Category Archives: parenting

{TWO Fabulous} Minnie Mouse 2nd Birthday Party

In the blink of an eye… Claire is TWO!

Claire loves Minnie Mouse, so we celebrated her second birthday with a small Minnie Mouse-themed birthday party at our house.

Can I eat one now?

Last year, for her fabulous flamingo first birthday party, we made most of the decorations. This year, I ordered the main things off of Etsy! It was so much less overwhelming, and came out super cute!

The “Happy Birthday” banner came from Etsy, although apparently the store I got it from no longer exists. I love that it has the Disney font, and the colors were perfect.


I also got Claire’s super cute, personalized shirt from Etsy. It came from a different store but matched perfectly with her banner and the cups (I didn’t get a good picture of those) that I ordered.

This party was so much fun to plan. Since we had it at our house (and Claire is only 2…) we wanted to keep it small and invited family and a couple of friends. But that didn’t stop me from having fun with the food!

Pinterest has a ton of great ideas for kids’ birthday parties (like I needed another reason to devote all my time to scrolling through pins), so I found a bunch of ideas and saved them to a Minnie Mouse birthday party board. The food was pretty simple, but it was a hit! {I got the designs for the food place cards off Etsy too!}

Donald's Donut Holes

Donald’s Donut Holes were devoured. I got up at 6:00 that Saturday morning to go to a local donut shop for those.

Goofy's Goldfish

Goofy’s Goldfish were almost all gone. Claire loves gold fish. I got the multi-colored version to make it extra special.

Daisy's Garden Veggies

Daisy’s Garden Veggies were delicious … it was just some carrots, celery, broccoli and cucumbers that I got fresh from Publix. With ranch dressing of course!

Figaro's Fancy Fruit

And Figaro’s Fancy Fruit added some more healthy bites to the spread.

Clubhouse Chicken Nuggets

Clubhouse Chicken Nuggets were clearly craved, as not one was left! The chicken nuggets and fruit came from Chick-fil-a (duh).

Mickey's Mac & Cheese

And, of course, we had to have Mickey’s Mac & Cheese, as that is Claire’s favorite food.

Tickle Me Pink Lemonade

We washed it all down with Tickle Me Pink punch. This was raspberry lemonade from Publix.

Oreos - aka Minnie ears

For those of us with a sweet tooth, we had some oreos. But the star of the show was…

Minnie's Amazing Cupcakes

Minnie’s Amazing Cupcakes! Baked by moi, but decorated with the help of a talented friend.

Claire and everyone had a great time swimming in the pool, eating the yummy food … and opening presents, of course!


Then, it was time to eat cupcakes!

This is fun!

All in all, a great birthday party for a great little girl.



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12 Months!

Claire is officially one.year.old!

Sneak peak of Claire’s Flamingo First Birthday!


  • 21 pounds
  • 28 inches long
  • 4 teeth (two top and two bottom)
  • Words: mama, dada, baa (bath), daa (dog)

What an amazing, chaotic, stressful, joyful, love-filled, trying, quick and fantastic year it has been. Claire has added such joy and so much love in our lives. It so great to watch her grow and learn new things. And, she gets more beautiful by the day! 🙂

Fresh and clean


I mean, wow! Her hair has gotten a lot lighter. It was very dark when she was born, and now it looks reddish/blondish when the light hits it. It really is incredible how much babies grow + learn in their first year of life!

Claire + Charlie: Best Friends

Claire LOVES Charlie. She hasn’t quite learned how to pet him yet, but she loves to touch him and chase him. She laughs so much at him these days.

She has to be around him. She’s tried to crawl into his bed, and one of her favorite “toys” is his kennel. DSC_0477

One of Claire’s favorite things is to feed Charlie. Not his food; her food! It’s adorable.

More Faves

Claires loves to pull up and “cruise” on/around everything.
She enjoys playing with her spoons. Plastic spoons are life savers when we’re eating out. IMG_1911

And my purse – how she loves to go through my purse!
She still enjoys the pool, and being held in general 🙂 IMG_1918

OK, you wouldn’t know it from this picture, but she does love ice cream. This was the first time she had a bite of ice cream. It was at Chick-fil-a (of course!) and she resisted at first, and she didn’t love the cold bite. But when David finally got her to try some, she LOVED it. She is her mother’s daughter.

First vacation without Claire
David and I took our first vacation since Claire was born this past month, and we didn’t take her with us! We escaped for a 3-day Bahamas cruise, and David’s parents kept Claire. We’re so thankful for their willingness to help and their love for Claire!

One of the photos we received while we were on vacation. Happy + playing! 

We all survived, but we did check in frequently (when we had Internet/cellular data access).

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11 Months!

Wow! Claire is already 11 months old. That means the countdown to 1 is one!
11 months!


This month has been significant in terms of Claire’s development. I don’t know how much she weights or how long she is, but boy has she become fun and even more mobile!

Claire loves music, and her toys that play music. She started “dancing” which is adorable. She’ll wave her arms, and also bounce up and down when she’s standing.

She also learned how to say “no.” No idea where that came from, but it’s one of her favorite things!

OH. And she decided she’s ready to PUSH her walker! Of course, she pushes her walker into the wall or a piece of furniture.


Claire continues to eat 5 oz bottles 4 times per day. She also eats a smaller 2-3oz bottle before bed.

We’ve been giving her more pureed food — different brands and combinations. She does not like textured food. Any kind of chunkiness gets spit out. It’s hilarious! But she’s starting to enjoy foods other than fruit — veggies, pureed meats, etc.

She also started to feed herself food other than bottles. She used to do everything BUT put a piece of food in her mouth, but now she is slowly but surely starting to feed herself solids and chew and mash. By the way, baby cookies are GROSS.


