Monday, April 30, 2012

1/2 party

Riley's 1/2 birthday party went off without a hitch! It was a perfect day. 81 degrees and sunny. The forecast called for cloudy, but it stayed pretty sunny until about 7pm. We had SUCH a wonderful time celebrating her being a half a year old! I will share some photos and since so many of you have asked, I will put the recipes in this blog too! 

I did a trial run on the cake. This is the real deal and I was SO excited it didn't fall over! I made matching mini (1/2) cupcakes to go along with the cake. The cake was funfetti and accidentally dyed pink. (I added extra sprinkles, some of which happened to be dyed pink... therefor causing the cake itself to be pink. oops.)

Trix Pops & Half cookies

Trix Pops

1 box of Trix cereal {10.7 oz.}
1 bag of small marshmallows
1 stick of butter {you won't use it all}
1 pkg of mini jumbo sticks {tongue depressors}

  • In a microwave safe bowl, add 1 pkg of small marshmallows and 3 Tbs of butter.
  • Cook for 3 minutes on high
  • Add about 3/4 of the box of Trix cereal to the bowl of warm marshmallow-e goodness and stir well.
  • Let the Trix mix cool for about 10 minutes
  • {The balls stick together better when the marshmallow has cooled a bit.}
  • While you're waiting, butter a pan to place the finished balls on.
  • When you're ready to start, butter your hands so the mixture doesn't stick to you either.
  • {**Tip: re-butter your hands after each ball.}


1 box vanilla cake mix, 18.25 oz
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C color sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the sprinkles. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Let them sit for about 5 minutes before you take them off the pan because they will be a bit soft. :)

Yes, we got creative. I made place cards (folded in half) ;) 

For favors we gave everyone a 1/2 pint of strawberries to take home and enjoy. They each got a personalized footprint from Riley Q as well. (We attempted hand prints... maybe next year.)

I hot glued the plates together to make "half" plates. (Good thinking ma-lolo!)

We used water balloons and froze them to put in each ice bucket. This is the champagne bucket, but we also had 1/2 water bottles, 1/2 sodas, 1/2 beers and 1/2 juices!

And here is me and my little 1/2 year old in the swimming pool. She absolutely loves the water. (Which is a good thing considering she will be growing up on an island, just like her momma!)

Friends enjoying the party!

1/2 foods :)

We finally got the chance to ask Laurie and Billy to be Riley's God parents. (And of course Julie and Kel get to be part of this too!) We are working on Riley's baptism details and hope to have it scheduled very soon. Laurie and Billy had tears in their eyes as they graciously accepted our request. We couldn't be happier to have someone to be such a big part of Riley Quinn's life. Thank you. Laurie and Billy!

Thanks again to everyone who came out and spent the day with us. We are always looking for a reason to get together with family and friends for a shindig! Happy 1/2 birthday, Riley Quinn. You are mommy and daddy's everything sweet girl. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dear Riley [6 months]

my everything
Dear Riley,

My sweet, sweet girl. I cannot believe an entire half of a year has gone by since you have joined us outside of the womb. 6 whole months you have been here. Riley Quinn, these have by far been the best 6 months of my life. You have grown and changed so much. I can't believe it. You are learning so much and you are so strong. Dr. Clark says you could be walking by 8 or 9 months! I don't know if I am ready for that! Where did my tiny (ok, you were never "tiny") baby girl go?! At your checkup last week you were 15 lbs and 27 inches long. 80% in height and 25% in weight. 

 This month, we have had to lower your crib to the lowest setting because you keep trying to escape. We put away the swing and bouncer chair... the attic is getting quite full! You are pulling up on anything and everything you can get your hands on. We have had to start baby-proofing the house so you don't get hurt too bad. I even found you in the dog bed last week when I turned my head for 30 seconds to get the laundry switched! I love it. You are pretend coughing to get attention and you are laughing and smiling at everything and everyone. You are so personable and I love your personality. Everywhere we go, people tell me how beautiful you are. I was told twice last week that you look like a porcelain baby doll. Someone else told me they could tell you were going to be a smart girl because you take everything in. You are SO inquisitive. 

