Friday, February 28, 2014

Catherine Bailey: New children's book author

I am so proud and pleased to introduce one of my very good friends, Catherine Bailey.  

She is debuting her very first book in the Fall of 2014 called Mind Your Monsters about "A little boy's quiet life is interrupted when monsters come to town."  If the book,  is anything like Catherine, it will be beautiful, whimsical and certainly imaginative.  I cannot wait to get my hands on my very own autographed copy of this book for my own children.  
Illustration by Donna Farrell

Catherine's website bio says:

"When Catherine is not writing, or editing, or swatting at mosquitos, she looks after her husband and two children.  All three of them are quite sticky, and none like bedtime, but she loves them anyway.  Her prior job titles include Lawyer (interesting), Sailboat Deckhand (fun but occasionally sea-sicky), and Cartoon Network Intern (best-est job ever, beside writing).  Her hobbies include reading, 80's movies, and travel.  But mostly reading."

Please head over and like her on Facebook, read her fabulous blog called The Crooked Book and be sure to keep an eye out for her book by watching her website.  Don't worry, I won't let you forget its debut.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just Hangin' Out....

....poolside (gosh, I love that little smirk!)

....with big sister....

....and with our sleep mask on (really....can you tell she's my child?)

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Club...For First Graders

With the birth of H.G., working from home during maternity leave and now back to work, I'm afraid I've been lacking in volunteering in Lolly's first grade classroom.  It's difficult to bring a baby to school during the day as it's very distracting for the class. 

Not too long ago, Lolly told me that one of her friends was reading a book, said it was really good and that she would like to read it too.  This got me thinking about a first grade book club.  It's time for the kids to be reading outside the classroom (which the already do for homework) but on their free time and then get together and discuss in a fun setting.

So, I started the first grade book club for her class and the first club was a blast!  I had nine kids and we read the first book in the Magic Tree House series.  It was called Dinosaurs Before Dark. 

These kids were on the ball!  They remembered every detail of the book and we completed several exercised including self expression (i.e. what would you do?) and memory questions.
For our next club, we are going to read the first book in the Boxcar Children  series, appropriately named The Boxcar Children.  Lolly already read this book over Christmas with Granny but she's excited to read it again and discuss it with her classmates. 

I've also had many more kids sign up this time around after hearing how much fun our first club meeting went!

If you know of any great First Grade books that would go well with a book club, I'm open to suggestions!  We have two more meetings after our March meeting before the school year ends, so I'm looking for two more book ideas!

Happy Monday Y'all!

Friday, February 21, 2014

First Dip in the Pool

Yes, it was February 8th, the day of H.G.'s four month birthday and she took her very first dip in the pool.  Sorry northerners ;).  But I will say it was very difficult finding swim diapers this time of the year, so we only went for a very quick dip since she was without a diaper.  

I had to pull out Lolly's twelve month bathing suits and as you can see, this one fit H.G. just perfectly (in height anyways, it was just a tad big around the middle).  

Lolly showing us her 2014 perfected dive.  The next dive....well let's just say it stung her just a bit.  She sure is having fun working on the perfect dive though!

Happy Friday Y'all!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Four Months Old!!

H.G. turned four months old on February 8th!  Wow how time flies when you're having fun!  It's amazing to see how much she's changed and growing.  She's now grasping bigger items with her hands, laughing and chuckling out loud and she just loves to hold conversations with both other people and herself when looking into a mirror.  She still insists on being swaddled for every nap and sleep time and she's growing some mommy-attachment issues (not that I'm complaining!)  She's loving school.  She's apparently really enjoying art, music and Spanish lessons when she's not practicing tummy time or sitting.  ;-)  She's in Montessori school so I guess it's pretty progressive even for a four month old!  Though I have to say....if her first word is "Hola," I'm not really sure how I'll react!  Haha!

At her four month appointment, she weighed 14 pounds 7.5 ounces and was 25" long!  She's in the 95th percentile for height!  No wonder I think she looks so much bigger compared to other 4 month old babies I know. It's not due to weight, it's height!

