Archive for February, 2011

  • Tea Shower

    Date: 2011.02.28 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Mark, OMG YAY!, Pregnancy, Style | Response: 3

    As if I weren’t spoiled enough, I had another baby shower on Sunday! This one was for members of Mark’s family and hosted by my sister-in-law Stephanie, two of Mark’s aunts Rhonda and Cheryl, and his cousin Nina.

    The theme was a “diaper and tea shower.” How cute were these invites?


    In proper tea style, we were asked to don hats, pearls, boas and whatever else we needed to style ourselves appropriately. Mom and I showed up in style!


    The house was decked out in begonia plants, boas, tea cups and, of course, tea.


    There was a handmade wreath with lots of birds…

    And a custom made diaper cake from Sarah’s aunt Stephanie!

    The cookie was designed by Stephanie’s friend Jennifer.

    Towards the end of the shower, Stephanie came up to me and whispered conspiratorially, “There’s a surprise inside the diaper cake.” We walked over, she picked up the flower on the top and told me to look inside.


    Yes, that is a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, my favorite. Do I have the best sister-in-law or what?

    There were also lots and lots of great presents from all of Mark’s aunts, cousins, grandmother and mom. See:

    And another smocked outfit courtesy of my mom. Ice cream cones this time!

    (Please ignore my crazy faces).

    This is going to be one well diapered and dressed little kiddo! Thanks to all the wonderful family who gave us so much!

    Also, I think I may take to wearing a hat on a regular basis. It’s rather fetching is it not?

  • Birds, Books and Baby, Oh My!

    Date: 2011.02.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Friends, Life, Love, Me, OMG YAY!, Pregnancy, Style | Response: 16

    I love baby showers. There is something wonderful about a happy mommy surrounded by tiny little gifts for baby to be, incredible “lady food” and that amazing punch that always seems to turn up. So no surprise that I was like a kid on Christmas morning getting ready to go to one for my sweet baby girl.

    I am so fortunate to have such amazing friends. As soon as I told Kelly I was pregnant, she (after about two minutes of uninterrupted squealing) immediately said, “Oh my gosh I’m doing the baby shower!” My awesome friends Angela, Becki and Susan also wanted to pitch in, thus they formed the baby shower planning power team.

    And let me tell you, these ladies had crazy good skills.

    Kelly handled all the decorations.

    From the welcome sign…

    From Baby Shower!

    To the birdie garlands and pom poms…

    From Baby Shower!

    To the personalized food cards.

    From Baby Shower!

    Angela and her friend Heather handled all the food.

    They made shrimp tartlets, sausage muffins, brought fruit, veggies, pinwheels and quiches. She also came up with all the adorable children’s book themed titles for the food!

    From Baby Shower!

    Becki hand made the (pop-up!) invitations!

    From Baby Shower!

    And with help from her cousin Kelly made the most adorable cake ever. (Can you believe they made that themselves?) The top layer was chocolate with bavarian cream and the bottom layer was white with raspberry cream. I had a slice of each.

    From Baby Shower!

    Susan, who is currently in the middle of her first year of emergency medicine residency and pretty much stays busy saving people’s lives, pitched in where she could with game prizes and balloons.

    Aren’t they the most beautiful hostesses ever?

    From Baby Shower!

    And let me tell you, if there is one thing in this world I love it’s a good book! So you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that this was a “Bird and Book” shower. That meant I got loaded down with the best children’s books from my childhood, and some that I can’t wait to become acquainted  with. And with all those people and all those books, not a single one was duplicated!

    From Baby Shower!

    Sarah got lots of great clothes!

    From Baby Shower!

    This one from my sister will be her “going home from the hospital outfit!”

    From Baby Shower!

    She also got some great snuggle buddies.

    From Baby Shower!

    And this little gift was purchased especially for Mark!

    From Baby Shower!

    And how cute is this little wall hanging made out of owls from Becki?

    From Baby Shower!