You put yourself to sleep now at night. That kind of breaks my heart a little. Last night you had your bottle, read a book, said your prayers and we put you in your jammies. We kissed you goodnight, laid you down in your crib and you just smiled. You played for about 10 minutes and went right to sleep without a fuss. Again, I don't know if I am ready for this! You are even starting to take two long naps each day. (some days...) You are drinking about 30-33 oz a day in 4-5 bottles. Were going to target today when you wake up from your nap and getting you some size 3 nipples though! You're even eating 2 or 3 meals a day of baby food. You had yogurt this week (which is so strange to me, since you have to drink soy milk...) and you love the strawberry kind.  

We have done lots of fun things this month and will continue to do more! We have been to beach (you'll get used to that and grow up an island girl just like your mommy has!) the museum of life and science, marbles kids museum and we even took a gymoboree class! We have had several play dates at home and at the coffee shop. We keep missing story time though because you tend to always be napping during the time it is! Next on our agenda are pullen park and the zoo! We probably wont get to that until after Vegas though! 

You are doing so well while mommy tutors. Daddy loves to spend 1 on 1 time with you! Mommy was even offered the position next year at the same school, doing almost the same thing- just adding 3 more hours and working only in first grade. That sounded perfect to me! As long as the funding is available when they get their allotments, mommy will be making some more "Riley playtime money" next year! I'm excited about it! You were too when I told you about it today. :) 

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I just want you to know how much I love you and how you have changed my life so much. I have never been happier with my life. I am living what I always dreamed of. I thank God everyday for giving you to me, Riley. I love you.


My, how you have changed!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

please stop growing up so fast

I know it happens. I knew it all along. It is the hardest thing to watch my baby grow up so fast. To know I will never get those moments back. I walked into her room after her afternoon nap today and found her standing up in her crib. We've already lowered it once because she figured out how to pull up onto it. Guess it will be lowered again tonight. 

Everyone always said "it goes by so fast." That my friends, is an understatement. I was just in the hospital... I just went into labor. Where did this little girl that is standing up, saying "mama" and going to sleep in her crib without a peep when laid down come from??? Where did that 8lb 9.5 oz baby girl go that they just put in my arms...??? 
Who is this little girl taking long naps on her own in her crib, sitting up on her own in the bathtub? Weren't we just scared to death, giving her a bath in the sling sitting on the sink? 
It really does fly by. I don't take a second of it for granted. I've realized that the time most important, is time spent with my little girl. I can't believe we are about to celebrate an entire HALF of a YEAR that has gone by with her in my life. I can't believe she is growing so fast and that SIX whole months have sped by like lightening. 

My friends, new moms, soon to be moms, anyone who thinks you might one day want to be a mom- really. It goes by so fast. I don't know what to tell you other than take it all in. Focus on your baby. Don't worry about your messy house, your cell phone, your dirty clothes... Heck, who cares if you only shower every other day. Spend time with that bundle of joy because they are only a small bundle for a millisecond and then they are grown. 

~let go laughing

Friday, April 20, 2012

Riley's 'half' birthday cookout

I just have to share this sweet invitation that I worked on for weeks before I FINALLY got the perfect picture to use.  We are having a cookout and pool party next weekend. We decided to celebrate Riley's half birthday. Technically, her 1/2 birthday is on May 1st 1/2. Lol. But on a more easy calculation it would be April 24th. So... we rounded together and are celebrating on April 29th. I just had to share her adorable invitations. Sorry everyone did not get one! That is why I am sharing here! :)
Riley's half birthday celebration invitation

The front says:

SUNDAY, APRIL 29th| 2:00 PM

The back is a picture of Riley that says:

Riley will be SIX months old this month!
Here's yet another reason to celebrate!!!
Please no gifts. It's just for fun!!! :)

I can't wait to share all of the details after the party. I'm heading out today to find the perfect tools to create the perfect decor! We're totally not going all out as that can wait until October! I just can't wait to get all of Riley's little buddies together.  :) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


"Sleep training" night three.

