Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day Again

Finally big enough to drive! We've been waiting for her legs to get long enough - watch out, world!

Nothing makes you feel like parent of the year more than sitting back and realizing that you've changed child care situations 4 times in 12 months (Ali, day care, Mom, Dafni).

And tomorrow, the list grows to five.

Blarg.

We are so in love with Dafni and her family and it has been nothing but fantastic for Paisley to be there and have a little friend to get into trouble with and eat snacks together.

Melts. Me.

Dafni and her crew were able to move from their apartment they didn't like (yay!) and landed in a house that is out of the way of our commute (boo! for us... not them... we're delighted they found somewhere they love and know how much it means for them - huzzah!). Lousy logistics have yielded a need for us to find care for Paisley.

Even though I hate being away from Paisley while I'm at work, I'm fortunate in that every single situation she has been in has been one that she has been truly loved and cared for. Not all working parents can say that. And interestingly enough, I think she has landed with the right person/personality type at the right time in her development. I've never once driven off and been concerned that Paisley wasn't being looked after in the best way possible. I try to do my best to ensure that the trend continues.

We would have happily placed Pais back in her old school, but due to Jeromy's new job, the location is now out of the way for both of us. Darn those logistics (again).

Luckily, we were blessed to find a school just down the street from Jeromy's work that we visited and loved. It was clean. The teachers were warm and friendly. The rooms are beautiful. Their menu is amazing. And it seems to be very well ran. Plus, the online reviews were all glowing.

Paisley was able to squeeze into their last spot and she starts tomorrow. You know a director is awesome if she tells you, "Should you have a day where you are just missing Paisley in a big way, give me a call and I can snap a photo of her in class and email it to you so you can put it up as your wallpaper at work." Amazing.

I'm still going to have a hard time with it and may well cry. For someone who has done this a lot, I still have a hard time with changes involving Miss P. The notion of a mom leaving her small child for a big chunk of the day is relatively new if you back up and look at how it has been done for centuries and centuries. Being with Paisley is hardwired in and still takes all of my emotional strength some days. And even though I've been leaving her for almost a year, starting all over with someone new just makes it feel like the first day again.

On a lighter note, when I was filling out paperwork for Paisley's school, it asked "what do you love most about your child?"

My answer: "she's freakin' amazing."

Yep.

Mover and a shaker

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Family Shenanigans!

Lackey Family Reunion 2011


The last month or two has had some great family happenings! In late July, we went to the Lackey Reunion in Haskell, TX. Our road trip started off with excitement, but not a good kind. There was a bad grass fire near our home and we saw ash dropping in our yard. We saw that it was being addressed by the fire department, though, so off we went. Just down the road, we saw a Uhaul truck on fire near a subdivision where our friends, the Eastmans, live. Come to find out, Evan had actually helped the family in their neighborhood load the truck just a bit earlier. It's so tragic that they lost a lot of their belongings. :( I heard that a lot of people came together that evening to clean off what they could and help this family out. I told Jeromy that if the rest of our trip included more fires, we were in trouble. Luckily, it was smooth sailing from there. We stayed in Abilene that night and continued on to Haskell in the morning.

Grass fire a-brewin' nearby - at Greenbelt and Trinity

To continue our "drive of fire," there is a Uhaul on fire just down the road on Trinity. What else are we going to see on our way to Abilene?

I love road trips!

This reunion was special to Jeromy and I since it was Paisley's first. It was also a first for us in that she really showed her first big bit of stranger/crowd anxiety. She had experienced episodes prior to this, but she was cautious of new faces the entire time. It was so strange to see her be so scared of everyone. Even so, we had a good time as always catching up with loved ones. Paisley eventually warmed up for a few minutes as well. I'm always in awe of how fast all the little ones grow and to hear updates from all the families. The guys did a great job in working the auction, including modeling bonnets. I think it is really neat when they have items that have been in the family for a long time. We bought an apron with paisley print that Jeromy's grandma made a long time ago. Three guesses on who I am planning to put it up for. :)

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

Lackey Family Reunion 2011

On the way back, Jeromy and I stopped off and found the only geocache in Haskell. Ha!

