Flower Garden: Penelope’s First Birthday

pbday2Penelope’s first birthday has come and gone, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Barely.  We actually had to reschedule the birthday just hours before people were going to show up due to a nasty little stomach bug that was making its way around our house.  Five days later, with the family healthy, we re-invited our guests over for dinner and cake, and almost everyone was still able to come! I enjoyed having my house decorated for a week.  It was nice to enjoy all the hard work for more than just an afternoon.

The party was inspired by our beautiful and bright flower of a girl, Ms. P herself. I wanted the feel of a cheerful and enchanting garden.  To start, the invitations were folded, hand-cut cardstock that opened up to look like a flower.  They were embellished with pink-dyed coffee filters and a printed yellow center.  Time consuming? Yes. But worth it (to me).

pbdayinvite     pbdayinvite2

The cake table was centered under two of the giant flowers and Penelope’s name in gold (stolen briefly from her room).  I also made the big #1, which I covered in hand-cut green leaves. The cake was made by Josh’s dad.  A pretty, pink flower.  It was amazing and yummy! I used a vintage, floral tablecloth and watercolor floral napkins as finishing touches.




pbday15For the party, I made ten GIANT paper flowers in yellow, light pink, and fuschia.  They were 5 and 6 feet tall on bamboo poles.  I LOVED them, and Penelope couldn’t stop pointing at them and smiling.  They were placed all around the living room and dining area. I also hung up her weekly picture collages that I made using Postal Pix. I hung a green leaf garland above.

pbday18There was a guest sign-in area, where I asked each guest to write a birthday wish or a guess into Penny’s future.  We will be saving the notes for her to open in 20 years! I gathered some favorite Penny pictures from the year as a backdrop for the guest table. My, how she’s grown!

pbday14pbday12pbday13And, now, for one thousand pictures of the beautiful birthday girl and her fabulous family.




pbday20And, of course, the cake pictures…

pbday23pbday24pbday25pbday26pbday27pbday28pbday29pbday30pbday31pbday32pbday33pennybday1Happy Birthday sweet Penelope Marie! WE LOVE YOU!




Ack! We’re Moving!

Well, about two weeks ago we finally decided we should move to a bigger house.  The 1100 sq ft was starting to feel REALLY tight.  Jonah was running out of room to play, and Penny is going to be mobile soon.  We are just really outgrowing this space.

So, we thought we would start looking for a new rental (yes, we are still renting!), and I started checking Craigslist every couple of days to see what was out there with no intention of making any decisions anytime soon.

Then we looked at a few places. Just to see what they were like.

Then we found THE place.

With the rental market as it is in Baton Rouge, you really can’t pass up a nice place at your price point when you see it.  We said yes, and they said yes, and we signed the marriage license lease.  It was beautiful and FAST!  I have exactly 1.3 days to pack and get settled in the new house.  Yeah, that’s the ridiculous-I’m-freaking-out part.

We will have a few days after that to move smaller items, but we want to start sleeping at the new house Saturday night! Eeeek! I’m excited and overwhelmed but really excited. Can’t wait to show you pics next week!

ps- I brought both of my babies home to our current house.  I’m going to really miss this place. :(

pps- If you are looking for a great little starter home in the Baton Rouge area, email me!

Our Family Revolution

Something has hit me.  Hard.  We have been fighting a cold/runny nose/cough for almost a month now.  All of us- even sweet baby girl.  I know this has been a bad cold season for everyone all over the country, but COME ON!? We should be better by now.  Our immune systems should be better than this.  We are young, fit, living in middle class America, and “healthy”.  So why are we getting so sick?

My mama bear instincts have kicked in full force.  I will do everything in my power right now to make my family and myself better.  After doing a lot of reading and thinking, I am seeing more and more how our diet and lifestyle are holding us back from optimal health.  The food we are eating has just been making us weaker.  And who knows what all the “junk” has done to our bodies long term.  My babies deserve the absolute BEST I can give them. They trust me to feed them what their bodies are designed to eat and thrive on.  I have been failing them.

And what about our lifestyle? So what if it is a little cold outside? Why have we been spending the majority of our day inside and sedentary? We are so blessed to live in the south and have mild winters, yet I don’t take advantage of them.  I’m too lazy to get dressed and get the kids and myself fresh air and sunshine. This is COMMON SENSE!!

We are radically changing our diet and lifestyle starting NOW.  We are switching to a real-food, grain free diet.  I spent the weekend making meal plans, researching, and most importantly throwing away all the JUNK! What’s funny is I don’t even buy “junk food” except for a box of cookies or graham crackers.  But, there were things hidden: leftover Christmas candy, syrup, frozen waffles, “fruit” chewies, salad dressing, cake mix.  Anything with sugar, flour, or weird science ingredients are OUT.  Yes, it’s radical. But if we keep letting things slide, then I blink and realize all Jonah has consumed in a day is a peanut butter waffle, chicken nuggets, a peanut butter sandwich, some applesauce, a banana, and two cups of milk.  Ack! No wonder this child is still sick.

