Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Addie Jane!

This post is a little bit early, but I wanted to post it before I left. I am headed up to Florence to spend the night. Tomorrow we are heading to Huntsville to Addie Jane's first birthday party. I can't believe she will be a year old this weekend! (Technically her birthday is on Leap Day, February 29th!) I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday! I got a text message from my mom after midnight saying, "She's here! 6 lbs and 14 oz!" I was so excited and drove up the very next day to see her. I also ended up spending the night in the hospital with Ashley that second night so that Jentry could go home and get some rest. I was so excited to be holding that tiny little girl with so much hair; it made me even more excited about my little one.

So here are a few pictures from when she was born and from the last year...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We Love our Friend

Shout out to Jamie! Woo hoo! The best pharmaceutical rep in town! And a fine next door neighbor, too.

Car Seat

I've been on the search for a new car seat for Mary Ella. I plan on getting her one for her first birthday so I'm doing the research ahead of time. So far I've been back and forth with no conclusions except that a) I refuse to spend $300 for a Britax seat, and b) I refuse to buy a super cheap seat for fear that it won't be safe. So I'm kind of stuck in the middle right now.
There are so many options and things to think about when making this kind of purchase. I would love a seat that was convertible - both rear facing and forward facing - but I would also like one that will be the last seat she'll ever need. Most of the time you can't find all 3 of these things in 1 carseat (unless you pay over $300 for a Britax - ridiculous.) She weighs 20 lbs now and her infant seat's weight limit is 22 lbs. She has to be 20 lbs AND one year old before she can turn around. Actually, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that they stay rear facing well into the second year of life, so I don't necessarily have to have a forward-facing-only seat right now.
I really like the new Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 seat. It's the one Jon and Kate have for all of their kids. It's a forward facing seat that holds up to 65 lbs forward facing and then on up to 100 lbs as a booster seat. I think that may be the way to go. You can get them for $145 on Amazon. Plus they have the side impact protection and head protection, all that good stuff. Good reviews, too. If I decide on this one I'm just going to borrow my cousin's infant seat (which is a bigger one than we have, holds up to 30 lbs) and use that until I am comfortable enough to turn Mary Ella around to face forward. We'll see. Unless the Britax seats get marked 50% off sometime soon, I won't be making that purchase at all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I made this video of Mary Ella yesterday while she was trying to eat her lunch. She thought it was hilarious that Lucy kept jumping up onto her highchair.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kids these days

Colton still hasn't called, but they've been texting up a storm.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mary Ella's first date

Mary Ella had her first date yesterday with Mr. Colton Penter. He's about a month younger than her, so she's robbing the cradle, but for good reason - he's famous! He's the winner of last week's Simply to Impress Photo Contest! She felt so lucky to have a date with such a handsome little guy. They met at Ragtime Cafe for lunch. After an appetizer of puffs, Colton ordered the pureed mango and Mary Ella had the squash. Both were equally satisfied with their meals and with each other, of course. They couldn't quite reach far enough to play footsie or hold hands at the table, but their eyes said it all. Afterwards, Colton picked up the tab and they said their goodbyes. He promised to call, and hasn't yet, but we'll give him the standard 3 days before we lose hope.

Thanks, Amy, for the pictures!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Our cousin Addie Jane came to visit yesterday. Addie is 4 months older than Mary Ella. She will be a year old next Saturday and we are excited about going to her birthday party. We had fun dressing them up and letting them play with each other.

Right after Addie Jane "patted" Mary Ella on the back, just a wee bit too hard...

Dear Winter,

I am writing to inform you that I've had enough of your shenanigans. Although Mommy and Daddy have enjoyed getting to use the fireplace this month, and I've enjoyed wearing my cute hot pink toboggans with matching mittens and coat, I am done. WE are done. Through. Finished. We no longer need you or your services. We do not care whether Mr. Groundhog saw his shadow or not; we do not care if it is still only February; we do not care if the cold air keeps spiders and bugs away. We are ready for you to allow Spring to make her entrance. We are ready for warm breezes, sunny days (preferably 70 degrees and above) and pretty flowers. We are ready to go running in the neighborhood without getting frostbite and ear infections. We are ready to go to the park and swing. We are ready to swim (well, we could wait a little while on the swimming, but you get the point.) We hope you understand, Winter. Thank you for coming. We will see you next year. Bye now.

