Resolutions: Quarter Year Review

I'm pretty excited that I'm actually posting this progress report! It's good to think about goals throughout the year and writing about them helps me... or at least I think it will. (You can view my original 2014 Resolutions post here). Annnnd, here goes: Resolution 1: Eat more veggies.

Progress: This one gets a big thumbs up from me... a pat on the back, etc. For a while I was making a concious effort to add vegtables to my meals. NOW it feels pretty "normal" and usual to have some sort of veggie with my meals. It's getting to the point that my meal doesn't feel complete without it. Since that was kinda the main point of this resolution I'm gonna say: YAYYYYY! Of course I need to keep going, but I'm definitely on track with this resolution -- BIG TIME.

Resolution 2: Correspond more!

(New desk -- more correspondence? Maybe... but definitely lots of memories of this desk being in my grandparents house when I was growing up!)

Progress: I have sent several letters already this year... and I'm up to date with sending birthday cards (at least I think so?). I'm not doing PERFECT with correspondence, but I'm learning to go ahead and send people things as I think of them. I even have sent off a few packages of fun things to people -- "just because." This resolution is really fun for me because I enjoy making people smile/making their day/sending people mail... and such. So, hopefully I'll be able to keep this up throughout this year! :)

Resolution 3: Decorate the house.

Progress: Progress on this resolution has been pretty minimal. I've worked on decorating a few places more, but haven't really put anything new up on the walls or anything. Hopefully there will be big changes in the near future... But this review is a good reminder to keep working on this one!!

Resolution 4: Decorate for holidays AND (the kicker) take down decorations in a fairly timely manner.

Progress: This one is a big win thus far!! I put up decoration for Valentine's Day, St Patty's and for Spring/Easter! I love having fun stuff like that around the house... And Skylar is fascinated by all the colorful stuff that's been up. I've also done pretty well taking down said decorations in a timely manner. Looking forward to more seasonal decorating in the future!! :)

Resolution 5: Exercise.

Progress: Okay. This one is definitely a work-in-progress. I'm still not getting to the gym as much as I would like, but I have been able to lift and/or do exercises at the house a few times a week during the last couple weeks. So, I'm gonna keep trying, keep pushing, and add in exercise as I can.

Resolution 6: Work on the office.


Progress: It's a freaking mess still, but progress is happening! Finally. The picture above looks... better? Maybe a little? (Ignore the bed, that won't be there forever -- but it FITS! LOL). But I'm finally getting things organized and clearing out areas and spaces. So, hopefully this one will be a full success soon!! I can't wait to have a more functional office space!! :)

Resolution 7: Dishes. I resolve to do more dishes when I have a spare moment. To make a better effort to get them done when I can and to not let them pile up so much or for as long as I do. Additionally, I want to strive to have the whole kitchen clean/dishes completed (nothing in the sink/counter waiting to be cleaned) at least once a week.


Progress: I'm calling this one a successful work in progress. The above picture is what I have "around my sink" right now... and it's not terrible. I usually DO have the kitchen fully clean at least once a week and I am getting better about doing dishes while Skylar is playing or when I'm talking with Jimmy or something. It's still a chore I don't really love, but I'm getting better about keeping up with dishes. :)

Resolution 8: Use nail items and accessories that I own but don't use much. This resolution is a goal to be more creative and use more nail art items when I do my manicures. I also want to work towards crossing off more nail art methods on my “want to try” list.

Progress: A partial success! There are still items I want to use and more methods I want to try, but I am branching out some and I'm getting better at remembering to add small additional details to my manicures. I think this one will also get better as I have a dedicated space for doing my nails (that's something I hope to set up in the office while working on organization there).

Final Thoughts: I am posting a progress report! That's PROGRESS, people! LOL. But seriously, just reviewing these was useful... at least I think so... Hopefully there will be even more progress the next time I post one of these in a few months (probably sometime in July). Learning and growing is definitely part of this year. I can hardly believe I'm 31 years old now.... But there it is. I'm officially and firmly "in my 30s." For better or worse... (yes, I'm a heck-of-dramatic today).

Annnnyway, still striving to be a great mom (my little girl is so awesome -- I love her so much)... a supportive, helpful, wife... and of course, figuring out something for me to put some of my time into that's for me. That's still in development, but I'm getting closer I think! More on that in the future!! This year is only one quarter over! Still lots of time. :)

Until next time! ♥

And tomorrow it will be April....

WOW. Where did the last couple months go? It's been nutty around here, but I do want to get back to blogging a bit during my birthday month. I'm starting off with my traditional "wish list" for Jimmy... but will hopefully do a nail polish dupe post (comparing two polishes that seem very similar to each other), an update about my resolutions and my progress there, and a post about Skylar and how much she is GROWING (seriously, she's getting SO BIG!!). So, without further ado... here's my birthday wishlist for Jimmy:

A print of this lovely picture:

(Working on details of this and I'll get back to you about it).

(I'm really tired of guessing at gauges. This would be SO helpful!)

(Copper, size 8)

Cross-Stitch Alphabet Book

Another Cross-Stitch Alphabet Book

Will add to this in the next few days....

(LOVE YOU, baby!)

xo, Emmie

2014 Resolutions and Goals:

Just like last year all this month I have posted in my Instagram about my resolutions this year and now it's the end of January (and the Chinese New Year!) So... here goes! (in no particular order)

Resolution 1: Eat more veggies. My "goal" is to eat more healthy in general, but specifically to have more nutrient rich vegetables as a larger portion of my meals!


Resolution 2: Correspond more! I love getting letters and fun things in the mail, so I'm going to work on sending more things to people in my life in order to share the wealth!! (Starting off with this stack of belated Christmas cards!)

Resolution 3: Decorate the house. We started this at the end of 2013, but I definitely want to keep at it in 2014. My hope is that we'll be mostly done with this project by mid-year. ;)

Resolution 4: Decorate for holidays AND (the kicker) take down decorations in a fairly timely manner (like within a week or so of said holiday's passing).

Resolution 5: Exercise. This was a resolution last year... (And many years previous, really).. But something has GOT to give! I miss the energy... I miss the post-work-out high. I miss the feeling of accomplishment. I even miss the feeling of sore muscles (not CRAZY SORE, but somewhat sore... Who likes crazy sore?). So I'm back on the horse. Trying again. Etc. 2-3 times a week is my goal for now. It's not ideal, but it's something.

Resolution 6: Work on the office. This picture is of "my half" of the office (give or take). It's not a usable space by any means. My goal is to work on this so that I can do projects up here and have some safe spots for Skylar to play while I'm doing it. It's also a room I want to decorate, but first things first: I need ORDER and to clear out clutter. Wish me luck!

Resolution 7: Dishes. If you know me at all you know that dishes are my most hated chore... That I consider them a "nemesis" of sorts and that I truly dislike doing dishes as much as they easily pile up! (Yes, I'm being dramatic. Deal with it.) . . Ok. So. My resolution is NOT to always do dishes right away... Or to not leave them overnight sometimes. Because it's just not realistic to set those things as goals. Instead I'm going to resolve to do more dishes when I have a spare moment. To make a better effort to get them done when I can and to not let them pile up so much or for as long as I do. Additionally, I want to strive to have the whole kitchen clean/dishes completed (nothing in the sink/counter waiting to be cleaned) at least once a week.

Resolution 8: Use this stuff! I know that's simplistic, but I really just want to be more creative and use more nail art items when I do my manicures (and if I work on other's mani's). I also want to work towards crossing off more nail art methods on my "want to try" list:

Also: fan brush method, using acrylic paint, & a "spotted mani" using hairspray or spray hand sanitizer.

(I've actually tried the first two in this list, but I want to knock out more of them!)

Final thoughts: I will try to post progress reports this year! Haha. That should be a "goal" in and of itself for this year... I also have a couple general goals. I really want to work on being a better mom... on being more patient, learning better ways to communicate with my daughter... and just generally accept and embrace this life and enjoy it more. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom. But some days are definitely better than others and sometimes I get discouraged and stuck in a rut. To help with that last part... there's my final goal...

This is something I want to work towards throughout the year, but is bigger than just one resolution. So... here goes... I want to dream and grow and develop something creative that's *mine*. It doesn't have to be something that brings in money (though that would be nice), but it does need to be something that I do that I take ownership of and control. Some of my ideas right now are pretty big and some are really small. It's just a general concept I want to figure out and determine how to pursue something important to me as well as be a good mom and wife.

