Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spaghetti With a Toddler 101

Tonight was spaghetti night at the Morgan house. I think you mothers of toddlers would agree that it only takes ONE spaghetti night to learn that there are certain "rules" that must be followed in order to obtain more SUCCESS than MESS.

1. Make sure to strip the toddler down completely. Otherwise, the clothes will either be ruined or have to soak in stain remover for days.
spaghetti baby 12

2. Make sure any adorable cushions or covers are removed from your high chair because they also will be either ruined or have to soak in stain remover.
spaghetti baby6

3. Bibs are not a necessity, because they will do no good anyway.
spaghetti baby5

4. If you are Type A, you must become Type Z in a hurry. Just let them eat, and don't worry about the mess. Water and soap will work wonders. Enjoy the moment.
spaghetti baby4

5. Before you get them out of the disgustingly sticky high chair, make sure the bath water is already run and ready for instant soakage, because toddlers like to touch things like walls and cabinets and decorative towels, and if the water isn't already prepared, your bathroom will be as messy as your toddler before you know it.

6. Follow your messy toddler to the bathroom. It is best to put your camera aside while you do this, as you must remain within a half-foot radius of the child to keep them from touching furniture, walls, and doorknobs.

7. You can omit number 6 if you have a hungry canine nearby, because they can provide a preliminary cleaning that no Bounty paper towel can match.

8 Have Daddy or someone else do the actual bath, so that you can take pictures of that too. It saves you from having to scrub off the grime, and from having to look at all the pieces of ground beef and noodles floating around in the dirty water. Gross.
daddy the hair stylist

9. Make sure the hungry canine from #7 also gets a drink of water. She'll be thirsty after her snack. Drinking from the tub or licking the side of the tub is perfectly acceptable.

10. Take LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of pictures. These are priceless memories.
rag head

Precious in His Sight

As I mentioned in Monday's post, today I had the privilege of photographing this sweet little 5-pound miracle. I don't want to spoil the upcoming birth announcement, but I just had to share one of my faves...


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Staying Busy

This weekend was the Bass Master Classics Tournament here in Birmingham. My Dad came down and he and Chad have pretty much been occupied with the tournament this whole weekend. If I'd known I would be basically by myself all weekend long, I would've planned a trip out of town or at least a fun activity or two. But I didn't know what a big deal it was. This morning they woke up at 4am to go to Lay Lake to watch the fisherman leave the boat ramp. Sounds so exciting to me, I can hardly stand it. They say the exhibit at the BJCC is pretty neat and they begged me and Mary Ella to tag along this afternoon but I just couldn't do it. Maybe next year. Or maybe not.

So yesterday Mary Ella and I went to the Galleria and strolled around for a while. I'm glad she's not at the age where she constantly asks me to buy her things (I know it's coming), because that would make the Galleria a not-so-fun trip. But she's pretty content just riding around, people watching, and looking at all the toys in the Disney store. We strolled for about an hour and then I realized I was I was getting claustrophobic so we left. We decided to go play with the new friends she'd made Friday afternoon - Doris, Mary Jo, Anne, Peggy, Eileen, Vida and Diane. Do these sound like toddler names? No? That's because they're not. They're all 80+ years old and they all live in the memory care unit at Lakeview Assisted Living. That's where Chad's Granny lives. We went Friday to visit - Mary Ella's first time - a and the ladies just had a fit over her. And to my surprise they had more toys than Mary Ella had seen in her entire life... baby dolls, puzzles, books, balls, balloons, stuffed animals, even Mr. Potato Head and magnetic ABC boards. She was in hog heaven. The social director, Mia, was there and she told me to just let Mary Ella have her way and play with whatever she wanted. The ladies had a blast watching her and interacting with her, and it was a great way for Mary Ella to get some energy out! So after we left the mall Saturday, I knew just where we'd go. We stayed 2 hours and she played her little heart out, up until it was time for all the ladies to eat dinner, and then we left. It's so neat watching these ladies' faces light up at the sight of a little girl. They really come to life! I didn't realize how rewarding it would be, even for me. I'm hoping we can go back once or twice a week.