Riley Q. just went to sleep with less than 30 seconds of whimpering when I put her down in her crib. I think God has blessed us with one of the easiest children. I only pray she stays so good into her teenage years. ;) The waitress at dinner tonight even commented on how well behaved she was. She never even got fussy and she let the waitress hold her. (Yes, we know them... we go there weekly.)

Thank you, God for this wonderful life.

busy busy busy

I love being a mommy! I love that my social calendar is filled now where as before I would work and do nothing else. This whole mommy gig is what I was put on this earth for. I cannot wait for the next couple of weeks to play out. We are going to our first gymboree gym class/ play date tomorrow with a few other S.Durham moms! I can't wait. Sunday, we are meeting with some girls I went to college with and lived with in Shaw. (shawla hollllla!) ;) I hang out with Heidi and Dillon pretty frequently, but I haven't seen Nicole or Jenna in years and I haven't even met Jenna's little boy, Brayden! I can't wait! We are going to lunch and then either Pullen Park or Marbles. Monday morning, we have story time at BT and my Pampered Chef party... Wednesday, we have a play date set for Daisy Cakes and the Farmer's Market. And the best of all is our surprise fun for next Sunday. I cannot wait to share, but must wait another day or two to insure I do not spoil anything. ;)

So, if you don't catch any blogs from me in the next little while- this is why! I look forward to all of the fun ahead and plan to share all of the details when it is over. Be on the lookout for pictures!

And last but not least, early voting starts TOMORROW- get out there and VOTE AGAINST! I will be picking up my yard sign on Sunday and plan to spread the word between now and May 8th as loud and as proud as I can!

~let go laughing!

Monday, April 16, 2012

6 month stats and new routines

Though she won't be 6 months until next week, she had her "six month" check up and shots today. Dr. Clark couldn't believe how well she was "walking" while holding onto her daddy's hands. He said she is going to be a track star. Mommy left the room for the shots this time so I wouldn't cry! And, on the way home, we stopped and got a new pink pool for miss RQ since she did so well!

Her stats:
  • 27 inches (80th% for height),
  • 14.8 lbs (25th% for weight.)
What else did we learn? She can eat whatever we want to give her as long as it is no larger than a cheerio and can be easily crushed with your fingers. The only thing prohibited is honey. They also do not recommend a lot of sugar.

It's time- Self soothing and sleep training.


Although, Riley is such a good sleeper that I am not overly concerned about this. I do enjoy rocking her to sleep and I have never been a fan of letting her cry, but I do understand that she needs to learn to self sooth and put herself to sleep. It would not be good if she was 5 years old and I still was rocking her to sleep. Riley has slept through the night since around 4-6 weeks. We have been blessed. I know this. Recently she has started to wake up around 4:30-5am once a week or so and we asked the Dr. about it. He said it was normal for this age as babies start to realize things aren't the same. "Hey, when I fell asleep, mommy was holding me and now she is not!" He said we needed to start now at 6 months to help her fall asleep on her own. She has done this before and is usually fairly good at it, but to start this as a routine? A step in the direction of my baby growing up... I don't know if I am ready for this...

That being said, I just tried for her first nap. Michael was at work and it was just me and her. I thought I could give it a go and if I gave in, no one had to know. ;)

She got sleepy (rubbing her eyes and yawning) so I walked in her room, cut off the lights and told her she was such a big girl and it was time to go to sleep. I laid her down in her crib, kissed her and said it was time for a nap and walked away. She laid there talking to herself and cooing for about 5 minutes. Then I heard the whimper. My heart sunk... I couldn't give in. I had to do it. Dr. Clark knows what he is talking about and I trust him dearly. He put it this way... "When she is 3 and is throwing a tantrum because she wants chocolate, are you going to give in?" "You are teaching her what is best and she knows you love her." I believe him. She fussed for 3 minutes (not even a full out cry) and I walked in, patted her back and told her I loved her. I gave her another kiss and told her it was time to go to sleep. I walked out... She literally put herself right to sleep after just 2 more minutes of whimpering. He said after 2 days of this she will barely fuss at all. I hope he is right. I don't really believe in letting her full out scream her head off and if it gets that bad... I will just give in. ;) But, so far, so good!

