Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Basketball is Funny!

Who knew? Our neighbor decided to move their basketball hoop to the middle of the cul-de-sac so all of the kids (aka husbands) could play basketball in the evenings after dinner. The guys have been having a great time, minus an ankle sprain or two. While the men play, the women hang out drinking wine and discuss topics of importance (aka, The Bachlortte).

The men playing basketball.

A few weeks ago while we were baby sitting our nieces, we thought it would be fun for them to shoot some hoops in our cul-de-sac. It was a beautiful evening and thought it would be a great idea for them to get outside. While we were watching them play, Jillian just started cracking up! It was completely unprovoked. She loved watching the girls dribble the basketball! She thought they were performing for HER, but for once, they weren't! It was just so precious, I had Jeff run in and grab the camera.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blog Hop at Jenna's Journey

If you are visiting from Jenna's blog hop... Welcome! I think Jenna's Journey, Commenting Challenge is a great idea! I don't always leave comments, so this week, I'm going to start leaving more comments. Join in if you'd like! I know all bloggers love comments, yet, we are all guilty of not leaving them.

The Great Outdoors

What a sunny and warm Summer we have had here so far in Cleveland! I can't remember a Summer where it was Sunny all day and would only rain at night. It's been so wonderful, Cleveland would be such a great place to live if the weather would just stay like this all year long!

On my days off, I have been trying to spend as much time as possible outside with Jillian before it gets too hot for her. We have been enjoying our Summer mornings going on walks around the neighborhood or hanging out on the back porch. My flowers are actually still alive, my neighbor did an amazing job watering them while we were in Myrtle Beach and I have actually been keeping up with the watering too now that I am off two days during the week.

Can you believe these petunia's came back from last year? I thought they were annuals, apparently not. They are gorgeous!

I have been looking everywhere lately for a monogrammed garden flag and finally found one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Isn't this adorable?

I also finally put my Carolina decal on my car. Doesn't it just scream happy and sunny?

Speaking of car decals, have you seen these lately? Adorable!

The construction of the new phase is almost complete in our subdivision. I have been watching it come together all Summer long and I am so excited that we should be able to drive on the new road shortly. I have heard that a few lots have already been sold so I am even more excited that our neighborhood is continuing to grow!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Myrtle Beach 2010 - Part IV

I am exhausted just looking back at all of our pictures from the beach. Packing up an infant for a day a the beach takes a lot of skill and endurance! Nevertheless, we had a great time and we loved having Jillian there with us.

The biggest challenge of the day was trying to keep her pacifier from falling out of her mouth and on to the sand. She kept taking her paci out of her mouth and would start to vigorously wave it all around. I kept trying to grab it out of her hand before she dropped it. Talk about a sandy mess that would have been!

A few pictures from the beach:

Jillian's first dip in the ocean!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Myrtle Beach 2010 - Part III

Jeff and I learned that one good thing about going on vacation with the family is that you have a lot of willing baby sitters around you! Jeff and I were able to still enjoy the little things that we have come to love about Myrtle Beach over the last ten years.

We took advantage of our live in baby sitters and had breakfast, just the two of us, on the Apache Pier. The view of the water from our table was so beautiful and peaceful.

After breakfast, we took a long walk along the beach. I just love the beach in the morning before the temperature gets too hot. I love watching all of the joggers running up and down the beach. I love all of the old ladies and families wading in the water, looking for that perfect sea shell. Nothing beats a walk on the beach in the morning sun.

A self portrait of us at the end of the Apache Pier.

I don't think Jeff and I have ever been to Myrtle Beach without enjoying a drink at Ocean Annie's. Ocean Annie's is a ocean front bar located inside the Ocean Sands hotel which is only a short walk from our condo. You are always guaranteed to find a fun, sunburned crowd, live music, and beautiful views of the beach. Jeff's parents were nice enough to watch Jillian for a few hours so we could enjoy a drink or two. Or three. Last year I was pregnant with Jillian so I was really looking forward to having a drink with Jeff this year.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Myrtle Beach 2010 - Part II

Jillian experienced so many firsts on our trip to Myrtle Beach but I don't think any of them were as exciting as her first trip to Build-A-Bear! One evening after dinner, we were walking off our meals around Broadway at the Beach and came across the Build-A-Bear Workshop. We knew we had to go in and buy Jillian her first Build-A-Bear Teddy. It was so crowded at Broadway at the Beach that evening that the line to Build-A-Bear was out the door and around the side of the building. But that didn't stop us.

