Sunday, December 4, 2011

21 Months Old

Dear Brenna,

Since I wrote your 20 month post a couple weeks late, not a lot has changed this your last letter. But I really want to tell you some things about your sweet personality and how we spend our days together now.

You are a jabberbox! You repeat nearly everything we say all the time. I'm constantly amazed at the things you say and what you remember. You love to pretend to read your stories. Yesterday I was wrapping some gifts and told you to go read your story to Maggie. You went over to her, sat down on top of her back, and started "reading" your Jolly Barnyard book - "Farmer Brown, horse, cow, all done"! HA! You know the names of some of your favorite books - Yes Day, ABC Book by Dr. Seuss, and call some of your other favorites "George" (Curious George), "Pooh" (lots of Winnie the Pooh books), "Fip Fop" (The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss), and "Elmo Mommy" (a Valentine's Day book with Elmo). Sometimes you want me to read to you and other times you want to read. I hope you continue to love reading!

You will say "Brenna Halsey" when we ask you what your name is. You sometimes call your reflection in a mirror "Bren" or Brenee" because those are two nicknames that I use for you a lot. You still call Maggie "Magnie" which I love!! You love to list members of your family and look at pictures of them, too. You especially like to see pictures of Brady - and give them kisses! You're a sweet cousin.

You are quite the little comedian and like to tell us when think you're funny by saying, "Brenna funny". Unfortunately sometimes you still say this when you are being naughty - such as kicking us while we change your diaper. We're working on that daily. You love to put on hats (which is so weird, because you used to HATE them) and prance around the house with them over your eyes. You chase Maggie around while wearing these hats, which is pretty funny. I definitely need to get that on video soon.

You are still obsessed with music. You love to hear "songing" and usually demand "more songing" when a song goes off. You try to sing your ABCs and you can carry the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" really well. I hope you got your daddy's musical talent. Speaking of talent, I hope you got his artistic talent, too. You really love to color and are doing so great with naming your colors. Right now we spend a lot of time each day coloring in your Sesame Street coloring book. "You also sneak crayons away sometimes and have colored in many of your books. I can't figure out how Nanie and Nana have so many undamaged books from when your Daddy and I were young when you've already ruined so many! Oh well, I suppose!

Yesterday you brought your blanket over to the couch where I was and said, "Cuddle." It melted my heart. We laid on the couch together and read a few books. Times like that remind me how lucky I am that I'm the one that gets to cuddle with you every day. I'm trying to remember to be thankful for this time, even when it's not the easiest thing in the world. I know I will miss these times more than I can even imagine. I look forward to time with you this month as we decorate for Christmas, since you love "Chismus tees" so much. We also have some shopping to finish up, so I'm thankful that you are pretty cooperative when we're out and about. You narrate everything we see in the stores - sometimes really loudly. I catch people sneaking a peek at you all the time and commenting on how cute you are. I agree, 100%!

I'm thankful that you are a happy, healthy, intelligent, creative little girl. I'm amazed at how fast you are growing and learning. I look forward to Christmas this year because you know more about what is going on and will have so much fun! Daddy and I are so lucky to have you!

I love you, cutie Sprout!
Love, Mommy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby Survey

I'm too tired to compose a blog post, but hopefully that'll all end once I'm out of this dreaded first trimester. For now, here's the same survey I did a few times when pregnant with B.

How far along? 12 weeks, 3 days
Weight gain? Down 2 pounds so far. But I already look a little pregnant - ugh!
Is your bellybutton in? Yes
Wearing maternity clothes? Not yet. Seriously doubt I'll be able to hold off past 20+ weeks like I did last time.
Cravings or aversions? Craving sour stuff again. Aversions to most everything except sugary cereal, pizza, and regular Coke.
Signs and symptoms? Everything imaginable. Nausea, headaches, heartburn, constipation, dizziness, frequent peeing, restless legs, etc. etc. 200 times worse than my pregnancy with B.
Feeling baby move? Not yet.
Pregnancy milestones? We heard the heartbeat with the Doppler last Monday. I will be in my second trimester next week - thank goodness!!
Upcoming appointments? Dec. 19 for my 15 wk. appointment.
Name? Nowhere close. I've been too sick and tired to even make Jonathan talk about it. Soon enough, soon enough.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

20 Months Old!

Dear Brenna,

I'm FINALLY sitting down to write your 20 month post. I'm 2 weeks late. It's been a chaotic last few weeks, and although I've meant to sit down and do this almost every day, it just hasn't happened. There are 2 main reasons for the delay. Reason #1 - We moved to North Carolina! We packed up our house on Daddy's 30th birthday, October 28, while you stayed in Bristol with Nanie. We all loaded up and headed south on Monday, October 31. We unloaded the truck that day and have been trying to get settled in ever since. You seem to be adjusting well, which I'm so thankful for. Reason #2 - You're going to be a big sister! Your baby brother or sister is making Mommy SICK, SICK, SICK! It's terrible timing because I have so much I need to do here at the house we're living in, but I just have no energy. You've been pretty good about playing on your own, cuddling up to read stories on the couch with me, and being pretty tolerant of me when I'm barely in commission during the days. I'm thankful we are here with Daddy now, and he helps out with you and plays with you a lot! Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon and we can explore our new city together!