So, what about you!?!? What are some of your resolutions or goals for 2014?

xo, Emmie

From 2013 to 2014 or how I did on my 2013 Resolutions...

Before looking forward I like to glance back a bit. In 2013 I had 8 resolutions to work on throughout the year. I really meant to post progress reports throughout the year, but it didn't happen... so, here's a final report on the 2013 resolutions!

(In no particular order)

Resolution 1: Read More. I have so many books on my “to read” list. I want to start working my way through them finally. At this point reading at all would be an improvement to the last few months. So, my “goal” is to read at least 2 books a month in 2013!

How I did: I'm calling this one a success! I read at least 2 books a month throughout the year consistently. I still don't read a ton but it's definitely becoming more of a habit and I'm enjoying it more. Looking forward to continuing to get through my "to read" list in 2014! :)

Resolution 2: Make/do something off my Pinterest at least 4x a month. I’d like to do something once a week, but until Skylar is a bit bigger its hard to do crafts a lot. Really, I just want to start DOING the things I see as “good ideas” regularly… Instead if just “pinning” them and forgetting them. This resolution could include recipes, dress style, hair & makeup ideas, & polish inspiration.

How I did: Successful. For the most part. LOL. I'm calling this a success, but not because I really did 4 things off my pinterest every month... It's more like I used a recipe or an idea from one of my social media sites (Pinterest, Instagram, Fb, etc) at least 4x a month pretty consistently. The point of this resolution was to get in the habit of DOING things I saw online that I wanted to try. ... of actually utilizing the ideas I found -- instead of just seeing them and never acting on them. It's now a part of my general lifestyle to try out ideas, improve on them, and make things my own that I find online. Definitely going to continue this throughout 2014!

Resolution 3: Exercise! Get back to exercising! Goal is 3-5 times a week.

How I did: I had varying success for this one in 2013. I kinda ignored it for part of the year, but really got more involved with exercise toward the end of the summer. Then things got busy and exercise fell by the wayside. This is a disappointment for me.... because I truly do want to make exercise more a part of my lifestyle. So. I will try-try-try again in 2014.

Resolution 4: Cook Dinner more often. For a while I used the excuse that we were unpacking & the kitchen wasn’t put together to avoid cooking dinner every night. The funny part is, I LIKE cooking! It gives me a sense of accomplishment to cook and/or bake food for Jimmy and I (& eventually Skylar).

How I did: I'm calling this one a half-success. I could have done better at cooking more frequently, but I definitely made dinner more often than I was. This is definitely one I need to continue working on, though!

Resolution 5: Drink more wine! (Especially before buying more!)

How I did: SUCCESS! This one was fun! Heheheh.... We still have more wine I want to drink, but I did a pretty good job of drinking what we have and not buying too much more throughout the year. ;)

Resolution 6: Blog more. Specifically I want to blog at least once a week (I’d really like to work up to once a day or every-other day, but baby steps!).

How I did: I'm calling this one a failure. At least partially. I did okay with it... for a bit. But never really did post once a week. I plan on working on this in 2014. I really DO want to post more... and I still haven't completed my birth story... I actually have written most of it, but I need to finalize a few things and add pictures and times. Anyway, look for more on this particular resolution.

Resolution 7: Finally learn to crochet! I can knit, but I really want to master crocheting this year!

How I did: Fail! I really didn't try to get this one done in 2013. It's sad, really... So, I'll be trying again in 2014. I hope to find someone I know who can help me with this... I learn best WITH someone. ;)

Resolution 8: Clean up after myself. This is embarrassing to admit (especially as an almost 30-year-old), but I have a bad habit of using something & not putting it back when I’m done; completing a project & not putting away the things I used right away; eating breakfast or lunch & not even clearing my dishes to the sink area consistently; of… well you get the idea! So in 2013 I want to work on breaking that habit. I want to learn to put things away as soon as I’m done with them! & if that’s not possible at times (re: Skylar needs me or something) I want to work on taking care of it as soon as I can — before leisure time. (This is a picture of my clean & organized nightstand to inspire me to keep it that way by putting things away & not letting them get stuck randomly on that surface!)

How I did: I think I rocked this one. I didn't ALWAYS pick up everything perfectly, but I DID make a major effort to put things away right after using them, to be more organized and to clean up quicker after finishing a task. I still have a long way to go on this one, but I definitely established better habits on this front in 2013!!

Final Thoughts: And there ya have it! My 2013 resolutions in all their glory... some resolutions I feel like I completed fairly well (and hope to continue them in 2014). Others... not so much. But overall 2013 was a decent year. There were hardships (I lost both of my grandfathers and my childhood dog... and my great aunt -- who was more like another grandmother, in 2013) and there were amazing things (Skylar turned 1, a good friend got married, another friend got pregnant, relationships with friends and neighbors deepened, etc). So, my friends, I look forward to 2014 and all it will hold... and I'm thankful for all we had in 2013.

Be on the look-out for a blog entry about my 2014 resolutions at the end of January/early February!

How did you do with your 2013 resolutions? How was your year?

♥, Emmie

Hey there 2014!

The holidays snuck up on me this year. After Skylar's birthday our lives barely seemed to slow down this fall (and early winter). Between beach trips and a wedding and everything else we have going on in our lives all of a sudden it was Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then, two nights ago, 2013 went and ENDED on me! Last year I posted a set of New Year's Resolutions at the end of January that I had compiled throughout the month. I think I'll do the same thing this year... and be on the look-out for a progress report (finally) on my resolutions from LAST year! But for now... watch... enjoy... love:


2014 here I come!

♥, emmie

Christmas Wishlist

So. It's the day after Christmas. I know... I KNOW. But, because we're out of town for Christmas we are doing "our Christmas" in January (probably mid-January). Jimmy asked me to make a "wish list" so, here goes: ♥ MoYou-London Nail Art Image Plate Suki Collection 08:

♥ MoYou-London Nail Art Image Plate Artist Collection - 05:

♥ MoYou-London Nail Art Image Plate Suki Collection 01:

♥ MoYou-London Nail Art Image Plate Pro XL Collection 07:

Why I Must Have Sex With You Notepad

♥ Red Rose Ear Gauges (6):

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

The Cookoos Calling JK Rowling Pen name Book

♥ 6G Pair Broken Heart Black Dogwood Gauged Plugs Hand Carved Organic Body Piercing Jewelry Earrings:

♥ Stamper set:

♥ Nfu Oh 51 (Discontinued -- going to be hard to find and I've wanted this for a LONG time):

♥ Nfu Oh 59 (Also discontinued):

*I'll add to this soon maybe.... or maybe not... IDK*

(Love you, husband!)

xo, Emmie

12 Month Letter to Skylar:

Dear Skylar Joy, You are 12 months old. 1 year. Right in this minute August 8th at 1:46 you are a whole year old. In that moment when you were born my life forever changed. I knew it would, but nothing could have prepared me for just how much you would change my world. I will be forever grateful for you... for all that my life has become. Thank you for giving me so much purpose. For loving me unconditionally (there truly is nothing like experiencing love from a little baby). For helping me see the world again with brand-new-wonder-filled-eyes. Thank you for discovering and learning and showing me your beautiful personality (independent and sweet and expressive and so very curious).

My mind boggles to think of all that has happened during this year. I can hardly believe I'm sitting here typing this note to you, baby girl. Last year I was incredibly exhausted, but seeing your little face, touching your hands... holding you in my arms gave me strength and energy I didn't know I had (even after 40 hours of labor). We had some beautiful moments, dear one, before the hard stuff became reality. But let's not focus on those things -- they are in the past -- they are over and done and you are perfect, none the worse for wear. This year has definitely shown your Daddy and I that you are full of life, so very strong, and beautiful in so many ways.

This whole letter won't be about the last year... but give me a few more moments to think about all it held, baby girl. It started with a tiny little baby girl (7 pounds, 8 ounces worth) who snuggled and cooed and cried and overwhelmed this momma with so many feelings of both love and inadequacy. We moved 6 weeks or so after you were born and, really, considering everything, you did so very well. After that we settled into a new house in a new town in a new state with new neighbors and lots of new routines. We got to know each other, sweet girl, and now we're in a place where we communicate pretty well. I know there's so much more to come for communication (I have a feeling you're going to be a "talker" -- surprise, surprise), but I'm so thankful for where we are now. I love it when you tell me nonsense stories and when you try to say words and when you communicate with gestures. I love that you are learning to communicate all the time!

