Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Sadly, this post is in dedication to my paternal grandfather, who passed away this morning after a long hard battle with Parkinson's Disease. 

John Leo Brawford
September 21, 1936 - January 31, 2012

Grandpa John was the last of my grandfathers with us. As I mentioned, he had battled Parkinson's Disease for years, so my family and I are finding solace now in the fact that he has been released from the unreliable body that the disease had slowly claimed. 

Parkinson's is truly is an awful disease that most recently - between the actual decline of motor function and medications - had robbed him of his ability to speak. But not to think. His sense of humor, commentary and quick wit was still present and obvious in his eyes, though he couldn't always get his point out verbally in more than a whisper.

I will unwaveringly remember my grandfather as the man that I knew him as when he was still able to communicate those thoughts. He was a sharp man, quick to tease and bestow funny comments on everyone and anyone whom he happened to meet. He always gave the best (read: annoying to parents) presents that made tons of noise and were nothing but fun. I will always incorporate the memories of others into my mental image of him as well. 

Growing up, I heard stories of the young man I never knew - the young man who flirted and sang, was athletic and handsome as he graced ice skating and roller skating rinks. It was easy to imagine when I looked at the photo of a young John Leo Brawford in his Air Force uniform that hung in our hallway when I was growing up. 

We had some warning that his health was declining lately, so I have been making my peace with his passing for a while now. In reflection about the inevitability of his passing, I thought for a long time about how different the experiences of extended family are across generations. I was privileged enough to meet, know and develop relationships with three grandfathers and one of my great grandfathers. My first grandfather to pass didn't leave us until I was a junior in high school. My great-grandfather passed away just a few years ago when I was in graduate school.

While I know that my daughter's grandfathers will be around for a long, long time - you hear me grandfathers? - it does make me sad that she will never know her great grandfathers. I always felt so privileged and amazed to hear stories from my own great grandfather. And it was just that, a privilege. 

Evelyn did get to meet Grandpa John this summer when we visited Wisconsin. I wish that she would have gotten to spend more time with him, though if it were a perfect world, she also would have been able to develop a relationship with him with no disease to get in the way.

Just as I incorporate memories from others into the man that he will always be in my mind, I hope to give my daughter that same portrait of the man who held her and smiled so proudly when she was just a month old. 

Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and I know that he is in a better place, but to keep others from this same awful disease, we have to find effective treatment, or better yet, a cure. If you would like to learn more about Parkinson's research here and here are some good places to visit on the web.

New Obsession

Marketing Genius.

That's what this is.

Have you heard of these new things, these "auctions" on Facebook?

I am obsessed. Specifically with "Smocked Auctions". I love smocked clothes on a little kid (I blame my time in Georgia). But, they are typically SO expensive. Like, ridiculous. Well, this business out of Dallas, has a genius marketing strategy to sell every.single.item. in their inventory, twice a week.

What is smocked clothing? Oh, honey. Bless your heart.

This, this is an adorable smocked dress that would be PERFECT for the 4th of July, or any little girl whose daddy is in the Navy. Like mine. Sigh.

What you do is "like" the group or page or whatever on Facebook. The on Tuesdays and Thursdays CST, they have an auction. But, how do you have an auction on Facebook, you might be wondering?

I was confused at first too.

They post pictures, "previews" all day - like of that lovely up there, and then everybody gets "on" at the designated time. They post the pictures again, with a list of sizes and how many they have in each size and the price. The first however many people to comment under the picture with their size, until they run out, "win" that item. They invoice you through paypal, and you are good to go, free shipping, on its way to your door.

Usually the items are $35-$40, which is really a reasonable price with free shipping for smocked items.

Or so I tell myself.

AND they usually have bubbles for sale. What is a bubble? This is a bubble.

And this is how a little girl wears a bubble.

I die of cuteness overload. Perfect summer outfit, amirite?

We may or may not already have a few items for this summer. And seeing as bothe the anchor motif and the strawberry one that I have posted here are up for bidding tonight, we may have more on their way soon.

I really didn't think I would be quite so into this, but as I sat there a few weeks ago, ready to bid, I started feeling adrenaline rush through my body - the thrill of the hunt! And as I saw my name appear, against hundreds of others, as the very first comment below the dress I really wanted, I threw my hands up in the air in triumph!

