Monday, February 28, 2011

Must Have Monday: Sound Machine

Hey everyone! Did yall have a good weekend? It was beautiful here in SC & we surpassed 80 degrees for the 1st time this year! Feb about that? How did you get out & about to enjoy the warm weather? We did some yard work & even found some time to swing outside!!

But, the weekend passed all too quickly, as it always does, and brought yet another Monday. But we're almost through with this tough day! Monday now means Must Have Monday & today's item is:

The Sound Sleeper

Some say that you shouldn't start any bedtime/sleeping routines that you can't keep up. This is an easy one that I don't mind at all. I actually like the sounds it makes & they lull me to sleep as well. We turn the volume all the way up & on the nights that we have forgotten to turn it on, she has woken up in the middle of the night. We investigated sound machines & read lots of consumer reviews before purchasing one. Although this is not the prettiest product, we LOVE it. The best thing of all is that you do not have to have it on a timer. If you so choose, which we do, you can leave it on all.night.long. The great majority of others only have timed options. This would not work for our little girl. The other nice thing is that it has so many sound options. A range of things from Womb sounds to birds chirping to ocean waves to thunder. You can also choose a "mixture" option which is what I typically put it on which allows you to merge 2 sounds. I usually put it on womb & thunder. Sometimes we switch it up though. Kinsley Anne doesn't seem to care what the noise is, just that there is noise all night. I really can't think of a con, other than that it's not cutesy like the lamb or giraffe that I've seen. But, honestly, who really cares about that?

The above product can be purchased here.

Tomorrow is Top 2 Tuesday & then later this week I will be posting about Kinsley Anne's 4 month pediatrician appt with stats. She's a growing girl!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I was going to post a weekend recap, but yet again, I have found myself doing something else. I have recently (or in some cases, not recently) come across many blogs/caringbridges of people that are hurting, grieving, etc. Please take time, with a box of tissues by your side, to remember these families & say a few words of prayer on their behalf. I am certain that they will feel the warmth of your thoughts and prayers.

Kellie & James just experienced the sudden death of their precious 4 month old daughter while she was in care of a babysitter on Feb 17th.

5 year old Kate McRae has a brain tumor & was doing well without signs of cancer after her 1st battle with treatments. Recently, however, on a followup MRI, new signs of cancer have appeared & the family is struggling with where to proceed as they fight for their young child's life.

A Freshman at University of South Carolina, Mac Dunbar, was hit by a drunk driver, suffering extensive injuries. He is a close family friend of my coworker & although he has made improvements, he is still in ICU & has a long/hard recovery ahead of him.

It is days like today when I have cried on more than one occasion while listening/reading someone else's trials, that I realize how abundantly blessed my life is. The St. Jude's Radio-Thon is on the local country station & I cried on the way to work & on the way to lunch listening to these parent's heartbreaking stories. I called Kyle & asked if we could go eat lunch together. Those 30 extra minutes of hubby time were so necessary today & I can't wait to go pick up my sweet girl and hug and kiss on her when I'm done work. Why? None other than because God has blessed me with the ability to do so. Each day is a gift, we need to more often remember that & treat it as such.

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday: Things You've Learned from Parents/Grandparents

Taylor, at The Undomestic Momma, is hosting Top 2 Tuesday as she does every week. Last week, she took a break from the "Top 2 Things You've Learned..." series for the Grammys. However, we are back at it this week & this week's topic is.......

Top 2 Things You've Learned From Your Parents &/or Grandparents

{1} "This too shall pass..." My mom says it to me all of the time. She always has said it for as long as I can remember. It's a simple saying with a big meaning. When you're stressing out about your high school crush, more than likely, the drama will pass soon. When you're freaking out about the right shade of coral flower for your wedding bouquet, in the end, does it really matter? When you're exhausted because your sweet infant child decides to play every hour all night long, she kindly reminds me that soon I will only wish that I could hold her and rock her all night long. I think that it is important to always remember in life that time moves quickly & waits on nobody. Try not to stress about the little stuff. Cherish each and every moment because worrying about tomorrow doesn't allow much time to enjoy today.

{2} It takes a lifetime to build trust & just one bad decision to destroy it. My Dad used to tell my sister & I this frequently and it really is so true. Trust is not something that's built overnight. It takes a lot of time & patience. However, to lose trust, it really only takes 1 little lie or some deception and you're right back at square one, trying to rebuild.

