Friday, September 30, 2011

The Perscription for a Rough Morning...

... more cowbell Turtle videos!

It's been a rough morning.  There's a store about a little girl killed by her mother going around Facebook. One of those "put this up on your status for an hour if you're against (fill in the blank cause)".  I'm ok with the story but along with it is a gruesome picture of a little tiny, innocent girl about Turtle's age all beat up. I've seen these sorts of things before but never as a mother. It hit me so hard and not just the injustice of the abuse but the re-victimization of this poor little girl who now has the worst day of her short life being paraded around the Internet so that people can look socially aware in front of their friends!

Don't get me wrong. I understand the use of shocking images to get people's attention. Victims pictures are a staple of domestic violence awareness ad campaigns, you know what the difference is? Those are adults who have given their consent and chosen to have their images used. Where did this little girl's picture come from? Who gave consent and how can people parade her broken face in front of others. As a former domestic violence volunteer who took those hospital pictures I know how those are supposed to be kept under lock and key.  They are never intended for public consumption. I know people have good intentions but the little girl looks a little bit like Turtle and my heart brakes for her. If I thought the image would make any change I would understand but these arbitrary Facebook status campaigns really do absolutely nothing for victims which is why I never participate. If you want to do something to forward a cause: donate money, volunteer with an organization making a difference or even just speak up in a group when someone makes a domestic violence "joke". Don't hide behind your computer and think you are really making a difference.

Sorry to rant, but there have been a few of these going around lately. The worst part is often these are used as propaganda to promote a certain agenda and the exploitation is just more than I can handle today!

So... now that I have that out of my system. Here's is your daily dose of awesome! Turtle has a new nickname: Tiger Lily. I think after watching the following video you'll understand why. I know it's on it's side but I've been trying to get this on video for weeks and by the time I'd restarted the camera she had stopped. So, let's all throw caution to the wind, tilt our heads to the side and look crazy! Enjoy!

I swear we are going to rent her out to death metal bands! She needs to start earning her keep somehow! Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Turtle!

For Turtle's 6 Month birthday, I decided we'd go out to a local park and take some pics.  Unfortunately, I always seem to miss her super happy just-woken-up time and by the time I've gotten us dressed and out to take pics she in her grumpy-need-a-bottle-and-nap time, but we still got some good pics.

She really loved the swings, but yeah, she totally tried to eat them. ICK!! Note to self, bring disinfecting wipes next time!

She also loved the rocky horse, but I think more than anything she just wanted to eat him too. She teething, can you tell???

Forever Daddy's daredevil!

She was nice enough to stand and get some pictures with her Mama, too.

I love this look! It's says, "Who?? Me???" I fear we are in trouble as she gets older!

And this is her "I am woman hear me roar" face!

You can tell she's getting tired here. She does that with her mouth all the time and I always think it makes her look like a little bird. A chubby little bird, but you know. :-)

Then Mama fixed her catywompas flower and took a few on the blanket. And we ended up with one of my favorites so far...

The arm rolls! The chubby cheeks!! LOVE!! Happy belated 1/2 birthday, Turtle!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Day at the Races

A few weekends ago we took Turtle to her first every car race (and no it wasn't a Nascar race!).  See, was raised in a car racing enthusiast family. My parents went to some of the major road races on the east coast before I was born. Road Atlanta was one of their favorites, as well as Watkins Glen in NY. They attended the 24 Hours of Daytona on more than one occasion. I even got to go one year and stay in the in-field in my grandparent's RV. It was super fun but I think I found the whole using the bathroom in the RV to be more interesting then the race itself. After all my brothers were born my parents took me and my oldest younger brother to Road Atlanta for a 24 hour race and I remember having a blast!

Unfortunately, I haven't been in years. But my middle brother has gotten involved in photographing what are basically amateur races. These are leagues of drivers who come together in an association and rent out major race tracks and spend the weekend racing against each other. What do you win? Bragging rights. And the joy of doing something you love.

So, a few weekends ago there was an event out at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and we met my brother out there. I suspected that Turtle would enjoy it since she loves to watch the cars drive by on my mom's road, but I was surprised at how much she seemed to enjoy it. It was a toasty weekend so I ended up spending most of the time in the garage of my brother's friend but we could still see the course and I was able to keep Turtle out of the sun while the boys enjoyed taking pictures.

Oh my gosh! The pudgy arms! I die!

As you can see she wore her hot pink hearing protection that we got her for the 4th of July. I knew those would come in handy. She never seemed to have a problem with the noise. In fact she didn't even flinch when a loud car cranked up just a few stalls down from us in the garage. So, I figure the hearing protection works.

Truthfully, it was kind of a sad day. Racing is something that my dad thoroughly enjoys and something I've done with him for years. It was hard not to text him a picture of Turtle and it was sad knowing he was missing out on such a cool experience. But cest la vie.

