Archive | September, 2011
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Hello from the beach

This was Rand’s first time on the beach. I think he loved it as much as a 5-month-old possibly could.  There have been a lot of firsts this week and it is only Wednesday!

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It was pretty windy on the beach which was nice because it cooled us off. Here’s Rand’s “feeling the wind on my face” look.
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And his “I just put a salty hand in my mouth look.”
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As you can see it was pretty windy, so my hair ended up ruining most of the photos.
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Rand’s other new thing is to “hug” us…we are loving it.
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Rand made his first (and second…) trip to J.B.’s Fishcamp with us.  When you eat as early as we do these days you don’t have to wait, but we went out on the dock anyway before dinner and said hello to a few of the resident Indian River manatees and had fun explaining to Bubs that he was a fourth generation J.B.’s patron.  We’ll have to go back again and get another photo without the bib, although he does look very patriotic.

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Speaking of bibs, Rand’s favorite bib was custom-made by Aunt Samantha.  I had been attempting to make some myself but when this awesome one arrived one day, I put the sewing machine away.  From now on I will celebrate the talents of my sweet sister-in-law instead.

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Speaking of talent, we are also celebrating my friend Settle Monroe and her new business Pinecone Threads.  I’m loving this birdie onesie she made.

And this adorable dress (she makes rompers for the boys).  I love the Amy Butler fabric Settle uses and the overall chic simplicity of Pinecone Threads.

I think Rand will look good in this creative  “Mater Onesie” I ordered for him.

The soft, organic burp cloths would make great new baby gifts – $6 for a special homemade gift is a pretty good deal, you could get a few…or have Settle make one to match your romper or onesie.  You can see all the different designs in Settle’s Etsy shop.

We serve a creative God who made us in His image and calls us to be creative as well. Pinecone Threads and Rand’s “R” bib are such beautiful, creative expressions. I’m a thankful witness.

This reminds me, I can’t wait to tell you about the book I’m reading…I’ll save it for another post.

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Recipes For Ya

Last week, I was supposed to be packing and cleaning the house so we could get to the beach but I procrastinated. I usually bake when I’m putting something off. So I made these cookies.
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They were GOOD.  They were probably the most successful thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made.  While I usually don’t follow recipes, I stuck pretty close to Barefoot Contessa’s recipe. Here’s the recipe.  Only things I did differently: 1. I used regular chocolate chips and some mini chocolate chips because that was all I had. 2. Did not use walnuts. 3. My eggs were not room temp as I decided to make cookies on a whim and didn’t have time to wait on the eggs 4.  Same goes for the butter.  10 seconds in the microwave…cheater!! 5. I took them out of the oven a few minutes sooner. If your first batch ends up too brown like mine did, you might want to do the same.

So…on to the second recipe.  Our beach staple: Broccoli Ramen Slaw.  What?  Broccoli?  Oh just try it.  I usually make a big batch on the first day and then we eat off of it for a few days…it gets better after sitting in the fridge.  Here’s my version of the recipe:

Broccoli Ramen Slaw

1 bag (16 oz) Broccoli Slaw (usually near the bag lettuce/bag veggies)

2 packages chicken flavor Ramen (pull out the seasoning packet and then crumble/crunch up the noodles in the package)

3-4 green onions chopped up

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons white sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, be sure to add the 2 ramen seasoning packets.  Cover and keep in the fridge.

The original recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar!  Wowzers.  I have also made it with just 1 packet of Ramen and it is good that way too.  My brother made it with peanuts and sunflower seeds which was a nice twist.  I’m sure there are tons of variations.

Sorry, no photos of the slaw…instead, here’s one of Rand enjoying his first food: sweet potatoes.  He insists on helping with the spoon and then would rub his face with his little orange hand.  Good thing it is warm at the beach and we can eat shirtless!
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Thank you CVS. Thank you Shelley.