You still seem to be growing well and have been pretty healthy. You've had a bit of a cold for the past week or two, but it doesn't seem to bother you too much. You had a few days with a fever when you just wanted to rest and cuddle (perfect for me!), but otherwise you are your same happy self! You went through a period of short naps, but you've been doing much better this week - with 4 days of 4+ hour naps. Just this weekend you cut your bottom two canine teeth, so you've been drooling like crazy! Luckily none of this has required a doctor's appointment or any medicine other than a little Advil and some saline spray! I'm hoping for an ear-infection free winter!!

We celebrated your second Halloween on our first day in our new town. We met some of the neighbors and you got some treats while dressed in your Chinese girl outfit. We were walking between 2 houses and Daddy had a mini Twix bar in his hand. He looked down and you were chowing down on it through the wrapper, saying, "MMMM, choc-it!" It was hilarious. You don't have chocolate often at all, but you are definitely a fan! You still eat really well. Your favorite veggie is probably broccoli. You love ALL fruit. You like fruit snacks and crackers for snacks. You eat pretty much anything we give you for dinner. I'll even admit you've had a few helpings of pizza since that was the only mommy could think about eating for a little while during the early part of this pregnancy. Here's to more broccoli and less pizza!

You love counting, trying to say your ABCs, singing "Happy to you", which is your version of the happy birthday song, giving hugs, coloring (multiple times every day!), playing outside with your lawn mower and golf club set, reading your books, playing peek-a-boo, harassing Maggie, and playing "spish-spash" in the tub. I definitely notice a difference in your demeanor if you don't get to go outside on a given day. You've also played at the play place in the Hickory mall two times and you ADORE it. There is a slide you can climb up and go down on your own, and the way you look at us and grin when you do it is so cute. I have a feeling we'll be going there a lot during the colder winter months.

Some cute things you've started saying lately are:
*Good mornin!
*Brenna sorry. (Or Mommy/Daddy sorry if you think we should apologize for something).
*Mommy/Daddy hold her. (when you want to be held)
*Hi Daddy! Hi Mommy!
*Daddy home!
*Brenna want it! or I want some!
*Riding Maggie. (Apparently you think Maggie is a horse!)

You talk in sentences almost all the time these days and it blows my mind!! I think you got your parents' love of talking.

You've had a bit of a hitting/kicking spell lately. I'm not sure if it's because you're bored when Mommy is sick during the day, but it's a trying little phase. We're trying to discipline you in a way that shows you lots of love, but also lots of structure. We're still working on it and hoping it's a really short phase. You've started saying, "no hitting" when I get you from time-out, so maybe it's clicking!

All-in-all it's been the month with the biggest change in your life so far. I'm optimistic that we'll start getting more settled in our new town and can find new adventures to have together. I love you to pieces, Brenna, and so does your Daddy!

I love you, BIG SISTER Sprout!
Love, Mommy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

30Before30 - #20 - Get an iPhone

I got one!! We realized Jonathan's employer qualified for a good monthly discount on plans, and Verizon had a good deal on iPhone 4s, so we went for it! I love it already. So here is my first blog post written from my pretty new white iPhone! If only it could take a picture of itself for you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

30Before30 - #1 - 5K and 10K

Recently I've really been trying to run at least 3-4 times a week. I've never been much of a runner, but when I train it seems like I can get the 5K distance at least down. I've been running about 2-3.5 miles on most of my runs, and my time is getting a little faster, although still a little slower then I was running before I had Brenna.

I signed up to run the Star City Women's 5K in Roanoke last Saturday, October 1. We woke Brenna up at about 7 and headed to Roanoke to get started. I was feeling pretty good, and the route was pretty easy. I ran the entire way, minus about a 1/10 of a mile walk up a really steep hill past the 2 mile mark. I crossed the finish line at 32 minutes, 24 seconds. This put me at a 10 minutes, 27 seconds average mile. I say you can probably take 10 seconds off my time since I was closer to the back of the starting pack. It was faster than the time I got on the only other 5K I ran back in 2009. I was 114th place out of 220 people. I was 12th in my age division (23-29) out of 33 runners. All in all I was proud of myself, and I was thrilled to see my cheering section at the end of the run!

Ready to run!

Almost to the end!

Brenna go to play with my finisher's medal.

So, about 2 days ago I decided I wanted to run the entire Huckleberry trail (I'll post about this trail soon...) before we move. It starts at the mall near our house and goes all the way to downtown Blacksburg. I've run most of the trail by starting at different points along it over the past 2 months or so. They've added a little bit to the trail at the mall end, so it makes the trail about 6.1 miles total. It's relatively flat with a few hills along the way.

