Ready for March!

Happy Leap Day, Everyone! :)
Although February was a great month for us, we are beyond ready for March to arrive!
{St. Patty's Day printables found HERE and HERE}

February was just plain crazy in our household. We started Shelby's OT services, hosted out-of-town visitors twice, planned & hosted a baby shower for a sweet friend, and traveled to Birmingham for our niece's first birthday...all during a wards month for Derek! Phew! We had a lot of fun, but I'm tired just thinking about it all!
March will bring an elective month {aka..a much better schedule!} and a week of leave for Derek. And as if that wasn't exciting enough, Grammy & Grampy are going to keep Shelby for a couple days of Derek's leave. It will be hard to leave her, but we know she will have an amazing time...and so will we!
We're ready for you, March!


A Few "Kairos" Moments

Today was a rough day with my Shelby-girl. Trying to get back into the swing of our routine + teething + wondering where all of her family is that was spoiling her all last week = a not so happy baby. But thankfully, I had a few "Kairos" moments** that made me {almost!} forget all of the rough ones...

A few spontaneous hugs before bathtime. {Shelby is not a cuddly, lovey type of baby....so these moments are cherished!}

In the midst of watching Super Why {which Shelby will usually not turn her eyes away from for even a single second!}, Shelby turned around to find me washing dishes at the sink and waved at me with the biggest grin on her face like she couldn't have been happier to see her mama.

And my favorite Kairos moment from the day came as we were reading stories before naptime. We were reading Five Little Monkeys. Shelby usually pats her head every time the monkeys in the story bump their head on the bed b/c she has seen me do it countless times. But today--for the first time--when the doctor orders "no more monkeys jumping on the bed!", Shelby mimicked me pointing & shaking my pointer finger as if to say "no-no" to the monkeys. It was the cutest thing, and it just melted my heart.

**In Glennon's words from Momastery, here is a brief explanation of those "Kairos" moments...
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them.

Home Sweet Home

We are back home after a fun weekend in Birmingham celebrating this sweet girl's first birthday!
We really enjoyed spending the weekend with family, but it certainly made us wish we all lived closer! Derek was lucky enough to get the whole weekend off during a wards month..we were thrilled! Derek was on call on Thursday, so he left the house before 6am and was home just before midnight. Derek had to go into the hospital early again on Friday morning b/c he was post-call, but we hit the road as soon as he got home around 5pm and made it to Derek's sister's house around 11pm. Shelby didn't get to bed until 11:30 that night. She did manage to get almost a 2.5 hour nap before the party on Saturday afternoon and slept a solid 13 hours that night. But she didn't have a real nap on Sunday due to the drive home. {Although she did fall asleep in the car for about 45 minutes after we had stopped for lunch...we couldn't believe it!} Weekend trips are definitely not easy on babies {or residents..ha! Derek is back on call again today}, but we wouldn't have missed this for the world! We are so thankful all three of us were able to be there for Elly's special day!

More pictures and details to come after we recuperate! ;)


Top Five Friday

5. Kid Swap
{Getting ready to go to her first Kid Swap! This bag contains the essentials: diapers, change of clothes, snack, & Wubbanub--just in case she needs a little comfort. Thankfully, we haven't needed it yet!}
I briefly mentioned Kid Swap in {THIS} post a couple of days ago. It is seriously amazing! Here's how Kid Swap originated....

Lately, Shelby has been in a phase/stage where it is just plain hard to run errands or grocery shop with her. She constantly wants in and out of the grocery cart, and when she is in the cart she likes to throw everything out of it. Not the most productive pastime.

On a completely unrelated note...Shelby always does pretty well when we leave her with a babysitter, but she can struggle a bit in large groups. For instance, she usually does fine at playgroup. But she does NOT like any of the other kids (or anyone really) getting all up in her space. Some of her sweet friends try to give her a hug or play close to her, and she freaks out wanting me to come rescue her. In other words, she needs some practice adjusting in larger group settings without Mama right.by.her.side.

When thinking about these two things {how hard it is to run errands with Shelby & how she needs some socialization sans me}, Kid Swap was born! I threw the idea out to the other mamas in our playgroup, and we hit the ground running! Every Monday we "swap" kids to give us mamas some much needed mommy time. A different mom hosts each week and keeps the kids at her house while the other moms get an hour or two to themselves to run errands, clean, or even get a pedicure! It is seriously amazing! It is unbelievable how much I can get done--this week I was able to get all of my groceries for the week and get my floors vacuumed & swiffered all in just 90 minutes. And the best part is that it's amazing for me and Shelby. After just three weeks of Kid Swap, I can already see a huge difference in how she is reacting to other kids. And another huge plus...at her second Kid Swap, all of the other kiddos were eating yogurt raisins for snack...so she decided to eat them, too! Score!
And here's another pic of a different Kid Swap...

