Monday, April 26, 2010

I almost forgot...

About the second-best part of the birthday party (minus the obvious)...

Instead of gifts for Madelyn we sent each guest a note asking them to bring a much-needed item for the Atlanta Children's Shelter. I spoke to the shelter to find out what they were most in need of and we included a short note inside each invitation listing those items. Everyone was so generous and I cannot wait to take these items to the shelter to donate.

We are all so lucky to have everything we need and so much more, and I want Madelyn to grow up knowing how important it is to help others who aren't as fortunate. Of course, she still got a few gifts from her parents (duh!) and grandparents, including a swing, a wagon, lots of books, blocks, and a few other cute toys, but those were certainly more than enough for a little one year old.

Here's the loot, and sorry for the really bad camera phone picture.
Each of those bags is filled to the brim with sippy cups, wipes, small toys, and lots of other goodies for the sweet kiddos at the shelter. I am so thankful everyone participated in this less-than orthodox request, so Big Thanks to everyone who attended, and another BIG thanks to Kristin who made the DE-Lish cupcakes. I think I need a serious sugar detox after this weekend. Waaay too many refined carbohydrates.

Our Weekend

Incase you haven't heard, someone celebrated their first birthday over the weekend...

I'll spare you the long-winded details and just provide you with a quick picture synopsis of the event. We felt super blessed to have all (well, most) of our friends and family here to celebrate with us, and got a great report from Madelyn's one-year checkup this morning, so we're happy kids.
As if there wasn't enough to be excited about around here, this weekend we're heading up toooo....drumroll please.....


This has been on my bucket list for FOREVER and I could not be more excited. It's a bit of a splurge for us to take off for a weekend "just because" but we're looking at it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. We're traveling with Kristin and Matt, a big black hat to match my green dress, and anticipation of many mint juleps and borboun slushes :)

And now, without further delay, the party:

(before Matt smashed cake in my face....)

aaaand after.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One year later

A lot happens in your first year as a parent.

You go from two separate people, living independently, to a family of three, living completely dependent upon each other. You change your life, your hair, the way you drive, the food you buy, the books you read, the way you think, the way you judge, the way you love those around you. You think you know what it means to be a parent, and then it happens to you and you realize you don't know anything.

You are scared, giddy, helpless, tired, and more committed to this tiny being than anything else in your life. You think you know how it's going to feel, what your life is going to be like, how your friends will react- after all, it all looks so glamorous on TV and in other romanticized blogs. But until you've stayed up all night making sure your baby is breathing, or burst out crying for fear that you are doing everything wrong, you really don't know.

In one year we have learned to trust God with our lives, and the life of our sweet baby girl; we've learned to love unconditionally; we've learned about what it really means to doubt yourself, and how to hang on to some little bit of yourself when you've only slept two hours and haven't had a real conversation with your spouse in days.
You learn you are the single luckiest person in the world because you have been graced with a little girl who thinks you are the best possible version of yourself. She reminds you of life's real joys, and the power of a smile.

You wonder how you used to spend your days, and what your child-less friends are doing, and then you look at that face and wonder how you ever lived without it.

You realize that every.little.thing you do and say is shaping this little girl's thoughts, feelings, opinions, and then you realize that every little thing she does is shaping yours.

It's not about the dirty diapers, or the nights spent rocking a sick, crying child.

It's about engaging in and cherishing every single moment. It's about the pumpkin patch, her favorite stuffed animal, reading bedtime stories, a sweet hug after a really long day, swinging at the park, singing, playing, talking, and laughing.

In your first year as a parent you learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. You learn that it's not only worth handing your entire life over, but that it's an honor that you get to spend every day with this amazing little girl. And that on her first birthday, the best gift of all, is her.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Girl Time

There is no question that as I get older the time that is most valuable to me is that spent with my friends and family. When I was younger I enjoyed it but now I truly treasure it. So when Kristin said she was coming down for a good old-fashioned sleepover on Friday night, I could hardly contain my excitement. It was the perfect way to start our fun weekend :)

We took little Miss for a long walk around the neighborhood and got to catch up. Because emailing and/or blackberry chatting almost every day isn't enough, somehow there is always more to discuss. We ate a yummy dinner, watched a DVR'd Saturday Night Live episode (the 2000's recap episode- SO funny), and called it a night. We spent the next day at the Dogwood Festival in Atlanta's Central Park, Piedmont Park. It was an unbelievably gorgeous day and it was so nice just to walk around. We even packed a little picnic lunch but had to trade off eating and chasing the little monkey around. Girl does not like to sit still!

