Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Cuteness Overload Part 1 ...

Last year, Halloween was just a date that came and passed. OK, sure, we took full advantage of the excuse to buy matching costumes for our baby and our dog:
Neither one wanted to be in their costumes ...

But because of our 6-month quarantine, we basically stayed in the house and handed out a few bits of candy until 8, when we went to bed.

This year, though... well this year was SO MUCH BETTER. Casey and I have never really been big "Halloween People". I can't remember a time, in our entire 10 years together, that we got dressed up; let alone had matching costumes.

This year, we rocked. it. out. And not only did we get our act together with coordinating get-ups; we even threw a little Halloween Bash for our friends:
Ah, the joys of photographing a teething toddler...
 Now if you know me, you know that I love any excuse to throw a party. Actually, I think I love the "planning to throw a party" bit better than actually throwing one. Regardless, I love to "theme-out" an occasion, even if this particular occasion was just for a bunch of toddlers.
Notice the Hay Straw Bales we used as seating. 'Cause we're Klassy like that. "K" intended.

The problem, however, that Pinterest makes me think that I am craftier than I am. And instead of actually attempting to throw a "normal" get-together, I end up trying to craft myself insane. This time, I was time-limited, due to our trip back home; so the party was more Casual-Cute than Trendy-McSpendy. Still, we had all the essentials. Food, for one, was certainly not lacking:

 Snacks included: Mummy Dogs, Sliders, Sausage and Cheese Dip and chips, Candy! (and lots of it!), Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip and apples, Ginger Snaps and Pumpkin Dip, Pumpkin Bread, White Chocolate Trail Mix, Pumpkin Brownies,Veggies and Hummus (boo) and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars:
 And folks seemed to like it (we had some leftovers, but really not a lot!):

Then of course, there were the costumes. I think I was most proud of the fact that our friends really, really got into the costume thing with us. The costume contest came with the added incentive of prizes, so maybe that's part of the reason. Regardless, adults and toddlers a like, we were a sight to be seen:

Mary Frances as: The Real Housewife of Wake County

It was really the accessories that pulled together the Adult Costumes ...

We had entertainment. Well, if you include things like sidewalk chalk and wagon rides entertainment, that is (and I do!):

And finally, the Hostess with the Mostess, Beatrice Kate:

She didn't quite know what to make of that silly costume at first. And, as a result, stood frozen in one spot for more than 10 minutes. But once she got a few apples in her hands, she was a Party Animal. Well, maybe not so much:

Check back tomorrow for pictures of Bea's first (and very rainy) Trick-Or-Treating experience...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mid-Week Randoms from a far ...

So, you may have guessed it already, but Beatrice Kate and I are away from Durham this week visiting my parents in faithful little McAdenville, NCBea and I high-tailed it out of town for 9 days to give Casey a little peace and quiet so he can study for his Professional Engingeering Exam on Friday. Since I don't have access to my computer's camera card cable, you'll have to wait for the full photo review unitl when we get back. But, in an effort to give all three of my loyal readers something to read here is a super random, bulleted list of what's been going on here:
  • We went to another pumpkin patch on Monday. Beatrice Kate selected yet another teeny pumpkin. This one is about the size of a baseball. It makes me laugh everytime I see it; but she carries around the house with pride!
  • It's not been as hard as I thought it would be to keep Bea entertained each day. Suprisingly, even in a small town like this one, there are a lot of toddler-friendly activities. We went to a story-time yesterday, and Beatrice Kate even enteracted with the other kids!?!
  • Of course, by "interacted", I mean she stood around and looked at them; but it's better than sitting my lap like she normally does. Baby Steps, right?
  • Speaking of other kids... I know, I know Dr. Calm delcared Beatrice Kate a "normal" toddler, but every. single. time. I hear some croupy, mucousy cough from a nearby child, I cringe and race for my hand santizer for both of us. Will that ever wear off?
  • Today we're walking down to feed the ducks in the town's pond. I'm a little nervous that my child may lose a finger to one of those mean things. I'll keep her hands closely guarded!
  • My Dad is slightly OCD about the layout of his decorative bricks around the edge of his pool. This morning, before he left for work, he was outside in his shirt and tie re-straightening a few bricks that were knocked down over night by a renegade mole. It made my day and it may warrant a blog post all to it's own....stay tuned for that one.
  • Beatrice Kate has been eating like a rockstar here. Last night, she ate the better part of an entire, raw tomato, several bites of chicken and the night before, nearly polished off an entire piece of salmon by her lonesome. What has gotten into this kiddo?!?\
  • Yesterday, after storytime, I got a coffee at this local shop. This lady in front of us tried to chat up Bea; which of course, Bea returned with the "Why are you talking to me" face... then the guy at the counter informed me that the lady was a "Ghost Hunter" (As well as a palm reader and also, she works for Duke Energy. She's apparently busy.) We paid for our coffee and quickly got the H out of there.
  • My dad's computer is a pain in the tush. It keeps highlighting and deleting random words on it's own. Maybe I should call the Ghose Hunter lady. Anyway, that's about all I can stand to type on this Phantom Computer.
Hope you all are having a great week. Hopefully, my lack of posting hasn't driven everyone away!! We'll be back on Sunday with some super cute photos. Until then...


