Thursday, January 30, 2014

White South Carolina

I'm totally skipping ahead of the other entries I had planned to bring you photos from our big snow day this week!
 
To recap... the south is not properly prepared for the snow and ice. Our cities just don't have the correct equipment. (Have you seen the photos and videos of Atlanta?!?! Ridiculous!!!) So when school closed early on Tuesday, I rolled my eyes a little bit. Our yard looked like this....
 
 
 
However, after a good two hour nap with Bimmer (hey - beats being at work, right?) there was a layer of white stuff in our yard. I was so excited to take Bimmer out to play... even though I am totally anti-cold weather and snow.
 
 
 
Looks like Bimmer isn't much of a snow baby. She didn't even want to walk outside! And this girl LOVES her some outside time!
 
 
 
She didn't want to take more than a few steps into the grass before running back to the clear driveway. She was very interested in all the birds (or "bobos") that were at our bird feeder. And when I finally got her inside she kept saying "cold" and I asked her if she liked the snow and she said "Oh no!" She did want to look out the window until it was dark. She kept saying "snowmies" which I'm guessing meant "snowman?"
 
The roads were icy the following morning, but by about 9am, they were fine. Puff went to work while I snuggled up with my baby girl. The snow was mostly melted by noon. While it wasn't the gorgeous snow I had hoped for, it was enough to give Bimmer a taste. And that was enough for both of us.
 
Especially when she got into my drawer, got out my bikini bottoms, put them on, and then got her suitcase and was walking around the house going "Bye bye!" Yup... I'm ready for a tropical destination myself!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

20 Month Update

 
* Just after I posted her 19 month update, this girl started busting out with lots of new communication! She is grouping words that make sense... "Bye bye, Dada," "Up Mama Please," and "Baby Pillow." My favorite was "Baba, Nite Nite" which means "get me my damn bottle, I'm tired!" She has also figured out the word "mine" which is definitely fun. One night she was being super whiny and I was frustrated and finally just asked her what she wanted and she put her hand on her chest and she said, "me." First, it broke my heart. Second, I realized it was a step forward because she was starting to be able to tell me when she just needed some cuddles and attention. Another instance was when she was pointing to a table where there was a sippy cup and her sunglasses. I handed her the sippy cup and she said, "No! Eye!" Which, of course, meant she wanted her sunglasses. She didn't know what to call them, but knew they were for her eyes. Midway through the month, she busted out with "Dada go walk?" She was wanting him to take her out for a walk! And just in the past few days, she's busted out with words I didn't know she knew, like "pig" and "goat." She's also started saying "Get up" whenever I'm going to the bathroom and she's in there with me. And just the other day, she was yelling "Mama butt" from behind me. When I turned around, I realized she wanted me to button her coat. How cute! Can you tell I'm getting excited about this stage in her development?
 
* We are working on some behavioral issues. They got pretty out of control when we were in The Fort visiting family. I think she just got to "showing off" for my parents. She was not on her best behavior at restaurants (grabbing handfuls of mac & cheese and squishing it between her fingers, for example) and lots of not listening when we told her no. Since we have been home, there have been incidents of slapping us, disobeying, laughing when we discipline her, and biting. One night I even had to bust out the Kool-Aid powder after she bit me. Oh, the terrible twos before she's even two.
 
* I have officially given up on the sippy cup for now. It's inevitable that she will get sick between now and spring and need medicine (like the antibiotic she's on right now for an ear infection), so I'm just not interested in fighting over that morning & bedtime bottle. Not more than we need to, anyway. She will give it up in her time, just like she got into her crib in her own time. I would like to be done with them by her 2nd birthday in May, but otherwise, I'm done worrying about it.
 
* To say this kid is obsessed with Elmo is probably the understatement of the century. I have no idea where she got this crazy obsession, but now she asks to watch him ALL. THE. TIME. She even knows how to turn on the DVD player when we tell her that Elmo isn't on right now. Too smart for her own good. Lucky for us, she has Elmo diapers and an Elmo toothbrush, so at least those things aren't fights!
 
