24 January 2014

7 quick takes: the first edition

We have been battling sickness here and it has been no fun.  Harlow and I both woke up with colds one morning and it has snowballed since then.  Last weekend I took a Nyquil and ended up sleeping until 10:45 the next morning and then walking around in a fog for the next two days.  For the record when I say I am sensitive to medication, I am not joking.  Thankfully Dan and Mabes have managed to avoid our little sinus/coughing/congestion plague for the most part.

I found a few link that I thought were worth sharing:
8 Simple Steps
When Your Mother Says She is Fat

We have decided to put Harlow on a gluten free diet.  The doctor had her tested for celiac disease. The test came back negative, however that doesn't mean much when the test is only 50/50 on accuracy.  (The only way to know for sure is with a biopsy of her intestine, which we are trying to avoid if possible.)  So we made the decision to go gluten free for a month and see what kind of a difference it makes.  Gluten free is a lot harder than it seems, especially when we have been lucky enough to have gone our whole lives with no dietary restrictions whatsoever.

Friday I did a one-year photo session with Harlow.  Let's all just pretend that I wasn't a month overdo taking the photos.  I will post more photos from the session later, but this is one of my favorites.  I feel like it encompasses exactly what the last month has been like with her.  I think a lot of that has to do with the teeth that seem to be popping up in her mouth all of a sudden.  I am not going to complain about how clingy she is with me or how hard it makes getting anything done when she only wants to be held 24/7 because it means extra cuddles and that is never a bad thing.  However, if she decides that she can do without the 2am cuddles, I would be OK with that.
Harlow 1 Year Photos 32

Mabes requested an Elsa dress from Santa this past Christmas.  The dress turned out to be more elusive than Big Foot and took us more than a month to track down.  It came the other day and she has worn it nonstop since then.  Dan is enjoying all of the glitter that seems to be making its way off the dress and onto every square inch of surface of everything in the house.

The Rosie Network: I recently joined this network with my photography business.  They are a new site that promotes military owned small business.  They launch to the public tomorrow!  I am really excited about the potential opportunities this will lead to.

Dan signed in to his new job on base yesterday.  He has some training he has to complete before he officially starts, but we are all ready for him to spend some time stateside and not have to worry about a deployment looming for at least the next few years.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

06 January 2014

catching up on harlow's last six months

In June Harlow started to realize that she could control her voice.  She realized she could make us laugh by making silly sounds.  This pleased her (and still does) to no end.  I referred to a lot of her noises as dinosaur noises because they are more like a growl than anything.

June is also when Harlow began to really sit up on her own.

At the end of September she cut both of her front bottom teeth.  We also moved her from an infant car seat to a rear facing, larger car seat.

In late September/early October she began pulling herself around the floor.  She wasn't full on crawling for several weeks.  Every time anyone put her knees under her she would start to cry and refuse to move.  Once she did start to crawl (and the way she continues to) she decided to let her one leg basically drag behind her.  She looks like something out of the Walking Dead moving across the floor, but she is fast and it works for her.

One thing we have learned is Harlow is stubborn and will do things in her own time and in her own way.  Dan and I are OK with that...for now.

In October she said her first word, Dada.  I am pretty sure at first she thought it meant "feed me more food" based on when she would say it.  Which was usually in the highchair as soon as I had finished feeding her the last bite of whatever was on her plate.  She has now added "Mama" to her vocabulary, but uses both very sparingly choosing to point at things with her chubby finger or babble instead.

November we took her to Disney World.  She did AWESOME compared to what we were expecting, both on the long car ride to Florida and at the park itself.  Any ride that didn't have a height requirement she was allowed to go on and aside from the spinning tea cups, loved it all.  A favorite was the Dumbo ride.  She managed to get her hands on the little lever inside the car that allows the rider to control if your elephant goes up or down and she lurched us all over the place, laughing hysterically all the while.  The biggest highlight of the month was when she started giving kisses.  Most of the time when Dan and I ask she will kiss us, sometimes she really makes us work for them.  Mabes, on the other hand, is always getting kissed by her sissy, no asking needed.  Lucky Mabes.