Mary Ella Morgan

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

E-Mealz and Walgreens Update

So yesterday I went to Wal-Mart and purchased my groceries for the week. I bought everything on my E-Mealz list (that's 5 nights of dinners) plus lunch food and cereal, and just a couple of toiletries that we needed. My total bill was $65. I felt like I had nothing in my shopping cart when I got to the checkout line, but I had everything I needed for an entire week! Unbelievable. Last night we ate the barbecue chicken dinner packets - basically, chicken breasts with barbecue sauce, fresh corn on the cob and pinto beans cooked in foil packets in the oven. They were delicious! And so easy. Cleanup was a breeze, too! So I highly recommend this service.

At my CVS trip, I purchased the following:
-2 AJAX Dishwasher Soaps - $1.79 each - but on sale for Buy One Get One for 1 cent
-2 Herbal Essence Shampoos - $1.99 each (they were $3.24 each at WalMart!)
-1 Venus Spa Breeze Razor - $7.99
-1 8pk of Scott paper towels - $4.99

My coupons were:
-Herbal Essence - Save $3.00 on 2 + get 2 ECB's (Extra Care Bucks)
-Venus Razor - $4.00 off, + get $4 ECB's
-Scott Paper Towels - $1.00 off

So my total SHOULD have been = $20.54
But with sales and coupons = $11.77

PLUS I got $6 in ECB's (Extra Care Bucks, which are reward bucks that print out at the bottom of your receipt at CVS and work just like cash. You just redeem them on your next purchase!)
So it's really like I only spent $5.77 on all of that stuff. That is a savings of $14.77! I am looking forward to my next trip already. I might even make a profit.

I would have posted pictures today but I am feeling a bit under the weather. I have a headache that won't go away. So maybe tomorrow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekends, E-Mealz, Coupons, iPods.

Time for a real update. I probably won't post any pictures here; I'm in a writing-only mood. So bah humbug.

This weekend was really great. Friday night we stayed home and ate spaghetti and watched a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy Season 3, which we have been renting from Netflix so that we can catch up! I love this show but I am so far behind, even though I still watch the current episodes. (And haven't they been great? I'm loving the Grey's/Private Practice crossover!) We went to bed early Friday night and Saturday morning we decided to eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel for Valentine's Day, because we weren't sure we'd get to go anywhere for dinner. So we enjoyed a hearty breakfast and then my parents and the dogs (Percy and Belle) were able to come down for the night. They kept Mary Ella Saturday night while we saw "Shopaholic" and stuffed ourselves with popcorn and diet coke. Then today the guys - Chad, Dad and Les - played golf at Oak Mountain while Mom and I enjoyed lunch at Cheesecake Factory. Mom and Dad left around 8pm after treating us to LongHorn. I always wish they could stay longer, but maybe this summer I can get them down for a whole week. I know Lucy misses them because after they leave she always mopes around for a few days. She loves Percy and Belle.

