beach bound...

tomorrow morning, at 7am, my sister and i will be bound for the beautiful Hilton Head Island to meet up with my mom, little sis, and grandmother for a few days!  this is the first time ever that it will be just us girls! so exciting!... and BONUS >> a nice little break for momma before baby #2 comes along.
while i'm away, our boy will be left in the big, strong, capable hands of his daddy.
Justin's really looking forward to some good ole QT with the little man.
i am too.  not only will this time be super special for them, but Justin will get a little taste of mommyhood.  i know he's perfectly aware that i don't sit around the house doing nothing all day.  in fact, it's amazing how often he thanks me for what i do as a wife and mother.  it's just, the only full days we have together are the weekends and they're always a bit different from the 'norm'.  just in case he has any questions, i've made some notes on a piece of paper titled 'a day in the life'... detailing our daily routine around here 'til daddy gets home from work.  
my guess is he'll refuse to look at it, insisting he's got it all under control and can figure any questions he's got out on his own, but like i said... just in case.

Asa's got a whole lot more of this to look forward to over the next few days...

granted, he's not smiling in any of these, but don't be fooled... he was having the time of his life.  the joy just seems to disappear the minute he's aware of the camera. hmph.

i'm gonna miss these boys somethin' CRAZY!

i'll be back Wednesday with all the juicy details on my little beach getaway... and perhaps, if you're lucky, a few shots of this sexy 34 week prego belly in a swimsuit! 
and no rockin' of the bikini will be happening... a tankini suits me just fine, thanks.

'til then, i'm off to finish Bellamy's mobile and pack!
night loves!


prints please...

lately, it seems i can't get enough of prints.
decorating Bellamy's nursery has probably given me the itch.
i'm loving everything from fabrics and wallpaper to wall prints to printed onesies!
here are some of my favorites...


artist prints

Etsy prints

vintage botanicals

and these adorable onesies by Winter Water Factory


made in the shade...

it's SO hottt!
i really do love the sun, but it'd be nice if the summer could slow down just a bit.
we've skipped spring and headed straight into a Carolina summer.
the fact that i'm just about 6 weeks away from giving birth might have something to do with the discomfort factor.
but, this afternoon things took a turn for the better... with our first trip to the pool.
unfortunately, we don't have a neighborhood pool of our own, so we have to make the 20 min trip to my mama's and go to hers... but is it ever worth it!  this may just become a daily thing until this baby girl decides to make her appearance.
Justin got off work early and joined us.  we weren't there for too long, but it was something close to heaven while it lasted ;)
to add to the thrill of it all, the pool was supposed to be open, but no lifeguard had showed up so we were left to hop the fence... rebels that we are. ha!
i wasn't about to skip out on the opportunity to show off my new rockin' maternity swimsuit! (said with a note of sarcasm, although it is actually quite cute... i think)
it took Asa a couple minutes, but that same joy he had in the water last year came rushin' back.
he LOVES his float!
but, even sweeter was when i held him.
with his arms wrapped tightly around my neck and a giant grin plastered on his face, he'd let go quickly to splash and laugh nervously and then cling to me again...  i love it when my child needs me.
my sweets

afterwards, Justin grilled up some DELICIOUS filet mignons to go with my mom's roasted baby carrots and potatoes (also very scrumptious)... an evening well spent!

it's crazy to me that this time last year, mommyhood was still so new and my boy was just a small baby.  it's moments like the ones we had today that make my heart so full, but make me want to sob at the same time.  how can he be 15months?!  he's going to be a big brother! that in itself makes him seem so much older to me.  slow down, my sweet Ace.
he's such a little booger... everyday it's something new... and hilarious.
makes me so excited to meet this little personality inside me.
i can't wait to see how different they are, but still hope she picks up on a few of his precious little quirks.

AND, for those friends and fam without a facebook... here's a few of our faves from the recent maternity/family photoshoot we had...

this was so much fun... and i'm so happy i did it again... i think we'll do it for all our babies :)

well, 4 things are beckoning me at the moment:
}apples & pb
}chocolate milk
}the hubs
}my couch

nighty night, dearies.


what's in a weekend...

gosh the weekends have been FLYING by lately!
they've been packed with goodness, of course, but considering it's the only time we have as a family... sometimes i wish we could play them in slow motion and take our time getting to Monday.

this particular weekend included:

}makin' more headway on baby Belle's nursery
}a play : The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy was played by our pastor's daughter, Caroline. she was just wonderful... i'd say the best on stage ;)
}anniversary dinner date to Kabuto's (yum.)
}relaxing Saturday morning
}afternoon walk up to downtown Concord for the Spring into the Arts Festival
}dinner at Toast in Davidson with my handsome boys
}movie date on the sofa with the Mr.
}family time with the out-of-towners before the shower
}showering Bellamy with sweet blessings 
}dinner at the 'rents
}home to show some more love to the nursery (i was up 'til midnight)

there was even a little in between, but you get the idea... so great, but so busy!

here are a few snip-its 

a.m. cuddles

off to see the Wizard!

