Wednesday, October 31, 2012


this was finally the year that we carved pumpkins before halloween actually got here.  we put it on the calendar and made sure we had plenty of time to make dax's first jack-o-lantern.  there were several options for the first pumpkin, and a close second was an outline of his hand and foot print - but how could we resist a mighty t-rex?  so, we jotted out a little dinosaur pattern from one of dax's dinosaur stickers and added his name below it.  dax helped daddy remove the guts and even stuck his hand inside of the cut out in the back of the pumpkin.  he was not quite sure what to think of those ooey gooey guts!  we ended up with a cute little glowing dinosaur for daxy's front porch.  last year we had an "adopt" pumpkin - so we'd really come full circle!

will came home from work a little early tonight so we could snap some shots of dax in his dinosaur costume.  we got him all suited up and headed outside.  he thought the costume was pretty funny once he had it on.  he played along with us for about 20 minutes while i snapped photos and daddy played with him on the porch.  he even let us take a video clip of him roaring in his outfit.  however, when he was done with the costume - he wanted that dino head off of his own head.  he tugged and pulled at the dino head and urged us to remove that crazy thing!  we got him out of the costume and back into his skeleton pj's so he could eat dinner and be ready for trick-or-treaters.  will and i are both in love of that photo of him looking in the window.  he learned to pull himself up into a standing position today, so its great to have this little pic as a timely reminder of this milestone.

dax helped us pass out candy every time the door bell rang.  he was not sure who was ringing the door bell all night long and how come none of those "friends" would actually come in the house.  he loved every character that came to our door.  he was intrigued by a mario, a luigi, thing one, and thing two.  he was not even scared by a transformer, a skeleton with a face mask, or even a werewolf.  he would just stare at them as they took the candy and frostee coupons and watch them as they walked down the pathway.  we loved his curiosity!

we met one little train conductor that carried a lantern with him.  this fella's dad carried him on his shoulders and he was just two years old.  we imagine dax will be a little more excited to wear his costume and go door to door next halloween and we can't wait!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


i bit the bullet and finally got back into the groove of being crafty.  it's a title i've always gone by, and one i actually like to be called.  when dax joined our family the craftiness kind of went out the window with the lack of sleep and order around here, but under pressure of his first birthday quickly approaching, i am finally getting back into the swing of things.

on pinterest (God help us all with pinterest - i mean it has great ideas and all but does it make anyone else just feel totally inadequate?  i mean, i am really good at pinning things, but i never actually do them - so what does that say about me?  am i just really building a pin board of things i wish i would actually sit down and do instead of constantly pinning stuff?), i saw a party decor idea for dax's big numero uno party.  on this example they'd taken the number 5 and tissue papered it up old elementary school paper wreath style with twisted tissue paper to make a cute party decor backdrop.  i saw another example on etsy for about $40, and i thought i really needed to construct this myself.  after all, i am crafty - right?

so, i told will i needed to get some foam core board for my big project and we headed to target.  i also had to pick up one more shade of green tissue paper, since i already had two in my closet - but three were needed for the shading effect.  once we had the foam core and tissue, i was all set.  everything else i needed was in the craft closet.  i started by making the shape of the "1".  i really liked the number that was on some stickers i had, so i used that as my model.  then, i free handed the number one on to the foam core board and cut it out with an exacto knife.  once that was cut out i sliced up all of my tissue paper into tiny squares.  (it really makes no difference at all if these are the same shape, so just freely cut away.)  then the fun begins.  this is where you find an old school ink pen - like one you lifted from a hotel or something - and begin to twist each piece of paper around the base of the pen and smash it onto your glue stick covered cut out.  i had to do this over several days with many breaks because my hand got tired of the twisting.  however, it was fairly painless and something you can do while you watch your favorite tv show.

- don't use shiny tissue paper.  the glue does not hold as well with any glossy type of paper, so if you have a choice - opt for the matte finish.
- buy a good glue stick.  when mine ran out i got a "washable" glue stick from target (it was all they had) and i ended up throwing that pack away and going to the scrapbook store to get a "scotch" brand glue stick.  much better product.

i really like how it turned out and will be using this on our front door for dax's big party coming up in 11 days!  stay tuned for other crafty things going on at this event!