This past weekend at CVS, there was a great deal on baby products.  While Rand hasn’t needed much formula yet, I’ve stocked up for when he does (or we will donate it).  Last week at CVS there was a deal that if you bought $25 worth of certain baby products you received $10 in Extra Care Bucks (i.e. store credit).  So I busted out all those $5 OFF Similac coupons and bought 5 of these…

They were on sale for $5 each which meant I met the $25 requirement (and paid nothing but the tax for them).  Then, with my $10 store credit I got some diapers (which were on sale for $9 plus I used a $1.50/off coupon) and treated myself to one of these – all for free.

While I was raised to use coupons and save money whenever possible, I couldn’t not give a shout out to my friend Shelley King.  Last year, she gave me a tutorial of the CVS Extra Care Bucks program and has encouraged me with my couponing and saving.   With Shelley’s help, and the help of SouthernSavers.com I have had fun saving our family money on the things we need (diapers) and want (Honest Tea).

I would have blogged about this deal sooner so you could run out and save too, but we are on VACATION and I’m just now logging on…don’t worry, there are tons of deals going on this week too.

 

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Friday Photo Flashback

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There are lots of these photos of my family together at the beach floating around in albums here and there…a pretty good idea to take a photo in the same spot each year. We’re going to have to come up with one of those ourselves. Any location ideas? On another note, how awesome is my giraffe swimsuit?!

You may be familiar with it already, but I’ve just seen the website Dear Photograph – what a sweet idea!  You take an old photograph and hold it up in the same place and take a new picture, and add a nice note too.

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Red Happiness

I usually am a “blue” person but lately I’ve been attracted to red.  I even dug my red Herve bag out of the back closet the other day to use again.

Yesterday, I was watching a DVRed episode of Home by Novogratz on HGTV (9 by Design was way better…it showed a lot more of the Novogratz’s sweet kids!)  Anyhow, Courtney was out looking for some candleholders and went to Glassybaby.  The first time I heard of Glassybaby was about a year ago when we were in supper club with a dear friend Lynn Walker who had a collection of Glassybaby which we got to admire.  Each special occasion, her daughter would send her a new one.  What a cool idea!  They can be used as a glass cup, candleholder or vase.  The red one is called “happiness.”

I am also liking the “seattle sunset”

At $40 each, they are not cheap, but would make a nice gift or start of a collection.  I am also liking these red drinking glasses at One Kings Lane.  A pretty good deal at $29 for a set of 6!

Update: here are a few more from Global Amici at Zulily…until 9/30/11.

Now I just need to take off my pink “Strawberry Margarita” nail polish.  It’s a red week.

 

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Do you Baggu?

I’m supposed to be packing.  It would be much more fun if I had a few of these…

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5 Months, really?

Has it really been 5 months since we welcomed Wesley Rand Smith to the world?  Here he is about 9 days old in the arms of cousin Sarah.  Happy 5 months Rand!


 

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Fabric crush

I only made it a few pages in with my new Elle Decor issue and ended up spotting some fabric ads that I am loving…

This one by Christopher Farr…who also has an interesting article about him in Elle Decor.  He collaborated with the Courtauld Gallery to bring back a collection of work from the Omega Workshops (a design group made up of Bloomsbury Group members such as Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant).  Here’s some more info I found on the project.  And here you can see the five rugs in the collection.  This fabric below is not part of the rug collection, I just liked it!

Love this stripe on the sofa and cushion

Now back to my magazine…

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TOP 10 and SOME

Several folks have asked me for my recommendations on baby gear, diapering, etc. so I’ll devote a few posts to what has worked for us. Note what I just said: WHAT HAS WORKED FOR US.  One thing you learn the hard way when you have a baby is that just because something works for someone else, or the book you are reading “says so” doesn’t mean it will rock your baby’s world. You have to do what works for you…or, in some cases, what GETS YOU THROUGH!