You say a few new words now... One is: "book" (7/23) well, actually you say "boop," but you're really sure that it's the same as "book." You even enunciate the "p" sound when momma stresses the "k" sound to you. It's the cutest thing. There's a video of this floating around somewhere on facebook or something, but really, I'll remember these moments in my heart forever! You also say "dog" now. This was particularly fun when we visited Steven's dog last weekend (he wasn't there -- Steven and your Daddy were in Seattle visiting Chris). More about the dog later. You also experiment with the word "get" and we think that "mamamama" when said a certain way basically means "food" or "drink" or "give me boobies." Haha. We think that since you usually get these things from me that your go to word for all of them is "Mama".

So the "big news" for this month is that you are walking!!!!!!!!!! You took your first steps the day after your 11 month birthday (7/9). I was sitting in the play-area with you and you were standing there holding a toy and you wanted to come over to me and just walked 3 little steps before falling right into my lap. You did it twice that day (one other time was prompted by me so that Daddy could see). A few days later you took a couple steps away from holding onto the wall and/or the couch but to nothing (in other words you weren't walking to me or your dad 7/12). And that started this whole thing called "walking". Soon after you started taking steps on your own your Daddy helped you walk around and around in a circle. For the first half of the month you walked with help a little bit like you were drunk -- your steps were uncertain and very disjointed. But with practice and help you've been getting better with the walking motion.

By the end of this month your walking has become much more steady and sure. When you had your 1 year photos with Liz last week you walked the most steps in a row thus far! It was somewhere around 10 steps!! You're still not walking everywhere yet, but you're starting to default to walking instead of crawling. You seem determined to walk places and only fall to your knees when you get tired or lose your balance. This is still usually after only 6-10 steps, but you keep getting back up and trying again.

You now give repeated kisses and sometimes with your mouth closed (7/10). The repeated kisses happened after I was gone for 4 hours having a root canal (major ouch) and got back to you clamoring to be held by me. You were so excited to see me! It was very cute. You also started giving Daddy (and sometimes other people) kisses this month (7/16). Your "closed mouth" kisses were pretty short-lived and you're back to the open mouth ones. You also will give kisses without me pointing to my mouth. All I have to do is say "kisses" and you lean in (or sometimes dive) to kiss me. Sometimes you kiss me when I just use the word "kiss" in a sentence. Haha. Oh! and you've now added a "muah" sound when you give kisses (just like the one that usually make when I give you kisses). You are incredibly cute, little one.

You are a pro at going up the stairs now, baby girl. Mommy and Daddy have messed with this "fun" a bit by added a gate at the bottom of the stairs. We still let you climb when we can follow you, but neither of us wants you to get hurt trying to get back down the stairs (or getting upstairs and into things that can harm you). You're still pretty unsure about going down the stairs, but successfully backed down them at least once this month (7/12). I'm sure you'll figure them out in due time. ;)

You have mastered climbing off the couch. You easily push yourself off and onto the floor and don't fall or have any issues getting down. You have also tried this with Mommy and Daddy's bed. It's much higher so you are more careful and uncertain when you do it, but you've pushed yourself off onto the floor a couple times successfully. This is something you Mom isn't thrilled about -- but doesn't surprise me considering how independent you tend to be. At least you're no longer diving off the bed head-first. You've figured out that going feet first is much better! :)

Another first is jumping on your bed! (7/15). Sometimes when you're waiting for us to come get you after you wake up you jump holding onto the side of your crib. The first times you did this we were surprised by how much noise you were making! We checked the video and there you were jumping over and over till you tired yourself out. Usually you're saying "MamamMamMaMa!" in a happy tone. Calling for me -- but not too upset that I haven't come yet. You make me smile so much, little girl.

When we were in VA visiting with Asher and Amanda (and others) you were very thrilled by attention from Steven's dog Chaucer. It started with him licking you/giving you kisses all over while you giggled and squealed. It was so cute! Then for the rest of the weekend you would squeal and giggle when Chaucer would head your direction. Most of the time we were on the couch and you would half-hide behind me like it was a game you were playing with him. I think you see Chaucer as the "tickle monster" because every time he licks or noses you it makes you giggle like you're being tickled. Your interactions with the dog (who is also around a year old) were incredibly cute. Momma tried to show Daddy via video chat, but hopefully you'll show him next weekend when we go back to Virginia for Amanda's birthday.

Speaking of the Virginia trip: You were soooooo good, baby girl. With the exception of one day when you wouldn't nap and one night when we had some trouble sleeping, you slept well, and napped well, and were generally in a very good mood! You were very friendly during this trip and warmed up to people you didn't know quickly -- even guys! It was fun watching you make friends with people. Oh! That reminds me! Tommy taught you to eat popcorn while we were at his house (8/2)! At first you were uncertain about putting it in your mouth, but after some coaxing you dove in and were eating kernel after kernel of popcorn. You also enjoyed watching Tommy play his Ukelele and got into the action and plucked a few strings yourself. When at Steven's house you let Asher watch you while Mommy did things sometimes and you walked all around the room holding onto Aaron's hand (and Will's too! I believe). You also used the lazyboy chair as a thing to "circle" and would walk around and around it -- minimally holding on and practicing your walking. You would pause from time to time to push on the chair to make it "rock" and would giggle at the movement. You rocked your 1 year photos, sweet baby girl... and Mommy's including some favorites at the end of this letter. You also did really well on the trip to and from VA. I'm glad we've figured out car trips -- at least short ones. ;)

A couple weeks ago you learned to throw (7/23). We haven't practiced much since then, but you threw toys back and forth with Daddy. You're not really able to catch yet, but the throwing you're pretty good at. We'll have to practice more with your Daddy soon.

You are very close to cutting 2 more teeth, baby girl, but still have only 6. In fact, you're so close, that your 7th tooth may show sometime today! You have also been working on your molars this month. They're progressing slowly, but your gums in that area on the bottom have been swollen off and on all month. So, basically, you've been teething all month. You've handled it pretty well, though at night you do have a tough time sometimes. We're hoping your teeth will cut soon and give you some relief from the tooth pain! At least for a little while!

You are still eating lots of purees that your momma makes for you, but you are also eating cut up fruits and avocado, baby girl! You're actually doing really well with chunkier solids and we will start transitioning you to more of these foods in the coming month. It's exciting to give you more "big people foods." You are learning to eat from your snack-cup. In fact you learned how to get sweet potato puffs out of the cup on your own while Mommy was driving to Virginia last Thursday. I gave you the cup and you first tried to shake them out and then dump them out holding one corner open and then you figured out that you could put your hand in the cup and pull out what you wanted. You also put the cup in my hand when I reached back to add more to it for you. You're so smart little one. I love watching you problem solve!

You are slimming down as you move around more and it's definitely bittersweet to see you losing your baby chubs. You are back to fitting into 12 month clothes and even some 9 month old onsies. ;) I love your little face... you're losing some of your baby-look and looking more and more like a little girl. It's adorable and heart-wrenching at the same time! Such mixed emotions your Momma has this month, little one! I love feeling it all... the happy stuff... the sad moments where I know I'll miss you being small... the joyful discoveries and changes... and leaving some of your baby-habits behind. It's all beautiful in its own way.

Well, I'm not sure what else there is to say, my sweet girl... but at the same time I feel like there are so many more things I could write about. You are forever, indelibly, fully, imprinted in my heart. I'm so thankful for you and everything that comes with you -- even the hard stuff. You have helped me stretch, grow, become a better person during this last year. I've made mistakes that's for sure and I'll make more in the future, but I love this life we live together, the three of us. Words can't express how much I love our little family. Your Dad and I are both looking forward to all the next year will bring and we both are excited and a little sad to see you getting so big and growing so much!

I love you so much, baby girl. You are my sunshine. You are the light in my day. You are beautiful and amazing and oh-so-special and unique. I'm so excited to celebrate you today and can't wait to celebrate so many more birthdays in the future.

