Tuesday, November 30, 2010

7 Months

Our sweet baby boy is seven months old!

Actually, he's seven months and 3 days old already, but we're still a little under the weather here so I'm running behind.

He was just weighed at the doctor on Thanksgiving day and despite his voracious appetite, (seriously we've watched him eat 3 bowlfuls of baby food in one sitting), he hasn't really gained any weight since his 6 months check up. He's still hovering around 19 lbs 1 oz.

He's sitting up quite nicely now and can almost push himself back up to a sit if he falls over. He's not crawling yet or even slithering really. He prefers to stand, cruise along the furniture (with our supervision) or hold our hands and walk around. Just tonight he was walking to me, he'd give me a quick snuggle, pivot and I'd help him walk back to TG. He thought it was the cat's pajamas.

Other than a random cough at 5 weeks old Camden hasn't been sick until last week. He came down with the same virus his sister had gotten and was just miserable. His fever, lost voice and cough landed us in an emergency center on Thanksgiving day. He checked out just fine, and as a bonus this illness has turned our busy little man into a cuddler. I am loving it.

Cam LOVES being outside and especially loves the baby swing. He actually fell asleep in one at our park playdate with the besties a couple weeks ago. He even fusses a little bit when it's time to go and I take him out.

He's been sleeping through the night every night without a feeding since he was 6 months old, and I've been letting him fuss it out if he wakes. Even at the peak of his illness he slept like a champ which is yet another reason I love him being paci free. We dreaded stuffy noses for Riley because she couldn't breathe and suck her paci at the same time and she would cry all night long.

He's still our smiley little guy, but he has definitely been much fussier lately. I blame it on teething since he's got at least 4 MORE teeth that we can see coming in all at the same time. He got his bottom two one day after he hit 4 months and his top two 2 days after he hit 6 months. Now his next two, top and bottom are at the surface. I'm hoping when they finally come through he'll be feeling a lot happier.

Happy 7 months Camden! We love you!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Daddy Phrases

A major illness took down our Thanksgiving 2010 so I'll blog about that later, but today Riley said some things that just had us in stitches.

TG has a few phrases that he says, usually when he's watching football. Today we saw just how closely Riley is listening to not just what we say, but how and why we say it.

Riley was coloring on her glo doodle this afternoon. She turned to talk to me and TG quickly erased her board before she could see. When she turned back around she saw the empty board and said, "WHAT?!?!". It sounded just like TG when he disagrees with a ref call.

This evening before bed Camden was fiddling with an empty beer bottle while he sat in TG's lap. (Please don't be concerned he was perfectly safe.) But when Riley rounded the corner and saw him she said, "Are you kiddin me brudder?!?". It sounded so much like her Daddy that I gave myself a cramp I laughed so hard.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seen and Heard


Riley, the Good Witch.

Cam boo, my little cereal face, rocking his "Terrible Toddler" bib.

Riley, (who by the grace of God got her Daddy's long legs), looking just as cute as can be in her little sparkly red shoes.

Camden playing peek-a-boo with me from behind the couch.


Coloring a picture of "Swinderwelwa" and "Prince Carming"
Riley: Ohhh. Prince Carming tied up. (she has drawn a circle around him)
Me: Why?
Him a baaaaaad boy!
What did he do?
Riley: Prince Carming broked Swinderwelwa's heart. So I tied hims up and I gonna dump juice on him.

Me: Riley, are you hungry? Do you want a snack?
Riley: Oh, sure!

Riley: Mommy, you give me one can-knees?
Me: Yes.
Riley: Thanks you Mommy! You da best!

Watching the trailer for Tangled on tv.
Riley: I gonna go see dat moo-bee.
Me: That's right.
Riley: I goin on a date. I gonna see dat moo-bee with my fam-a-ly. But not my brudder. He a day-bee.

Sitting at the dinner table watching football while TG and I finish dinner prep in the kitchen. Riley: Whoa-uh! Good catch boy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

OTC: Knockoff PB Advent Calendar Part 2

A week ago I shared the beginnings of my Knockoff PB Advent Calendar.

