Friday, July 29, 2016

Absolutely Fabulous Seven Layer Cake

Happy Friday! Although I woke up thinking it was Saturday. I also woke up not able to stand up completely straight thanks to my first TRX class yesterday morning. And I attempted to work our the soreness with a 6 a.m. barre class that seems to have left me even more sore. If that's possible! I predict lots of naps today for everyone!

We've had a really fun, and busy, week. It seems that the end of summer brings a rush of activity. On Monday night my friend Amanda and I left our little ones with their daddies (her baby Polk is two weeks younger than Duncan) and went to Ashville to see the Absolutely Fabulous movie. The independent movie theater there was showing it and we made plans before our boys were born to go!

Ryan and I started watching the Ab Fab TV show last summer on Hulu. It first came out in the early 90s and follows two highly dysfunctional best friends. They are in the PR fashion industry and just complete screw-ups. But lovable! Here's the trailer...

The theater had an "Ab Fab" special of champagne. Surprisingly, it pairs very well with popcorn!

After the movie we hit up Chickfila and pumped in the parking lot. Gotta love a wild night out!

Tuesday morning in the middle of breakfast the power suddenly went out. A huge tree randomly fell down the road and it was 3 p.m. before our electricity was back on. I had a 101 things on my to-do list but since they all required power it ended up being a very relaxing day. The house didn't get unbearable hot and I spent most of the day reading - when not changing diapers and feeding. We've moved Duncan into the nursery and nap times have been interesting. Although I think Caroline and Duncan are both getting the hang of falling asleep at the same time. 

We did escape to Whole Foods for lunch and to charge my phone. I'm fine without a television and air conditioning, but can't do without my phone!

I caption Duncan's thought bubble as "Jesus, take the wheel." Caroline had just been waving her wooden toy in his face and he was freaking out!

Ryan got off early enough for a quick game of tennis. Caroline is good to watch for about an hour before she's over it. We played one set and I WON 6 to 4. It's been over a year since I won a set against Ryan!

Giving mama a high five. 

And one afternoon Caroline painted a birthday card for Ryan. She looks a little like Van Gogh with this painter's mustache...

Ryan turned 32 on Thursday and we celebrated with Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the morning. Duncan wasn't sure about the candles!

And we celebrated that evening by grilling steaks with Julia and Eric. Ryan was embarrassed that I made him blow out candles, but it's not a birthday without candles! He'd requested his favorite Seven Layer Cake.  

Ryan's grandmother used to make him this cake and it's his all-time favorite. Her recipe was lost, but, after many years of practice, he says my recipe tastes the same as his childhood memories! I make a double recipe of the icing. Otherwise, the icing between the layers needs to be super thin and that stresses me out! Plus you can never err on too much chocolate, right?

For the cake batter:
1 package yellow cake mix
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour cake pans. Mix together cake mix, eggs, vanilla, milk, baking powder, and butter and beat with electric mixer for two minutes. Pour about 1/2 cup batter in to round cake pans (do seven total). Bake for around 9 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the pan. I cook two pans at a time.

Let cool in pan and then on wire rack. Once it is completely cool, apply icing between each layer and then around the outside.

For the chocolate icing:
1 pound confectioners' sugar
3/4 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons milk

Sift cocoa powder and add confectioners' sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt and milk in a bowl and stir until smooth. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

10 Months of Joy

Caroline turned 10 months last week when we were at the beach. She's quickly approaching one year and this mama can hardly handle the thought! How has time flown by so quickly? At each stage I think this is my favorite stage yet. Each day seems to bring a new skill - constantly reminding me that babies don't keep!

At 10 months Caroline remains a complete joy and is joyful almost all the time...

Look at this smile! Caroline is a mama's girl to the fullest. And, just like her mama, she LOVED the beach. It took a minute to get used to the sand but, once she did, there was no stopping her.

Waving and clapping are two favorite skills. Anytime Caroline hears Patty Cake she starts clapping away. It's not quite visible in pictures, but last week tooth #3 broke through her upper gums and the one next to it is not far behind. My mom spotted it when they were playing in the sand. 

And the biggest news is that she is taking small steps while holding onto furniture. Her first steps came at the beach (another reason to love Edisto!). She had to keep up with her big cousins! Of course, as soon as she sees my camera for a video she plops down and starts smiling!  

Caroline loves other children and had an absolute blast with her cousins. She started looking for them as soon as she woke up each morning. She quickly figured out that Mary Thorne is the fun one! Although Mary Thorne didn't quite grasp that Caroline couldn't do all that she could. At one point Mary Thorne squatted down, looked Caroline directly in the eye, and said, "Caroline, where is Aunt Sis?"

Not only is she on the move, she's also a bit mischievous!

Caroline has claimed the fireplace as her clubhouse. One afternoon I was nursing Duncan and she grabbed his paci and my sunglasses off the coffee table and went to her favorite spot. She was so proud of herself! Little stinker! 

She has a little pair of shoes that we've only worn a couple of time.

And she totally loves any type of water - the bathtub, the kiddie pool, the ocean or the swimming pool. I see swim lessons in our near future. She's so brave and it makes me so nervous!

On the sleeping front, Caroline's continued to take really good naps. Her morning nap has gotten longer and she'll sleep 1.5 to 2 hours. And usually 2 hours in the afternoon. She went through a two week period where night terrors were almost a nightly occurrence. They seemed to correlate to the more mobile skills and the new tooth. Hopefully we are over these for the time being! 

Caroline loves Duncan and the two of them are starting to interact more. She loves to pet his head (and is usually gentle) and borrows his paci. He gives her the biggest smiles and is always watching what she's doing! He does get a panicked look on his face if he's on the floor and he hears her coming towards him.

