Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Maybe it's a skosh early. . .

I can't help but wonder what Stella will pick as a hobby one day. She may love soccer. Softball might be her thing. Ballet? (I hope not. . .) Whatever she loves, Stephen and I will be right there supporting her along the way. But, I can only hope that music will become a big part of her life as it did mine. I think the following items could persuade her! These are all made just for kids or are available in small scale!

* Daisy Rock - Maybe she will learn to shred like Nancy Wilson!

* Schoenhut - This is an actual 49-key baby grand piano! And the price proves it... It's so cute!

* DeRosa Drum set- I think I would have more fun with this than Stella!

Ahhh. . . I just love it all!

And for starters, Rockabye is a neat site that sells lullaby renditions of music from lots of rock n roll bands. Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Guns n Roses, and my personal favorite. . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

Maybe? Yes, no?

Everyone says that Stella looks just like Stephen. And I admit, she does favor him quite a bit but I found an old picture of me tonight. Come on, she looks like me a little! At least her profile. . .

Next week I will try to do a baby Stephen comparison. I LOVE looking at our old pictures!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Print my blog!

I was set on starting this blog after Stella's birth because I knew that I would be consistent with posts and pictures. I like my computer time and find it much easier (and faster) to type than write. I am so picky about my handwriting and stress over it looking perfect. I do have a traditional baby book as well. There are no do-overs in a baby book and that stresses me out. I hate a mistake when writing by hand. I go through lots of note cards for this reason! I have filled out several pages in her book, but her "virtual" one is already so much more interesting. I think scrapbooking is also a really neat and fun thing, but it's very time consuming and can get rather expensive. I love the creativity of scrapbooking but again, I am so picky and a perfectionist to a fault. Blogging is just easier. I can write (type) about our family's memories as they happen instead of staying months behind with scrapbooking. Plus, scrapbooking is mainly for pictures.

There are so many sites now that offer printing for blogs. I plan on printing every 6 months to a year depending on the number of posts. I think the books will be wonderful keepsakes for our family, but I know that Stella will especially love to read them one day. I still pour over photo albums and baby books of Dawn and I. I wish that blogs had been around back then! I would have enjoyed reading what Mom had to say.

Sites that I am considering to use for blog printing:

This is Stella staring at Aunt Sis this weekend. Unfortunately, I always snapped shots in between her cute little smiles. She thought Aunt Sis was a hoot!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sitting pretty.

Today, we practiced sitting up in Stella's Bumbo seat.

Hmmm, I'm not so sure about this.

Ok, maybe it is fun!

Layla wanted in the shot.

And then she wanted a kiss. . .

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring has sprung. (sort of. . .)

Stella and I are enjoying strolling on the days when Spring decides to make it's appearance. I am ready for full on Spring. Not 70 degrees today, 30 tomorrow.

Look, there's a squirrel on my sweater, and Mom and I saw one on our walk.

I love to be outside!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stella, ella, ella, eh, eh

Name - a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of thought is designated, called, or known.

Many folks have asked Stephen and I where Stella got her name. I guess they assumed that since it sounded a little old fashioned, it was a family name. It is not. She is perfectly unique in our family at least.

When Stephen and I started discussing baby names, we instantly knew that we wanted to name her something different. Different without being weird. There is a fine line sometimes. We have so many family members, it would have been hard to name her after someone without hurting someone's feelings. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a huge book of names. For weeks, I read while Stephen would watch t.v. calling out ones that might have a chance to make the short list. He would say yes or no. Around six names made the list. It really didn't take too long to settle on Stella. We loved the way it sounded. We loved the meaning, star. She is a star in our eyes for sure!

After we settled on Stella, it was time to choose the perfect middle name. The only family trend that I wanted to continue was for her to have an "R" middle name like Dawn and I. Stephen agreed, so I began to pour over the "R" section of the book. Honestly, not many sounded great with Stella. I was getting discouraged and thought that I may need to try something new. Then I found Rosalie. I thought it was such a cute little name, but one that would sound distinguished as she aged. Stephen loved it as well, so we had finally settled on a perfect name for our little sweetie. The meaning for Rosalie is rose, big surprise. But, the French origin is also special to us since we honeymooned in France.

