Elly's 2nd Birthday

We made the trip up to Birmingham this past weekend to celebrate our niece Elly's 2nd birthday. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but we had a wonderful time with our family! Unfortunately, the Birthday Girl was sick the whole weekend. :(  They had Elly's party at a place called IJump, which for us was kind of a cross between Kangarooz (bouncy house place) & Chuck E. Cheese (arcade games where you earn tickets to get prizes). I think all of the kids really enjoyed it!

Here is the Birthday Girl while we were singing to her at the party.

Elly, Shelby, & Lawson {Elly's cousin} playing in the ball pit!

Arcade games with Daddy

Derek snapped a picture of me being a "Helicopter Mom." ;)  There was a HUGE tunnel maze that Shelby wanted to go in, but I really didn't think she could navigate it on her own without getting stuck up there. But I let her try it b/c I didn't think she could get over the large climbing apparatus in the beginning of the maze...well, I was definitely wrong! She did the whole thing on her own! I was quite amazed & very proud of her!

Face-first into the icing! How else are you supposed to eat a cupcake?

This was one of the random chance games where you push a button, and you land on a certain number of tickets. Well, Shelby-Girl somehow landed on the jackpot and got 250 tickets!!! You should have seen the looks on the other kids' faces!

Shelby & Elly playing together in the basement!

Elly coloring with her cousins Maya & Lawson.

Looking at pictures on the camera with BooBoo & Pop-Pop

I know this is blurry, but I love this one of Elly! She was having the best time bouncing on top of this thing!

I love this one of Elly peeking down at Shelby!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweet Elly! We love you!


We Did It!

BIG NEWS! We are officially done with bottles at our house now! As of February 11th, Shelby has been drinking all of her milk out of a straw sippy cup! YAY! This has been a long time coming, and we are so very proud of our Shelby-girl for achieving this milestone! And I'm not too ashamed to say that I am proud of myself, too!! ;)  WE DID IT!

Shelby has always been able to drink out of a sippy cup, but she just associated milk with her beloved "baba" and that was the only way she would drink it since she was weaned from breastfeeding at 9ish months old. We had tried to make the transition on several occasions, but always to no avail. We had purchased literally every different style of sippy cup known to man thinking if we just found "the right cup" that would do the trick..boy were we wrong! {And it sure would have been nice to know that wasn't the issue beforehand so we would have saved a lot of money at Target! Ha!} We even succumbed to bribery. About 2 or 3 months ago, Shelby discovered her love for M&M's..she is literally obsessed with them! So I told Shelby if she drank her milk out of a big girl cup, she could have M&M's. She looked at me intently as if she was seriously considering my offer, then sweetly said "No thank you, Mommy" and went back to playing. So I quickly offered her M&M's and some stickers thinking that would certainly do the trick, and she promptly replied "No thanks, Mommy. I'm fine." ;)  Getting Shelby off the bottle was--as silly as it may sound--one of the most stressful things to me. I was worried about taking the bottle away from her b/c what if she stopped drinking milk altogether?? Wasn't milk in a bottle better than no milk at all? But then, what did other people think of us b/c she was almost 2.5 and still drinking out of a bottle? {I'm embarrassed to admit that I had those thoughts, but I did.} A while back, Shelby's OT had encouraged us to take the bottles away completely--cold turkey--for one week and to just see what happened. I don't know why, but that seemed so harsh to me. Then I got to thinking that a lot of people think letting babies cry it out is harsh, but I'm a firm believer that it works. So why not try cold turkey? So we did. I told Shelby babas were for babies, and I let her sit in my lap to drink her milk while I read Dr. Seuss books to her, and voila! She used to guzzle her bottles down so fast that it seemed like she never came up for air. When we first switched to the cup, it would take her a good bit to finish her milk b/c she was still getting used to it in the cup & sometimes I would have to encourage her to keep drinking, but she was doing it! Now, here we are about 2 weeks later & she's still doing great with the straw sippy cups! And we we're so proud of her! Our little routine is that I always bring the milk up to Shelby's room and she sits in my lap to drink her milk while I read to her. It's one of our favorite times of the day together.

Just for my memory's sake, up until February 11th she was drinking 2 bottles a day--8oz first thing in the morning and 5oz right before bed. We were attempting to give her 3 or 4oz of chocolate milk in the afternoon with her snack, but she would only sip on it. {We were trying the chocolate milk to see if that might entice her to drink milk out of a cup...our child was not fooled though!} Now, all of her milk is in a straw cup. We give her 8oz in the morning & then she drinks 3-5oz at snacktime and then again before bed.

Parenthood is such a funny thing..it always keeps you on your toes & it's such a humbling experience.  Before having Shelby (and even now sometimes!), there were things that I said I'd never do as a parent. Then you become a parent and eat your words. Transitions can be rough, but some of the ones I thought would be hard on us {like moving from the crib to a queen size bed} ended up being the easiest thing ever. And then there are the transitions that I never really gave any thought to {like drinking milk out of a sippy cup!!} that seemed as difficult as moving mountains. We are only 2.5 years into this lifelong journey of parenthood, and I can honestly say it's been the hardest but most rewarding thing we have ever done in our lives. As the months & years go by, I'm sure it will get more challenging...but all the more sweet, too! Can't wait to see what's ahead! But for now, we are relishing in this milestone!