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mominista/Fashionista ...

I think we can all accept that most of the time, being a mother (especially a new mother) is not exactly...glamorous. So, when BlogHer approached me to take part in their Life Well Lived: Looking Your Best series, my first reaction was uh, me?

But then I saw the focus questions: Purses, Belts, Boots, Scarves and Bling – How can you bring your look to life with accessories? and I was all, "Yeah, I got this".

You see, I have a bit of an accessory addict. If I can pair an outfit with a scarf, sparkly shoes or some kind of fancy, schmancy jewerly; well, I'll do it. Sometimes at the risk of appearing to have gotten dressed in the dark. I even toted along one of my favorite scarves to Machu Picchu, Peru, just to help liven up our photos:
Oh yea, and I rocked a pair of earrings during the entire 4 day, smelly hike.

Scarves haven't just been limited to "Travel Attire" for me either. I have an entire separation collection of "fancy scarves" that serve two purposes: 1) Keeping you warm 2) Add a splash of color to nice outfits:
Wine optional. But certainly recommended.
Ok, sure these photos are from before Beatrice Kate came into the family and we had time for fancy dinners and glasses of wine. But, being a scarf addict has only helped my fashion sense now that I'm a mother. That's because, scarves can serve a third function: Hiding baby puke:
You'd never even know that she vomited down my cleavage shortly before this photo
My accessories addiction doesn't stop with just scarves though. Now that I have a daugther, we can do things like purchase matching shoes. Because, really, what daugther doesn't want to look exactly like mom? So I got us both a pair of sparkly, silver TOMS:
Hers came with an extra helping of Smarm.
Mine came with a lifetime of Cankles.
What's better? My little diva has taken up my love for all things accessory. She's started requesting her own scarves, hat, fancy shoes and sunglasses:
Pretty soon, she'll be asking for make-up and a pony and keys to our cars. Well, she's certainly not getting any make-up until she's 40.

Anyway, head over BlogHer's Life Well Lived conversation and check out how I answered the question: How can you bring your look to life with accessories? Don't forget to add in your answer, too!

Be sure to enter the Live Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes for a chance to win $250, just by sharing a moment in your life that added up to a Life Well Lived.

And finally... comment below and tell me how your use accessories to brighten your outfits! I'd love to hear your accessory addiction stories. Plus, I'll take any and all free fashion advice, so please comment away!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday ...

It's Wednesday! And there's a lot I'm loving this week:

First, I'm loving that so far in Weight Watchers, I've lost FIVE pounds!! I know, I know. It's not a lot and I haven't dropped any dress sizes but still; it's something and it's only been two weeks.

