Christmas Pictures.

During the Thanksgiving holiday my talented cousin over at A.Elliot Photography came into town and took our Christmas photos. Unfortunately our pictures were at 9:30 in the morning. It was 20 degrees outside and Harper had just fell asleep for her morning nap just moments before we pulled into the Rakestraw family's farm. Needless to say, April had a lot of things going against her. But despite the fact that Harper was freezing and sleepy, April still managed to get some good shots of her! I just wish she'd have smiled more but she looks just as cute sucking on her bottom lip like a little old lady :P


Holiday Traditions.

With Christmas being just right around the corner, I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about the holidays and the traditions they bring. Growing up, my mom and dad always carried out certain traditions for our family during the holidays. Each year we'd always decorate two Christmas trees. My parents allowed my siblings and I to decorate the Christmas tree that went downstairs in our den. This tree was filled with homemade, school craft, and kid themed ornaments. As we decorated our tree, Mom and Dad decorated their own tree that stood in the center of our living room. It was decorated in ornaments that they had collected over their many years of marriage. This tree held the "don't touch" ornaments. Another tradition we had was that every Christmas Eve, we'd get new Christmas pajamas. As children they were always the red plaid ones that Belk carried but as we got older they transformed into winter prints and flannel plaids meant for older kids and young adults. 

Looking back, I cherish these traditions as well as the many others my parents worked hard to keep alive. I realize these were some of the small touches that made the holidays so meaningful. With that said, I want to carry on many of the traditions I had as a child as well as incorporating new ones into mine and Kevin's little family. 

Here's what traditions are going to be happening in the Holt Household: 
25 Books of Christmas
As a teacher, I love books so the thought of 25 books of Christmas definitely catches my attention. I had all hopes of beginning this tradition this year but it just didn't happen. Harper either went to bed early, we stayed out too late, or she just didn't want to participate! However, we did get a handful of books read and considering she's only 7 months old, I'd say that's pretty good for her first year! Hopefully next year we can tackle all 25. We've purchased 10-15 Christmas books already and the other 10 I checked out from my school's library. My goal is to stock up on more Christmas books after Christmas when they're on sale so that we can be well prepared next year.

Christmas Eve Pajamas
As I mentioned earlier, my parents bought my siblings and me new pajamas every Christmas Eve. I loved this tradition and it's one that we're carrying on now that Harper is here. We've purchased her these adorable reindeer footed pajamas from Target that she'll be wearing on Christmas Eve! They'll be delivered in a box with the book, The Pajama Elves. I can't wait to see her opening her presents by the tree in all her cuteness on Christmas morning!

Christmas Ornaments
Not too long ago I had popped over to Jessica's blog at The Newly and she shared one of the traditions her family had started when she was a child. I immediately fell in love with the idea, called Kevin right away, and told him we were doing it. So what are we doing? Each year Kevin and I both will choose an ornament for Harper and our other babies (that won't be coming anytime in the near future). Our hope is that when it comes time for our children to move out and have their own Christmas trees, they'll have plenty of ornaments to start out with. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen the ornament I chose for Harper. But in case you didn't, it's pictured below along with the Tarheel themed ornament Kevin chose for Harper doodle this year (that still needs her picture added to it! haha). 

Christmas Cards
When Kevin and I got married in 2011, I vowed to send out Christmas cards every Christmas to our family members. Unfortunately, that never happened. So now that Harper has arrived, I plan to make it a top priority. I love receiving Christmas cards from our family and friends. I love seeing their faces decorating the front of my fridge. We leave them there all year long and it makes me feel like our family and friends are close by at all times. Here's the Christmas card we chose this year! I love the gold & black! 

Elf on the Shelf
I love the idea of Elf on the Shelf. It's such a cute idea and I think it will help tremendously with behavior as well as getting kids in the mood for Christmas. Harper was too young to start it this year but we still purchased an elf anyways. He came all the way from Chapel Hill (; 

These are just a few of the traditions we'll be carrying out in our family. I'm sure others will be added as Harper gets older and understands the true meaning of Christmas. What are some traditions you and your family participate in?!


Weekend Recap

Happy Tuesday girls! I don't know about you ladies but this week is kicking off in full gear. However, I couldn't be happier because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As of Friday at noon, this girl will be enjoying 2 weeks at home with her precious family! Can you say, "excited"?!

Nothing too exciting happened Friday. I left work around 4, ran some errands, and picked up little Harper doodle. I had intentions of spending a few hours playing with her before we headed out to dinner but she had other plans. As soon as we got home she passed out and slept for a few hours :( Sad mama here. However, it did give me time to cuddle on the couch with  her while I watched a cheesy Christmas romance I dvred from the Hallmark channel (see how I turned that into a verb). I have to admit, it was nice to have a little mommy time. 

When the movie was finished and Kevin got home, we headed out to Sanitary Cafe to indulge in some pancakes for dinner. We picked up Brittni on the way and met my parents there. As always, the food didn't disappoint nor did the company. 

Kevin and I had all sorts of things planned for us to do on Saturday but unfortunately they were all postponed when Kevin got called into work. It was disappointing but on the bright side, it allowed him some extra overtime which means a little extra holiday cash for us. I don't know about you mamas, but this time of year, money always gets tight in our house. Factor in a new baby and you could say we're broke! haha 

As has become our Saturday morning routine, Harper and I headed out to Farmer's Table to meet my parents for breakfast. When breakfast was over Harper and I headed back to the house to spend the day in since it was so cold and rainy. We played to Harper's little heart's desire for most of the morning and early afternoon. Around 1 she fell asleep and I spent the next three hours of her naptime catching up on Jennifer Probst latest novel that I had had for nearly three months and hadn't once cracked open.  

When Kevin arrived home a little after 6, we loaded up my Lexus and headed to High Point to spend what was left of the weekend with my cousin Clint and my best friend Alyson (his fiance). Clint is a college basketball coach at High Point University and he and Aly have been begging us to bring Harper to a game. Since we didn't have any other plans for the evening, it was the perfect night to go. We arrived at the game a little late but that was ok because Clint left us his parking pass and we had preferential seating... meaning we sat with the players' and coaches' families. Needless to say, we had amazing seats! 