* She has discovered that she has long hair. She does it most often in the bath, but she likes to swing it back and forth so it flies into her face. Sometimes she chooses to do this during dinner, which isn't as cute. But it makes me wonder if/when we need to start thinking about a haircut. Her boyfriend at school just got his first. But hey, that's a boy... she can wait a little while longer, right?
 
* She is still mostly wearing size 18-24 months clothes, except her pajamas. She always goes up a size early in those. So she's rocking some 24 months and 2T pajamas for now. They give her a little room to grow. She is still in size 4 diapers (and we found Pampers Swaddlers in this size finally, so we're excited, since they fit her better, even if they're a bit more expensive) but she is leaps and bounds ahead in the swimwear category. I've already bought her a few suits for this summer and bought a 3T! I guess the stretchiness of it all just lends itself to needing to be a size up. I am worried about her little belly this summer getting in the way of shorts. I guess I have a few more months to worry about that!
 
* Much to my amazement, she can totally do her Melissa & Doug puzzles on her own. No coaching necessary. I didn't realize it until one night I asked her to pick up the pieces (which she loves to throw on the ground) and I watched her put them all back in their correct spaces! She also does a lot of cooking in her new kitchen. Books are still her favorite. We ask her to point to things on the pages, rather than just always read the words, and I really think it has helped her development to get that extra dose of learning.
 
* Now when she wants you to come with her or do something, she is becoming very good at her little "come on" hand. She sometimes will even get behind you and push you to start walking or to move to a different spot. She also pats down on the couch or next to her on the floor when she wants you to sit with her. She is good about saying "walk" or "down" when you are holding her and she wants her freedom. On the flip side, there is a lot of "up" coming from her too so that we hold her. I can't get mad at her though, she always says "please" (and signs it too) whenever she wants to be held. Sometimes, she just says "please" and forgets the "up." I can't deny her when she uses her manners, even if I'm in the middle of something!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

On the Road Business

Let me just start this off by saying I *hate* to be away from Bimmer for more than a day or so. Heading to Orlando with work for 5 days was not my idea of a good time. Orlando should be a family destination - full of overspending on Mickey Mouse paraphernalia. (Don't worry - we're already discussing when the best age would be to take Bimmer to Disney!) I was originally scheduled to spend the first day at Epcot with my co-workers, drinking around the world. Well, life sometimes throws us opportunities to make the best of a situation, so instead of wasting $100+ being stuck watching other people get drunk, I rented a car and hit the road to the coast to visit my mom. I hadn't seen her since Bimmer was about a month old!
 
 
 
Getting there required the wearing of some big-girl panties. I had to get up at 4am, pack only a carry-on, survive flying through a lightning storm, and then literally sprinting through the Atlanta airport. Oh, from like gate D35 to T4 in a matter of minutes. They closed the boarding door right behind us! After all of that, I was content to spend the afternoon helping my mom and catching up with her. Splurging on a room at the swanky Hyatt Regency Sarasota, right on the water, was vital. I'm so excited to go back later this year with Puff and Bimmer! Outside of a hiccup with me trying to find dinner downtown but coming face-to-face with a biker rally that had the streets closed, it was a good first day. Followed by 12 hours of glorious sleep!
 

 
 
The rest of the trip was your typical conference nonsense... mind-numbing sessions, mediocre banquet food, and awkward dancing with your coworkers. We did, however, win team of the year for our entire company, so that was pretty amazing. That helped us forget our group dinner at Planet Hollywood. Yes, apparently they do still exist. And, in case you're wondering, the food is still as crappy as I remember from childhood.
 

 
 
A few of us tried to bring some light to our situation and came up with a game of who could Snapchat themselves on this big ottoman in the lobby bathroom of our hotel. I ended up getting 4, which I think was tied for first place. Hey, sometimes you gotta entertain yourself when there's nothing much better to do!
 