Also, like her mama, Caroline loves reading and she's usually flipping through a book in her crib when I walk in after naptime. She's starting turning the pages in picture books. All of a sudden one night she reached over and turned the page. I about fell out of the rocker! She alternates using her right and left hands so the jury is still out whether you'll be a right hander or left (I'm hoping for ambidextrous!). Her favorite book at the moment is a small Bear and Bunny Night Night book. We read it before each nap. 

Ryan says she's saying "dada" I think it's more just repeating what he's saying, but I'll give it to him! One afternoon at the beach she snuggled with him for her entire nap period. This hasn't happened since she was tiny, and he soaked up every second. Even asked me to take a picture!

The countdown to one is upon us! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Our Family Vacation: Edisto Island

We got home early afternoon yesterday from the most wonderful, relaxing week at Edisto Island with my family. Edisto will always hold a special place in my heart. It's where we told everyone we were officially adopting last summer, and we spent part of the week filling out the massive amounts of paperwork required for our home study. We would have never imagined that within two months we'd be holding the most adorable baby girl and be expecting! And one year later we'd be back with two precious babies! God's timing in truly perfect! And if I go on any more about it, I'll cry so moving on to photos. As you might imagine, I took about a zillion photos and thought I'd share a few of my favorites...

A friend suggested these wide-brimmed iPlay hats and they were wonderful! There's a head piece that tightens and so they really stayed on well in the wind.

The weather looked ominous Sunday afternoon. It was storming and the forecast looked like rain for most of the week. Fortunately, it rained once or twice but moved away quickly! Monday morning dawned bright and sunny.

Edisto Island is mainly made up of palmetto trees, live oaks, Spanish moss and sandy roads. Only the two main roads are paved. There are more golf carts than cars and the average age of residents is 75. There's one grocery store and two coffee shops. And a handful of trinket type souvenir shops. 

There's lots of wildlife. I've never seen so many flocks of pelicans. They were everywhere. 

Ready for the beach! Caroline had just figured out that if mama has the camera then who exactly is holding me??? (She decided that Sissy is just as good!).

We fell into a wonderful pattern of hitting the beach right after her morning nap and having her lunch and bottle on the beach. Then back inside for afternoon nap and then back to the beach again. 

Duncan didn't see much of the beach. He and Net stayed inside and then would come out in the late afternoon. It suited both of them perfectly!

Caroline could hold her own with her cousins. Elizabeth Magee cracked me up by calling Caroline "girl" all week long. She'd say, "come over her girl" or "good girl." It was hilarious. Caroline quickly figured out that Mary Thorne was the fun one and would crawl over to her as soon as she woke up! Poppy was a little more reserved but so sweet to her!

The beach was just beautiful. And the water perfect. We didn't see any jellyfish. 

Ryan's name could be "funcle" because he is one fun uncle. He had more activities for all of us including: kites, bocce ball, Frisbee, baseball, shovels (plastic for the girls and a real one for himself), bubbles and water balloons. 

We spent lots of time in the water. Caroline loved it and didn't get upset when a wave washed right over us. Although I tried to prevent that as much as possible! Elizabeth Magee stayed in the water 90% of the time.

We ate really well. Edisto is not the place the to go if you want to eat out every night. There are a handful of restaurants, but with a house full of cooks, we ate in all but the last night. Net made us gumbo, Oliver made several varieties of ice cream, Ryan grilled hamburgers for lunch one day, Mom and Dad cooked fish, crabs and shrimp, I made cheese grits and shrimp and Sis made EM's favorite monkey bread. We were not hungry!

Happy girl! Caroline's third tooth (and first on the top) came in while we were there.

Each afternoon while Caroline napped we turned on a Disney movie for the girls. Turned out that Ryan and Net liked them just as much (if not more!). We watched The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Tangled. 

And there was lots of coloring. Mary Thorne wanted Frank to draw her whole family chewing bubble gum. He's quite talented!

Hanging out on the porch at the end of the day! Caroline loves her daddy!

Late night beach walking. There was a crowd of people watching a turtle's next that was giving all the signs of hatching. Sis, Oliver and EM stayed to watch and saw 113 baby turtles make their way from the nest down to the water!

EM's goal for the week was to get Siggi and Frank alone as much as possible.

Frank told the girls he lost an eye. 

The guys (minus Duncan!) went fishing one morning and caught whiting fish and a couple of sharks. They tossed the sharks, but fried the whiting. 

Duncan prefers to hang out on the towel with a margarita!

Family selfie!

Ryan and I had a date night one evening and went to The Old Post Office Restaurant and then out for ice cream. It was so nice!

Ryan is the type of person that can't just sit on the beach and read. He needs activities. One afternoon he surprised Sis with a water balloon fight. Turns out that she's a better aim. His balloon bounced right off her and she hit him back with it. It left a whelp! But all's fair in love and war. I love how Mary Thorne is running towards the danger in this picture. She has no idea what's happening yet, but she's running towards it anyway.

EM and MT caught on fast!

These two cuddled all week. Duncan's going to have a time adjusting to Net not holding him all day long!

The next day the water balloons were back. Oliver got me good! 

Caroline noticed the tent next to ours had a pool. She was off to explore!

Ryan, Sis and I all have birthdays coming up. Mom made us a cake. Chocolate of course!

I snapped this picture as we were loading the cars. MT is upset that she was asked to hold Duncan. They all can't get enough of Caroline, but aren't into boys at all. Although Sis told me when they got home she asked for her boy baby doll!

We stopped at Newk's in Columbia on the way home. I can't go by one without getting a pimento cheese sandwich! It was such a fabulous week and we miss it (and our people!) already.