I love you always and forever.


A quick sample of your 1 Year Photos taken by the lovely and incredible Liz Cook Of Sincerely Liz Inc (there will be more of these photos to come!):












P.s. The tulle skirt & the large flower headband were both custom-made for Skylar by the wonderful and creative Carolyn of Two Sparrows Headbands. I love her work. She has items for baby girls, boys and even for adults!

11 Month Letter:

Dear Skylar Joy, Hey there, pretty girl! You're changing so much every month... and this one is no exception! Your communication with us this month continued to grow and change and get better! You now wave consistently when prompted to say "bye-bye". It's especially cute when you wave goodbye to your daddy when he's about to leave at bedtime. You're telling him "okay, go bye-bye now so I can nurse with Mommy!" You also now communicate with motions. For example: You will point to your head and motion with a toy that you want us to put it on our head like you are. So we'll take it from you and put the toy on our head and you giggle and smile so big! You are more and more interested in telling us about your day and showing us what you want to do and how you want to play. We don't always understand you, but it's been fun trying to decipher what you're communicating.

When you see something new or discover something you say "ohhhhh" with so much wonder. It's incredibly cute. I love hearing you make that sound and watching you learn.

You loved it when your Gram Gram and Pop Pop came to visit. You seemed to know they were special to you pretty quickly. We wonder if it's because of all the video chats you've had with them! You certainly are interacting more and more in those chats. This month you were also away from your Daddy for a while (and in New York visiting with your other grandparents and two of your uncles). We video chatted most days while we were apart from your daddy and you loved seeing him every time. You would smile so big and often clap (you guys clap back and forth a lot as a type of "game"). You also would wave "bye-bye" to your Dad on video chat when it was time to say goodbye.

Speaking of going to New York, you were very good on 4 different flights this month, baby girl (2 each way on the way to New York). On one of the flights back to North Carolina several people in the plane remarked that they didn't know a baby was on board the flight. I was so proud of you in that moment, sweet girl.

You crawled up the stairs for the first time this month (6/23). We're pretty sure you could have done this earlier, but your Mom and Dad were far from encouraging you to start experimenting with the stairs. You cannot go back down the stairs yet (though this is definitely to be expected). It's probably time for us to get a gate and limit your stairs access a bit. We want to keep you safe, little one!

You can turn light-switches on and off with no help now. You like to turn off and on the switch in your room at bedtime. Daddy limits you to doing this a couple times so that you can settle down to reading and relaxing for bed. It's kinda a fun little game you guys play during reading time. :) You also can now close the garage door when we hold you up to push the button.

You started smiling with a "crinkle nose" smile like your Momma this month. You used this smile more than any other expression this month. It was super cute to see myself mirrored in you, but it's funny that you stopped smiling other ways this month and only smiled that way. I'm sure this will change in the coming months, but we'll enjoy it while you're doing it. :)

You kissed me for the first time this month, my sweet girl. You always have your mouth open when you do, but you kiss me when I point to my mouth and say "kisses?" I'm not sure when this started (I didn't keep track of the date), but it warms my heart every time you do it. You are so sweet, baby girl!

You saw the ocean for the first time this month, my little one (7/4). You were not quite sure what to think of the waves at first and I don't think you were super happy about how chilly the water was, but you warmed up to it pretty quickly. Your Dad and your Mom played with you in the water and eventually you started enjoying the ocean just like you do the pool! Sand was a whole different story. You were sitting on a towel under an umbrella and kept looking suspiciously at the sand. We tried putting your hands and feet in the sand and you pulled back like you were scared of it. We think that because it shifted and moved under your feet you thought it wasn't stable enough to crawl on or stand on. Eventually you figured out that sand was at least "okay" to interact with, but it was certainly not something you wanted to have all over you. Your cousins Autumn and Colden were also at the beach when you were. You loved interacting with Autumn and weren't always sure what to make of 6 month old Colden. You also kept looking at him funny when Colden was trying to eat the sand. Your expression was something like "why would you want to EAT that?!?!?" It was pretty cute. You also bumped Colden in the head a few times on different occasions. We're working on teaching you to be gentle, but it's certainly a work in progress. ;) I should also mention that you climbed the beach house stairs while we were there. It feels notable because they are not carpeted and much harder to climb.

The trip to the beach (9+ hours in the car) was not one of your happiest trips, my dear girl. And your Mommy and Daddy will be working on how to make future long car trips better for you. Neither of us wants you to be so upset while traveling again. We're hoping that as you grow up you'll be able to play more effectively with things and maybe watch videos in the car. I guess we'll see what happens. For now 3 hour trips are just fine and we'll limit our travels to that for a few months.

You are SO close to walking, baby girl. You can walk backward with the help of your highchair (it has wheels on the bottom) and while holding on to other chairs you kinda "walk" around them a bit (7/2). You are becoming more independent with things like moving from place to place. You climbed down out of your highchair with very little help this month (7/3). You also stood without having anything to help you stand up (7/6). I'm pretty sure we'll see you walking next month -- before your 1st birthday.

Finally, baby girl, you were very good during a family photo shoot we had with an old friend. We happened to get rained on a bit and you were fascinated by the water as well as by leaves on the trees and so many other things in nature. The photographer did a great job capturing your wonder and excitement at experiencing new things. So, those are the photos I'm sharing for your 11 month pictures. I love you, sweet girl.

Keep growing, learning, and, if you must, getting bigger!

Love Always, Your Momma

(Pictures taken by Anne Ryan Dempsey of Poema Photography)





















Skylar's Favorite Things

Since this month is Skylar's birth month I thought I'd do a post telling you guys about the things she loves most right now. Enjoy: Remotes


Remotes of all shapes and sizes are a major favorite of Skylar's. It's not that they DO anything (she hasn't yet figured out that she can use them to change things on the tv), but it's the buttons! She loves pushing buttons. She likes it even more if the buttons light up. We have one remote that lights up a lot when you push the buttons and we've used it before (Jimmy more than me) to help Skylar stop being super upset and calm down. We try to only rarely let her play with the remotes, though. And she does have one remote that is "hers" and that's the one she's allowed to play with anytime.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes

(Can be found here)

Skylar loves music. That's becoming quickly apparent to us. She started dancing to music we played in the room and music on tv shows we were watching as an little babe. Now she loves toys that make music, play songs and that she can hit to make music herself. She's still growing into the "making music" part, but I'm pretty sure she'll be a little music-lover just like her mom and dad.

Dry Erase Markers


So. This one is kinda strange, I know. A few months ago Skylar found the dry erase markers that I leave in the bathroom to write notes on the mirror for Jimmy (and he occasionally uses to write notes to me). She likes to take them out of the glass jar I keep them in and roll them around on the floor and then put them back in the jar. She has not yet discovered that the caps come OFF of the markers and I'm trying hard to prevent this discovery. For now they're just colorful sticks that she plays with. :)

Electronics (phones, laptops, iPads)


I think this one is probably pretty typical (at least it seems like it from the babies I've been around). If it has a screen on it Skylar is fascinated by it! She picks up my iPhone and says "Oh!" like she's discovering something brand new that she's never seen before. Recently I walked away from my computer for a moment and came back to find her typing away (see picture above). She's not usually the gentlest with electronics, but we're trying to teach her how to use them correctly... sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. :)


I know this is an odd one... but truly she loves them. It's the one food that Skylar will eat, without fail, always (though to be fair she's not a picky eater typically -- but I'm keeping this under my hat just in case that changes sometime in the near future). She eats the pureed version of this currently, but I plan on letting her have pieces of whole ones in the near future.

Swimming/The pool



Almost without fail Skylar loves the water. There are rare exceptions of course, but typically she is excited at bath-time and always excited in the pool. She also likes the ocean, but that took a bit of warming up to (she wasn't quite sure about the waves at first). But it only took a little while and she was excited to be in the ocean too (the sand -- not so much, but that's a whole other story for another time). I'm so glad our little one likes the water. I'm looking forward to lots of swimming and beach trips in our future!

Taggie Books


(The above book can be found here)

I don't remember who gave us taggie books... But it was someone. And I'm thankful to that someone because Skylar loves them! As part of Skylar's bedtime routine Jimmy reads to her every night. The taggie books have been the books that Skylar "plays with" while Jimmy reads her another book (sometimes Winnie the Pooh stories, sometimes animal stories, and sometimes other books). Specifically the Itsy-Bitsy-Spider taggie is her favorite of the taggies and it's also the first book that Skylar has requested Jimmy read repeatedly to her (I think he read it 3 times one night).

