Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmases past

my cousins Abby, me and my cousin Ashley waiting to sit on Santa's lap.

I'm having a moment this morning. I'm reminiscing about my childhood Christmases. The memories I have of Christmas as a child are some of the best. As an adult some of the details sound on the verge of being torturous. For example; driving 14 hours in a grey colored boat of a Caddy-the trunk held down by a bungee cord due to the overwhelming amount of gifts held within it. My dad having to cautiously navigate through ice and snow while my mother held court between my sister and I fighting over who got to stretch their cramped legs into the middle seat in the back. All of this just so my sister and I could have a childhood basically straight from a storybook. White Christmases, family all around, sled rides and visits with Santa. Thanks mom and dad. I only hope I can live up to it for my little ones.

Monday, November 15, 2010

pumpkins, parties and pop-pop oh my!

My posts have been a little scarce lately so I thought I would share a photo montage of what we have been up to. a few birthday parties, a lake trip, one trick or treat stroll around Homewood (ok, just down our street) and lots of other fun stuff. enjoy!

alexander turned 2
the party was cowboy themed. My dad came dressed as Woody from Toy Story or basically as himself.
the train tent Margaret gave him from our favorite line of tents and play structures Bazoongi.
this picture is super blurry but these two had a blast going in and out of the tent. Until...
Alexander opened his train set. And then Margaret was not allowed to play. I think he took his nap with the controller in his hand.
pop-pop is the pied piper to wee ones and all things furry. Animals and children flock to him.
my parents have a great park in Roswell that we took the kids to
Alexander had to show Margaret the ropes

My friend Kristin's little boy Michael turned one

Michael loves cake...

Margaret loves Michael.

the next day we drove back to Birmingham to trick or treat in our neighborhood. Isn't Margaret the cutest little piggy?!

The hat lasted all of 2 seconds. So she really looked like a piece of cotton candy or something. But Daddy wore the hat and she got a kick out of that.

trick or treat Uncle Griff! Are you home? Check out the tail-love it.
and this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.

and the next weekend My sister Meredith and Alexander joined us for a weekend at the lake.
it was chilly but we bundled the babes up and headed to a local farm's Fall harvest party. Lots of fun.

Phew! Are you exhausted yet? I am and this week is thanksgiving! I just finished my first pumpkin burboun cream pie and I'm now off to make another dish...
bye for now!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

love affair

I am a Birmingham transplant. I can't claim this city as my home town but it is now my home. Sure, there are days when I wish I had the many varied restaurant choices that Atlanta has to offer. The aquarium would be a great afternoon trip for a chilly winter play date. And you can't argue that the shopping in Atlanta is only surpassed by New York or Chicago. But I am madly in love with Birmingham. I love that it takes me 10 minutes tops to get downtown. Or that the longest I have been stuck in traffic is 20 minutes on highway 280 (this is a dream trip by ATL standards). Strangers nod and wave at each other, your door will always be held for you and every child you meet will you call you ma'am. Recently I have been introduced to two new Birmingham attractions that have made my heart swell even more for this town. The Railroad Park is our new favorite play spot. I am amazed that this 19 acre slice of heaven is in our city. There is plenty of green space for a picnic or to let the little ones run free-and a wonderful toddler friendly gated playground. You can grab lunch at the dining car and watch the trains pass by. If you haven't been to experience this park it should be moved to the top of your to do list.
The next thing I have just been introduced to-last night. One of my mom friends set up a mom's night out for our playgroup at a new place in Cahaba Heights called Urban Green. This is by far the coolest thing going on in Birmingham right now. It originally started as a Consignment shop but then the owners decided to add a t-shirt bar to the store called Green Tees. Basically they have all sorts of fabric scraps, vintage buttons and jewelry, and so many other trinkets and embellishments. You take these items and design a shirt, headband, scarf, dress, guest towel-whatever you can think of with their material. Once you have laid out your design they pin it together and then send it off for someone to do the dirty work. Basically you design whatever your heart can dream up and they take your design to a professional to complete the sewing or whatever is needed to complete your item. I could literally go back every day. Ok, maybe every week. But either way it is the most creative, fun, entertaining thing I've done on a Friday night in a long time. I'm kicking myself that I didn't come up with this idea ;) So, grab a bottle of wine and some girlfriends and go create something. I'll post pictures of the shirts I made as soon as I get them back.