We spent the rest of the weekend busily running errands and working on the house to get ready for the big ParTay this Saturday. Oh, and discovering our love of Daddy's old toy cars....

....And just generally being cute :)

Tonight we're going up to Toys R 'Us to get a few little gifts for her birthday. You know your baby is getting big when you graduate from Babies R Us. Scary. Before I know it she'll be 16 and we'll be heading up to the car dealership. Super scary.

What am I saying? We all know she won't be getting a new car unless one of her grandparents buys it for her!

Hope ya'll have a great week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh Yes I Did

The first birthday

Madelyn's first birthday is 7 days away, and since she can't use the computer yet (I think they start that in the toddler room at school these days), I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts regarding her big day. I've only been planning it for oh, 2 months now. Type A much?

The irony is that all along I've said "it's going to be small and laid back. No themes. It's not like she's going to remember it anyways!" In fact, one author, who's book I read while pregnant, said on her daughter's first birthday she and her husband ordered a pizza and took a shot of tequila while congratulating themselves on making it through the first year. Brilliant, I thought. Because really, it's YOU that needs the one year celebration! Your life has been turned upside down, you've lost sleep, your social life, the ability to walk out of your house without some sort of infant bodily fluid on your clothes, the list goes on and on. Cheers to that.

But then I started thinking about it and realized it's not about the ceremonious obligation that the first birthday comes with, it's about taking a day to celebrate this little life, and how lucky we are to have this beautiful, thriving, HEALTHY baby girl. It's a God-given miracle to have a healthy child, and because of that, we plan to party. Although there may still be tequilla involved.

So, Madelyn's birthday party will be held next Saturday at our house over brunch (in my opinion, the Best meal), with only closest friends and family, and no gifts. Instead, I asked guests to bring a donation of a much needed item for the Atlanta Children's Shelter which I'll be delivering the following week. While Matt and I, and her grandparents will still buy her gifts, she certainly has everything she needs and I felt very compelled to do something for those who don't.

There will be a smorgesboard of southern brunch favorites, mimosas, and cupcakes, all in the "theme" colors of light pink and dark pink. Or "blush and bashful" as Shelby on Steel Magnolias would say. Pink paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, personalized cupcake toppers and parting gifts, pink M&Ms (hello! They have her initials all over them!), flowers, way too many monogrammed gifts, and lots and lots of picture taking. I might as well invite the circus at this point.

Can't wait to share all the goodies with you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One of those days

Most people know me as a pretty even-keel, patient person. I'm fairly low stress, go with the flow, usually have a smile on my face. Until yesterday evening when I went to give Madelyn a bath and like always I couldn't get the *%&$#%&!@ bath drain to shut so the water wouldn't drain out. I had a serious moment that involved a lot of cussing and yelling. Then I realized I probably scared the crap out of poor Madelyn, but when I looked at her she was just happy as ever, sitting on the bath mat chewing on a lotion container.

I still get mad just thinking about it! Why is it that sometimes the most irrelevant things ust totally set us off?! I mean, I seriously hate that drain, it never works right, but I certainly don't know why I feel like I'm going to explode every time I think about it! It's a drain for crying out loud!

Rant over. Just wanted to let ya'll know that even I can be a raging crazy person at times :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

I broke the law

This weekend was Extreme Makeover Home Edition at 430 Hillsdale, and in the midst of it all, I became a non-law-abiding citizen. On Sunday Madelyn and I took a little trip up to Michael's to pick up some new frames for the house. I was dealing with a very tired little one who had barely napped at all, and was walking around the store with way more than I could actually carry, so I stuffed a few small things into the bottom of our umbrella stroller....