Nursing/Teething necklaces

Teething necklace1-ed-sz

I bought these beauties from a lovely lady in Russia. Yes, that's right Russia. Her Etsy shop is here if you wanna check her out. The penguin was a "special order" that I requested, but I think she offers it now regularly. Skylar was never all that into these while breastfeeding (I would wear them around my neck for her to touch/play with while eating), but she loves them for teething. She most often uses them in the car and when we're out at the store (it "ties" around the cart rail pretty easily and is colorful). She doesn't seem to have a major preference between the rainbow one and the penguin one.

Baby Teether Ball (orange)

Teether Ball2-ed-sz

(This can be bought here)

It's simple enough and definitely something I randomly bought to help Skylar with teething. She loves this little ball. She'll put it in her mouth and walk/crawl around and play with other things while chewing away on it. She also prefers this one to any other colors. I bought another because I thought I had lost this one and the one that came wasn't as bright orange as this one... then I found the original (of course). When she can choose between them she always goes for this one. I'm wondering if she's going to love bright colors just like her Momma. ;)

10 month letter

(This is late and so will be the 11 month letter, but this is all leading to the epic 12 month (1 year) letter that will be coming up on Skylar's birthday on Thursday! So, here goes...) Dear Skylar Joy,

Lots of new things this month, baby girl... as per usual! You've been learning lots of new ways to interact with us! One big one is clapping. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but you like to clap after we clap and then we clap after you do and you clap again. Back and forth... it's so cute. It's all part of you communicating and having fun with people! Similar to clapping, you also are now "high-fiving" us on command (5/22). It's more like "mid-fiving", but the concept is there.

Another example of this is that now when I reach for something and ask you for it you will give it to me. You understand that I want to take it and you usually put it in my hand. A lot of the time you want to take it back soon after you give it to me... and this is another game we play! :) You also rolled a ball back and forth with your dad this month (5/19).

Your Daddy first "zoomed" you over the yard this month (think holding you facing the ground and zooming you over the ground so you can see it at high-speed). You loooooved it (5/27). Since you enjoyed that so much your Dad has started zooming you over the floor in the house and other places. Every time you open your mouth all excited and make little thrilled/happy noises. This typically makes you happy even if you're starting to get grumpy. I love watching you and your daddy playing, little girl.

Speaking of your Daddy, you fell asleep on your Dad and took a nap on him for the first time since you've been older than a newborn (6/1). You also fell asleep on Daddy during story time one night (5/26) and then another time when you fell asleep and let him put you down for the night (5/28). We'll see if this trend continues... It would be nice for you to go to bed for your Dad too. ;)

While we were at a neighbor's birthday party your nanny from next door started moving her head back and forth while looking at you and you mimicked her as best you could (5/25). Now you do this whenever Mommy or Daddy move their head back and forth. You want to do things just like we do!

You were a bit hit at the birthday party with the kids at the party! All the big kids crawled on the floor with you and hugged you and gave you kisses on your head. One bold little boy kissed you on the mouth. You definitely enjoyed all the attention. It was very sweet watching you interact with the other kids.

You learned to wave this month, little one. It's the cutest little wave, too! When we encourage you to wave you look at us and think and concentrate really hard and then put your hand up and fold your hand in half rapidly to try to move it like we are (5/26). It's so sweet and little... I love watching you learn!

You experienced being in a swing for the first time this month (5/16). I'm not really sure why it's taken this long for us to put you in a swing... but it did. Anyway, you enjoy it! You giggle and love swinging. Soon after the first time we went back to the park with Daddy and he got to push you on the swing. You loved that too.

Finally, baby girl: You are starting to have a bit of a temper when we won't give you what you want (6/4). This first happened when I wouldn't let you have one of the remotes. You seem to be much more aware if we prevent you from doing what you want to do and you don't like that much. I fear we have much more of this coming in the future, but we'll deal with it as it comes, dear girl.

I love you so much, baby girl! Keep growing, learning, becoming you! I look forward to each and every day with you!

Love Always, Your Momma






















My Little Jellybean

This week Skylar Joy turns 1. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. It's crazy. In celebration of Skylar's birthday week I'm going to post every day about her (lofty goal considering I haven't blogged in a while -- but I'm hopeful!). My plan is to blog the final two letters to her and a couple other surprises and finish up with a 1 year letter to her on Thursday.

I'll leave you with a few photos from a recent family photo shoot. These were taken by the lovely and talented Anne Ryan Dempsey of Poema Photography:






9 Month Letter to Skylar

Dear Skylar Joy, Mommy loves you so very much! I wish this wasn't late! But I do want to celebrate all the milestones you achieved your 9th month of life!

So, here goes... Last month I told you about how you started standing up! It was such a fun new thing for you and you were standing often, baby girl! But you weren't able to get down (you would yell for me when you got tired of standing) and were afraid of letting go to let yourself "fall" on your bottom. Well, on your 9 month birthday (also your mommy's birthday) you finally figured out how to get down from standing!!! This was quite a relief for your Momma! No more "Ma-Ma-Ma-MA!!!" yelling from you to get helped down from standing (though I do have to admit looking over to see you stuck standing up somewhere will be something I miss on some levels... you were so cute stuck and calling for me). Your independent streak took off this month starting with being able to sit-down and get down from standing.

You also said "Da-da" on your Mom's birthday and we were pretty sure you meant your Daddy. We confirmed this a few days later when I was out of the house and you called for your Daddy saying "Da-Da-Da!" (4/10) You're trying to say other various words too. You often repeat words that you think sound interesting. A good example is that you repeat "click-click" ... it sounds more like "kik-kik," but you're trying to say what we say. It's pretty cute. The only other word we're sure you're saying with meaning is "kitteh" (4/16). You say "keh-keh" when you see Harley and you still try to pet her -- though very roughly (we're working on the concept of "gentle," but it's slow going).

In terms of food: You're a pretty good eater. You eat pretty much all the purées that your Mommy makes you. You also have started trying some pieces of fruits and other foods with mixed results. A few "successes" are when you you tried pineapple at Kroger one day while shopping and when Aunt Mary gave you a strawberry (4/10).

You are enjoying story-time with Daddy as part of your bedtime routine. Your Dad likes to read you Winnie the Pooh stories and sometimes reads you stories about animals. During one of those animal stories you recognized a cat illustrated in the book and pointed out "kit-teh" to your Daddy. You showed your Mom when I came in to finish putting you to bed. You're so smart, little one!

One of your most exciting "new things" you've done during your 9th month was standing on your own without holding anything. You did this for the first time on the couch where it's soft. You were standing up holding onto the back cushion and you just pushed off and stood on your own (4/26). Your Daddy saw you do this first and then you did it again so your Mom could see! I'm sure you'll be standing without holding on very soon!

You like to offer your teether and other toys to your Dad and Mom. You do this especially during storytime with your Dad. It's fun to see you sharing so young. Hopefully this will be a trend, baby girl! :)

Other changes include a few more teeth: You have 6 teeth now! And that you are able to help more while getting dressed. You push your arms through sleeves when I say "push" and still love to laugh when clothes are over your face and when you "pop" out of the neck hole.

You are growing so much every day. We cannot wait to see what you discover next.

I love you, baby girl. Always. Forever...

Love, Your Mom

These pictures are from when you tried the strawberry... you were so uncertain but wanting to try it with Aunt Mary's help. You were so very cute!:

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Cowfish: A Review

Last night Jimmy & I went out for "date night." This might not seem like a big deal, but since we haven't gotten any sitters used to watching Skylar at night yet, we rarely go out just the two of us. Thus far we've only gone out just the two of us when we've had family in town... and that's pretty rare. So, when we were trying to figure out where to go last night it was a big deal to find somewhere good because we don't have time to mess around with mediocre date locations... (lol, i'm so dramatic). Anyway... A good friend suggested the brand-new restaurant: The Cowfish as a possible location. After looking at their menu we decided to go for it!