I'm loving, loving, loving this cup that I bought for Beatrice Kate on Amazon:
It's been so great for teaching Bea how to hold and drink out of a non-lidded cup. We're still working on learning how not to dump the entire contents on a dog, however.

I'm loving the 5K training class that I've been taking for the past two weeks:
It's run through the Stroller Strides franchise we used to attend when we lived in Raleigh. On top of getting fit, it's a great place for us to catch up with our old-town friends!

I'm loving this totally tacky and kitschy Halloween wreath I made last night for our front door:

We all know, I'm not much of a crafter; but when I saw how simple this project was I figured even I couldn't screw it up. Of course, the inspiration wreath is much nicer and classier, but it's for Halloween, right? So a little gaudy never hurt anyone.

Actually, let's just go ahead and say I'm loving this entire site:
 Unfortunately, it makes me think I'm crafty and a happy homemaker which is rarely the case, but she has some super cute ideas!

I'm loving my Pinterest finds this week. Can you tell we're hosting a Halloween Party soon?:

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

And as always, I'm loving my sweet girl, who just informed me that, "No, want french toast. No egg. Yum.". I guess I better get busy making up some breakfast, huh? It's a good think I love her so much:

What's on your lists this week?


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

18 month well check at 19 months old...

Want to hear about my parenting failure for the month? How about the fact that I scheduled my child's 18 month well check for her 19th month of life. Loving, huh? Anyway, neglectful parenting aside, yesterday was that visit with Dr. Calm. And girlfriend rocked it:
 Eighteen Month Stats:
  • Height: 30.5 Inches (10 %)
  • Weight: 22 pounds, 4 ounces (15%)
  • Head: 18 1/4 inches (45%) 
  • Weight to Length: 50%
Physically, Beatrice Kate is still on the smaller side of the growth curve. She may never be a big person; with or without the "Small for Gestational Age" branding she received in the NICU. What's more important is the fact that she was born in the 1% range for weight; and now she's in the 15%. That's pretty good growing, kiddo! I attribute it to the fact that she eats all the freakin' time now (but, please don't mistake that statement for complaining, because I am SO THANKFUL we're out of the Puff Days)
Oh, you know. Just eating. Again. Doesn't everyone have a third breakfast?

Developmentally, well... she blew Dr. Calm away. When the doctor walked into the room, the first thing out of Bea's mouth was, "Hello. I wear shoes. You wear shoes too?" Dr. Calm nearly lost her marbles at how far Bea has come in just eighteen short months. She thinks Bea has not only "caught up" developmentally with her fellow 18-month peers; Bea may even nearly a year ahead of them with her verbal skills. I was beaming with pride as Beatrice Kate named all the pictures in the room, mimicked Dr. Calm's actions with her own Popsicle stick and sat politely and calmly during her examination:
Just maxin' and relaxin. Ain't no thang.
We've been seeing Dr. Calm since the day Bea was discharged from the NICU, so she is familiar with Bea's history and more importantly, with our family. I was excited to showcase my Amazing Growing Child at today's appointment.

Dr. Calm kept remarking about Bea's exceptionally cooperative behavior during the exam. Bea even tried to mimic her "deep breath" sounds while Dr. Calm listened to her heart and lungs. It was so precious! Maybe she'll grow up to be a doctor of her own someday!

Immunologically, Dr. Calm feels that Beatrice Kate is ready to be treated like a "normal" toddler. Meaning, while we shouldn't let her run around licking public door handles, she doesn't have to be kept in a bubble as much as last year. Though, because is so healthy now, she doesn't qualify for the monthly RSV shot this winter; so we will still be cautious through this cold and flu season. (Read: Yes, you will be expected to wash your hands, sanitize and remain smoke free when you come to our house. And, if you're sick? Come another day)

After a quick Hep A booster and a flu shot (for both of us!), I treated myself  Beatrice Kate to a piece of cake and a vanilla milk at Starbucks for her Stand-out Good Behavior during the appointment. Oh ok, the Starbucks stop was more for me; but I swear, I offered her the cake, and she turned it down...:

I cannot believe that Beatrice Kate is already eighteen months old. I feel like I keep saying, "Oh, this is my favorite age" at every age; but truly... this may be my favorite age yet. She is just so much fun and she makes me smile and laugh all the time. Her sense of humor is so unique and silly; and I can't get enough of it. Beatrice Kate may very well be the funniest person I know!

