taz + belly: August 2011

Erin Condren Update!!

23 August 2011

I told you I would be back with an "upgrade"  for our life planners! Now look beyond this ridiculous how-to video to the awesomeness of the laminated tabs.

In the video I tell you that the package of tabs was about $4 (I ordered these through my office and got a discount), but they are really $5.85 on Avery's website. You might can get them cheaper at a local office supply store, but I haven't compared prices. Be sure that you are ordering the clear tabs and that they are 1.5 inches wide. Enjoy!

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22 August 2011

I haven't had an iPhone for very long, but it's hard to remember how I survived before it. I still take my camera with me most places, but it's fun to capture quick moments that I might not otherwise remember. Ella & Sophie both like scrolling through the photo album to see what funny moments we managed to catch.

So... in no particular order, some sweet moments from the last month.

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mommy got a new purse, sophie tried homemade orange sherbet, ella snacks on tomatoes

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new floral laces for our chuck taylors, sophie takes a swing, ella shows off her new seat

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a DP collection near my bed -- ooops, an early morning text from sd & ella before school

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our french fry cooling mechanism, ella's new haircut, sophie takes a potty break

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ella on the way back from lunch (via my teacher friend), mcwane center, sophie raids ella's closet

About the Vlog

21 August 2011

So, I've been meaning to try out the "vlog" world for the last several weeks, but for whatever reason it just hasn't happened. When several of my favorite bloggers, and a few of my blog friends, bit the bullet this week I decided this was as good a time as any to give it a try. My first attempt ended after I seriously botched what I was trying to say and I started over. Happy with the second attempt, I viewed it before uploading it only to discover that my video had no audio!! After futzing with the microphone and complaining to myself for about thirty minutes I decided to try something different. I set up my flip video camera on the tripod and did it the old fashioned way. Not only did I get it done on the first try, but was astonished when I realized that it was 19 minutes long?!?! I have no idea why it's so long or what I really even talked about. If I thought you would watch the first one at 7 minutes long, I have no illusions that you will endure this one or even come close. But, since it took three tries to film it and twice to get it uploaded without failure, I'm going to post it for all to see. Let's laugh together, shall we?

And in case you can't manage to sit through it or have no desire to, you can scroll down for the bullet point list!

  • I basically go over everything that I just told you in the paragraph above.

  • I cover how my hair is curly and I'm folding 9 loads of laundry... just me and Edward Cullen.

  • You can hear Sophie crying on the monitor and I go over how we're letting her "cry it out".

  • I hold up my hands so you can see the nice manicure that I gave myself using glorified nail stickers.

  • I show you Ella's birthday party invitation and talk a little bit about her party, including the DIY pinata that took me over 8 hours to complete yesterday.

  • I show you my Erin Condren life planner that finally got here on Friday, but manage to cut off the actual planner through the majority of the video.

  • I share the book I'm reading in my Bible study group and go over how difficult it is for me to read non-fiction, although I'm really enjoying the book.

  • There is also some mention of my upcoming blog posts and what I hope to share over the next week.

Whew. Now that I've stolen 19 minutes of your life you can never get back... go find something better to do!

Lauren's Life Song

20 August 2011


I've really been wanted to play around with blog design for awhile, but html is a little indimidating. I've done my own a couple of times, but never for a paying customer... until now! My blogging friend, Lauren, let me use her as a guinea pig and it turned out so cute.


Be sure and visit her when you have a chance. She is a newlywed with some awesome wedding pictures and fun posts. Thanks for working with me, Lauren. It was so much fun.



17 August 2011

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I guess most of you know that I live in the country. And when I say that, I mean the COUNTRY. I never really thought it was strange or different growing up. I remember my sophomore year of college, my best girlfriend asked me what I did over the weekend and I said something to the effect of "I went to the barn at my grandparents' farm to see the baby goats." You can imagine her reaction.