My husband, sitting next to me on the couch noted dryly, "Just what you need, competitive spending."

These women are genius, I tell ya, genius.

Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and you can learn all about this if you are really interested here - http://www.smockedauctions.com/

...though I can't believe I am sharing this and increasing the competition.

...Oh, they have boy stuff too, for those of you out there with sweet little men.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Naptime - a photo essay.

Oh hey Mom, that sure was a great feeding. I am nice and full...

Wait, why am I in my crib...
and my blankie and Little Blue are here...
wait a minute...

No way! You have got to be kidding me! Not nap time!

Oh I get it, you think I am tired! 
But look! I'm not! Look how happy I am!

See? Look! I'll even be silly!

You wouldn't really leave a cute baby like this in her crib, to SLEEP, would you?

Look how high I can make my eyebrows go up! I am SO awake!

Wait, where are you going? Why are you over there?

Blue, I think she's serious. I think she wants us to nap!

Don't leave us in here to SLEEP! 

Oh man. Blue, it's not working!

But, I don't wannnnnna nap!

Mom, I swear, I am not even the tiniest bit sleepy.

You don't know me at all, lady.

I am most unhappy. This is ridiculous.

And I am not rubbing my eyes because I am tired. 
I want it noted.

Seriously, you are the absolute worst.

I am not tired! At all!

What do I have to do to make you understand, this?

I will suck on my own arm for comfort because you have made me so miserable.

Happy now?

Blue, dude, I think she is seriously leaving us to sleep.

But, moooooooommmmmm. 
I'm really...not...even...


Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and this is a real nap was brought to you by one tired baby and one momma who thinks her kiddo is hilarious.

Friday, January 27, 2012

P.S. I made it.

Since the last two days have been somewhat mushy posts, today I bring you some EYE CANDY! At least, I hope it is eye candy. I love it, so hopefully you will too.

A few weeks back, I started shopping around the inter webs for a shelf to put in Evelyn's room. Not just any shelf though, a shelf I could hang her growing collection of jackets, coats and hats upon.

(Yup, I just used 'upon' instead of plain old 'on'. I may have been reading a little Jane Austen lately. Swoon.)

Anywho, I couldn't really find anything that I loved. AND THEN. Hold up, wait a minute, something I liked on Etsy! Who would have thought? I never find anything I love on there. (Can you hear the dripping sarcasm? Is that coming through here?)

So, I liked the shelf, but I wasn't in love. I didn't really love the hooks, and I didn't really love any of the colors...and the size wasn't just perfect. With plaster walls in our house, I hate hanging anything I don't l-o-v-e because it's not as easy to patch up holes and move on to something else as it is with drywall.

Plus, it was $35. Which isn't awful. But then $15 in shipping too? $50 for something I don't absolutely love? Maybe in a past life. But not now.

So I decided to make my own.


I know.

With wood and drills and a few trips to the hardware store and everything.

And I made it the size I want, and the color I want, and everything. CUSTOM shelf, for round about $25.

So here's the shelf. Please excuse the Target stuff still in the frames, I have to figure out which photos to stick in em, but was too excited to share.

So there it is.


Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and the title of this post was inspired by a new blog I love.

A. It is DIY CUTE stuff.
B. I went through a huge "p.s." phase in college
C. Did I mention this stuff is adorbs?

Check out P.S. I made this

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Mother's Heart

I wrote this post this weekend while waiting for the announcement of the birth of my friend's daughter. And now she is here, and life is grand. Here's to you little Miss Adrienne Marie. And to your momma, Sherlby Marle. Because I love you both.

As I write this post, one of my best friends in the whole world is in labor. Like, right now. In the hospital.

And when I say "friend," I mean that we have known each other since we were tweens (a term that didn't even exist then) all through the awkward years and on into college. We lived in the worst house ever freshman year, with the worst roommates (who weren't each other) ever in existence, and their gross dogs, and their fleas (the dogs', not the roommates). And then we lived together again later in college when we had risen above all of that mess and were presidents of our respective sororities at the same time and dealing with all that drama, I mean awesomeness. We have been bridesmaids together for our friends, and bridesmaids for one another, and are now military wives and mothers together.

Between the last few hours of conversing with her about being in labor, and the fact that I just got home from my first night away from my own sweet girl (and had nothing but time on the road to think about things) I am a bit of an emotional mess.

