Elise vs The Hood

We actually had warm temps yesterday, so Elise got to enjoy the great outdoors for the day.  (Her favorite thing!)  After dinner she insisted that we would go back outside for more playing.  The sun was long gone behind rain clouds, and the wind was chilly, so I made her wear a sweater.  Clearly, that was unacceptable in toddlerland!





How is it possible for one little girl to be so stinking cute?!?!

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She cracks me up.  I can’t wait until spring when she can spend her days outside adventuring and toddling in the grass!


Watch Me Grow!


Over the past 12 months, I have taken a photo of Elise each month to document her growth.  I found these adorable stickers on Etsy, and knew that they would be perfect to create these special memories.

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Look at my sweet baby freshly home from the hospital in her newborn onesie that was way too big.  I had made her this hairbow, and I also used it in her 12 month picture, to show the difference in size.  It looks so big on her tiny little head here.  I miss that squishy little baby!


By two months, her little personality was starting to come out and shine.  She was so smiley in this set of pictures.  It warms my heart.


During our 3 month photos, I captured what will probably always be my favorite photo of Elise.  How can this not melt you into a puddle of baby cuteness??  She just looks so angelic with her little arms folded.  I’m so thankful I was able to capture that moment.


By 6 months, she was so over this sitting on the bouncer to take photos business.  The bouncer was a genius idea when she was little and couldn’t hold herself up.  But new mom over here didn’t realize that once she got a little bigger, she would NOT want to sit in the thing.  If I had it do over now, I would have had her sitting in the corner of a chair or the couch instead.  From 5 months on it was such a battle to get at least one picture in the bouncer.  She was so over that tiny baby business.  Here’s little miss giving her mommy a little smirk.



By 7 months, she was so over the bouncer that I was lucky to get one shot just for growth comparison.  However at 7 months, she realized that this thing I was putting on her was a sticker, and that just had to be ripped off!


Of course she had to taste it too.  How cute is that?


As the time passed on, she quickly learned how to manage her way out of the bouncer torture 😉 but it made for awfully cute pictures!


By 8 months, she could crawl away.  I’m so glad I have these photos to document milestones.  She was sitting up independently shortly before the above 7 month photos, crawling a little before her 8 month photos, and pulling up at 9 months.


However at any age, she has always been a big fan of her toes.  I can understand why though.  They are preciously kissable!


By 10 months, it was an act of congress to get a photo of her in this chair.  She was a baby on the move, and there would be no holding her down!  Here is my poor husband trying to help me get a photo as she’s making her escape!


But also by 10 months, she was obsessed with figuring out this huge black box that is often attached to mommy’s face.  While she crawled out of the bouncer and up me to figure out the camera, I was able to snap another favorite photo!  Look at those eyes!




For our 12 month photos, she was SO OVER IT.


…and her diva self came out.  But I was happy, because I got at least one with her sitting in the bouncer.


So I let her toddle away to play.  Because my big 1 year old is a toddling mess of energy, laughter, and endless fun.


At 12 months old, she loves to pet the kitty, calling “Here kitty kitty” and motioning for the kitty with her hand, eating EVERYTHING, feeding herself, climbing into the refrigerator, throwing things and adorably say “uh oh” (because how can she get in trouble when she’s so cute), and still yet, cuddle with mommy.


She took her first steps at 11 months old, started taking good independent steps a few days before and at her birthday party, and by today, she is on the move and ready to run.

Her vocabulary consists of:  Mom in all versions (momma, mom mom, mommy), Daddy, dada, papaw, Gigi (for Grammie), kitty, cat, addy (my mom’s puppy), tazzy (my mom’s cat), nana (banana), Mickey, hello, hi, bye, uh oh, cookie (although she has yet to let me hear it!), and I think there is more, but I can’t think of them at the moment!

It was a pain in the butt to do this photos every month.  It often involved crying, bribery, and redo’s.  I was often late by a few days, but that is okay.  I LOVE that I did it now and kept up with the commitment.

I got this completely adorable idea from my friend, Susan, at the fabulous Fowler Photography.  Take a look at her work.  She’s great!

From the tiniest little speck, this sweet angel has transformed into the most precious little girl.  It has been an amazing ride watching this little bud bloom into the most beautiful flower.  This was her very first ultrasound picture.


This is not a pregnancy announcement pic (although it would be a super cute one!), and a few of my friends may have had a heart attack when I posted it without a quote attached!  Oops!