Today I parked my car at the mall end and told Jonathan to pick me up an hour later at the other end! I just felt like I could do it today, so I went for it! I stopped to go to the bathroom (a new improvement to the trail!) at about the 2 mile mark. I stopped to let a car pass at about the 2.2 mile mark (Hey, just trying to be honest about the run!). I stopped 3 other times to walk up some bigger hills, but only walked 1/10 of a mile each time. I stopped at about the 3.6 mile mark, the 4.4 mile mark, and the 4.8 mile mark. I ran the entire rest of the way! I caught up with Jonathan at about the 2/10 of a mile to go and I just kept plowing on. I said to him as I passed, "I ran the whole thing!" and I know he was as shocked as I was to have done it! I got to the end and turned around and ran another little bit so I could get the 6.2 miles officially done, since I know this is the distance of a real 10K race. It really wasn't that hard of a run. The first mile of any run is always the hardest for me, and I couldn't tell much of a difference in 6 miles vs. 3 miles in my breathing or how my body felt. I'm not sure HOW much further I could have gone, but I felt good at the end of the run. I ran it in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 1 second. I kept an 11 minute, 46 second pace and supposedly burned 733 calories. Thank you Nike+ GPS!

I made it to the other end!

I wish I would have taken a picture of myself at the start of the trail also!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

30Before30 - #30 -- HOKIE GAME!

Jonathan and I got to go see the Hokies play today. We were supposed to be in Bristol, but it turned out that we didn't have to go, so we got some tickets from friends of friends. Lisa and Kevin were SO SWEET and came to watch Brenna for us. We then lucked out and got a parking pass from Jonathan's old boss. So, we headed over and go to tailgate with Darin and Lyndsie and their family for awhile. It's fun to tailgate with them, but it's also funny because it's a mainly Giles County tailgate, so I always see some people that I know. Sometimes this is fun, sometimes not so much. Today I got to see my sweet friend Patti, who is my good friend Sheri's cousin. She is a physical therapist at Macy, and I miss seeing her!

We spent the first 3 quarters in the West stands - which was nice because it wasn't in the sun and we had a great view. The Hokies were ahead all the time.

We went over to sit with Darin and Lyndsie for the 4th quarter, and things got a little bleaker. We lost the lead - but luckily they scored a touchdown to retake the lead. Miami couldn't score again, so we won with a score of 38 to 35. GOOOO Hokies!

This may be our last Hokie game for awhile, and we enjoyed the time together and the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

19 Months Old

Dear Brenna,

Another month has come and gone! These will be the last monthly pictures that we take at our current house. It's a little sad to be saying goodbye to the house where we started our family, but it's exciting, too! We'll be moving in 2 weeks, so this next month will probably be a crazy one!

You are growing like a weed! I can't believe how tall you are. At your doctor's appointment 2 weeks ago you were 33 inches tall and weighed 23 pouncs, 12 ounces. You still wear mostly 12-18 month clothes, but you have to wear 18 month pants for the length. I'll be glad when you fit in the adjustable waist pants!

You have been eating pretty well. You got your third and fourth molars (on the top this time), so I guess you can chew better than before! Some of your favorite foods are berries, applesauce, yogurt, "deeyas" (quesadilla), "memeal" (oatmeal), eggs, cheese, cookies, crackers, pickles, "madoes" (tomatoes), cucumbers, bananas, and pasta.

I really want to tell you about some of the super cute things you've been doing. This month, we've really enjoyed it when you've.....
...eaten all of your oatmeal except the last bite and then said, "Mommy do" so you can get the very last bite!
...insisted on giving hugs and kisses and fist bumps to everyone in the room. You always say, "Mommy kiss" or "Daddy fist bump" so nobody is left out!
...started climbing in our empty bathroom cabinets. You like to announce "bye bye" or "door" before you climb in and close the doors. This apparentely never gets old to you.
...carried your new Cabbage Patch doll around wrapped in blankets, towels, "Daddy's shirt", or whatever you can find. You sometimes call her "baby" and sometimes by her name, Ashley. You like to try to give her a paci or a drink of your milk, too.
...looked at picture books that we have and told us who everyone is. Just 2 days ago you started recognized Tinley - You call her "Tin eeeee". You also call most boys you see on TV or out in public London or Liam.
...learned that part of our routine before naptime or bedtime is to turn on your air purifier. You'll go hit the button and then say, "Night, night". You also go over to it and turn it off and say, "Off!" when I get you out of your crib.
...started calling Papa Bill "Pa Bill". You did this on your own, and it's so cute. He loves it, too, of course!
...stood in an empty clothes basket and signed "more". Daddy put you in a basket one day and pulled you around. Now you want to do it ALL.THE.TIME!
...started talking in more sentences. A good example is the other day during breakfast you heard a boy talking on the TV. You said, "Boy! Go see him?" to me. It's amazing how verbal you are!
...said "Amen" whenever someone was talking about Jesus.
...tried counting. You have gotten to 7 before, but you seem to want to just repeat "three four" over and over again. You are also obsessed with the ABCs. You want to watch YouTube videos of the Sesame Street characters saying the ABCs anytime the computer is close by.
...told us that you loved us. "Love shu Mommy" are the most precious words I've ever heard, I promise. You also have gotten really good at putting people's words with sentences. For example, you say, "Thank shu Mommy" many times a day. You also can identify "Daddy's tar" (car) and you say "London's" everytime you see a sippy cup like his! love to hear songs. You used to always say, "Singing" when you heard someone singing. Now you say, "Songing" instead. CUTE!

