winter ONEderland

Before the big holiday weekend, we celebrated Claire's first birthday with family and friends this weekend.

The theme was Claire's Winter ONEderland and, although know she has no clue all the work that went into it, I had a good time decorating and planning.

Word of advice though: Don't try to merge a one-year-old's birthday party with a surprise birthday party for your 30-year-old husband. Not a good idea. Trying to come up with a "theme" was like trying to merge Mickey Mouse with a hunting rifle and a golf club.

So I rolled with it and managed to throw my husband a surprise 30th birthday party covered in glitter and little kid decorations. :)

The birthday girl in the outfit Mommy and Alli made her.

"Stats" photos for both Bob and Claire. Delicious cupcakes and smash cupcakes from Cupcake Collection.

1. Party invitation in clear ornaments
2. Banner and Month by Month pictures on the hutch
3. Pictures of Bob and Claire pinned to fabric covered corkboards throughout the party

Close up of the monthly pics. One more to add this weekend!
And...the party!  

"Surprise!" Bob was sent to the store for balloons.

Me and the birthday girl. Who had a good time despite the look she's giving here.

Claire reacted to her cake with exactly the emotion I thought she would: What is on my fingers?! She perked up after she tasted Daddy's chocolate cake though...after it had been smashed in his face. :)

Cake required an outfit change.

 And a nap not too long after that. When she woke up, it was time to open presents. Which clearly she enjoyed!

Opening Presents
Claire with her Alli
 Thank you to everyone who came! We had such a good time and appreciate the role each and every one of you plays in our sweet girl's life.


...and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

I love Christmas stockings.

I love Christmas stockings in fun bright patterns.

I love Christmas stockings that coordinate.

Since we've added a small child to our family this year, I needed new stockings. The old stockings for Bob and I plus a new one for Claire just wouldn't do.

I looked around. Online. At Christmas Village. In magazines. I saw a few that I loved. I did not love the price tags.

So my encouraging husband reminded me that I have a sewing machine. And I sort of know how to work it. And that I have a mother-in-law who graciously fixes my mistakes and lets me use her embroidery machine.

So off to Joann's we went, where Bob and I picked out fabric for stockings. And since I don't know how many kids we will have and I want these to be our stockings forever, I decided to make six. Don't get too excited, I'm still trying to figure out the one kid I have.

And I got to work...


I wish I could say it was as easy as pie. Well, it was. At first. I followed this tutorial.

I was doing good. I cranked out six stocking feet in an evening!

I took a break until we went to the farm for Thanksgiving so that I could embroider our names on them before sewing the cuffs on them.

Somehow, in the week between making the stockings and trying to embroider them, I lost my mind. I blame the small child.

Long story short...I embroidered our names upside down on the cuff. Oops. Thankfully my wonderful MIL helped me make it work. And they're adorable. Just slightly longer than the tutorial. Which Bob loves b/c he thinks we can fit more in them. 

By the way, when I hung these last night, I looked at Bob and said, "How weird is it that we have Mom and Dad stockings in our house?!"


claire - eleven months old!

Claire at eleven months - November 24, 2012
I can't believe my sweet girl is going to be 1 in less than a month! Enter Mommy denial, pronto...
Weight/Height: I weighed Claire yesterday on our bathroom scale and she came in at 19lbs 6 oz. I haven't a clue how tall she is, but all of her pants are becoming high waters so I'm thinking a growth spurt has taken place!

Clothes: 9 month sleepers are still comfortable, and Claire's 6 month pants are rapidly becoming too short. Momma needs to go buy some new 9 month pants, but it seems like I just bought these! Claire can still fit in most 6-9 month onesies and outfits. She's getting taller, but still has the cutest little round belly. I just love that belly!

Eating Habits
: Mid-month, Claire wasn't eating as well and wasn't finishing most of her bottles. She's made a turnaround now and sucks them all dry! 6-7 oz, 4 times a day.