The Cowfish is brand new to the Raleigh area, but is only the 2nd location for this restaurant. So, I'd still consider it to be a fairly "local" type restaurant. It's gotten a lot of hype from what I can tell because it was PACKED when we got there. At 8:30. Yes, that's right... at 8:30 at night there was a wait for a table for 2. So, I would recommend reservations (though I will say that they only accept reservations till 6 pm -- at least on weeknights. I'm not sure about the weekend).

First impressions: The dining room is rather understated... except for the giant fishbowl in the middle of the bar section. Seriously. Giant:

They have an interesting outdoor dining area that seems like it would be really hot a lot of the time, but gives them more room for guests. Fortunately we were seated indoors (it was muggy as anything last night -- I'm pretty sure it wasn't very comfortable outside). It was also LOUD. But I suppose that's to be expected with a very busy restaurant. I'm sure it's even more so on the weekends... eek! ;)

There was a good selection of music... right up until they played . But .. withstanding it was a nice atmosphere in general. Not super fancy, but not run-of-the-mill either. I also LOVED the tongue-in-cheek artwork on the walls. I only snapped a picture of one of them, but check this out:


Heheheheheheh... Love it.

Okay. On to the real review... the FOOD. It took us a while to settle on what we wanted to order... but we finally did. We started with two Appetizers:

IMG_4695-RangoonDip Crab Rangoon Dip Classic crab rangoon filling served as a creamy dip topped with a parmesan panko crust, served with wonton crisps and sweet chili sauce

IMG_4693-SpringRolls Lobster & Crab Spring Rolls Maine lobster, blue crab, Napa cabbage, ginger, bok choy and carrots rolled in spring roll wrappers and flash fried until crispy. Served with cilantro pesto, Thai chili sauce and Cajun marmalade for dipping

The verdict: We LOVED the Crab Rangoon dip. Jimmy really likes regular Crab Rangoons and this was sort of a deconstructed version of that. It was very flavorful and not too fishy. We felt the opposite about the Lobster & Crab Spring Roll. These were low in flavor and pretty underwhelming. We both felt like we'd rather eat any other part of our dinner again except for the Spring Rolls. So, my recommendation is to skip this one (easier on your wallet and your waistline too).

On to the Main Course:

The menu is filled with regular entrees as well as sampler platters of burgers and sushi. We both really wanted sushi rolls of some type for dinner so we went with that and skipped all the rest. Here are the two we picked out:

IMG_4709-FilletSushi-Sz “The Prime Time” Filet & Lobster Roll Filet Mignon, portabella mushroom and asparagus rolled inside, topped with our famous lump crabcake mix and baked to perfection. Served drizzled with spicy cream sauce.

IMG_4707-fishsushi-size Master Chef Rifali’s Nirvana Roll Avocado, cream cheese and yellowfin tuna roll, topped with whitefish and baked with spicy mayo and sweet eel sauce. Finished with a drop of our delicious cilantro pesto and 4 different types of roe.

The Verdict: These were both phenomenal. It's worth noting that "The Prime Time" roll was a full 8 pieces, but the picture is only of 4 because I didn't get a good picture until half of it was gone. The "Prime Time Roll" has a lot of depth of flavor. The meat is perfectly rare and the truffle mushrooms on top bring the perfect amount of richness and saltiness to the roll. The Nirvana Roll was equally yummy. The Yellowtail was very good and the flaky fish on the outside was cooked just right. The cream cheese and avocado added a delicious creaminess to this roll. My only "complaint" is that there was no texture in the roll. I typically prefer something a bit crunchy in my sushi. Jimmy preferred the Nirvana Roll and I (very slightly) preferred "The Prime Time" roll. They were both amazing... and it would be difficult to not get the very same rolls again if we go back to The Cowfish in the future. So. I highly recommend both of these rolls!!

Finally... Dessert. I have to admit that I failed completely at taking a picture of this whole. We got the dessert to go and after we arrived at a friend's house to play with her baby chicks I completely forgot to take a picture before diving into this yummy treat. But here's a partially eaten picture:

cheesecake-sz Chef Dave's Not Factory Made Cheesecake Rich and creamy coconut almond cheesecake atop a golden fortune cookie crust. Finished with almond coconut and raspberry sauce

The Verdict: This was HUGE. I mean HUGE when it was whole. I think 4 people could share it and still get a decent amount of the dessert. This was also pretty tasty. The coconut flavor could have been a bit stronger for my taste, but generally it was actually pretty light -- especially for cheesecake. I enjoyed the fact that the coconut was very summery and gave it a creaminess (although it's cheesecake, so how hard is it to make it creamy? ;))

Overall thoughts: The service was attentive though not particularly memorable (our waiter specifically seemed both busy and kinda quiet -- he was otherwise very good and our water glasses were never low and he was around often in case we had questions). The dining room was definitely busy and somewhat loud, but not otherwise bad. Their bar area is not very comfortable (the chairs are not what I prefer and were definitely not meant for someone to sit in for long periods of time). Fortunately we spent very little time there since our table was ready pretty quickly. In terms of price we were both impressed by the quality of food for the price. The Cowfish is by no means an inexpensive night out, but our bill (with tip) was actually under $100 (it also included a glass of wine and a beer). The bathrooms are a whole other experience that I'll let you discover for yourself.

But I will leave you with the Buddah Belly Elvis who greets you in the restroom area:


Peace, Love, Burgers & Sushi, Emmie

Blogging Pledge!

I cannot believe it's been more than a month since I last blogged.... that's TOO long. It's TOO long for many reasons, but the biggest one is that I failed to post Skylar's 9 month letter before she turned 10 months!! Major FAIL! We've been pretty busy with life... between going to Lynchburg 2x in May (I am so glad we did, though -- I will always cherish the time we had with Jill before she moved all the way back to her home state of Nebraska!) and various things happening here -- life has been pretty crazy sometimes.

BUT I do have days when I'm just hanging at home with the little bean and I have no idea why I haven't been posting. Well, Okay... I do. I get out of "habit" with doing something and I just stop doing it. I actually have several blog posts in mind to write, but I haven't written them... I also have TONS of pictures (okay... not really, but I have like 2 "photo shoots" worth) to edit and post. They're Skylar pictures at their finest! But they aren't ready and I haven't been feeling creative enough to edit them.

So. This is a post to pledge that there WILL be more posts. The upcoming posts to watch for are:

♥ Skylar's 9 month note! (yes, I'm still going to post this one even though it's SO VERY LATE)

♥ Skylar's 10 month letter... This one will likely be late... at least a week from now so I can finish the 9 month one first! (Our little bean actually turned 10 months old yesterday! That's just so crazy!!)

♥ A post about how I'm doing with my new year's resolutions! This will be sometime between now and July 25th. It's a "half year" check to see how I'm doing with the resolutions half way through the year.

♥ Edited photos for the letter posts AND hopefully a blog post or 2 with just photos from recent "photo shoots."

♥ Nail Polish wish-list. I know many of you won't care about this one... but I, it's happening. ;)

♥ A favorite things post... If I can come up with more favorite things.... hehe...

And.... that's all I really have up my blogging sleeve at the moment. I'm sure there will be more. BUt that's it for now.

I'll be back. Soon!

xo, Emmie

Daddy-Daughter Pictures (Spring):

Spring is in the air... well, really, it's ALL over our porch and has been for weeks. Pollen. It's EVERYWHERE. The recent storms and rain have helped it settle a bit, though.. for now. I finally finished editing these "spring" photos of Skylar and Jimmy! They're from several weeks ago (okay... like 6 weeks... eek!) But I love remembering this day! It was the first really "warm" day we had and it was only a few days after the "winter" photos we took in this post. Hahh... go figure. ;)

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8 Months Young!

Dear Skylar Joy, Hello sweet girl! This month is pretty exciting! First, your "8 month birthday" was on your Mommy's birthday! How cool is that? We were excited to have two things to celebrate that day! Your Mom turned 30 on the 8th, but she largely celebrated her birthday the weekend just before that. You were such a good girl during the festivities! I think about that weekend and how perfectly you behaved with your baby sitter and with all the guests and I am just so proud of you! Thank you for such a lovely "gift" baby girl!

