Monday, August 29, 2016

100 degrees at the Zoo

I had it in my head that we needed to go to the zoo on Saturday. This weekend was Ryan's first (and last) two-days off for awhile, and I wanted to mark it with something special. Never mind the weatherman warning of temperatures that would feel like 100 degrees.

It was hot! But Caroline had a blast and Duncan slept through his entire first zoo experience!

The lion was a favorite! We've been reading the lift-the-flap book "Dear Zoo" and in the book the zoo sends the child a lion that has to be sent back because he is too fierce. This lion looked pretty laid back but I'm glad he was behind the glass!

We've now been to the zoo when it's cold and raining and hot and humid. I told Ryan I'll let him pick the next zoo day!

Sunday afternoon we had a more seasonally appropriate day and went to the pool. Much better!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Skills

We have some major new skills around here to report!


...took two tiny steps yesterday morning! She did it once and then I got my camera out and she did it one more time. Of course, she hasn't done it since so I think we are a ways off from full on walking. And I'm in no hurry to rush this step!

And not to leave the little guy out, Duncan is sitting up in the Bumbo!

And is quite pleased about it! Have you ever seen a baby with such skinny legs? He's developed a nice little flat spot on the right side of his head (because he will only sleep on his right side) and so we're hoping that sitting up will help it even out!

Happy Hump Day, friends!

Monday, August 22, 2016

11 Months

How in the world is Caroline already 11 months old? Last year at this time I was fretting over our profile book and if our pictures and words portrayed the kind of family we intended to create. I was praying for the baby that would become ours and for a sense of peace for the birth parents that would surely be struggling with such a decision. Little did I know that God had big plans that were literally just right around the corner!

And now that tiny baby is trying to walk, has three teeth (and one more almost visible!) and is the most joyful little girl who is always on the go.

Her pajamas say, "You Make Me Smile." Yes, you do, my dear!

Caroline turned 11 months on Friday. This age and stage is so fun. She's is so close to walking and walk circles around the coffee table and the sofa. She can stand without holding onto anything and it catches me off guard when I walk into the room to see her standing up. Then she plops back down and does her adorable sand crab style crawl to wherever she wants to go.

Caroline' newest "skill" is taking things out. I've been trying to reorganize my room and quickly discovered I needed to wait until my little helper was napping. See video below...Taking the books off the bookshelf in the nursery is also a favorite activity. Now we just need to learn how to put them back!

She's close to talking and has "dada" down pat. She said "mama" very clearly, once, while looking for me. She'll repeat things we say like "dun-kin" and I also believe she said "gra-dada" when we were in Senatobia to my dad. She's very vocal and loud and can get her point across with little grunts and shrieks.

She's become a very adventurous eater and especially likes food off my plate. In the last two weeks she's had pepperoni pizza, meatloaf and chicken nuggets. She's still getting some pureed vegetables but mostly softened things she can pick up like sweet potato balls, green beans and carrots. We tried giving her tiny bits of broccoli and she didn't like the texture. Breakfast is still a banana and that along with sweet potatoes seem to be her favorite flavors.

This sweet girl wakes up with a smile on her face. She gets so excited when she sees her bottle and, even though she can hold it on her own, we snuggle up for at least the first and last bottles of the day. It's my favorite part of the day. She eating 6 ounces (or 8 oz if she hasn't eaten much food) at 7 a.m., Noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. She's still taking a morning nap for about an hour and a half and then a two hour one in the early afternoon.

Bathtime may be her favorite part of the day.

She can entertain herself but also loves it when friends come over to play. We had fun with Lillie last week.

I apologize in advance for the sappy, sentimental posts that may pop up in the next month! I just cannot believe we are about to have a one year old!

Family Fun at Furman

How beautiful is this picture? Furman University is just a short drive from our house and offers great views of Paris Mountain. The campus is beautiful and this weekend was radiating with a schools-about-to-start kind of energy in the air. It was really contagious and we all left feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another week.

Ryan's been working some long hours this month and we were all so looking forward to his one day off. We decided to skip church and spend the morning enjoying God's great outdoors instead. Ryan and Caroline biked around the trail along the lake and Duncan and I followed with the stroller.

Caroline loves her bike seat! And we finally found a helmet that doesn't swallow her up! 

I had to jog to keep up! 

And then feel behind when I stopped to look at these butterflies. There were tons of them and they were huge. 

We'd packed a lunch for Caroline and then bought sandwiches in the student center.

Wonder what Duncan is thinking here? Caroline's first instinct is to smile, Duncan's is worry about whether that thing is about to fall on his head! 

But he did like pretending he was Simba...

Love my little family!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

5 for Friday

Actually, it's now Saturday but I tried all day yesterday to get back to the blog and finish this 5 for Friday...

1. Sarah Hunt and her mom stopped by this week on their way back to Florida from a weekend in Asheville. She and I became friends immediately on the 6th floor of Martin our freshman year (and these Ole Miss freshmen made national news this week for their Martin decorations)! Our rooms were not that elaborate!

We picked right up like we had lunch yesterday at the Tri Delt house. I'm hoping we can plan a trip soon to see her in Florida.

2. On Thursday Caroline wasn't too happy about being left in the gym nursery. When I went back to pick them up, Ms. Mary told me that Caroline was only happy if she was playing right by her brother. My heart about exploded (and not from the cardio I'd just finished!).

Also, the day before, Duncan made quite a name for himself by having the largest blowout of his life in the same nursery. They paged me out of my class. When I got to the nursery, they'd recruited one of the personal trainers to clean up the mess. I'm sure he was think this is definitely not in my job description but was really nice about it. We brought thank-you muffins the next day!

3. We have LOVED the Olympics in this house. Especially the equestrian and synchronized swimming events. Practicing for a future Olympian...she's already got great balance!