Claire mostly eats anything and everything. She eats some homemade and some store bought baby food, along with bits and pieces of anything we can find to give her. She still makes a big mess, but she's learning!

And, when she's hungry, the kid will eat. But when she's not, she won't touch a thing. Good habit to form, I know. 

Sleep: Still sleeping pretty well. There are spurts of fussy nights but I can attribute those to teething - or a lingering cough. She sleeps from 8 - 8:30 pm til I wake her up at 6:45 am on weekdays. She gets up between 7:30 and 8 on the weekends. Claire will occasionally wake during the night and mostly puts herself back to sleep. If she can't, a quick paci hunt can solve the problem. I've woken up several times to her musical seahorse playing. It's so cute to see her find him in the crib and turn it on.

: Sigh...still no teeth. I keep telling Bob that I'm expecting a full mouth of teeth when these babies finally pop through! For all the drooling, sucking, biting and fussing she's doing - more than one better make an appearance. And soon, please!

Biggest accomplishment: Completely pulling up. Claire is also trying to "walk." She pushes her little car around the kitchen. She only gets a couple of steps before she falls, but she's still trying.

Claire is also mimicking us. It's fun and funny. She'll echo words that we say in a sing song voice, and she loves to make the "uhhh" noise with her daddy.

  • Clapping
  • Gerber Puffs and Veggie Sticks
  • Her musical seahorse
  • People watching when we're out
  • Bathtime
  • Her red rubber duckie
  • Driving her car around the kitchen
  • The puppies - new this month. Claire really has seemed to take notice of Grace and Tanner.

  • Having her nose cleaned - oh, the fights we have to clean out boogers.
  • The end of bathtime when Mommy pulls the rubber duckie out of her hand and leaves it in the bathtub
  • Her carseat - I think this has passed. A new carseat seems to have done the trick. But when Claire is ready to get out, she lets you know.
  • When Mommy or Daddy leaves the room - this has really upped this month. I think a little separation anxiety has set in. Especially with Mommy. Clarire still does fine when we leave her at daycare but if we get out of her sight for a minute at home, she lets us know that she misses us. And loudly.  
Favorite Moments: Claire's first Halloween! She was a marshmallow (as part of our s'more family) and a duck. Visiting with her boyfriend Neil and Mommy's friends, Aunties Chelle and Shannon! Claire's first Thanksgiving on the farm with Alli and Pop.

Doctor's Orders: No doctor's visits this month! Thank goodness! We've maxed out our coverage for the year and are now paying out of pocket, so we're trying to stay healthy for another month.

Other Tidbits:
  • Momma is in party-planning mode! Claire will be celebrating with a "Winter ONEderland" on December 15th. More to come on that...
  • This little girl has stuck her tongue out from day 1 and is still doing it. It gives me a little complex thinking she's going to go to kindergarten with her tongue stuck out, but it's also pretty adorable.



a thursday video

Watch out, blog world, I've finally figured out how to upload videos. Don't judge me by how long it took me to figure this out!

Without further ado...Claire...driving.


trick or treat

We didn't actually trick or treat, but Claire wore her duck costume like a champ for, oh, 10 minutes or so. :)


urban funk...who me?

On another blog I read, E, Myself & I, Elizabeth shared the HomeGoods Stylescope...which was featured by Kathi Lee & Hoda recently. Side note: I can not STAND them. Hoda would be okay with KL, but b/c they're together, they drive me nuts. They are all that is wrong with daytime TV. 

Anyways, so I thought, "Sure, I could use a lesson in my decorating personality!" b/c, let's face it, I really have no sense of what my style is or should be...or if I even have one.

Plus I LOVE HomeGoods. Who doesn't? 

The result....

Urban funk with a touch of boho. Bahaha, yeah right. There's three words I would have NEVER used to describe me. Not that I don't like the style, just that it's not really me.

In all honesty, I had a hard time even picking five images that "spoke to me" (The site uses these to determine your style.).

Well...that was good for a laugh.