Anywho- family and friends that live close by, keep an eye out for a special treat this week! ;)

~let go laughing!


We started our new bedtime routine tonight. We have never had an issue with her going to sleep, but Dr. C said she is at the age that she needs to have a routine and self sooth so if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she can easily fall back asleep instead of thinking "mommy was here when I went to sleep, where is she now?!" I already miss rocking her to sleep in my arms, but I know it is for the best and this routine is just as special. Her daddy wanted to give it a go tonight since he was home for bedtime. It went something like this:

Daddy read Riley a book (The Lorax) while feeding her what used to be and I guess still is her "bedtime" bottle. We started this all at 8:20 because she started to look sleepy and we needed to get it all done by her normal 9pm bedtime. At 8:30 she finished her bottle and we took her to the changing table to get her nighttime diaper and jammies on. After this, her daddy read a little bit more of the book and said their prayers. Then he stood up and talked to her for a few minutes telling her how much he loved her and how proud of her he was. He told her she was a big girl and she was going to go to sleep on her own tonight like she has before during many naps (several before we took the paci away but then I kinda felt bad so I started rocking her back to sleep for her naps again.) He laid her down in her crib and kissed her goodnight. She laid there for 6 minutes chatting to herself and cooing. Then she got a little fussy. We waited a lifetime 3 minutes and went in to comfort her. He laid her back on her belly and told her it was time to go to sleep. (Dr. C suggest showing no real emotion and talking to her in a very relaxed tone.) Her daddy told her he loved her and she was a big girl and it was time to go to sleep. He walked out and before he could turn around she was back up, hanging on to the bars of her crib with a little whimper (Really, it wasn't even a full out cry, I don't know how to explain it other than a "whimper" - I was happy about that fact!).(Dr. C warned us this would happen!) We didn't give in and in just TWO yes... TWO minutes, she was laying down on her own, sucking her thumb and fast asleep. I am so glad this isn't a real "cry it out" because I couldn't handle that. I really don't think I could. No really, I couldn't. I am not necessarily against it at this age... well... kinda. Ok, I am because I don't think I could let my baby cry in sadness and want me if I didn't have to... But, to each their own. Luckily, we are so fortunate that she is such a good self soother and it isn't a big fit, more a simple "fuss." Heck, I fuss when I am sleepy too!

Anyway, I am a proud mommy tonight of my sweet, sweet baby girl and it's time for bed now.

Here she is... sleeping so sweetly in her new jammies. :)

(And before you judge, Dr. C said she can sleep with her blankie!)

p.s. i WILL still be letting her take naps on my chest. Sorry, Doc! lol

Goodnight, moon.

isn't she lovely, made from love

It's hard for me to put into words what being a mother means to me. I have tried so many times and just can't do it. As I sit here and reflect on the last 6 months of my life, the only words that come to mind are perfect,wonderful, amazing... I't hard to believe that my not so little 8lb 9.5oz baby girl is getting her 6 month shots today. I wont lie and say I don't have the best possible situation ever. I have my parents next door who are the absolute best help ever. I have my husband who is the most supportive and amazing man I have ever known and I have a very special and wonderful little girl. Does it get hard? Of course. There are days I may not shower (oops) and some days I may forget to eat. BUT- these are the BEST days of my life and I cannot say that with any more confidence and truth.

I've been a part of a message board since I found out I was pregnant last October. All of the women (and some men) on the board have babies that were born in October. Some of the things I read on this board are shocking to me. One particular post I read yesterday was "How do I discipline my BAD six month old?" I thought to myself... this has to be a joke. I reluctantly opened the post and my skin was crawling as I continued to read it. That poor, innocent child who is just figuring out their body. Just learning to control things and quite possibly rolling over as the mother tries to change his or her diaper... they are "bad." Michael and I see things so differently. How could I ever speak of my innocent child that way. When Riley rolls over and tries to crawl away screaming during a diaper change, we laugh. Hysterically, actually.