I am just so darn happy for her, and excited for all the change that is about to come.

I mean, I used to be excited for my friends when they had babies. But, I can't help it. I am so much more excited for my friends now than I was before. Now that I have experienced those feelings myself, well, there certainly is no going back.

Every time I find myself getting misty about some cute little thing or memory of my own birth story or whatever, I think of that scene in Gone With the Wind...

Scarlett....Can it be possible that--

Can what be possible, Rhett?

That you've grown a woman's heart? A real woman's heart.

I have, Rhett. I know I have.

(Spoiler alert - she was playing him.)

I always sort of chuckle to myself when I get emotional and think of that scene. Maybe I finally have a woman's heart. A real woman's heart. Whatever that means. 

The truth of the matter is, nothing quite changes your heart like becoming a mother. At least, nothing I have yet encountered. You always see the crazy emotional reactions on tv and movies of that moment when the baby finally arrives and everyone is just overcome by happiness and emotions.

And you wonder, "Will it really be like that?"

Well, yes, sometimes it is. 

From the moment you start down the path toward motherhood, however that looks for you, your heart quietly begins to grow. It begins making room for the love that will someday flood into every available nook and cranny. And then that love will stretch and grow and push against those walls that have already done so much growing, and make your heart even bigger as time goes on.

Sometimes that flooding moment does happen the very second the baby arrives. 

Sometimes it happens the first time that you see the two pink lines on that test, those lines that you have been hoping and praying for and waiting so long to see.

Sometimes it happens a few weeks after your little bundle arrives, suddenly in the calm of a moment, after you already think there must be something wrong with you because where.is.your.moment.already, and when you least expect it.

Sometimes it happens when you are waiting for the call that yes, it is official and indeed, that baby really is yours to have and love forever and ever.

Regardless of when it happens, it does happen, and you are forever changed, because now, you are someone's mother.

You worry and love in equal measures, and those measures are large. Stereotypes begin coming true in your own life. For me, that means I will never be a deep sleeper again, or at least not for a long time (like when my kids are grown and have kids of their own and have stopped their wild ways...hopefully).

It also means there are now days where I don't wear makeup, or do my hair, or get out of my pajamas. Not because I am depressed, but because I am busy playing with and loving on my little bug. 

Even when I do get frazzled and annoyed by little things, I can flip my attitude in a half a heartbeat, because those things seem so minute when I glance over to see a big gummy smile or baby giggle coming at me, or those big blue eyes staring at something simple in wonder and amazement. Those moments fly, and they build you up and break your heart at the same time.

And there it is, in short, I think I do in fact have a mother's heart.

Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and she is so excited to meet her new friend Adrienne. If they are half as cool as their moms, they will be the best of friends in no time. Love ya Sherbs. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waxing Sentimental

On the day that my baby girl hit six months old, and we did our little celebration with her daddy and I, I got all sentimental after putting her to bed and went and read her birth story.

Sidenote: Advice to all moms-to-be or those who are already moms who never wrote a brith story - WRITE ONE. I am so glad that I got down all the details that I remembered right after the fact. (Something I dismally failed at for my wedding...two years later and my wedding blog recaps are still "in draft." Ooops.)

Again I got all teary-eyed reminiscing on that feeling when I finally saw my little love for the first time. I already loved her so much and yet had no idea how much I was going to love her now.

I also reflected on the fact that I had at least 12 or so typos in that novella of a story, but then I got tired (it was late!) so never went back to fix them. Maybe next time I read the story. Forgive me.

In the spirit of that sentimentality, I realized that there were a few forgotten birth story moments that I never shared, or, er, corrected.

See, first of all, if you read my birth story, you know that I *claimed* there was no one else in the elevator with us as we went up to the L&D floor at the hospital. Turned out, there was. My sister in law pointed out to me that there were three other people in the elevator! Welp, I guess that is some serious labor haze for you. Try and try as I might to remember those folks, I absolutely cannot even remember their presence, let alone their faces. Apparently they wished us good luck on our day, so I hope I said thanks at the time and if not, they didn't find me rude - lady in labor!