Jillian anxiously waiting in line to pick out a bear.

Picking out her bear.

Giving her bear a kiss.

Mommy and Jilly waiting in line to fill the bear with love.

Filling up the bear.

What does Jillian think of her new bear?

I think she likes it!

We decided to name Jillian's bear "Snoozer". It's one of the many nicknames I refer to her as. Jillian is either a snoozer (when she has a good night's sleep), or not a snoozer (when she keeps Mommy up). I love it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Myrtle Beach 2010 - Part I

We had such a wonderful trip to Myrtle Beach. I was really excited since this was our first trip as a family with Jillian. Jeff's parents own a condo along the water so Jeff and I have been vacationing in Myrtle Beach for at least ten years now. Every year we vacation with Jeff's parents and my brother in law's family. Jeff's brother has two little girls, our nieces, who are ages eight and ten. It is such a wonderful and special place to us, I couldn't wait to share it with our little girl!

One thing I learned on our trip was how to pack up a six month old! I think all in all, I spent over four hours packing up just her stuff. It was such a daunting task just getting started! I just started pulling items out of drawers and assessing every little thing she owned and tried to decide if we needed to bring it or not. After awhile, I got into a groove and everything came together. I was pretty proud of myself, I felt that I really did think of everything. I didn't feel that once we arrived that I had to hunt down the closest Babies R Us to buy something that I had forgotten. We ended up packing my larget suitcase, my garment bag, Jeff's suitcase, Jillian's duffle bag, Jeff's golfclubs, the pack n play, the bouncer seat, the bumbo seat, a cooler, a large box full of extra diapers, wipes, rice cereal, bottles, and all sorts of other miscellaneous baby items. We were packed to the gills, I don't think one more item could not have fit into the back of our Saturn Vue. Looking back, I wish I would have taken a picture of all our stuff!

We wanted to leave on a Friday night, however, with Jillian's trip to the ER on Thursday, we decided to play it safe and leave early Saturday morning. Jillian woke us up at 4am on Saturday morning as she normally does for her nightly feeding. I fed her, made a pot of coffee, packed up a few last minutes items, and we were out the door by 5:30am. Once we were on the road we realized the Jeff's brother had also left around the same time we did so we decided to stop off in Wytheville, Virginia to have lunch at the local Cracker Barrel. After our stop, we got back on the road and arrived in Myrtle Beach around 5pm. I was a little nervous on how Jillian was going to handle the twelve hour drive but she did so well. She slept most of the morning and I kept her entertained with a bag of toys that I kept in the front seat with me. Around eight hours into our drive, she had enough. She became extremely fussy and no longer was interested in any of her toys. I ended up riding in the back seat with her for the remainder of the trip and that perked her right up. As long as I was back there with her, she was as happy as could be!

Feeding her on the road was interesting! Jillian is still mostly breast fed, however, I ended up packing three bottles of distilled water and three servings of formula stored in a formula dispenser. The formula dispenser is divided into three sections so it was easy to dump in one serving of formula into a bottle with the distilled water. I fed her once on our stop at The Cracker Barrel and the other times I sat in the back with her and fed her a bottle. I wasn't able to burp her but she did OK. When we would stop for gas, I would make sure that we got Jillian out of her carseat and I would try burping her then. Since we were in the car for twelve hours, I ended up pumping three times in the car. That was a bit challenging! I had to some how hold a blanket over me at the same time I was trying to hold the two pumping funnels. I certainly didn't want to give any nosy truck drivers a cheap thrill!!!! We stored the pumped milk in our cooler and it stayed chilled until we arrived at the condo.