Since the game ended late and we headed to Chilli's for dinner after, we decided to crash at Aly & Clint's Saturday night. Apparently we should do it more often because Harper slept until 8:30 in the morning! Apparently a memory foam mattress can do wonders for even a baby! 

Our intention was to go to church with Clint & Aly but around 10:30 my dad called saying my brother had been rushed to the hospital and they weren't sure why. Immediately I threw our stuff back in bags, made our bed, and loaded up the car while Aly changed and dressed Harper for us. By 10:45 we were on the road and I'd already arranged for Harper to go to the in-laws for the day so we could head to the hospital.

By 1:00 Kevin and I were walking through the emergency room doors at a nearby hospital. I wasn't at all prepared for what I saw when I got to his room. He looked so pitiful and was white as a ghost. My mom informed us that Andrew was having excruciating pain in his side. The doctors had ran a cat scan to determine if his appendix was rupturing or not. Come to find out he had a kidney stone. All I can say is I don't want one after seeing my brother nearly in tears. He definitely has the highest pain tolerance of anyone I know. He once dropped our jet ski trailer, with the jet ski on it, on his bare foot and barely shed a tear. The fact that a kidney stone could cause him to scream and sob clearly shows me it must be worst than child birth as they say! haha 

While my brother was given an IV of fluids, we headed to lunch with my parents since they hadn't ate. When we returned to the hospital they were ready to discharge him. Mom and Dad took him to their house while Kevin and I went and picked up Andrew's car from his church. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent worrying about him while trying to finish up laundry and straighten up the house. By 8pm I was exhausted and ready to call it a night! But not before checking in on him...

As of this morning, he's doing better but still in pain. Prayers that he passes this stone soon!

Happy Tuesday everyone!


{Recipes}: Muffin Meatloaf

Hi Ladies! I wanted to pop in today and share one of my favorite family recipes. Here in the south, meatloaf is most definitely a comfort food. And this time of year, comfort food is exactly what the cold winter days demand. We love this recipe and fix it at least once every couple of weeks. What I love most about it is it literally requires 5 minutes preparation and is finished in 25! For a mama with a baby, it can't get much better than that!

The Holt Household's "Muffin Meatloaf"
What You Need:
1 pound ground beef (We use 93/7)
1 egg
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 cup of Stove Top savory herb stuffing mix
- 1 cup of ketchup
- 2 T brown sugar
- 1 T white distilled vinegar (any kind will work)


1. Shred (by hand) uncooked beef in a mixing bowl
2. Combine egg, 3/4 of tomato sauce, and 1 cup of stuffing mix in mixing bowl
3. Mix together all the ingredients in the mixing bowl with a spoon
4. Place muffin cups (we use the foil ones! They work best for this recipe!) in a muffin pan and spray with cooking oil to prevent meatloaf from sticking)
5. Take meat mixture and create meat balls and place them in the muffin cups (I make them where they just do fit in the cups)
 *Note: If you think the mixture seems dry, add the rest of the tomato sauce! Despite the fact that I always make this recipe the same way, sometimes I need the extra sauce and sometimes I don't!

1. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and white distilled vinegar in a mixing cup
2. Spoon over meatballs in muffin cups

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes and then enjoy!

* This makes 12 muffins. Kevin and I usually eat 2 a piece and freeze the other 8. You can easily throw these in the fridge in the morning to thaw out and pop them in the microwave for dinner! (Just be sure to remove the foil layer before microwaving!)  


{Monthly Recap}: Seven Months

Daddy took you to the doctor for a check up on the 6th and you weighed in at 16 pounds and 2 ounces and you were 27 inches long. Yay for you finally gaining some weight :P

I'd like to say you were back to being perfectly healthy this month but we just can't seem to shake your ear infections. Earlier this month, we took you back to the doctor because you were running a high fever again. Come to find out, both of your ears were inflamed. Dr. Luking put you on another antibiotic. You seemed to like this one much better and took it without any issues. Then when Daddy took you to the doctor on the 6th for a check up, your doctor said you had fluid on your ears again. So you're on yet another antibiotic. If this one doesn't keep your ear infections away we're going to have to take you to a specialist. Apparently, you have your dad and grandpa's ears and are going to be prone to infections.

The time changed this month and we gained an extra hour. Unfortunately, you didn't get that memo at the beginning of the month. You were falling asleep anywhere between 6 and 7 which was great but then you were waking up around 4 each morning which wasn't alot of fun for mommy and daddy. But thankfully you're just about back on your regular routine. You're falling asleep between 8 or 9 o'clock each night and sleeping till about 6. Though every now and then you'll wake up around 4 in the morning. But we usually just put you in the bed with us and let you play while we sleep.

Your routine hasn't changed much this month. We still start our days around 6 am. You get a fresh change of clothes and a bottle. Then Mommy gets ready for work and we head out the door somewhere between 6:30 and 6:40am. When we get to daycare you're awake and happy as can be. While at daycare you drink three to four bottles and take a couple of cat naps here and there and usually one good long nap in the afternoon. I usually pick you up around 4:45 or 5 and you've just ate a bottle. On the way home you fall asleep and will sleep for about an hour in your car seat while Mommy cooks dinner. When you wake up we get some baby food, then a bath, and then Daddy's home. When Daddy gets home you guys play and watch tv then you fall asleep in his arms as he feeds you your last bottle.

You've been in six months clothes all this month. We've thrown in a couple of outfits from Walmart that were size 6-9 months but we have to roll the pants up since your butt is so tiny and we usually have to make cuffs on your shirt sleeves as they're too long. Though, I will say I put two 9 months outfits on your from Target and they fit you perfectly! How weird? Also this month, we've been wearing lots of socks and shoes since it's gotten much cooler. You love your socks from Carters but you are not a fan of the one's from Walmart. You're always pulling those off. Nana says that should tell Mommy and Daddy something... you're going to have expensive taste (;

You're in size twos now and they're fitting you much better. We have to tighten them pretty much as far as they'll go but they are much more roomier and aren't leaking like your size one's started to.

