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July 28, 2015

The Blessing of Friendship

This past weekend was a special one. Our dear friends from Ohio came in town for work and spent Saturday evening at our home. They have five children now and it was such a joy to have them over! Amanda has easily been one of the most influential people in my life. I am blessed to call her one of my best friends. We hadn't seen each other in about 5 years and have talked on the phone very little in that time. But when we got together Saturday it was as if no time had passed. She is the person who opened my eyes to unmedicated childbirth and loaned me The Business of Being Born to further convince me. Which it did. Giving birth to AG is the most amazing and empowering thing I've ever done. I never would've considered doing it without an epidural if not for Amanda. I'll be forever grateful for that. She also taught me about cloth diapering, healthy eating, breastfeeding, and being a great friend. When I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy she was the first person I wanted to talk to. Hubby called her for me and she talked me through what I was experiencing. It never ceases to amaze me how God uses some of the worst experiences in our lives to draw us closer to Him and show us who our true friends are. My heart was happy and blessed to have time with this wonderful family Saturday and again on Monday night. Seeing all of our kids splashing in the pool on our deck was a special moment for me. We've worked so hard to get the house to this point and for me to see hubby able to sit back and finally enjoy it was awesome. 
Sunday we laid low and hubby finished the deck railing. I grilled all the meat that accidentally thawed when lightening tripped the breaker that our deep freeze is on. I'm glad to report that we caught it quick enough that we were able to save everything. 

Hubby was hard at work finishing the railing while I grilled. 

Yes he is wearing socks and flip flops. What do you wear whole doing construction? We live in Florida, closed toe shoes are for winter. 
AG was so so excited to have her big pool on the deck along with her play house and slide. On Monday, one of our friends' kids said that our house was like Disney Land. That's probably the highest compliment you can get from a 5 year old. 

Tonight we rested and went for a family walk. It was really nice and we even saw a big snapping turtle in our creek.  AG walked with us rather than riding in Bob. She did great walking in her flip flops without the back strap. She's such a big girl now. Turns out the straps were holding her back. She calls them her "grown up shoes". 

Do you have a friend who has been influential in your life and encouraged you to do things you never thought possible? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

July 23, 2015

Friday Favorites :: Stroller

Before the flood we had two strollers. A Britax B-Agile and a Bob Revolution SE. The Britax was wonderful as part of our travel system for the first 9ish months of AG's life. We used it with the B-Safe car seat and we were very happy with both pieces. During her first year I purchased the Bob stroller to qualify for a free convertible car seat (the Britax Boulevard).  I justified this because a separate stroller was the only item missing from my stash of Britax items to complete the requirements and it was definitely a good deal to spend about $100 more than the cost of the car seat to also get a Bob (which typically resells for around $200). We would've had to buy the car seat anyway.
When the new stroller arrived I promptly named it Bob, because when you pay that much for something it deserves a proper name. At first I really thought something was wrong with it. How could any stroller be that easy to push? Surely there was a manufacturing defect. I envisioned the wheels falling off from my hasty assembly job. But they stayed put. Turns out it really is that easy to push. I used Bob as often as possible and quickly found myself unreasonably attached to him it. Bob has one downfall that is a biggie though, it's large. Like, wouldn't-be-my-first-choice-to-take-shopping large. Here's Original Bob:
I'm not this tiny now. It took a lot of breastfeeding to keep baby AG's cheeks that chubby.
See? It's huge. But oh, it's so worth it. I love that thing! Don't let the cranky baby who desperately needed a nap fool you... She loves Bob too.
So when our home looked like this:
I knew everything downstairs was ruined. If you have super eyes you might be able to see the B-Agile floating by those french doors near the cozy coupe. Hubby and I each had something we said we were sad to part with and would be replacing very quickly. Him, his golf clubs. Me, Bob. I borrowed a dear sweet friend's Chicco umbrella stroller and probably would've thought it was very nice had I not been so spoiled. They had also purchased a Bob (identical to ours) and thought the umbrella stroller was just the bee's knees until they got Bob. So I used the loaner stroller for about 3 weeks and was honestly so grateful to have it. It was compact and lightweight, two things I hadn't experienced in a stroller and really liked. But those didn't outweigh the ease-of-pushing criterion. I ended up purchasing the exact same Bob Revolution SE that we had lost in the flood. And I use it all the time. I even think if we are blessed with another baby, I'll get the B-Safe carseat to match it and the adapter. It might be too big to take shopping but I'm a big fan of babywearing anyway.
New Bob. This was taken when we lived in the camper. I'd been fly fishing that morning and AG got a kick out of my bream. The pond was a perk to camper life.
I also purchased the Bob handlebar console and I do not recommend it. I do recommend this one that I had pre-flood. It was much better. I can vouch that it will fit the B-Agile and Bob. The Bob one would be great if you're actually using the stroller for jogging, particularly over rough terrain as it's designed. I do nothing of the sort and would prefer the less deep cup holder and the magnetic flap on the center pouch that the Britax version has.
If you're a mom, what strollers have you used? Is there one that you love?