Of course it wouldn’t be Elise unless we added a little bit of drama.  I swear, little miss toddlerhood has developed a diva attitude these days.  She’s one sassy baby and everything is such a huge deal!


We had to take a little break for a snack before the princess could finish her photo session.  Bananas and a peanut butter sandwich.  Yum!


Then it was back to the fun!  She thought it would be nice to include her baby doll too.

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This is such a fun stage.  She is the cutest thing toddling around the house and she is so curious about the world around her.  Not to mention she is quite the monkey and I find her climbing on everything!

See more from Megan Kunkel Photography here.

Real Life Mommyhood – Sleep Deprivation

Every parent knows what I’m talking about – sleep deprivation.  When zombie status is your natural state of being these days and even your third cup of caffeine isn’t giving you the smallest ounce of energy.  You contemplate how you could hook yourself up an IV and just pump 5 hour energy drinks straight in.  Because of course you’ve only slept more than a few hours a handful of times in the last 1000 months.  Those days where you decide yoga pants are completely acceptable and you are lucky to be able to gather both your keys and the mountain of stuff the baby requires and make it out the door.

I bet you can guess what we were doing from 2:30-5:00 AM this morning.  It isn’t a secret that my little cuddle bug is one horrible sleeper.  At almost 13 months old, she still wakes up twice a night.  Normally she eats and then goes back to sleep.  But not last night.  Last night she decided that it was time to get up to spend some time cuddling and playing.


Thankfully for me, I have a wonderful husband who does help out with her on the nights he is home.  I would lose my mind if he didn’t.  I’m so not cut out to be a single mom, and I have no clue how they do it.

She’s always been a horrible sleeper, fighting it as long as she can.  She won’t sleep anywhere but her crib or car seat.  That is a good and bad thing.  I’m glad she doesn’t want to sleep in our bed, because cosleeping really wouldn’t work well for our family, but it does make outings difficult.  She has only fell asleep in her stroller one time in her life.  Even as a tiny baby, she wouldn’t have it.  Here she is taking her only nap in her stroller, due to exhaustion at the zoo.


See my sweet, tiny, sleepy baby?

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Doesn’t she just look so peaceful?

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A little sleeping angel…

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That is totally not actually sleeping.

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Days like today where she was up all night and then still gets up for the day at 7:00 AM, I can barely get myself going.  Thankfully today I was able to stay home and relax with her this morning.  We’ve been told everything in the world to do to make her sleep through the night.  The pediatrician keeps insisting that we need to just let her cry it out.  But I’m not okay with that.  It may work for some families, but not us.  So until she eventually learns to sleep better, we will just keep getting up and cuddling.  Because this too shall pass, and one day she won’t want to cuddle with me or be rocked to sleep.  One day I’ll look back and wish I spent less time being aggravated about being so tired, and more time embracing the hugs.  So for now, I’ll keep my 2:00 AM dates with my sweet girl, and my 7:00 AM dates with my mountain dew!


Valentine’s Day Felt Fun!

You may remember Elise’s felt Christmas tree that she had such a blast with during the month of December.  When we packed away all the Christmas decor, the little wall it was on just felt naked!  So I decided to make a Valentine’s themed felt wall.  At first I had the hardest time deciding what to do.  I had decided I was going to make a big box of chocolates with ribbon dividers and then she could move around the chocolates decorated with sprinkles and poms.  Then I was going to make a vase of flowers that she could move the blooms around.  Then I decided I had lost my mind, because my one year old really just enjoys ripping this stuff off and hiding it around the house.  So I decided to save the more elaborate designs for next year and do something easy and classic Valentine’s day – a heart!


You don’t have to have a large space.  Here is the wall that I’ve used for both her Christmas tree and now the Valentine’s Day Heart.  It is in our foyer which opens up to the great room.  I don’t mind it being in the foyer.  I could have easily put it in her bedroom, but she is rarely in there to actually play.  We spend most of our time in the living room, so that is where I wanted it.  I wanted her to have access to easily play with it.


I bought two yard of red felt because I was paranoid that I would mess up the first time, and it’s cheap anyway.  I could have went with less.  I folded it in half, laid it out on the floor, and drew half a heart with a permanent marker.