This week looks busy, as usual... Tuesday morning I am going to take pictures of my new favorite little client... a 5 pound little boy named Elon, and I am so excited! He is the tiniest little thing. Hopefully we can get some great shots for his birth announcement and I can get some snuggling in too. Funny - my first pregnancy dream about Baby Boy occurred the night we met little Elon last week! I can't wait! (Although mine will probably be twice his size!)

Then Tuesday afternoon, something VERY exciting is happening at the Morgan household. Drum roll, please...

[Crowd erupts with cheering and applause]

Yes, it's true. I have lived without it my whole life. Well, not anymore! DVR is MINE! And did I mention that it's going to be FREE? Yes, this is also true. You see, when we moved into our house, we signed up for Direct TV and we INTENDED to get DVR from the get-go. We ordered the service, the DVR/HD/whole shabang, and when they came out to install it (2 years ago this very week), they brought a regular HD receiver with NO DVR. We told them it was the wrong one, to which Mr. Installation Guy casually replies, "Well, that's no problem, but you'll just have to call and set up a different appointment and they'll come switch it out." So when we called them and tried to set up a new appointment, they say, "Well, that's an upgrade and it will be $200." We were like WHAT?!?!?! Well, long story short, we argued with them, told them it was THEIR FAULT that they brought the WRONG RECEIVER IN THE FIRST PLACE, ETC, and basically GOT NOWHERE. We were locked in for 2 YEARS with NO DVR. So at the first chance we got, we were getting rid of them. Two years has finally rolled around, and wouldn't you know, when we call them to tell them they can turn it off on the 26th and come and get all their dumb receivers, they just go balistic. Why are you leaving us?!?! What ever did we do to deserve such a thing?!?! So Chad flat out told them. The whole story. And the next day, an upper level dude named Jose Silva calls us and he is just LIVID when he hears our story. So what does he do? He allows us to basically ROB THEM of RECEIVERS AND SERVICE. He offered us 2 DVR/HD receivers, plus we get to keep the 3rd one we have in the playroom, PLUS we get DVR/HD service free for an entire year. So it took 2 years, but it will FINALLY pay off. And I will finally catch EVERY episode of EVERY show I want to watch and probably gain 300 pounds in the process. But at least the service will be free. Thank you, Direct TV. I'll be sure to think of you when I'm watching the Toddlers and Tiaras marathon.

And speaking of Toddlers & Tiaras, Mary Ella will be in her first photo shoot on Thursday afternoon. She is going to be "modeling" (I hate that word, especially when it pertains to babies/toddlers) some of the spring/summer fashions for a new magazine called "Shelby Living" that is about to be published monthly. The photo shoot is at Mount Laurel Thursday afternoon and I am a little nervous about it. Hopefully she'll act like an angel and pose perfectly. If not, I guess they'll cut her from the magazine and we'll still live happily ever after, even though our dreams of winning Super Grand Supreme and a gigantic rhinestone-studded crown and sash will be long gone.

This weekend is Addie Jane's 2nd birthday party in Huntsville so we'll be heading that way on Saturday. Here's hoping for some more beautiful weather this weekend

Consignment season is under way and you can find the ginormous list of all the Birmingham consignment sales
here. We went to Giggles & Grace at Asbury UMC on Friday morning and I found some cute things for baby boy. If anyone wants to go to one of the sales with us, let us know! We can meet at the sale then hit the park or go eat lunch!

That's about all I have to say on this peaceful Sunday evening. I hope my husband returns safely from the fishing expo and that he brings us a souvenir. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nursery Planning

YAY! Got my fabric swatches in yesterday and I am so pumped! I cannot say enough about Javis Davis. I first heard about them through a friend I worked with at Children's, and so after seeing their fabrics (and PRICES!) online I decided to order Mary Ella's bedding from them, and I couldn't have been more pleased. This time around has been no different. They have been fantastic to work with and they even remembered me from last time! Mary Lou, the owner and head designer, is so sweet and down to earth and she'll drop everything to talk to you on the phone, no matter what she is doing at the time. Last Friday I e-mailed her to see if they had a certain fabric available, one I had seen on this site, and she e-mailed me back right away telling me they didn't have it, the reason, etc. Then we talked and I told her kind of what I was thinking for the nursery, and sent her a picture, and she called me back and said she'd e-mailed me a crib design. When I checked my e-mail I was floored! She knew exactly what I wanted. I was a little concerned about the lime green color in her design, afraid it wouldn't match the other greens that are already in the room, and so she offered to send me swatches of every lime green color she had, so that I could match it perfectly! And not only did she send me the green ones, but after seeing the picture of the nursery so far, she sent me everything she had that matched the room! All for free, I might add. (They usually charge you $5 per set of swatches!)

