Paisley Grace: 1 YEAR!

We have a one-year old. That’s just crazy.
This is my favorite age yet. Oh wait, I think I might have I said that before?

At one year, Paisley Grace:
– Talks constantly. Her favorite words are still “Da-da” and “Ba-ba” and recently she’s added quite a few more words into her vocabulary. Some of the recent additions include: Uh-oh, duck, two, dog, hello (pronounced “elll-uh” while she puts any object up to her ear like a phone), SSSSS (that means Aunt Kassidy, duh), and guess what? SHE STILL DOESN’T SAY “MA-MA.” I am just waiting for the day…
– Is down to taking only one nap from about 12-2. She knows when it’s nap time and she usually doesn’t fight it! (She’s like her daddy in regards to her love for napping).
– Still eats very well. She isn’t picky at all and loves her fruits and veggies!
– Loves to dance. Even when there isn’t any music playing. Gus always says she’s dancing to the music in her head! It is so cute to watch!
– Weighs 20 pounds, 12 ounces and is 29 inches long. (Yes, she is pretty short for her age).
– Hasn’t stood or taken any steps yet on her own but she’s always standing with help and scooting her way along the furniture!
– Gives the cutest kisses.
– Waves “bye-bye” and “hi” all the time. Even to all of the strangers in the grocery store.
– Is the biggest morning person. She wakes up in the happiest mood with a beautiful smile on her face!
– Isn’t much of a cuddler anymore. She basically will only cuddle when she first wakes up from her nap and when she takes a bottle.
– Had two really fun birthday parties in Florida with family & friends! She had a blast and especially loved the cake!
– Loves going on walks, petting animals, hanging out with other kids at the library, gymnastics, and anything that involves music & singing!
– Is wearing 9-12 month clothes. 12 month pants are super long on her but we make it work!
– Knows some sign language! She knows the signs for all-done, please, sleep and more. She’s working on learning more signs. She’s such a smart little girl and it is fun to watch her communicate with us in that way!
– Had a really rough week of being sick right after her birthday. With sickness came a grumpy, grumpy girl who threw tantrums and was a big challenge for mommy. Thankfully, after a few miserable days, she is back to her happy, healthy, easygoing self!
– Starts going to her new daycare next week. She’s excited. Mommy is nervous. I’m sure she will do great, though! She’s a very adaptable little girl.
– Loves, loves, loves her daddy. It is really sweet to watch those two interact together! Melts. my. heart.
– Is SUCH a blessing to us (yes, even on the difficult days). She brings so much laughter and joy into our home and we cannot imagine our lives without her.

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Happy 12 months of life, little one.

We love you to the moon & back!

A Summer to Remember

This summer has been beyond wonderful – and we haven’t even gotten through my favorite month yet! When I found out I had the opportunity to stay home with Paisley this summer and wait to start my job until September, I was so excited! I knew we were bound to have a great time together, and we definitely have!

Being home with Paisley has been awesome and I am so thankful I was able to have this special time with her. Watching her learn, grow, and change is something I am amazed at every day. Spending all of this extra time with her has been my favorite part of this summer and I know things won’t be the same once September rolls around.

In addition to spending extra time with my little girl & sweet husband, there is another big reason this summer has been so great – we have had LOTS of visits with LOTS of people we love from Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Charleston, Columbia, Michigan, & Myrtle Beach!

This summer began with my college graduation…so, I guess you can say it started out on a pretty good foot. My mom, dad and sister along with my grandma and Jacqui came to town for my pinning ceremony & graduation! My Uncle Todd & Aunt Christine drove all the way from New Jersey to be there for my graduation and to spend time with us! We had a great time together and I am so grateful they were all able to come visit and spend time with us.

In June, my mom came back into town for a week while I studied & took my state boards. I took my test on June 15th and found out that I passed on June 17th! It was so helpful to have my mom here (she’s always a huge help) and we loved spending extra time with her. The following weekend, Holley, Dave, and their kids came to visit us for a couple of days! After that, we had a really nice visit from Becky & Al and their adorable doggies!