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Weekend Update

Lolly LOVED her desk on Friday for Valentine's Day!  Thankfully her teacher took pictures.  Apparently, she was so stunned that she forgot to put down her backpack and lunch box for quite some time and had to prompted to do so.  :-)

Sunday was a beautiful day!  Lolly spent nearly the entire day outside riding her new bike.  If we had been up north, as my MIL pointed out, she probably would have been sledding!  

A beautiful bouquet of flowers Lolly made for me for President's Day.  Better than any real dozen of roses any day, hands down!  :-)

Happy Tuesday Y'all!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tea Party!

Lolly was SO excited to participate in a High Tea fundraiser for our local Children's Museum in which I'm President Elect of the board.  She received a pink parasol and was tasked with collecting donation cards from the attendees.  She was excited to wear a frilly dress and socks.  The most exciting part of her day though?  Getting to walk underneath an umbrella with the valet to our car afterwards as it was pouring down rain!

Happy Monday Y'all!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Photo shoot on the fly this morning in horrible lighting, so not the best pictures but the sentiments are all the same!

Daddy says Cupid threw up hearts all over you.  :-)

Lolly is going to be SO surprised when she gets into her classroom this morning.  I wish I could be there to see her reaction.  The parents all went and decorated their desks for Valentine's Day last night after school.  I thought I was bringing too much and I was actually the least decorated!  She will walk in to see a bouquet of Tulips, two balloons, a banner on her chair, stickers and gel stickers all over her desk!  Needless to say, that classroom is going to get nothing done today!

And last but not least, I love my boss.  Every Valentine's Day, he gets me a BIG box of Godiva chocolates.  I really do have the best job and though sometimes stressful, it is rewarding and very family oriented.  

Happy Valentine's Day Y'all!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

And now we're caught up!

Here's a few pictures from the last few days.  Thankfully it's warm again (sorry, I'm not saying that to be mean to my northern friends), but H.G. has SO many southern frocks, Lilly outfits and sweet little onesies to wear before she grows out of them!  She's already 14.5 pounds!  She's an EATER!  She's been eating anywhere between 32 and 36 ounces of milk a day!  And due to GERD reflux (yes, she's been diagnosed with it and it hurts if she doesn't take her medicine), she's on rice cereal in her bottle at night since three months.  I kid you not, I complain about her flying through outfits, but at least she gets a chance to wear them all as she changes clothes no less than 6 times a day due to spit ups (and drool....I'm pretty sure she's starting to teeth).  

Anyways, with this warmer weather, bring on the smocked frocks!  :-)  OH, and the big bows too of course!

And monogrammed dresses and rears (gotta monogram the diaper covers!)  I can't wait for her to fit in her Lilly outfits that match Lolly's.  See Lolly in the background?  H.G. has a dress that matches. 

This's already too tight around her chunky little thighs!

And of course, like mommy like daughter.  We're gettin' our pearls and Chanel on!  ;)

Happy Friday Y'all!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Month 3 ...

January was a fairly quiet month for us.  The first two weeks consisted of my spending as much time at home with H.G. and Lolly has possible before I started back to work on the 13th.  I'm now working full time, but from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I LOVE this new schedule and even with being home, I'm quite productive and handling everything just fine.
Of course, until last week when our computer died and I got behind again.  But that's since been resolved (not sure if I told you but I worked from home the entire three months of my maternity leave.  I love my job and due to its nature, I couldn't just pick up and leave.  That and I was still getting paid!)

So here's a quick and short snapshot into January!
H.G. LOVES bath time!  It is the quickest way to calm her right before bed. 

 My parents FINALLY met H.G.!  They came down for a nice long visit the weekend before I went back to work and they got lots of snuggle time in.
Oh...and my dad, he's gone nuts.  He bought a BMW convertible.  For those of you that know my dad in real life, you'll understand why my jaw is still dropped on that one.
Mom?  Well she's loving it as she's always secretly wanted a sports car.  Specifically, a Dodge Stealth, which coincidentally, Husband used to have one before we met.