Now that she is here, we think her name fits her so well. Yesterday, Stephen and I realized that my name, Layla the dog, and Stella all have 2 "L's." Her name begins with Ste just like Stephen. Even better! I am so happy that we were able to agree on one. I heard horror stories about couples that argued over names even after the child was born. Our only hope now is that she will love it just as much.

After the name choice was behind us, we Googled Stella & Rosalie. Bad move. Googling anything can be dangerous and lead to results that you wish you had never found. We realized that 3 Hollywood stars had recently named children Stella. And Rosalie is a Twilight character. . . .I assumed that people would think that we were creatures of pop culture. I even considered coming up with something new because I didn't want her name to sound trendy. Stephen assured me that we had made a great choice, plus he was more than tired of that baby name book! So far, only I have made those connections. Most people comment that it sounds southern or old-fashioned, exactly what we were hoping. Oh well - We didn't follow Tori & Dean or read the Twilight saga prior to naming our baby.

I like it more everyday! And as for the title of this blog, it's very easy to use her name in place of umbrella in the Rhianna hit. I switch it to "She's my baby Stella, ella, ella, eh, eh. . ."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What a good sport!

Today was the big day, Stella's first shots. She did so well! I think the only part that bothered her was being held down for a second. She cried very briefly, and then was her normal self. I was so relieved. I didn't want her to get really upset. At this age, she does not understand what is going on at the doctor's office. I dread those months in the future when she realizes "what's up."

At least she got some cool Daffy Duck bandaids.

Stella weighed in at 11.3 lbs today. She is 22 3/4 inches long. That averages out to around the 60th percentile for her age. Great news! There is nothing better than hearing that your child is happy and healthy.

Last night, Stella sported her first pair of Gap jeans to our revival at church. I love her cute little shirt, too. I think Stephen is a fan of it as well. : ) Our little girl is growing up so fast!

Monday, March 22, 2010

2 months!

It seems like Stella grew a little personality overnight. This weekend she was so playful. We have seen her little smile several times before, normally during sleep and spells of gas. She would smile some here and there but never consistently. Over the weekend she really seemed to start recognizing more and would smile and coo when you showed her lots of attention. There is nothing sweeter in world! Every milestone during a baby's life is fun to watch, but there is something so special about her little smile. I guess as parents we try so hard to make her life as perfect as humanly possible. Those little smiles prove her happiness and bring so much joy. Last night after the choir special at revival, I walked to the back to sit with Stephen and Stella. She was wide awake when I sat her on my lap. At first she was enamored by the recessed lighting. Then when she caught my face, she just smiled and made her cooing noises. That lasted for several minutes so, needless to say, Stephen and I couldn't pay attention to anything else! I guess because newborns sleep so much, the new moments of "play time" are so special to us. Of course I loved snuggling my newborn and wouldn't trade those weeks for anything, but I believe she will just get more fun with each month that passes.

Speaking of months, she hit the two month mark on Saturday. Tomorrow we will go for her checkup and shots. The ONLY thing that excites me about that visit is finding out her weight and other measurements. I know she has grown so much. She is starting to outgrow some of her 0-3 month pjs. It won't be long until she is in those cute summer outfits! I love to see chubby little baby arms and legs in the warm months. Ahhh, spring and summer. . . I know you are out there somewhere. I am a lover of all seasons but this winter has been especially long, cold and dreary. I am more than ready for flip flops and strolls around the neighborhood.

This is our bright eyed, 2 month old little sweetie.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Working Mom = Success!

No blog since Monday?! Can you tell that this week has been hectic?

Stella has decided that anywhere from 3:30 – 4:30 AM is a perfect time to wake up and socialize with Mom & Dad. We had two weeks of sleeping through the night for at least 7 hours. Of course, the week I start back to work she decides otherwise. I really think that she needs more to eat. She doesn’t wake up mad, she is just ready to have a bottle. The Halo sleep sack that I raved about in an earlier post serves as entertainment in the wee hours for Stephen and I. Instead of crying, she just tries to break free from the sleep sack. All you can hear in the baby monitor is the ripping of Velcro. That is my cue to get a bottle! The baby monitor is still driving Layla crazy. She hops down and runs to Stella’s room at least three times a night. What a great little babysitter!