Claire has been in the pool a couple more times. At times, she acts a little unsure about it, but as long as we are close (and she’s had a good nap), she enjoys the water.

We also went to a couple of David’s kickball games. She enjoyed being outside, although she didn’t really venture off of her blanket into the grass. But she loved going through my purse!

I went on a work trip for a few days right when she turned 10 months, but she did fine. She stayed with my grandma during the day and David took care of her at night.

OH. And she got to go on stage for the first time!
Recital 2016 - 11 months
Brite Starz had their 2016 recital on June 11, and she came out onto the stage with me at the end when they introduced the teachers. It was so much fun!


Next up: Claire’s 1st Birthday!

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Baby’s First Christmas {2015}

Words really can’t describe baby’s first Christmas, so here are some pictures that give just a glimpse.

We got in the Christmas spirit right after Thanksgiving.

DSC_0385 IMG_0616

And we even went to see Santa Claus!

Claire's first Christmas photo with santa! Someone was tired, though. IMG_0455

On Christmas Eve, we went to the candlelight service at church…


…and then I made Christmas Eve dinner. We got a visit from the fire department because of the “great butter fire of 2015.” Everything was fine; it was just an accident! {And there wasn’t really a fire.}

Then came Christmas morning! We began the day with our traditional breakfast spread…

Traditional Christmas breakfast

…and then we opened presents and stockings at home!

Santa butt

Before we knew it, it was time to go to great-grandma’s house for Christmas lunch. IMG_0655

Someone got a little tired though…

Too much Christmas fun

Next up, we ventured over to the grandparents’ house! DSC_0406

DSC_0402 DSC_0419

Someone got REALLY tired…

After a bottle and a quick nap, it was time for more presents! She LOVED grabbing and pulling (& eating!) the wrapping paper and bows. Love wrapping paper


And exploring the gifts she received! DSC_0427

She even got her first (big) dolly!

First dolly!

And finally, we headed home again, where we said “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”


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The Postpartum Ailment I Didn’t Expect

Before I had Claire, I spent a lot of time reading up on what happens before, during and after labor and delivery. I perished Pinterest often, followed blogs like and The Bump. I even downloaded a couple of books.

Bleeding? Knew about that.

A stomach that still looks 6 months pregnant? Got it.

Fatigue and lack of sleep. Yup.

The postpartum injury that no one tells you about.

But I never expected what happened to me just a couple of weeks after Claire was born. None of the blogs mentioned it. My doctor never said it was possible. No preparation at all.

So what happened? I got painful tendinitis in my left wrist.

The official diagnosis is De Quervain syndrome. When I finally went to the doctor after weeks of pain (my husband made me go because he was tired of hearing me say “ow.”), as soon as I told the nurse that I had a newborn, she immediately realized what the issue was. My doctor said it’s a very common injury in postpartum women.

What does a wrist injury have to do with being postpartum? As soon as I tell other moms, they immediately realize why: when you become a mom, you also become ambidextrous. You have to use both hands to do simple tasks because you have a baby in your arms. And because I was so predominantly right-handed before Claire, using my left hand more often took its toll.

A steroid shot and a wrist brace was all it took to fix the issue. But boy was it painful — especially during diaper changes, making and washing bottles, and at random times!


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Three months!

It’s official — Claire is no longer a newborn. 😦

She doesn’t go back to the pediatrician until her four-month appointment, but I’m guessing that she weighs around 13.5 lbs. She has outgrown all of her newborn clothes, most of her 0-3 month clothes, and even some of her 3-month sized clothes are a little tight. She is growing! But I love dressing her up — she looks cute in everything, obvi, and I’m so thankful for all of the people who gave us such adorable outfits.


Claire loves to “talk” to us. She squeals and babbles; she tries to laugh; and she lights up when we go to get her up in the mornings and when we make eye contact. She is definitely developing a personality — she’s becoming playful, silly and cuter by the day!

She also loves taking walks! She enjoys the wind and the crunch of the leaves. It’s a little bit difficult maneuvering the stroller with Charlie’s leash attached, but the stroller has only ever tipped over once. 😉

Love walks with Charlie!

// big step…

Since the last update, Claire started going into the nursery at church! David and I know that our church provides quality everything, and they have a dedication to children. She first went into the nursery just a couple of days after her 2-month birthday when she was 9-weeks old. We attended the Saturday night service, and my biggest worry was making sure that she was fed beforehand, and that she would get fussy as she tends to have a nightly “witching hour.” First time in the church nursery!// church has a good check-in system, and they give parents restaurant-style pagers in case anything happens. I was looking at the pager often throughout the service, but we both were confident that she would be in good hands. And she did great! Since then, she has gone into the nursery each week, and every week the nursery volunteers tell us how sweet she is and what a joy she is!

I’ll write more about this in another post, but I think it’s great for Claire to experience the nursery — she gets to meet other babies, and gains exposure with other adults. Plus, it gives David and I a chance to pay attention to the message. 🙂

The next day, we went to our first church picnic as a family of three. Everyone ooh’d and aah’d over Claire. But we made a rookie mistake — we forgot the pacifier! But we just gave her a bottle a little early and all was fine. I didn’t get any pics when we were at the picnic, but I did capture the crankiness that ensued after! Isn’t her outfit cute 😉 Cranky//

Seminole in training!

Claire also got to wear her first FSU cheerleading outfit. 🙂 I tried to teach her the war chant and the chop, but she wasn’t having it! Seminole in training//

Meeting Aunt Whitney!

This month Claire also got to meet her “aunt” Whitney! I dressed her up in her Alice in Wonderland dress that Whitney’s family gave us.



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