We just found the only geocache in Haskell :)

Yesterday, the three of us packed up and went to Killeen. We spent the day at the Mayos' house and had a blast. One of their dogs had puppies, so Paisley got to play with one, which was super fun to watch. I wanted to take more photos during the day but I was too busy taking it all in... we definitely want to go back more often. Grandma Lynda arrived with barbeque and we spent the afternoon laughing and enjoying one another. I always leave inspired by my six cousins and all the great things they are doing. Each one is incredibly gorgeous inside and out and talented to boot. I am also always humbled by the sweet spirit of my aunt, who is a tough cookie and probably one of the best moms the world will ever know. Being around everyone kinda makes a girl want a big family of her own - heh. We stopped by Grandma Lynda's house on the way back and saw some sewing projects she has been working on for humanitarian aid - what a lady, huh? She also sent us home with an adorable dress she made for Miss Paisley. So so so sweet! I'm really excited that the Mayos want to do another round of family photos later this year and that I can do some senior photos for Max and Sam. Whee! I'm still trying to get my Aunt Susan to fess up on her secret to not aging. :)

Trip to Killeen

Trip to Killeen

Trip to Killeen

Trip to Killeen

Trip to Killeen

Family has always been a blessing to me, but it seems even more so now that we have Paisley. I'm so thankful that God provided such a great group of people to be around both Jeromy and I to serve as such great examples (and who are a joy to be around!).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dusk and Summer

She prefers to play alone this evening... Pushed her toy to the edge of the room.

Even though the temperatures would suggest otherwise, summer is setting. My Facebook wall has been dappled with the images of fresh faced kiddos in carefully selected outfits heading off to school. A new year has begun for them and with that, this sun saturated season is closing.

Even though she isn't holding a lunch box or trotting off with an oversized backpack, this shift has also shed light on the ever growing independence of my girl. Appropriately born in the Year of the Tiger, there is a quiet fierceness in her. Just yesterday, we were playing together and she pushed her toy to the edge of the room where she sat by herself exploring buttons and figuring things out. She didn't need/want my help.

It feels weird to be at a place where I need to give her space, even if it's only five feet away.

This weekend was busy and relaxing all at the same time. Sometimes I just don't know how I can have activies brimming from the moment my feet hit the floor to the moment I shut off the light but never seem to accomplish anything noteworthy. I'm having to refocus the way I measure things. In the past with Red Brick, a large portion of my time resulted in a finished product. But now, my time is resulting in experiences. It's a change that I'm getting used to.

Last Saturday, I attended a wedding shower for my friend, Katie. It has been such a great pleasure to get to know Katie and her family over the years. And they probably have no idea how much they have touched my life. I originally became friends with Katie's older sister, Kim, at work and my connection with her unfolded into beautiful bonds with her sisters and parents. They are an amazing group of people and they genuinely enjoy being with each other. Katie's family are a great example to me and I'm always honored to share in the celebration of fun events with them.

The shower was lovely (of course!). Crazy enough, I accidentally had my first ever alcohol experience, as I mistakenly got a glass of wine and had started to drink away. Eeep! I tied for first place in the "who has the most stuff on this list in their purse" game as well as the "if you hear someone say 'Chip,' you steal their clothespin" game. This probably sounds weird, but Katie's mom's hugs are a huge highlight of these gatherings. She is so warm and open and sweet - and when the lady hugs you, she HUGS you. Like you're one of her own. Saturday was no different.

I've been wrapped and enveloped by a gloriously diverse group of ladies recently and I love it. There has never been a time in my life where I have had so many lady friends around. And the circle keeps growing. I thought getting married and becoming a mom would mean a fade in socializing, but in some ways, it has only enriched it. The history and mature friendships I share with others are some of my most prized treasures. I am so happy that Heavenly Father sent strong women to be sisters to me. It warms my heart to see my friends love on my baby so much. I know that these influences will shape Paisley's world, and I know their wonderful qualities will help to fill in the gaps for the areas where I am weak. How cool is that? It makes my heart smile to see friends interact with Paisley. And you know what? I genuinely love and adore their babies, too. So so so much. (Even the ones who aren't here yet.) I would move mountains for any of them.

I am blessed.

All that to say...when I hear of good news, such as upcoming marriages and whatnot, I'm just so warm. I can't wait until Katie and Chip's wedding in October!

Katie - the beautiful bride to be! Huzzah for showers, marriage, and friends that feel like family!

While I was at Katie's shower, Jeromy snapped a shot of Paisley in her kitchen. This must have been early on, as most of the kitchen pieces appear to be in place. After "play," said pieces are usually on the floor. Ten feet away from the kitchen.



while mommy's away, pais and daddy will play...