After several stops along the way to feed and change Jillian, and a one hour traffic jam trying to get into Myrtle Beach, we finally made it! It was a long twelve hour trip, but it was worth it. We were finally there!

We are very fortunate that our condo has three swimming pools and is only a two minute walk from the beach. Our swimming possibilities are quite endless! I was so excited to see what Jillian thought of the pool. She loves her bath time and I had a feeling that she would think of it as one big bath tub. At first, she was a little unsure of the water. By the end of the week, she started to put her face in the pool and drink the pool water. Mommy had to nip that in the bud real quick!

The view of the pool from the balcony of our condo.

Our family at the pool.

My sweet girl swimming.

Takings a much needed break from all of the swimming for a quick snack!

My favorite picture from the pool.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hot in Cleveland

Yes, it has been quite hot here in Cleveland these days, but I am not talking about the weather. I am talking about the new show on TV LAND at 10pm Wednesday nights.I had to tune in to see what all the fuss was about since I am an actual Clevelander.

In “Hot in Cleveland,” Melanie Moretti (Valerie Bertinelli), Victoria Chase (Wendy Malick) and Joy Scroggs (Leeves) are on a plane heading from Los Angeles to Paris that makes an emergency landing in Cleveland. As only happens in sitcoms, a series of events causes the trio to decide to stick around awhile and rent a house that comes with Betty White's sassy Elka as the caretaker. This show has the innocence of a 1980's sitcom with today's modern humor. Each episode always seems to bring back a guest star from the 1980's. In the first episode, Valerie Bertinelli, who plays Melanie, went out on a date with John Schneider. In the most recent episode, Wendy Malek who plays Victoria, met up with an old boyfriend played by Huey Lewis. If you are a fan of 1980's sitcoms, you are going to love 'Hot in Cleveland'.

Edited to add on 7/16/2010: This was added to the 'Hot in Cleveland' website yesterday, I thought it was so funny and had to add this picture to this post. This is 'Hot in Cleveland's' answer to replace the LeBron mural in downtown Cleveland.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jillian is Six Months Old!

I feel like I blinked and Summer is already half over. As a Clevelander, this always seems to happen every year. We only have three months of nice weather and you find yourself cramming a years worth of activities and get together's into a three month time period. It's a shame that my blog has taken a back seat to all of the craziness because I do not want to forget any of the special moments of Jillian's first year.

Jillian's six month birthday occurred on June 21st, and here I am on July 13th finally blogging about it! Six months has just been an amazing turning point in my sweet little girl's life. Sometimes when I think that I couldn't possibly love her more, I wake up the next morning and I do! She has experienced so many firsts in her life these past few weeks, I don't want to forget any of it! I feel like I am cheating a bit on this post because what I would have written on June 21st compared to what I am writing today is about practically a different baby. Jillian has changed so much in just a few short weeks. The six month mark seemed to be a big turning point for Jillian. She experienced a lot of firsts this month, with most of them occurring while we were in Myrtle Beach!

Jillian, you are still in Carter's size six month clothing and are wearing a size two diaper. We accidental bought a box of size 2/3 diapers but you haven't had a problem with leaks or blow outs in them. You have been wearing them like a champ even though they are slightly baggy. You weighed 16 pounds exactly while you were in the ER, and at your six month appointment on July 10th, you weighed 16 pounds 6 ounces. It's hard to believe by the end of the Summer you may be close to twenty pounds! Your height, weight, and head size are all in the 50th percentile for your age. Needless to say, you are right where you should be with everything! You are still slightly teething but I am yet to see the signs of a tooth. Your doctor mentioned at your four month appointment that a tooth should be popping any week now but nothing has happened yet. You still drool on occasion and like to stick things in your mouth constantly. I need to be extremely careful now where I lay you down because you have a tendency to grab everything and anything around you and put it in your mouth. You have been as happy as can be so I do not feel like they are bothering you yet even if they are about to pop. It's been several weeks now since we have had to even give you a teething tablet.