Week 1 as a working Mom was a success. Stephen was late to work on Monday. After that minor hiccup, we finally figured out how our morning routine should work. Stephen is on call Thursday nights so we agreed that it would be best for me to drop her off early at Nene’s house on Friday mornings in case he is unable. I am proud to say that we were both dressed and in the car by 6:15. I made it to work with 10 minutes to spare. That is what I would consider a major accomplishment!

My great friend Tommy is coming to town for a visit this weekend. I can’t wait! I am excited for him to meet Stella, and Layla can’t wait to see her Toms. Layla, for whatever reason, really likes Tommy. He is one of the only non-family members to ever receive her approval.

And for your viewing pleasure, check out Stella’s mop! Her hair is really starting to curl and this was taken by my camera phone shortly after a bath. (sorry for the poor quality) Unruly you think?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lullaby & Goodnight

I find myself humming the songs from Stella's lullaby cds all of the time. Of course I want her to love music as much as the rest of our family, so I keep the tunes pumping in the house. My personal favorite is the 80s lullaby cd that Aunt Sis bought for her. It has "These Dreams" on it by Heart. Need I say more?! She also has a really great Disney lullaby cd. That one I haven't quite figured out because several of the songs I do not recall hearing on any Disney movie. But, it's great just the same. Sometimes if I think really hard about the lyrics, I get rather teary while rocking Stella. I guess it's a Mom thing, but who could possibly listen to "Baby Mine" and not choke up thinking about how much little Dumbo's mom loved him? I have a version of that song by Alison Krauss that is just wonderful. The Disney cd also includes "What A Wonderful World." After I sang it around the house for the whole afternoon I started thinking about it's words more as well. It's such a simple but beautiful song. All a baby needs in life is to be clean, fed, clothed, and loved to be happy. Isn't that all any of us need if we really think about it? Maybe I am just especially mushy tonight, but I love that Stella has taught me to appreciate the smallest of things in just a few short weeks. I may have thought that Stephen and I would be the ones teaching her everything about life, but I have a feeling it's kind of the other way around. I hear her cry, I watch her grow. . .

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to work I go. . .

Tomorrow is the big day. Goodbye maternity leave, hello Goodyear. I can almost smell the rubber now. I know I will make it through the work day fine. I look forward to seeing everyone in my department and trying to remember all of my passwords. (That could be the most difficult part. I think I have about 6.) I already warned Mom that she would be seeing my office number on the caller id quite often tomorrow. Nene is more than capable but I will want to hear what little Stella is up to just the same.

I am most concerned with how tomorrow morning will work. After having her, it did not take long to figure out that Stephen and I needed at least an extra hour in order to get the three of us out the door. She is a great baby but feedings, diaper changes, packing a bag, and such take time. Add in showers for the both of us, breakfast, packing my lunch, and finding clothes that semi match and the morning flies! I have to be at work by 7 so it could get a little tricky. We shall see!

We will have our little routine in place soon enough. One thing is for sure, Layla will get some rest tomorrow! Bless her heart! She hasn't had a good nap in weeks. She stays too busy hovering over Stella. After the three of us leave, I am sure she will crash in one of her favorite spots. I was so irritated when I was pregnant when folks would say, "she'll just be a dog after Stella arrives." No, Layla will always be part of the family and special to Stephen and I. I can't wait to see Stella play with her in a few months. She noticed her and smiled for the first time this weekend and they had a stare down. It was so cute. Stella will have a best friend and extra parent in Layla one day. I think Layla loves her as much as we do.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Today, I met with a lady that is going to make a pair of collages for Stella's room. FINALLY! I had the idea when we first started on her nursery to use collages on each side of her crib and have had the hardest time finding anyone to create them. Little did I know someone locally had a business. I was in Higher Ground last week paying for my usual, an iced mocha, and noticed her art on the walls. I wanted something a little larger so I contacted her and she agreed to do some custom work. I gathered some items I wanted to incorporate and took her swatches from the colors we used in Stella's room. Also, a few months ago I purchased a set of neat vintage flash cards from Etsy. She was excited about them and thought using some in the artwork would work well. I can't wait to see what she comes up with! I will post pictures of the finished products.

I can't say enough about Etsy. You can find some of the coolest things on that site. I absolutely love the little hat with the pink bow I bought for Stella that she is wearing in a post below. I see many purchases for her in my future! Sorry Stephen. . .