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I am so glad that my girls will have the best of both worlds. They will know about shopping malls and movie theaters, nice dinners and weekend road trips to fun cities. They will also know how much better home-grown strawberries taste and that you don't have to rinse them off before eating them. They will know how to hop a fence and will learn to wave when the tractors roll by... it's most likely their Pop.

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There is a pasture we pass on the way to school each morning and Sophie starts to call the cows before we even get there... "moo-tow, moo-tow, moo-tow". Ella asks why babies love cows so much and I have to remind her that she called these same cows "hers" for years and years. Sophie was beyond elated when we opened the pasture gate. She started running and couldn't believe there were no barriers between her and the cows. Lucky for her, she's growing up in the country, too. Lucky for me, she didn't run into any cow patties!

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what SHE said

13 August 2011

I try so hard not to compare my children. They are so different and even in just 16 months it is easy to see. While they definitely have their similarities (both are excellent sleepers and never cry), their personalities could not be more different. Ella was very even keeled, not physical or mobile until very near her first birthday and she was very verbal. It's hard to explain to you how much she really talked and since I wasn't blogging then, I don't have much video footage and what I do have is on tape... gasp! Let me assure you that she was amazing. I thought all children talked at 6 months and could speak in sentences by their first birthday. It wasn't until people all around me began to ask us about it that I realized how different she really was. By 8 months the list of words she could say was vast. She could identify almost anything you pointed to and she understood everything we said to her. By her birthday, she was speaking in two and three word sentences and was humming and singing along with cartoon theme songs. By fifteen months she could confidently explain that the doggie ate her pacifier. 

Sophie on the other hand, is extremely high-strung and very physical. I found her sitting on the dining room table at the age of 8 months. She was crawling well before Ella even considered it and was on the verge of walking at 10 months. She is loud and dangerous. She isn't afraid of anything, she's tough and she leaves a path of destruction behind her. This is precisely why we call her Taz. She is wild and funny and boisterous. I don't know how I would have handled her as my first child, but I can honestly say that we are having a blast with her. She has the best sense of humor and will try absolutely anything. She will sit in the dirt and dig, walk around barefoot all over the yard and play in the rain. Ella would have never considered any of that okay.

I won't say that I was ever worried about Sophie's language skills, but I was certainly surprised when she didn't talk as early as Ella. She said some words and certainly conveyed her needs and wants. I think Josh thought I was crazy when I asked the pediatrician if I should be worried about her speech and she laughed. She said that they want to see them saying 5-15 words at 15 months. Sophie is saying many more than that and she understands everything. She repeats anything that you say and you only have to teach her something once. She remembered after the first time where the pasture was on the way to school. She calls the cows every morning, just before we reach the spot. She tells us when she's wet or dirty. She asks for breakfast and snack by name and can tell you exactly what food she wants.

I've been trying to catch her on video for several weeks saying all of her favorite words, but she's quick and I haven't managed. Until now. Inspired by the video that Jennifer posted of her daughter earlier in the week (she's 1 day older than Sophie!), Ella and I caught Taz in a really good mood and managed to catch a lot of them. There are still some things I want to capture for posterity, so maybe I'll have a follow up video in a few days.

We have added a few new names to our repertoire this week, but the best is her homage to Dora. Y'all, Sophie doesn't even like television. I've tried to sit her down for a few minutes to watch cartoons with Ella and she is not interested. One night last week, Ella's closet door was open and there was an old Dora doll and the hard plastic backpack sitting on a shelf. To say that Sophie went nuts would be an understatement. She started screaming "backpack, backpack!" and pointing. When I showed her the doll, she said "Dora!" Josh & I have laughed so hard this last week at how much she is fascinated with our hispanic cartoon friend. It is the only cartoon she will pay any attention to and I found myself paying $10 for an absurdly large mylar balloon at the grocery store last week because that silly purple backpack was proudly displayed. It almost put me over my weekly budget, but she was so cute calling her all over the store. 

