her where they were. Any time she lost a paci in the middle of the night, she would just grab another one and go right back to sleep. It saved mommy LOTS of walks in the middle of the night. We've done the same thing for Sophie and we have her put the paci back in the morning when she gets up. Some mornings I find her asleep with no paci and they've all been returned the pocket. I always find that so funny!

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    In Love

    Not a lot going on around here this week. At least not enough interesting to blog about. Instead, enjoy these sweet pictures of our littlest one. Since spring hadn't quite arrived, we found a grassy spot a few feet from the street and snapped away. Can you say adorable?

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    Thanks, K.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    it's all about the food

    When I planned a girls' weekend road trip to the closest IKEA, I had no idea our day would revolve around food. On Saturday morning, I loaded up with Garan and K and we spent two and a half hours of a rainy drive to Atlanta for our first ever stroll around IKEA. I've heard of it plenty, even ordered the magazine and shopped on-line a few times, but if you are reading any design blogs you know that there is plenty of goodness to be had here on the cheap.

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    The big blue warehouse greeted us right off of the interstate and we were all a little giddy. I was armed with a little bit of cash and a long list of wishes for the newly painted living and dining rooms. Mom & K really wanted to scope out couches and I kind of wanted to do some mattress testing for SD.

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    We started out in the Design Showrooms since we had never been before. You can walk around a ton of simulated "rooms" and see all of the products being used. Everything is tagged so you can find it easily in the Marketplace downstairs. It took us a little over an hour and half to cruise this level and then we decided to stop in for lunch. I didn't expect it to be a gourmet treat, but it seemed eating in the cafeteria was a big part of the experience.

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    We debated for quite some time over what to get and we all tried something different. Garan had spinach and cheese crepes, K had spaghetti & meatballs and I had something else.

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    This grilled chicken, veggies and pasta (with gratuitous soft drink) was what I started with.

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    This half-eaten salad of K's and huge piece of chocolate cake we all decided to split was what really ended up on my tray. My chicken was cold and the pasta sauce tasted like pureed broccoli. To be fair, mom & K really liked what they ordered.

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    If I'm being 100% honest, this was really the best part of the meal. We divided it, but I think I probably could have devoured it all by myself!

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    Next we headed to the marketplace to do our shopping! What you can see in the picture is maybe 1/8 of the entire store. It is two levels and each level is probably the size of your local Home Depot. It is giant! We were there almost four and a half hours total. Of course, I bought the most and it spilled over into two buggies. They each got quite a few things, but I checked almost everything off of my to-do list for the living area. They don't sack your purchases, but you can buy huge 59 cent blue bags to carry everything out, so we got three and loaded up the car.

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    Mom insisted on getting a few parking deck pictures, despite the number of people staring at us like we were from another planet. Just in case you were wondering, being a blogger is kind of like being a tourist. You stick out like a sore thumb when you're sporting a big camera and taking pictures throughout a department store!

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    And just to show you how much our day revolved around yummy goodies, we stopped into IKEA's bistro right after checkout for a six pack of their "famous" cinnamon rolls. This huge pan was $4 and I am embarrassed to say that only one of those bad boys made it outside of a 10 mile radius of Atlanta! 

    We stopped at an outdoor mall a few blocks away and ran in West Elm and H&M - two more stores we are missing out on in Birmingham. I lust after WE's catalogs every month and I haven't shopped in H&M since I was in New York almost four years ago. I didn't buy anything for myself, but I did get Sophie a new sunhat and Ella got her first pair of skinny jeans and some bubblegum pink ballet flats. I can't wait to share all of my purchases later in the week, but I'm hoping to get them in their forever home before spilling the beans.

    I will be the first to admit, that if I'm ever given 8 hours and nothing to do, it is quite possible I'll "hop" on over to the ATL again. Any takers?

    I realize if you have an IKEA or West Elm in your town, you probably think I'm crazy! So for those of you more "cultured" friends, I'm sorry about all of the gushing.