You're still on six ounce bottles but you've gotten where you want to eat every 2.5-3 hours so we'll probably move you up to 8 ounces pretty soon. You're doing much better with baby food this month. We started you on fruits. You're not a fan of apples but you will eat pears and bananas. Speaking of bananas, you got your first taste of real banana pudding over Thanksgiving and you're a huge fan! You're definitely your mommy & daddy's child!

Whew we! I am so thankful to report that our happy baby is back. Now that you're feeling better you're all smiles. The only time you tend to cry is when you're hungry or tired of doing something!

- This month you learned to stand on your own as long as you have something to support your weight.
- You've started flipping yourself over to your belly when you sleep.
- You celebrated your first Thanksgiving!
- I'm pretty sure you've discovered your voice this month. You love to squeal at the top of your lungs. It always startles us when you do it and as soon as you get everyone's attention, you smile!
- This month you've began reaching for people and things you want! When you want someone to pick you up or hold you, you hold your arms out and twist your wrists! If you see something you want, you lean towards it with your arms stretched wide.

- Cell Phones: You are fascinated by cell phones. As soon as you see one you reach for it. Once you get it, you flip it back and forth and then try putting it in your mouth.
- Pacifier: You are loving your pacifier this month. You are constantly taking it in and out of your mouth. However, you don't really suck on it unless you're sleepy. You just chew on it! We've tried giving you a teether instead but you won't pay any attention to it.
- Being on the floor: You are really loving laying on the floor now. You love rolling back and forth from your back to your belly and vice versa. You're also learning to get your feet under your body so I'm thinking we'll have a crawler soon!
- Exersaucer: You discovered you can jump up and down in your exersaucer and now you do it every time you get in it!

-  Not getting your food in time! If you are hungry and we aren't going fast enough, you are more than happy to express your dislike with the matter!


Weekend Recap

This past weekend was nothing short of amazing. It was exactly what our little family of three needed!

I left work around 4 on Friday and met the Hubs at his parents house. He was off for the day and had taken Harper there to hang out with his mom and dad. They were both off as his dad had just had a heart defibrillator put in a few days before. I spent an hour there just soaking up my little one. She'd had a rough day. Earlier that morning Kev had taken her to the doctor for her six month check up. Needless to say, shots were involved so she was in a very cuddly mood. 

Around 5 I left Harper and the hubs at the in-laws as I headed home to get ready for a girl's night out. Brittni, one of my best friends, was celebrating her 26th birthday and I decided to go so this mama could indulge in some much needed girl time. It ended up being 8 of us in all and we all met up at Arigato, a local Japanese restaurant. Despite the fact that we were stuffed beyond relief, we headed to Maxie B's after. If you ever visit Greensboro you should definitely hit it up. It's a bakery that looks like it would come straight out of NY. It's such a cozy little place and they have the best desserts in the world!

Most of our Saturdays begin bright and early but this past Saturday was the exception. For some odd reason, Harper slept until 7. I know that seems early to most people but when you have a baby that likes to get up around 5:30-6 each morning, 7 is amazing! An extra hour really does make all the difference. I woke up feeling so refreshed!

At 9 we headed out to Edward Jones to meet with my neighbor who happens to be a financial advisor/investor. Kevin and I have decided that each year Harper will get one big item for Christmas. Since she's too young to really understand Christmas this year, we decided to take some money from one of our cd's and start a college fund for her. Our goal is to put $25 dollars a week into it.

When we finished all the paperwork for Harper's 529, we headed to Farmer's Table to meet my parents for breakfast. I just can't turn down pancakes and fried potatoes on a Saturday morning. haha While there Harper stole the show. She's discovered her voice over the last few weeks and loves to just bust out with a scream. Of course, everyone looks at her immediately and she just smiles her big toothless grin. Everyone just laughs. Thank goodness she's cute!

When breakfast was over, we headed back to the house where we spent the better part of the afternoon lounging around in sweats watching cheesy movies and taking short naps. Perfect Saturday if you ask me!

Saturday night was Kevin's company Christmas party. My parents volunteered to keep Harper while we went. It was nice to have an excuse to get all dressed up, eat scrumptious food, and dance the night away! It reminded me of our pre-Harper days. Though despite how much fun it was, I don't regret how life is now with our baby girl.

Sunday was pretty yucky. NC was hit with freezing rain. Fortunately, it wasn't cold enough to stick. But even so, we aired on the side of caution and skipped church. By lunchtime the temperatures had dropped to 30. But since so many people had been out on the roads, we knew the rain hadn't had time to freeze so we decided to ride out to my parents for lunch. Mom fixed grilled cheeses, homemade potato soup, and stew. It was just perfect for a nasty day!

After lunch we headed back home where we spent the afternoon lounging around in the living room watching movies on tv and playing with Harper. Around 6, Kev fixed lasagna for us and his parents. Since we had extra hands over, I spent the evening cleaning out Harper's closet while the in-laws entertained her. It made me sad to put away more of her clothes. I removed all of her warmer weather clothes since she won't be getting much use out of them anymore; despite the fact that she did actually wear a short sleeve dress this past week!  Unfortunately, most of the clothes packed away were size six months, the size she's currently wearing. Now I'm noticing she has about five outfits she can wear that are six months and the rest are nine months and up. Apparently I'll be going shopping after work today to pick up a few more cooler weather outfits in a her current size!

Overall it was a great, relaxing weekend! Hope you ladies enjoyed a relaxing one too!


Our Halloween.

Let me just begin by saying that I have been looking forward to Harper's first Halloween since the day I found out I was pregnant. It's just something about being able to dress up a baby in numerous holiday outfits. And lets face it, Halloween is the perfect holiday to do it.