So these are the fabrics for the new nursery. I matched the greens right away and I called Mary Lou and we went over the design on the phone, so the bedding is ordered and I can't wait to see everything come together. I chose black and white because I thought it'd be something a little different. I have seen so much chocolate brown over the past 2-3 years and nearly every bedding set or crib fabric you can find has some sort of chocolate brown. So I thought black would be a good substitute and I think it'll still be fairly easy to find accessories.
The crib and changing table are white and the glider is the one I used for Mary Ella, a pale lime green. The walls were already bright blue (the blue you see on the fabric swatch and in the old picture to the right) so I wanted colors that would both contrast and compliment the walls. I am still planning on making the curtains. There is a huge window in the room that lets in a lot of natural light, so I am going to do long curtains so that I can shut them when it's nap time. Otherwise little guy won't be able to get much sleep, I'm afraid.
I painted his name onto canvases that will hang above the crib. Since Mary Ella has the hanging wooden letters I thought some square canvases would be different and cute. And for $5 per canvas (thank you, Big Lots) I couldn't pass up this option. Then I painted an elephant for another wall, and this canvas also has his name at the bottom near the elephant's trunk. I have edited the name out of both the pictures - sorry but that part will have to wait. That's why parts of the paintings look messed up or blurry.

I love the changing table I found on Craigslist and I think it'll work perfectly for the room. I purchased three of these canvas bins at WalMart to hold PJ's, sleepers, and blankets. They match the walls perfectly but I added some 2-inch black and white polka dot ribbon across the top and bottom for some added color. Chad loves the manly polka dots. (Yeah, right.) I think I am going to look for some square black baskets to grace the middle shelf, for things like diapers, lotions, wipes, burp cloths, etc. I just need to find what I'm looking for first.

I am really pleased with how everything is coming together so far and 2 weeks from now I'll have bedding so I'm sure there will be more posts to come. I know you are all sitting on pins and needles. (Haha, Ashley B...)

*P.S. For some reason after I uploaded this post I realized that since all the pictures were taken at different times during the day (morning, afternoon, night) that some of the colors look totally different than in other pictures. The walls looks GRAY in some of them. But everything does match, I assure you. Just didn't want you all to think I was colorblind.*

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

24 Weeks

I went for my even-numbered 24 week appointment this morning and everything still looks good. Baby Boy is VERY active and kept moving around and it took Dr. Hudson a few minutes to get a good heart rate, which ended up being in the 130's. I have gained 14 POUNDS since the beginning of pregnancy. Not so bad until you factor in that 9 of those pounds were accumulated in the last 5 WEEKS. WOW. That's a bit of a hard pill to swallow. My doc wasn't concerned though, and I only measured one week ahead at 25 weeks. Considering I was measuring 27 weeks @ Mary Ella's 24-week appointment, I wasn't too concerned either. Hopefully I won't gain another 9 pounds over the next 5 weeks though. (And yes, I said 5 weeks; Dr. Hudson will be gone for spring break during my 28th week, so I'm being brutally forced to face my aversion to odd numbers and go for my diabetes test at 29 weeks. Ergh. That's what I get.)

We left the OB office and went straight to Mary Ella's pediatrician, because over the weekend she developed a nasty cough and has been congested all over again. Guess we might have overdone it in the snow, but I'm sure she'd consider it to be worth it. She STILL has double ear infections. Not sure if they are new or if they are just lingering, but either way, we're on another round of antibiotics (Augmentin this time) as well as some eyedrops because her eyes were starting to run again. Bless her heart. I am ready for this to be over! And I am ready for WARM weather! I would so love to be able to get outside and walk! And God knows I need the exercise with my recent weight gain.

