Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Daniel!!

Just about this time last year, I started getting text messages from my sister Allyson. She was going into labor!!! I was on borderline bed rest at that point so I followed along by phone and text, cheering her all the way. On June 14th my darling handsome nephew Daniel was born and my heart expanded to include a much-loved new little member of the family!



Going through pregnancy and this first year of babyhood with my sister has been one of the most special times of my life. My sister is my best friend and I love this little boy like he is my own child. It has been so much fun watching Daniel and Maddie together this year, as they are only about a month apart in age.


Daniel sailed past his official one year birthday, complete with video texts from his cousin Anna. On Sunday we all got to celebrate at his party, complete with BBQ ribs and a bounce house. And lots and lots of birthday cake, which was Anna's main concern. Get ready for a whole lot of pictures, because we all had a blast!

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Whoever brought that massive box is obnoxious, haha. Oops.

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Sack of potatoes. Anna was a little loopy at this point from the heat and the nap-skipping.

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Daniel got serenaded with the birthday song twice - once in English and once in Portuguese. I love that he will grow up bilingual!

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Pretty mama.

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Mmm birthday cake.

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Daniel loved our present - and especially the box it came in, lol!

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Happy birthday, baby boy! We love you!

Happy Father's Day!

This past Sunday was Father's Day and we three girls set out to make the day extra special for Steve. Of course, we want him to ALWAYS feel special and loved, but this holiday is always a good excuse to put in some extra love and attention!

The Father's Day festivities officially kicked off Saturday night, when we were able to take advantage of a Parents' Night Out and have a much-needed date night. We ended up at a local brewery restaurant, where we sampled a flight of their beers and some of their new summer cocktails. It was so relaxing to kick back together over a fantastic dinner and we greatly enjoyed our adult conversation. This was also the first Parents' Night Out that we weren't called early to come pick up our cranky baby, so to have FOUR hours of uninterrupted time together was heavenly!

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Sunday morning we were all treated to a bit of a sleep-in, thanks to our late night, and Anna doled out all of Steve's presents. He dresses up very handsomely for work and he prefers the french cuffs on his shirts, which means he wears cuff links. Steve has a good little collection of cuff links and we just about doubled his stash this morning! We picked out cuff links that were relevant to the girls and Daddy, so he got some airplanes, elephants, seahorses, guitars, and...best of all...Mickey Mouse bar links! Maddie even gnawed on his card a little bit, just for authenticity's sake.

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These were the only pictures I took of Father's Day celebrations...Steve isn't a big picture fan!

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We followed presents with a gourmet breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns. 

We then had to pack up and run over to our nephew Daniel's birthday party (you'd better believe there are pictures coming for that!!). On the way over to the other side of Atlanta, we stopped at Steve's favorite liquor store and let him restock his bar.

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Father's Day ended with a pizza party - we were pretty tired from the day so we picked up Mellow Mushroom pizza (Steve's favorite) and wrapped up the day chilling on the couch.

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Anna took these two pictures, aren't they cute??

Steve, we love you so much and we are so thankful for everything that you do for our family. Happy Father's Day!

Summer Tomato Sandwiches

At least once a summer when we were children, we would pack into the car and travel to the tiny town of Abbeville, South Carolina to visit my great-aunt Louise and my great-uncle Leon. My mom was close with them and they were our only relatives in the Southeast, so I think we all enjoyed the trip.

 Aunt Louise and Uncle Leon had a sprawling yard filled with oak trees, lizards, deer, clothes lines, and a garden. Abbeville didn't have much else to offer beyond the Piggly-Wiggly but we kids loved going and exploring the property, playing in the fields, swinging on the porch swing, and sneaking apples to the horses next door.

One staple of every trip was a huge platter of tomato sandwiches waiting for us in the kitchen when we arrived. If we finished them all, then we heard "my God, you kids were hungry, don't you ever eat in the city??". If we didn't finish them all, then "my God, you kids are like skinny birds and you just peck at your food, what on earth do you eat in the city??". Spoken in a true Southern drawl, of course.

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The funny thing about those tomato sandwiches is that they have remained in my mind as the embodiment of country gardens, sunburned childhoods, hummingbird feeders, porch swings, and all things Southern. We rarely even ate them except at Aunt Louise's house but it's funny that they stuck so well in my mind!

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Anyway, we had the stars align in our kitchen this week where we had a bunch of leftover tomatoes and no lunch meat, so I figured it was high time to introduce these city girls of mine to a childhood tradition, and I made them a plate full of tomato sandwiches.

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There's really nothing to these. Get some good white bread. Slice up the juiciest, ripest tomatoes you can find, as thin as you can. Slather both sides of bread with mayonnaise, pile on the tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add lettuce or spinach if you want.

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Anna inhaled two full sandwiches at lunch time this day and I enjoyed another mental meander through the Abbeville countryside. And maybe I will just happen to overbuy tomatoes again soon, as these tomato sandwiches are the perfect summer lunch!

Monday, June 10, 2013

11 Months Old!

Our sweet Maddie Magoo is 11 months old this week, holy cow! This number feels so bizarre to me but nonetheless, party plans are in full swing (or scramble) and this baby girl is going to be a year old soon!

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Maddie is crawling ALL over the place and also pulling up and cruising. I love seeing her zoom all over the room and especially when she crawls over into my lap for a snuggle or an open-mouthed baby kiss. She loves being near her mama, just like her sister, and it is so funny when I step out of sight for even just a second and she immediately crawls off in search of me. Her eyes light up when she spots me again and she puts her crawl into double-time to come give me a hug. If I am going back and forth between the laundry room and my bedroom with loads of laundry, Maddie pads up and down the hallway the whole time trying to keep up!!

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 This is what happens when you make a phone call for just one minute!!
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Anna seems to be growing impatient for Maddie to be a playmate and I have to remind her often that Maddie is still little and we need to be gentle. I get zero backup on that though, as Maddie is often giggling up a storm when Anna is doing her rough-and-tumble routine. Anna will pretend to read Maddie books, and it is so sweet to see Maddie sitting next to Anna studiously looking at all of the pictures.

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One of Maddie's favorite activities right now are our living room dance parties. If Anna is watching one of her Sesame Street or Barney videos, I will sweep Maddie up in my arms and bounce around the living room while Anna dances along, much to both of my girls' delight. Anna immediately requests "More song please!!" - the dancing wears Mama out but the girls love it!

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The other activity that Maddie loves (and her older sister loved it too, if you remember!) is objects in a bucket or box. If I need her occupied for a few minutes, I'll throw a bunch of stuff in a bag or a bucket or a box and Maddie will happily sit there and take out every item, inspect it, gnaw on it, and then place it to the side. I love watching this because Anna used to do the exact same thing, and I love seeing Maddie explore her toys.

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Maddie has 8 teeth fully in, and at least one more getting ready to cut through. She keeps biting my arms and I laughed the other day when I called her a zombie baby and she growled at me. Anybody else who likes the Walking Dead show will appreciate that situation!

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Maddie also loves bath time and she will splash and play with all of the toys. I love hearing her giggles as she splashes in the water, and she is such a good sport when her sister dumps a bucket of water over her head in an attempt to help.

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We love you so much Maddie-girl and we are so excited to be able to wish you a happy birthday soon!

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