What's your style?


a day at the zoo

This one is a little late, but...while we were in DC last month, we had one full family day between my work conference and Ross and Sarah-Michelle's wedding. Bob and I have both been to DC before and done a lot of the historical things, and neither of us are much of a museum-person. We would have liked to have visited the International Spy Museum, but since Claire isn't old enough to participate, that would have meant Bob got to do a mission, while I waited with her. Not my idea of good family time.

So we decided to hit up the National Zoo. Bonus: The zoo is free! Parking is not.

I love the zoo. We went to the Nashville Zoo a year or so ago with our nephews and niece, and I want to buy a family pass when Claire is old enough to really see and watch the animals. I think she had a good time regardless.

Arriving at the zoo. Sleepy from a nap in the car.

 First, we saw gorillas!

Claire perked up when we got her out of her stroller.
Baby girl wore her giraffe shirt just for the occasion.
And, we saw zebras...

...and cheetahs...

...and orangutangs, oh my! (Doesn't go that way? Oh, well, I tried!)
These guys were awesome. They had these ropes strung across the park and every once in a while, the orangs' would hop on and go on a visit to the other side of the park.

They've been know to, ahem, do their business up there, so I took these pictures with my zoom lens safely from a distance!

All, in all, it was a fun trip. It was warm, but not hot, so we weren't uncomfortable either. Somebody was worn out by the time we left...

While we were there, we learned that a little giant panda had been born just days before. Sadly,  I
read a few weeks ago that the cub passed away Sept 22, at just six days old from lung and liver problems.
Tian Tian and Mei Xiang
Mama and Daddy Panda (via)
While reading about the little girl panda, I found that panda pregnancy is really interesting. The zookeepers really didn't know whether Mama Mei Xiang was pregnant at all and were watching with waited breath during the time she would deliver after being artificially inseminated months prior. Apparently, pandas can exhibit false pregnancy symptoms. Obviously, Mei Xiang was, in fact, pregnant. The cub was born seemingly healthy and the zookeepers allowed Mama to care for her. After her baby's death, which she alerted zookeepers to by honking in distress, she cuddled with a Kong toy for days almost in substitution. Poor Mama. 
And there you go...more than you never knew you wanted to know about panda pregnancy.  


claire - ten months old!

Claire at ten months - October 24, 2012
Weight/Height: We haven't had a weigh in this month, but if I had to guess, I'd say she's about 17 1/2 lbs now. She seems to be a lot heavier this month. And taller. I really have no idea how tall she is. I'm not good at measuring/weighing her unless we have a doctor's visit.

Clothes: Still 6 or 6-9 month clothes for most things, but 9 month jammies are the way to go! Thankfully, Ali came at just the right time and saw her little toes being stretched in 6 month jammies and stocked us up on Carter's 9 month sleepers!

Eating Habits
: Claire is still eating the same, but towards the end of this month, we noticed she was not finishing all her bottles and not seeming as interested in the last one of the day, so we're officially trying to get down to 4 bottles - 7 -8 oz each - per day.

She's eaten a lot of baby food, too many to name - but clearly prefers when Momma makes homemade baby food so that's what we've been doing. She flat out refused anything with meat and most veggies made by Gerber. I'll probably try a different brand this month to see if she likes it, but honestly, it's not hard to make her food and I like knowing exactly what's in it. So far we've done all veggies, most fruits and compounds like chicken and veggies. She also eats lentils for protein and is really enjoying a blueberry/spinach "recipe" that I found here. We supplement with Gerber bananas, corn, sweet potatoes and mangoes.

And Claire eats a bit of what we're eating most nights. Mostly it's just practice and a lot of it winds up in her chair or in the dogs' mouths on the floor.

Sleep: Claire didn't sleep as well this month, but part of it had to do with her being sick, lots of travels and the ever-popular teething. She has, however, gotten really good at putting herself to sleep when we put her down. She doesn't let us rock her anymore, so unless she falls asleep with her last bottle (which is rare now), she plays in her crib and talks to her seahorse til she falls asleep.