In order to get Harper in the festive mood, we decked her out in Halloween apparel for most of the week. She was just too cute not to share these...

Kevin and I debated for a few weeks on what Harper was going to be for Halloween. Right after she was born I saw an adorable Raggedy Ann costume on Pinterest for an infant and fell in love with it. From then to the beginning of October I had planned on Harper being Raggedy Ann. I had found the baby wig on Etsy and I was hunting for the costume. Unfortunately October arrived and the costume was no where to be found so we had to resort to another option. The problem was by that point all of the costumes had been picked over. I searched through hundreds of pins on Pinterest as well as searched  multiple shops on Etsy. I came across two costumes I liked on Etsy, one of which was a peacock and another was a witch. However, each of the costumes were just simple lace rompers and tutus. With the questionable weather here in NC, I was afraid to purchase one of these in fear that they wouldn't be warm enough. So just two weeks before Halloween, I came across a Halloween shop on Ebay that had the most adorable elephant costume! As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it for Harper doodle. Afterall, elephants are my fave :P On top of that Kevin loved it and it was on sale for $20!

On Halloween Kevin and I decided to forego handing out candy to our neighborhood kids in order to take Harper to visit our families and show her off in her costume. Fortunately, his dad, my sister, & Kevin's aunt came by to see Harper before we made our rounds to different houses.

Our first stop was Memaw & Jimmy's (Kevin's grandparents). Kevin's mom met us there since his dad had already headed into work. Since Harper couldn't indulge in candy this year, they purchased her a Halloween book instead. Memaw read it to her and she was in fascinated by all of the Halloween themed characters with big googly eyes.

After a trip to Memaw & Jimmy's we headed to my parents' house where my parents, brother, sister and nephew were waiting for us. By the time we got there it was 8pm and Kevin and I were starving. We quickly snapped pictures of Harper with everyone (except my brother who wouldn't take a picture!) and then chowed down on some yummy Pizza Hut pizza. I was so glad my mom thought about us not having time to eat beforehand since we had so many places to go and she planned ahead. I have such a good mama!

All in all, it was a perfect Halloween night and I can't wait to see what Harper does next year when she can actually go trick or treating! It's going to be so much fun (:


An Extra-Long Weekend & An Extra-Long Post.

What a weekend ladies. I've been running non-stop and to be quite honest, I'm actually looking forward to heading back to work tomorrow just so I can get a break. Sad, I know but it's true. To have been a long weekend, I feel drained instead of well rested but at the same time, I'm pretty excited with all that I got accomplished.

Instead of leaving at 3:30 like I usually try to do on Fridays, I decided to work until 5 so that I could go home work-free and enjoy my extra long weekend. With that extra hour and a half, I was able to finish my lesson plans, grade and file a huge stack of papers, complete my weekly newsletter, make copies for the week, and clean and straighten up my classroom. I hadn't felt that accomplished at the end of the week in a long time... maybe even since before Harper was born? haha 

After work I headed to our church to pick up Harper doodle from daycare. We got home around 5:45. Since it was later than usual, I had to get our tails in gear since we were meeting up with the family for our usual Friday night dinner at 7. Before leaving, I fed Harper her bottle and changed her clothes. Then the scariest thing happened. As I was carrying Harper downstairs to put her in her car seat, I noticed she was turning colors and I could tell she was choking. I immediately dropped to the floor and was fixing to throw her over my knee when she started puking and I mean literally throwing up. She's never done that before and it scared the bejesus out of me. I have no idea what caused it but I hope it never happens again. But the craziest thing was that after she puked the whole contents of her stomach up, she was back to smiling and was her usual happy self. Any ideas mamas on what might have happened?!

After the biggest scare of my life since Harper was born, I couldn't bare to put her in her crib when we got home from dinner. I was terrified that she'd choke again so I put her in her rock and play for the night. Unfortunately, it was a long night. Harper woke up around 2am and refused to go back to bed until 4:30 and then she was back up at 6am! 

Since we had an early morning due to Harper's lack of sleep, we spent the early hours of morning having a family cuddle session. Watching Harper laugh and giggle and seeing her interact with our precious furbaby made the frustration of our lack of sleep disappear.

After our cuddle session, we showered and got ready and headed off to breakfast with my parents. We met up at Farmer's Table, a local family owned restaurant. A couple from our church opened it years ago and members of our church work there part-time so it's nice to catch up with our church family while we eat breakfast out. Following breakfast, we headed off to the in-laws to drop off Harper doodle. She spent the afternoon with Papa Mike & Grandma while Mommy and Daddy headed off to Greensboro to do some Christmas shopping. 

Our first stop was Target where I scored an adorable tan sweater and some new winter placemats. Have I mentioned before that I'm addicted to Target's Threshold collection placemats? Because I am. Every season I purchase new placemats and they are always, always, always from the Target Threshold collection. But hey for just $3.99 a pop, plus an additional 15% off thanks to the Cartwheel app, you can't beat that! 

Following our trip to Target, we swung by Ross to get Harper a few fleece sleepers since they're calling for snow this week here in NC. I doubt it'll happen but we wanted to be prepared just in case. 

Next we headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up some more Christmas decorations. My plan is to go with an all neutral theme this year and Hobby Lobby had a whole aisle to choose from. I ended up purchasing these three trees to sit on our kitchen island with our new placemats and I'm in love! Is it too early to leave these sitting out?!

After Hobby Lobby, we swung by Garden Ridge. I left Kevin sitting in the car while I ran inside to see if they had a quatrafoil mirror. I've been on the hunt for one for a few weeks now to put above our dresser in our guest room. They had one that I fell in love with but it was $69 and I just couldn't make myself pay that considering it's going in our guest room and it's rarely used. However, all I've done is think about that mirror all weekend and I'm debating going back. Is it worth it ladies?