I then cut the heart out.  I recommend measuring your area first, because I just winged it, and cut mine just a little bit too big for the wall.  Oops!  To secure the heart to the wall, I used command strips.  The heart took more command strips than the the Christmas tree because it is so large and top heavy.  I had to go out and buy more the next day because I only had three at home, so for these pictures, I used a little tape.  That is why it isn’t super smooth and tight.

For the small hearts, I folded in half and cut different sizes.  Some tall and skinny, some fat and extra round, so that she would have a little bit of variety.  I reused left over felt sheets from the ornaments on her felt tree.  If you don’t already have an assortment of felt, it is super cheap to buy, and 3-4 sheets would be plenty.


It was close to bedtime when I did it, but I let her play for a few minutes away.  Of course as soon as I got in on the wall, she insisted on coming and taking all the hearts off.




She thinks it is the best game ever to take all the hearts off over and over again while I try to put them back up!  This was such an easy and cheap project that resulted in lots of fun!  I need to start planning our felt fun for Easter!

Hot Chocolate Mousse – YUM!

We have tons of hot chocolate mix left over from Elise’s Minnie Mouse birthday party.  Way more than we could ever think about drinking.  I had no idea what to do with it, until I came across this pin on pinterest.  This Betty Crocker Hot Cocoa Mousse Recipe is to die for!  It was so easy to make.  I was eating it with in 10 minutes!



-1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream

– 1/2 cup powdered sugar

-2 packages (1.25 oz each) hot cocoa mix

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Whipped cream, if desired.

In a medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high until cream begins to thicken.  On medium, beat in powdered sugar and cocoa mix until blended.  Add 1/4 tsp cinnamon and the vanilla; beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

It is that easy.  I didn’t have any vanilla extract so I skipped that and it still turned out great.  I also never measure anything, so I just threw it all together.  It was so yummy.  I may have ate almost all of it by myself.  I plan to make more, as I still have lots of hot cocoa left over.  My mom gave me the great idea of making cupcakes and adding it to the center.  I also want to make a pretty truffle with oreos and chocolate cake.  This may be dangerous for my sweet tooth!

Birthday Traditions – A Room Full of Balloons

Since before I was pregnant I said that I would start a birthday tradition of filling my child’s room with balloons the morning of their birthday.  I got the idea from a photographer on a photography board I am on, and it looked like so much fun.

Fast forward to actually having a child.  I didn’t expect to have a baby so close to Christmas.  Needless to say after all the Christmas excitement (aka stress), completing Elise’s Minnie Mouse Car, and doing everything for her birthday party, I was just tired.  The last thing I wanted to do was get up even earlier after not sleeping for days, weeks, okay months.  So I decided to skip the first year.  She wouldn’t remember it anyway right?

….Then mom guilt kicked in.  (Stupid I know).  The day before her birthday I felt guilty for not following through with it just because I was tired.  Thanks to pinterest, slacking isn’t allowed.  Because seriously, how can we DO ALL THE PINS and be the SUPER MOM of pinterest if we slack?  Now I was stuck, because I didn’t have any balloons ordered for her actual birthday.  A few mom friends convinced me that it wasn’t the end of the world if I just reused her balloons from her birthday party (which was the day before her actual birthday).  That would work, even if they were red, black, and white, and not overly cheery.  It would have to do.

Besides, I had 30 balloons for her party.  I crammed all 30 balloons in my Camry and drove 30 minutes with them all in my car.  I’m not going to lie, probably not my safest decision, but I made it.  Then, when we were unloading stuff from our vehicles into the party room, I lost 10 of them to the freaking sky.  Oh well, that left 20 balloons for Elise’s birthday morning.  By the next morning, they were a little (or a lot) deflated.  But that’s okay, it’s the thought that counts.  Next year her birthday will be on a weekday, and I can hopefully plan better.  I’m already working on birthday party #2, in hopes that I will be less stressed next year.

Of course, Elise picks her birthday morning to completely throw off her sleep schedule.  She woke up at some wee hour in the morning, and decided it was time to rock.  Luckily, my wonderful husband understood my birthday exhaustion from over crafting, so he got up with her.  This prevented me from sneaking in super early and putting the balloons in while she was still deep asleep.  She went back down around 6:00, so I didn’t know what time she would wake up for the day.  Around 7:30, I decided to go ahead and put them in.  My child is a super light sleeper, and I may have accidentally woke her up during the process.  Mom fail.  But they were all at least in there when she woke up.