Eye Color: Brown

Biggest accomplishment:Growing hair! You can really see it in the picture above. Momma's hoping for a bow by Christmas.

Claire is also pulling up on things now. She can't get all the way up, but she's trying! I went in to check on her during a nap at Grandma's this past weekend and found her peering over the side. We had already lowered the mattresses in her crib, but I broke out the pack and play manual immediately and fixed that one as well!

We also gave Claire a sippy cup this month. Despite my over-analyzing the 473,000 types of sippy cups in feeding aisle at Target (and asking three nearby mothers what they prefer), Claire does what she always does and adapted to the first kind we gave her. She drinks a bit of water with her meals now.

Likes: These top two are still among Claire's favorites!
  • Clapping
  • Gerber Puffs and Veggie Sticks
  • Her musical seahorse
  • People watching when we're out
  • Bathtime
  • Her red rubber duckie
  • Driving her car around the kitchen


  • Having her nose cleaned
  • The end of bathtime when Mommy pulls the rubber duckie out of her hand and leaves it in the bathtub
  • Being rocked Momma is sad about this one
  • Her carseat
  • When Mommy or Daddy leaves the room
The list of dislikes has gotten longer and much more apparent this month. Somebody has found her attitude.
Favorite Moments: Meeting Cousin Will finally! (Oct. 14, 2012) Visiting with both sets of grandparents in the same weekend (thanks to Will making his appearance!). Spending some one-on-one time with Daddy while Mommy worked a few late nights.

Doctor's Orders: After almost 7 months in daycare, Claire finally caught her first "daycare" illness...hand, foot and mouth. Thankfully it was just a fever and some spots, and appears to have been a mild case, but it still kept her out of school for a day and half and put Mom and Dad in a tough spot! Seriously...51 weeks out of the year, I could stay home at any given moment, but the 1 week I must be there, Claire gets sick and my nephew is born three hours away! Murphy's Law, right?



from my bookshelf

I've been reading a few good books lately, so I thought I'd share them in case your bookshelf is lacking.

I'm not very discriminating on types of books I will read, but if a book doesn't capture me in the first few pages, I'm very easily persuaded to put it down. Hello, Hunger Games. Thank goodness I ran out of things to read on vacation and picked it back up.


But just like I love a good crime show, I also love a good crime novel. I picked this one up randomly a wild back. I think it was a good price on Barnes and Noble for my Nook or something.

212 by Alafair Burke

"When New York University sophomore Megan Gunther finds personal threats posted to a Web site specializing in campus gossip, she's taken aback by their menacing tone. Someone knows her daily routine down to the minute and is watching her — but thanks to the anonymity provided by the Internet, the police tell her there's nothing they can do. Her friends are sure it's someone's idea of a joke, but when Megan is murdered in a vicious attack, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced that the online threats are more than just empty words. With smooth, straight-talking partner J. J. Rogan at her side, Ellie tries to identify Megan's enemies, but she begins to wonder if the coed's murder was more than just the culmination of a cyber obsession. Phone records reveal a link between Megan and a murdered real estate agent who was living a dangerous double life. The detectives also learn that the dead real estate agent shared a secret connection to a celebrity mogul whose bodyguard was mysteriously killed a few months earlier. And when Megan's roommate suddenly disappears, they know they have to find her before another young woman dies."

I just finished it this past weekend and thought it to be very good. I think it's the third in the "Ellie Hatcher series," and I'll be reading the others.


I heard my friends Shannon and Nicole discussing this one just before my trip to DC in September, but just got around to starting it today. And though I wasn't sold on the plot line at first, I read 100 pages at lunch today, so it's safe to say I'm convinced now!

Matched by Ally Condie


"In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion."


I'm also in the middle of an audio book right now - yes, I know, I am a nerd. I've only been listening to it when I drive long distances or occasionally while I work out so I haven't gotten too far, but I've heard enough to be intrigued.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynne

"On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?"