Monday, October 15, 2012


the beach is a place of calm and rest.  will and i have taken many trips to the beach just to hear the waves crash on the ocean and walk hand in hand down the shore.  it's our ultimate get away.

we knew from the time we got started packing (which was the night before we left) that this trip was going to be a little different.  the list of items we'd need to even make it to the beach was ever growing.  we needed an entire back of the suv for the pack and play, the bumbo, the jumperoo, dax's swim gear (with float), and dax's food, bottles, clothing etc.  little people need lots of things!

vacations pre-child were a time for relaxing and stress-free vegging out.  but, vacations with children are a wee bit different because the child-care never ceases.  someone has to get up when he cries, change him, feed him, stroll him around the pool area to keep him entertained, and just look out for his overall level of fun and excitement.  will and i took turns on handling all of the parental duties, but at points throughout the day we'd just look at each other with exhaustion.

but then there's the fun you never had before.  sure, we previously enjoyed sitting in our matching beach chairs, holding hands, and doing nothing - but watching dax on the beach  being mesmerized by the crashing waves was something we'll never forget.  watching him flap his arms up and down in excitement by the sheer awesomeness of what was before him is something too impressive to explain.  seeing will hold him and just look out into the ocean was pure joy and happiness.  remembering all of the childhood vacations i went on growing up and how he'll experience those same fond memories is something we're so proud to be able to give him.

this trip ended up in an exploded family vacation.  when it was originally planned we'd been told that my parents would be in one condo a block north and so we searched for a nearby rental.  i wanted something with pools (including an indoor) so we'd be able to enjoy the trip even if there was bad weather or a hurricane.  my aunt and uncle would be staying a block north of my parents.  a week before the trip the vacationers had blossomed into my mom, my dad, my granny, my aunt, my uncle, my cousins, their spouses, their child, one of my sisters, and her husband!  and it seems that because i'd picked that hotel with the plethora of pools that we were about to be descended upon.

some highlights from the trip:

we drove all day in the rain to get to the beach.  of course i did not want it to be raining, but honestly a rainy day at the beach was better than a sunny day at home, so we'd take what we could get - after all we were on vacation.  after an hour long trip to the grocery store, a check in at the rental office to get keys, and a million trips by the husband to get everything in our room, we'd finally made it to our final destination.  it was such a good feeling to get in the room, settled in, and let dax stretch out.  the weather started to clear up and things were looking a lot more like a trip to the beach should shake out.  we decided we better get that baby in the pool!  dax was a trooper and he loved being in the water in his float.  will and i both got in the pool with him and watched him kick his feet, by now the family was making their way to the pool to see dax swim.  they all love him so much it's impossible for them not to be by his side when he's in the same town!

we learned something big about dax this trip.  he loves people watching and he especially loves littles.  anytime we'd hear a child out by the pool or playing on the beach he'd stop whatever he was doing to seek them out.  his sonar was working and he'd nearly do flips to locate them so he could watch, grin, and giggle.  he'd clap his hands when he saw something he really liked.  he had the best time watching a family built like ours splish and splash in the pool. 

one afternoon we had mom and dad babysit while will and i went to take a walk on the beach.  we weren't gone for more than thirty minutes, but when we came back to the pool we'd left them sitting by we thought things looked a little out of sorts.  we jokingly asked them what was going on and they had a story to tell.  see, when we left dax was sleeping in his stroller, but apparently shortly after we walked away he woke up.  at that time my dad picked him up out of his stroller and a gust of wind happened to blow by sending the stroller rolling at a quick pace toward the lazy river.  my dad hollered for my mom to get the stroller - the last of which they'd recalled i'd put my iphone in the stroller's back pocket - but, my mom's not such a fast mover and for her to lunge faster than the pace of the wind was impossible and before they knew it the stroller was floating down the river.  some of the details of what happened after this point were a little blurry, but we do know that mom attempted to get the stroller out of the river and it was actually saved by an innocent bystander who witnessed this event.  the stroller was dried out, the iphone was in my possession, and dax was no worse for the wear.