    Perhaps the most surprising and touching part of all were the two surprise gifts I received from “out of towners.”

    Cassie, who has gotten to be a very good friend of mine through our blogs, hand made this beautiful, soft blanket for Baby Sarah and shipped it from Pittsburgh! It even had her initials stitched in it! And, sneaky girl that she is, she coordinated with Kelly and it was ready and wrapped at the shower!

    From Baby Shower!

    Another big surprise was the arrival of gifts on my front porch from my friend Anna who lives in Japan! How appropriate that she sent a Moby wrap with cherry blossoms on it. :)

    From Baby Shower!

    There were tons of gifts, lots of fun and plenty of photos. Click here to view the whole set!

    Thank you wonderful ladies!

  • 34 Weeks

    Date: 2011.02.22 | Category: Baby, Health, Mark, Pregnancy | Response: 9


    34 Weeks

    You are getting so big! I can feel every twitch and movement all the time now. We watch your elbows and knees poke up and move around. It’s so surreal and sometimes painful.

    Good news though, I think I’ve finally found the right combination of elements to get a decent night’s sleep. It includes the following: three pillows, a light sheet and blanket, a humidifier, a ceiling fan, low room temp, no sugar close to bed time, a light bed time snack and regular exercise. This combination of elements has let me sleep relatively well the past two nights. I’m overjoyed! Your father however, is seriously considering purchasing a pair of mittens and a winter hat to wear to bed. We put an extra blanket on him last night and it seemed to help. Poor Leela girl has also objected to the new chilly atmosphere and huddles on your daddy’s feet at nighttime in an attempt to share the warmth.

    You still continue to get the hiccups at least once a day. I have no idea what triggers it, and they come on at random times, but they always make me smile.

    We also got your crib all set up this past weekend! Your Nana bought a mattress pad for you, so everything is washed and ready. A few more tweaks still need to be done for the nursery, but it’s almost there.

    Your daddy has also suddenly taken to catering me. I think the childbirth class that emphasized mom’s need for rest sunk in. He’s been going above and beyond to make sure I’m comfortable, especially at nighttime.

    Oh, and the weather has turned to spring! After work it’s been in the 70’s all this week. That means I’ve been walking a mile and a quarter a day. Your dad and the dogs accompany us. And while the round ligament pains sting a little, the pregnancy support belt does a great job of keeping the rest of my body comfortable on our walk.  The walk seems to calm you a great deal and help me sleep better at night. I hope the spring weather holds out!

    I can’t believe we’re down to the final six weeks. You are being celebrated twice over this weekend: the first at a baby shower thrown by your aunties Kelly, Angela, Becki and Susan, and another at a baby shower thrown by all the ladies on daddy’s side of the family. You are going to be so showered!

    Much love,

  • The Birthing Class

    Date: 2011.02.17 | Category: Family, Mark, Pregnancy, Weirdness | Response: 8

    As I have no prior experience with birthing babies, I decided to sign Mark and I up for a childbirth class. I recruited my sister too. Our husbands were skeptical, but supportive.

    On the day of the class we showed up to the hospital. The class was supposed to start at 9 a.m., and when, at 9:30 a.m., there was still no teacher, Mark went in search of finding out WTH was going on. Turns out they had moved the class to a hospital way on the other side of town and failed to tell us.

    Angrily, we three hungry, angry pregnant women who showed up at that hospital got in our cars and drove the 25 minutes to the other hospital. We arrived in a frazzled state to a consoling instructor and a class of about 20 other people staring at us like we were morons. (Turns out, when we registered it was at one hospital, after we registered they changed the location on the website. Early registrars were thus penalized).

    The class itself was… interesting. The instructor was a Labor and Delivery nurse who had no qualms about telling us her personal incontinence stories and insisting we do our kegel exercises regularly.

