Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Celebration

I have been insanely busy with work and being out of town that I haven't had a chance to upload pictures and blog about Connor's first birthday party. it goes...

Keith and I decided that we would take any money that would typically go to the usual birthday party funds (you know, streamers, invitations, decor, etc, etc) and put that towards getting the yard ready for the party since it was going to be at our house.

Keith worked like a mad man getting the yard to look it's best (and it looks amazing!) and I got busy on the back deck by making pillows and getting plants arranged just where I wanted them. We also hung lights and Keith's handy torches made out of wine bottles were attached to the posts. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of these things. (oops!) But, I do have fun pictures of the birthday boy and all of our family and friends who came over. We definitely had a great time celebrating Connor's first year of his life as well as Mommy and Daddy's first year as parents.

Yep...He's 1

Playing cornhole

The Birthday Boy

The BBQ pit (Keith worked hard to get it ready)

Mommy and the birthday boy!

Grandma Edwards with Connor

We survived the first year!!!

We are parents to a one year old - WHAT?!

You know...just playing in the rocks

Aunt Stasi and a fussy boy. But, it's his party and he can cry if he wants to. 

Grandma Estep and the fussy birthday boy.

Singing "Happy Birthday"

This didn't go quite the way we had pictured it

Ready for a bath

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mini vaca with the Estep girls

Things have been insanely busy to say the least. A couple weeks ago, my mom and sister, Stasi, decided to take a trip to visit my aunt and uncle in ATL. We packed the car with luggage, kids, and snacks and were on our way. It was so nice to get away for a few days and have some quality time with the Estep girls.

Our itinerary was booked full of fun things and we were exhausted when we got back. My aunt and uncle were the perfect hosts! They truly are the sweetest and funniest people I know! Our weekend consisted of antique shopping (a favorite in our family), going to see the Goats on the Roof (yes, it's a real place and yes, they are on a roof), delicious food, and going to the ATL mall.

And of course, a trip with kids wouldn't be one without a little bit of drama. Let's just say that one night of dinner consisted of this mama partaking in everyone else's free wine tasting, a floor covered in cheerios and veggie straws, and two bread baskets filled to the top with vomit. Don't worry, I didn't take any pictures. But, here are a few pictures we did take!

Connor with the goats when we went to Goats on the Roof

Avery and Kaitlyn petting the goats

He loved that bear

Avery, Stasi, Kaitlyn, and me!

Me and Connor on the goofy looking goat

This is how we roll around the mall

First carousel ride on the ferocious tiger

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Connor!

This time last year, I was in labor and about to meet this little person who had been occupying my abdomen for the last 40 weeks. Keith and I were anxious, excited, nervous, and a bit scared. At 5:25pm, our precious baby boy made his entrance into the world and our hearts. 

The new Daddy, Mommy and cone head baby boy

The old saying is completely true, "some days seem to never end, but the years fly by." I like to equate the first year with a new child to the first year of marriage. It's challenging, rewarding, everybody is learning new things about how to relate to one another, etc, etc. This past year has encompassed all of these. It has been one of the toughest years of my life, but also the most rewarding. We definitely could not have survived without lots of prayer, guidance and wisdom from the Lord, encouraging and helpful family members and friends, and lots of prayer (Oh, did I already mention that?). 

We don't have much planned for his birthday today. However, we did manage to spend the entire morning at the doctor's office. Poor little guy has a stye :( However, he is still full of smiles, laughs and energy! I am excited about his party this weekend. We have family and a few friends coming to help us celebrate the first year we have survived as parents of our sweet little guy.

It has been so neat watching my baby grow into a little boy. He is so much fun! I look forward to this new adventure of raising a toddler. 

3 weeks old (photo by Visio Photography)

1 year old (photo by Katy Cook Photography)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cleaning out more than just closets

A couple weeks ago I decided that it was time to start getting our "catch all" room in order and finally turned into an office so I can spread out all my work somewhere other than the dining room table.

I started by cleaning out the closet under the stairs (literally, the only storage space we have) in order to get rid of things we haven't used in the last four years in order to make room for some of our things that have just landed in the "office". This is what my downstairs looks like now and we have even thrown some things away and separated items into other rooms (don't judge me).

Connor has also been a huge help by either throwing papers and pictures around the room that I have neatly placed in the trash pile or entertaining himself by climbing into Norah's crate.

Speaking of papers and pictures to be thrown away. Keith and I both came across these items that contain our past friendships, memories with family, and relationships. I'm not sure why we kept these things for so long, but I'm guessing we just didn't realize we still had them. However, it was now time to clean out more than just our closet under the stairs. It was time to clean out items from our past that aren't needed anymore. We recognize these past relationships and friendships were all part of making us who we are today, and we appreciate that. However, we don't need their faces in packed away boxes in order to remind us of this. As we uncovered these artifacts, Keith found a gold mine. Yep, you guessed it, old love notes from middle school! I must say, these were hilarious!!! We both sat there and took turns reading a few out loud to one another using voice inflection, fluttery eyes and lots of emotion. And then, we would laugh hysterically.

Now, I'm not against keeping some pictures from past experiences with someone of the opposite gender such as prom pictures such as this one

Yes, this is my husband before going to the 8th grade dance. He wanted to throw this amazing jewel away! I told him that we must keep it! It will be great to pull out one day to show our kids what a goofball handsome guy their dad was in middle school :)

Have you done any spring/summer cleaning lately? Any organization tips you can share?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We Love to Dance!

It is no secret that I love to dance! Am I very technical? Not at all. But, I have fun tossing my arms in the air and shaking my body all of the place. Not only is it a great workout, but Connor loves to watch me make a fool of myself every day. Yes, I dance every day.