After Garden Ridge, I swung by David's Bridal and ordered my bridesmaid dress for my best friend's wedding. Then we headed to Toys R Us. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been working on Harper's Christmas wish list for a while now. Back in July I started buying her things here and there at consignment sales. I wasn't planning on buying her many more items but after our trip to Toys R Us it appears Harper's going to get a few more items that I hadn't initially planned on. Here's her previous list....
Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Fun with Friends Table (purchased at a consignment for less than $10)
Playskool Poppin' Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper  (purchased at a consignment for less than $10)
Plush Rainbow Stackers (purchased at a consignment for less than $10)
Graco Headwise 70 Convertible Car Seat 

Added to it over the weekend...
- Little Tikes Discover Sounds Sports Center While in Toys R Us I picked this item up and joked with Kevin that if we ever had a boy he'd want him to have it. Of course, Kevin fell in love with it and decided he wanted Harper to have it even though it's meant for boys! But I guess it isn't that bad... hopefully she'll be a basketball player like her mama one day!
- Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Stride to Ride puppy  I've been looking at walkers for Harper and just couldn't find any that I like. After talking with a friend of ours who has a three year old and seven month old, she suggested purchasing a stride-to-ride toy that would get multiple uses. After her suggestion and seeing this adorable little lady, I knew it was perfect for Harper doodle. The only thing is I feel so bad that she's already getting two other Fisher-Price laugh & learn puppy items. Let's hope she likes them.

Following our shopping adventures, Kevin and I had a dinner date at Olive Garden. We had originally planned to go to a sports bar for dinner but changed our minds when we got to talking about Olive Garden's buy one get one special going on right now. In the end, I'm glad we changed our minds because their salad and bread sticks hit the spot. I barely had room for my five cheese ziti when it arrived.

After dinner we headed back to the in-laws to pick up our precious baby and head back to the house. We had intentions of sitting down and watching the Hallmark movie that was on but Kevin ended up going to see Thor with his brother. I couldn't say no when he asked because I knew he was anxious to get out of the house. Poor thing has gone stir crazy laying around all week recuperating from his surgery.

Unfortunately, while he was at the movies, I was at home dealing with a fussy baby. With Harper's ear infection, she's become very clingy and I can't put her down for anything. She'll fall asleep in my arms and just as soon as I put her down for the night, she wakes up screaming bloody murder. Finally after the fifth time, she finally fell asleep close to 9pm only to wake up again at 11pm and then again at 2am. And when her 2am wake up time rolled around, she decided she'd had enough sleep. Can't you tell?!

But on the bright side, I was able to get our monogram painted & hung in the dining room while Harper was fighting her sleep! & yes, I had to paint it while holding Harper. It was very interesting to say the least lol

Needless to say, we didn't make it to church Sunday morning since Harper decided to not go back to bed until close to 11am. I was just too exhausted to put forth the effort to get ready. On top of that, Harper was whiny from her own lack of sleep and I was worried about how she'd act in church. So I spent the morning straightening up the house while Kevin rested up.

At noon I headed to Mom and Dad's for our Sunday lunch. She made spaghetti but I couldn't tell you what it tasted like. I was so tired I couldn't enjoy it. As soon as the dishes were cleared I headed home in hopes of getting a nap. Thankfully Harper fell asleep on the way home so I just brought her into the house and left her in her car seat. About the time I got comfy in bed and was beginning to fall asleep, I heard her crying. Since Kevin can't lift her, I had to get up and get her.

Around 6 I started fixing dinner and my mother-in-law came over to eat with us. When we finished up I was so grateful that she offered to wash dishes and take Harper so I could get some sleep. At 8, my head hit the pillow and I don't remember anything else. The next thing I knew it was midnight and Harper was in her bed crying. I tried letting her lay there and cry it out but by 1, she was still going strong. I got her up and fixed her a bottle. Apparently that did the trick because after she finished her bottle, she was out and slept till 6 this morning!

One of the perks of being a teacher is that we're pretty much off every single holiday so that left me with a day off today. When Harper woke up this morning I decided to go on and take her to daycare. My intention was to go back home and go back to bed. But by the time I got Harper's things loaded up, swung by the bank to get money to pay for daycare, and got her unloaded and dropped off, I was wide awake. Since I was already out, I made a trip to the grocery store and Lowes.

Feeling good that I'd already tackled grocery shopping by 8am, I decided to tackle some other home projects. I cleaned out our refrigerator and freezer, organized our kitchen cabinets,  packed up some household items to send to Goodwill, and put away Harper's baby swing and bouncer (this part made me sad!) and replaced them with her exersaucer. By the time I finished Kevin was awake and ready for breakfast. I fixed a quick meal of eggs, bacon, toast, and grits. I was proud of myself considering I couldn't tell you the last time I fixed breakfast! ha

After I cleaned up the dishes, I got to work on tackling the clutter in the garage. Remember how I mentioned that I was going to do that a few weeks ago? Well it never happened and I was determined to get it done today. I went through box after box weeding out things we've had sitting around in our garage for three years. After multiple bags of trash and a whole truck load of things to be taken to Goodwill, it's finally looking better. I just wish I would have taken a picture of what it looked like before! Thanks to my Dad and nephew, we moved out the shelves that were in our garage and put them out in our storage building; along with organized all of the stuff  into appropriate containers and boxes. Our garage now looks like a garage and not a storage unit. I couldn't be happier. We still have a few things lying around but by tomorrow it should all be organized and put away thanks to my dad. He's going to install us some shelves in the garage closet so we can keep items in there that we use on a regular basis.

I'm so happy to have tackled that project today. As exhausted as I am and as sore as my back is, I couldn't be happier. I feel like a burden has been lifted off of my shoulders. When I pulled into the garage after picking up Harper from daycare this afternoon, I couldn't help but get giddy after seeing only garage walls and not a mound of chaos on shelves lining it! Woot woot!

Anyways, I've taken up enough of your time ladies. Thanks for sticking with me and listening to me ramble. I hope you ladies had an amazing weekend and pray that you have an equally amazing week ahead of you! Until next time...


{Monthly Recap}: Six Months

You didn't gain any weight this month. You weighed in at 15 pounds and 2 ounces again. I know this is odd but I blame it on the fact that you've been sick for most of this month!