In July, we got to go to Myrtle Beach and spent 4th of July weekend with the Tally family from New Jersey! They were so kind to open up their own family vacation to us and have us there for the weekend. We also got to spend time with John, Marie, and baby Emma in Columbia on our way to Myrtle beach & back. When we got back, Rena came into town for a sleepover! Next, our cousin, Rachel, came all the way from Michigan for a wedding and stayed with us so we got to spend extra time with her! After that, we were invited to spend the weekend in Tallahassee at Jake and Heidi’s house with them, their kiddos, Jake & Ann, and their kids! Then, when we got back into town, the Bond family came to visit from NJ on their way to Florida for their family vacation! To top it all off, Grandma Deb & Papa Pokey came to visit us for a couple of days this week on their way home from their month-long vacation! On Thursday, our little family of three is flying to Florida for 10 days of family time where we will get to see even more family and friends we love!

Whew – we sure have been busy and we’ve loved every second of it!!! As I think back on all of these fun visits and fun times over the summer, my heart is just so full of gratefulness. Living away from family is really hard sometimes, and thankfully the Lord has been so good to us to provide lots of great friends who live in the area who have become like family to us! To also know that we have family & friends who love us and take the time to come visit us or invite us to spend vacations with them means the world!! We have truly been blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people we love. I am so thankful to each and every person who came to visit with us this summer and to those who opened up their own homes to us. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.We made so many special memories. This has definitely been a summer to remember.

I won’t forget you, 22

Twenty-two is definitely going down in the books as my favorite age (well..so far, anyway).

On my birthday last year (which, by the way, was spent in the hospital on our vacation in Florida due to a bad stomach bug + pregnancy) I had no idea what the year would bring. Looking back at everything that has happened this past year, I am completely overwhelmed by the goodness of God and His grace in my life and the lives of others.

At the age of 22 I became a mother, a college graduate and a nurse. It was the year so many of the dreams I had for my life came true. I grew a lot as a wife as my husband and I started adjusting to our new roles as parents together. I had the privilege of watching my loving husband become a daddy (I still find myself watching him in awe sometimes as he fits the “daddy” role so unbelievably well). I developed a faith in God like I’ve never had before. I realized how fortunate we are to be surrounded by so many amazing friends and family members.

It definitely wasn’t a perfect year. It was filled with plenty of ups and downs, its own set of trials, lots of tears and some heartache. There were times I was discouraged, completely sleep deprived, running away from God, and even miserable at some points in the year. But… It was a year I will never forget and God used those hard times to teach me lessons I never would have learned otherwise. The ups were great and the downs were bad, but God saw us through it all. Even when I lacked trust for my faithful God, He took care of us. He taught me so much about Himself this year. He showed me that even when we lack faith, He is still in control and He is still God. He gave me grace for every day – even when I wasn’t necessarily looking to Him for it. I learned that His plan is far better than my own, even when I think I know it all (which, let me tell you, I definitely don’t). He is good regardless of our circumstances and He will continue to be good despite our failures and human imperfections.

22 was a year full of a lot of milestones & life lessons.
I am so excited to see what God has planned for 23!

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Paisley Grace: 9 months

Paisley Grace is 9 months old. Unbelievable.
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At 9 months old she:
– Loves to eat Cheerios. Well really, she loves food in general…but especially Cheerios!
– Learned how to shake her head “No.” It’s pretty adorable and she knows it makes people laugh so she does it all the time!
– Can stand up! She started pulling herself up on furniture this past week! (May 12th!) Now she tries to stand up all the time — exciting, but dangerous!
– IS A CRAWLER! She actually started crawling on April 18th at 8 months old! (Only about a week after she figured out how to roll around all over the house) Now she’s a pro and she crawls everywhere. She’s a quick little thing, too! She keeps me busy for sure!
– Is wearing a few 6-9 month clothes but is mainly in 9-12 month stuff now. She’s also in size FOUR diapers. WHAT?!?!
– Had her LAST DAY at daycare on May 8th. We were so blessed to have an amazing teacher at a daycare we loved who helped care for Paisley Grace so I could finish school.
– Loves to to make people laugh!
– Says “Mama” “Baba” and “Dada” – I think she’s starting to use those 3 “words” with meaning behind them. She will say “Dada” when I show her a picture of him and when he comes home from work she says it a lot!
– Has a mommy who has officially been pinned as a nurse and is college graduate with a bachelor’s of science in Nursing! The most exciting part about that? We get to spend more time together!!
– Won’t let us put headbands on her head any more…She always pulls them off. Only hair clips for now!
– Got to spend a lot of time with special family members who traveled to SC for graduation! She got to see her Grandma & Grandpa Jennings, Aunt Kassidy, Great Grandma Gill, Uncle Todd & Aunt Christine (all the way from NJ) and Jacqui! She even recognized her Grandma and Aunt Kassidy from Facetime. It was precious.
– Makes a hilarious “smile” face that looks more like she’s going to scream but she’s just happy as can be. I can’t get over her funny faces she makes!
– Isn’t the biggest fan of men she doesn’t know. She gives them a mean look and if they say hi to her or get too close she’ll freak out.
– Had a wonderful first Mother’s day Holiday with mommy. We went out to breakfast with all our family before they headed back home. Then we had a relaxing day at home and went out for Sushi with mommy & daddy at their favorite sushi restaurant in town.
– Is such a HAPPY baby. She is always smiling with her 4 big teeth (2 top, 2 bottom).
– Brings so much happiness and laughter to our home. She is such a joy to be around.