There is no denying that you are a full-fledged toddler. You spend most all your time being happy and exploring the world around you. I know you're going to love our new house and all the room you'll have both inside and outside to explore! I love you more than anything!

Love you, Sprout!
Love, Mommy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Last Saturday we took Brenna to a pumpkin patch close to our house. She recently has been really, really interested in pumpkins, so we knew she's love it. Anything outside is usually a hit with her! It was a great, great family day - and we knew that it would be one of our last fun outings in Christiansburg before we move!
She couldn't get enough of the "pumkins"
Cutie! :)
We took a hayride to the pumpkin patch.
She loved it - even though this picture isn't too convincing!
Sinkland Farms - September 24, 2011
She loves her Daddy!
They had pony rides for the kids. We thought Brenna would be completely freaked out when we sat her down, but she didn't even hesitate. She loved it!!
Daddy stepped away for a photo op.
She kept saying "Bill" when she saw the tractors!
Hungry, Brenna?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

18(1/2) Month Stats

We went to the doctor on Monday for Brenna's 18 month well-check. She got 3 shots, including the flu shot for this year. She did great and showed off for the doctor. She is growing and developing like crazy. We're going to miss our pediatrician, Dr. Harless. She really likes Brenna, and has always been great to us! Here are the stats...

23 pounds, 12 ounces (35th percentile)
33 inches (80th percentile)
18.5 inch head circ. (70th percentile)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 Before 30

I'm turning 30 in less than 5 months. It makes me hyperventilate just a little. Anyway, I decided to make one of the *30 Before 30* lists. Here's hoping I can accomplish most of these, if not all! You should make a list too! You could even do some of my fun things WITH me if you want!

1. Run at least one 5K race. Run a 10K (even if not an "official" one.)
2. Work on learning Spanish.
3. Write a letter to Brenna to give to her on her wedding day.
4. Pay for someone's food in the car behind me at a drive-through.
5. Learn how to use my camera in manual mode.
6. Put up a backsplash in our new kitchen.
7. Close on both of our houses and move in.
8. Cook a Thanksgiving meal by myself.
9. Read the entire Bible.
10. Be part of a flashmob.
11. Go on an overnight backpacking trip with Jonathan.
12. Read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre, and Pride & Prejudice.
13. Finish the Harry Potter series.
14. Watch all 7 (or 8?) Harry Potter movies.
15. Blog 2-3 times per week.
16. Decorate my house for Christmas. I mean REALLY decorate it!
17. Plan out my garden to be ready to plant in the spring.
18. Write 2 encouraging handwritten letters a week.
19. Make at least 4 homemade Christmas gifts that I'm proud of.
20. Get an Iphone.
21. Learn to play one song on the guitar.
22. Ride a Harley.
23. Jump in leaves with Brenna.
24. Take Brenna to a zoo.
25. Go on a weekend trip with just my sister. Go on another one with a good friend. Who's game?
26. Go to a wine tasting.
27. Send a letter to at least 3 prior teachers and tell them how awesome they were.
28. Find a new church. Make at least one really good friend there.
29. Throw an awesome first get-together at our new house.
30. Watch the Hokies play (preferably the ACC Championship or Bowl Game).

and for the Grand Finale....
31. Celebrate my 30th with my hubby somewhere fun!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

18 Months Old!

Dear Brenna,

You are 1 1/2 years old!! You sure did celebrate this milestone with lots and lots of development over the past month. People always comment on how much you are growing and changing, and even I've seen it this month, although we spend all our days together. You look so much bigger to me, and your hair is growing and getting longer in the back. I'll be happy when you have enough for a ponytail and we can do away with the semi-mullet look. I've heard several people say your hair and eyes remind them of me, so maybe you'll look a bit like me after all.

You still wear your 12-18 month clothes and size medium cloth diapers (size 3 regular diapers). I haven't scheduled your 18 month appointment, because we were supposed to be moved by now. I'm going to do that today! My guess is that you are about 24 pounds, but we'll see! I forgot to tell you last month, but you used the potty one time when we first got it about a month ago. It surprised me, and you haven't done it again. I think maybe we'll start some potty-training as soon as we move.