This month has been filled with quite a few doctor's visits. They started with the fact that you were running fevers each day. Your fevers started out as pretty low grade so we chalked it up to teething. However, when they finally reached 101 we knew we should take you to the doctor. It was a good thing that we did because you were diagnosed with bronchitis. I didn't know babies could have that at such a young age and it came as a shock to us too as we are always cautious to cover you up if it's windy or cold. So the doctor put you on an antibiotic and said you'd be good to go in ten days. Unfortunately, you weren't a fan of the medicine he gave you. You threw it up every.single.time it was given to you. So when you started running fevers again, we figured it was still bronchitis since you hadn't taken much of your medicine. But wouldn't you know, it wasn't. You had your first ear infection so we had to start you on a different round of antibiotics. Again, you were not a fan and we had to start putting it in your bottle to get you to drink it.

With you being sick for most of this month, your sleeping patterns have been very different. Some days you go to sleep around 6 and others you are still up at midnight. When you had your ear infection you absolutely refused to sleep in your bed so we had to start putting you in your rock-n-play again. We think it was because when you laid flat the fluid in your ears would begin to bother you. Now that your ear infection has disappeared you're back in your bed but you still aren't sleeping through the night. You wake up around 1 or 3 and refuse to go back to sleep. It's made for some very long nights for Mommy & Daddy.

Your weekly routine is the same with the exception of our evenings thanks to your antibiotics and you not feeling well. If you aren't already awake in the morning we get you up at 6am, change your diaper and clothes, then feed you a bottle. You either hang out in your rock-n-play or chill on Mommy & Daddy's bed while I get dressed. You're dropped off at daycare around 6:45 and hang out there until around 5. When we get home you drink another bottle, play a little, and then get a bath for bedtime. Then bedtime comes anywhere from 7-12 each night depending on how you feel!

Every now and then we'll put an outfit that's 3-6 months on you but for the most part, you're caught wearing 6 months. Six months shirts fit you great because of the length of your torso but the bottoms without a doubt swallow you whole. We usually have to roll the pants 2-3 times to get them to fit you. What can I say baby girl? You're going to have a tiny butt and short legs (; haha

You're on your last pack of size one diapers baby girl. Earlier this month we went out and bought you some more size one's since you weren't quite ready for two's yet but I think we're going to make the switch as soon as you run out this month. Size one's still fit you well but over the last few days your diapers have been leaking so we're thinking if we go on and move you up, it'll fix that problem.

Each morning you get a four ounce bottle and then you have six ounce bottles the rest of the day. You're eating a bottle anywhere from 3-4 hours. In the evening, we give you baby food. For a while I was worried that you weren't going to like any vegetable other than sweet potatoes but we discovered that you love carrots and squash too. So apparently, if it's orange, you'll eat it. haha I have to admit, I've been somewhat afraid that you'd turn orange since all of the baby food you eat is orange but so far so good!

You have been once fussy baby this month but I know that it's because you've been sick. At night when you were sick you would wake up screaming your head off like someone was hurting you. It would scare me to death. Once I'd pick you up you'd still cry but not as loud. During the day, your cry would be different. It was just a whimper but was accompanied by crocodile tears that broke my heart. Thankfully now that you're feeling better we're starting to see more smiles and less tears!

- You said "hey"! Your dad and I both couldn't believe it. We thought it was a fluke until we started hearing you say it more often.
- You were diagnosed with your ear infection right after your dad had surgery. Because I had taken off work to be with your dad, I couldn't take work off to stay home with you. So both of your grandpas looked after you at our house while daddy told them what to do. Needless to say, Mommy worried all day about you. I felt like I'd left you with 2 and a half men. But you survived just fine!
- You celebrated your first Halloween!
- You sat up on your own for the first time! I was holding you and all at once you were just sitting up playing in my lap... no back support or anything!

-  Exersaucer: You are loving your exersaucer even more this month! You've finally figured out how to play with the toys and turn yourself around in it. We can put you in it and you're perfectly content to hang out in it for an hour!
- Sweet Tea: Mommy and Daddy have been sneaking you sweet tea whenever we go out for dinner and you love it! You smack your lips after every taste.
- Rimy: This month you've began to really take note of Rimy. No matter what he does, you smile. If he's barking at someone walking down the road, you think it's hilarious. If he is running around like crazy, you think thats hysterical. You love being able to rub him or lay next to him. And the funny thing is, he doesn't seem to mind. You'll grab his tail or yank him by his collar and he's just as patient as can be. I think you guys are going to be very good friends!

- Medicine: You are not a fan of antibiotics! You gag or throw them up every time you have to take them!


Answered Prayers.

I'd like to thank each and every one of you for your prayers for Kevin and our family. As most of you know yesterday Kevin had to undergo surgery. Back in September he was diagnosed with a pilonidal cyst. He's had it for years but it had never given him any problem until this summer when it ruptured. Due to the nature of the cyst, it requires surgery for it's removal. So yesterday was d-day.

We woke up bright and early yesterday morning and my parents met us at our house. They took Harper to daycare while I took Kevin to the hospital. We checked in at 6:15 and just a short time later Kevin was taken back for his prep work. Around 6:45 I got to join him in his pre-op room. He was a bit nervous so they gave him a drug to help him relax. It resulted with my thirty year old husband acting like he was three. As soon as the medicine began to take effect, he started singing and dancing around in his bed. When the nurse came into the room and would talk to me, he'd be making faces at her behind his back. Yes, I had to scold him like he was a child. And yes, the whole time I was laughing.

At 7:51 they began Kevin's surgery. Around 9am we (me & my parents) were called to the conference room to meet with the surgeon. He told us that Kevin's cyst was much more extensive than he had originally thought but overall Kevin did amazing. Around 10am we were finally allowed to head back to see him. When I walked into the recovery room I wasn't quite prepared for what I saw. Kevin was white as a sheet and he was about to pass out. The nurses had to move him from a wheelchair to a recliner so that he could somewhat lay down. Come to find out, Kevin had some complications from his anesthesia. He was struggling to breath and he was very nauseous. But after being hooked up to some monitors for a while and a quick talk with the anesthesiologist, they got him going good as new.