In my defense, I will say that I have been faithfully doing my elliptical for 25 minutes each morning. I was up to 40 minutes a day before pregnancy but in the last few weeks I've had to cut my time down due to some Braxton Hicks contractions that did NOT feel so great. I think walking will be easier, but we have to wait for warmer weather.

In other news, our under-mounted sink detached from our granite and fell while I was washing dishes Saturday night. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that to happen! We hadn't talked to our builder for over a year and I couldn't find his phone number or his company's phone number anywhere, so what did I do? I looked him up on FaceBook, of course! And there he was, plain as day. So I messaged him and he called me right away and said he'd take care of it. Even though our house is long out of its warranty, he said something like that should NEVER happen and that someone would be out to fix it. And sure enough, I've got 2 guys right here doing a mighty fine job, as far as I can tell. I love when people do the right thing. Yes sir.

Friday, February 12, 2010


What a fun day! Mary Ella finally woke up around NOON (she was up later than usual last night waiting for me to get back from Bible study). And she was able to wake up to a beautiful SNOWY day. I took her to the window and she just stared with her mouth open wide. Then when I put her coat on and asked if she wanted to go play in the snow, this was her reaction:

So we waited on Chad to get home, then we all bundled up and headed outside! She loved it, even more than last year. I was able to take some pictures using my 50mm/f1.8 lens and I realized that I don't utilize this lens near as much as I should. It really made all the difference in my photos. Here are a few of my favorites.


We are getting our first real snow! Mary Ella is still asleep (yes, it's 11:36 am and yes, I have checked on her and yes, she is breathing.) Chad is coming home from work early so that we can play in the half-inch that has accumulated so far. Happy Valentine's Day weekend to everyone!

Here is my sweet girl a year ago this very week!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rainy Day Nap Time Post

Mary Ella made a pretty fast recovery after 3 days of antibiotics (7 days to go - yay) so I sent her to school today. She is still loving school and Miss Wendy and all her friends. Some days are better than others but overall she has adjusted quite well. I really don't look forward to next year though because she'll be promoted to a new class :( Maybe by that time she'll be ready. After all, she'll need an escape from her new little brother.

Tomorrow night Chad and I are going on a double date with my sister Betsy and her boyfriend Chris! I am so excited. We'll probably go to Ricatoni's and then maybe we can see a movie too. I want to see "Dear John" but it's probably not manly enough to qualify as a must-see-in-the-theater movie. Betsy and I may have to see it without the boys. Oh well, more popcorn for us. Then Saturday night we are going to see my sweet cousin Annsley perform in "Annie, Jr." - a middle school version of the Annie broadway play. Annsley is so talented and I'm excited to see her sing again. She will be playing the role of Tessie, one of the orphans. I'm excited about seeing the family and especially all my grandparents, whom I haven't seen since Christmas. Hopefully we'll have some decent weather and I can get some good pictures on the compound. I haven't had near enough time to fiddle with my camera since Christmas and I look forward to some downtime with my good ol' Rebel.

I would personally like to thank my friends Jamie and Melissa for contacting me and telling me that they had both looked for the Dove Energy Glow, in Prattville and Florence, but to no avail. Here is a big fat "E" for EFFORT, ladies. That's what I'm talking about. And guess what? I got on eBay last night and found 2 bottles for $9, no shipping costs. Which is actually cheaper than you can buy it in stores. So I'm hoping it's the real stuff and not some crazy concoction that will turn me into a yellow person. We shall see. Either way, not a bad price for one of my favorite things.

And speaking of favorite things, do you have a market tote? I love these things. I think I got mine for Christmas a couple years ago and it has served me well. They are perfect for storage, but they are even better for picnics and toting things to and from your car. If you ever take food to friends or to potluck dinners, then a market tote is a must; a 13x9 casserole dish fits inside perfectly. I use mine every Tuesday and Thursday because Mary Ella goes to school and I work. In the morning, I throw in her cup, backpack, lunch box, and my palm pilot (for work), paperwork, umbrella, and various errand items (bills to mail, grocery lists, prescriptions, whatever) and at the end of the day I can carry both Mary Ella and my market tote back into the house without having to make several trips. Most of them also collapse or fold to make them easier to store. I love these!

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