 
 
Coming home, the plane out of Atlanta was downgraded, so 6 of us didn't have seats. Thankfully, others volunteered to get off in favor of a $400 flight voucher. I was about to just take it myself had I needed to fly anywhere else later this year! And after all that drama, when I got to my car in the airport, my tire was going flat! Thankfully, I was able to make it home in one piece and send Puff out to fill it up for me. But seeing Bimmer's face light up when she saw me get out of the car was priceless. I just love that kid so much. I swear she grew up on me while I was gone. And she loved the Minnie Mouse t-shirt I brought her. (This thrifty mom bought it at a Target while I was there, since they had a kickass Disney section, and it was only $7 versus I'm sure twice that at the Disney store in the airport!) She kept yelling "Minnie!" and wanted to wear it all night. We let her wear it to school the next day to show off to her friends.
 
 
 
For as much as I love to travel, it was good to get home. Probably because I missed Puff and Bimmer so much. Next time, I'll just have to take them with me!

Friday, January 24, 2014

More What I Wear

I had so much fun picking out outfits to share HERE to show off my new fall work wardrobe, that I thought I'd do one more round while I'm still wearing winter clothes!

Look #1

 

Blouse - Banana Republic
Camisole - Old Navy
Sweater - NY & Company
Necklace - Fake pearls from a street vendor in the Charleston market
Pants - Banana Republic
Shoes - Nine West
 
 
Look #2
 
 
 
Sweater - Banana Republic
Camisole - NY & Company
Necklace - Belk
Belt - NY & Company
Pants - The Limited
Shoes - Nine West
 
Look #3
 
 
 
Blouse - Banana Republic
Camisole -  Be Maternity
Necklace - Banana Republic
Pants - The Limited
Shoes - Nine West
 
Look #4
 
 
 
Blouse - Banana Republic
Camisole - Old Navy
Cardigan - Old Navy
Pants - The Limited
Shoes - Nine West
 
Look #5
 
 
 
Sweater - Banana Republic
Camisole - Old Navy
Scarf - I got it in Bunratty, Ireland, where it was handmade  
Pants - Banana Republic
Shoes - Nine West
 
Don't worry - I won't do another one for awhile! Hopefully I can lose a few pounds and be back then with a whole new wardrobe to share!
 
And while we're at it... just a dose of reality of what I look like in *real life*
 
 
 

Monday, January 20, 2014

On the Go Toddler

I'm sure you already are aware, but Puff and I like to travel. We don't do the same travel these days as we used to... gone are the years we jet off to Louisiana for a prison rodeo just a few months after getting back from Russia. However, since Bimmer has come along, we've tried to keep up the best we can. (She has already been to 8 states!) Even in the short time she's been traveling with us, we've already switched up our game plan. The older she gets, the less stuff she needs, and the easier it is to just hop in the car and go!

 

Bimmer's first road trip was when she was only 5 1/2 weeks old. We kinda maybe sorta took a whole bunch o' crap. Even though we took less than other people... there was no bathtub or swing or second stroller.

Now? Well, as she is approaching two, traveling light(er) is much easier. How do we pack? Well, here ya go. Now, keep in mind, this is for road trips only. We'll be sure to fill you in this coming summer when we brave an airplane for the first time!

#1 - The Family Suitcase - We take one suitcase, even if it's the biggest one we own (if we're going to be gone awhile), and that's where we stash all Bimmer's clothes, pajamas, socks, shoes, accessories, etc. Right in there with mine and Puff's.
 
#2 - The Large Tote - Bimmer still comes with additional paraphernalia these days, so we carry one large tote bag with diapers, wipes, sippy cups/bottles, medicines, etc. Especially on road trips, this is a super easy bag to get into and grab something if you need it fast!
 
