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!