it was great to have so much family together in one place.  one night we had everyone all together for dinner, another night we had lots of family over for shrimp cocktail watching the sunset, and another day we had everyone over at the pool.  one night a small group of us went out to get raw oysters at a local place.  we had the best time joking around and eating 45 cent oysters.  it was great to be able to just spend time together catching up when people are spread all the way from richmond va to chicago il. 

we ate some great food.  no beach trip is complete without good seafood, so it was on our menu just about every night.  granny always takes everyone to one giant seafood buffet where we stuff ourselves to the gills with fried oysters, shrimp, crab legs, and mussels.  one night we skipped the seafood and ate hamburgers for dad, but every other night had some sort of seafood component.  our favorite meal was when will and i went out on a "mini-date" and had an appetizer sampler consisting of ceviche, a firecracker roll, shea crab soup, and a fried green tomato-shrimp tower.  another foodie highlight was a divine salad starter at a restaurant in calabash, nc.  we drove 25 minutes each way - two times - to feast on this salad with a honey drenched croissant!  yumm! 

dax is fun.  sure, we knew this before, but it was totally reconfirmed on this trip.  he was always hamming it up for the camera or attempting to make someone smile.  his infectious grin is hard to resist and he had everyone in stitches one night when will and i went out for dinner.  we saw some cell phone pics of him hanging out with great granny covey and he just had her rolling.  they love spending time together and can hardly believe one another in the amount of silliness they share.  it was good to have him spending time with her and we're thankful he was always there to pull out the funnies.

we hope we'll be able to take him on another trip next summer/fall - and who knows where we'll end up!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


it's the combination of orange and green.  it's cool crisp air.  it's the turning of leaves. 
it's spiced apple cider.  it's cloudless skies. 
it's pumpkins.  it's jack o'lanterns and it's spiders.
it's webs.  it's candy.  it's costumes.  it's trick-or-treaters.
it's time for a sweater.
it's fall.

fall is the season when families gather and pile into their mini-vans dressed in their pumpkiny orange attire and head to the local farms and pumpkin patches to climb on hay bales, run through corn mazes, pet baby goats, ride on hay rides, drink apple cider, eat kettle corn, pick out pumpkins, snap lots of pictures, and hold hands happily smiling together.

will and i have always loved fall.  it's always been our favorite season.  we love the cool air, the changing leaves, the colorful pumpkins, the tastes of nutmeg and cinnamon, and of course a trip to the pumpkin patch.  we've been married for 11 years and just about every year since we've been married we've headed to a pumpkin patch at some point in the month of october.  for years we went together and rode hay rides, worked our way through corn mazes and hay bales, and picked out our pumpkins while watching 99% of the other farm goers experiencing the day through their children's eyes.

this fall is big for us.  it's the first time we packed up our car with our son and headed to the pumpkin patch.  the air was cool and crisp and the sky was cloudless.  we knew it would be an amazing day, just like we'd always expected.  we made our way to the farm we've been going to since we moved to nc and will and i were both giddy just knowing what was about to take place.  see, for some people it's rocking their baby in a rocking chair in their nursery, celebrating their first Christmas, or sharing their first birthday together - but for us it was taking our son to the pumpkin patch.  IT is that magical moment when the stars align and you feel like this is something you've waited an entire lifetime for.  this was IT.  this was THAT moment.

we got to the farm and were directed to park at the very end of the mile long parking lot.  we loaded up our stroller with the camera and diaper bag and strolled our way to the gates.  we waited in a line of at least 50 families waiting their turn to get their arm bands and head into the land of pumpkin fun.  kids were talking about duck races, bouncy castles, and funnel cakes, but we had one thing on our minds.  we made our way through the gate, parked our stroller, and boarded the hayride.  this was IT.  we were almost there.  dax loved the hay ride.  he loved hearing the tractor fire up and watching the farmer drive us to the field of pumpkins.  after a lap around the farm we'd made our way to the epicenter.  we disembarked the hay ride and found ourselves a nice plot of land with 100 or so pumpkins around our family.  we'd arrived.  we were finally in the pumpkin patch with our son.  i laid on the ground and took tons of pictures of dax with pumpkins, with grass, with barns, with the sky, with daddy, (and daddy took some of daxy with mommy) - and i turned to will and said - this is even better than i thought IT would be - and IT was.

we spent the rest of the day with dax having his first swing on a swing set, his first train ride, his first stroll around the patch, and picking out his first pumpkin (he loves the pumpkins with the stem).  over and over we just kept saying how perfect this day was.  after all these years, its so hard to believe it's finally fall and IT finally happened.