A Man Who Can Sew

I am thankful that I married a man who can sew b/c I certainly cannot! Ha! Not only did he make our living room curtains for us this summer and make me a little curtain to hide my laundry room storage space {seen HERE}, but he also whipped up an envelope back pillow cover for me! We had a little more fabric leftover from our curtains, so Derek made the pillow cover to go on our living room couch. It turned out perfectly! A project like this would have totally stressed me out, but Derek had it done in no time at all!

My only contribution to this project was finding {THIS} tutorial for Derek to follow and purchasing the pillow from Bed Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon. ;)  Thanks, babe!


A Visit from Grammy & Auntie Em

This week was my sister's "Winter Break" from teaching, so she & my mom came to visit us for a few days. It was so nice to have them both here, and Shelby loved all of the extra attention! They got here on Sunday afternoon and left mid-morning on Wednesday. We stayed close to the house while they were here b/c it was kinda chilly & windy, but it was so nice to just all be together. It's been too quiet around here since they left!

Shelby loved having hair like Auntie Em!

 We are so thankful for such a fun visit! Now we are gearing up for our trip to Birmingham this weekend to celebrate our niece's 2nd birthday..we are loving all of this family time! :)


Wordless Wednesday: My Little Shopping Buddy

So thankful that my Shelby-girl enjoys Target just as much as her Mama does! :)


Valentine's Day 2013 Recap

We had a wonderful Valentine's Day! Shelby spent her morning at "school" {Mother's Morning Out} and had the best time!

{Valentine goodies for Shelby's teachers}

This is what was inside each gift bag--Valentine sticky notes & a treat bag
filled with peanut butter cup chocolate chip cookies. These were fun to make
for Shelby's teachers b/c a parent of one of my kindergarteners used to always
make these for me, and I loved them so much I started making them myself!

They had a special Valentine snack at school {aka, lots of sugar!}, got to do a fun Valentine art project, and Shelby came home with an entire Wal-Mart bag stuffed with goodies from her classmates. Not one of the 16 kiddos in her class did the standard store-bought Valentines. Almost all of them gave a big treat bag filled to the brim with candy! She has an enough candy to last her until Easter!

While Shelby was at school, I had my 36 week OB appointment at the hospital {which you can read about HERE if you missed that post}. Then I had to go to the mall to pick up Derek's gift, so I spent the rest of the time while Shelby was in school leisurely walking around the mall. That is something I never get to do, so even though I didn't buy anything it was a nice treat!

Derek & Shelby were both napping that afternoon {Derek was working nights and sleeping during the days}, so I ran up to Target to get a couple Valentine goodies for Shelby to open that evening. Again, it was so nice to go shopping by myself! Twice in one day! :)

After naptimes, our little friend Adam came over to play for a bit. Then we enjoyed a nice family dinner & let Shelby go to town on her Valentine candy & gifts from us! It wasn't a fancy dinner out or a romantic evening, but it was absolutely perfect! As we were taking Shelby up to bed, she declared with excitement: "Mommy, I love Valentine's Day!" And that made it all worth it :)

Derek posing with the cookie cake I got for him...he loves cookie cake!!

Shelby enjoying one of her treat bags from one of her classmates

Shelby opening her Valentine's gift from Mommy & Daddy

We got Shelby two sets of play-doh tools...she was so excited!

We had to immediately start trying out the new tools!


36 Weeks & Counting....

{Valentine's Day 2013, 36 weeks}
{Valentine's Day 2013, 36 weeks}

How far along: 36.5 weeks. Here's a {LINK} to my 37 week post with Shelby to compare.

Weight Gain: As of my 36wk OB visit, I have gained 20 pounds. Yikes! Derek tried to reassure me that this is still in the "normal" range for weight gain, but 20 pounds just sounds like a lot!

Maternity clothes: Still waiting on our springtime weather to arrive & stay for good, so I can start living in skirts & dresses for the duration of this pregnancy! But for now, I am getting by with my maternity jeans & regular yoga pants. I did break down & buy a few short-sleeve maternity shirts from Old Navy {and one from our BX on base that was on clearance for 5 bucks, and I love it!!} b/c all of my other shirts were getting to be too short with my growing belly. Even the long sleeve maternity shirts I bought from Target in the fall are WAY too short now. Target is usually my go-to place for everything, but I will not rely on them again for maternity wear.

Sleep: I am sleeping pretty good these days! I usually wake up once to go to the bathroom around 2 or 3, but I go back to sleep pretty quickly & easily.

Movement: Yes! :)

Food cravings: None..I've just been eating far too many sweets lately! But I always have a sweet tooth, so that's nothing new! ;)

Symptoms: A little back pain & a little heartburn {especially after dinner}, but other than that I am feeling good!

Gender: Another girl!

What I miss: Getting up and down off of the floor easily ;)  Since I spend my days with a 2 year old, I am on the floor a lot...it's getting harder & harder with each passing day to get back up once I am down!

Best moment this week: Getting all of Shelby's old baby clothes {newborn-9 months} & a few new things for Baby #2 washed, dried, and organized in the nursery! Itty bitty baby clothes are just so darn cute! Another great moment this week was hearing that our baby girl is head down at my 36wk appt. I go for weekly check-ups now.

What I'm looking forward to: Same thing I said last time...looking forward to hopefully deciding on a name for this sweet girl soon! Hard to believe my due date is just 3.5 weeks away!