Okay…so if you are only going to get one thing, we recommend a car seat & base (all photos click to product details). That way, you can bring your baby home from the hospital as well as be able to drive over to grandma’s to drop the baby off. There are way too many options out there. We asked around and decided to go with the smallest weight car seat. Apparently, most babies outgrow the length of the seat before the weight limit so you have to get a new size sooner than the weight requirement anyway, so the smaller car seat is much easier to lug around. We went with the Graco Snugride Platinum + Base.  It can be used until your baby is 22lbs or too long for it.  I would highly recommend it!

We did not realize it until the sun was shinning in Rand’s sweet little face one day in the car…but you will also need one of these:

Also, you might want to get an arm-saver. My friend Jane Smith gave me a super cute one from Oh Baby. Here is a similar one from Etsy:

Second, you need a stroller.  Your baby can ride in the car seat on the stroller from day 1.  By day 14 (or so) you’re gonna want to get out of the house and start walking. The Graco Snugride Car Seat snaps on to many different strollers, just pick the stroller you like and it will list what seats are compatible. We use the Bumbleride Indie Stroller in Black. I can’t tell you how much I love it. It is easy to open/close. We take it everywhere. It is expensive but worth it. If you can’t afford it or don’t have generous god-parents like we do to give you one…check craigslist!  Here’s a pic of Wes, Rand & the Bumbleride Indie at our cousin’s outdoor wedding (you can also see the graco snugride on top and the arm pad!).  In a few weeks, we’ll probably stop using the car seat on top of the stroller and just put Rand forward-facing in the stroller – he’s almost big enough!

Okay…now that you can take your baby with you wherever you want, the number 3 thing you’ll need is a breastpump so you can go somewhere WITHOUT your baby.  I lucked out and was able to borrow one, but this is the one I use and while I won’t get into all the details, it makes life easier.  All I had to do was order a set of tubes/shields/bottles.

You are also going to need some bottles.  We got the 5oz and 9oz Born Free bottles.  They have worked great for Rand.  Be sure to try one out before you open them all though – some babies are picky.  Also, we never used a bottle warmer.  If the milk is not already room-temp, I just stick it in a cup of hot water or hold the bottle under faucet for a few min to take the chill off.  It is key to not have a child who will only take a warm bottle!  Also, here is a helpful site a friend sent to me: http://www.kellymom.com/

While you don’t HAVE to have these next two things, we use them every day.  Rand did not start really enjoying them until about 2-3 months old, but now he loves them….

This “Treetop Friends” playmat

Rand invited Jackson over to his playmat one day:

And his Bright Starts bouncy seat. Click here for the link to it. It is a good deal at $20.  This is where Rand sits each morning while we have our coffee and eat breakfast as a family in the kitchen.  You can’t see much of the seat in this photo, but checkout that smile!

We have also just started to use the Ergo baby carrier.  We have it in “camel” color and Wes has really enjoyed wearing Rand around the house in it.  And, who would have thought that things like vacuuming and dusting could be so much more fun if you have a baby to wear while you work.  It is also great for trips out where you can’t use the stroller.

For clothing, don’t buy a lot of small sizes!  They outgrow it fast and you end up using the things you like the most over and over.  If you are going to get a few items, I suggest footie pajamas with snaps (the zipper ones bunch up), rompers with snaps, onesies, a few pairs of pants (to go over onesies if it is cold) and some socks.  Rand has yet to wear a pair of shoes and he is 5 months old.  In the winter we’ll probably need to wear shoes but, just so you know, it’s challenging to keep things on a baby’s feet. Carters.com has good web specials and their onesies fit Rand well.  I have found that Baby Gap stuff runs wide/short on Rand.  Here are some other short and long-sleeved options…all babies look cute in stripes:

We have found some good deals on designer brands and swim stuff on Zulily (it is free to join).  They currently have some cute stuff by Mooncakes…

Also, not 100% necessary, but items we have used daily include this bottle-drying rack and this OXO Dishwasher basket.  I have to admit, I chose the drying rack because it looked the “coolest” to me…and it works great/doesn’t clash too badly in my kitchen.  I have it in white/orange.

In Rand’s nursery, we also use a humidifier.  Something I thought we wouldn’t need, but ended up having to get.  He got so stuffy as a baby, we used this from day one.