#3 - The Back Pack - If we are going to be gone more than a weekend, we have started to take a toddler backpack where we can stash a few books, some toys, and her snacks. Otherwise, these will just got in the tote bag.
 

 
 
#4 - That Other Crap - We still tote around an umbrella stroller for Bimmer (even though on our latest trip to The Fort, we didn't even use it once!) and a diaper bag. Although I've realized the past few months that we don't even carry the bag into places anymore, so I'm about to nix it all together in favor of a few diapers and wipes in each car. Yay for one less thing to worry about packing!
 
So, I know it's probably not all that different of a list than anyone else's, but it's OUR list that works for US. Lots of people separate kids clothes into their own suitcase, carry boxes of diapers, etc. We are happy to go away with one suitcase, one tote bag, and one stroller. That's it. We don't need anything else.
 
And how do we keep her entertained in the car? Well, we have decided she has about an 8 hour max, which is my max as well, so it works out. We are lucky that she must just have some travel in her genes, because a lot of the time, she's content to look out the window and check it all out. We're inclined to encourage that as long as possible. Sometimes we slip her a baby doll or a book. We sing songs with her and sometimes act a little goofy. But we DO NOT pull out a DVD player, iPad, etc. And we will continue to avoid that as long as humanly possible. Puff and I didn't have that luxury when we were growing up, and we don't want to encourage it with Bimmer. Puff and I both felt like we had good family bonding time and learned a lot about geography, history, our country, etc. when we were "forced" to be without electronics in the car.
 
License plate bingo anyone?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

And 32 it is

Wow... did I seriously just turn 32?!? Sheesh... that number makes it seem like I really should be an adult or something. I'm not qualified for that. I've never been super huge about celebrating birthdays. I'm not the person in the office that needs everyone to take her out to lunch, or the wife who expects breakfast in bed. Eh... it's a birthday. Just a badge of surviving one more year on this earth! I think it's because my birthday comes immediately following the whirlwind 6 weeks of Thanksgiving, all the Christmas hoopla, and then New Years.
 
 
 
I started my day by finding my desk covered with photos of Troy Aikman, and some of Cowboys cheerleaders with my face on them. Then my awesome coworkers took me out to lunch to celebrate. That night, Puff and Bimmer put together my gifts while I was at the gym, but I decided I was too worn out for anything major that night, so we just went to dinner at Panera and spent the night cuddling together as a family watching TV. Sometimes the actual day of your birthday doesn't have to be a blow out.
 
 
 
Saturday morning, I took Bimmer for a Mommy & Daughter adventure while Puff cut the grass and raked leaves! After Bimmer's nap, it was time to get working on opening some of those gifts. Bimmer gave me two cards that she had colored on and decorated with stickers.
 
 
 
The rundown of gifts included two new bras, three new pairs of panties, some makeup brushes, a monogrammed makeup bag, a gnome figurine, and a shirt from LOFT.
 
 
 
My birthday meal came on the Sunday after my birthday when we headed to a local bar/restaurant for a yummy brunch. Bananas foster French toast anyone? The funniest gift came that day from Bimmer when she was flirting with our waiter. He was flirting back, and at one point he was leaning down giggling with her and when he stood up and turned around, he tripped over a chair. That's my girl. Make the boys fall all over you!
 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Name Nazi

It's been awhile since I've written a rambling post about baby names.
 
Wait? You do know about my thing for names, right? I suppose I should give a little background then, eh?
 
For as long as I can remember, I've been into names. Not necessarily the meanings, but just hearing what's cool and trendy, matching sibling names together, etc. When I was young, I would play school just to make a class list of names. (My favorite was when I was about 6 and one "student" of mine was named Jake-up, versus Jacob. I was sounding it out... made perfectly good sense to me.) I remember having my Grandma buy me a baby name book at a yard sale when I was in about 4th grade. And even younger still, my Granny had a name list from the 50s that she let me use to pick from to write names on my paper dolls I created by cutting people out of the JC Penney's catalog. Then in high school and college, I was active on a baby name message board where I would comment on other people's name choices and play naming games. Go ahead laugh, I know it's ridiculous. However, I've kept in touch with a handful of awesome women I met on those boards. Including my photographer!
 