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Paisley Grace: 6 months

Happy half birthday to our sweet baby girl. Half a year. 6 months. I still remember when Paisley Grace was 6 hours old, 6 days old, 6 weeks old. Now she’s 6 months old and I cannot even wrap my mind around it. (I shared some of my thoughts about that here)

These past 6 months have been the best.IMG_0547At 6 months old she…
– Has TWO teeth. They are both on the bottom and they are just cute as can be.
– Laughs constantly. It seems like she’s always laughing or smiling (well…except when she’s overtired). She especially likes to laugh when we are at any kind of store. Her little giggles just fills the room and brings a smile the face of everyone who hears it. She also laughs at mommy & daddy all the time.
– Does this really cute thing where she puts the back of both of her hands over her eyes when she gets really tired. She’s a drama queen, already.
– Has started trying to copy us when we make funny noises and faces.
– Is a really cute sleeper. BUT she doesn’t sleep very well during the day. She’s getting better at sleeping through the night, but during the day she wants to be awake and interacting with everyone for the most part.
– Started sitting up on her own on Saturday, February 7th (2 days before she turned 6 months old)! She looks like such a big girl when she sits up and reaches for her toys!
-Is a little cuddle bug and really really loves when she gets to snuggle up in mommy and daddy’s bed.
– Has her ears pierced! She got them pierced on January 17th while her Aunt Kassidy was visiting us in South Carolina. She handled it like such a champ.
– Loves animals. Stuffed animals, real animals, pictures of animals, everything. She just LOVES them! She smiles and giggles when she sees them. She has a plush frog toy she loves to hold whenever we’re home. She’s also met several dogs who love to give her kisses and she just pets them (AKA pulls their hair) and laughs.
– Is a morning person! She doesn’t wake up in the morning crying. Instead, we usually hear her cooing and babbling in her crib and when we walk in to get her she gives us the biggest smile. Mornings with Paisley are the sweetest!
– Wears 0-3 month clothes and can fit into some 3-6 months (they’re just too long on her still, but I’m sure she’ll be wearing them in no time).
– Has some cute nicknames. Mommy calls her monkey moo moo, Grandma Deb and Pokey call her Paigie, daddy calls her monster and little one. She’s bound to have lots of nicknames as the years go by.
– Has lost a lot of her hair. She was born with a full head of strawberry blonde hair and now the majority of her hair is found only on the top of her head! Still cute as a button but I’m really excited for her hair to eventually grow back.
– Is doing so well eating her baby food. She loves bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, apples, and pears. The only thing she has tried that she didn’t care for were peaches.

Our photoshoot this month was filled with lots of giggles, smiles, silly faces, and big belly laughs. (Even more so than usual – Enjoy!)IMG_0552IMG_0546IMG_0541IMG_0536IMG_0534IMG_0455IMG_0528IMG_0530IMG_0526
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IMG_0505 IMG_0512IMG_0454IMG_0451Happy half birthday, little one. We love you so much!!