*This post is not sponsored. I'm fairly certain the fine folks at Britax/Bob have no idea that I even exist. However, there are affiliate links in this post. Amazon.com will send me some pennies a commission for any purchase you make after clinking one of my links. There is no difference in price for you. I only link to things I actually use myself and love. Thank you for your support!
**The "Wine" tag was accidental but seeing as how there's a glass sitting next to me I think I'll leave it. I'm currently enjoying a fine $5 Moscato from Winn Dixie, but it has a cork made of actual cork so you know it's fancy.

July 19, 2015

Girls' Weekend

Over the weekend hubby went to the lake to help his brother with a construction project. AG and I had some fantastic girl time. We snuggled together both nights and for Sunday nap time. Saturday was spent in my hometown all day. We got to my parents house nice and early and played with all her toys there then we played in the sprinkler. AG wasn't the biggest sprinkler fan. She doesn't particarly enjoy grass touching her feet and there's always the fear that a bug might be lurking in there. I share these feelings so at least she comes by it honestly. We were having friends over so I made a quick trip to Target for a kiddie pool. If you're zoning out, now is the time to pay attention. The hard plastic pools were on clearance for $0.99. I bought five. 
When I returned with all the pools along with some grapes and tomatoes to snack on AG was on the counter with Nana. I had just missed her having a couple cheese puffs then telling Nana, "I need something healthy to eat." That kid. I love her. She is so smart. 
After fun with friends and Nana and Grandpa it was time for AG and I to head over to Great-Mimi's house for dinner and some fun. We got to play with my old baby dolls which AG loves and Great-Mimi made us a delicious meal. AG LOVES greens and Great-Mimi had some for her. AG ate like a little lady until she thought we weren't looking and then we both caught her take a handful of greens and shove them into her mouth. You can't make this up. This is the same kid who took a straw and drank the juice from a bowl of greens while out to dinner about a year ago. She's pretty awesome in her love of good (and questionable) food. You should know that I'm not a fan of greens. In fact I really, really dislike them. My people love them but oh the smell. I make them maybe once a year. Maybe. After supper we had ice cream and cookies. AG took the tiniest bite ever of her ice cream and cookie and was done. She told Great-Mimi that she likes greens better than ice cream. I'm pretty sure her father is to blame for that one. I would never turn down ice cream and cookies. In fact I'm not ashamed to admit that I ate mine and hers that evening.
We packed up and headed home around the time the sun was setting. No nap made for a sleepy but still very sweet girl. She was almost asleep as we got on the interstate but complained that she couldn't breathe which I knew meant her nose was stuffy. I stopped at the next exit and did what I could to help her blow it and put some oils on her that I had on hand. As I'm typing this I remember that RC is in her bag and that would've been the best choice. Oh hindsight, you are funny. She still managed to fall asleep shortly thereafter despite her stuffy nose. When we got home I put her in my bed and set up the diffuser next to the bed with RC oil blend in it. It could be coincidence but she slept great all night and woke up with a clear nose. She got stuffy again later in the evening but it hasn't been as bad as it was in the car. 
Sunday we got the house all clean and made shrimp scampi with cucumber salad and caprese for dinner. 

Hubby arrived home and enjoyed dinner with us. His mom ("regular Mimi") came over to eat too. AG was of course thrilled to have them both. In fact (and she will be so mad at me for this when she's older but it's cool because she's two) she was so excited to see daddy that she peed all over the floor when he was talking to her. Bless her. She said "I don't want to be a baby." We told her she's not a baby and she just got so excited. I told her "mommy was so excited I almost tinkled too!" This appeased her and the weekend came to a close. 
Now here we are half way through another week and we are working on house projects. Hubby has been having traction done at the chiropractor and his back is feeling better than it has in a very long time. I'm so thankful for this! It's an answer to prayer. He is trying to finish the deck handrail this week. We are looking forward to having friends we haven't seen in a very long time over this weekend. We want to be able to setup all the fun stuff on the deck and let the kids all play. We are at such a fun stage of life. I feel so blessed. 