So basically I ate all weekend long. Which negates the fact that I exercised every single day this past week. And ate healthy too (except for a minor Milo's slip-up on Wednesday, oops). So phooey. Oh well. I don't think I will meet my June goal of losing 30 lbs but there's always next year. I did find an encouraging blog, though, called Mommy Snacks, and this mommy has been VERY successful in her weight loss journey since January of 2007. She wanted to lose 40 lbs in a year and has lost 35! So I think that is great. And it's so much healthier to do it gradually instead of all at once. Plus, you are less likely to gain it all back. I got off to a slow start in January. I decided I'd just make small changes, one at a time, instead of setting too many rules and restrictions all at once and quitting by week 2. So far I have lost 5 lbs. I was supposed to lose 5 lbs every month to reach my 30lb goal but seeing as I'm halfway through February and need to lose 5 in the next 2 weeks... not sure that will happen. But I will get there.
I am learning to be a runner, which was also one of my New Year's resolutions. So far I am up to 1.4 miles (please don't laugh - I told you I am NOT a runner.) I haven't run long distances since college (well, one 5k 2 years ago). And even in college it was rare. So I am trying to get back into the groove. A few of my dear friends - Jamie, Shelley and Emily - are really great runners and they have inspired me! I really do love it. In one week I went from 0.5 miles to 1.4 miles, which I think is great, for me. I plan to get one of those iPod sport kits so that I can track my mileage. I found an iPod Nano on eBay last night for under $100, brand new, so I went ahead and used my Christmas money for that. I have found that when I listen to my music while running I am less likely to get tired so quickly... I think because I can't hear my feet hitting the ground or my heavy breathing... subconciously that probably makes your brain tired. So I'm excited about the Nano and I need to sell a few paintings so I can get the sport kit.
In other news, I have joined E-Mealz. I am so excited about this and I cannot wait to try it out. I already feel like a burden has been lifted, just because I don't have to rack my brain to make a menu plan for the week. If you haven't heard about it, E-Mealz was invented by 2 sisters here in Birmingham that got sick and tired of going to the grocery, coming home with tons of food, and still didn't know what to fix for dinner. So they started seriously planning out menus, and soon they were planning menus for their friends and church members and eventually the entire country! It is such a great service. You pay $1.25 a week (that's $5/month) and they e-mail you a meal plan for every night. You can choose 5 nights or 7 nights a week, and you can choose which store you shop at (Publix, WalMart, Kroger, etc) so that they can customize your meals to what is ON SALE at YOUR grocery store! You can also choose what kind of meal you prefer - regular, low fat, or the weight watchers points system - and they email you an entire menu plan for the week, with recipes for each dish AND an organized-by-isle shopping list with everything you need! It is unbelievable. Nearly every recipe is 7 ingredients or less and the prep/cook time is next to nothing! This means that tomorrow when I make my weekly grocery shopping run, all I need is my E-Mealz list and foods for breakfast and lunch (which means cereal, milk, South Beach Diets & Smart Ones). Oh, and the best part is that the price of the food on their grocery list is usually only $35-40. We would easily spend THREE TIMES THAT AMOUNT if we were eating out! I can't say enough about this service. It definitely beats flipping through cookbooks and trying to come up with a plan myself. My friend Courtney signed up about a month ago and she loves it too! I am doing the LowFat meals for 2 people, for ANY store (because I grocery-hop with my coupons depending on what's on sale), for 5 nights a week. This will work perfectly for us because we eat at Shelley's on Tuesdays and usually eat out only once, if at all. If we don't eat out we'll just eat leftovers or sandwiches. So I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes!

Last thing - I have been researching the whole "extreme couponing" frenzy on several blogs, and I have finally learned how the CVS system works. Today I will be braving the CVS for the first time to use my coupons and hopefully earn some money while shopping there. So check back tomorrow and I'll show you what I got and how much I spent. I am hoping to eventually get paid to shop at CVS. If any of you want the CVS secrets, go here. You can get some serious deals if you know their system and how to work it!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This movie is great!

My parents kept Mary Ella last night and Chad and I got to go the movies for the first time in over 6 months! We saw "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and it was great! (We were originally going to see "Taken" but it was sold out. Which was secretly fine with me.) I loved this movie. It was super funny and a great romantic comedy. Chad liked it too.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love. Love. Love.

I sent out the cutest Valentines this year and I forgot to keep an extra one for myself... oops. But these are the pictures and captions I used...

Front of Card:
"Love is homemade."

"Happy Valentine's Day. Love, Mary Ella."

Just imagine them on cute hot pink card stock.
Oh, and the cookies? Wal-Mart bakery. We do what we can to get a cute picture, people.

Cleaning your plate is important.

But if you can't do it, I know who can.


Friday, February 6, 2009


I knew those prunes were disappearing way too fast...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm 7 Months Old, Everybody!

