Dec 31, 2011

Goodbye, 2011!

I can't believe 2011 is over already.  This year seemed to go really fast, but I feel like I've said that ever since I graduated college.  I know the school years always seemed to fly by when I was teaching, then summers went too quickly, and now with kids of my own, our days are a blur sometimes!  It's crazy to me.

This year has had its ups and downs, but of course the highlight of 2011 of watching our family and our hearts grow with the addition of Riley Savannah.  Experiencing the blessing of a newborn through the eyes of her big brother has been amazing.  Watching Jarrod become the Daddy of two.  Seeing parts of me every time I look at our daughter.  It's been more than I ever expected.  Every parent worries while pregnant with their second, I think, how they'll ever be able to love another child as much as they love their first, but it just happens.  From the second Dr. Schmitz placed her on my chest, it was love.
I'm looking forward to a lot of good things in 2012.  This week has been a very stressful week dealing with issues with our Ohio house, and I hope 2012 brings answers , and we're able to move on and make the best out of the situation.  I know that we're so so lucky to have all we do have, and I have to try my hardest to stay positive and realize it could be much worse.

To end the year, how about two photos of the most adorable kiddos around?  The weather here has been gorgeous, so we got to spend some time outside yesterday and I captured a lot of beautiful shots, but these are my favorites.  Happy New Year, everyone!  

Dec 30, 2011

A New Toy

So, I treated myself (thanks to my Swagbucks gift cards for Amazon) to a new little toy and I was so excited to get it and try it out.  It's called a Lightscoop and you can find it at Amazon or at  Basically, it's a device that you use with your flash, so it deflects the light from the flash off the ceiling or wall.  That way, you can still use your flash to try to eliminate blur, but it won't be the harsh, bright white that I hate so much.  
When it came, I told Gavin I had to try it out, so he was my model...  
This was the first shot, with just my pop-up flash.

And then I put my Lightscoop on, and came the shot came out like this....
I was immediately in love!  But I will say, it doesn't always work perfectly and sometimes it ends up too dark.  I'm not sure if it's because my ceilings are too high, but I'm still playing with it.  It was only $25, much much cheaper than a Speedlite, which can be upwards of a couple hundred dollars.  Quite a steal, even if it doesn't work 100% of the time in my opinion! 

Dec 29, 2011

Santa Came!!

It's amazing how special Christmas morning is through the eyes of your child.  Riley didn't get the whole Santa thing, but boy did Gavin!  He was so excited and it just made the whole morning magical.  Can you blame him when this is what he sees when he wakes up??? 

 He was in shock that he actually got the Mighty Eagle (or seagull, according to Gavin) and Pickle Pop (which is the name Gavin gave that toucan a long time ago...)  

 It took a little convincing, but he finally was interested in opening other presents, not just making boards for the eagle to knock down. 

 Riley was wide awake the whole time, and loved watching Gavin unwrap his presents and hers!

 I really <3 watching the two of them play together, and seeing Gavin help Riley with her new table was so sweet.  We told him how he had one just like it when he was little, and so he took on the role of teacher and showed her all the ways the table worked.  Made my heart smile!

 Riley got a new bath tub for Christmas and we're really excited about it.  She too big for the baby bathtub, so I've been bathing her in the kitchen sink, but since she isn't sitting up on her own and she squirms so much, we're worried she's going to hit her head of something when she's going through her splashing fits.  This inflatable duck tub is really cool because she can lean back and relax comfortably and still have enough water in it!

 And isn't this outfit just the cutest?  I loved this onesie my mom sent for Riley, but since there were these adorable ruffles around her legs, I couldn't put pants on her, so I found these super cute baby legs for her to wear, and I just LOVED how she looked on Christmas day...until she had a poop blowout.  Oh what fun!
 The weather didn't cooperate at all for a 'white Christmas.'  In fact, it was like 58-60 degrees and super sunny, so we spent some time in the afternoon playing outside with Gavin's new soccer goal.  We had a lot of fun playing, me and Gavin versus Daddy.  :)

We missed all of you in Ohio!  Hope everyone had a great Christmas.

Dec 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Christmas Eve 2011

Christmas was wonderful this year.  Gavin was so into everything, and having our sweet Riley here with us this year just made everything that much better.  It started bright and early with our morning wake up call from Gavin.  He and Daddy headed out for their Christmas Eve donut date and brought me home some yummy donuts.  We spent the morning getting some chores around the house done and baths taken care of, and then Gavin and I (with Riley watching) made a batch of cookies for Santa!