I did giggle a little when I found myself taking special time to point out the lady driver to Turtle, like she understood. I'm sure this won't be Turtle's last race!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

90% Awesome, 10% Disaster-ific

About a month ago, my cousin on my dad's side got married.  I absolutely wanted to be there, and since that was Jay's mom's birthday, Turtle and I packed up and made the trek to North Georgia on our own.  The weekend was 90% awesome and only about 10% disaster-ific. It was awesome to see family I hadn't seen in years and I loved introducing Turtle to everyone, but I'll think twice before I travel such a long distance just me and the baby.

If having a baby has taught me one thing is that's control is an illusion. I use to be a type-A control freak. I loved day planners and calendar apps, and I always have at least one list I'm working on in google docs at all times. Turtle on the other hand looks at my planning (everything from my birth "plan" to our weekend travel plan) and does her evil laugh, "Bwahahahaha!"  I specifically planned to leave at the time that Turtle takes a nap every. single. morning. I figured my plan was fool proof. She usually sleeps from about 7:15am till 10 or 11am. There was the possibility that she would sleep the entire 4 hour drive to North Georgia. I can hear Turtle now, "Bwahahahaha!" Fool proof and baby proof are two very different things! We made it to Gaffney (about 2 hours away) before she decided she'd had enough.

So, I pulled off and found somewhere to change her and feed her. Then I got some Dunkin Donuts' iced coffee and we got back on the road. We only made it another hour before she decided she'd again had enough. At this point we were in BFE South Carolina but thankfully I found a grocery store where I could pull off and get her out of her carseat. I held her for a few minutes and took a pic of her new sunglasses.

Then we got back on the road. She made it another hour before she started complaining again but thankfully at that point we were very close to my aunt's house.

Saying my family was glad to see us would be a gross understatement. Because I have a tumultuous relationship with my dad, I also have had a strange relationship with his side of the family. I haven't seen him in a year and a half and haven't talk to him since finding out I was pregnancy. But I decided that I didn't care and that these were my people and I wanted a relationship with them. I also want Turtle to grow up knowing what it's like to have an extended family. So, I decided to go to the wedding not knowing what type of reception we would find. Thankfully, everyone was overjoyed to see us.

Turtle had everyone under her spell as soon as we got there. Although she was a little overwhelmed and wasn't real big on people holding her right away. So, when I found out that the photographer was not planning on being there while the bride got ready, I popped her in my sling and grabbed my camera. At first I put her on my hip but she kept trying to grab for the camera (another photographer in the making, maybe?) so I hopped her around onto my back and she hung out there while I took pics of my beautiful cousin as she put on her make up and got dressed.

I'm no professional and really could have used my brother's new lens that does wonders in low light, but I was really glad I was able to get her a few pics that she otherwise wouldn't have had. I just wish I'd taken some pictures of her shoes since she wore her Chacos (which is so "her"). C'est la vie. This is why I don't ever want to be a full time wedding photographer, too much pressure to get once in a lifetime pics with no chance of a re-do.

Once the bride was all zipped up and ready to go, we headed out to the wedding site. They got married at Black Rock Mountain State park and it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen for a wedding. I got some pictures before the ceremony.

That's my Aunt Sandy (mother of the bride) and my Aunt Jan

My Aunt Jan and her daughter, my cousin Katy

Katy, Jan, and my Grandmother Patsy

Patsy and Turtle who gave the coursages a big thumbs up!

My aunt Sandy and her son, my cousin Ben

Sandy, Ben, and Patsy

Unfortunately, Turtle needed to eat right as the ceremony was starting so I didn't get any pics. Thankfully there was a covered picnic area near where they were having the ceremony so I was able to keep Turtle out of the sun while I fed her. We did have to walk away though at the end because after her bottle she wanted to talk. Hehe.

Soon after the ceremony was over we moved to the reception area which was beautifully decorated.  The Bride, my aunt and everyone else had designed and executed a stunning, rusticly elegant wedding, and trust me, I'm the harshest of critiques when it comes to weddings!

With a full belly and becoming more familiar with her extended family, Turtle went into full on entertainer mode.

Turtle also gave the vintage napkins decorating the tables a big thumbs up!

And she showed everyone her favorite Tigger. I don't know what we'd do without him!

After the bride and groom left, my grandmother (Turtle's great-grandmother) entertained her while I helped break down the reception space and load everything up into the cars. Then we headed over to my aunts house and sat around talking for a while. It was so nice to talk to family. It was like being home again. My life with my dad has been such a challenge.  It was nice to talk with people (besides my mom and brothers) who understand what that challenge is like. It was very validating and I can't wait to do it again!