This month has been filled with changes and exploration (as every month has been thus far!). The "big" thing you learned to do this month is stand on your own. It was crazy how quickly you figured out how to pull yourself up to standing. One day you were trying to get to my water bottle up on a chair and couldn't quite make the "leap" to put your hand up and pull yourself up to standing so you could reach it (3/17) and the next day you stood up using another chair to get to my camera gear (3/17). I wasn't expecting you to figure it out so quickly, but once you did you started standing all over the place. The only problem with this development is that you are scared to get DOWN from standing. So... you tend to start babbling "ma-ma-ma-ma" with increasing intensity the longer I let you stand without helping you down. It's cute, baby girl, but someday you will figure out the sitting down from standing thing... Until then I'll keep helping you. ;)

I mentioned that you say "ma-ma-ma," and we can officially say that "mama" is your first word, baby girl! You call for me to help you when you're trying to get down from standing, to come get you when you're up from a nap or at night, and when you're ready to be fed. You're very close to saying other things too... and try out sounds and syllables a lot. At times you make noises like you're trying to say separate words -- like a phrase or sentence. You do this most when you're in the car talking with your travel toys (your owls and your bunny are still major favorites for traveling). Your Dad noticed that you were saying a syllable that sounded like "get" over and over while trying to grab something (4/4). We're not sure what you're really trying to say, but it's obvious that you are continually trying to figure out how to express new words and information to us and your toys.

At the beginning of this month you still did the "arms only" crawl sometimes, but now you're just doing a standard crawl everywhere -- and fast. You can get from one area to another surprisingly quickly! One day this month you crawled right up to the stairs and were trying to get up them (4/4). Of course it was after your Dad and the kitty had just walked up the stairs -- you didn't want to be left behind. We figure it's only a matter of time till you'll be able to climb up the stairs. All of your crawling and adventures are awesome for us to watch. Your Mom and Dad are having to be extra vigilant lately to make sure you don't get into anything that can hurt you, but we both love watching you learn and explore. :)

Speaking of crawling, you crawled into the kitchen for the first time this month and then proceeded to crawl to the bathroom to "find me" while I was in there (of course I was looking out at you to make sure you weren't getting into trouble anyway) (3/13). You used to crawl up to me and then flail about for me to pick you up, but now crawl right up into my lap. In fact you now crawl over any obstacles in your path -- including legs and arms and the cat and toys. You also crawl up to your Mommy and Daddy while we're standing and reach your arm up on our leg to get picked up. It's so cute to see you learning to communicate -- even in non-verbal ways!

You had juice for the first time this month, darling girl (3/19). It was apple juice and you liked it a lot. You also had prune juice (you had some "plumbing issues" for a while and your Mom and Dad were doing all they could to fix the problem). Your first juice was out of a regular cup because you weren't able to get the juice out of the Tommee Tippee cup (it's surprisingly difficult to suck liquid from!). Just a few days later (after we offered you the cup every time and you tried each time) you figured out the Tommee Tippee!! Now you have no problem getting juice and water from it.. This is super helpful, little one, because the Tommee Tippee doesn't spill easily! It will be very useful in the car and such. :)

You are in size 3 diapers now and are wearing 9 month and 12 month clothing. I weeded out a lot of clothes that don't fit you anymore this month... and we're stocking up on 12 month and 18 month clothes at the moment. You're getting so big, my sweet girl!

You still enjoy being in various carriers on your Mommy, but you rarely fall asleep in them now. You usually love to interact with people in stores and typically smile at them. You are sometimes getting shy, though, especially when tired. One interesting turn of events is that you are afraid of men with beards. It's comical how easily you cry if a man with a beard picks you up. We're working on exposing you to more bearded men, but since your Daddy doesn't have one you aren't around them daily. It's important to tell you that you do warm up to guys with beards -- it just takes some time and you're not as friendly for a while around them. You're definitely starting to recognize people you know from strangers. You're much more cautious about who holds you, but are usually okay as long as your Mom or Dad are holding you when you're around new people.

Your grandparents (Mom's parents) visited you for the first time in North Carolina this month (see the photos below with your grandma and Momma!)! While they were visiting your Mom & Dad left you for the first time! You were juuuuust fine while we were out on a date (a late "Valentine's Day" date). We enjoyed spending some time alone just the two of us, but missed you and were glad to be back home with you after a few hours. Now that we've broken the "baby sitting" ice we may have to find other people who can watch you from time to time. :)

You experienced your first Easter this month (3/31)! It really wasn't all that different for you, but you did get a fun Easter package from your Gram-Gram and Pop-Pop. You also got to enjoy some toys from your first Easter Basket that was left on our doorstep by a loving neighbor (anonymously). We're looking forward celebrating with you next year when we can interact more about the true meaning of Easter (and enjoy a good egg hunt as well).

You started teething again hard-core this month, Skylar Joy. It's been difficult to comfort you at times and you haven't slept well at night for a lot of this month (this has been tough on your parents, but we all made it through and are doing better now!). The sleeping issues led to a more strict "bedtime routine" and you now are typically in bed sleeping by 8pm at the latest. This is quite a change from your flexible bedtime previously, but you're definitely needing the structure now. The teething led to two brand-new teeth! You now have 4 teeth in your little mouth: your two bottom front teeth and your two top front teeth. Your Mom forgot to note which day the top two "cut," but it was one of the first few days of April. Even though the teeth have cut you're still teething so it's likely you will have more teeth poking out next month! ;)

We love you so much, baby girl!!!! Keep growing, learning, exploring. We can't wait to see what you're going to do next!

Love Always, Your Momma

Except for the bottom one these pictures were taken by your Dad (edited by me, though):







This final picture is a preview of the "spring" photos of you and Daddy. I'll be posting the rest on their own in the near future:


My Favorite Things:

You may or may not know that April is a special month for me. It's my birthday month! In "honor" of my birthday (I turned 30 a week ago -- so it's kinda a big one) I will be blogging about myself a bit more than usual... Starting with this post! Backstory: I have a friend who started a blog around the same time that I did. LM blogs monthly about her current "favorites" and obsessions (you can check out her April blog about this here). I decided to take a page from her this month and write a post about my current favorite things. Without further ado, my current faves and obsessions:

Salted Caramel.....ANYTHING

I've seen people say that salted caramel as a "thing" has been overdone. I say nope. Nada. NO WAY. It's sooooo good! So, keep making Salted Caramel... ANYTHING. Seriously. Creamer. Candy. Cookies. Just... YUM. (and speaking of salted caramel, here's a Salted Caramel Shake that I'd like to try...)

Alex & Ani Bracelets

AlexandAni-ED-SZ I have LM to thank for these lovely bracelets being in my life. They are SO MUCH FUN. I keep requesting bracelets for special occasions. I previously noted receiving the "E" and the key from Jimmy... and for my birthday Jimmy/Skylar gave me an "S" and LM gave me my birthstone and an off-brand "Joy" bracelet. I used some birthday money to buy the "because I'm a girl." I'm really enjoying the memories attached to the bracelets and slowly building up my collection. AND it's really fun to have something like this to share with a dear friend many miles away! :)

Harley Quinn (full name: Princess Harley Quinn Banana Hammock Graham*)


I adore our kitty. She's a sweetie and definitely more than a "thing," but since I haven't blogged about her yet I thought it important to include her. THe best experiences I've ever had with cats have been tabby cats. Harley is no exception. She's amazing.... I'm so thankful my wonderful friend Mary found her for me (she was my Christmas present several years ago -- Jimmy knew, I did not). She's a lap kitty who is playful and cute and snuggly (in fact she's currently cuddled up against me!). I cannot imagine not having her in our home! ♥

Cadbury Caramel Eggs

I think it's safe to say that I'm in love with all things caramel right now (not JUST salted caramel). Because that's the case it's probably surprising that I had NEVER tried the Caramel Cadbury egg -- until this Easter... and WHAM it's a game-changer. Cadbury cream eggs have long been a favorite of mine, but this year the simple caramel filled egg just SLID into first for my favorite Easter candy of all time. SO YUM. (I have a couple left to enjoy sparingly... and then *sob* no more until next year...)

Harry Potter.

Okay, I know I already wrote a whole blog post about the books (and I'm still IN LOVE with them -- they are awesome!), but I've started watching the movies... and oh-woah that's a whole other thing! I'm so excited about the whole of it... the movies, the books... everything! I haven't finished the movies yet... but I have enjoyed three of them and I'm quite impressed by how well adapted they are! They're not perfect... no movie will ever live up to my imagination (cuz, you know, my imagination ROCKS), but I do appreciate that these movies are visually stunning, well casted, and include some of my favorite parts from the books.