You also need something “kind” to hang on your front door to make people go away.  People at the door during nap time are your worst enemy.  Just imagine you have spent an hour trying to get little one to go down for a nap.  Finally, you succeed only to have the friendly Fed-Ex man ring the doorbell (we disconnected ours) or bang on the door (which is what happens when your doorbell is disconnected)…if you don’t want to buy something you could print a small sign and laminate it.

Currently, we put Rand in his footed pajamas and then one of these sleepsacks at night.  They help prevent SIDS by keeping your baby warm without having a blanket that could accidentally cover the child’s face.

Since Rand has been sleeping in his crib, we have used the heck out of the baby monitor.  We did not go for one of those snazzy video monitors and haven’t missed it.  You go in and check on your baby so much anyway, you don’t really need it.  Instead, we went for the distance factor and got a monitor with a long range so that we can be out doing yard work (aka by the pool) and still hear him if he wakes.

Blankets…chances are if you have a baby shower, you will get a TON of blankets.  We especially liked these blankets by Aden & Anais.  I have used them for all kinds of things and they are thin and dry quickly.   Not gonna lie, they are pretty “up there” on the stylish baby products list too.

Drumroll please…we could not have survived the first few months without this magic potion.  Our friends Rob & Katie Barrett gave us a bottle of this with their baby gift and it got us through some colicky days with Rand.  When he would go into “wild scream” mode we’d give him a few drops of this and it would calm him down enough so that he would take a paci.  It is all-natural.  I guess the best way I could describe it is like baby ginger ale minus the fizz.  It worked wonders for his little hurting tummy.  It is also hard to find in stores.  CVS has it, but Rite Aid and WalMart do not.  We usually order it online or go to our local pharmacy, The Prescription Shoppe.

Bibs and burp cloths.  You need a lot of these.  Rand has been drooling his face off since he was 3 months old.  So we put him in a bib and it cuts down on how many times a day we have to change his outfit.  Also handy to put on baby in the car so that when you arrive somewhere you don’t have to immediately change the baby’s drool-soaked clothing.

If you are pregnant, or have a friend who is pregnant, tell her to put down the pregnancy book right now.  I think I spent 8 months of pregnancy reading about pregnancy when I should have been reading up on how to take care of a baby for the rest of its life!  The book “Happiest Baby on the Block” taught us some helpful soothing techniques.  We also read “Healthy Sleep Habits” and “Baby Wise”  – both have some great nuggets of wisdom but can also make you feel like you and your baby are not doing things right when you do what it says and it doesn’t work.

Rand has been teething since about 3 months and he loves this teether named Sophie the Giraffe.   Only thing I wish is that it didn’t squeak because while Rand is not really interested in the noise it makes, our dog Nina is all about it.  It is made by Vulli.  He also loves these teethers made by the same company.

Last but not least is the swing!  A sweet friend gave us this lamb swing at a baby shower – it is awesome.  Every time I look at it I wish they made one in my size.  Don’t tell our pediatrician, but Rand still naps like a champ in it.  (I don’t feel too bad now that I’ve found this image of someone else’s baby sleeping in the swing)

We also just purchased this travel crib. It is a little pricier than some of the other travel cribs but after doing some research I was confident that we needed something that packed up really small and was easy/quick to set up and take down (on the website, it shows people assembling it in less than 30 seconds). One reviewer said they used theirs until their child was 3 years old. When we get back from our trip, I’ll let you know if it is a winner.

Next up: nursery & diapers.  When I get around to it.  I can hear my little bubs waking up…

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Friday Photo Flashback

I miss Geah (what I call my grandmother) already, so you might hear about her a lot on the blog and you should just be okay with that.

So…I was looking back through photos (mostly events and vacations – I’m going to have to hook up the scanner soon y’all so we can get some real oldies) and I came across this one of my 4 favorite women. This picture is not great of any of them, hopefully they won’t mind.