When I first conceptualized this my plan was to create hanging baskets similar to the original design. However, in order to keep it OTC I was going to make paper cones from last year's left over wrapping paper. I started and made about 7 cones before I decided I just wasn't loving the look. So back to the drawing board I went. After staring at the blank tree on my wall for a day (or so) it hit me - ORNAMENTS. My sweet lil tree needed ornaments.

I traced an ice cream dish that we had and proceeded to cut out 48 circles. 24 green and 24 red. Then I used my trusty gg to glue two circles together - only gluing a semi circle so that the top would remain open for the little gifts.

Step 2 was sewing a contrasting ribbon around the edge of each ribbon. I totally could have skipped this step since they were glued closed, but I felt like the ribbon gave it a little extra charm.

I was originally going to puff paint the numbers on, but I knew I wanted a crisp uniform look. So I decided to run my sheets of glitter felt through my printer. I used Gills San Ultra bold font in Word, size 36. I also went to edit:format font: and clicked the box for outline so that they printed just the outline of each number. I did have to cut the felt to 8.5 wide and then carefully guide it through my printer, but it worked like a charm.

Next using an exacto knife I cut out each number and then pulled my gg out again to put the numbers on.

Using a needle and thread I ran contrasting ribbon through the back piece of felt on each ornament to make a loop and then used the metal ornament hangers to put each one on my tree.

For the star, I painted it with silver acrylic paint and then affixed the number.

And, here she is! Yes, I refer to my projects as my girls and if I had to name her it would be Joy. Because that's the feeling I get every time I look at this hanging on my wall!

So here's a cost recap (plus 2 additional items I needed to finish) if you missed the first post...
Sticks - free, just the labor on a lovely morning
Yarn - $1.97 at AC Moore
Star Box - $.50 at AC Moore
Felt for the ornament bags - $3.50 for 12 sheets
Glitter Felt for the numbers - $1.98 for 2 sheets
Green and red ribbon - $.50 each at AC Moore
Silver acrylic paint - $.50 at AC Moore

$9.45 for 25 days worth of my little girl's happiness AND $289 less than the store version? I have to say it again, that's some Christmas love BABY!

I'm linking up to these parties!

Pink Hippo Party


Friday, November 19, 2010


I'm sad to admit that I used to be a WWF fan. Actually, I watched because the high school boys watched and it was something that they could talk about for hours on end. I even met The Rock and a bunch of the other wrestlers in the Pittsburgh airport on my Pitt recruiting trip in 1999. Dwyane was kind enough to take a picture with me, and my Dad still has it framed in his office (it's a trippy pic because we kind of look like we're related). I think that's the closest celebrity encounter I've ever had.

Anyway, fast forward 11 years and now I get to watch WWF live. In my own living room.

In one corner we have Riley "The Wiggler", almost 3, full of spunk, and armed with a wiggling escape move.

In the other corner it's Camden "The Crusher", 6 months old, clueless to what's happening, and armed with a crushing flop action.

I think I've got her!

Uh oh! She's going into Wiggle mode!

Oh no you don't sister! GRRRRR!

Going for the pin and the win!

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

No babies were harmed in the making of this WWF sibling battle. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Or Sumpin

Riley has been drawing and even writing with intent for a little while now.

A couple months ago she was asking me to draw with her and so we would work together with me saying something like, "First a circle for the head, then two eyes, a mouth, some legs, and arms." After a few times she started mimicking me and drawing her own version of people. After my Dad came lots of the people got glasses just like Gampy wears.

Tonight she was drawing with her doll in the kitchen and I just had to capture her sweet process for our memories. I hope it makes you smile!

Riley Draws from Mama V on Vimeo.

1. I love, love, love her little people.

2. She's moved on to drawing mermaids like she asks us to draw. I love that she makes dots on the tail because that's how I fill in the fin when I draw them for her.

3. She has started saying "or sumpin" lately. Like today at the library a little girl was wearing a Rapunzel costume and she said, "Wook Mom! Dat girl wearing a Racunzel dr-wess or sumpin wike dat."

4. I think it's absolutely adorable when she "spells" and "writes" her words. She makes a symbol for each letter, names them (wrong of course, but who cares) and spaces them appropriately. And can I say, the teacher in me swells with pride when she even RUNS HER FINGER underneath the word as she reads it. Reading strategies at the age of 2 and 10 months anyone?!?