Speaking of moving - WE SOLD OUR HOUSE! FINALLY! We are finalizing all the details, and should be closing on this house and our new house in NC in mid-October. Daddy and I are so relieved and excited to get to all be together again in our new house. I think you'll like having the extra room - and especially the big backyard!

You would think that would be the biggest news of the month, but it's not! You are a cousin!!!!! Aunt Mal had your sweet cousin, Brady Lee, on August 22. He wasn't due until September 24, but he came early because he was a little bit sick in Mal's belly. Unfortunately he came on our second day at the beach, so we didn't get to see him until he was 7 days old. It was hard to wait, but he was worth it. He's sooo little and cute. You love to give him lots of kisses, but you do NOT like your mommy holding him. Uh oh - jealousy already! I hope you two will grow to be great buddies! I'm having so much fun being an aunt to him.

I mentioned the beach. We took our annual trip to Murrells Inlet, SC with the Bashams. You and London had fun at the beach playing in the sand, and at the pool in your floats. We had lots of outings for dinner and shopping, and you were a really good girl. We took you to a children's museum that you enjoyed, too. We borrowed a DVD player for the car, and that helped SO much during the ride down and back. I'm glad you are such a good little traveler. We did have to come back from the beach one day early because of Hurricane Irene. It was a bummer, but we wanted to make sure we were all safe.

You talk all the time and know more words than I can count. You are making 2-3 word sentences on a regular basis, and are starting to phrase things as questions sometimes, too. You love to point out cars (tars, especially Mommy's tar), choochoos, animals, bees (anything that flies!), boys (already??), babies, shoes, and flowers. You love books that have "peekaboo flaps", and you love Mickey Mouse and Elmo. You like to give high fives and fist bumps. You can count to four, although lately you've started getting them out of order. You love to say "ABCs" and hear the ABC song. You've been pretty cuddly for the past few days, and you'll just curl up beside me on the couch and lay your head on me. I adore it! You also got your first 2 molars on the bottom, and I think they hurt you a little bit. You're pretty tough though, and I'm thankful they don't hurt you too much.

You love to eat, but are sometimes pickier than others. You like to eat off our plates at restaurants, and you love tomatoes! You had your first popsicle with Nanie this weekend, which you though was just something special. You love to run around and show off for your grandparents! They miss you something terrible when we leave!

Here's to 6 more fun months until your next birthday. You're growing like crazy, and I'm thankful I am with you to experience it all by your side.

I love you, Sprout!

Love, Mommy

Thursday, August 4, 2011

17 Months Old!

Dear Brenna,

I've been sitting here crying. Do you want to know why? It's because I started thinking about your first day of kindergarten!! It's 4 years away, for crying out loud, and it already makes me cry. You are just growing up way too fast and I just know it won't ever slow down!

Okay, so on a happier note, let's talk about your month. We've had lots and lots of time together, just you and me. We've spent a lot of time on the deck "exploring", in the yard playing with Liam and swinging, at the VT Duck Pond, on lunch dates with friends, going to the park, and running all kinds of errands. We went to Bristol for Aunt Mal's baby shower and you stayed with Nana and Papa Bill for a weekend while I went to NC. You know the names of lots of people now - Mommy, Daddy, Maggie (Magnie), Nanie, Mal, Josh, Nana, Papa Bill (PawPaw), Grandma (still working on this one consistently), MawMaw, PawPaw, Lauren (Orwin), Spencer, Beckie, Brooke, Ricky, Sissy, Sheri (Sherwi), April (Apil), London (sometimes), Liam, Kate, and Will. You have no clue how many people are head-over-heels in love with you!

We've gone to 1 nap a day, and you're doing great at it. You usually nap from about 12 or 12:30 until about 2:30 or 3:00. You get up about 7:15 most morning, but you slept until 9:00 one morning and it was GREAT! You go to bed about 8:00. Your last word before you go to sleep is usually Amen (unless you cry for me or Daddy, which is pitiful). You just started repeating it when we say your bedtime prayers each night. Cute, cute, cute! I hope it's always the last word you say at night.

Speaking of words - you know lots and lots of them. It seems like you learn 4 or 5 new words every day. It's amazing! You really understand most of what I say to you, and it's nice to see that interaction happening. Some of my favorite words that you say are hairbow (you say it so excitedly!), milk (miiiiiiiiilk), please (peet), teeth (teet), Abby (again, so excitedly!), and Sherwi. You like to say "book" now, and you're still crazy about reading "stories", which you say really well, too. Just today you said "dirty" when you saw a leaf on your swing outside. I had no clue you even knew that word. Oh, and you noticed that Mickey Mouse says, "Oh, Toodles" on his show that we watch sometimes. So now you call Mickey "Toodles" anytime we see his picture on something. And most other cartoon characters are still "Elmo". In the book you have of Disney stories, you always point to the Beast from "Beauty and the Beast" and say, "Daddy!" really loud. That's not very nice, Brenna! Luckily, Belle, Cinderella, and all the other pretty girls are "Mommy". Smart girl. :)

Lately you've been doing better on eating, but you still have some picky days. Your favorites these days are cucumbers, green beans, carrots, yogurt, rice cakes, fruit (especially berries!), ice cream (thanks Nana!), hot dogs (dawdogs), grilled cheese and quesadillas, and croutons out of my salads! You still love cheese and noodles, too. You love to have a sip of Mommy's water, and you've enjoyed some sips of lemonade and tea, too. I'm glad you still drink your milk so well - even if it is a pain to remember to always put it back in the fridge!