Sometimes, Connor will join in with his crazy mama by holding onto his crib and shaking his head around while bouncing up and down. He even has some sweet arm movements that he throws out there to spice things up a bit.

My favorite dances, though, consist of holding Connor in my arms while we dance around the living room. It doesn't matter what song is on or if it is a tune that came to my head. He and I both just smile and enjoy the moment. The sweetest moment we have had while dancing happened this week (and this mama needed it since I've been dealing with a cranky teething baby boy). While dancing around the dining room to a sweet slow song coming from a Pandora station, we danced hand in hand and cheek to cheek. All of a sudden, he took his face away from mine and when I went to look at him, he planted a big wet kiss on my lips! My heart melted and all the whining and crying immediately seemed worth it.

Insanity update

I am now officially halfway through the Insanity program. This is bittersweet for me. I am excited that I am so close to tackling this insane (pun intended) workout. But, I am also sad because I won't know what to do next. I guess I'll just have to start over!

Well, the first month started out tough, but gradually got easier as my body adapted to the workouts of max cardio and interval training. I love pushing my body as far as it can go!

This week has started month two of the workouts. They have proven to push me even further than I ever thought I could go. They are super tough! And, they have increased to one hour workouts, which means I have a short window in my day that I can get this workout done.

Here are my stats at the halfway mark.

Pounds lost: 5
inches lost: 1" (waist), 1.5" (hips), 3/4" (right leg), 1/2" (left leg)

So far I am really happy with how I feel and look. I am learning more about healthy eating and hope to start posting some of the recipes that we enjoy every day. So, be on the lookout!

What is your favorite workout? Favorite healthy recipe? 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Independence Day

Happy (day late) Independence Day!! I hope your day was filled with lots of fun, friends, family, and freedom :)

Keith had the "day off" yesterday and spent his entire day out in the heat working on the yard. This man is filled with hard work and determination. He goes to work every day and comes home to work hard in the yard to get it looking beautiful! I don't give him enough praise for all the hard work he does for our family, but especially out in the yard. I despise yard work. So, I am beyond thankful for the work he puts into our yard to make it look the way it does. I will post some before and after pics in a later blog post.

Back to our holiday events.

Connor and I spent the afternoon shopping. Now, you know this is not an item on my hobby list. I am just not a fan of spending hours going from store to store only to find over-priced items that I refuse to buy regardless of how amazing it would look in my house. I stand there contemplating if I could make it myself, but then I'm brought back to reality when my child begins standing up in the cart (where he was safely buckled in just moments before) and reaching for items outside of the cart. Who am I kidding?! I don't have time to make anything. I then proceed to put it back on the shelf and put my child safely back in his buckled seat.

Yesterday, however, was a different experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my shopping experience. Only because I found some great deals! My mission for the day: patio cushions and pillows.

Connor and I began our journey at TJMaxx/Home Goods. I found an extended hose attachment for about $2 (clearance item) and one of those pretty side tables/garden stool for $40 (they retail for $80+). It is similar to the one below. I have had my eye on one of these tables for quite some time so you can imagine my excitement when I found for such a great price! I was beginning to feel hopeful about my shopping adventure.

Stop number two (and was initially going to be our last) was Lowe's. They had a few pillows, but none that I felt were worth the money were on sale. Feeling a bit defeated, we decided to make a trip to Target. I hit the jackpot!!

I went immediately to the back corner where I knew they had the outdoor items and clearance items. (Yes, I am that person that walks straight to the back of the store while diverting my eyes from all the retail items at the front). These are the items I found:

outdoor patio coffee table - retails for $114 and I got it on clearance for $34
Christmas lights - 6 boxes on clearance for $2.50/ea
2 large pillows for the back deck - $8/ea

And of course a few items from the dollar bins. I mean...who can really resist the dollar bins?! I managed to get out of there with all of this for $77!!! That is a steal for Target when I normally can't leave without spending more than $100! 

I was feeling lucky and decided to make one more stop at Walmart. We made our way straight to the garden department without even entering the  front doors where all the fun, tempting toys are for little boys (and girls). An extremely helpful employee greeted me while I was looking at cushions and did some price checking for me. All the cushions are 20% off! This is a great thing for me since I have a built in bench on my back deck that is 120" long; therefore, making it nearly impossible to find cushions that fit. After searching for a while and not finding anything that would work and then pricing out all the materials for me to make one (yeah right..remember the child in the cart scenario?), I had given up on a seat cushion and opted for just putting pillows on it to make it a little prettier. But, I found a couple cushions at Walmart that would fit almost perfectly and couldn't pass it up since they were 20% off. I also got a few cans of Cutter Bee and Wasp Spray that I only had to pay tax on. (Price - $1 with coupon on back of can for $1 off = pay tax only!). I got three seat cushions and three cans of the spray for $113! 

Once I got home and shared all the great things I found with Keith, I realized that it was the first 4th of July that we weren't with family or friends doing all the festive things you normally do (lake, cook out, play games, etc). I was a little sad at this thought. We decided we would do our own thing and begin some new traditions for our little family. 

We went downtown to watch the fireworks and fight the crowds. Connor loved watching all the fireworks and pretty lights :) I will leave you with a few pictures of our evening. 

I was excited about eating a hot dog since our Insanity diet won't allow any of that delicious fair food

Connor was moving all the rocks onto our blanket. He must have been watching his daddy do this out in the yard.

Family photo (these self-photos never turn out good)

Disclaimer: These next photos were taken by Keith and he was playing with the settings on the camera. This is why the color looks funny.

Connor sharing his veggie straws with Mommy 

Pulling EVERYTHING out of the stroller and throwing it onto the ground. We haven't quite learned how to put things back yet. We'll get there...I hope. 

Connor and Daddy watching the fireworks

What did you do to celebrate America's birthday? Have you found any good deals at the store lately? I'd love to know!