Check out a couple of my friends who currently sell on Etsy:

Letters by Lauren

Laura Mia - Handcrafted Jewelry

And here's a random shot of Stella sporting her Daddy's hat.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The time has come.

The time that I have anticipated and dreaded is finally here. This is my last week of maternity leave. Big sigh. Now don't get me wrong, I really love my job. Actually, I have really missed all of the people I work with and the steady schedule that I was used to each day. I will be glad to get back to my desk and most of all my radio! Everyone in my department uses a radio - mostly for business, but sometimes entertainment as well. I will be ready for my first bit of trivia challenge via the airwaves when I return. Even though my job is great and I do really miss my old schedule, I will hate to leave little Stella everyday. The GOOD news is that she will be staying with my mom at her house. I can't wait to hear about the adventures of Stella and her Nene. Aside from Stephen and I, there is no one in the world who could shower her with more love. We are very fortunate to live near our wonderful families who are all willing to help. Thanks Nene. You really lessen the sting of being a working mom.

The time has gone by SO quickly. This Thursday I will have been home 8 weeks! Good grief. Stella will do great and may even enjoy the change of scenery. I am pretty sure that she is tired of our couch, too. We have spent many hours on it together. I plan on getting TONS of cuddles in this week. My sweet little girl is growing up much too fast.

And now I will share another recipe. I tried another dish from the Taste of Home Casseroles magazine I mentioned in a previous post. So far, none of them disappoint! Forgive the lattice design on top. I was in a hurry to get it baked before my Junior Auxiliary meeting.

Lattice-Top Chicken Stew
. . . but I will just refer to it as easy chicken pot pie because it is not what I consider a stew.

1 package (12 oz.) California blend frozen vegetables, thawed and drained
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of potato soup
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup french-fried onions
salt and pepper to taste
1 tube (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls

Combine vegetables, chicken, soup, milk, cheese, and onions in a large bowl. Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, separate crescent dough into two rectangles. Seal perforations: cut each rectangle lengthwise into four strips. Working quickly, weave strips over warm filling forming a lattice crust. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

** Like many recipes, I added about 1/4 cup of Pictsweet seasoned blend. It's a great recipe helper for added flavor and taste. Just saute' what you need for about 5 minutes and add to any dish.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Welcome to Missouri.

Just another day to add to the list of firsts for little Stella. . . a trip out of state. Last weekend my Papaw had an accident and suffered several broken bones. He is in the hospital in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Mom, Sis, Stella and I went for a visit today. He was very surprised and so happy to see his great granddaughter for the second time even if it had to be in a hospital. I was so glad to see that he seemed to be doing well considering his injuries. We hope that Papaw has a speedy recovery!

It always makes me nervous to try something new with Stella. I don't want her to be uncomfortable or have a melt down in a different setting from the comforts of home. I was a nervous wreck on our first trip to the doctor, church, and any other public place for that matter. I don't know why? She does so well everywhere we go. Stella is such a good baby! She enjoyed the car ride very much and barely made a peep except when a hunger pain struck. I need to just realize that everything is going to be ok! Whew, that is tough for a first time mommy.

Yesterday we got to view the proofs from Stella's first photo session. I was so happy with them. I was a little worried that we would have good ones to choose from because Stella was upset when we tried the naked baby shots. She still doesn't enjoy being without clothes - my modest little girl! But Tammy always seems to get great shots. Here is a sampling. . .

Now the hard part - How will I ever choose or have enough wall space?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'd like a Nutty Bar please.

I am so excited that spring has started to show itself! I love 50 degree weather. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my winters as well. This year was just particularly hard since I was stuck in the house for long periods of time. That is something that I am not used to at all. After Stella was born, it seemed to snow every other day. I am not one of those who feel like you should keep your baby indoors for months, but 10 degrees is pushing it a little. Now that it is warming up I have lots of fun taking Stella out and about. The Nissan Rogue has been lovingly nicknamed Baby Whisperer. She absolutely loves to ride.