Just before the new year we saw that she has finally started cutting her top two front teeth.  She is also starting to pull herself up onto her knees, but for the most part has no interest in standing or attempting to walk.  (Though she does march around when we hold her hands.)

Harlow 5 Months #2
(5 Months Old)

Harlow 6 Months #3
(6 Months Old)

Harlow Photo Shoot #3
(7 Months Old)

Harlow 8 Months #2
(8 Months Old)

Harlow 9 Month #13

(9 Months Old)

Harlow 10 Months #5
(10 Months Old)

Wedding Photo Day 15
(11 Months Old)

We went months and months of her waking up anywhere from two to four times a night.  I was starting to reach the end of my sanity limits.  In late September I started forcing her to sleep through the night using the cry it out method.  She still wanted to party at least twice a night, but finally figured out that from 8pm-6:30am is a nonnegotiable sleeping time.  There are still nights where she attempts to push the limits of the rules, but for the most part she does really well at night.  Nap time has always been good.  Usually she sleeps for 3-4 hours every late morning/afternoon.  For the most part she always wakes up happy and ready to go.  Harlow still likes having a crochet blanket with her to go to sleep.  I think it is safe to call her a blanket kid, but only at bed/nap time.

Session with the Meullers #19
(For her first Halloween she was a chicken/duck)

I introduced her to solid foods starting just before six months.  Other than peas, there hasn't been a thing that she hasn't liked.  She has always been more interested in what we were eating than the purees I was feeding her and so from about November she eats basically everything we do, only cut up into tiny pieces.  She only has two teeth and that makes chewing a little complicated, but she has done really well.  Some of her favorite foods include tortillas, chicken, steak, macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs, cheese, tomatoes and green onions.  She is only nursing before bed.  I have enough pumped breast milk that she gets a bottle as soon as she wakes up in the morning as well.  When we use up everything in the freezer we will introduce her to whole milk.  Throughout the day she drinks water or very watered down apple juice.  It was a fight to find a sippy cup she was willing to use, thank goodness there was one from Nuby that she finally took to.  It also took a little bit of work, but she can successfully drink from a straw if we need her to.

(Picking up Daddy from the airport when he came home from deployment.  These two hadn't seen each other in 9 months and they picked right back up as if no time had passed.)

Harlow is a total ham.  She loves to laugh and to make us laugh.  She is curious and constantly trying to discover and explore.  Everything is considered fair game to chew on.  She is also a total cuddle bug and will happily lay in our arms, curl up in our laps or rest her head on our shoulders any time she can and will stay that way for as long as we let her.  Mabes is still her favorite person and Harlow follows her everywhere.

GF0A1502 copy
 (1 Year Old)

It is safe to say that Miss Harlow has stolen all of our hearts.

02 January 2014

mabes catch up

Today I thought would be a great time to recap the last six months or so of what has been going on with this little lady:

We spent much of the summer traveling to Georgia and Pennsylvania and back again.  All the while playing dress up and princess.
Mabry is all dressed up

In August she started Kindergarten.  Unfortunately the first full week of school she missed due to a tick bite and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  It was not fun.  
Mabry's first day of kindergarten #9
Sleeping Mabes #4

She also traded in dancing for gymnastics this year.  Ever since she saw the American team during the 2012 Summer Olympics she has been all about learning to do gymnastics.  