The other things that I forgot to include are my first observations of my darlin' girl. When she first came out, I suddenly understood what the phrase "bow-shaped lips" really meant. Girl had perfect bow shaped lips. Still does. Two perfect little points at the top of her lip, and a full bottom one. They were a little swollen from birth upon arrival, so were a little plumper then, and I was instantly in love with those lips.

I also noted, upon seconds after her birth that Ev had detached earlobes! I hadn't even consciously known that I was looking out for that. I have detached earlobes also, but her daddy has attached. Literally, one of the very first things I said to A after she was out was, "Look! She has detached earlobes! She can wear earrings!" (Not that you can't if you have attached earlobes, I was just delirious with happiness.)

So those are my forgotten moments of Ev's birthday. And now I must go get my big, chunky cheeked, detached earlobed, perfectly plump lipped baby girl up from her nap, as she is calling out to me from her crib. 

Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and I get the biggest smiles when I go in to get her from her morning nap.

Monday, January 23, 2012

We survived.

Welp, I did my first overnight away, and we all survived.


I kid, I kid.

I did just fine, and was glad to be able to spend some unanticipated time with my friends. Complete with a snow storm! Yay!

And daddy and daughter did just fine themselves.

Did she go to bed a little later than normal? Sure. Did she get to skip her bath? Yup. Is she being a little clingy to her Mama Bear because I was gone for a whole day? Absolutely.

(Secret - I don't mind that much. Shocking, I know.)

I got the biggest smile when I walked in the door and she reached her little arms out for me. She is nursing a little longer than normal, and she fusses whenever I am slightly too far away for her liking, but no permanent damage, George.

Ha. Name that movie!!

We are settling back in quite nicely. And I'm not even so worried about the next time.

Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and it was sort of nice to rip the band aid off of "the first night away" at the last minute instead of planning for it for weeks in advance. In case you were wondering.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bathing Beauty

Happy Friday everyone!

I am heading out tonight to my very first overnight away from my little bug, to celebrate my dear friend Kat who is onto some new adventures.

I realized that I have not updated on sleep training when my friend asked me about it this morning - it is going GREAT and I will be back with more details soon, but in the meantime, one of the biggest things is establishing a bedtime routine. Part of our routine is bath time.

And my girl looks so darn cute when bathing.

I promised myself I would never put naked pictures of my baby up here, 
but she's being nice and modest, so, here we are.

After bath, she gets all wrapped up in her hooded towel for some after bath snacking, and her dad usually hands her to me saying, "These are not the droids you are looking for."

Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and I am half excited and half scared out of my mind to be away from my little love tonight. This is normal, right?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Well, I am officially that kind of mom.

I did it. I threw my kid a half birthday party.

Now, in my own defense. I didn't know this was a *thing* when my sister and I came up with it one day. We just figured it would be super cute, and we would do something small - have the grandparents over for dinner, you know.

Welp, when I googled ideas for foods I could serve in halves (as you do), I came across TONS of pictures of all this cute over-the-top stuff people had done for their kiddos! Then I really felt like an underachiever (damn my competitive spirit). Alas, it was already the day of the party, nay, dinner, so I didn't have time to whip everything into super mode. The word of the day was casual.

I still think it came out pretty cute though.

I don't claim to be a great baker or decorator. But, look - it's a half of a cake! Get it?

Menu: Hamburgers (that were supposed to be served in halves, but husband didn't get the memo), Twice Baked Potatoes, halved, naturally, and Broccoli Slaw.

The "birthday" girl noshed on some tomatoes (BLW style) and ate a bit of homemade Butternut Squash puree. Also, she drank some water out of both cups there. 

The elusive "old lady face."
And, she was naked under that bib. See her clothes on the piano behind her?

Evelyn is six months old

...and I know she ate some of the tomatoes, as I was, erm, blessed (?) enough to find some tomato seeds in her diaper the next morning. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It started small.

A few times, when we would go in to get Evelyn out of her crib, or to check on her in the middle of the night, we would find that she had twisted herself sideways, or even upside down.

She had been rolling for a while, but only ever one flip at a time. And then she was tired and over it.

But then.

She started rolling back to front and then onto her back again in a line to reach a toy or two that was slightly out of reach.

And then we started finding her upside down or sideways every time we came to grab her out of her crib.

And then, the other day. Or last week. Or sometime since Christmas.

(My days blur, forgive me.)