What are y'all enjoying this weekend?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Whatever You do don't leave me the same...

Today was my first day to officially wear my doula hat. I met this morning with a momma and her sweet 6 week old baby girl Violet. It was the first time in a long while that I have held such a tiny baby. She was so precious and I could see the bond that mother and baby had already made. There wasn't much that this mom needed help with today. Nursing was going well- she was on the recovering end of a bout of Mastitis and things were back to normal-her fridge was stocked and she was rested (as rested as a mom of a 6 week old can be). I showed her some swaddling techniques and she didn't even need the Moby wrap I brought to share with her. She greeted me at the door with Violet in her own! I have to say I left our visit one happy doula. Of course this visit brought up memories of my time with Margaret when she was that little. I can hardly remember parts of that time now. When I have moments of reflection like this I still can not help but feel a little sad. Part of me is still mourning what I feel I missed during this time because of my struggle with post partum anxiety and depression. I hate to say it but I sometimes become a little jealous of moms who are so at peace and able to relax and enjoy their time with a brand new infant. My mind was constantly in hyper-drive trying to predict what Margaret would need next before she even had to let me know she needed it. I never really sat back and enjoyed the moments. And then before I knew it my anxiety and worry turned into a deep depression. I hid it well. I didn't want to believe that I was struggling. I had read all of the books and was doing everything "perfectly" by the standards I had set for myself. Never mind that I wasn't really sleeping and that I cried a LOT for no reason and was sure that Margaret was not getting enough to eat or sleeping the right way or whatever my mind would think of to keep me in a constant state of panic. And then the bottom fell out. The days/weeks that followed were the darkest I have ever experienced. I literally cried out to God "Why are you doing this to me?" I could not see through what I was feeling to the other side. Now in retrospect I can see that God was breaking me to rebuild me into a better mother, a better woman. But at the time all I could feel was darkness. I truly admire people who can be in the middle of a difficult time and say that they know that God has something good in store for them. I could not see that in the midst of everything. Now that I am on the other side of things I honestly would not trade what I went through for an easier experience. Although I do have pangs of sadness over missing the beginning of my love affair with Margaret I know without question that I wouldn't be the mom I am now without going through that dark time. My ppa/ppd helped me find a passion for helping new moms and babies get off to a wonderful start. It made me more confident in myself and taught me to trust my instincts as a mother. It opened my eyes to the fact that my time with Margaret is so precious. It changed my relationships with my family and friends. In the last month I have realized that God used this experience to answer a prayer that I had prayed for so long. I was looking back over my journal and came across something I had written down from a book I was reading at the time. It is something that I prayed over and over again. I begged it more than prayed it. This passage is from the book Having a Mary Spirit. Let me give this disclaimer. Don't say this prayer unless you are truly ready for God to change you-because He will.

a work in progress

"Lord Jesus, I give you my life. I invite you to have your way in me. Take me and break me. Shake me and make me. Fill me and spill me. Change me and rearrange me. But whatever You do, Lord...don't leave me the same. Spirit of wisdom and revelation, I welcome Your work. Open my eyes so I can ears so I can hear...I choose truth over comfort, challenge over complacency. Lord, make me forever Yours. And most of all, make me like you. Amen."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

because once is never enough...

