Saturday, August 8, 2015

One year old and growing...

I haven't blogged in nearly a, being a new mom has kept me busy.  It is hard to believe that this precious angel is over a year old now!  We have truly been blessed.  

Just a tiny newborn...

And now she is a year old!

Here are some photos from her first birthday party...thank you to everyone who helped me that day, and of course, to everyone who came and celebrated with us!  It was a special day. Happy Birthday, Collins! We love you.

 She wasn't sure about the smash cake. Played in the icing more than she actually ate it!

The favors were carrot cake cupcakes (a small version of her smash cake)

I am one!

~~photography by Natalie Defnall Photography

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blessing New Moms and Dads

I know, haven't posted in a while.  We've been a little busy with our bundle of joy.  Here's a post I started but never actually posted....kinda appropriate since time is so precious nowadays.
I've always loved the sweet gesture of taking a meal over to new parents who have returned home from the hospital.  How practical is it to take a meal to a newly expanded, and newly busy, family?  You know they are hectically keeping up with a newborn's needs, and the last thing on their minds is cooking!
We've been able to bless many new families in our church with a yummy meal, usually a hearty meal for supper time.  But recently, I've been thinking, Mom and Dad (and siblings) need to eat breakfast and lunch, too!
Here are some ideas and recipes for lunch and breakfast meals to take to new families who have just brought home their new addition.

Muffins (Here's my favorite blueberry muffin recipe)
Biscuits with jellies
Breakfast Casserole (see recipe below)
Sliced Fruit Medley or Whole Fresh Fruit
Orange Juice

Chicken Salad or Pimento Cheese (Here's a simple pimento cheese recipe)
with Crackers or Bread for Sandwiches
Pita Chips with Hummus
Dried Fruit or Trail Mix
Sweet Tea or Lemonade

Keep in mind any dietary restrictions, too.  Are they vegetarian or need gluten-free food options?
Check out your local bakery or even the dollar store to find containers to use for your delicious treats.  I always carry everything over in an insulated picnic basket, but use containers that I don't expect to get back.  Dress them up with ribbon or cute twine.  I also write instructions on the containers, like "keep refrigerated" or heating instructions for casseroles.
Not Susie Homemaker?  That's ok!  Check out the Deli and Bakery section of your grocery store.  Or pick up a platter from a local restaurant...doesn't have to be fancy...bagels, sub sandwiches, chicken nuggets, anything yummy.  The gesture will be appreciated, I promise!

Here's one of my favorite breakfast casseroles.  I've made it for family get-togethers, tailgates, you name it.
Sausage and Grits Casserole
1 pound Sausage (mild or hot)
1 cup Grits
2 Eggs, beaten
3 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Chopped Onions
Salt and Pepper

Brown and drain sausage and onion.  Cook grits according to package instructions. Mix the two together in a large pan, add 2 eggs and 2 cups of the shredded cheese. Add a dash of salt and pepper.  Stir until incorporated well.  Pour into 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with remaining shredded cheese (add more if desired).  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Try it with diced bell peppers or jalapenos for some heat!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Collins' Nursery

The last time I posted about the nursery, we had painted the room and prepared it for our Master's Week renters.  It has definitely changed since then into a special room for our beautiful baby girl.

The bedding is from Carousel Designs, a USA based company with gorgeous baby bedding and fabrics.  My mom made the curtains, fabric also from Carousel Designs, to match the bedding.  And Cary constructed the cornice board, which I upholstered.

This was cross stitched by Granny, Collins' great grandmother on the Malcom side of the family. It hangs above her crib. The other frames will hold photos of Collins.

Cary's parents gifted us with the crib mattress, and my Mom made the pillows which were monogrammed by a friend of hers.  The classic Jenny Lind crib was destined for the trash because it was a drop side style which is now considered dangerous for babies. (Goodwill won't even take them.)  But with some adjustments (ie 5-inch bolts) Cary turned it into a standard and safe crib.

This shelf is full of keepsakes from my childhood as well as gifts from family and friends.  The white dress was her going-home outfit.

The little stuffed lamb on the table is from her Great Aunt Doris.  The recliner is a hand-me-down LazyBoy from my parents, which I had re-upholstered in JoAnn's fabric. 

The dresser/changing table is from Savvy Shopper, a local furniture store that specializes in painted/re-claimed/antique pieces. The cross is from Hobby Lobby, which I spray painted dark grey.  The polka dot piggy bank is from TJMaxx. The "Collins" bunting was made by a friend. The monogram is from an etsy store called League of Letters. The small rug has been replaced with a pink shag rug that covers much of the room.

The book shelves are spice racks from IKEA. There are four of them hanging on the wall beside her closet.  I painted them pink, and my parents helped hang them.  They hold new books which were gifts from friends and relatives as well as books from my and Cary's childhood.