We will be greatly increasing our fresh fruits and veggies.  We will be cooking A LOT.  We will be trying new foods. We will also be playing outside a lot more, increasing our Vitamin D intake, and getting some much needed exercise.

We will be doing this as a family.  I hope to learn a lot as we go.

My prayer is that this radical change will radically improve our health.  I’m tired of coughing and having a runny nose EVERYDAY.  I’m tired of being tired.  We should be living better and in the most healthy way possible.  We owe it to ourselves and to the God who created us.  If you are interested in these ideas, google any of the following: primal diet, paleo diet, real food.

Bahamas Vacation, Part 1

I can’t believe I get to write this post.  We actually took a vacation to the Bahamas!  All of us.  It was an amazing trip and a destination that has always been at the top of my list. The fact that we actually talked about then planned then WENT to this place amazes me and makes me really proud.  Who says you can’t travel with young kids and have an amazing time?! So, here is part one of our fabulous and much-needed vacation.

We flew to Nassau on January 10: me, Josh, the two kiddos, and Josh’s mom.  We like to travel but we aren’t crazy, so we asked “SuSu” to come along for an extra set of hands.  Spoiler alert: we couldn’t have done this trip without her! (Thanks again, SuSu for all your help!)

walk to the bus stop

wow, people LIVE here!!

We stayed in a townhouse that we rented through homeaway.com.  It was a great find for a great price and just a few minutes walk to the nearest bus stop.  The house had two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and living room.  It was the perfect “home away from home” for our bunch.  On Friday, our first full day, we headed out bright and early to the nearby Sheraton resort.  We paid for a day pass which included access to their beach, pools, and a room to use for the day.  There was a little, private beach right by our town home, but it would have been too crazy to go back and forth with the kids all day.  This way, we could stay put and enjoy a day at the beach.

Sheraton Resort

The Sheraton was beautiful and the beach was stunning, but the weather was not very friendly.  It was super windy and almost cold! We kept Penny in the room most of the day, but Jonah enjoyed some sand and pool time with daddy.  I was definitely discouraged this day.  This was not the weather I had hoped for.  Luckily, by the afternoon, the sun came back out and the day improved.  Jonah ate a popsicle for lunch.  We lazed around and rested.  No place I would rather be!

ready for the beach

pretty girl relaxing

Jonah’s “lunch”

swimming with daddy

When we were ready to head back to our townhouse, we accidentally boarded a bus heading East.  Believe me, when you are tired with two very unhappy kids, this is the last thing you want to happen.  We ended up all the way downtown, surrounded by the crazy cruise ship people, and kicking ourselves for our mistake.  Josh helped make the best of it and insisted we stay and eat downtown and just take a taxi back home later.  Little did we know this would be what all our dinners looked like on the trip: Penny asleep, Jo playing on the iphone to keep him from whining, mommy and SuSu exhausted.

a typical dinner for us

Saturday started out to be a much better day.  The weather was gorgeous, and I was getting to check something off of my “life list”.  Today was DOLPHIN DAY!!

We boarded a boat at 8:30am headed to Blue Lagoon Island, a private island that is home to a dolphin and sea lion habitat. That morning there was a small group with us, which made us feel like we had the island all to ourselves.  I signed up for a “dolphin encounter” where you get to play and interact with a dolphin in a small group setting.  It has always been a dream of mine to pet a dolphin or whale.  But I actually got to dance with, hug, and feed the dolphin.  It was thrilling!! Jonah had the option to come with me, but opted out at the last minute.  He preferred to watch from afar, but he was so close and in his mini-wet suit that I think he felt like he did it all too!

on our way! (poor Penny)

yes, the water is that blue!

meeting our dolphin

(Ok, I hope you can find Jo in the above pic.  I think I’m buying him a wet suit.  IT IS SO CUTE!!)

dolphin kiss

dolphin hug

he felt so cool!

dolphin dance

dolphin feeding

After the dolphin experience, we enjoyed the rest of the morning/early afternoon on the island’s beach.  Penny had her first sand experience.  Jonah enjoyed playing in the calm water, even though it was really cold! The day was so beautiful and definitely one of the highlights from our trip.

our napping girl

she loved the sand

he loved finding rocks

look at daddy!

my handsome, but very tired boy

And then that evening, I got sick.  Ugh.  Like feeling yucky, have the chills, want to sleep kind of sick.  I toughed it out so Josh and I could have a dinner date, but I definitely wasn’t up for much.  At this point, I was hoping the rest of my trip wouldn’t be ruined.  To be continued…


Sheraton photo from here.