For the first month it was hard to ever catch Stella awake aside from feedings. I was convinced that there was catnip in the air! The past two weeks have been really fun with her. She has much longer periods of time awake and alert. It is so amazing to see how strong she is becoming and how she changes. Stephen and I were reading through a magazine that they sent home from the hospital with us that tells you what to expect every month during baby's first year. Stella is hitting milestones early it seems but I guess every parent is ready to enroll their child in gifted classes from day one. Haha! No, truly it is wonderful to watch her grow and learn. It is a daily reminder of how great God is and the amazing blessing of a new life. I never want to forget that. Even when she tries to sass me in the middle of Wal-Mart in years to come, I hope I don't go all Madea on my child in public!

For now Stella is loving hanging out with Mommy at Wal-Mart. I love this picture. She really seems to be eyeing the Nutty Bars!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And I'm all like, this is hard!

You know what is tough about being a new mom? Not jumping the gun! It's so hard to make myself realize that my baby is only a month old. Such is my current dilemma - does she really need an Easter basket this year? Of course I want to give her the world right now but what would I put in it? A pack of Pampers and some Enfamil? But of course I had to receive the new Pottery Barn Kids catalog in the mail today that only made things worse. Look at these sweet baskets! *sigh* The Lord needs to give me strength so I can just say no.

I did purchase her Easter dress this week though. She has to have one of those. Here is a sneak peek but it will look so much cuter with Stella in it!

Stephen and I went to Wal-Mart today and had a great time in the toy section. Stella wasn't impressed. She snoozed away. In honor of Dr. Seuss Day we bought her three new books to add to her growing collection. We also purchased a cd player for her room. I can't believe that I didn't have one! Times have changed so much. For the past several years I have just listened to my XM radio, used our surround sound for cd playing, and mostly played my tunes on my iPod. I toyed with the notion of just getting an iPod dock for Stella but again told myself, she is one month old!! And plus, I have often wished for a portable cd player to use outside when working in the yard or washing the vehicles. (it does have a line in option for the iPod though!) Ahh technology. It makes me wonder what Stella will be using someday? She will look on my iPod as a useless gadget much like I thought of my parent's 8 track collection. Oddly enough I got all retro with age and have an 8 track collection myself. You never realize how cool your parents are until you hit your 20s. : ) So now I am the proud owner of my favorite album "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac on 8 track, vinyl, cd, and of course iTunes. (No one needs to remember the casette tape!)

Side note: We are pretty sure in doing the math that Stella was a tadpole when Stephen and I saw Fleetwood Mac back in May. So technically that was her first concert - and that makes Mommy very happy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thank you HGTV!

Stella and I have logged many quality hours watching HGTV during my maternity leave. House Hunters has always been a favorite of mine but now I can hardly change the channel when it's on. I especially love House Hunters International. I always get a wild hair to travel somewhere far away like Malta. Who knew real estate in Malta was so pricey? I don't think that I could even afford an outhouse in that country. I will thank HGTV for keeping me so entertained but it can also do some harm. Now I think my house needs a complete makeover/remodel! I really love our home because it's the perfect size for our family but I know that we could utilize the square footage in a much better way. I am happy with our decor but would love to knock out a wall or two. I would also LOVE an open floor plan and be able to remodel my galley style kitchen. When you love to cook and bake as much as me, it just doesn't provide the space I need! Way too narrow, not enough counter space. . . Oh well. That's why we are young and dreamers. Maybe Stephen and I can build or remodel a home one day to our specifications. Wouldn't that be fun!? Has anyone noticed on some of the shows that a standard kitchen remodel is normally around 80,000 dollars? Ummm, that's an entire home in Obion County.

I also love that everyone on House Hunters refers to their cabinets as cupboards and their yards as gardens. I am going to start using this terminology to make myself sound cool as well.

Speaking of design ideas. .. I was at Sugar and Spice today (DANGEROUS!) scoping out all of the new spring clothes for Stella and noticed a neat picture frame. It's actually closer to hot pink in real life so it would not match her room at all - but I just loved the quote! It has special meaning to me also because Sis and I watched Cinderella together every Sunday afternoon for YEARS! We would throw in another Disney movie here and there but Cinderella was our absolute favorite. " Uhhh, Gus Gus take-a Lucifee and . . ." : )

Anyways, since I don't want to use a huge pink frame in her room I was thinking of having a vinyl wall piece made to go on the opposite wall of her crib. I could have it made to match this one of her name I had done a few months ago. Cute!