    Other jewels of wisdom passed on from our instructor:

    1. “Husbands, if you have sex with your wife and she’s having a girl it’s not incest.”
    2. Also, “You will not poke the baby in the head or eye.”
    3. “Who knows where the perineum is?” And to a room full of embarrassed and averted eyes, “Well, how did you get pregnant then?”
    4. The pronunciation of “dilation” as “dah-lation.”
    5. “Men, you may notice that your wives can’t eat a full meal any more now that her stomach is compressed.” Um, what does it mean that I can eat mine and his meal?
    6. “Trying not to poop on the table is like pushing down on the break and gas pedals at the same time. The car’s not going to go.”
    7. “No your stomach will probably never be flat again and those stretch marks don’t go away.” Good thing mine was never flat to begin with. Sheesh.
    8. Apparently if you’re not married your baby daddy has to be present to be on the birth certificate. Also if you haven’t been divorced for more than a year, your ex-spouse’s name goes on the certificate. (What if someone else was the daddy?) These comments actually elicited a lot of questions from the class.
    9. “If people want to come over to visit you after the baby is born, tell them they have to do something like pick up dinner or vacuum your living room. If they don’t agree to said chores tell them, ‘Sorry, maybe another time.’”

    While the class seemed to take most of this in with dull acceptance, my sister and I got as tickled as 7th graders in sex ed and kept stifling giggles.

    Despite that silliness, we really did gain a lot of knowledge. For instance, did you know the baby actually corkscrews itself out of the birth canal? We got to look at diagrams of “pregnant” and “pre-pregnant” bodies and lament over our squished bladders and lungs. And most importantly our husbands were instructed that yes, we really do need help sometimes and no, we’re not making it up. We held epidural needles and baby vacuums; we played with fetal heart monitors and marveled at all the ways babies can position themselves in the uterus.

    And at the end of the class we all got on the floor with our spouses or partners for breathing exercises. And while the rest of the class seemed to be taking to it like champs, neither Mark or I could get comfortable. My back ached and my pregnant self was effectively squishing him against the wall so that he couldn’t breath at all. We resettled about five times and Mark kept doing the breathing exercises in my ear, distracting me from trying to do them myself, because he’ll need to know how to work through contractions, obviously.

    Final conclusions? Yes, it was worth it because we learned a lot and laughed, but I won’t be doing it again for future pregnancies.

  • 33 Weeks?

    Date: 2011.02.15 | Category: Baby, Pregnancy | Response: 12


    33 Weeks?

    Yes, with a question mark, because currently you’re measuring a week ahead of schedule. At the doctor’s today we got to see you on the ultrasound! You are weighing in at 4lbs and 14oz and continuing to grow. You have the cutest little chubby cheeks that made your mother start crying. They say they wouldn’t be surprised if you turned out to be March baby, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

    You continue to be a mover, but the moves are changing. Instead of lots of kicks, you have big body moves and shifts. Turns out the spot you keep pressing up on my side is actually your back. You like to stretch as much as you can. Your little feet continue to pummel my diaphragm, and I’m happy to know that those are your feet now. You are head down (woo hoo!) and apparently very far down.

    I think my stomach is growing more and more every day. It’s kind of amazing and terrifying. Last night I had to get your dad to put lotion on my feet as it’s painful on my hamstrings to lean over that far now.

    We also took a childbirth class on Saturday and it was um, interesting and informative. I think it was a real eye opener for your daddy, and that epidural needle they passed around was certainly an eye opener for me.

    I think you’ll be here sooner than later, but only time will tell.


    I love you so much!

  • Love is…

    Date: 2011.02.14 | Category: Dogs, Love, Mark, Pregnancy | Response: 7

    …being the brave voice of reason in a moment of pregnant insanity.

    Last night I slept great for the first time in months. I got up on time, took a shower, started to get ready for work, then walked into my closet. That’s when the insanity seized me. For some reason I had it in my head that I HAD to wear red for Valentine’s Day.  When I tried on two donated maternity shirts with red in them, only to have them be a little too snug, something in my head said it was ok to start trying on pre-maternity shirts.