Other things I have learned from them...

Thank you Mom, Dad, Nanny, Pop Pop, Grandmom, & Grandpop for being such positive, strong influences on my life.

Also, Kinsley Anne is much better today. She has not had fever (>100.5) in 24 hours. She is back at "school" today & I started my day not so well. I got up late & was rushing to give her breathing treatments, check her temp, get her dressed, and get out the door. Nonetheless, I was about 15 minutes late dropping her off, and when I went into her classroom, the teacher said "would you like Kinsley's picture taken today?" She explained that it was picture day (I apparently missed the memo by being out yesterday) & it was all I could do not to have a meltdown. My being late caused her to not be wearing a bow. Will she still love me even if she's near-bald, without a bow, in her first ever school picture?! I know, I need to get over it. But this day started rough. I told them to go ahead with the picture & we'll see how they turn out. She's cute with or without a bow anyway! Mama loves you Kinsley Anne!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Monday, February 21, 2011

Must Have Monday

Happy Monday!
Ours started off a little iffy. Kinsley Anne started running a fever yesterday afternoon & it continued last night and this morning. She is coughing & snotty-nosed all over again, so we have restarted her Xopenex on top of her daily Advair. We are also still doing saline & bulb syringe for her nose. She will hopefully be a much happier/healthier baby tomorrow.

Anyway, moving onto Must Have Monday.

Today's must-have item is: Chicco Cortina Travel System - Discovery

Picking a stroller/travel system was one of my more challenging to-do items for our registry. I went back in forth between two or three. I reviewed Consumer Reports as well as baby blogs, babies r us consumer reviews, etc. I finally decided on this Chicco system & am so glad that I did! I also love a few of the other color combinations that this stroller comes in.
The pros are:
-The fabric is easy to wipe down.
-The car seat is fabulous. Easy to install in the car & on the stroller.
-The stroller is easy to collapse & open with 1 hand
-The stroller handle is adjustable for all height people to push.
-The stroller storage basket is large - I have put my oversized purse & a large cooler that holds up to 6 bottles in it at once.
-When compared to other brands, the shade on both the car seat & stroller are much hardier than competitors.
-There is an option to get a car seat that holds up to a 30lb child. Personally, I did not opt for this set-up because I would not be able to tote a 30lb kid around, but's out there if you want it!
-You can buy extra bases for $80 (or less if you bargain shop) for the car seat. We have one in Kyle's truck, my SUV, and Nonie's SUV (Kyle's mom).
-Nonie & I joke that this is an all-terrain stroller as we have taken long walks over gravel, uneven sidewalks, etc & the wheels did great!
The cons are:
-The basket is hard to access when the seat is reclined (side note: the seat must be reclined for the car seat to be put in place as a part of the travel system)
-Not sure that this is really a con, as it would be the case with any travel system, but the stroller is bulky in the back of my SUV.

As always, I hope this helps!
Until Next Time..
Love, Jen
ps- I promise, I want to do a recap post about this weekend. I have some good pics from the dog show on Saturday. I will do this on Wednesday...Top 2 Tuesday tomorrow. It's another good one!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kinsley Anne @ 4 months..

Kinsley Anne,

Today you are 4 months old. How time flies when you're having fun! In the last month you have developed & changed so much. You are an incredible joy to be around & are such a good baby. People are amazed all of the time because we don't have to change our schedule to "deal" with you. You go with the flow, eat wherever we are, and smile and giggle at the people around. Long story, but we've switched to a new pediatrician. They are in my building at work which is super convenient & we go see them next Friday for your 4 month well visit with shots :( I think you will like them. It's an all-girl group of docs!! Anyway, here is what you are doing at 4 months...
  • You are wearing size 2 Pampers swaddlers.

  • You are wearing 0-3 & 3 month onesies but wear mostly 6 month pants now. If an outfit is "one-piece" it needs to be 6 months for the length. You are a long baby!!

  • You are still a barefoot baby. Thankfully, the weather is warm (mid to upper 70s this weekend) so I don't look like such a bad mom for letting you be sock-free.

  • You let me put all your bows on. I feel like you're half-naked without a bow on your head. I usually let you go bow-free at daycare though. They end up taking it off of you for your naps, anyway.