July 17, 2015

Friday Favorites :: Classic Pumps

Hubby bought me these shoes for my birthday in December. I excitedly opened the box and instantly fell in love. I felt the leather and smelled that new shoe smell then I tried and tried to make my foot fit in the beautiful new shoe. It was not happening. Did you know having a baby can make your feet bigger? Yea, me either. But it's a real thing. I have always worn a size 8 shoe with no problem. I could even fit into the occasional 7.5. Nowadays, I'm between an 8 and 8.5. Apparently the Cleo runs small. I reluctantly re-boxed my beloved new shoes and sent them back to Amazon (with zero problems, love them!). I struggled with the price tag on these shoes, $109, which was significantly more than my typical $15 Target shoes so I didn't buy the 8.5 right away. I'm a bargain hunter and I do NOT like to pay full retail price for anything. I need to feel like I'm getting a good deal for solid quality merchandise. So I waited. Then I waited a little longer. Until one day I decided I couldn't wait anymore and that the price was totally justifiable because of how frequently I would wear them. Y'all. The price had dropped to $49! I ordered them right them and never looked back! I did have to add heel stops (something I had just learned about) to make it a perfect fit and I love them so much. They are really quite comfortable (for what they are) and they look awesome on! 

 Why yes, that is a [slightly blurry] photo of my feet in the parking garage at work this morning. You mean you don't take similar photos to show your cousins how you rock skinny jeans?


*This post contains affiliate links. Amazon.com will send me some pennies a commission for any purchase you make after clinking one of my links. There is no difference in price for you. I only link to things I actually use myself and love. Thank you for your support!

July 16, 2015

Cute Kid, SEC Excitement, and a New Idea

Happy Thursday! You should know I just typed "Happy Wednesday" and had to remind myself that it is in fact Thursday. One day closer to the weekend! Also, Thursday in our home means that it's "Camp Mimi" day for AG. She popped up this morning asking if it was time to go to Mimi's house. To say she looks forward to this all week is an understatement. She was super excited this morning and very concerned about whether or not her cousins and friends would be there. I reassured her that they would and then she picked out her outfit for the day - pink leopard pants with a blue and green seersucker fishy dress (she insists on only wearing dresses these days.) The outfit was completed with mismatched socks, adorable. She was so proud and she wanted to wear her hair down so we brushed it and she looked precious. 
You want to know what this momma is excited about? Football. College football. But not just any college football, SEC football... and most of all, Auburn football! I just made the realization that there are 8 weeks to go until football season starts. EIGHT WEEKS! Yes, I did just yell that. I will not stifle my excitement about watching my beloved Auburn Tigers return to the field! We are predicted to have a great year and we now have the largest video scoreboard in all of college football which is pretty darn exciting. 

I definitely need to brush up on my team knowledge though. I've been slacking during the off-season and it's time to refocus. It won't be nearly as fun if I don't know the ins and outs of my team and who I'm yelling at on the TV. 
I'm also excited to start sharing some of my favorite things on my blog. I  think I'll call it "Favorites Friday" that way I know I have at least one specific day set aside each week to write about something I love. Check back tomorrow for my first Favorites Friday and let me know in the comments if you have a suggestion about a specific category I should feature. 

July 14, 2015

Moments To Treasure

Most days, on the way home after picking AG up from preschool she asks me to pray for something really specific like "this bo-bo on my big toe right here" and that will lead to other requests the whole way home. Usually it's very sweet things she remembers someone is dealing with like "daddy's back to feel better" or "Mimi's eye to feel better" or "grandpas shoulder to feel better". This continues after I lift up each topic in prayer she gives me a new one until we get home or she is satisfied that I've prayed for everything on her precious heart. Yesterday was particularly sweet. She started with a bo-bo as always and transitioned to the 3 items above, then she said "I want to pray for Sarah to be the queen and dance with me." After asking some questions I learned that her BFF at school and her pretend to be queen and Princess (Elsa and Anna I'm sure) and they dance together. And she loves this so much she wanted to pray they can do it again. How cute is that! Then she made the sweetest request ever. It wasn't the first time she's given this specific request but it always makes me take a deep breath and focus. She said, "momma, can you pray for God to give me a baby brother." If she could only understand just how many times I'd prayed the same prayer we prayed in the car yesterday (and a few weeks before. And another time before that). We prayed that God would make AG a big sister and that he would bless our family with another child - girl or boy or both and that that baby would be healthy and grow up to know and love Him. AG was pleased with this and then she had an even sweeter request. She said "momma, I want you to pray for you now." What a great reminder that I need to pray for myself too in addition to the other people and things I pray for everyday. So we prayed for me. Then I prayed for AG some more. Then she said she was done talking. Because she's still 2 she can totally get away with telling me she's done talking and I'm fine with it. It was a sweet sweet time and I never want to forget it. 