From their we headed across the mountain to my cousin's house.  The only problem was I wasn't paying attention to the clock and Turtle got hungry about half way through the drive. There really wasn't anywhere to stop and I had also run out of water (mommy fail!) so we had to push through the 30-45 minute drive to Bryson City.

Once we got there and got Turtle a bottle, everything settled down. It was so nice to visit with my cousin and introduce her to Turtle. It was also awesome to spend some time with her 10 month old baby boy and see were our little one is headed. He's walking and everything! God help us all!!

The next morning, I headed to Asheville to spend a little more time with my grandparents and then have lunch with my brother. After a soggy, but wonderful lunch, Turtle and I headed out of town.

Everything was going great until we hit the half way mark (about an hour or so from home). But this time there was no were to stop. I'd forgotten what an empty stretch Highway 321 is between Hickory and Lincolnton. I finally found somewhere to stop and pulled Turtle out of her seat. Her eyes and nose were red from crying and it broke my heart. Once she was settled down I strapped her back in the car, but we weren't even on the highway again before she started up again. I decided at that point that it was just better to push through so I texted Jay who was at our friends' house and told him I was heading there. By the time we arrived we were both in tears!

But as soon as she was out of the car and in Daddy's arms all was well again... with Turtle at least. Mommy needed a glass of wine! So, on the whole it was an absolutely wonderful weekend! But yeah... next time Daddy's coming along!

Monday, September 12, 2011

And She's Back in the Game!

I don't know about you guys, but we had a very productive weekend around our house.  I think it's probably a good sign that my meds are starting to kick in and even me out which I am very thankful for. They are evening me out on the low end of things, but my doctor is keeping an eye on that and it's still much better than the crushing depression I was experiencing a few weeks ago.  But before I get into this weekend, I need to introduce you to your next addiction.

You might have noticed a new button on the right side of the blog.  Pinterest is the most amazing thing evah! And I'm so not exaggerating! It's basically a virtual bulletin board that you can "pin" things to that you are "interested" in.  Hence Pinterest. See how they did that? I love these people! Have you ever been surfing the web (not on work hours!!) and stumbled across the perfect gift for someone and thought, "This is perfect, but I'm never going to remember this in x months for their birthday/christmas/going away party/baptism/monday." Well, no longer my friend! Now when you find something you can "pin" it to one of your boards.  And then when a special occasion (or a Friday) comes around you have multiple gift ideas to choose from.

Want to redecorate but not good at envisioning how things would look together?  Pin them to your board and see all the elements in one place!  Want to plan a wedding or shower for someone? Pin ideas you find all over the web to a board and see what looks good together.  Want to find your "style"?  Pin looks you like and then look back over them.  The common elements are probably your style.

But it's not only a great place to save links, you can also scroll through the thousands of pins other people have put on their boards. It's like the mother ship of awesome! Recipes, fashion, crafting, decorating ideas, DIY tutorials, awesome quotes... the list is endless.

Ok, so I figure you've got the point now, but in case you haven't, I'm just going to come right out and say it... Get thee to Pinterest! If you need an invitation leave your email in the comments or email it to me (email in my profile).

The only problem is, it's easy to scroll through (again, NOT at work) and pin hundreds of ideas and never get around to doing any of them. So, this weekend, my friend Laura and I decided we were going to change that. We chose three recipes and I chose a crafting project I could do at her house, we enlisted the boys to help wrangle the girls, and we got down to work!

By 7pm on Saturday we had...

2 loafs of Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread found here on Pinterest

4 loafs of Pumpkin Pound Cake found here on Pinterest (supposed to be a bunt cake but we made into loafs)

And 1 Tutu!

And I don't have a single picture to show for it! Bad blogger!!! Oh well. I'll get some pics of the tutu soon I'm sure. It was really a trial run since I want to make something similar for Turtle's Halloween costume. I did learn that tulle makes my OCD kick in and it drives me nuts when it's not all going in the right direction!

The tag team baking was awesome! Lauren and I made a great team and the kitchen was even clean by the time we were done. Turtle got cranky when we were first starting and refused to go to sleep with Daddy, so I borrowed Lauren's Ergo and put her on my back. After getting use to the novelty of being back there, she fell right asleep and Jay was able to take her. We are even thinking of doing a tag team freezer meal weekend sometimes soon.

Additionally, this weekend I got some work done in our spare room which has been where every random thing we've ever owned is thrown in. I'm planning to move my craft room upstairs into the spare room for two reasons. 1) I want to make my craft room a play room and 2) leaving my crafting stuff in there creates nothing short of a baby death trap! So, I'm really looking forward to creating my craft space/guest room as well as the play area.

Whew! I'm excited just typing everything we got done this weekend! What did you guys do? Hopefully there will be lots of photos to follow. And I'm going to be catching up on all the stuff that's gone down over the last few weeks!