It's probably ridiculous that an online shopping website is one of my favorite things, but as a stay-at-home-mom I don't get out all that much (seriously, it's a production to go anywhere -- We're going places -- but not every day). A lot of the time it's so much easier to just order something from the comfort of my own couch (with Skylar on my lap). Add that we have Amazon Prime and it's just amazing. Sure! I can wait 2 days to get that cheaper and better product! To get that product that I would have to SEARCH for in Walmart or Target or wherever... YES. Thank you, Amazon Prime! :)

Nail Polish

I love me some nail polish and really I could (and probably should) write a whole post just about this! It's becoming an obsession I think. Pre-birthday I counted all of my nail polish bottles... and I have... *drum-roll* .... 305 polishes! Of course that was BEFORE I received birthday presents and bought these beauties at Sephora today:


I also may start MAKING polish in the very near future... My neighbor actually gave me a kit for my birthday to start making polish at home... I'm so excited! I cannot wait! I need to get some free time AND inspiration at the same time... but homemade polish here I come! :)

Nathan Water bottles

I have no less than 5 of these bottles... various colors and even one that is made of metal:

I love them for 3 reasons. 1: They usually fit in a cup holder! This is huge!! A lot of water bottles are too big and don't fit well, but this one does pretty well in almost every case. :) 2: The top closes easily and quickly and almost never leaks (when it functions correctly... I've had one bottle that didn't close quite right and that one would leak a little). 3: Skylar first learned to drink out of a water bottle with a Nathan bottle and continues to prefer it. It's so easy to drink out of and I will probably own more... cuz, well, I'm obsessed. heheh... Oh, and one more reason I love them: bright colors! I've been really attracted to everything bright lately and these bottles feed that love! :)

Well, that's all I can think of at the moment... but maybe I'll make this a regular "feature" if you guys are interested... probably will depend on the way this post is received... SO COMMENT if you wanna hear more about my "favorite things." ;)


*Bonus points to those who get the name reference! ;)

Daddy-Daughter Pictures (Winter):

These are a long time coming. I took these when my parents were here visiting in the beginning of March... and they're decidedly "winter-y" (though Jimmy's not all that bundled up). I have another set taken a week or so later that is much more spring-like and I'll hopefully post those this weekend sometime. (I have many posts "in the works" including several about myself -- this is my birthday month after all! So, hopefully I'll be able to find more time to work on them in the next few days!) Without further ado... pictures of my loves:

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P.s. Also coming up is my 8 month letter to Skylar! (Our sweet girl turned 8 months old on my 30th birthday!)

7 Month Skylar Photos: The Outtakes

A week and a half ago I posted my 7 Month Letter to Skylar along with lots of pictures taken in celebration of 7 months (really, they were for 6/7 months -- I didn't get 6 month ones the way I wanted, but that's beside the point). These are the outtakes. The ones that didn't "quite make the cut," but deserve to be posted anyway. They make me laugh... mostly because my daughter is a sillyhead. Enjoy:






The kitty watched the whole time:


7 Months!

(Quick note: This has been a work in progress for a long time. I didn't anticipate it taking me THIS LONG to post Skylar's 7 month letter! But the visit from my parents and Skylar's recent difficult sleep patterns and sickness have taken their toll. So, it is what it is. Enjoy... and Month 8 will be coming up soon!)

Dear Skylar,

It's hard for me to believe that another month has flown by! Time is passing so quickly, baby girl! You're getting so big! Mostly 9 month clothes are fitting you now (we know from your check-up early this month that you're right around 18 pounds -- though probably more now!). You're also in some 12 month clothes (especially pants).

You had a good check-up with no issues. You're still very healthy, little one... though growing like a weed! After getting back from the doctor's office you were up on all fours, lost your balance and fell on a toy! This resulted in, drum-roll-please, your very first black eye! This isn't something your Mamma was expecting to happen quite so soon... but it was interesting taking you out with your shiner. People everywhere would comment about it... and you got lots of attention while your eye healed. It took a couple weeks, but you eye is completely back to normal now and there's no evidence that you ever had such an epic bruise. I'm thankful that you heal so quickly!

You experienced your very first Valentine's Day, beautiful girl! You modeled a "Happy Valentine's Day" sign to tell those important people in your life how much you care for them on that day! Hehe... you and your Mom had a good time during that photo shoot. You chewed on the slate board and were quick to realize you could "smear" the chalk and play with it. There's pink everywhere on the blankets we used for the photos. :)

This month was your "evolution of the crawl" month. At the beginning of the month you were having trouble getting up into the crawling position (as evidenced by the fact that while trying to do it you fell on a toy and gave yourself a black eye). You would pull yourself up, though, and try so very hard to move forward. This often resulted in you bucking your body in a forward-moving-motion while not actually going anywhere. Fast forward to the end of the month: You're crawling!! It is clumsy sometimes, but you're moving forward -- one awkward movement at a time! You're using your legs and your arms together -- instead of trying to pull yourself with your arms. You crawl better on carpet than on the hardwood floors downstairs, but that's to be expected. BUT you are getting better in that area too! You crawled to me for the first time on the hardwood floor this month (3/6)! Mamma was so proud of you in that moment!

You're learning that even when you don't like something that I'm doing for you, that it might be what you need anyway. The big thing you've seemed to "get" is that when I suck snot out of your nose (ewww!) it's to help you! I noticed this around the middle of the month (2/13). You also seem to understand taking Tylenol when you need it. Before this month you would spit it out, but this month you started sucking from the syringe! This is much easier on your Mom and Dad than trying to force you to take it when you're sick!

You have always enjoyed bath-time, but you're starting to really get into it, baby girl! You love splashing and playing! You're very curious about the water coming from the faucet and try to "grab" it! You also are more independent and try to move around more yourself. Your Mom has to watch you closely or you try to "eat" the water. It's pretty fun watching you explore and learn, though.

You've tried and loved several new foods this month!: carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal cereal! You also ate whole-cooked carrots at Cracker Barrel this month (3/3)! You like pretty much every food we've tried thus far except for avocados. This makes your Mommy somewhat sad, but we'll try them again in the future.

You notice small changes in what your Mom is wearing (and your Dad too). You notice most often when breastfeeding. For example if I'm wearing a ring you try to look at it, and you notice when I change my nail polish (especially if it's a bright color). You also notice Daddy's clothes and when he has or doesn't have his name tag on from work.

Your Mom and Dad realized this month that when you play with your remote toys you use it the way we do -- with your thumbs (noticed 2/21). It's so cute to see you imitating us! You continually make us both smile and laugh. Along the same lines, when I let you hold the nail file I use to shorten your nails (otherwise you scratch your face up a lot!) you try to hold it and use it on your other hand the same way that I do -- back and forth! (At least you try for a little while -- then the file ends up in your mouth, just like everything else!)

You are definitely still teething, little one! And this month you saw the entrance of your 2nd tooth (around 3/6). You now have 2 front teeth on the bottom. You're so cute with your matching teeth! There seems to be no end to the chewing in sight, so there may be more teeth next month!

Another new thing this month is that you move your hand against your mouth to make noises (3/2). You do this most often to get Mommy's attention because you've noticed that it makes me laugh. You are such a silly Bean, and I love that about you!

Favorite toys this month: Anything that's good to chew on (especially your Baby's 1st Toothbrush)! You still love your remote and the grown-up remote that we gave you. You also fell in love with your carseat owl companion (just like your Mom thought you would). In the quest for sleep you've also started sleeping with some cuddly friends. Your first sleep-cuddler was Mumford from your very sweet Aunt Lisamarie! Your Daddy gave him to you one night and cuddling him has helped you sleep some nights! You also sleep with your Lambie (from Grandma and Grandpa B) now and you love both very much!

Well, Skylar Joy, keep growing and learning so fast! Your Mom & Dad are keeping up -- but just barely! Next month let's work on sleeping more at night. Your Mom & Dad would love that! Regardless, we love you so very much and can't wait to see what next month brings.

Love Always & Forever, Your Mamma

Skylar's 6 & 7 Month pictures (taken by me, edited by me):

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