On a different note, we tried out the FUR-minator this weekend. It's a really expensive brush thing for pets, and let me tell you... the thing is amazing. Combed the pups for about 45 minutes and got gobs and gobs of hair off of them. Turco was in a relaxed, happy state for the rest of the night. I'm hoping that regular use will keep me from sweeping a cat-sized amount of hair off the floors every other day (no exaggeration).



Turco: post FURminator. Pulled a puppy's weight of hair off the fella and he has been stupid happy since.

(Title is from Dashboard Confessional's album, Dusk and Summer. Which I always seem to listen to this time of year. Perfect soundtrack for a gentle change. Do you have any albums that you listen to at a certain time of year (besides Christmas obviously)?)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Good Life

Little owl has had a busy day. Rounding it out at Freebirds

This weekend was "good busy" even though my allergies completely kicked my trash on Sunday. Highlights include:
  • Hanging out with multiple sets of friends
  • Eating peach cobbler (my fave dessert)
  • Watching Toy Story 3 (even though it made me bawl like a baby)
  • Rain! (which blew in something horrid that made my face melt inside out)
  • Thrifting for some clothes (Mr. Ramsey would be proud.)
  • Freebirds
  • Getting all caught up on our laundry
  • Taking a nap (much needed on Sunday when I felt like chicken snot)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Using steamer bags for the first time to make green beans that weren't from a can (delish by the way)
  • Lots of play time with Miss Paisley
  • Going to Charming Charlie for the first time (Oh. My. Word. My wallet is going to be soooo empty. Didn't buy any treasures for me this round, but I can't make promises for next time. Anyone want to go soon?)
  • Watched a documentary on the President Obama's photographer - super interesting!
  • Grocery shopping at a normal time of day (usually we procrastinate and it involves a late night run by Jeromy)
  • An awesome action figure of a princess-looking girl swinging a sword around...she won't need rescuing. Can all of P's future toys be as bad-bum as this, please?
  • Finding our food processor so we can start making baby food for Paisley this week

Pretty awesome, huh? And that's with being sick at home for a full day. I never realized that there was so much time on weekends before. I'm really happy with the changes we have made in our lifestyle and am looking forward to more fun times like this.

Jeromy is in the process of studying for certifications so Paisley and I are going to be readily available for all sorts of shenanigans. I feel like we've been cooped up in the house for ages and am trying to find things to do to get out and about. I'm dying for it to cool down so we can start enjoying the outdoors... our sweet girl is on the verge of walking and I can't wait to see her toddle down park paths and explore nature.

I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

Love that this pretty princess-looking action figure is mid-swing with a sword!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mind Soup

Wedding season is coming up… but in a new way. Instead of getting ready to shoot a bazillion weddings and be up to my eyeballs in edits, I actually get to attend three lovely weddings this fall for beloved friends! To prep for all the fun, I went to a shower for Lori last weekend. It was wonderful and I got to catch up with girlfriends Jenny and Jenna (who is also getting married). The tissue paper dress activity at Lori’s shower yielded the nicest looking paper gown I’ve ever seen! I'm excited that there will be another shower next weekend for my friend, Katie. Whee!




Hooray for friends and upcoming weddings!

Sometimes, Dafni sends me photos of Miss Paisley during the day (which makes me beam with joy!). Below are some from her adventures this week. My favorite is the one of Paisley and Jaylee eating snack together. Those two are becoming good buddies and it makes me feel all soft when I see the girls interact. I’m really grateful that Paisley is learning the beginnings of friendship. Paisley and Jaylee spent some time outside when we had one hour of cooler temperatures. I was informed that Miss P doesn't like sitting on grass and she had to have a blanket. Heh.




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On my way home Monday, I got tapped in the rear by an 18 wheeler. I saw the truck coming up fast on me (there was a wreck just behind us to the right) in my rearview mirror and tried to move out of his way, but couldn’t quite clear him. It was miraculous that the damage wasn’t more severe. I am fine and just need to deal with all the logistics of getting the poor car fixed. I’m impressed with Scion – the car took the impact well and didn’t crunch as bad it felt like it would.

Interestingly enough, this wreck happened on August 8th. Significant things keep happening to me on this date (usually not a good outcome, either). I’m thinking I need to stay home on the next 8/8. Seriously.





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My money envelopes came in! We are doing the Dave Ramsey cash envelope system (which I am LOVING), but I hated dealing with gobs of flimsy paper envelopes in my purse. Etsy to the rescue. I found a shop (Saving Money In Style) who does customized money systems. She is great and her products are fab. I have six envelopes with my own categories, a change purse, and a wallet pouch thing to keep it all in. I’ve already received compliments by cashiers (because the fabric is sooo cute) and it’s great to have my funds in something so sturdy. I. Love. Etsy. That is all.