It was taken at my baby shower and it makes me laugh because Geah was trying to figure out what on earth a “Pee-pee-tee-pee” was. Then the “hooter hider” really threw her for a loop. She couldn’t get over all the new things out there for babies these days. She was so amazed by the new cloth diapers, she treated Rand to a set of Fuzzi Bunz – one thing that we DO use every day.

I’ll never forget the day Wes and I called to tell her the news. Wes describes it as a “banchee warrior holler” noise that she made on the phone, followed by tears (of joy). She noticed the most when my belly grew.  And, when she met Rand for the first time, she said over and over how she just couldn’t believe all of that boy was in me…although this photo below was taken the day before Rand arrived and there is either a 7.5lb baby or a giant basketball under my shirt!

Geah made pregnancy extra fun. She’d sing nursery rhymes and talk to my belly several times a week (she did so even more often after I confessed to not doing it myself). She’d call almost every day to check on me and invite us to lunch or dinner.  And she’d show up at my doorstep with tupperware after tupperware of oranges all sectioned out and ready to eat (my main pregnancy craving…followed by krispy kreme). Some days, I’d pull in the driveway and see a little bag hanging on the doorknob and know she’d been by with more oranges and stacks of coupons. In fact, Harris Teeter must be honoring my grandmother with TRIPLE COUPONS this week.

Tomorrow, all the family arrives for Geah’s funeral.  So I may not get to Harris Teeter this time, and I may not even get another blog post up this weekend.  But I imagine Geah knows, and is thrilled that grocery shoppers are saving and that all of her grandchildren will be together again.

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Aside

The upside of being awake at 5am

While many have no problem getting up at 5am, I am not one of those people.  I have never HAD to have a cup of coffee in the morning until the day after we came home from the hospital with Rand.  I have always been a night owl and, after nearly 5 months of getting up while it is dark outside, I’m still not onboard.

I saw an ad on tv for a new series (you also watch a lot more tv than normal when you have a baby) about a family with a baby and it showed the husband and wife laying in bed early in the morning hearing the kid screaming and one of them says, “I’ll give you a million dollars if you go this time…” Yep, if I had a million bucks, that is exactly what I would do with it too.  Or, maybe I should be buying Missoni…

I’ll spare you the details but, yesterday, I was up in the wee hours of the morning spending some quality time with the breastpump when Missoni for Target officially launched.  I had already seen the magazine ads and lookbook and so I just went online and bought this tray:

And this iconic blue cardigan:

Thanks to having to be up anyway at an hour that is bad for my beauty sleep, I had no idea what was going on in “Targetland” all over the country. I knew it was a big deal, but had no idea HOW BIG.  Sold out.  In stores and online.  Mad dashes.  Target online apparently crashed throughout the day. Over 20,000 items up on ebay already. Craziness.  Later, I got an email from Target.com that my order would be delayed a few days.  Hmmm…

Here’s a personal account of opening hours at a Raleigh Target from my stylish blogger-friend Elizabeth Lee.  This Chicago Tribune article was reprimanding Target for not having enough stock (mega stores are supposed to have unlimited quantities) but I say bravo Target, Missoni and their advertising and marketing gurus.  Mission, or should we say Missoni, accomplished.

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Photo Dump

Yesterday my sweet grandmother Elizabeth “Betty” Pfeiffer went to be with Jesus.  I will miss her terribly.  You can read more about her here.  Anyhow, I’m not ready to write about grandmother yet so, instead, here’s a photo dump from last week:

Happy Gafford, a dear friend, gave “Ema” a jumperoo thingy for Rand to play with at her house.  The first time he ever sat in it, the smarty pants figured out that if you hit the little figures, they light up.

After putting in some good playtime, he downed a bottle and then fell into a milk coma in his daddy’s arms at the dinner table.  Obviously, we are still working on manners…

Last week I almost snapped a good photo of Felton, the hummingbird, who comes to my window almost everyday. So far, this is the best shot I’ve been able to get of him. His is one quick little bird. I will keep trying…although I don’t think I have to many days left before he flies south for the winter.