What are you reading? I'm always looking for new books to add to my list!


claire - nine months

Claire at nine months - September 24, 2012

Ahhh, I'm so behind. Claire is going to be TEN months if I don't post this soon!

: Little chunker is 16 lbs, 12 oz now. Still so petite, but I love it! Claire is 26 1/4 inches long - short(er) just like her parents.

Clothes: 6 month jammies (but not for long!) and mostly six months for everything else. We can get away with a few random 3 month dresses, but mostly those have been packed up.

Eating Habits
: Usually she has a 6 oz bottle first thing in the morning (7ish) and 4 6-7 oz bottles during the day (9-10 am, 12-1 pm, 3-4 pm and 7-8 pm). We've continued to introduce solid foods, including meat, this month. She eats the pureed stuff pretty well, but really likes when we give her bites of things to eat in her highchair while we eat.
: Still sleeping great at night. She goes down between 8 and 9 and sleeps til we get her up arund 6:45. At least once this month, she gave us a treat by sleeping til 8 on a Saturday morning. Napping? Not so much. She gets great naps at home on the weekends, but is way too distracted to sleep at daycare.

Eye Color: Brown

Biggest accomplishment: Claire is crawling now! It's fun and scary at the same time. We've had a few more bumps on the head and a couple of topple overs, but she is on the move!

  • Clapping
  • Gerber Puffs
  • FOOD!

  • Being hungry
  • Sitting in  her high chair for too long...though she does great when we're out to dinner usually.
Favorite Moments: This month was really a blur for us with traveling and being sick. Highlights include Pop and Alli's visit, Grandma and Grandpa's visit, Mommy and Daddy's weekend trip and a family trip to DC! Oh, and some Daddy/Claire time while Mommy was traveling for work. It was a big month

Doctor's Orders: A quick (yeah, right) visit to the doctor this month showed that Claire is healthy as can be. What we thought might be an ear infection was only teething. Her nine month visit went great as well. Claire is right on track and growing. She got a flu shot and orders to keep up the good work!




september in review

October 1.  Yikes.

Where did September go?

I'll tell you where.

There was a trip to Dallas to see the Tide roll.

(Throw in a trip to the urgent care for Momma. Verdict: Strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. Roll Tide.)

Claire had a big time at home with Pop and Allie.

(Finished out the weekend with a little stomach bug for baby girl. Thankfully it passed, but the screaming in the middle of the night did not. So Claire's first doctor visit of the month was scheduled. Verdict: Perfect, as always. No ear infection, nothing but teething and a worried Momma.)

Then there was a visit from Uncle Craig. And Beauford.


(The work week saw Momma's second visit to the doctor for the month of September - Verdict: a persistent bug. Round 2 of antibiotics.)

Lots of sporting new crimson and white attire to cheer for Bama. 5-0.

The Somerville's made their first trip to Bobbie's Dairy Dip. And Claire had her first french fry.

Then Grandma and Grandpa came for a brief visit. A good time was had by all. And Claire wore her first pair of jeggings!

Then Momma headed to D.C. for a conference. (And Daddy headed to the doctor for the first time that month. Verdict: A severe sinus infection.)

Armed with medicine, bottles and a plethora of Puffs (Gerber, not tissues), Claire and Daddy came to meet Momma in D.C. for Ross and Sarah Michelle's big day!

Upon arrival back in Nashvegas, Daddy took Claire to her second doctor's appointment of the month - this time just a 9-month well baby check up and flu shot.

And Momma and Daddy went on a date to see Martina McBride perform at the Ryman for the first time in eight years. Love her.

Oh, and this little man turned 2!

By month's end, Claire is still teething, but as sweet as ever. Daddy has kicked his sinus infection and is taking care of the house as usual. And I'm on day 32 of not quite feeling myself, but I refuse to go to the doctor again. Post pregnancy has wreaked havoc on my immune system!

Whew! Bring on October! And hopefully a few less doctor's appointments.

(In the interest of getting this posted before, oh, November, these are all iPhone pics. 
Thank goodness for the iPhone.)