My cash envelope system arrived today!!! Doing Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover has been fun but cute envelopes will make it even better!  :)







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Fun story. A while back …like almost six months ago I think… I received a message on Facebook from a guy named Tim who had seen my blog. He was looking for a stuffed owl that his daughter, Samantha, had lost (named “Hootie”). Hootie was the same owl that Paisley uses in her monthly chair photos and he wanted to know where I got it. I told him it was at Target but that we had bought the last one at our store. Tim and I both searched the internet trying to find another Hootie. I would have totally given him ours at the time but I was over a half year into our photo project (which is a lame reason, but the OCD in me couldn’t switch gears). I sent him all the tag info and he even tried to contact Target’s warehouse directly, with no luck. I would even check eBay regularly and could never find it. A while later, we were shopping in another store and Jeromy spotted a Hootie!!! We were so excited and grabbed it for Samantha. In an attempt to make it seem like Hootie just took a trip to Texas, we sent Hootie with some Texas swag and told her via postcard that he was just on a trip but came home. Some time passed and we got a little something the postcard read, “Dear Miss Mandy, Samantha says, “I love you. Thanks for finding Hootie. That’s all.” Thank you so much!! We found a California owl for you. We hope you like him. God bless! ~Tim and Samantha.” The owl they sent is so cute – when it is near sunlight, it turns its head back and forth. We love it. I’m so happy that the medium of the internet can help us help each other.




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Hit a milestone in my weight loss. Yesterday marked one month since I made a serious effort to "eat less and move more." No gimmicks. No tricks. As of this morning, I've lost 12.6 pounds. Not too shabby. It felt good to mark "Lose 10 pounds" off of my 101 in 1001 list. I still have loads more to go, but it's working. Kudos to a husband who has drastically changed his diet on my behalf and goes to the gym with me when time permits. :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

12 Months

Zero to Two! (months)


Paisley - 5 Months


6-8 Months


9 through 11 months


12 Months



Nicknames: Pais, “P”, Pais-a-lini, Squirt, Monster, Paiser, Monkey, Baby Girl, Chunk-of-fart (gross I know – but it comes from a place of love), Fart-fart (again… gross I know, but we’re being honest, here)

Temperament: You have become quite the mixed bag lately. You recently started some clinginess and stranger anxiety when we are around a large amount of people. You burrow your head into my chest and refuse to go to a new set of arms. I am sad that you don’t enjoy making new friends as you once did, but since you have never been a cuddler, I am taking advantage of the affection you are giving me. You have continued to make huge strides in your motor skills and you have doubts in your abilities. Even though we can trick you into standing unassisted, you won’t willingly do it on your own (yet). We see you testing your balance from time to time and I know you’ll be walking unassisted before we know it. Your love of music has increased and you enjoy dancing and waving your arms around to beats – you have good rhythm, Paisley! I’m so pleased that you still retain your happy disposition and you are such a charmer when you aren’t hiding from others.

Things I Could Do Without: You are growing too fast. I feel like I never have enough time to soak you in, Paisley. But I have a feeling that won’t end. Other than that, you have a weird aversion to certain food textures, which has made it difficult to transition you to “real” foods. It isn’t that big of an issue, though, as we just keep trying until you figure out that [insert food here] isn’t so bad after all. I’m so eager to share new foods with you, but I’m just going to have to be more patient.

Item/Toy We Love The Most: Books. You just recently gained the patience to actually sit through reading pages to you and you love flipping the pages when you hear us pause (and sometimes before). I’m so glad that you have an early love of books and it makes me happy when you grab one and hand it to me. There are so many I’m looking forward to reading you!

Item/Toy You Love The Most: Anything that plays music so you can sway and wave your arms. If it lights up, too, that is a bonus.

Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: You will actually kiss me now (although not often). How you curl your lower lip under when you say “yep.” That you are getting better about not chunking your sippy cup on the floor and will make an attempt to hand it to me first (but if I’m too slow, on the floor it goes). That you can say “da da” (let’s work on “ma ma” now, okay?). When you lay on me at the end of the day and tuck your arm up under mine. The way you hand me your Prince lovee in the morning before I pick you up to make sure he is not forgotten. When you smell like Goldfish crackers. The way you look in light blue. The way you laugh (always my favorite). The way you “jump” with excitement when you see Daddy or me or something you love. Your sweet smooth skin. How you are a tough cookie and rarely cry, even if you take a nasty fall – you just try again – a lovely quality to keep through your life. The way your hair curls in the back – sooo cute. How you look like a Baby Godzilla with your Little People in your fists and throwing them all around the living room. How you fell asleep on Daddy while opening gifts at your party (you may think you are a big girl now, but I know you are still my baby)

Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: dancing; blowing raspberries or grunting during quiet times in church; chasing Turco and Bacon; eating food; music; babbling in the car after I pick you up (I pretend you are telling me about your day); playing with your new friend, Jaylee; blowing kisses; walking around anything you can hold on to (you like going between the ottoman and the couch, using my knee as a go-between); looking at books; bath time in the “big tub”; trying to escape from your car seat; eating shoes

Other Milestones/Fun Things: you crawl with your belly up; we buy you some Stride Rite shoes; started to eat new things like yogurt drops, cheese and Cheerios; you say “da da”; you stand unassisted for over five seconds; you finally kiss Mommy; you pull up to your feet; we lower your crib; Lackey Family Reunion; your first birthday party; you start staying with Dafni and befriend her little girl, Jaylee

12 Months


12 Months


12 Months


12 Months


12 Months


12 Months

11 Months

11 Months


Nicknames: Pais, Pais-a-lini, Squirt, Monster, Cheese Monster, Paiser, Monkey, Baby Girl, Love

Temperament: Your confidence and independence have increased significantly and you have made so many strides in your milestones. You have developed a new sense of determination and curiosity and it has been soooo fun to see you get tickled with yourself when you accomplish a goal. Your “I did it!” face is the most precious thing ever. I look forward to seeing it over and over as your grow. You have become even more interactive than you were and are becoming more proficient at mimicking sounds and communicating. You love blowing kisses to just about anyone and usually follow it up with a wave. You also love animals and have taken renewed interest in the dogs. I feel like you have become a little sponge in the last few weeks and are just soaking in everything around you. I love to see how much joy the world brings you, Paisley. And I want you to know that it will just get better and better.

Things I Could Do Without: You kiss Daddy and Lolee. You kiss stuffed animals. And furniture. You kiss characters in books. But you won’t kiss your mommy, who loves you so. We need to work on that. You want to put shoes in your mouth. Your shoes. Mommy’s shoes. Everyone’s. And while I am trying to not be a germophobe mommy, I have to draw the line somewhere.

Item/Toy We Love The Most: The ottoman. You love being able to “cruise” around it and it hits you at just the right height. You are no longer content to be in confined toys like jumpers, walkers, or anything of the sort. Our ottoman gives you a chance to use your legs to move around in a controlled fashion and still give you a sense of freedom.


Item/Toy You Love The Most: The dogs make you smile and laugh every time you see them. But I guess they really don’t count as an item or toy now, do they? You have had new interest in stuffed animals, particularly oversized ones. I think your love of animals means that you are going to love going to the zoo when it cools down!

Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: The way your little voice sounds (so cute). You still spin your feet when you are happy. You giggle more and more every month – I hope that the trend doesn’t stop. The way you chase after the dogs with a crazy look in your eye. How you looked up at us with a big smile on your face when you were learning how to sit yourself up (and yes, we are SO proud of you). The way you keep trying. Your top two teeth came through and you weren’t fussy about it at all. You still give in and let me cuddle you from time to time. The way your hair curls up in the back (melt!). I feel like your eyes are getting bigger and bluer all the time – you are so beautiful, honey. That you are social and that you love going out to stores and restaurants (we always get compliments on how good you are).

Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: learning how to sit up by yourself and almost pulling up; the “little man” figure in your Duplo set; chewing on bath toys; dancing with Daddy; touching Turco and Bacon; escaping when you are nakie nakie during diaper changes; saying “boo” after I go “boop” and tap your nose; spending time with family; waving; feeding yourself finger foods; playing with tags

Other Milestones/Fun Things: you go from a laying down position to a sitting position all by yourself; you become proficient at army crawling; first father’s day – you give daddy a card you help make and a GPS; you pull up to your knees; you blow your first kiss; you say your first consonant sound (“boo”); you stand for five seconds unassisted; your top two teeth come through; first July 4th – you are terrified of fireworks so we leave early (you’ll like it next year I think)


11 Months



11 Months



11 Months



11 Months



11 Months