We had to make one more trip to a pumpkin patch with our friends Alima and Aubrey. This time we went down 280 to Harpersville, AL. They have an actual pumpkin patch back in the woods of their farm. You literally pull your pumpkin off the vine. So fun!

mimi, pop-pop and the pumpkin patch

The two little ones featured in these pictures make my heart sing! The old people aren't too bad either ;) Alexander, my nephew, was my first little love. I can remember him as a newborn and how I could hold him for hours. Jackson said soon after he was born that I would be getting baby fever. It's no surprise then that these two cousins are almost exactly a year apart. Margaret and I met my parents (known to anyone 3 feet and under as mimi and pop-pop) and Alexander at the Bennett Farms pumpkin patch in Heflin, AL. Heflin is half way between Atlanta and Birmingham so it was the perfect spot for us to get together. It was a beautiful day and the kids had so much fun running around the pumpkins and petting the baby animals. I packed us a picnic lunch with pumpkin cookies from Savage's bakery. Alexander ran around in circles with his pumpkin cookie while Margaret chased the barn kittens.

p.s. I am writing this while burning my Yankee Candle Spiced Pumpkin Candle-feeling very fallish!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

a few things giving me chills this fall

our Jarrahdale pumpkin

It's fall and it couldn't have come sooner. The crisp mornings and the return of the pumpkin spice latte are all things I start anticipating around the end of July. This fall I have found a few new things that are making this years autumn even better than previous ones.

1. Cinderella pumpkins- the last couple of years white pumpkins have been the new fall decoration must have. This is the year of the stackable pumpkins (so the helpful lady at Sweet Pea informed me when I was picking out our pumpkins) Like fashion, layering is key! The Cinderella pumpkin is originally from France and is flat and orange. What girl doesn't need a Cinderella pumpkin? Glass slipper sold separately. I also fell in love with these blue grey colored pumpkins called Jarrahdales. And of course I still got a dozen mini boo's to decorate the dining room with.

2. Kove handmade- this Etsy shop is my new favorite. I just ordered the captain fringe scarf in the grey marble color. This is the perfect accessory for fall in the south. It's a necklace meets scarf creation. Everything in this shop is gorgeous. Side note-if you are a female family member of mine please do not order one of these. You will probably find one under your Christmas tree.

3. Corduroys- Ok, so these are one of my favorite things every fall. I personally feel that corduroys are the Jean's fancy cousin. I just feel a little more put together when I have my cords on. Old Navy has some great fits and colors right now. And of course they are at a great price. I picked up these in a pretty marigold color they call sweet caroline and in a Crimson color(perfect for game day) called Borscht.

4. my grandma's earrings- Covet these all you want ladies they are one of a kind. When my maternal grandmother passed away I was in 4th grade. Even then I had great style (kidding, kidding, I'll scan some pictures so you can see some of my terrible fashion faux pas's from days passed). But all of us girls were lucky enough to get to pick a few things of my grandmothers that we would like to hold on to. My grandma loved fashion jewelry. In particular big chunky pieces. She was definitely ahead of her time in the style department! These earrings my grandfather picked up for her on one of his hunting trips to Alaska (I hope I am remembering this story correctly). They are made of real ivory tusks(now outlawed of course) Remarkably I have held on to them all these years. I can't stop wearing them this fall! I love the delicate flowers-They are gorgeous. And the elephants are perfect for UA game day. Besides being fashionable I love the sentiment behind this jewelry.

5. Mumford and Sons- I have to give credit to my friend Amanda on this one. She had me download this groups album Sigh No More. It is my new fav go to album. I am no music critic but if I had to describe their sound it would be southern rock meets Irish folk. They are not from Ireland, London actually but something about their sound makes me think of the Irish :) Great for a fall drive with the windows down headed to a pumpkin patch!
6. Owls-Again, I must admit that this is not a new obsession of mine. Its not just that I was a Chi Omega (hooty hoot!) I have always loved these mysterious birds. If you look closely around our house you will see a wide-eyed feathery creature peering at you from a corner or two. But now I am nabbing some owl finds for Margaret as well. Like this sweet corduroy dress by Etsy seller Pink Chickadee. Or this adorable painting by Tootie Fash that just by chance matches Margaret's nursery perfectly! If you read my last blog post this painting is the reason I have been trying to butter my husband up. I am hoping it will stay on the wall in Margaret's nursery and not be returned to the artist's home.