You seem about the same size to me, and your 12 month clothes still fit for the most part. Some of your shorts are 18 months, and some of your shirts are 12-18 months. Your feet are growing, so I need to get you some size 5 shoes for the beach! I think you may be cutting some more teeth, in addition the 8 you have. You've been chewing on your hands at night a little and fussing. Hopefully they'll be easy on you, like the last ones were.

We definitely miss Daddy, but we're having fun while we wait for the move - which will probably happen this month! I'm excited for us to be reunited as a family on a daily basis! I know you'll be happy too - and especially when you have a yard to run around in! I could not love you any more, you little silly goose. We have so, so much fun giggling and playing peekaboo and laughing. You are such a fun, fun girl, and you like to make us laugh. I never smiled as much as I do now that I spend my days with you. It even helps me forget about your bad habit of stiffening up when sitting on my lap, which is the reason for my fat lip right now! You little stinker!

Next month you'll be 1 1/2! I don't know how that's possible, but I'm sure enjoying the ride!

I love you, sweet Sprout.
Love, Mommy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stay at Home Mama Musings

We're a month into this whole stay-at-home mom experiment, and I have lots and lots of thoughts about it. I'll preface this by saying that it doesn't seem "real" yet, since I'm always off during the summer. There is also a chance it might not last as long as we'd hoped, since our house still hasn't sold, and we just can't cover 2 mortgage payments on one salary. So, here's hoping that it'll be officially sold this month!

*Naptime is my biggest stressor. I know it shouldn't be, but it just IS. Take today, for example. I was ready to finally go to one nap a day. But, then she got tired this morning, wanted to go down, and went to sleep for a good hour and a half. So, of course she got tired again this afternoon. But, sleep? Nah. As of about 15 minutes ago she was singing some jibberish song. I should be able to enjoy that sound, and just not worry about whether she's actually asleep or not. But, I'm not there yet. I'm trying. Okay, and I just checked the monitor and it looks like she's asleep. Geez.

*We read a lot LOT of books. We keep about 20 or so downstairs at any given time. Today we read about 14 of those in one sitting. I started making a pile of the ones we'd read, and wouldn't reread them. Babygirl LOVES books. And this makes me one happy mommy!

*Our babysitter Kate found an awesome park at a church near our house. I take Brenna there a lot. I met a girl who I think could be my BFF. We have a few mutual friends (who knew?). Great timing to move 2.5 hours away!

*Our couch pillows and ottoman make a great tunnel.

*Brenna lovessss to be outside. Whether it be on the deck, on a walk, or at the park, she's happiest outside. Not so much happiest in a buggy anywhere. That makes running errands fun.

*If you lose your dog's collar or your husband's iphone case, let your 16 month old find them. She probably hid them both.

*Your baby will think EVERY man is Daddy while he's gone. No holds barred - fat or skinny, tall or short, black or white, ugly or hot, young or old, cartoon character or drawing - they will all be called DADDY. Loudly. And the creeper target register guy will ask you if you'll make him dinner since your kid called him Daddy. There is no point in getting embarassed.

*This is hard, ya'll. It's fun but it's hard. Especially with a husband who's in another state 3-4 days a week. I feel like I'm in stay at home mom bootcamp. At least once we officially move he'll be around at night most of the time to break the monotony.

*I wouldn't trade it for the world. Her giggles alone, which I hear a LOT make it worth it. Lucky me!

Monday, July 4, 2011

16 Months Old!

Dear Brenna,

You're another month older - and this month was an extra special one. It was the first of many months that I get to be your stay-at-home mommy. We got to spend lots and lots of time together, since Daddy was gone a lot to NC for work. It made me look forward to all the days we'll be spending together in the weeks, months, and (hopefully) years ahead when we're home together each day! We've read about a half-million books, played peek-a-boo more times than I can count, and had a few lunch dates, play dates, and park trips, too!

You adore books, Brenna. I really hope that continues when you are able to read them yourself. Right now some of your favorite books are the jolly barnyard, hello, bugs!, Elmo & Friends, an ABC flip page book, and any book with pictures of Elmo or animals. You LOVE animals. You know lots and lots of them and the sounds they make. My personal favorites are when you say "turtle" and when you make this silly sound and make your arm into a trunk when someone asks you about what sound an elephant makes! It makes me laugh, even if it's the tenth time in a day.