Now I Get It

You know those moms who always refer to their children’s ages in months? I’m not talking about that mom who tells you she has a 3 month-old baby. I’m referring to the moms who say they have a “34 month-old” or a “28 month-old.” I used to get so annoyed when I heard moms say comments like that. I would always think to myself “Oh, so you mean they’re 2 and a half years old? Or…almost 3 years old?!” No, those kids’ ages are still in MONTHS. Now that I’m a mom, I totally get it.

When Paisley was born I kept track of how many hours old she was. Call me crazy, but I did. Naturally, those “hours old” then became “days old” and then before we knew it, “weeks old.” Oh man, when I had to make the transition from “weeks old” to “months old” I almost lost it. I remember talking to my husband about how I was never going to stop telling everyone Paisley’s age in weeks. I would start a new trend if I had to, but I wasn’t going to say the word “month” after her age. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. All of a sudden those moms who tell you their toddlers ages in months don’t seem so bad, right!? (Don’t worry – that trend didn’t last too long!)

This month, on February 9th, our “little” baby will be 6 months old. 26 weeks old. 184 days old. 4,416 hours old. Even if I didn’t realize it at the time, I truly am thankful to God for every single one of those hours.
Every hour spent soothing a crying baby who was wide awake in the middle of the night.
Every hour spent trying to work on homework or study only to be distracted by a cute little baby staring back at me.
Every hour spent at various doctors’ appointments and casting appointments.
Every hour spent crying because I was an overwhelmed new mom who felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.
Every hour spent cuddling with this precious miracle God gave to me.
Every hour spent watching my husband be the best dad he can possibly be to our little girl.
Every hour spent ignoring everyone’s advice to “sleep when she sleeps” so we could just stare at her in admiration and love on her.
Every hour spent praying for Paisley and about the responsibility of being a mommy to this precious girl.
Every hour spent wondering how my baby was doing at daycare when I should have been paying attention in class.
Every hour spent with sweet family and friends who helped us immensely when Paisley was first born.
Every hour spent on the phone with my mom asking 1,000 questions about newborns and milestones and everything else you can think of.
Every hour spent just trying to figure out how to function during the day when we were only getting 2 hours of sleep each night.
Every hour spent ultimately loving being a mommy to this amazing gift from God.

Forgive me if I refer to her age in months for the rest of her life. Yup, I’m going to be THAT mom. (Okay, okay… I won’t do that. Well, at least not out loud)

In all seriousness, I can’t believe she is going to be six months old soon. Wow.

Time really does fly by.
Now I get it.

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Paisley Grace: 5 months

We are so blessed to be the parents of this beautiful baby girl.

IMG_0207Paisley Grace is 5 months old!!
At 5 months old she…
– Has a TOOTH. What?! It came in on December 29th when we were on vacation in Florida! And…it’s pretty adorable.
– Started rolling over from back to belly with her boots and bar on. This also happened while we were in Florida!
– Has started eating some fruits and veggies! The first vegetable she tried was carrots. She loved them right away
– Loves the Johnny Jumper her Aunt Holley let us borrow. Right now, it’s probably her favorite thing to do!
– Has started to use her hands purposefully (reaching for things, picking up her paci and toys, etc)
– She watches EVERYTHING and is very in-tune with her environment
– Is almost always smiling and laughing. Except for when she’s extremely hungry or tired…then she sure can throw a fit!
– Enjoys going to any kind of store where we can put her carseat in the shopping cart and she can look around. She just laughs and laughs!
– Weighs 13 pounds, 10 ounces and is 24 inches long
– Doesn’t quite sleep through the night…yet. But we’re hopeful!! We have a good bedtime routine and some nights she gets a full night of sleep, but most of the time she decides to wake up to eat around 3:00-4:00 AM.
– Is such a goofball. She’s constantly making funny faces and hilarious noises.
– Tries to put everything in her mouth
– Is wearing 0-3 month clothes and is starting to fit into some 3-6 month clothes (but we have to roll up the sleeves and pants cause they are still quite a bit long on her)
– Definitely knows who mommy & daddy are. We love it.
– Makes every day an adventure.

Our monthly photoshoots have become quite the task now that Paisley Grace constantly wants to be moving around and making silly faces. Enjoy!

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Mommy & Daddy love you so much, Paisley Grace

Happy 5 months of life, little one!