We also went to Raleigh last week and, while I had a fun lunch with my old North Hills crew, Rand hung out with his cousin MJ and his Auntie Jax. Good thing his Auntie Jax loves him and doesn’t mind doing laundry. 4.5 month old kiddos spit up a LOT! Somehow Rand managed to keep his outfit (borrowed from his buddy Jay Halbert!) all clean.

This past weekend, Rand and Wes were having some good “daddy time” when I noticed Wes was walking around the house like this…last time I checked, the baby’s feet are not supposed to hang out of the bottom of the Ergo. This did not seem to bother Rand or Wes but Nina does look a little worried. Leave it to us girls to worry.

Speaking of worrying, I was slightly worried the other day when my caterpillar escaped from his parsley jar. He hasn’t been named yet, but Houdini might be a good one. Found him!  More on Houdini and his parsley-eating friends later.

 

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Aside

Evening Confession

It’s all I can do right now to refrain from going into the nursery and waking up this little cuddle bug. Is it wrong to hope that he’ll wake up and cry so I have to go in and kiss those chubby little cheeks?

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Friday Photo Flashback

April 2008

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So…I thought it would be fun each Friday to randomly choose a photo and just write whatever I remember about it.  Shuffling through (Yay for 3-fingers on the Mac trackpad.  Love it.) I found this sunny pic.  The photo itself isn’t much, but it makes me wish I was back on this vacation with Wes at the Eden Rock in St. Barts (side note: Best vacation ever. If you have a chance to go to St. Barts, GO. It is beautiful.)

While sunning on the beach, I persuaded Wes to go with me on a swim…around the “Eden rock.” From our point of view (and the view of the photo) it didn’t look far at all.

Moral of the story – don’t trust me when it comes to judging distance. “Oh, it really is just down the road.”  Right, I have heard myself use that one before too. Here’s an aerial I found online:

Eden Rock
Yellow Arrow – Place where I had to tread water and wait on Wes, wishing I had some goggles or a mask/snorkel to check out the reef below.  It was also here I learned that not all great athletes are great swimmers.  He wanted to turn back, “Oh it is just a little bit farther,” I convinced us.

Pink Arrow – Romantic outdoor table where we sat that evening, eating an extravagant French meal as we watched the sharks circling below.

Here’s another view.  Just for fun.  Definitely not the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had.  It was a not-so-direct barefoot walk back to our beach chairs as neither of us wanted to swim it again.

(this Image via: Hotelology.com)

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63 Years

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Happy 63rd Anniversary to my sweet grandparents Betty & Fritz who met 65 years ago when they were 19 years old at UNC-Chapel Hill (what a great Tar Heel legacy Rand could be…). The photo above was taken in 2005 at their 80th birthday party.

Grandmother is near the end of her battle with cancer and today, as I watched my grandfather lean over my grandmother’s bed to hold her hand and give her a kiss, I realized that although it is their anniversary, I am the one who they have given an anniversary gift: The gift of love and family and the example of a lasting marriage built on a foundation of faith in God.

Wes and I met when I was 19 years old and I look forward to following their lead to 63 years of marriage. Perhaps every Sept. 8th we will make a toast to their unending gift.

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Aside

Chubby goodness

Last night, after we took Rand by to visit our Geah (my grandmother), we had a fun dinner with great friends Mike & Windy.  Rand was perfect until Wes and I ignored his “I need to go to bed now” cues.  A combo of Windy’s brownies being too good to skip and us being a little too lenient (guess we’ll be the parents who let the kids stay up too late on special occasions…sorry Dr. Weisbluth).  In the middle of Rand’s meltdown, Wes commented that we had waited and prayed for Rand for so long that we didn’t mind meltdowns – we are just so thankful to have him.   (And thankful for friends like the Pratts who let us leave them with dirty dishes, ringing in their ears and spit-up on their shirts.)