5. I always make her blow kisses or say bye at the end of her videos. I don't know why, I just always figure that's a good way to end.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spreading the Joy

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is having the opportunity to spread joy and bring smiles to people's faces.

There are so many ways to do this. I made my Aunt smile just by sharing my homemade advent calendar. Riley giggled and laughed when I gave her a bell and sang Jingle Bells with her tonight. My husband grinned when he came home and smelled the yummy peppermint candle I had lit.

But my favorite way to spread joy in the holiday season is by sending out holiday cards. I love sending them and I absolutely love getting them. I used to buy the card boxes in the store and print pictures out separately, but when Riley was born another Mommy friend told me about Shutterfly.

And oh the world of photos and gift giving that was opened up to me! When I first started with Shutterfly I used it as a storage place for the hundreds, then thousands of pictures that we took of our baby girl. I even made a page just for her so our friends and family could watch her grow and share in our adventures.

Later I discovered all the things that could be made using our sweet memories. I have created and personalized photo books for myself and my family. We call them our brag books. I love looking back at Riley as she has grown and she's finally getting old enough to enjoy looking at her baby books too!

On her first Christmas, we started the tradition of giving both grandmas a photo calendar complete with personalized family dates and a year of Riley pictures! It is always so much fun to sort through my photos and pick the ones that fit perfectly with each month.

Two years ago I made my first photo Christmas card and have never looked back. The amazing choices at Shutterfly this year are making my head swim. When I first looked I was convinced Get Glowing was the one for us, but the Swirling Ornaments is so me and TG loved the Count Your Blessings card because of it's sweet message. Will I go whimsical, inspirational, or super chic like this one for 2010?

Check your mailboxes to see my choice for spreading the joy this season soon and if you're a fellow blogger Shutterfly is giving you the chance to do the same with 50 free holiday cards! Just go here!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

OTC: Knockoff PB Advent Calendar

I've been blog MIA lately, but it's for good reason.

Christmas season is upon us and I've been busy crafting around my house. I apologize if you're one of those people who doesn't like Christmas starting after Halloween ends. You might have to take a break from my blog and tune in when it's over.


New Years? Eh. St. Patrick's Day? Blah. Halloween? It's growing on me, but only because I have kids now.

But oh Christmas. I look forward to it all year. I love everything about it and I have been mesmerized by the holiday for as long as I can remember.

So I giggled and shrieked with joy when my Pottery Barn Christmas catalog arrived two weeks ago. Truth is, I'm too poor to be buying anything out of that catalog, but it doesn't stop me from perusing it for ideas and inspiration.

Only two things made it on my board, but when I saw this I knew I was going to make one. OTC of course.

Please don't mind the push pin.

Hello beautiful little advent calendar. I want you in my house with your rustic charm and darling little gift baskets. However, I do NOT want you for $299.

Really, 300 dollars for some sticks, rope and buckets? PB big wigs, do you know we are in an economic slump?

To AC Moore I go. I get a star shaped box, half off.

And some cream colored yarn.

Then this morning I took my family on a nature walk behind our neighborhood armed with our little hand saw. TG cut down some branches for me, Camden watched leaves falling, and I explored with Riley.

4 branches, some yarn, a star box, my trusty glue gun, and about an hour later.

My version of the calendar is almost complete. I knew when I tore the picture out of the catalog that I wanted mine to be in the shape of a Christmas tree. It's a lot more rustic than theirs, but I love it. I'm working on felt "ornaments" as the little gift bags and I can't wait to fill them with her goodies.

So just how much did I spend on this project?

Sticks - free, just the labor on a lovely morning
Yarn - $1.97 at AC Moore
Star Box - $.50 at AC Moore
Felt for the ornament bags - $3.50 for 12 sheets
Glitter Felt for the numbers - $1.98 for 2 sheets

$8 for something that is retailing at $299? That's some OTC Christmas love, baby.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I have a lot on my mind. As if you couldn't tell by my last melancholy post. Thank you to everyone who commented. I know I'm definitely not alone in missing my family! Speaking of family...