After naps, we made a wonderful dinner - Jarrod grilled bacon-wrapped filet mignon {AMAZING!}, we tried a new stuffing recipe {eh...not my fave}, and we roasted cauliflower {delicious!}  Then we Skyped with our families back home and let Gavin open a few more gifts that they had sent here.  Gavin got a new soccer goal from my family and a new wall clock for his room from Memaw.  I also was able to 'give' my parents a really belated 50th birthday present while we were skyping.  When we were home for Thanksgiving, I had us take a family picture and told them they didn't turn out, but really I had it enlarged for them and turned into a 16x20 canvas.  I felt bad that I didn't get them much of anything for such a big birthday, so this was my way of making it up to them.  Thanks, Megan, for picking it up for me!

After we Skyped, it was time for our family photo.  This is a tradition I started during Gavin's second Christmas, when we were in NY and away from our family for the first time at the holidays.  I decided that on Christmas Eve, before we opened presents, I'd set the self-timer and get a family photo of us in front of the tree.  Most of the time it takes several shots, and this one isn't even my most favorite (Gavin looks a little out of focus to me), but it was the best of the 20 that we took! 

Then it was time for the kids to open presents from Jarrod and me.  When Gavin was a baby, I read a poem online and it's stuck with me ever since.  They get 'something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.'  It makes to easy to pick out what we want to give them and what we let Santa bring.

Kisses for Sister after opening the gift she picked out for him - Angry Bird Magnets!


The 'something to wear' gift is always going to be pajamas.  I originally wanted them to be Christmas pajamas, but Gavin saw some Muppet pajamas that he really wanted, so I decided to get them for him and found Riley some coordinating ones.  His are Kermit the Frog, and hers have Miss Piggy and Kermit on them.  

After the kids were asleep, Santa's elves were really busy making cinnamon rolls for the next morning and all the other important things we had to do before bed....wink, wink!  It was a long, tiring day, but was filled with wonderful memories.  


Need a house?

Our Dayton home is available to rent!  We're hoping to find someone sooner than later, so if you're reading this and know of anyone that might be interested, please let me know!

Dec 27, 2011

5 Months Old!

I have so much to blog about!  But first things first...someone turned 5 months old yesterday and I didn't get around to posting her pictures.  :)

Riley Savannah is 5 months old.  It's amazing how fast time is going.  Riley is about 14.5-15 lbs right now and is almost out of her size 2 diapers.  (We've tried a few different types of diapers lately because of some blowouts, but I think we're going to try Huggies Little Movers when she gets to size 3.)  She's wearing 3-6 month clothes still, with lots of cute headbands, of course! Her vocal cords are getting a workout these days with all her squeals and screams!  She's a very loud little lady. 

 We're really lucky that Riley is a good sleeper.  She's in a routine of falling asleep for a catnap around 7 or 8, and then usually down for good around 9:30 and sleeps until about 4am usually.  She was doing a great job sleeping in her crib until the past few nights, when she wakes up crying after only a few minutes and ends up in the Rock and Play back in our room.  

She's still not taking a bottle, so my Tastefully Simple parties have definitely suffered because of that.  I feel like I'm not having as many parties as I could because of the bottle issue, and I'm torn between thinking 'that's ok...she's only a baby once and we won't deal with this forever,' and 'I really need this momentum to keep going!'  We'll get there...  She's nursing on demand and has recently started having solids in the evening.  We started with oatmeal a few weeks ago, and it took her a while to get the hang of it, but she likes it now.  I'm making her baby food, and so far she's had avocado and sweet potatoes, and loved them both.  I hope she's always a good eater!

These pictures are perfect to show one of her favorite hobbies...sucking on her fingers!  She constantly has things in her mouth - her hands, our hands, her blanket, her bib...she's even tried Gavin's fingers, but he didn't think that was too fun.  She's not teething yet, just likes to have things in her mouth.

She really loves her Bumbo seat and has recently tried sitting up with the help of her Boppy.  She has rolled both ways (more from back to belly) but doesn't do it very often.  Gavin is the funniest person in the world according to Riley!  Sometimes he doesn't even do anything, but she cracks up.  Some of her favorite toys right now include Sophie the Giraffe, her Snowman, and the rattle we have strapped to her high chair.  Bathtime continues to be one of her favorite times, and she loves being tickled.  :)

Riley, we all love you very much, especially your big brother.  He had so much fun opening your presents for Christmas and showing you what you got from Santa.  You're big eyes and contagious smile make us all so happy.  You make our family feel so much more complete, and we love you more than we could have imagined.