(NOTE: Please remember that these posts are mainly for my own recollection. I don't have room in my baby book to write all of this stuff down! I know good and well that not everyone, if anyone, is interested in what Mary Ella likes/dislikes, how much food she eats and what kinds, etc etc. But if I don't record it somewhere, I'll regret it in the future. So thanks for putting up with these long monthly posts!)

Mary Ella is officially 7 months old! I love this age! I have loved, loved, LOVED the last 7 months with my baby girl. She is so special and I am truly trying to cherish every single moment with her. I have so much to be thankful for and I don't want to take any of it for granted.

At 7 months old Mary Ella is an energetic little monkey with eyes that wonder and hands that are curious. She notices everything. She smiles at strangers and family alike. She thinks every object is a toy that was specially designed for her hands and mouth... whether that be a cell phone or pillowcase or TV remote. She loves to get her hands on whatever is in reach.
She is babbling all the time, forming her own little language as she goes. She had managed "Da-Da" for a couple of weeks but has since quit saying it and moved on to spitting, blowing bubbles, and making tooting noises with her mouth as loud as she can. Her new favorite sound is "Buh-buh" which, coincidentally, sounds like "Bubba," which, coincidentally is what we call my Grandfather. So that works out pretty well! (Although my Mom is like, "Ok, she can call me Bubba. That's fine!" Ha!) So we've got the "B" sound down, for sure. But ask me again in another couple weeks!

As far as her mobility goes, she is sitting up well on her own and hardly falls anymore. When she does fall, she doesn't cry, so that's good. She's a tough girl. She is managing to go from sitting, to leaning on her hands with her arms straight, to getting down on her stomach. So I guess she may try to crawl as those little arms get a bit stronger and can hold her. Right now she's more like an inchworm with legs that can't quite "inch" along as it should. She moves her arms and legs like crazy while she's on her stomach, as if she is swimming. But she goes nowhere. Not yet. Which is fine with mommy!
She loves books and is still into perfecting her "patting" skills, which she will now perform not only on books and toys but on heads and doggies and tables and faces. We are now working on "being easy" and "being gentle." She's into the patting, for sure. I try to let her watch me as much as possible, whether I am folding clothes or baking or just cleaning the kitchen. I don't let her watch TV or movies unless I am showering or drying my hair. I don't want her getting hooked on TV. Although if you are ever in a bind with your child and need instant emergency entertainment, YouTube has several classic Sesame Street skits and songs that will mesmerize your little munchkin... for approximately 2 minutes. It's for emergencies, people!
Anyway, as far as sleeping goes, she is still sleeping VERY well. I can't complain. Most days she takes 2 naps, sometimes just an afternoon nap if we have errands to run. Then she sleeps about 12 hours at night. A couple of days last week she slept until 10am! It was unbelievable. Most days it's 8am though and that works out fine. Better than the crack of dawn, I guess.

At our 6 month checkup, Dr. Anderson said to increase Mary Ella's solid food intake to 3 servings of baby food a day. So far she is doing well. For breakfast at 8am she eats rice cereal, a fruit, and a 6 oz bottle. For lunch (12pm) she eats 1/2 fruit, 1/2 veggie, and another 6 oz bottle. For dinner (4pm) the other half of the fruit and veggie from lunch, and another 6 oz bottle. Then at bedtime (8pm) an 8 oz bottle. She loves to eat.

In early January she won 2nd place in her first photo contest. We were pushing for the grand prize - a $50 gift card for birthday invitations that we didn't even need - but settled for 2nd place at the last minute. Thanks to all who voted. We are now an entrant in Regis and Kelly's Beautiful Baby search hosted by Parenting Magazine. So we'll see how that goes. Just trying to prepare her for the days ahead. I can't wait for her to get her first spray tan and win her first pageant. We are already practicing her talent routine and I'm saving my money to buy a Bedazzler so that I can make her Gymboree swimsuit a little more pageant-ready. We're holding out for the crown and the sash. Our time will come. HAAAAAAAAA! Please feel free to kidnap my child if I ever become that mother. PLEASE.

Well, there's our 7 month update. Time is flying and spring will be here before we know it! I'm looking forward to some warmer weather.
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