  • You still love car rides and stay awake during most of them. You just look out of the corner of your eyes and watch the world go by. You talk to your baby einstein peacock that hangs from your carseat in the car now, too.

  • You dislike laying horizontally while awake. You think you are a big girl & always want to sit upright so that you can see what's going on around you.

  • You also like to "stand" on our laps & look around. If you see something that interests you, you lean wayyyyy forward to get a closer look.
  • You smile consistently & it's a biggg gummy smile with tongue and all. You are learning your laugh & voice and it is the cutest sound. When you let out giggles, you make me giggle & it's the funniest cycle. There is no sweeter sound in this world than baby laughter.
  • You are very expressive and when you smile, your entire face lights up. When you are about to cry, you turn your bottom lip out and give the most pitiful face. You muster up all of the sadness in your sweet body and let it out. If you are very "into" what someone is saying to you, you raise your eyebrows and your eyes get really big. I love watching you learn your facial muscles.
  • You also have found your hands and feet. It looks like you are going to be a thumbsucker. You currently put much of your hand in your mouth all at once and lick it, but I think you'll learn to suck your thumb soon. You like watching your toes move.
  • You typically take 2-3 good longer naps (1+ hours) per day & have 2-3 smaller 10-30 minute naps as well.

  • You love showers & baths.

  • We still swaddle you at night & you wake up if you get yourself out of the swaddle.

  • You are not swaddled for naps.

  • You have consistently been sleeping through the night since your 3 month birthday. Your longest stretch was almost 10 hours. This was the first night after your breathing treatment. I think you were just happy to be breathing without difficulty.

  • On a "bad night" you wake up around 3:30 or 4:30am & sometimes just want your paci. Very rarely, you want to eat then.

  • You typically get hungry for your big nighttime bottle (with rice cereal) at 8:30-9pm & whenever you get sleepy after that, you let us know with some fussiness. We swaddle you, love on you, then put you in your bed. You typically talk or cry for 2-3 minutes and then get quiet, look around, and put yourself to sleep when you're ready.

  • You are still sleeping in the pack n play, located in the family room that's outside of our master bedroom. This helps your mom & dad sleep through the "little" noises that you make but we can still hear you if you cry.

  • On weekday mornings, mommy wakes you up at 6:30am, loves on you, talks to you, feeds you, loves on you, gives you your inhaler (which you now take Advair 2 puffs twice daily as maintenance), unswaddles you, loves on you some more, then gets you dressed for the day. I get you in your carseat & head to your school!

  • You love school. Everyday the teachers tell me how happy of a baby you are. You sit in the bouncy, bumbo, rocker, or on the floor mat & talk to everyone, smile at them, and laugh at them. They rarely tell me that you're fussy, even when you're sick.

  • You are the happiest sick baby. You had your first case of bronchiolitis & required breathing treatments because of your breathing difficulties & smiled as you wheezed. You do NOT like getting the inhaler mask put on your face, but it's over quickly & you're back to smiling in no time. Mommy is hoping that you get used to the inhaler quickly.

  • You are loving your Bumbo seat so much. Mom & Dad put you in it every evening while they eat supper & we all watch Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy together. Mommy says you're already smart because you talk to the TV trying to tell the contestants the right answers.

  • Mommy and Daddy went away this past weekend & got to spend time together while you went to see your Nonie & Poppy. You seemed to love it & didn't miss a beat. Maybe we'll do it again sometime soon. I think you will love getting to know both sets of your grandparents. They're all pretty great people & we think you'll be spoiled by both of them...I bet you won't compain ;)

My babydoll Kinsley Anne, I prayed for you for a long time & told my parents that I wanted lots of babies when I was a kid. Now my time has come to hold you & love on you & raise you. Now, rather than praying for a child, I pray that I can raise you to be a wonderful young lady. You bring so much warmth & sunshine into your daddy & my life and we have already been so blessed by your presence. I don't know why God chose us to be the lucky parents for you but we are very thankful to Him for it. We think you are the most beautiful litte girl we have ever laid eyes on and are excited to see you grow up but are trying to cherish each & every moment that we have been given with you. We love you now & forever, to the moon..and back. Love, Your Mama

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

ps- new pictures to come soon! please excuse if I don't post the rest of the weekend. We have a busy one planned with a dog show tomorrow morning & helping to move Kyle's great aunt/uncle. I'll be sure to do an update Sunday evening/Monday with the happenings of our weekend! Hope everyone enjoys the milder weather this weekend!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Apologies & Mini-Getaway continued..