Still, as proud as I am to see her grow and change and get stronger and healthier... it breaks this Mama's heart just a little to see her getting more and more independent each day and needing me less and less.

I really hope she'll be cool with having her mom be her college roommate; 'cause I don't ever want to be away from her...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Reunited and it feels so good ...

It happened. My aforementioned 10 year high school reunion was this weekend. And? It was kinda ...

Awesome! I'll admit it, I was really, really nervous about going to the thing to begin with. Aside from the obvious not-using-my-fancy-degree thing, plus the fact that I'm like 2,000 times the size I was in high school I was envisioning being laughed off campus from the get go. And once there, it quickly became apparent that I was in an extreme minority of fellow alumni who:
  • Are married
  • Have a child (in particular, a young child)
  • Are not currently still in some form of graduate school, post-doc, medical school, fellowship, etc.
Plus, I was worried that I would be "That Girl". The one that no one recognized, who was only greeted by first name after a clear glance at the name tags...

Well, that wasn't the case at all. In fact, it was really, really fun. It helped that my former hallmate and all around amazing friend Rebecca was there to entertain my child shuffle me around:

The day was absolutely beautiful to begin with, and before I go any further... can I get an "Amen" for this ridiculously cute outfit my child was wearing. I mean, come on... Baby Jeggings!?! I die:
Rachel Zoe would be proud.
I'll be honest and say that I knew deep down that it didn't matter if not a single person recognized me, or wasn't impressed by my awesome "job". Beatrice Kate was my secret weapon. My Ace in the back pocket. Who could resist her charm? The newly-minted NCSSM mascot, for one, was unable to back away:
Yes. Our high school mascot is a unicorn. Go ahead and excuse yourself while you make fun of it. Ok. Feel better now? Back on track...Beatrice Kate was game for a single photo. After that, she tried to flee:
Mom. What is that thing?!?
It looks like a horse. But it's not... I can tell. Get. Me. Outta. Here!!!
Anyway, Beatrice Kate knows when to turn on the cute and she turned it on and up this weekend. I think nearly every. single. person. at that reunion commented on how amazingly well-behaved she was. I was beaming with pride every time I got to say, "And this, is my husband Casey and our daugther, Beatrice Kate." It was kind of amazing.

After a barbecue and the mascot torture, Rebecca and I enlisted the help of a student "attache" to sneak us back on to our old hall. There was certainly some "Back in my day" talk on the way, as we told the students about all the good make-out spots how different things were when we were there. We felt old, especially when the tour guide called us "Ma'am". But it didn't matter, we were soon rounding the corner back to our Old Stomping Grounds, 1D. Which, I need to point out, Rebecca has this crazy numerical memory thing and can still, even 10 years later, tell you the code to the door... weird, huh?:
See that furniture? I'm kinda grossed out to tell you that it is the very same furniture we had. 10 years ago... let that sink in for a bit.

While on hall, we invited ourselves into kindly asked the current residents of our old rooms for a reminiscent view; and once again, dated ourselves with "When we were here..." talk. On the way out, we walked by this sign:
And I thought it was great. But I knew just how to improve it even more...

After the tours and slideshows and even more reminiscing, we met up with a group of our classmates at a local bar and restaurant; where Bea continued her Cuteness Tirade. Since we had the baby (and yes, I did bring my baby to a bar) we called it an early night.

Judging by the fact that Rebecca didn't come home until 4 a.m.... I would say that the rest of the crew had a rowdy good time as well at the Gala Dinner and Late Night Reception.

It was great to see our old friends again, catch up with everyone and validate that even if my life isn't very glamorous anymore it's certainly fulfilling. And, really? I would rather have that any day!