We arrived home sometime around noon. Kevin slept for a few hours then he was back to his usual self. I was surprised that he was able to move about as he was. He had no trouble going up and downstairs; no trouble sitting on his actual wound; and no trouble laying down. By early afternoon, he was eating with his usual appetite. Mom and Dad spent the day with us and Mom fixed us some homemade potato soup. Kevin indulged in two bowls, a grilled cheese, and a pumpkin cheesecake donut. I'd definitely say he was feeling better (:

Overall Kevin did much better than was expected. As of this morning, he was feeling pretty well. He was a bit sore as most of his anesthesia from the day before is wearing off; however, he is taking prescription pills to help. Hopefully his recovery is going to be much better than expected or at least that's what I'm praying for.

Hope you ladies are having a great Tuesday!


Sweet November.

Well ladies, another month has come and gone. It's hard to believe we are just weeks away from Thanksgiving and then we'll be just weeks from Christmas. Where did the year go? It's true what our parents say. The older you get, the faster time flies. Now don't get me wrong, I'm excited about these holidays but I'd be okay with time slowing down too... I'm sure you ladies with babies understand!

Anyways, let me share a few things that are on my mind this rainy and dreary Friday morning.

October is my absolute favorite month. I love the crisp cool air that signals chunky sweaters, leggings, boots, & scarves. I love seeing the leaves change from their bright green color to their secret shades of red, orange, and yellow. I love how October marks the beginning of fall and with it comes this feeling in the air. That feeling can't be described but those of you in the south understand. It's something that just happens. I love that October brings bonfires and hayrides along with pies and hot chocolate. But like all months, it has to come to an end. But with it comes November. And now days, you might as well say November marks the beginning of Christmas. And for me, November marks the beginning of the Hallmark Christmas movie debut. Yes ladies, I'm a Hallmark Christmas movie addict. Don't believe me? I'm so much so that I recently made my husband switch television providers for the simple fact that we no longer had the Hallmark channel. Yes, I did that and yes, I didn't give him a choice. But it worked and thankfully he loves them as much as me. Beginning this weekend, each of our Saturday nights will consist of a night in complete with a Hallmark movie, popcorn or homemade chocolate chip cookies, and a cuddle session under a warm blanket. If only we had a gas fireplace, it would be perfect <3 p="">
As I've mentioned quite a bit over the past few months, we've been working on updating our home. A few weeks back I shared our dining room update with you ladies. Since then, we've added a mirror and I've recently ordered a wooden monogram that I hope to add to the room. It should arrive in a few weeks and once it's up, I'll be sharing it with you ladies to get your thoughts. And speaking of ordering things, I also ordered the adorable frame below for our kitchen. My best friend has it hanging in her home and I fell in love with it. It represents our roots perfectly and I just couldn't go without having one of my own.

Last week I mentioned that I started working on Harper's Christmas list. But I failed to mention that I've also started working on my gift list for our family and friends as well. And can I just say... I can't be more excited?! I've always been a giver more than a receiver and I'm not just saying that. I love the feeling it brings when you give something to someone that you know they truly appreciate. With that being the case, I like to put a lot of thought into the gifts we give our family members so come every October, I start working on our family's gift list. And this year ladies and gentleman, it's rockin! I don't think I've ever been more excited about the gifts our family's will be receiving. Each of the gifts have meaning and each of them incorporate Harper into them somehow. And with that combo... they're destined to be great (:

The hubs will be having his surgery this coming Monday. He had his pre-op appointment this week and in reading all the paperwork that was sent home, this surgery is no joke. In preparation for his surgery, our house has to be spotless.. meaning free of all dirt, dust, and dog hair. On Saturday and Sunday, fresh sheets have to be placed on the bed each night in order to make sure no dirt or hair gets near Kevin's cyst. With that being the case, the doctor was very adamant that Rimy would have to stay with a family member over the weekend. Following the surgery, Kevin is going to face many challenges. As I've mentioned before Kevin will be out of work for at least two weeks and a full recovery will take about eight weeks. In the first week, Kevin will be practically helpless. He's to spend the first three to four days doing nothing but laying down on either his side or back; no sitting at all! For the first week, he'll have to sleep downstairs on our couch as he is not allowed to walk up flights of stairs. He'll need round the clock care for the first few days and then assistance for a few days after that. And to top it all off, he's not allowed to pick up Harper for two to four weeks... though he can hold her if I give her to him.. but only after about a week of recovery time. Who'd have thought a cyst would take all that much work? I sure didn't... I birthed a baby, tore in two places and came home to clean my house... ha. I'd have thought that was more serious but apparently not.

I am way behind on my blogging but as I sit in the waiting room on Monday as Kevin has surgery, I'll be blogging away in order to keep my mind off of what is going on just a few doors down. So check back next week for a recap on Harper's first Halloween, an extremely late 5 month check in for Harper, & what happens when my best friend comes to visit.

Happy Friday ladies!

Oh & P.S., please keep our family in our prayers come Monday! 


A Good Ole Fesh Sesh!

So it's Friday and I feel like confessing a few things to you ladies. Confessions are always a good thing, right?