My apologies for no Top 2 Tuesday post this week. Yesterday, I had to go to UNC-Chapel Hill for a followup visit with my GI doc. I got a great report, my UC is still in remission. I asked about "surveillance colonoscopies" and the news I got was that according to research, if you are flare-free, you can go 8 years from the time of diagnosis before having your next colonoscopy. This means fall 2016 is going to be my next colonoscopy, because I will remain symptom-free!!! Lucky for me, I had a travel buddy for my 7+ hrs on the road...Kinsley Anne! She did great on the trip up, as I had fed her immediately before getting in the car, so she slept most of the way. She woke up just in time for us to pull into the parking garage so I fed her when we got there. She was a happy, smiling, talkative little girl during my appointment & also took a nap while there. I fed her about 20 minutes before getting in the car to go home, but she decided that she was way beyond "over" being in the car & cried about 1/3 or more of the ride home. I even stopped at one point to feed her, but that only satisfied her temporarily. Don't worry sweet girl, mama was done being in the car too!

Anyway, back to our trip to I left off saying that we were greeted by the most wonderful looking room ever! We made a quick shopping trip in the Biltmore Village before checking into the hotel & Monkee's was having a great sale! So many great items were calling my name....especially these. But I resisted in an effort to be nice to our bank account. Kyle did buy me some taupe booties as a Valentine's gift, though. I have such a sweet man in my life!

After checking in, we just relaxed in our room for a little while. I played on the interactive TV (I've never used one before and I'm certain that they're probably several thousand dollars, but would love to have one one day!!) & soaked in the tub. Then, we got ready to go out and drove downtown in search of a place to eat. We ended up walking all over, including through an art gallery set up in an old Woolworth store, listening to some street bands, and then deciding on what to eat. We eventually settled on sushi/Japanese and ate at Wasabi.

After supper, we walked back toward our car, but first before heading to the hotel, stopped in the Dog Bakery for some gourmet puppy cookies & Kilwin's for fudge & a caramel apple! With a happy belly, we went back to the hotel & I decided that we should go enjoy a drink downstairs. Kyle got a beer & I got a sour apple martini. That was the 1st drink that I had enjoyed in 1 full year. It tasted pretty darn good. We then went back to our room & enjoyed crawling into bed early to make the most of our baby-free sleep!!

On Sunday, we slept in, packed up, and headed over to Biltmore.

I was a little grumpy because I had a headache (probably as a result of my 1 year of alcohol freedom) so we made it a priority to eat lunch. We ate in the stable cafe where the booths were inside of old stables. The food was delicious!!

We walked around, took pictures, and then went inside to take our self-guided tour.

About an hour later & we were headed back to our car. We headed home & got to see this precious and sweet smiling face when we arrived back at Nonie & Poppy's house.

I must say that even a weekend trip is well worth it to rejuvenate your soul. Kyle & I are back on the same page, smiling more, and loving each other completely. We might just have to maket these mini-trips a habit!! :)

Until Next Time..

Love, Jen

Monday, February 14, 2011

Must Have Monday

Today's "must have" item for infanthood is the Summer SwaddleMe blanket.

If your little one is anything like Kinsley Anne, she never stops moving. Kyle's mom calls it her Jazzercise. She is constantly working her arms & legs and one would think that these movements might cease when she falls asleep. But that would only make sense. Kinsley Anne has this lovely little habit of startling for NO reason & waking herself up. Or she'll just flinch or decide she wants to kick & her eyes just pop open. It happens all the time during naps. So, we swaddled her starting with the night she came home. This has helped her immensely. On nights when we are extra tired and don't wrap as tight, she manages to get a hand out and wakes herself up. Who knows what we'll do when she outgrows these bad boys!!!!

This is a great gift for a baby shower because it something that many new moms don't think about!

I have not yet tried the Miracle Blanket, but Kyle has a cousin who uses it on their sweet boy & they also seem to like this one.

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

It's Time to Be Real

Many blogs are written about the flowers, sunshine, and rainbows in each person's life. But let's face it..everyone's life has a few rainy days here & there. So, without further ado, I will tell you about why Kyle & I just needed to find time to get away & refocus on us.