I still wonder why we had to wait so long for Rand and have to catch myself from playing the “If only” game – especially now with Geah being so sick.  Although the Lord may never show us all of His reasons, He has encouraged us along the way by surprising us with two sweet friends for Rand.  Ryder was born 5 weeks before Rand and Jackson one week after.   When I look at this picture of the three best buds, it reminds me that even though our trials can be tough, we can still be surprised by His goodness.  Right now, it is goodness in the form of six chubby little lined-up legs.

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Rand, Ryder and Jackson. July 2011.

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Where am I?

The past few months have been quite an adventure with Rand in more ways than you might know. In fact, on days where he has fussed and fussed and I haven’t been able to figure out what to do, I would just load him up into the car, pull through Starbucks for a grande decaf iced coffee with soy milk, crank up the country music (Rand especially likes Randy Travis or Zac Brown Band) and we’d hit the road.  No directions, no maps, no plan. I think I have driven most of Moore County.  Wes was okay with the extra gas miles I logged now that I know 3 different routes to the Pik N Pig.

We like to take it slow because lots of deer, rabbits, squirrel, a fox, ducks, cats and plenty of mangy dogs have crossed our path on these country-road drives…and it is a good thing we take our time because then we don’t miss things like this:
Sunflowers in Carthage NC

Sunflower Field Carthage

Carthage Sunflowers

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Highlight reel

As promised, here are the highlights from MJ’s Mickey Mouse-themed 1st birthday party…but first, a few from our weekend:

Rand has discovered Nina and is fascinated by her.

Remember the “great day” I blogged about earlier…well, It began AFTER this early-morning moment in the nursery that Wes captured. This photo was taken just seconds before the little drooler threw up all over my neck/face. Yep. He was going in for a sweet morning kiss and blahhhhh. Looking at the photo takes me right back to that very moment. And it also makes me wonder if I need some sort of face-tone evening and zit zapping treatment. Or maybe just the works. Spa anyone?

Okay, on to the good stuff…MJ’s Birthday was a big hit – everyone looks great in mouse ears.
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Rand got to meet his cousin Joely Beth (she is exactly 20 days older!)
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They are both pretty chilled-out kids
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They must take after their cousins Joel & Trey

The bright mickey mouse cupcakes were a big hit

We sang Happy Birthday,

skyped with the Capassos in Pennsylvania,

and gathered around to open gifts

But most importantly, no one enjoyed the party more than the birthday boy himself.
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Good morning

Wes’ left-over NY Strip steak breakfast sandwiches + Bubs (Rand’s nickname) made for a good Labor Day Monday morning.

A typical morning in our kitchen…

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A Hummingbird for Tally

Today was a great day.  After church we put Rand down for his nap (he has been such a good napper lately!) and enjoyed some Jersey Mikes (Turkey & Provolone Mike’s Way..yum yum) and sat out by the pool for an hour or so.  After lunch, our dear friend Tally stopped by to bring Rand a special gift and hang out some before she leaves this week to continue her amazing work in Africa.  She and the very talented Jessie Mackay will be there for a month – their fourth trip to a small village in Tanzania where they are teaching art and theology and so much more.  You can follow along on their journeys here.

A few weeks ago, I ran into Tally at the Farmers’ Market and she reminded me about Mary Oliver…so I’ve been rereading some Mary Oliver myself.  And I’m reminded of Tally and Jessie who, in Africa, have found their work.

The Hummingbird

It’s morning, and again I am that lucky person who is in it.

And again it is spring,

and there are the apple trees,

and the hummingbird in its branches.

On the green wheel of his wings

he hurries from blossom to blossom,

which is his work, that he might live.

 

He is a gatherer of the fine honey of promise,

and truly I go in envy

of the ruby fire at his throat,

and his accurate, quick tongue,

and his single-mindedness.

 

Meanwhile the knives of ambition are stirring

down there in the darkness behind my eyes

and I should go inside now to my desk and my pages.

But still I stand under the trees, happy and desolate,

wanting for myself such a satisfying coat

and brilliant work.

~ by Mary Oliver

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