You're sleeping really well right now. I put you down about 8 each night, and you usually sleep until 7:30-8:00 each morning. Your naps were crazy for awhile, but you've been napping like a pro again lately. You nap from about 10:00-11:30 each morning and 3:30-5:00 each afternoon. As long as you take 2 naps easily, we're going to stick with that! You like to sleep with your two pink bears now, so I wonder if you're going to start getting attached to your stuffed animals. You also like to have at least 2 pacis, just in case!

You eat lots of different things. You are sometimes picky and don't eat much, and other times you eat like crazy. Your "staples" that you'll always eat are grilled cheese sandwiches, green beans, all fruit (especially berries), Teddy Grahams, Puffs (we SO thought you were done with these), flatbread crackers, shredded cheese, hot dogs, cucumbers, carrots, and noodles. You drink milk really well still, and you like water when it's hot outside. You're always worried your food is hot - and you to blow on your food, just in case.

You also learned how to "smell" things, and you love to smell flowers. Nana loves when you do that at her house! It's so fun just to watch you learn to do "everyday" things. You're such a little lady. We're working on manners a lot. You say please and thank you - sometimes even without being prompted. I love seeing you be polite all on your own. We're working on "asking" for things instead of grunting and fussing. You have a strong personality, but are usually easily convinced to calm down. We've played in your pool on the back deck a few times, too. You'd rather stand on the edge and play in the water, but I'm trying to get you more used to being in the water. Oh, and speaking of water, you're favorite activity is still brushing your teeth. You start saying "teeth, teeth" as soon as we go into your room at night. Keep it up!

You're growing right on target. About 2 weeks ago, you were 21 pounds, 15 ounces and 31.25 inches. You wear mostly 12 month or 12-18 month clothes. Sometimes you still sleep in your 9 month onesies. Your feet are finally growing, too, and you sure do like having shoes on - because it means you are getting to go outside. You're MUCH happier when we leave the house to go to the park, rather than to get groceries or run errands. Your patience for these things isn't quite what it used to be. We're learning about timing though, and hopefully our routine will just keep getting better.

We celebrated Father's Day with Daddy while he was home. We got him a nice, new patio set, which you like because it means we spend more time on the deck. You were a flower girl in Carrie and Eric's wedding this month and you were adorable. You were a little too scared to walk down the aisle, which didn't surprise us too much. Everybody enjoyed seeing you all dressed up - and you were in a great mood for the beginning of the reception, before Nanie took you home to try to nap. I hope you'll get to be a flower girl again at some point, and can enjoy the experience more. Luckily we have lots of pictures from your first chance!

You are talking up a storm, and it's so fun to have "conversations" with you. You love to point out people you know in pictures. On the days when you wake up and Daddy isn't home, you go from room to room looking for him, shouting "Daddddddy!" It's kind of pitiful, but cute at the same time. You are most definitely a Daddy's girl. You adore him - and he adores you. It's nice on the days he's here and we all get to hang out together. Hopefully before your 17 month old update we'll all be together in NC and getting to spend lots more time together! Until then, we'll enjoy our time together. It's exactly the way I've been longing to spend my days for the past 16 months.

I love you, my little Sprout!
Love, Mommy

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pinterest = LOVE!

Thanks to Kelley, I'm obsessed with Pinterest. If you don't know about it, you're missing out. It's a little confusing at first, but it's awesome! It's pretty much a bookmarking site where you can share ideas about anything under the sun. You can pin images or websites to look at later and share with your followers. You just need to go try it! My main motivation was to actually DO some of the ideas that I found, so I did just that this weekend! Below are some of the yummy creations that I created thanks to Pinterest this weekend! If you follow me (or want to!), all of these are on my boards!

Friday dinner - Lasagna Cupcakes (will make again!)

Friday dinner - Parmesan knots (will DEFINITELY make again!)

Friday dessert - Oreo mini cheesecakes (will make again with a different cheesecake recipe on top)

cute Oreo imprint

Saturday breakfast - 4th of July toast (should probably do something more yummy next year!)

Saturday lunch - pesto/ham/mozzerella/tomato on focaccia bread (SO DELICIOUS - thanks Merritt!)

Saturday dinner - baked zucchini chips (awesome when warm)

Saturday dessert - Strawberry lemonade bars (not a fan - Jonathan liked them)

....and this isn't a Pinterest find, but it was my craft project yesterday. They are for my new nephew. Want me to make you some?

*I also made a few other craft projects off Pinterest for Brady's shower - pictures to come later!
*We hit up our local antique store today and got a few more supplies for some projects.
*I bought a few more household items for some other projects to work on this week, too.
*Where did the non-crafty Erin go???