All of this to say that it seems like my littlest little has found her words. She is a handful, with an attitude, and an arsenal of precious, mispronounced words to prove it.

"I Can't Believe I'm a School Girl!"

12 August 2011

The fact of the matter is... I cried.

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I'll be honest, I've been pretty excited about Ella's first year at Elementary School. I never thought I'd be emotional or upset to leave her. She has been talking about "big school" all summer and we were well prepared. She went shopping with Garan for fabric for her dress, Ella & I made new hairbows a few nights ago and we ordered the perfect pair of shiny, purple shoes. Josh & I went for parent orientation on Monday afternoon and on Wednesday we were able to take Ella back to tour her room and meet some new friends. We spent some time last night packing her backpack, ironing her clothes and getting her lunch together in the fridge. As prepared as we were, I wasn't really ready.

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I woke up with little arms and legs over my back. She later told me that she couldn't fall asleep and climbed into bed with me. I got up early and let her sleep. I ran Sophie to school and cooked the breakfast she requested - pigs in a blanket. I woke her up with a snuggle and told her breakfast was ready. As usual, she complained about being sleepy and wanted to stay in bed. Then she remembered. With her eyes closed, she got the biggest grin on her face and said, "I can't believe I'm a school girl!" I should have known then.

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We got all dressed up and she was pretty excited about her look. I was worried we would have a meltdown over shoes or her bows this morning, but everything went so smooth. I fixed her breakfast and she sat down with her daddy. She asked him why her belly was hurting and told me should couldn't eat her breakfast just yet. She had a little case of the nerves. She is JUST like her mommy. 

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She wanted us both to walk her in this morning, so we made a family trek to school. Because Ella's birthday is later in September, she can't actually go to kindergarten until next year. Fortunately for us, our elementary school has a 4 year old kindergarten class that has regular school hours, gym, music and lunch in the cafeteria. It was so strange thinking about her walking the halls with those big kids!

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When we got to her class, her buddies Conner and Katelyn were already there and a new friend, Campbell, who Ella met earlier in the summer at VBS. She immediately started playing and gave me a big hug. Goodbye. I asked her if she wanted me to stay and she said no. Cue the tears. SD and I made the long walk back to our cars and talked about how big she looked in there. I could not believe I was crying! I literally paced the house all day long waiting for 2:15 to get here. I have never been so happy to see my big girl. She had such a fun day and can't wait to go back next week. Thank goodness Garan and lots of my girlfriends work there, because I got LOTS of updates on her today. I'll be relying on them all year to keep me posted on my precious Ella. I seriously cannot believe this day is here.

Ella dress was made by Garan with fabric from here and this pattern. We made her pretty purple bows from grosgrain ribbon via Hobby Lobby and her snazzy shoes are Salt Water Sandals via Zappos.


10 August 2011

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today marks nine years of life under one roof. nine years of yummy dinners and silly sitcoms. nine years of a box fan blowing in my face while I sleep. nine christmases were we could open presents whenever we wanted. nine easter pictures in front of our house. nine summers of eating as many fudge pops as we wanted, just because. we play the word game at night before bed. we trade books and see too many movies. we rub feet and argue over how the covers fall off of his side of the bed every single night. we fight over the fact that i never fold the laundry and it doesn't bother me at all to let it pile up in the floor. he cleans the bathroom and brings in the mail. i never buy the same spaghetti sauce twice. we go to church together. we eat pasta at our favorite restaurant. we have two littles who we made together and love more than life itself. this has, without a doubt, been the best nine years of my life. here's to ninety-nine more. i love you, antonio.

and just in case you're confused, yes, his name is josh :).

while we're at it...

09 August 2011

why don't we discuss some other pictures of my littles from the FIRST WEEK OF JULY! Y'all, I am taking pictures, I'm just not managing to get them uploaded and blogged in a timely fashion. Surely the cuteness of these two girls in their 'kinis will more than make up for it.