Jillian, you had her first taste of rice cereal, tried out your umbrella stroller, and had your first swim ever in a swimming pool! You are now rolling over from your back to your stomach, and if you are really feeling adventurous, you will roll back from your stomach to your back. I have even witnessed a double roll once on your activity mat. I have also found you a few times in your crib asleep on your belly. The first time this happened, it really freaked me out. I immediately turned on your SIDS monitor. I have a feeling it's going to get harder and harder for me to keep you off of your belly. You aren't the biggest fan of being on your belly but you do seem to be favoring side and belly sleeping lately. It is very rare that you sleep on your back anymore.

Speaking of sleep, you are still getting up at least once a night around 3am. How I wish I could break you of this habit!!! I feel that my body has gotten used to getting up with you which I never thought would happen. Once a night, I can handle, twice a night, not so much. Luckily the twice a night feedings are long behind us. Once a night is still not fun and certainly not the preferable option. Especially on a work night. I am praying that you break this habit soon!!! You have only slept through the night once since our last monthly update so you really need to start stringing a few more of these together! Ever since we returned from Myrtle Beach, it seems like you have been going to bed so much easier for us at night. I used to sit in your rocker for an hour playing the pacifier game, waiting for you to fall asleep. Now I just place you in your crib after your bed time bottle and you roll over and fall asleep. How did you get so easy? You are also now consitently napping in your crib. When you start to show signs of tiredness, I place you in your crib, turn on your sound machine and mobile, give you the paci, and you roll over fall asleep. I don't know what has changed since you turned six months, but everything seems to be turning around for you in the sleep department. I couldn't be happier. Now, if we could just work on those 3 am feedings....

I have noticed you starting to interact with other babies and kids lately. You are so curious about what they are doing. You loved laughing at your cousins and were quite entertained by them while we were in Myrtle Beach together. You also love to reach out to the other babies at daycare. It's so cute to watch you make faces at them as you play on the floor together.

You had your first taste of rice cereal while we were in Myrtle Beach and you loved it! You loved it so much that you would fuss in between bites because we weren't feeding you fast enough. We have since introduced to you green beans which did not go over quite as well. If it's not mixed with rice cereal, you will refuse to eat it. Today we are trying peas so I can only imagine the faces you will make with this! You are also still breast fed several times a day. I am proud to say I reached my six month breast feeding goal and I have no plans on stopping right now. The thought of me no longer breast feeding you brings me to tears. We both still enjoy it so why stop now? It is still our special time together which I love.

First bite of rice cereal was a little shocking!

Not so sure about it.

Trying it again.


Your favorite toy right now is your jumperoo. You think you are such a big shot in it and have a constant smile on your face. You really start to go nuts when you realize that I am watching you. All I have to say is "bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!" and you practically jump right out of it. It is so adorable, I love watching you have a great time. You still love your bouncer and your activity mat. I have started to place you in a sitting position with the boppy pillow supporting you so you can play sitting up. I really think you are liking this new perspective and will probably be sitting up without my support very soon! I am sad to say that I think we are days away from retiring your swing. You will sit in it but you are way too active now to sit there for long. Your legs start kicking and you start batting away at the little lamb mobile above you. Some how I don't think those little plush lambs were meant for the abuse that you have given them! Since you instinctively want to start rolling any where I lay you down, you will immediately try to roll out of your swing. I no longer feel comfortable putting you in there and walking out of the room for a few minutes. It is no longer my go to place anymore for your naps.

Jillian, you are such a good baby. I have nothing to compare you to, but from what I hear from family, friends, and complete strangers, you are. Everyone is amazed at how little you cry and fuss. I always know what is wrong when you do finally cry since you cry so little. When you were a newborn, you would scream bloody murder when you were hungry, but now I barely get a wimper out of you. You also have the longest eyelashes. This is probably your most predominant feature and the one that I always hear compliments about. Even the cashiers at Target are amazed by your long and beautiful eyelashes. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. I thank God every day for giving me such a beautfiul little girl. You were certainly worth the wait.

Mommy's happy baby girl.

Helping Mommy blow out her candles.