Monday, October 8, 2012

11 months

it's been eleven months since daxton was born.

it's been eleven months since this sweet boy found his way into our lives.

it's been eleven months since our hearts grew exponentially with a love we never knew.

daxton is in total love with his two bottom teeth. he's got a new found obsession for them as of late. he loves to tuck his top lip in behind them, flick them with his fingers, and smile with his toothy grin. this past week he's gotten happier and happier with tooth time. he loves getting his teeth brushed and watching us brush our teeth. i think this guy is just in love with teeth. we suspect his top two teeth are attempting to push their way through the surface. his drool is off the charts and he seems to be chewing on anything he can find to insert into his mouth. we'll see how his little grin continues to change!

daxton is working on his upper body strength. he's pulling himself up on your lap, on chairs, on his toys, and on anything that's just about 1 foot off the ground. he's finally gotten into a firm stance on his arms and knees and rocks happily back and forth. of course he still ends up sliding down into his belly drag, but will has seen him give genuine crawling a go on more than one occasion. he's doing a good job standing up for short periods of time, so long as you put him in that position and give him something to grab a hold of. he showed his great granny covey how he could stand up in his pack and play and she was amazed!

daxton's latest trick is sitting up like a big boy in the shopping carts.  he loves strolling around, grabbing things on the shelves, and checking it all out.  he lasts a lot longer in the store since he can hold his head steady and thoroughly investigate all of the marketing.  i think he'll be a good shopping buddy.

daxton is still a friend of everyone. he's happy with anyone he meets and gets along with everybody. he happily hangs out with baby sitters, friends, family, and nursery room attendants at church and hardly ever cries. this past week at the beach he entertained the entire family and kept them all in hysterics with his laughing and giggling. he's a giant jokester. he loves to toss his head from side to side and watch your reaction when he wiggles back and forth. he knows he's silly and he likes it.

daxton is loving the great outdoors.  this summer was extremely hot and humid, but lately we've been able to get outside more.  recently he and i hung out on a blanket outside in the grass while we watched daddy mow the lawn.  dax got a big kick out of seeing daddy ride around on the john deere.  we cannot wait to take him to the pumpkin patch to let him experience a real tractor and hay ride!  he also loves to go on mini excursions to check the mail with daddy.  he looks all around to take everything in.  it's all very interesting to this little fellow!

daxton went on his first big time vacation this month. we'd gone to the beach for the weekend earlier in the year, but the weather was a little chilly for daxy's liking. this time he got to spend much more time in the pool and on the sand. he really liked splashing in the water and attempting to eat the sand. we tried to keep as much out of his digestive tract as possible.

aside from the sand, daxton is working hard on getting more textures into his diet. he's found a fondness for cooked green beans, fresh peas, o's cereal, and even black beans with rice. we're hoping to introduce even more "regular" foods into his daily meals to attempt to ween him off of the baby food. it used to be hard to get him to swallow anything that was not smooth, but he's definitely making progress here.

daxton started doing something amazing while we were at the beach - he began sleeping so late in the mornings that we have to wake him up! the first couple of times he did it we dismissed it blaming it on too much fun in the sun, but (knock on wood) it's continued into this week. he's going down around 9pm at night and not waking up until we get him just after 9am! not sure how long this sleep streak will continue, but we'll all happily snooze until he decides its over!

it's been eleven months of 2032 diaper changes.

it's been eleven months of 1824 bottles for a total of 67.5 gallons.

it's been eleven months of cuddling, rocking, and loving on our boy.

it's been eleven months of the purest joy you'd ever know.