Thursday, April 30, 2015

Meeting Annalise

Dear Annalise,

My sweet, beautiful niece, we met for the first time yesterday.  I know it's not everyday that an aunt will get to write down and explain to her niece what it was like to meet her, know her when she was brand new, and express the love that was overwhelming and instant.  But... I will try.

From the very beginning, your parents were over-the-moon excited that they were going to have a baby.  When they went to find out if you were a boy or a girl, your dad wore pink all day because he just knew that you were going to be a girl (and your mommy was hoping and praying you were a girl).  When they were told that their sweet, little baby was going to be a girl, they could not have been more excited.

As the months before your arrival continued; your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins all grew more excited to meet you and welcome you with love into our family.  A few weeks before you were supposed to be born, your parents found out you were turned upside down and you would have to come a little early.  This caused a whirlwind of excitement, planning, and a hurry up and wait sense of urgency.

With your mom's help, I planned to fly to Atlanta to meet you the day after you were born.  We didn't tell your dad because we wanted to surprise him. 
*Annalise, side note for the future- your mom and I are sneaky :)

I flew to Atlanta and went to the hospital to meet you.  Below are pictures from our time together.

When I walked into your hospital room, you were having your first professional photo shoot
(My first thoughts when I saw you: You are so little, you are so cute, I can't wait to hold you)

 Your dad loves you so much!
I took this picture and got so emotional.  
To see my brother holding his daughter is so special and I am so 
happy I made the trip to meet you sweet Annalise.

 I am pretty sure this smile didn't leave my face all day.

Your mom and dad are so in love with you.
I think this is one of your first family photos.

Your parents gave out these suckers to people that came to meet you

 I brought you these balloons because my niece needed some balloons :)

 I brought you these flowers too because you needed flowers

 Your dad got this for the door to your hospital room

And he filled out all of your information :)

I think he likes you

 You love snuggling on your mommy

And... your mine again!  Hehehe :)

Your mommy has the cutest outfits for you.

 When I first held, I took this picture with your dad

And right before I left, I took this picture with your mom

Sweet Annalise, I cannot wait to see you grow from a little baby into a young girl and then a teenager and a young woman.  I know life is going to have great things for you and I cannot wait to see you experience all that this world has to offer.

I promise you that I will always be here for you.  
I promise that I will always love you.
I promise that I will always have time for you.
I promise to help guide you, love you, and set a good example for you.

Thank you for making me an aunt.  

Love always,

Aunt Abby

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Go-to, easy dinners

Last week we enjoyed a few dinners that are on our regular rotation for go-to dinners we all enjoy.
It was a busy week and we needed food fast on some nights.
Below, I will include the recipes.

On Sunday afternoon, I made baked creamy spaghetti in the crock pot.
We enjoyed this with a side salad.
We had leftovers for dinner on Monday night.

On Tuesday night, we had roasted ranch pork chops, organic mac n' cheese, and green beans.

On Wednesday night, we had grilled bbq chicken, corn, and a side salad.
To make: Marinade chicken all day in favorite sauce.  
Grill until ready.

On Thursday night, we enjoyed pasta and meatballs.
*I always make a quick, easy dinner on Thursday because Elizabeth has swim lessons before dinner

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Forts, a wedding, and some toy stealing

This weekend was a whirlwind of travel and fun (for Ben) and lots of time with the ladies, celebrating, and fun (for me). 
 Friday night before bed we played on the floor.

 Elizabeth is very into Caroline's baby toys.

 Saturday morning, we went to the gym 
and then came home and made a fort.

 Elizabeth insisted we take pictures inside the fort.

Our fort.

Saturday afternoon, I attended my friends Cathy and Darren's wedding.  It was at one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been to with gorgeous stained glass windows everywhere (I really really love stained glass).

*On a side note- I want to give another thank you shout out to all of my fabulous babysitters from Saturday.  Ben had plans for a year to go camping this weekend, and I was afraid I would have to miss Cathy and Darren's wedding, but thankfully- Jessica, Noah, and Laura all volunteered to keep the girls so I could attend the wedding and the reception.  Thank you all again (and again!).

 The alter 
(there is a peek of the blue stained glass above the alter- love it!)

 Cathy and her dad 

 Cathy's dress is GORGEOUS!
And... she wore her mother's cape from 50 years ago!
Swoon!  Swoon!  Swoon!
I love lace and she was the most beautiful bride!

 You can't tell from my blurry photo, 
but Cathy and Darren have the biggest smiles on their faces.

 They are married!  Yay!
Such a fabulous couple!

 At the reception- Me, Cathy, and Jen
Look at that lace detail, LOVE!

 After some major dancing, we paused for a photo.
Me, Debbie, and Jen

Sunday was a day of recovery.  :)
The girls and I hung out in the morning and after Caroline's morning nap we went out to lunch and then the grocery store.  As soon as we pulled into the driveway from the grocery store, Ben arrived home from camping.  He had a great time (and smelled a lot like campfire).

 Sunday morning smiles

For the following photos, look at Caroline, 
she made these moves in about 10 seconds while I snapped the pictures:

 Elizabeth is oblivious that Caroline is about to take her toys :)

We had such a wonderful weekend around here and I hope you did too.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Seven Months Old

Dear Caroline,

You are seven months old today!

You are my sweet, fabulous girl that is a ray of sunshine all of the time.  You smile at us all day and have even started smiling at strangers.

You still wake up happy in the morning and lay in bed and coo until we come to get you.  You wake up around 7am and then nap around 9am or 9:30am until 11am.  You nap again around 1:30pm until 3:30pm or 4pm.

We think you weigh around 20 pounds and you are about 27 inches long.  You wear 9 and 12-month onsies and dresses and 12-month pants.  

You still take 4-5 bottles a day and have started eating more baby food.  Your favorite foods are bananas and apples, and you did not like pears at all.  In this next month we are going to start giving you food twice a day.

You have started crawling everywhere and when you don't crawl, you roll.  You love to play with all of your musical toys, but will gladly trade them in for your sister's toys.  You still enjoy your stationary player, but you prefer to be on the floor roaming around.

We are still working on getting you to sit-up, and you still appear not interested.  You would much rather be crawling and rolling. 

This month you did a lot! 
You celebrated your first Easter, met your new cousins, went to your first winery, and started going to a new gym day care.  You also took your first train ride in the mall, went to the trampoline park, went to the zoo for the second time, and have had multiple lunch dates.  You have also been on many walks around the neighborhood.

You are growing fast my sweet girl and we are loving every minute with you!

 You crawled and played with your toys...

 Every. Single. Day.

 You smiled a lot.

You celebrated Easter for the first time.
 Easter morning after Church

 Dad and his girls

 Happy Easter!

 You got to hang out with your cousin, Jen

 And enjoyed your time with Scot

You met your new cousin

 Train ride at the mall

 Watching Elizabeth at the trampoline park

 Walking around the neighborhood

Playing on the driveway

 You played dress up for the first time

 Two pretty princesses

 We hung around the house

You are so cute!

Seven months!

We love you so much our sweet baby girl.


Mom and Dad