Another mother was concerned about what her husband found when picking their child up from daycare unannounced. He walked in on the in-home day care provider (whom they had known for years and trusted) yelling at their 6 month old for crying. HOW could you yell at an innocent baby for CRYING?! They are crying because they need something. Even if that "need" is to be held and comforted. I would have taken my child out of this providers hands at that moment even if it meant missing my bills until I could find somewhere more appropriate. Luckily, this mom was able to do so.

I got a text from a wonderful friend of mine yesterday who was in Babies R Us at the time. She was actually talking to one pregnant mother about what a mom "needs" to prepare for having a baby. While having this conversation and sharing the fact that every baby is different and all you "need" is love and something to feed them (and maybe a blanket or two)... Sharing the wonderful experience of being a mother with this frightened and clueless soon to be mom... another mother was behind them reprimanding and yelling at her 7 month old. This breaks my heart as well as my friends. I don't care how frustrated I may ever get with Riley, I have never raised my voice at her. I'm not saying "I will never..." because I am sure when she is older, I may accidentally raise my voice at her. But really? An innocent baby? I could never see myself getting so frustrated to actually yell at my baby. Ever. Period.

In no way do I consider myself perfect. I am not ever going to be perfect and no one is. In fact, there is no such thing as perfect in my world. To me, you do the best you can. I just feel so strongly about this. The love I have for my child and the nurturing that I give to her, I could never imagine treating her in such a manner. God put me on this earth to be a mother to this child. He did not put me on earth to put down and yell at an innocent baby.

I will end my rant here as my little one is awake now and wants me. I'm looking forward to posting about my newest project! Stay tuned!

The following is the song I always sang to Riley while she was in my belly. I just love it and it is our song as mommy and baby girl.

Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she lovely
Life and love are the same
Life is Aisha
The meaning of her name
Londie, it could have not been done
Without you who conceived the one
That's so very lovely made from love

Saturday, April 14, 2012



It's not just about same sex marriage people. If you don't know about it, read about it. Recent studies show about 60% of North Carolinians against this amendment. The other 40% may also be against it if they understand what it states.

The amendment states that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.

Not only would the amendment prohibit same sex marriage (which it already does) it would also prohibit NC from ever passing legislation to grant civil unions, bar the state from instituting domestic partnership rights and take away insurance benefits that are currently offered to employees by several local governments.

What else?

Courts could interpret the language of the Amendment to ban any rights to state’s hundreds of thousands of unmarried couples—both same and opposite-gender.

Invalidating domestic violence protections for all unmarried partners;

Undercuting existing child custody and visitation rights that are designed to protect the best interests of children;

Preventing the state from giving committed couples rights to allow them to order their relationships, including threatening their ability to determine the disposition of their deceased partner’s remains; to make medical decisions if their partner is incapacitated; and to allow second-parent adoptions in order to ensure that both partners have a legal tie to, and financial responsibilities for, the children they are raising.

Go to the VOTE AGAINST page for more information-

Photo by Heidi Joy Photography-
Quote -unknown author

"to declare others love as wrong, is to not really understand love at all"

Friday, April 13, 2012


It's hard to believe that we have been married and been homeowners for just about four years now. I am always so happy when spring comes around and it is time to fill my planters and put new things on my hangers! I always have my ferns in the front and back and every year I like to pick something new and fun for all of my planters. We have wonderful landscaping, much of which was leftover from previous owners. We have big plans for the front garden but have yet to tackle that project.

This morning we stopped by Bean Traders for our morning coffee/ play date with Liz and little miss Dylan. Afterwards, we went to the mall and pushed the girls around in their strollers. When I got home it was finally warming up after our slight cold spell here in the south. I looked out back as the sun started shining and thought "it's time!!!" Michael was mowing the yard and cleaning up pine needles and I decided it was time for a trip to Lowes. As we left, the checkout boy said "dang! y'all must love flowers!"