    Only now can I fully realize that this made no logical sense.

    I tore through my closet and started freaking out when none of these shirts would cover my belly. None of them. In desperation I was throwing piles of clothes onto my dresser, declaring that they were all going to Goodwill as my husband watched from the bed in stunned silence.

    “NOTHING fits me any more!” I wailed.

    Mark, taking a big risk with this one, said calmly and nicely, “What about that pretty black shirt we bought at the maternity store?” I pulled it out, slipped it on and it fit perfectly. And even though it’s not red, my mood immediately brightened.

    Sometimes I just need his calm voice of reason to help me find my way out of pregnancy-induced insanity.

    So today I hope your morning starts more like Leela’s and less like mine.

    Leela Heart

    Happy Valentines Day from all of us at :)

  • Learn and Save

    Date: 2011.02.11 | Category: Books, Home, Life, Me, Pets, Style | Response: 8

    Several of my blog friends have reported over the past month or so on the ways they strive to save money . Thank goodness Mark and I both share the same “pay the least amount possible while still getting a good deal” philosophy, even if it means driving to North Little Rock or Baton Rouge to get a vehicle at the right price. Heck, we even did Disney World on a tight budget that you wouldn’t believe!

    We really focused on this when Mark started up his own business, and the need to save money is becoming even more important as we prepare ourselves for the gigantic added monthly expense of daycare (which is the one thing we refuse to cheap out on. Baby girl will be in the best care and close to my job). We also try to adhere to shopping organic as much as possible, which can get pricey.

    So here are a few of the things we’ve done to make life a little more affordable:

    1. Take in donated and second hand furniture.
    Goodness knows I don’t care if things match. In fact, I think our newly acquired, old peach couch has a lovely vintage feel and I just need the right throw pillows to tie it to the rest of the room. We’ve also acquired a donated rocking lounge chair and purchased our crib, baby dresser and changing table second hand. The dresser in our bedroom was given to us by my grandparents. We stripped it of white speckled paint, sanded it, stained and refinished it.

    2. Coupons!
    This is a recent obsession for me. Turns out that  Voices section of The Times they send in the mail each week is packed with all kinds of coupons, from groceries to power tools. And guess what else? Krogers has an iPhone app where you can electronically load coupons onto your Kroger card. When you buy the item, it automatically deducts from your total bill. And then of course there are the coupons on Swagbucks which are usually really good and have the bonus of giving you more Swagbucks for more free stuff. (Thanks Cassie!) I now save about $8-$12 on my grocery bill each time.

    3. Online coupons.
    You know those discount codes they ask for when you check out? You can find tons of them at During Christmas time that website was invaluable.

    4. Over the air HD + Netflix = No Dish/Cable bill
    I know this may be a deal breaker for some people, especially if you crave ESPN, but it works for us. We have an antenna that allows us to get all our local channels in HD for free! (About 15 total). The rest we watch online or on Netflix. This means we don’t shovel over $60/month in television bills.

    5. Clothes shopping on the cheap.
    Old Navy, Gap Outlet, Target and Ross have great prices, especially their clearance racks. I’ve gotten where I can hardly stand to pay full price for any clothes or shoes items any more. And right now I live in loaned and donated maternity clothes thanks to my fellow mommies!

    6. The Library.
    I know this should be a no-brainer, but I am kind of obsessed with books. I love to collect them and read them over and over. There are some books that I will just buy no matter what (but always on sale at Amazon). But now, instead of running to Amazon, I check out the library first. They don’t have everything I want to read, but they’ve surprised me with having new releases. They also have audiobooks and movies for free check out!

    7. DIY Home Repair
    I know this may not be an option for everyone, but I have been blessed  with a husband and father-in-law who can literally fix anything. Mark has repaired toilets, wired our house for surround sound and patched my car tires. He has installed wood floors, tile floors, fixed lawn mowers and installed new closet rails and shelves. What would I do without this man? Spend lots more money, that’s what.