July 11, 2015

Miss Priss

I love my bed. No really, I do. There's something so wonderfully relaxing about curling up into bed with my favorite pillows into my so called "nest". Hubby and cousin Johnny are outside the bedroom window working on the deck and the sound doesn't even bother me. I'm that cozy. Happy times my friends.

When I put AG to bed last weekend I put a blanket over the side of her crib to help keep the sun out in hopes that she might sleep past 6:30am. In case you were wondering, it didn't really help. But tonight she was so sweet and asked me to please put blankets up over her bed to keep the sunshine away from her face in the morning. I joyfully agreed. Her bed is now essentially her own personal fort. Here's to hoping It helps her sleep in at least a little. 

On the household side of things I want you to know that I've been keeping a very tidy home for the past couple weeks and I really hope I'm able to keep up this pace of cooking and cleaning and still getting quality AG time every day. My time with her is a major priority and as long as that didn't suffer I think we will be able to keep this clean house thing up. 
The deck is really coming along. All of the boards are screwed in now and they've been all trimmed so it's perfectly shaped. 

The posts just got cut to the right height and because it's midnight, a photo will have to wait. The next step will be handrails and I can't wait. 

We just got a Walmart Neighborhood Market and I checked it out yesterday. While walking down an aisle i noticed something so exciting I had to bring it home and give it a try. 
It's so pretty! I usually prefer a regular moscato but this was all I saw from Duck Commander so I had to try this "Miss Priss". As with most pink moscatos, it was very sweet. I diluted it with a little water and it was quite good. I would buy it again. I love the bottle and the cork and I love supporting the Robertson family. It's a win. 

I made homemade pizza tonight and I even made my own crust. I felt like such an overachiever. Being the great logger that I am I remembered to snap a photo to share with you. 
Unfortunately that's the only photo I thought to take of the whole pizza making evening. AG was so excited she was chanting "pizza!!" And it was a hit. It was very yummy. I topped it with conecuh sausage, fresh tomatoes, onions, cheese and basil. I'm sure I'll be making it again before long. 
 They guys have gotten quiet outside. I will take this as my opportunity to close my eyes and get some sleep before they are noisy again. But I appreciate all their hard work so no complaints from me! Goodnight. 


July 3, 2015

Rest and Relax

Today has been a much needed day of rest and relaxation. 
I even got a nap and daddy took AG out of our big bed so I could get some sleep because she wasn't cooperating with the planned joint nap time. It wasn't until she and I were headed to the grandparents house for an evening swim that I found out her time with daddy didn't include a nap. She fell asleep in the car and only woke up when Mimi and I were putting her in a pull up after we got to the house. This is the conversation as we were leaving our house:
AG: Are you going to drop me off at Mimi's?
Me: No baby. I'm going to swim with you. 
AG: No. I want you to drop me off at Mimi's and go to work. 
Me: Well. 
She ended up being happy I stayed and having lots of fun with me. Go figure. Mom is fun sometimes. Ha!
Now she's curled up on me watching Daniel Tiger and fighting sleep. I predict she falls asleep within 5 minutes of driving home. Though she's saying she wants to see the fireworks so we will see. 
Happy Independence Day! We are blessed by our freedom in America and it's worth celebrating!

July 2, 2015

And So It's July

Hello strangers! Let me start by saying that I've missed this little corner of the internet and I'm turning over a new leaf and plan to actually write on my blog more than every couple months. Again. So lets just pretend I haven't taken an unplanned blogging hiatus, mmmkay? Thanks. 
So AG is now swimming all over the pool in her puddle jumper floaty. She's floating on her tummy with her face in the water and also on her back and she's jumping off the side. She puts her hands together like she's going to dive then she belly flops. It's hilarious and looks so painful but the floaty takes the brunt of the hit and she loves it. We put her in a swim cap now for water fun and thankfully she thinks it's really cool. I love it because it keeps her hair dry. 
Last weekend we celebrated hubby's 40th birthday. He wanted a deck building party so we did just that. He (along with the occasional awesome helpers) got the posts and the beams in prior to the party then the guys all worked together to get the joists installed. 
Now the deck boards are going down and as I type this I'm sitting in a chair ON MY DECK. Seriously. On the deck. This is fabulous. This photo is right now:
We should be able to walk right out onto the deck in the morning. You know what this means... Breakfast on the deck! I'm super excited. 
Goodnight all!