This year my favorite choice is the hydrangeas!

I couldn't resist them! Mom even planted several in her back yard today! (Do you know my mom? She does not usually garden on her own!) They are beautiful. I have always loved hydrangeas. I even had them at my wedding on every table! My goal is to keep these alive and if they get bigger I plan to put them in the ground.

I got a few "ready to plant" mixtures for my planters and a gardenia bush for the side porch in a new planter. We got an awesome new porch for Christmas this year and I just had to add my plants to it. We've always only done the back and front porches, but this year I decided to expand my not so green thumb!

~still have to hang that fern~

I also always love a beautiful plant hanging outside of my kitchen window.

This is my driveway. The azaleas are in full bloom and I love them this year! The plant in front is a Japanese plant. It is a lace leaf Japanese maple. We have another one that is not quite as large. I think it is a beautiful plant that we can enjoy year round.

our big project is going to be in the top far right of this photo!

I forgot to take a picture of the BEAUTIFUL azaleas outside of my bedroom in the back yard. Oh my how they are beautiful this year.

I am SUPER excited about the home and garden show this weekend. We have gone for the past several years now and always get wonderful ideas for more projects!

That's all for now!

~let go laughing!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

cyber land or real life?

What has our world come to?

Social media... It seems to be all over the place. Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, foursquare... All kinds of games... words with friends, draw something... some running from zombee games. Don't get me wrong. I too have been a victim of their phantom. I love finding a project to do on pinterest or reading up on what all my cyber friends are doing. I post a million pictures a day on facebook and hey guess what... I am sitting here right now typing a blog! But guess what...
it's time to stop. (
Not stop blogging of course, because I love to share.) The obsession with facebook and pinterest and all that jazz has to end. I'm not saying I am not going to ever post on facebook again or look for a recipe on pinterest... But it's time to spend time in REAL life.

As I sat on the couch this past weekend I watched my entire family (my husband and father included) sit glued to their iphones, ipads and other "smart" devices. It made me realize that this world is becoming so much less "social" because of "social media." We used to play skip-bo together or sit around and chat about our lives. I love my family and no one is doing any wrong. It's the world that is becoming too "high tech" for my liking. As I sat reflecting I didn't realize I was a bad mother or a bad wife or daughter because I am not. But I did realize I can be better if I spend less time tuned into the cyber world and more time tuned into my life.

I saw a sign once (probably on pinterest) that said something along the lines of "spend time with the company you are with and not those you are not." It was attached to a bowl at a front door where people were to place their cell phones as they entered. I loved this idea.

Since returning home from my relaxing week at the beach, I decided to revise my lifestyle a little bit. I need to spend more time with my family instead of spending time in cyber land with 98% of the people not giving two craps about me and my life to begin with. Another quote I enjoy goes something like this... "Don't tell people your problems. 50% of the people don't care and the other 50% are glad you have them." Yep. I take lots of pictures of Riley and will continue to do so. But the 30 seconds it takes to upload it to facebook will be spent with her instead. It doesn't seem like a lot of time, but to me it is. She is growing up way too fast for me!

I have since taken facebook, pinterest and the babycenter message board off of my iphone. Sure, I can still go to the web and get to them if I am in need or want to. I still plan to post and am in no way boycotting. I will still share pictures and moments and statuses. I just plan to do so less. If you need me, I suggest calling the house phone because I plan to have my phone with me less in order to break myself of these habits.

I hope in reading this you will take some time to reflect on your own usage. It's a horrible black hole that we as a world are slowly falling into. Spend time with your family. Who cares what Sam, Bob or Joe are doing! (Granted I did put the fb app back on my phone today to check up on a friend in labor! -guilty- but it's off again.) Who cares what "super mom" is doing with her kids and pinning on pinterest. Just be a mom and get off that dang phone!

Subscribe to my blog if you want updates from here!

~let go laughing!