When I was about 34 weeks pregnant, my contractions started. I was in and out of the hospital until our darling Kinsley Anne was born 1.5wks later. Kinsley Anne went straight to NICU for 6 long & tiresome days. I was emotionally drained & Kyle had to be the stoic usual. Things were going pretty well other than trying to adjust to parenthood & having to go back to work & leave Kinsley Anne in the care of someone else. Then 6 weeks ago, Kinsley & I both started to get sick. I was tired & probably grumpy. Kyle then started his MBA class, which is every week. That leaves a very tired Kyle from his 13+ hour day & a very tired me for going to work & coming home to care for Kinsley by myself until bedtime. Bills started streaming in from my labor & delivery, Kinsley's NICU stay, her CT scans, etc. I continued to be stressed about Kinsley's illness that progressively worsened over 5 weeks. I had to ignore my pediatrician's recommendations, find a new pediatrician, & ultimately rely on our pediatric pulmonologist. By no means are any of these matters earth-shattering, but it was a lot. We basically stopped talking Kyle & Jen and instead went to Mama & Daddy mode. We forgot to hug & kiss for no reason. We said "i love you" before bed & before going to work. We fell into a that I didn't particularly enjoy. We both shared responsibility & fortunately, we weren't blaming each other for the problems we were having.

So, Kyle started investigating his hotel rewards points from when he was living in China. He had oodles of points that we hadn't used. He secretly looked into places that we could go...someplace nice. He chose the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, NC. He asked his mom when she was available to babysit Kinsley for an overnight & decided that this past weekend was our go-date. So, he surprised me with a mini-getaway. IT WAS FABULOUS.

We focused on us. love. being together. showing affection to one another. just because. talking. life. smiling. All of it was just what we needed. I can't emphasize to you how much it meant for just 48 hours to get away from the stress of our routine life & just relax. We reconnected in ways that I couldn't have even hoped for.

From the moment we drove up to our valet-only hotel, we were treated with such respect. A "Welcome James [my husband's real first name] & congratulations on your Gold Status" awaited us at the front desk. We were asked numerous times if we needed help with our luggage. Thehy showed us how to get to our room...and this is what awaited us upstairs.....

It was perfect. I kept saying that the room reminded me of a spa. Kyle thought that it reminded him of an Old World European hunting lodge. The serene blue walls, soaking tub with jacuzzi jets, rainfall shower head, bronze fixtures, antler chandeliers, and original artwork hanging on the wall accented by spotlights added up to the perfect resting place for Kyle & I.

There is more on our amazing mini-getaway in a post to come (probably on Wednesday).

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Friday, February 11, 2011

Miracle Drug & Matthew West..

FYI: You may want to turn my blog page music off to avoid a clash of sounds!

First, I took Kinsley Anne to the pulmonologist yesterday & was so glad I did. By the time I picked her up at daycare she was pretty much constantly coughing & you could hear her breathing from a mile away. I also felt like she was breathing hard, as evidenced by her mild retractions (pulling in right above the belly to get more air). The pulmonologist asked me what's been going on and he said to the respiratory therapists that he wanted a flu & RSV test, saline & suction, & breathing treatment. So, poor Kinsley endured all of the above with lots of screaming & tears, but she felt SO much better afterward. She did not cough for 2.5 hours after her Xopenex treatment....a true miracle!! :) We, again, gave her a treatment at 10pm because her coughing started to get bad again & she slept through the night & when I left for work this AM, she was still sound asleep. She was so happy to be able to breathe again, I'm sure!! The RSV & flu came back negative, thankfully, so she has bronchiolitis but we're not sure why. It goes to show you that mama's always need to listen to their instincts. If you think your child is sick, fight to get something done! Thanks for your prayers & we are just so happy that she is on the mend.

And I will leave you with this treasure to listen to..I am kind of obsessed with this song.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stuffy, Crusty, Wheezy, Oh My..