Ashley invited us over to their new house to celebrate Westin's first birthday. My girls are a little crazy when it comes to birthday parties and had a blast. Sophie went from ant hill, to water slide, to hosepipe, all followed with a walk from plate to plate to sample everyone's goodies. For whatever reason, my children do not discriminate when it comes to food. They will eat off of anyone's plate, with or without permission! Ella had a lot of fun, too, but she was a little timid about the water. She only wanted to try out the "baby slide" and spent most of the time watching all of the other kids play. She did have some fun with the sidewalk chalk and as always, was thrilled when Mrs. Ashley let her help with the gifts. Thanks for having us, we had SO much fun!

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I somehow managed not to get a single picture of the precious birthday boy or his mommy's awesome party decor. Click here to see how it all went down!

Only a Month Late!

08 August 2011

Now that it's time for school to start and schedules to be regulated, I'm missing our long and lazy days at the pool. It's hard to believe that Independence Day was over a month ago. It was probably my favorite family holiday of the summer.

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I love days where the girls are content to play with their cousins and I can spend some time with my sweet sister. We read a LOT and as you can see, drank plenty of DP.
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This girl feels the need to pose for every picture. It's making me dread the age of thirteen even more than I already was. She also decides to boycott the water from time to time and spent plenty of the afternoon coloring bricks on the pool walkway.

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These girls are such sweet buddies. UNTIL they've been together for about two hours. After that, Ella will tell me that she and Molly were getting tired of each other. At least they're honest!

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Sophie is too quick for group photos these days, but it doesn't stop me from trying.

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Ella did manage to find some help from C for awhile on the sidewalk chalk adventure.

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And, as always, we found ourselves on campus at our alma mater later that evening for the big fireworks show. We were too busy chasing Taz this year to get any good pictures of the fireworks (or each other), but we enjoyed a picnic in the rain with lots of yummy, greasy fast food. I love that my girls will know what to expect every fourth of July and that summer picnics on the quad with a spectacular light show will be one of their favorite summer traditions!

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Ella's swimsuit is from Old Navy, Sophie's swimsuit is from Target, their flag tees are from Wal-Mart and the dresses are from Old Navy. My swimsuit is LaBlanca via TJMaxx and the oh so fabulous linen shorts (this photo doesn't do them justice, they are smocked at the top and zip up the sides!!!) are from Banana Republic and I'm wishing I had bought my size in all three colors.


07 August 2011

When I weighed myself last Sunday, I was beyond thrilled to see some progress, BUT I get upset every time there is an upward trend on the scales. Sunday is not the best day for me to weigh myself because we eat all the good stuff on the weekends. I'm ending the love affair I currently have with the scales and will see them again in September. I noted my weight for August 1, drastically reduced the number of DPs I had this week and vowed to do the 30 day shred every single day this month. I'll check back in with you in a few weeks and let you know how it's going.

Not So Faraway Friends

01 August 2011

Crystal and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. Her mom and my mom were friends in high school and we grew up together. Even though we never went to the same school and often lived far away, family get togethers were always so much fun. I remember that her house was the first place I watched MTV and saw a Madonna video. I remember sliding down her carpet-covered stairs (ours were hardwood). I remember watching her dad make stained glass windows in the garage. We got in trouble once for painting in the bathroom. No one would ever have known if I hadn't gotten in on my nose.

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Ella, Sophie, Ava & Collin

These days, Crystal lives in Auburn with her sweet family and I still live in the same little town. We keep in touch with blogs and Facebook, but finally decided it was time to get together. She brought her littles to the pool last month and we ate way too much food, laughed way too loud and played way too hard. Aren't her children adorable? Thanks, guys, for coming up and spending the day. Let's not wait fourteen years to do it again!

Ella's swimsuit is from Old Navy, Sophie's is from Target and the cutest swimsuits in this photo are from Handsmocked by Holly.

Don't forget to register for the VeggieTales' giveaway. Just because you don't have little girls doesn't mean you won't be invited to a birthday party for one ;).

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