    8. Price Matching at the Vet.
    After a little bit of asking I learned my vet will match online prices for pet medications, including heart worm pills and Bonnie’s bladder meds (another story for another day). This has saved us a bundle!

    So I’m curious, what do you do to save money? I’m always looking for tips!

  • 32 Weeks

    Date: 2011.02.08 | Category: Pregnancy | Response: 6


    32 Weeks

    Goodness things are getting tight in there. Your feet, or at least I think they’re your feet, are lodged in my diaphragm, making leaning over, breathing and sitting still generally uncomfortable. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just highly pressurized and weird.

    This week has marked an intense need to clean and organize. I’ve been picking up, vacuuming, organizing, scrubbing bathrooms, organizing my desk at work and cleaning out like a crazy woman. Much to your daddy’s dismay, he has also been enlisted to assist in this process, namely doing the things that I am no longer able to do, like leaning over bathtubs and carting up heavy boxes to the attic. The house is still nowhere near where I want it to be, so this crazed process is going to continue for a while. If only I didn’t get worn out so easily and could do things like move furniture on my own…

    Strawberries still continue to be a favorite food for me, as well as orange juice. Every time I drink or eat them you get wild, shoving your butt, head, arms and legs in weird, jutting positions. Sour cream also continues to be a favorite and last night I craved Taco Bell – so gross and yummy. Oh, and I attacked all the 7-layer dip during the Super Bowl party, but Mark’s family was too nice to say anything.

    I’ve discovered that I can push on you now and you will push back. Sometimes when you don’t move for several hours at a time, I’ll push on you just to make sure you’re doing ok in there. I don’t think you appreciate it as I usually get an elbow or knee jab in return.

    I caught your dad watching videos on labor and delivery and the hospital stay yesterday. It was really sweet, though I’m sure he’s just trying to prepare himself for the whole crazy labor and delivery process.

    Coming up this week: our childbirth class and a check in on your growth to see just how big you’re getting.

    8 weeks left. Not long now.

    Love, Mama

  • Sweet Baby Jacob

    Date: 2011.02.07 | Category: Baby, Family, OMG YAY!, Style | Response: 9

    Are you tired of all the pregnancy talk yet? I hope not because it’s just going to get much much worse from here on out.

    The weekend before last I went to my sister’s baby shower.  A little update: She is due April 17, that’s 12 days after me. She is expecting my first nephew and naming him Jacob. Her friends pulled off a darling shower in her and little Jacob’s honor themed, “Pickles and Ice Cream.” Needless to say, to my great joy, there were plenty of both.

    Here are a few photos from the event.

    Her friend Kari rocked the diaper cake. She put this thing together herself!

    From 2011-01-30

    Yes, those are “pickle” cookies, though fortunately not actually pickle flavored.

    From 2011-01-30

    Mommy-to-be being pinned by our mommy.

    From 2011-01-30

    Boutonniere. That thing almost equaled the prom-sized ones we used to get in high school.

    From 2011-01-30

    Looking cute and pregnant.

    From 2011-01-30

    The family.

    From 2011-01-30

    She actually let people guess how big around she is. Note: She is a far better sport about this sort of thing than I am.

    From 2011-01-30

    Sisters and cousins. :)

    From 2011-01-30

    You can view the rest of the set here.

    And beware, there are many more showers to come. Go ahead and set your “adorable tolerance” to high.

  • Snow Dogs

    Date: 2011.02.04 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Leela Fish, Life, Photography | Response: 16

    In Louisiana, a “snow day” usually means a few flurries are falling from the sky, but the entire city suddenly forgets how to drive, so they just go ahead and shut it down. Yesterday they were predicting today would be a “snow day.” I expected the usual little scattering of flurries, so imagine my surprise when I woke up to a white yard!

    The dogs, while hesitant at first, quickly saw it as their new playground.





    Wanting In.

    Happy Snow Day!