I've been a little too Negative Nelly and not enough Positive Polly lately. It just seems that in our family that when it rains it pours. I mean, I know it seems that way to everyone but in our family, it's true. Want proof, let me show you.
- It all started Labor Day weekend. My husband came home from work in a lot of pain. Come to find out he had a cyst on his lower back that ruptured. We made an appointment for him to see a doctor and to have it removed. Of course, doctors can remove every type of cyst except for one in their office and Kevin would just happen to have that one that they can't. The type of cyst he has goes very deep and has to be surgically removed by an approved general surgeon. So on November 4, Kevin will undergo the "knife" as I like to tell him. He'll be out of work for at least two weeks and a full recovery is going to take close to two months. And have I mentioned that Kevin's work doesn't have sick time?! Thank the Lord for saved vacations. 
- A few weeks after Kevin's doctors appointment, he and his brother were playing on their softball team when his brother was hit straight in the face with a softball. Bryan spent the wee hours of the night in the hospital ER, Kevin spent the wee hours of the night looking for Bryan's front tooth that got knocked out, & I spent the wee hours of the night worried about them all. Thankfully, there was no major damage done but my brother-in-law is having to undergo the expense and pain of having a tooth implant. 
- Then a week or so later, my in-laws had came to watch the boys play ball and as they were leaving they hit a deer. This just so happened to total loss their SUV... the one they use to ride our dog around each day. Yes, my in-laws are so amazing that when they go walk at a local trail, they come pick up our dog each day and walk him too! But now Rimy has no ride and the poor fella just doesn't get the attention and exercise that he deserves. 
- Speaking of Rimy, last week he ran away. We have a fence in our backyard and he decided to dig a hole and get out. It's happened a few times before but he's always came around the house to the front porch but this time he didn't. Kevin and I ended up scaling the neighborhood for an hour calling his name but we had no luck. It just so happened that a friend of mine headed to the walking trail near our house and found him. Of course, he refused to get in her car so she had to ride beside him the whole way down our road. When I saw him coming down the road I couldn't be more excited. Though when I got my hands on him I didn't know whether to hug him because he was home or beat him because he escaped. But I went with the first option. 
- Thanks to our canvasing the neighborhood looking for Rimy, poor Harper got sick for the first time. We were in such a panic trying to find Rimy before it got dark that we had Harper outside in the cool air with no coat. I didn't even think about it until we got back home. I thought we'd escaped the sickness but then over the weekend she started coming down with a cold. Then on Monday, Kevin got a call from her daycare telling us to come pick up Harper doodle because she was running a fever of 101.4. We ended up taking her to the doctor that afternoon and they diagnosed her with bronchitis :( It broke this mama's heart. 
- And last but not least, just yesterday, my in-laws' car caught on fire. Though the story is amusing as to how it all happened, it wasn't funny at the time. We're just thankful no one was hurt and the car didn't explode!

Now you see what I mean?! One thing after another. So when it seems like it's all falling apart, it's hard to be Positive Polly but I'm working on it. I truly am. 

Since Thursday, my heart has been heavy. On Thursday afternoon, I attended a conference with my principal and several teachers from my school. As we were fixing to leave, our principal stopped us and told us she needed to tell us something. We were in no way prepared for the information she delivered. One of our coworkers husband had been killed in a fatal car accident that morning while she was at home sick. They had been married for less than five years. As I left our conference, I sat in my car and wept. I prayed for Tiffany and her family. I can't imagine what she is going through. The thought that that could very well have been my husband, made me feel like I couldn't breath.

In that moment, I realized that life can change in a split second. In that moment, I realized that all of Kevin's "flaws" were unimportant. I realized our arguments over little things are unimportant. I was burdened by the fact that so often I get mad at Kevin and leave to head to work with hardly a kiss or a word goodbye so that he'll know he messed up. I'm ashamed to admit it but it's true. What if that had been Kevin? What if our last words were unkind ones? It makes you think. It really does. I've never been more anxious to get home and just hug my family and never let go. I've never been more aware of my actions as a wife. I've definitely got a lot of work to do! 

But onto a happier note, I may or may not have sat down this week and did Harper's Christmas list. I've been collecting items from consignment sales for a while but wanted to pick her up a few new items as well. What's on her list so far you might ask?
Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Fun with Friends Table (purchased at a consignment for less than $10)
Playskool Poppin' Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper  (purchased at a consignment for less than $10)
Plush Rainbow Stackers (purchased at a consignment for less than $10)

What's on your little lady or little man's Christmas list? Any toys that are must haves that I should know about?

Speaking of Christmas, have I mentioned that I've already started picking up Christmas decor? Well, I have and it's become an addiction. I haven't even decorated my house completely for the fall yet and here I am now already wanting to bust out the Christmas containers and start decorating. But I'll try to at least wait until Thanksgiving passes... but only because I'll be using rustic decor this year so that I can leave my decorations out until at least February. If I start taking them out now, I'll be tired of them before February rolls around.

Before Harper was born, I created a to-do list with all of the things I hoped to accomplish or figure out before she was born. Thankfully, I completed almost all of that list; despite how long it was. However, there was one thing that never did quite get tackled and that was cleaning out and organizing our garage. When we first moved into our house, everything got shoved in our garage to keep it from getting messed up outside. Over time we slowly worked our way through most of the boxes and began to bring things into our house or sort things into containers to store in one of our two outbuildings. Unfortunately, we never did quite finish that task and there are a number of boxes that still need to be gone through even now, three years later. There are things that we weren't sure where to put, wedding presents we didn't quite need, decorations we ran out of room for, things Harper has outgrown or still needs to grow into, things we might use "later", things someone else might use one day, things from both of our childhoods... things, things, things. It's overwhelming. Its become so cluttered that each day as I pull my car in and out of the garage, I just groan at all of the clutter. Literally, the thought of it makes me sick. I've come to the point that I just want to toss everything in the back of the truck and haul it off to Goodwill just so I don't have to see it. But of course that isn't reasonable and I need to take the time to go through it. So my task for this weeked, is to get it done. Just as soon as I figure out where to begin...

Thanks for listening ladies! Until next time...


Fall Pictures

A couple of weekends back, my amazing & talented cousin came into town and took our fall family pictures. They turned out so great and I can't wait to get some of them printed and placed throughout our home. I love how she captured Harper's beautiful smile & love even more that in her images you can see Harper's multiple color eyes. (Side note.. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that before but our beautiful daughter is very unique in the fact that one of her eyes is blue and the other is green! Even more exciting is that they'll more than likely stay this way as they've never wavered in color since her birth!)