There are some names where I was just way ahead of the curve on them being cool.... McKenna, Kennedy, and Caden immediately come to mind. The one name I've loved for about 12-13 years that I never saw coming? DECLAN. All of a sudden this name is hot stuff. (Kimhead hates this name and told me if I ever used it she would call him "Ducky.") Funny thing is, even though this name is gaining in popularity, had Puff and I found ourselves in a spot to name two sons, this would have been the one of them!
 
With every guy I've dated, I've had a list of names we would use for those fictitious kids that never materialized. In high school, I was set on wanting 6 kids... Brandt Andrew, Leslee Kristina, Troy Kenneth, Shane Wyatt, Antony Jaxon (AJ), and Kennedy Elizabeth. My first college boyfriend and I liked the names Dominic (Nic) and Drew (a girl). Another, I was set on 3 sons... Troy Kenneth, Nathanael Cameron (Nate), and Christian Montgomery. Mr. Smith and I loved Roland and Tristan. The Ex and I were leaning toward Beckett for a daughter. I hate to not share what Puff and I love, or what Bimmer's real name is, but let's just say they're pretty awesome choices.
 
That's not to say I always hit it out of the park. I remember Cabbage Patch dolls named Marjorie, Israel, and Sherstance. (Don't ask me where I came up with that one!) In high school, I went through a phase where I liked the names Breighlyn and Lochlyn. But there are a few guilty pleasures... #1 being the name Crew. Ever since freshman year of college, I've been kinda stuck on this name for a boy. I still think it's totally awesome and cool, although it doesn't work with our last name. Plus, Puff probably hates it. I did hear a child with this name a few years back at the zoo and about fell over. Such. Cool. Parents. Guilty pleasure name #2? Seamus. (That's pronounced shay-muss.) It's such a good Irish name! And I love me a good Irish name. If I had married a man with the last name O'Flannery or the like, you could not have paid me enough to NOT use that name.
 
So what names do I like these days? In no random order...
 
Girls: Peyton, Reese, Kennedy, Beckett, Elliot, Aspen
 
Boys: Troy (yes, because of Troy Aikman), Tristan, Declan, Finn, Nathanael, Christian, Dominic, Killian (I could probably go on for days with boy names)
 
Am I always judging people and their baby name choices? Yes. But it's just an opinion. I like more masculine/androgynous names for girls. I like Irish names for boys. I hate the trend of old lady names (Amelia, Ava, Lillian, etc.). I like when people think a little more outside the box and don't just pick one of the top most popular names. I like names to have a meaning to the parents... even if it is just naming them after your favorite NFL star.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Photo Dump

Wrapping up the holidays has me in a bit of a drought. Yes, I've got other drafts I could post, things I could update, random thoughts I could babble on about. But I've got a work trip coming up that I'm not packed for (shocker!!! - no, seriously, I usually pack like a week in advance) and I want to snuggle with Bimmer as much as I can before I go. (Five whole days away from her! Yikes!) Not to mention the stomach virus that hit me overnight last night. Ugh!
 
So here's a little photo dump of some phone pics I've taken over the last month! Hope everyone is enjoying 2014 so far!
 




 
 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Adult Life

I've been getting asked a lot of questions recently over here in the real world. Ya know, the place I live when I'm not blogging. Anyway, I realized that I have been bombarded in recent months with people inquiring about when I graduated college, when I moved here, how long Puff and I were married before we started trying to have a baby, etc. So, I figured maybe you were interested too. Here's my "Adult Life Time Line." Enjoy!
 
June 2000 - Graduated cum laude from my high school back in The Fort
 
Please don't judge this horrible photo - I had a fever and felt like ass!
 