When you are greeted by the daycare teacher in the morning with, "Is her pulmonology appointment today? Because we don't like that noise that she's making..." you know that they are thinking that she shouldn't be in school...Kinsley is stuffy, wheezy, and coughing....coughing so hard & often that she projectile vomits frequently. Yesterday on the way in to daycare, she soaked her outfit. If I had wrung it out, I certainly would have made a puddle on the floor. Her wheezy cry is possibly the most pitiful noise in this world & there's nothing I can do for her. She has been congested for 5 weeks & I have been told twice (make that 3 times if you include the time we went to the pedi for thrush) that it is "just a cold" or "just a virus." Viruses don't typically last 5 weeks though!!! Grrr. We have tried saline & bulb syringe, Tylenol, decongestant drops (with the OK of the doc), cool mist humidifiers, steamy showers, propped bed, etc. There is really nothing more that we can do without a prescription. After I was told on Tuesday that she still "just had a virus," I called our pulmonologist & asked if there was anything we could do for her. He wanted to see her, so we go today. I hope & pray that there is something to at least treat her symptoms. A course of antibiotics, breathing treatments, something. Otherwise, I may end up in tears watching her be miserable, just like I did on Monday night. I would love to keep my babygirl at home with me, but if they are not going to treat her with anything, then I can't just sit at home & wait for this to get better on its own. After all, she hasn't had a fever in 1.5 weeks.

{this pic was taken at Aunt Katy's house}

Anyone else out there a healthcare provider of some sort and a mommy? PA, NP, MD, RN? It does not matter at all that we do this day in & day out...when it is your child, you can't stand to see them suffer one moment longer than they have to. Please Help me pray that they will do something for her!! & that she will get over this fast. If nothing more than for my peace of mind that I am doing all that I can for her.

Thank you!
Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday: Things You've Learned About Blogging

Taylor, the host of Top 2 Tuesday, is in the midst of a "Top 2 Things You've Learned About.." series & I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's posts about last weeks topic. However, I am even more excited to read this week's posts!!!
Today's topic is: Top 2 Things You've Learned About Blogging

{1} Stay true to yourself. Rather than trying to impress thousands of readers, write from your heart. If you think something might be helpful to others, share it. But don't center your posts around things you think others might enjoy. From reading many blogs myself, I think you can tell when someone is being genuine in their writing. You can get a true sense of who somebody is just by reading about their life & ultimately, my blog is for journal & track things going on in our life. Things that are interesting to us at that very point in life. It's also for me to meet friends & keep entertained, but ultimately it should always be what I want to write about. I sometimes fall off of the bandwagon with this, but it's something I try to do.

{2} Don't get discouraged by the number of "followers" you have. If you are enjoying your blogging adventure, keep at it. Oh, and by the way, you probably have way more phantom regular readers than actual signed-up followers. I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "oh I read your blog today & I was thinking of you" or "I read your blog today and it made me laugh so hard" by people who are not signed up as a follower. So, keep your chin up & just write. Your post might be the sunshine in someone's day & you may never know about it. But always let blogging be the sunshine in your own day.

My runner-up is that some uber talented people out there in the blogging world are kind enough to design free blog templates. No, not just backgrounds, but templates. They include the background, sidebar titles, headers, etc. They take the expensive aspect AND the frustrating aspects out of designing your blog! I may have to redesign my blog again...soon.

Until Next Time..Love, Jen

Monday, February 7, 2011

Must Have Monday

I am making an attempt at starting a new "tradition" on my blog. I will try to discuss {at least} one item that is a "must have" in our life right now. Lots of these things will probably be baby-related. I found this blog very helpful while I was pregnant because she often highlighted many baby items that she had bought/received & liked. She was very thorough in her descriptions and it occasionally helped me make a decision about what to buy. There are just so many items that are marketed as "must-haves" that you end up with far more than you really need. Hopefully this helps any of you new or expectant mamas out there!!

Without further ado, I will start today with 2 items, both baby-related.

{1} Bouncy Seat

We chose the Bright Starts InGenuity Automatic Bouncer - Bella Vista. This was purchased from Target. This was purchased by my soon-to-be sister-in-law & longtime friend, Ashley. It has been a super item to have because it is easy to move from room to room or from upstairs to downstairs. When we first brought her home from the NICU, she hated laying in the cradle, so we had to resort to the bouncy many nights just to get a few hours of rest. The features we like is that you can turn the bouncy on 2 different speeds (we always turn it on the lower setting) & you can also turn on music/nature sounds. Kinsley, for some reason, is soothed by the noise being on even if there is also a TV or radio going at the same time. The downside to the bouncy is that it is on a timer, so Kinsley Anne frequently falls asleep to the bouncy & may start to wake up when the bouncing stops so we have to quickly turn it back on before she fully wakes up. All in all, we love this & would recommend it to anyone with a baby on the way!!!