Early September she celebrated another birthday.  Six years (or as she put it on the morning of her birthday, "It takes two hands to count to me!").  Seriously where is the time going?  This year she was able to have two birthday parties.  One party in Atlanta at the American Girl Store with her Gamma, some of her Nashville cousins, Aunt Vail, Gloria and Elayna.  The other party was an ice cream social in the park near our church that was filled with lots of friends and family.
Mabry's 6th Birthday in Georgia #16
Mabry's 6th Birthday Party #4

For Halloween Mabes was insistent that she be Jasmin.  I had already planned to dress her like a farmer.  In my defense I was dressing her little sister up to look like a chicken and I thought it would be the perfect themed costume.  When I told her my idea she looked at me like I had gone way off the reservation.  In the end she deemed my plan no beuno and used her own money to buy herself a costume fit for a princess.  This was also the first Halloween where there was very little struggle to get her to trick-or-treat (which we did in our neighborhood with Harlow, Wyatt and our favorite neighbor, David).
Session with the Meullers #14

October is also when I landed her in the Emergency Room after accidentally lodging her earring back all the way inside of her ear.  To make a long story short, she had pushed the backs of her earrings on so tight (unbeknownst to me) that they were practically already ripping into her ear.  After her bath one night I was using the towel to dry her hair, her earring got caught on the towel and when I pulled it away from her head it pulled out the earring and pulled the back inside of her ear.  It was not a good night and unfortunately she is no longer able to wear earrings until her ears fully heal.  She isn't interested in having anymore holes put in her ears and instead told me for prom and her wedding she would put "stickers" on her ear lobes and call it a day.
Mabry's earring back stuck in her ear #5

Early November was definitely the highlight of the year.  Aunt B, her Daddy and I were able to pull off a huge surprise at gymnastics when Daddy finally came home from deployment.

After Daddy's return it was a whirlwind of trips and holiday plans.  We took a trip up to Pennsylvania, we took a surprise trip to Disney World (where her dreams came true when she met the princesses from the movie Frozen) and we took two trips to Georgia.  All the while Mabes was the fantastic little traveler I have grown accustomed to.  Very rarely does she complain or ask to stop...that is as long as we are willing to keep playing the movies on the DVD player (that she thinks only works on long car trips.).  
Wedding Photo Day 13
IMG_0840 copy

Some of my favorite Mabes sayings from the last six months include:

"Mama, I've waited for this moment my whole life!" Said after I put both her and Harlow in a cart sans baby carseat for the first time.
Mabes: Mama, did you know I am a kid?
Me: What?! You aren't an adult?! 
Mabes: No. You aren't a grown up until college. No! Wait! You are still in school in college. What age are you a grown up? 
Me: 25
Mabes: No! You are tricking me. It is 26. Until then you and Daddy are the boss. 
Me: You are right. 
"You are such a squishy, cute baby! I can't get enough of you!" 

Mabes has been a wonderful big sister to Harlow.  She is always ready and willing to help with Harlow from getting diapers, to picking out clothes or entertaining her while I cook.  She can't ever seem to get enough of her baby sissy (even when her sissy doesn't feel quite the same way).  Every night when I put her to bed she will tell me, "Mama, I only got to hold Harlow a little today."  No matter how long her sister patiently sat on her lap earlier in the day.  Or worse, "Mama, I didn't get to hold Harlow at all today!"

Mabes has been a big help around the house...taking on responsibilities with chores (she now makes her bed, helps with laundry and other basic cleaning).  She is always good about doing her homework and going to school.  She loves her teacher and has lots of friends in her class.  Other than the need to work on patience and talking a little less she is a great little girl to be around.

State College 21
Mabry Grace 9.19.13
We love our Mabes.

01 January 2014

guess who is back?!

Happy 2014!

We meet again.  I know, I know it has been six months.  Hugs, kisses, let's make up?

When I look back at the archives of this blog (and trust me it goes back a long way) there are so many moments that I treasure.  Moments that would have been long forgotten had it not been for the blog.  I am so excited to be back in the swing of things and documenting our lives!

Getting to watch these two girls grow up is an amazing gift and I want to make sure that we remember as much of it as we can.
Mabes Web
Harlow Web

I am also excited about starting up some photography projects this year.  Currently I am doing a 31 day project with Carl.  I will be posting all of those photos on my Instagram account.   (You have to follow me in order to see my photos.)
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