 
August 2000 - Packed up and moved my ass to South Carolina as fast as humanly possible, to attend the University of South Carolina
 
Hanging out in Kimhead's freshman dorm room
 
 
December 2003 - Took my last class EVER, got my first apartment, and started an internship to finish my schooling
 
May 2004 - I graduated. But not really. I didn't walk, so there was no fanfare, no cap and gown. None of that nonsense. I don't have the patience for graduations. Not even my own. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever met me. Ever.
 
The girls after graduation
 
 
June 2004 - Got a big girl job
 
May 2007 - Packed up and moved to another city with The Ex to start a new career and new life. We would break up less than a year later.
 
My apartment with The Ex
 
June 2008 - Met Puff and lived happily ever after :)
 
The first photo of us ever, from our third date after going to a flea market
 
 
July 2009 - Moved in with Puff
 
The living room after adding a few of my things. This room should be painted soon! Yay!
 
 
December 2009 - Puff proposed to me while in NYC on vacation
 
Scene of the crime in NYC's Central Park, the morning after the proposal
 
 
May 2010 - Tied to knot!
 
 
 
May 2011 - Threw away the birth control as we left for our anniversary trip to Scandinavia
 
October 2011 - Found out I was pregnant with Bimmer!!!!
 
Five weeks pregnant on vacation in Folly Beach, SC
 
 
May 2012 - Bimmer was born
 
 
 
So, there you have it. A general over-view of the past 13 years of my life. It's hard to believe that if Puff and I stay in SC, in just a few short years, I will have lived here longer than I lived in The Fort. That's a strange concept to wrap my head around. It's been a wild ride, full of lots of travel and adventures, friends and boyfriends, laughter and tears. But it's all brought me here to where I am today. A happily married wife, hard working career woman, and mother to the best most amazing baby girl (err... toddler) in the whole entire world!
 
 
 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

One Last Round of Xmas

I had originally planned to do several posts about our trip back to The Fort for Christmas, but decided I'd just inundate you all at once with one big long post. That way we can get a move-on into 2014 with other things!
 
We made the trek back home on the Saturday before Christmas. Bimmer was the best traveler ever... she looked at books, sang songs, looked out the window. No major meltdowns. And no DVD player!
 
 
 
My parents had moved into a new house since we last visited, so Bimmer took full advantage of their new playroom. Starting that night, we pretty much ate ourselves silly.
 
 
 
The next day, we got together with some of my girlfriends from high school and their kids. Yes, I'm totally just now realizing that I didn't force all the kids to stand together to take a photo. And I'm kicking myself for it. We also took in Bimmer's cousin's basketball game, got some yummy hoagies for dinner, and stopped by Granny's house for a little one-on-one time with Bimmer and her great-grandma.
 
 
 
Monday, we had breakfast with Rowdy and then ate ice cream for lunch. I swear, there is no good ice cream in SC, so we always take time to eat some when we're visiting The Fort. Even if it's 35 degrees outside! That night, we did dinner and opened gifts with my parents. They definitely overdid themselves. Everything from books and puzzles, to clothes and a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader outfit, to Doc McStuffins toys and groceries. And a pink Radio Flyer tricycle!
 

 
 
Bimmer is definitely blessed with wonderful grandparents! They spoil her too much! On Christmas Eve, we went to see my grandma and my extended family on my mom's side. It's always chaotic and loud and wonderful. There's bourbon slush and people yelling out "Thank you" from other rooms for their gifts they just opened. It overwhelmed Puff, but it was fun. It was just the type of Christmas I have always had and am thankful to offer Bimmer for as long as it lasts.
 
 
 
I have to say... this was by far my most favorite Christmas. I was able to share it with my little family. Our extended families blessed us beyond belief and I am so grateful to have them around and to be a part of their lives as much as possible, which is hard living so far away! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that you are as thankful as I am.