Lolly LOVED riding in the convertible and I have to admit, I quite liked driving it.  Husband's been trying to convince me to get one but I keep resisting due to family travel.  Maybe someday.

January 8th, 3 months old!  Chunky little monkey!  So different from Lolly who was 12 pounds at five months versus H.G.'s three months. 

Practicing sitting up while playing with princesses with big sister.  These two have SUCH an amazing bond!  On the rare occasion that H.G. is very fussy, all Lolly has to do is lay down with her and stroke her head or hold her hand and she immediately calms.  Even in the car with the holding of her hand.  When I see this, I immediately stop and have visions of Lolly at 25, possibly married, talking to her college aged little sister, consoling her about some heartache, ranting about a horrible teacher or congratulating on a great accomplishment and I can't help but say a little prayer....that they remain like this forever.  Best friends.

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Books. What are you reading?

I'm slowly but surely getting back to reading.  I love to read but often take month long hiatus' where I don't read at all.  I stopped reading around August and didn't pick a book back up until December.  Even then, reading is now much slower going as it's hard to find time.  I do most of my reading when feeding H.G. her last feeding of the night and then before I go to bed (which is usually about 5 minutes as I zonk out quite quickly these days!)  

Here are the books I've read and the one I'm currently reading.  

Allegiant.  I re-read both the first books again before starting this one as it had been quite some time.  The jury is still out.  I like the author and I like the story line but I felt it to be a little slow and drawn out and then "hurry up we have to end it."  I did like the ending though I won't go into why here in case some of you haven't read it yet!  
I'm currently reading The Good House.  This book was recommended to me by a friend and so far I'm enjoying it and it's easy to keep up with my very random reading times.  I don't have to go back and re-read where I left off to keep up.

Ashleigh is reading Winter's Tale before the movie comes out.  It's over 700 pages so this will likely take me months to read.  She said she's only 100 pages in and she's still "not that into it" so I'll see what she has to say before starting.

What are you reading?  Follow me on Goodreads!

Happy Tuesday Y'all!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Playing Catch Up...Month 2

I was talking with a friend tonight about how much I really wanted to get back to blogging, not for everyone else that has and does follow me over the past few years, but for myself, my family and most importantly, my girls. in plural.  That's nice.  :-)

This blog has, for the most part, always been about my growing family and for the last year, it's been lacking.  I don't have scrapbooks.  I don't have picture books.  Nor do I have the time to really sit down and actually make picture or scrapbooks these days.  But I do have time to blog and hopefully one day, I'll print out these blogs and have not just a scrapbook or picture, but actual stories that accompany our lives, so the girls have a way to remember their childhoods.  Poor Baby H, she's barely been mentioned since she was born!  

Anyways, I'm notoriously organized with my pictures.  They are always uploaded and dated into months and then stored on the "brick" (a/k/a the external hardrive....which my computer techy friend is trying to convince me to upload all twelve years of pictures to dropbox, but that's another story).  The point being, I'm organized and at least playing catch up will not be that difficult.  So, I think I left off with month 1 of Baby H, so here, I'll start with Month 2.  By the way, Baby H is now 4 months old, as of Saturday! 

Anyways....back to blogging (which Husband will be thrilled!)

Couple changes though.  Lallie is now going to be spelled Lolly.  No one has/had a CLUE that Lallie is actually pronounced "lolly" like lollipop.  It was spelled this way due to a friend and I just assumed you would pronounce it "lolly" and not some other way with a short or long A sound.  I supposed incorrectly.  And Baby H.  Well, let's call her H.G. which is short for her real name. 

So here goes the month of December which is basically, picture overload.