.....And did not find them again until I was packing our goodies up into the car to leave. AFTER I had checked out. At this point I had a violently screaming baby in the back seat and there was no way I could get her out and go back in. So, I went home and pulled the UPC code stickers off of the items I inadvertently shoplifted, and am taking them back to Michael's today so I can properly pay for my goods. Some example I am setting for Madelyn!

Anyways, back to the fun house stuff. We decided since we were going to stay in the house we wanted to redo Matt's office and make it a little more distinguished and grown-up. We sold his old desk on Craig's List (can you tell me and CL are having mad love affair?) and bought a dusty antique banker's desk. Solid pine, dovetailed drawers. A total score for $50 if you ask me. Friday evening, much to the dismay of our neighbors, we hung out in the garage until 10 p.m. sanding that baby down. Sunday Matt stained it and now we're waiting 48 hours for it to all soak in before we put a nice coat of poly on top and bring her into the house! Since the stain and poly seal have crazy fumes, we probably won't actually be bringing the desk into the house until Friday, but we're super excited. Considering we've never refinished anything, I'm pretty proud of us :) It has been fun and super budget effecient.

We also made the trip up to Snellville, a town about an hour from us and in the middle of nowhere, to pick up our custom headboard for our bedroom. I have always, for as long as I can remember, wanted an upholstered headboard, but with a typical pricetag of $1200 I wasn't holding my breath. UNTIL, I found this little gem called New Again Upholstery, a husband/wife company who upholster anything out of their house for super cheap. You can imagine my delight. Here is our final product, nailhead trim and all, that we snagged for $400. She is gorge.

We also took an armoire from our bedroom and moved it down to Matt's office to serve as his supply closet. It's big and manly, so it's perfect for his space, and it also keeps all of his junk behind closed doors :) I'm planning to reupholster a chair and a half we have and put it in the armoire's old him in our room to serve as a reading corner. Stay tuned.

And just so you know we didn't work and engage in manual labor all weekend, we spent yesterday afternoon at the park with some friends and then hosted an impromptu cookout at our house. It was really fun and so so nice to eat outside on the back deck. I didn't snap any pictures because we were too busy chasing the kiddos around, but it was the perfect end to the weekend :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring fashions

I wanted to share this deal with you guys incase anyone is looking for some cute new clothes for these wonderful warmer temperatures...Old Navy is offering 20% your entire order online today (sorry for the late notice) with the code ONSPRING. You can still use the code after today but it will only be good for 15% on April 8&9, and 10% on April 10, plus free shipping on orders of $75 or more. Here's what I picked up. Consider my Spring shopping accomplished.
This dress is black to wear as a bathing suit cover up or with a cardigan on a casual day.

This dress is navy because it is super comfortable and very flattering, and when you're a mama chasing after a very busy toddler, comfort is everything. But don't worry, I'm not buying crocs anytime soon. Or EVER.

This cardigan in a pretty aqua to wear over either of the above dresses, or the cute white ruffle tee below.

This super soft and comfy tee in white because it's cute over yoga pants on those days I'm working from home.
I LOVE this top. I got it in this gorgeous emerald green, white, and black. Little bit overboard, but I can wear it with a cardigan to work or with jeans/shorts on the weekend.

This in navy and white because it was on sale for $7 and I couldn't resist. It would be so cute and nautical with the shorts I got (below) in white.

My wardrobe is changing quite a bit for a few reasons. One- now that I'm working from home a few days a week, I don't need fancy clothes to wear to work all the time, I just need enough to get me by. I mean, I don't think anyone notices I'm wearing my black pants twice a week. Two- my clothes have to be comfortable and functional because when you spend most of your time chasing after your child who is trying to leave you in their dust, those two things are very important. Another thing I like right now- Cheap. No point in buying nice clothes when they're just going to get applesauce or dirt on them.

My little Easter bunny

Can you seriously believe how BIG she looks?! I personally cannot!