 All photos were taken by a dear friend and photographer, Natalie Defnall.  Here is her website.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

39 Weeks: The Delivery

Timeline (estimated based on phone calls/text to our parents):
9:00pm- get home from softball game and Kelly says "no rush, but we are going to the hospital tonight"
10:20pm- arrive at hospital and go to traige.  Kelly was placed on monitors and 4 cm dilated
10:50pm- moved to an L&D room; we were told "you're having this baby tonight"
11:50pm- epidural placed
12:55am- water broke and 7 cm
1:15am- 10 cm and OB called
1:40am- OB arrived and on to the fun part
2:39am- Collins was born
5:30am- after bath, assessments, and recovery, we finally get to our room

This picture was taken right before we left for the hospital:

Throughout the pregnancy, Kelly had not really had many contractions and the ones she had were pretty small.  Well, that all changed on Tuesday night.  Kelly woke me up describing intense pains, but they were irregular so we knew it was false labor.  She was up most of the night and decided to take Wednesday off from work as she already had a regular OB appt that afternoon.  At her appointment, she was 1 cm dilated with minimal expectations for a delivery soon.
Kelly went to work on Thursday, with stop-in-your-tracks contractions throughout the day.  She said if these had gotten any worse, she would not have been able to treat patients.
That evening, Kelly said it was less painful to be upright and walking around rather than laying down, so she walked (or paced) throughout our downstairs area.  She said it was fine for me to go to my softball game, so I did.  In hindsight, it was a good thing we lost the game, because otherwise, we would have played again at 9:30pm.
After returning home, even stopping to get her frozen yogurt on the way home by her request, she let me know pretty quickly that we wouldn't be staying home tonight.  The bags were already packed so after showering and loading the car, we headed to the hospital.  Once we got to the hospital, everything moved quickly.  Kelly had told me after arriving, I hope this isn't "false labor and they send us home."  That was certainly not the case as we were in a room within 30 minutes.  We had an awesome L&D nurse who supported us the whole time.  She re-assured us and answered all our questions or concerns, even when Collins went into distress at one point, and Kelly was put on supplemental O2.

I could tell from the way everyone was acting that things would be happening sooner rather than later.  The room was quickly prepped and frequent checks occurred along with a barrage of questions.  We even got the question, if she happens to be a he, would we like him circumcised?  Once the anesthesiologist came to place the epidural, I was asked to leave, so I went to the car to get a few things and update our parents.  I told them (specifically mine because of distance) it would probably be wise to start heading this way.
It was about 30 minutes before Kelly was "comfortable" after the epidural.  She described the feeling as pins and needles in her legs and later numbness, but she was able to move her lower body some.  Her water broke just before 1AM and Kelly described it as a "whoosh" sound that could be heard on the fetal monitor.  Things moved very quickly after that.  Her OB was called, but she held off on pushing until her OB arrived.  After arriving, the nurse and her OB coached her through the pushing process while I counted.  I would estimate after 8-10 sets of contractions with pushing, the baby was out.  Once she was out, I cut the umbilical cord, the nurses took care of the baby, and her OB took care of Kelly.  APGAR was 8/9, she weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 inches long.  We let our parents know Collins had arrived, and they came in about an hour later to see her.

A friend from church was her baby nurse until morning and gave her the first bath, nail trimming, assessment, and vitamin K shot. It was comforting to know that she was in good hands.

I was under the false assumption that small babies made small sounds.  That is incorrect.  She was LOUD!

After all was well with baby and mom, we moved to a room around 5:30AM.  Considering this was my normal wake up time, I was exhausted, as was Kelly.  We kept Collins with us that night (well, morning) and tried to get a little sleep throughout the day.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Showered with Love, Cute as a Button

Collins' last shower was hosted by a good friend of mine, Courtney, and my sister-in-law, Sandy.  The theme was "Cute as a Button."  Every detail was amazing, and the food and cake were so good!  Family traveled from near and far and local friends were able to attend as well.  The weather was beautiful, so we were able to enjoy the patio and spend time chatting and opening gifts in the sun.

 The beautiful cake by Delightful Bites Cakery.  It was delicious and smelled like pure sugar!

Such good food

The guest book, now in her nursery, was signed by all guests and full of sweet messages and well wishes.

 Sweet friends (and my maids of honor) from college, Jill and Courtney

Enjoying the patio

 Cute lamb from her Great Aunt Doris, now in her nursery.

 Precious outfit with cute detail

Build a Bear Mouse made by my niece Courtney

Monogrammed polka dot pillow from my Mom, for the nursery

From Granny, Cary's grandmother

Burp Cloths from Diane, Cary's Mom

 And from my Mom, Margaret

 A bib from my Mom...she's called Collins "Sweet Pea" ever since we found out we were expecting!

Lots of essentials!

 A lamb piggy bank from Aunt know a West child needs a piggy bank!

Courtney gave us a Bumbo (and co-hosted the shower)

 Cute details

Another shot of that cake!  Wow!

 My beautiful hostesses, Sandy and Courtney.  They did an amazing job! I can't thank you enough.

 Aunt Gina, Nana, Aunt Nancy, Me and Mom (Aunt Wanda left early to return to Tennessee)
Sorry for the picture overload.  It was hard to narrow them down!