We started out December celebrating not only Husband's 38th birthday, but also H.G.'s baptism day on December 1st!  It was a great day however, we were greatly missing my mom and dad.  They had planned to spend Thanksgiving and the baptism with us along with my brother-in-law and his wife however, my grandfather (dad's side) died and my parents had to go to northern Illinois to handle everything surrounding that.  At this point, they had still yet to meet H.G. due to a series of unfortunate circumstances and with H.G. being so young and other relatives already in route to Florida, we were not able to attend my grandfather's funeral.  Other than that, it was a great day/weekend!  We celebrated with great friends, honorary "aunts and uncles" and of course, her Godparents, Husband's brother and wife, Patrick and Jessica.
I'm saddened to say that on December 7th, our sweet companion, U.K. passed on.  He had been failing in health quite quickly over the two weeks before and he was old by the standards of a golden retriever at 14 years old.  We miss him greatly but no one as much as Husband.  They were true confidants and soul mates.  He will be forever in our hearts as he was our very first baby and we were his forever home.

On December 8th, H.G. turned 2 months old!

Lolly made her debut as a ballet dancer in her very first Nutcracker!  She was a lamb (I'm not sure they had lambs in the real Nutcracker.  I'm pretty sure they had more students sign up than parts and thus, we have lambs).  Let me tell you, the Nutcracker rehearsal and performance schedule is tough, especially with a newborn!  Nevertheless, we are super proud of Lolly and of course, she had a blast!  And that's all that matters.

We took a quick trip up to Disney's Magic Kingdom and Epcot, just for the day.  H.G.'s first trip and Lolly's tenth, twelfth, I've lost count!  Christmas at Disney truly is magical (until you get soaked with rain....and you buy $42 PJs so Lolly won't be cold on the ride home and then they shrink with the first washing to the size of a two month old....again, another story for another day).

Santa Claus visited our neighborhood.  This was very exciting for Lolly!   Yes, that is an Anna dress from Frozen.  Lolly never wears regular clothes at home. She is always in one princess dress or another.

I'm so proud of myself.  I took my own Christmas pictures.  I read a book on how to use our fancy Nikon D-90, figured out what an F-stop meant (sort of) and even used a tripod!  These are the results.  The top picture was the front of the card and the bottom picture was on the back as the birth announcement.  There's nothing wrong with killing two birds with one stone! :-) 
The only issue?  Husband said "you could have at least mulched!"  Heehee.  Add it to my list of things to do!

And then we went north.  We headed to the car.....a Lexus sedan (at least it's the big one).....for 24 hours.....stopping at a hotel....with a nursing two month old.....and an antsy 6 year old.
Oh yes we did.

And it actually went REALLY well!  At the time, H.G. was a car screamer.  Every time we put her in the car seat, she screamed at the top of her lungs until she was hoarse.  And then she'd snub for an hour.  It broke our hearts!  H.G. is a very good baby and never cried unless she was in her car seat (thankfully this has now stopped).

So, we got in the car, said a very long and hopeful prayer and she was an absolute peach the entire way up and back.
Will we ever do that again?  Uh, that would be a resounding NO!  But we are sure glad we were able to go and introduce H.G. to the family and of course, Lolly had a fantastic time on the farm.

Ummmmm, I'm a Florida baby....what the heck is all this bulky stuff?

Lolly lost her very first tooth two days before Christmas.  What a lucky girl as apparently the first tooth is worth the most.  Who knew?

Oh the way, Ashleigh had her baby!  Sweet little (big) P.  I'm pretty sure I told you but he was 6 weeks early and was in the NICU for two weeks.  Goodness, if I ever wanted to be anywhere, it was then.  For Ashleigh.  I will never be able to imagine what she went through but if the string of texts tell you anything, it was extremely tough.  But he's doing great and you'd never know he was a preemie with his 20 pound weight gain by 6 months!  I was SO excited to meet him and hug my "sister" this year.  So blessed to have Ashleigh, her Husband and now P. in our lives.  
I LOVE this picture.

Black walnut cracking on the farm. :-) We brought a whole bag back for bourbon balls for our upcoming Derby party!

Okay, so I told you it was picture overload!  Next post will be Month 3 (as that's how we gauge things in life now: by how old H.G. is at that time).

Until then....

Happy Monday Y'all!