Still tired and wore out from her birthday party the day before, she was half asleep and very confused.






She was very puzzled.  …and sleepy!  (Take a look at that bedhead!)



But after she had a few minutes to get awake, she was ready to play!



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Mommy and daddy may have had more fun than she did with the balloons for the rest of the day.  After we were finished playing with the balloons and got changed out of our jammies, we started another fun (and more successful) birthday tradition cake batter pancakes!  YUM!


Check out more of birthday related posts:

Meeska Mooska Minnie Mouse

Minnie & Mickey Hat Tutorial

Minnie Mouse Car Tutorial (Cozy Coupe)

Birthday Cake Pancakes

Happy Birthday Elise!

Minnie Mouse Centerpiece Tutorial


Flashback to Elise’s FIRST Valentines Day!

My how time flies!  Valentines day is coming up quickly, so I thought that I would take a trip down memory lane and look back on Elise’s first Valentines day!

Look at my sweet little tiny baby.  This ADORABLE sock monkey hat that we also used in her newborn pictures came from this etsy shop.

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As her present last year we bought her a play mat.  She loved this thing and spent so much time playing on it.  It seems so small next to her as a toddler!

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I was still pretty much in “new mom chaos” but I did manage to snap a few special photos!


I definitely didn’t have the energy to make or design a card, so I slapped a photo into a premade one and order them!


I’m not sure what we will do for Vday pictures yet this year, I need to be brainstorming!!

Rewind to Christmas – Celebrating the Birthday of Baby Jesus!

I know that Elise is too little this year to understand the real meaning of Christmas, but I still told her the story anyway.  It is so important to me that although we will do Santa, that she realizes Santa is not what Christmas is about.  As I mentioned in another Christmas post, our tradition will be that she asks Santa for one present, and Santa only brings that one present.  Mommy and daddy bring a few more, but Santa only brings one special present.  My hope is that this will help to cut down on her writing a 45 page letter to Santa telling him 6034 things that she thinks she just “has to have.”

Another Christmas tradition we started this year, is that every year on Christmas day we will have a birthday party for baby Jesus.  Nothing huge or over the top, but just a cake/cupcakes and we will read about the birth of Jesus.  When she is a little bit older we will blow out a birthday candle and instead of making a wish, we will figure out a small act of charity that either she can do or we can do as a family to help others.  Whether it be donating a toy, helping a neighbor, or volunteering, we will help her come up with something age appropriate.

This year Elise helped me make pumpkin cupcakes using this recipe.


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Rolled Flower Hairbow Tutorial

This is SUPER easy!  I love to make these flowers to add a girly touch to an outfit or make an adorable hairbow!  For Elise’s cake smash photo session, I wanted to make a bow to match her tutu.  I was short on time, because I only had the morning of to do it (procrastinator!) so I decided to make a couple of flowers to glue to a headband.  I used tulle in mine to match her tutu, but any kind of scrap fabric could work.  If your chosen material isn’t already in strip form, cut it into a long strip.  It doesn’t matter if it’s straight or anything, you’ll never be able to tell!

These are all cell pics because I can’t hold and snap the camera with one hand, so excuse the yucky photos!

First I took my tulle and started twisting it.  How tight/loose you twist the material will change the look of the flower, so play around and see which way you prefer.  See the piece sticking out from my thumbs?  I left all that excess and started twisting from that point.  You can trim the excess off later, and it will be on the back of the bow, so who cares if its there anyway.  It makes it way easier to hold and do.


So after I got a bit twisted, I started wrapping it around in a circle to form a flower.  I got about this much done and then put some hot glue on the back to hold it in place.


You then continue twisting and wrapping, adding dabs of hot glue to the sides and then lying your twist over it to secure them in place.  Be careful not to add too much hot glue, because you don’t want it showing through the front.


Continue to wrap until you reach your desired size.  Then snip your extra material and roll the end of your twist around to the back of the flower and secure it there with hot glue.  I was in a rush and chose to glue mine straight to the headband.  You could just as easily glue it to a piece of felt or other fabric and attach it to the headband or to a clip.  For the headband pictured below I made a large pink flower out of tulle and a smaller purple one.  I added some blue tulle sticking out of the back to add a splash of more color.  They make such cute little bows to be so easy!  I must admit though, I burn myself with hot glue every single time!


See more of Elise’s cake smash photos here!