4. Playtex Straw Trainer Cup found {HERE}
{we got ours in the girly colors though!}
Shelby's OT recommended this cup to us, and it's such a great little cup to teach your kiddo how to drink from a straw! We got ours at Target. After only using it for two days, I told Derek Shelby could drink from a straw. I happened to mention this little factoid to him while we were out to dinner at Newk's. He thought I was exaggerating when I said she could drink out of the Newk's straw (which is very long & wide...harder to drink out of than a normal straw). So we put the straw to our Diet Coke up to her mouth, and she did it! Her first sip of the good stuff. :) Oh, if you could have seen the look on her face! This girl loves her some DC cans. Since she always sees Mama with one in her hand, she thinks they're the bee's knees. After getting her first taste, I'm pretty sure she was wondering what all the fuss is about..ha! And don't worry--that will be her first and last taste of DC for quite some time! Here is Shelby drinking a more 17 month old appropriate beverage at Chick-fil-a....water! :)
{LOVE all those sweet little curls!}

3. The Vow. My mom & Derek kept Shelby one night while my sister and I got to have a little night out. We spent our time leisurely perusing the aisles of Tar-jay (such a nice treat since most of my shopping trips have to be done at lightning speed due to an impatient toddler) and then seeing The Vow. We had heard a lot of mixed reviews, so we didn't know what to expect...but we both really liked it!

2. Shelby's pigtails! There is pretty much nothing cuter than this. :)

1. Family time. We got to spend the week with my mom & sister while they were here visiting. Sadly, they left this morning...but the three of us are now off to spend the weekend in Birmingham with Derek's family celebrating our sweet niece's first birthday! We can't wait!


Wordless Wednesday: First Mardi Gras Parade & Visitors

{getting ready to head out for the parade in Gulfport}

{waiting for the parade to start}
{here come the floats!}

{such a fun evening!}


A Birdie Baby Shower

My neighbor Shana and I hosted a birdie themed baby shower for our friend Erin this weekend. Shana actually introduced me to Erin when we were looking for a new babysitter. And Erin is AMAZING! I never thought we would find a babysitter who would genuinely love spending time with Shelby like she does. And not only is she a great babysitter, but she's a pretty great friend, too! We are so thankful to have Erin in Shelby's life and ours. :) Here is the soon-to-be Mommy at Shana's house right before the guests started arriving.

Here is the diaper wreath that I made for the shower.
I followed {THIS} tutorial that I found online, but mine was a bit different mainly b/c I used cardboard as the base of the wreath..ha! The tutorial called for a wooden wreath frame, which I didn't have nor did I see when I was out running errands. I had a stryofoam wreath on hand, but I wasn't sure it would work well for this project...so Derek tried cardboard (which we painted white) , and it worked perfectly!

Here are a few more details from the shower....

I made labels for the water bottles using a free printable from the Life Sweet Life blog.

Shana bakes the most delicious and beautifully decorated cookies you have ever seen!

I purchased the cupcake toppers & favor tags from {THIS} Etsy shop. I didn't get a picture of the favors, but we used Shana's beautiful birdie cookies as a centerpiece {pictured above} and as the favors.

Shana made this cute activity for guests to do as they arrived. They had to guess when Baby Dunham will be arriving.

I prepared two games for everyone to play--matching celebrities with their unique babies' names {which turned out to be the perfect game for this shower b/c a lot of the guests were very into pop culture!} and guessing baby food based on its smell {a few people were really hardcore and even tasted it!}.

Getting ready to open gifts....

We had such a wonderful afternoon celebrating Erin and that sweet little baby girl on the way. We can't wait to meet you, Baby Dunham!


A Walking Pro!

This video was taken on Friday morning (the 17th). The previous Friday evening (the 10th), the three of us had stopped off at a friend's house to hang out for a bit before Shelby's bedtime. Shelby was walking EVERYWHERE in their house! Like, more walking than all of her previous combined walking put together. It was craziness! We tried to figure out why she was walking so much more at their house than at ours...we could only come up with two things that were different that could have prompted all that walking: a more open floor plan or the fact that we were somewhat ignoring Shelby as we visited with our friends..ha! But whatever the reason was, Shelby's walking has literally improved exponentially since that night! It's amazing the difference a week makes! :) It's still hard for us to believe we have a walking baby on our hands!