4. Consider this my attempt to keep it real on this little blog less anyone think I have it all together.   Upstairs is a mess. I'm attempting to organize it. Again. It gets cleaned up for company and then slowly creeps back to it's natural state of total disorder. The problem is we need it to function as an office, guest room and closet for me. Plus, I'd like to create a play area for the kiddos. Remember the show Trading Spaces? That's what I need. Anyone with creative ideas, please comment below!

The "before" picture. Stay tuned for the "after" (but don't hold your breath!). 

5. We are so close to having a walker around here. Scout is not too sure what to think about Caroline's new moves.

Happy weekend, friends! Ryan is working today so we are laying low with big plans to watch the Olympics and maybe venture downtown if the weather (and naptimes) cooperates. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Welcome Camille

A few months ago Net informed me she had a new policy for refrigerator door photos and that only the youngest great-grandchild would be featured. Well Duncan's run was short-lived as he's been ousted by the most beautiful baby girl!!! 

Thomas and Laura welcomed this precious baby girl last Saturday at 3:43 a.m. She was 5 pounds, 8 ounces and 18.5 inches long. 

Camille Meriwether Givens made her debut three weeks early. She is just absolutely beautiful and we are all so in love with her already! I'm so thankful I got to see her in person before I left Jackson. And since then we've Facetimed a few times! 

Fun fact: Camille shares her original due date, September 3rd, with her aunts! And Mom's baby shower was set for July 30th and Laura (and Camille) had a baby shower on that day in Baton Rouge. Sis and I ended up coming five weeks early and being born on July 30th (Mom missed her baby shower). 

Tiny angel! Thomas built her crib. Isn't he talented? And it's something they'll treasure forever. 

Now I've just got to hurry back to Mississippi to see this angel again!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sip & See

Last week my mom hosted a very informal "Sip & See" to show off introduce Caroline and Duncan to all our extended family and friends in Senatobia. She served sweet tea and cake and we had the most delightful afternoon visiting with dear people I've known for basically my entire life. I love being from a small town! What was originally going to be a pretty small group turned into the most fun crowd of cousins, great-aunts, church friends, high school friends, co-workers of my parents, my grandmother's bridge friends and ladies who taught me and Ryan. Including Ms. Mary who taught us both in Kiddie Kollege when we were four! I have a picture of our "graduation" and it's one of my prized possessions.

The day was full of special mementos. Granddaddy gave Net this vase for their 25th anniversary, and the zinnias were grown by Ms. Ellen - my first, and favorite, horseback riding teacher! The silver cups and rattles were baby gifts to me and my siblings. And a few belonged to my dad and granddaddy.

Lots of love in this picture! Net is convinced Caroline is just about to say, "I LOVE Net."

Monogrammed bloomers with ruffles complete any outfit:-)


Susanna is from Finland and one of my mom's yogi buddies.

The daddy of these three cuties and I were big buddies growing up. We had an awesome lemonade stand business each summer. Anna was so sweet to come!

Mrs. Perkins, Ms. Becky and Aunt Lucile. 

Caroline with Ms. Bobbi - my first grade teacher at school and third grade teacher at Sunday School. 

It was the first week of school and these kiddos were full of excitement!

Ms. Mary Claire and Mom with Duncan. She taught me Kindergarten and during Lent I rode to school with her from breakfast at our church. I remember feeling so special!

Margaret and her sweet girls. 

My mom worked with the same group of women at Northwest Community College for over 20 years. They went from having small children and babies to sending kids off to college and having grandchildren together. Love the 'Berry Building Gals.' 

Neighbors and cousins next door!

The aforementioned 'Ms' Mary. 

Caroline showing Ella Claire her Ducky. These two took down a jar of Puffs! These two are just about a month apart and my mom keeps me up to date on what Ella Claire is doing in church. I've seen lots of pictures of this sweet girl so it was so nice to see her in person!

Our neighbor Mrs. Bostic told me she'd been been praying for me to have a family for years. It was so special to see her!

And Gabbert/Givens cousins passing D-man around...

And during the party we got the most exciting news. Laura was in labor and the baby was on her way!!! So, needless to say, our plans for the evening changed. Mom and Dad raced to get to Jackson. Fortunately, Rhetta showed up right as I was dealing with a messy diaper, bath time and a very hungry Duncan. So glad for friends that just jump right in. We got these two settled and then had a glass of wine and wonderful visit!

I decided to change my plans and go to Jackson on Friday instead of straight to Tuscaloosa. Uncle Buford and Aunt Carole came over and kept an eye on Caroline and Duncan while I ran around town trying to gather all the things we'd left everywhere!

One of my favorite Friends episodes is where Monica opens all the wedding gifts without Chandler. That's how I felt at 5 a.m. on Friday morning when I was so excited about the baby coming and couldn't go back to sleep. I got up and opened all the presents people had given Caroline and Duncan (even though we'd said no gifts!).

I called Ryan to see if he wanted to Facetime and watch me open the gifts, but he declined!?! Something about needing to get ready for work. Priorities! The really distressing part about all this is that in my rush to get us in the car I somehow misplaced my thank-you list. It's got to be somewhere, but it hasn't shown up yet!

I cherished every second of celebrating my two babies with ladies (and one man: thanks for coming Chris!) who knew Ryan and I as children, put up with our PDA in high school and helped us celebrate (the many!) graduations and our wedding. They've prayed for us through difficult times and celebrated with us over Caroline's adoption and Duncan's birth. In today's world I think it's rare to have such a deep-seated connection to a place, to a home, to a spot on God's earth that makes me smile just thinking about it. My prayer is that Caroline and Duncan feel the same way about the "Five Star City." Something tells me they will :-)

Next up, I promise, is pictures of the baby! We are all just in total love with her.