I put her in the middle of the living room floor, with some toys, while I ran to empty the dishwasher. Nothing around her that could fall or hurt her. You know, I am a good mom like that.

Then, about five minutes later, I heard a little cry. A whimper of frustration, and then quickly that whimper turned into a wail.

I walked into the living room, only to drop my jaw, as I saw that my little lady had rolled herself all the way across the floor to land herself at a 45 degree angle against our built in bookshelves in the living room. Approximately 4 or 5 feet from where I had left her.

I momentarily thought about grabbing a camera to document, but the second she saw me, she really lost it.

I ran over and scooped her up, as proud of her as I was afraid.

I have a mobile baby.

Lord help me.

Evelyn is six months old

...and she only likes rolling in one direction, so I anticipate this getting stuck against things...thing...happening very often. Le sigh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Still Here!

Today, I am here,  hanging out and playing with my HOW DID YOU GET SO GROWN UP LOOKING ALREADY baby.

We were out of town this weekend, and even though we had a great time, we were gone...so I am recovering. So is our house. And my poor little teething and congested baby.

Evelyn is six months old

...and thanks Aunt Lindsey for that strawberry!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Six Months

Miss Evelyn,

Welp, you are getting this letter a day late, because you didn't want to give your momma any time to write it yesterday! You and your daddy have both been a little under the weather, and while it was crazy at times to take care of you both - you guys were awfully cute cuddled up all snot-nosed together on the couch.

You have had such a big month! Your first Christmas and first New Year's all this month. We went on your first airplane - technically four of them - to travel to Wisconsin to be with my side of the family. You had your first snowfall while you were up there too! Not too much of it, but enough to grab some pictures. You even helped open your own presents, though you just wanted to rip the paper to put it in your mouth.

You are now a rolling machine, though you are still pretty unhappy about the whole thing. You especially do not like it when you roll yourself over onto your stomach to get a toy. Tummy time may never be your thing my little lady. You are sitting up on your own now, and standing when leaning against things, like the ottoman in the living room. You are scooting yourself around too, how I have no idea, but whenever I put you one place and turn around you have spun yourself around or scootched somewhere else. Your hand-eye coordination is amazing, and you are grabbing everything in sight that you want...which is pretty much everything. I can't believe how big you are getting!

This month we have started sleep shaping too, which has been a little rough on mommy and daddy. We don't like to see or hear you cry, but you have been pretty unhappy about the new no-nursing-to-sleep rule. You have recently come out on the other side of that though and are sleeping like a champ!

We have started a bed-time routine which includes story time, and your parents are having so much fun reading baby nonsense books. After a baby book at bed time, we hang out quietly for a while and daddy reads for a little bit from some novels, for mommy and daddy story time. And then, you hit the hay, round about 8 or so. You have been sleeping in till about 7 or 7:30 which is awesome.

You did already have some solid foods, and you are going to have more tonight! You have gnawed away on a piece of cauliflower and some bread, and tonight we are going with some squash puree, and maybe a few chunky solids so we can continue feeling out baby led weaning. You are still really drolly, but those teeth haven't popped out yet. We bought you some sippy cups, both with little straws and without, and you have figured out how to use them both! We figured you wouldn't have too much trouble with straws, since you are always trying to grab ours, but we weren't sure. You don't seem too fond of the water that was in the cups though! I think we will try a little breast milk next time.

You are definitely finding your voice, and are really just the smiliest, happiest baby. You are a huge flirt whenever we go out in public and flash big ol' gummy smiles at everyone you meet. Sometimes it is even hard for me to get things done because everyone wants to have a conversation about how adorable you are! You keep the tantrums and unhappiness a secret from everyone except mommy and daddy, you little sneaky baby, you.

You recognize familiar faces and flash them all a big smile when they come your way. I do have to say that it is somewhat adorable how much you are hugging us back lately, throwing your chubby little arms around our necks when we pick you up and hug you. And your little baby giggle doesn't hurt either.

You are just the most lovable thing. And we love you like crazy. Even the puppy is warming up to your presence now. He lets you pet him and grab his hair and ears, and he even licked your cute little face a couple of times this month.

I cannot believe you are a big six months old! You bring so many smiles to my face, bug.

All my love,


Evelyn Rae is six months old

...and we may or may not be having a "half-birthday" dinner for her tonight.