{2} Bumbo

This is our most recent baby purchase, bought at Babies 'R' Us. They can also be found at Buy Buy Baby & Target. We find that Kinsley thinks that she is a "big girl" and while wide awake, she frequently fusses if you have her reclined back against you or try to hold her so that she is laying down. She wants to be sitting upright or "standing." My husband and I were debating, do we spend the money on both a Bumbo and an exersaucer or do we just painstakingly wait it out and buy the exersaucer when she's ready for it? Well, we decided to buy the Bumbo and we are SO glad. She can frequently be found sitting in her Bumbo on the kitchen counter while I cook, sitting in the Bumbo mesmerized by the TV while I clean (yes, I know..I'm already a bad mom), or sitting in the Bumbo watching all of the commotion going on around her. She obviously, at her age, can only stand sitting in it for ~30 minutes and then she gets tired & fussy, but those are 30 precious minutes of accomplishment!! The Bumbo seats come in pink, blue, purple, green, and teal. We decided on green so that it would be gender neutral for a future child (and for borrowing purposes when my sister one day has children, right Katy?). We also like that the Bumbo has an available tray for ~$10 that attaches when they're ready to attempt cereal feeds.

Tomorrow's post: Top 2 Tuesday! It's a good one!!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp & Grits is a staple of the south. Grits has actually been named as South Carolina's state food. In the bill introduced in SC, it said:

Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grits mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as Charleston's The Post & Courier proclaimed in 1952, "An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace."

Sort of like football, life without grits may be unimaginable for some. There's all types...instant, stone ground, cheese, and more. There are all types of sauces for shrimp & grits as well (cajun, creole, cajun cream, etc) & it becomes somewhat of an adventure for people who like them to order it at every restaurant that serves it just to compare. Anyway...I have eyed the dish for about 8 years now but never ordered it. Yes, that's correct. I've lived here almost a decade & haven't tasted them. Sort of unheard of for a girl that loves to eat as much as me. Well, I got brave & ordered it on Friday night. And ooooo-weeee, I have been missing out! I think I will officially join in with all of the others that order them everywhere they go. Seriously, they were SO DELICIOUS. My dish was from Liberty Tap Room. They were country club grits with a cajun cream sauce & had shrimp, andouille sausage, peppers, and onions in it. Let the taste testing adventure begin..

What about you? What is that one food that you order no matter where you go? Maybe it's just because you love it. Maybe it's to compare one place to another.

The other food I do this with is She Crab Soup.

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday: Friendship

Tuesday, we meet again..Head to Taylor's blog, The Undomestic Momma to join us on our Top 2 Tuesday adventure. I am really excited about the "series" of Top 2's that we're starting (Things You've Learned About..) & this week's topic is:

Top 2 Things You've Learned About Friendship

{1} Without a doubt, the single most important thing to me is that friendship is not about convenience. You must make an effort & make time for friendship to work. Just like marriage, if you neglect the details, your friendship may crumble. Yes, yes..most would say that in a true friendship, you can go years without talking & pick up right where you left off when you resume. This may be true, but I think that it is so important to call "just because." Text the person to let them know you're thinking about them. Or ask if you can drop by for 30 minutes, just to say hi. Life gets hectic, for sure I know that! But, I have attempted to make a point to "not forget" my friends when I was dating, got married, or even had Kinsley Anne. There are times when I need a friend, other than Kyle, to talk to.. & when those times come, I do not want to stand up, look around, and see all my friends gone because I didn't make the time for them.

{2} Evaluate what really matters. We all make mistakes & for the most part, you just need to be the bigger person & move on. However, when it's time to toss in the towel, don't forget to see that too. I have been burned countless times trying to see the good in people & I typically err on the side of forgiving & forgetting. However, there have also been times when I know that I can't "forget" and that's when it's time to just call it quits. When you know that if the so-called friendship continues, you will always be saying to yourself, Remember when they did this-and-that to you? then it's just not fair to you or to them to continue with the relationship. Friendships take effort, as said in #1, but they shouldn't be a constant source of strife.

To all of my friends, close & far, thank you. For teaching me these lessons & for making me a better person. I love yall!!!

Until Next Time..
Love, Jen