My Dad's side of the family all got together for brunch after my sister's wedding last month. The Steelers were playing the Ravens that day, (we lost, ugh) and I couldn't resist the chance to surprise my Dad by dressing Riley up in her Steeler's cheerleader outfit. Speaking of outfits...

I cannot tell you just how much Riley loves playing dress up. One day she'll be rocking a tutu, her "hiya heel-els" and her crown, the next it's a dress from her closet and her black party shoes. Yes, and sometimes it's even something as simple as her brother's discarded onesie...as a hat. She just can't get enough of her brother. Speaking of brother...

Check out Mr. Man riding in the rocket cart at "Paris Teeter"! He used to ride in the moby wrap while we did our weekly shopping trips and now he's moving up and moving out. I feel like it's been a blink of an eye and my little baby boy is already getting so big! Speaking of big...

She is so tall! The pumpkin ruler returned to GCF this year! We took a picture of Riley in front of this same sign when she was 9 months old. We tried to get one last year, but the sign was missing. 3 1/2 feet tall at 2 years and 9 months old. Crazy. Speaking of crazy...

photo taken by Jess of The Macs - she got the idea from Tatertots and Jello

My mind is spinning with DIY projects. I'll finish one and then thoughts for the next thing or things start flooding my head. It probably doesn't help that I read DIY design blogs and flip through PB catalogs for inspiration. But, isn't this burlap wreath seriously cute? It's on my short list as a Christmas wreath for our front door. As long as I can figure out a way to weatherproof it...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I love it where we live.

The schools are great, it's very family friendly, and there's a plethora of things to do.

I have some amazing friends, a new house that I love, and plenty to be thankful for.

But I don't have Gammy, Gampy or Tata.

It sounds like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too, because, well, I am.

My heart twinges when I see kids out with their grandparents, at library storytime or the park.

My jealousy peaks when I see couples I know out for dates and they tell us their parents are home watching their kids.

And I tear up just a little bit when my sweet baby girl says out of the blue, "Mommy, I miss Gammy, Gampy and Tata. We goin to aircort and get dem so soon?"

Because I miss them too and I wish the answer to her question was, "YES!".

It's hard raising two small children, but I think it's even harder if you don't have any family nearby to help you. When mine visits, from the very moment they are in the door, one is on the floor playing "hersey" with Riley, another is feeding Camden and the other is asking if there is anything they can do to help out around the house. And I'm left standing there feeling like for just a moment I can take a deep breath, relax and enjoy watching my kids bond with the people I love so much. But it's only for a few days at a time and then they are gone and I'm left feeling so sad.

And I don't mean to sound like a two year old throwing a tantrum, but it's not fair.

Of course, I know life isn't fair.

I also know that I have some good friends who not only do this without the help of their family, but without their husbands for the week, a year or even longer.

So, I'm going to do what any of us has to do in this situation.

Suck it up, count my blessings and put on my big girl pants and deal with it.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it or stop hoping that someday we'll all live in the same town.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


This little guy has stolen my heart. I'm putty in his hands.

And he knows just how to make me melt.

I ask you, how's a girl supposed to resist those chubby cheeks and big toothy grin?

Thank you so much to those of you who chimed in on my bathroom to stencil or not to stencil dilemma. I tried stenciling a couple the other day and I'm not loving it. It just wasn't crisp enough. I have two other options I'm going to try this week before I decide. Then it's big reveal time!

Monday, November 1, 2010

OTC: Major Bathroom Design Sneak

I've been working on prettifying our full bath. No, you didn't misread that. In our sweet little home we only have one full bathroom to share between 4 people, 2 of which are rapidly growing.

So it was important to me that it was functional and beautiful. It's been weeks of chaos up there that my family has been quietly tolerating, but we're moving in the right direction and here's a sneak peek for you...

Hello Liquid Nails, it's nice to meet you. I am in lurve.

About 8 coats of semi gloss later. Kilz I will never forget you again.

FINALLY putting my coffee filter wreath in it's spot. This is an OTC all on it's own.

I've got two semi large projects left to tackle (and some touchup - did I mention I hate painting bathrooms???) as part of this redo and then I can do the big reveal!

**HELP! See inside those little picture molding boxes? To stencil or not to stencil? Anyone?**