Valetine's Day Recap

We had a pretty exciting Valentine's Day at our house!
Here were the highlights:

Shelby's first pigtails!

Valentine Exchange Party with sweet playgroup friends
Shelby looking through all of her Valentine's Day loot after the party--a bag full of Valentines from her friends & a new book from Mommy & Daddy.

Shelby ate her first PBJ for lunch!
I know this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it is a BIG deal in these parts! :) She ate the entire half sandwich that I made for her.

Lots of walking by Shelby-girl!
She has always loved to throw her balls and crawl after them. Well, Valentine's Day was the first day that she was walking around to chase the balls! Way to go, Shelby!!

And the final highlight of the day was a date night for Derek & me!
Although, the date didn't go quite as we had planned! We didn't want to do anything too fancy for Valentine's Day..just having a babysitter and getting out of the house together is exciting enough..ha! So we had planned on going to dinner at Longhorn (since it's all the way out in Gulfport, we never go there..so it was going to be a treat!) & to see a movie. Right before our babysitter arrived, we called Longhorn to take advantage of their call-ahead seating. We ended up leaving the house right on time, which I was pretty proud of b/c I have a tendency to ramble on and on to babysitters telling them about 1.5 million more things than they'll ever need to know about Shelby..ha! Anyhow, we left right on time....but we were not prepared for the bridge over the back bay being closed. Ugh! Well, as you can imagine...there are only so many ways to get over the bay, and it was dinnertime on Valentine's Day. Cue the second traffic jam** I've ever seen on the Gulf Coast. Needless to say, we got to Gulfport much later than expected, and we had to make a game-time decision. There was no way we could eat dinner at Longhorn and make it to the movie on time, so we quickly decided that the movie was more important and opted to eat a quick dinner at Raising Cane's {this was my first time dining there, and it is shockingly similar to Zaxby's}. We managed to get to the movie theater with about ten minutes to spare, so I was thrilled that we made it! Until we got up to the ticket window, and the movie was sold out...ugh! After pouting for a few minutes, we decided to salvage the night. We wandered around Old Navy {a new skirt for me & St. Patty's Day shirt for Miss Shelby} & Shoe Carnival {new tennis shoes for me!}, drove through the parking lot of two dealerships to look at trucks for Derek {we just recently sold his, so we are in the market for a new one}, and devoured some ice cream from Marble Slab. It was not at all how we envisioned the evening, but we were thrilled with the outcome b/c we so rarely have alone time together with nothing on the agenda! It was an unexpected Valentine's treat!

**I'm not sure if I've blogged about this before, but shortly after we moved here we were in D'Iberville (where our closest nice shopping center is located..aka the biggest intersection in the Biloxi area). We were leaving the Target side of the shopping center and crossing the street to go over to the Wal-Mart side. The intersection is pretty big & congested, but the traffic lights keep it flowing well. On this particular day though, we saw the traffic was barely moving through the intersection. Then we heard sirens, and fire trucks started pulling up. We assumed the worst had happened. After about ten minutes of sitting in traffic, we finally got through the intersection and over to the other side of the shopping center. Later that night, we had the news on at home. The top news story of the night was none other than the traffic jam in D'Iberville...we were shocked that it was the top story! We immediately thought the accident must have been worse than we thought. Then we heard the cause of the traffic: a truck carrying a load of fruit had overturned, and there were watermelons all over the road. Welcome to life in Biloxi. We love it!


Valentine Photo Shoot

I know we are biased, but we were SO pleased with how well Miss Shelby's little Valentine photo shoot turned out. :) It was totally last-minute and impromptu, so we didn't really have high hopes for it...but we were thrilled with the outcome! The cutest part of the pictures to us was how she was kicking her leg up in several of the photos, and it's something we'll probably always remember. Shelby is very weird about textures, but she's recently started to like the feel of grass. But this was one of the first times she felt wet grass (it had rained the day before, so the grass was still a bit damp) on her bare feet, and she did not like it AT ALL. So she kept one foot in the air for the first several minutes we were outside...it was almost as if she couldn't bear the thought of having both feet touching the damp grass at the same time. Oh, the horror! ;) But despite her displeasure with the grass, she was still as happy as could be!

The tutu that Shelby is sporting in these photos was actually a birthday gift she received from a sweet blog friend of mine. Molly from This Wood House has a sweet little girl who was born just a day before Shelby. And as if that wasn't enough of a connection, her hubby is also in the Air Force.** Needless to say, we became fast friends. :) Thank you again for this precious gift, Molly!
Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day yesterday!