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Giveaway

I just saw a recommendation by a friend and incredible mother about the book called "Educating the WholeHearted Child" by Clay and Sally Clarkson. I think it looks really interesting, and I entered for a free copy! I got some points by to it in my blog, so here you go. You can enter, too. And you better not win! ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#6 - Kroger

I love my grocery store! I mean seriously LOVE IT! I think if I were being honest, it'd be much higher on the list. But, that's just not nice. Anyhow, here is why I love, love, LOVE Kroger!

*Low prices - and great sales!
*Nice people - without the Wal-Mart crowd that I hate in Christiansburg!
*Huge selection
*Indian food selection at the Blacksburg HUGE Kroger
*Fuel points - We just saved $0.60 a gallon for gas for both of our cars - about a $20 savings!
*Sushi bar at the Blacksburg Kroger
*Store brand stuff that is actually good
*Great produce, deli, and bakery section
*Free race tickets twice a year on my receipt - WOOHOO!

Monday, June 20, 2011

15(1/2) Month Well-Check

Brenna went for her 15 month checkup today. She's technically 15 1/2 months, but close enough! She did well with the doctor, but hated when the nurse checked her breathing. She also HATED the shots, of course. This was the first time I had to take her without Jonathan, and it was terrible. She screamed with the Hib one, and then screamed bloody murder with the MMR, which they say is the most painful. So far, so good with no reactions! The MMR one made me nervous, even though I KNOW that there isn't research to link it with autism. But still, it's scary.

Anyhow, here's how she measured up today:
Weight - 21 pounds, 15 ounces (30th percentile)
Height - 31.25 inches (70th percentile)
Head - 18.25 inches (60th percentile)

She's still right on track and meeting or exceeding all her milestones. Glad the appointment is OVER! She is apparently ready to forget about it, too, because she pulled those bandaids off before we left the parking lot!

And just for memory sake, her stats at all her other well-checks:
Birth - 8 pounds, 3 ounces; 20 inches
3 days - 7 pounds, 6 ounces
1 month - 8 pounds, 10 ounces
2 months - 10 pounds, 13 ounces; 23 inches
4 months - 13 pounds, 6 ounces; 24.75 inches
6 months - 15 pounds, 12 ounces; 26.25 inches
9 months - 17 pounds, 4 ounces; 28 inches
12 months - 19 pounds, 7 ounces; 30 inches
15 months - 21 pounds, 15 ounces; 31.25 inches

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Queen Anne's Cake - YUMMM-O!!

Here's another recipe that is one of my favorites. It's a delicious cake that Jonathan's Maw-Maw makes and gave me the recipe for. It's really easy and really delicious! You should definitely try it!

I realize this isn't such a great picture, and I didn't ice it too well, but it was GOOD!


1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 small box vanilla pudding
1 c. veg. oil
3 eggs

8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
12 oz. cool whip

1. Blend cake ingredients on low.
2. Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
3. Bake in 2 round cake pans @ 325 for 25-30 minutes.
4. Cool completely.
5. Beat cream cheese (let it sit for awhile first) and all sugar together untl smooth.
6. Add cool whip in and fold until smooth.
7. Spread icing on cake and in between layers.
8. Grate Hershey bar into curls on top with a vegetable peeler.

*Side not - Do not try to make this for your father-in-law on his visit to your home after your wedding when you have no clue how to make a cake. And if you do, make sure you don't blend the cool whip in with the icing. It will get runny. And the top layer WILL slide off into the floor on the way to the refrigerator. And you will cry and look like a blubbering mess.*

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#7 - TFC

We are definitely going to miss our church family at The Freedom Center (TFC) in Salem. Jonathan was already attending TFC when we met, so it's always been a part of our story. We've made lots of memories, and met some great friends at this place. I won't ramble on about the church, but I'll chronicle some memories we have through pictures!

This is before I was even in the picture. I just found it on the computer and thought they both looked SO young - April (still a Brooks) and Kristen!
Jeremy, Adam, and Matt at one of the NYE services

Jeremy singing away at some gig

Guilie, Brittany, and Kristen during Fire & Ice a longgggg time ago

our whole group with our translator/friend Rachel in Mexico City 2006

mission work in Mexico

Donette, me, and Brittany - some of my favorites!

Caitlin and Jason in the nursery - They've grown so much.

ridiculous pictures from a NYE scavenger hunt 2008

leap frog

pyramid - Thanks for the sweet face, babe!

After Ezra playing at the Freedom Blast

building the stage

Our tiny church put together the fireworks display for the whole city of Salem (10,000 people) for several years. It was LOTS of hard work, but such a fun experience!


more Freedom Blast

worship music before the fireworks

fun shower games

at our baby shower

We had Brenna dedicated at TFC when she was almost 2 months old. Pastors Randy and Donette are very special to us. Donette has always been there for me when I needed someone to talk to (like when that boy who I knew I would marry broke up with me and then came to his senses), cry with, or laugh with. Their daughters, Kristen and Brittany are great friends of mine and it's been fun to watch them grow from middle/high schoolers to college students (and Kristen's even a graduate!) and great young women. Thank goodness for Facebook! :)