Madelyn loved Easter. Her new favorite accessory is her pink Easter basket filled with plastic eggs which she carries with her all over the house. She also loved these bunny ears for about 15 seconds. Probably about as long as she'll love this picture when she gets older ;)

Since I haven't given a real Madelyn update in a while and she'll be ONE this month, here are a few of the little milestones we're experiencing at the moment.

As I've mentioned she is walking. I love this milestone in particular (oh who am I kidding, I am a huge sappy nerd who loves all of them) because she can follow me around, doesn't have to be carried, and has started walking over to me and wrapping her arms around my leg giving me big leg hugs.

She also gives regular hugs and those make you feel really special. Especially the ones where she lays her head down on your shoulder. I die.

She plays outside on the playground every day at school (my word for daycare because it makes me feel better) and comes home dirty and smelling like sunscreen, and usually passes out for an hour nap as soon as she gets home. She also got her first bite yesterday from another child in class that wanted her toy....I'm a little less thrilled about this one, but we signed the "boo boo report" and went on our way.

She'll drink water out of her sippy cup but not juice, and is Finally holding her own bottles.

She waves, claps, gives high-fives, says mama and dada and almost "uh oh".

She's seriously gets cuter and sweeter every day. Duh.

She loves to do anything outside and we go on walks almost every night after work.

When we put her in her crib at night to go "nite nite" she talks and sings to herself until she falls asleep.

Strangers still think she's a boy, amidst the pink clothing, the bows, and other obviously feminine accessories. Whatever.

She loves animal crackers, bananas, green beans, and avocados.

She brushes her teeth every night before we go to bed. Rather, I quickly dart the toothbrush in and out of her mouth while she tries to clamp down on my fingers like a great white.

She throws 4-second tantrums when you take something away that she wants. I just ignore her and go about my business and hope we get this phase out of the way early :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

A few things you should know about me

Just a few random tidbits about yours truly. I've got blog block so this is the best I can come up with at the moment. My apologies.

- I hate velvet. Anything velvet. Curtains, formal dresses with far too many sequins, sofas, anything.

- I think my husband would be very surprised to hear some of the music on my iPod.

- Greater than my dislike for velvet, I cannot stand to be home alone at night. I am just restless when Matt is gone and completely convinced someone is going to break in and render me helpless. Like tonight for example, Matt is gone and I have almost every light in the house on, will sleep with the TV and the bathroom light on, and have already had a glass of wine to calm my nerves. It's a serious issue and probably the only area where I could be considered a little batty.

I swear I'm extremely level-headed, except in this instance.

- I love to save money yet literally cannot seem to get out of Target without spending $40. Headbands, earrings, picture frames, file folders...It's ridiculous and I can't stop.

- I would probably be 10 pounds thinner if God hadn't invented cheese or anything in a peanut butter/chocolate combination.

- I go upstairs for bed at 9:30 every night and am almost always sleeping by 10. Oh, and I got an invitation to join the AARP in the mail yesterday. Not kidding.

- There are several movies I cannot turn off when I find them on tv. They are (in no particular order): Father of the Bride, Dumb and Dumber, Something to Talk About (Oh, Dennis Quaid), and the Notebook. And Walk the Line, or anything else with Reese Witherspoon. (How could I almost forget that one?!)

- Matt refuses to watch Dumb and Dumber because I lose the ability to censor myself and feel it necessary to say every.single.line. I wouldn't watch it with me either. Kristin may be the only person who would...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy (almost) Easter!

We spent last Saturday at this gorgeous old farm hunting Easter eggs and just generally enjoying the fresh air. Matt's dad is involved in Civitan, a community service organization, and they put together this great event for special needs children. It was so touching to see the kids out there having so much fun playing in the bouncy house, picking candy out of eggs, and getting their pictures with the Easter bunny. Although, some kids weren't so keen on Mr. Bunny. Like mine. She refused to look at him and when she finally did her entire face was paralyzed with fear. Maybe next year. Here are a few snapshots of our day :) (please ignore Madelyn's silly purple hat, it was really windy out and I didn't want her little ears to get cold!)

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