**Molly's hubby is actually deployed right now, and I'm sure she would covet your prayers!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from the Smiths!

Enjoy a peek at our Valentine's Day card this year!

{the front}

{the middle}

{the back}

Hope you have a happy Heart Day ahead of you! Shelby & I are looking forward to her Valentine Exchange party with her sweet playgroup friends, and then a date night for Derek & me tonight! Yay!


A Day in the Life

I've seen lots of bloggers do a "day in the life" type of post, and I thought that would be fun to do so I can look back one day and remember how Shelby and I spent our days together. Here's a little peak into what our day-to-day life looks like.

Morning Routine
**Shelby usually wakes up around 8-8:30, and I'm usually up around 7...I love having a quiet start to the day! Some mornings, I shower and get ready for the day before Shelby wakes up. Other days, I spend the morning catching up on email, dishes, chores, etc.
**The first thing I do when I go into Shelby's room in the mornings is pick up everything she's thrown out of her crib. {Click HERE for Exhibit A.} Then we change her diaper and head downstairs for her morning bottle of milk. She snuggles in my lap with her bottle while I watch the news. {At least one--if not both of us--are still in our PJ's at this point.}
**After the bottle, Shelby takes her vitamin while watching a DVR'ed episode of Super Why. {She takes a Flinstone chewable vitamin, but she just sucks on it...so sometimes it takes her the duration of the episode to finish it..ha!}
**During Super Why, I catch up on chores downstairs--dishes, laundry, email, etc.
**After Super Why, Shelby & I eat breakfast together then we head upstairs to get dressed.

Morning Activity
**On days we stay home, we usually play downstairs for a bit before heading out for a stroll & then playing outside. But most weekdays we have somewhere to be...here's a look at our weekly activities:
Monday: stay at home day or Kid Swap {more on that later}
Tuesday: storytime at the library followed by playtime at Excel by Five
Wednesday: Early Intervention
Thursday: playgroup or Excel by Five
Friday: stay at home day
Saturday: stay at home day
Sunday: stay at home day
{Shelby working on her craft project after storytime at the library}
**We usually wrap up our morning activity and try to be back at home around noon. Shelby will usually play in the living room for a bit while I prep her lunch. Some days I eat lunch with her, but I often wait and eat during naptime so I can have a relaxing lunch. :)
**After lunch, we head upstairs for a quick diaper change and a few books before naptime commences.

**Shelby usually goes down for her nap around 12:45-1ish and will sleep for about 3 hours. This is my precious time!
**During naptime, I try to do all of the following tasks: work out to a video (not everyday, but a couple of days a week), shower (if I didn't shower before Shelby woke up that morning or if I worked out..obvi!), eat lunch, and any chores on my chore chart {which I posted about HERE..and I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up with it!} for the day. And I'm pretty sure I check Facebook & blogs way too many times during this time, too. Ugh.

Afternoon Activity
**When Shelby wakes up {usually around 4}, I go into her room and pick up everything she's thrown out of her crib...again! Then we do a quick diaper change before heading downstairs.
**Once we're downstairs, Shelby has her afternoon bottle & snack.
**After snack time, we are ready for the "activity" of the afternoon! Our afternoons are much less structured. The only afternoon activity that is set in stone is Kindermusik class on Thursdays. All of the other days, we just do whatever sounds good to us that afternoon! Sometimes we just stay home and play with our toys or play outside, go for a walk with a neighbor, run to Target, etc.

Evening Routine
**We usually feed Shelby her dinner at 6ish. If Derek is home, we will eat with her; but we often eat our dinner after she's already gone to bed for the night.
**After dinner, the Four B's immediately begin. Bath. Bottle. Books. Bed. We typically take a bath every single night b/c Shelby gets so messy with her food throughout the day! For my memory's sake, here are a couple shots of post bath & bottle hair. I love how curly her hair is when it's wet!

**Shelby is usually in bed around 7:30-8. As much as I love Shelby, I long for this time of the day b/c by 7:30 I AM WORN OUT!
**If we haven't eaten dinner yet, we try to do that as soon as Shelby goes down for the night. Then, if we're feeling ambitious, we might tackle a few things on our to-do list that need to be accomplished/discussed together....but typically we just finish the dishes, pick up the toys, and collapse on the couch to watch whatever is on our DVR.
**We often determine our bedtime based on how early Derek has to be at the hospital the next day, but we typically head upstairs around 10:30 to rest up to do it all again the next day! ;)