Toast Davidson

he says 'rock rock' cause we have one at home that he loves... too cute! 

the best hostesses!... my mom and sister :)  they seriously did such a beautiful job!


Mamaw Donna

Mimi (Justin's mama)

a few of my favorite Branch girls

my dear friend, Casey... due to have a girl in September (keeping my fingers crossed for my birthday!)

sisters in law

hubs snuck in at the end ;)

and there you have it, folks... hope your weekend was just as fantastic!
here's to a wonderful week!  nighty night...


busy busy...

so, although it's only been a few days since my last post, it seems like a decade.
and this one won't even really count.
this has been a very busy and somehow slightly relaxing weekend.
yesterday was our 6th anniversary and today we had a beautiful shower for baby girl.
LOTS of work on Bellamy's nursery has happened... i can't wait to be finished!
aaaaand... i'm headed back up there now to keep up that labor of love... you could call it nesting.
hubs just wired up Belle's new lighting, so's i can see what i'm doing.
sorry so short.

pics of the weekend comin' soon :)  
night loves!


i should be embarrassed...

two issues that need be addressed before the new babe's arrival...

1} my closet.

there are two reasons why this is a problem.
i have a ridiculously small space to work with and i have trouble getting rid of things.
this is how i justify that overflowing and embarrassing corner of our bedroom.
you see, my mom didn't keep any of her clothes from the 70's or 80's.
she says she wasn't stylish, but she's too beautiful not to be and fashions always have a way of coming back around (with the exception of t-shirt rings and Ed Hardy).
for this reason, i like to think that if i hold on to things, one day my daughter(s) will rummage through my closet to find an outfit they'll love just as much as i did.
all that being said, something's just gotta be done.
it's such an eye sore, it takes up too much space, and there will soon be a baby and a basinet added to the mix.
any suggestions?? 

the second issue
i need a laundry nook
this is what it looks like now
clean laundry sits in baskets folded or un on the floor and the banister has become the drying rack.  hmph.

i'd love to have a corner or space upstairs that looks something like this

does anyone else have this problem that may have come up with a simple (semi cheap) solution??

both of these have been hanging over my head for a while now... it's been easy to put them off.  but, now that four of us will be sharing the upstairs... i need more order... for my sanity's sake. 


wishful wednesday...

can this adorable outfit please still be available in my pre-prego size after baby is here?!
this is my wish for now.

moving on... what is it about finishing the grocery shopping and getting everything home, unpacked, and organized that gives me such a GIANT sense of accomplishment??
it truly is one of the very best feelings.
i'm sure it has something to do with the fact that our fridge and pantry are stocked for the week... and that we survived the madhouse that is Super Target... and made good on the budget.
we always do our shopping together... it's more fun and SO much easier with a little tot.
normally it falls somewhere in the weekend, but this particular weekend was pretty packed for us and then we didn't feel like going on Monday, and went out to dinner with family on Tuesday.  so, you can imagine the scrounging that has been taking place in order to put together a decent lunch the past couple days.
considering the kitchen's looking a little barren and we didn't want to go shopping hungry (NEVER DO THAT),
we opted for a delicious and equally nutritious meal at... Steak & Shake.  
we skipped on the shakes though.
we'd rather save our calories for the popcorn or icecream or apples 'n pb we'll be enjoying while watching Gulliver's Travels in just about 5 minutes.

on that note,
my pj's are calling for me... must get comfy.
night, loves.

i'll leave you with this
oh my goodness... i can't get enough of these two.

P.S. thank you from the very bottom of my heart for your prayers in regards to my last post!
we found out yesterday that i no longer have placenta previa... it has moved and that means, no C-section! praise the Lord! baby Belle can come on her time :)


puddin' 'n pie...

while Justin's upstairs giving the wee one his bedtime bath, i'm down here daydreaming.
who's Bellamy Reese?
my God is so amazing!... that he put this tiny little life inside of me.
he's got all the answers and i'm left with the guessing (which i like sometimes)...
how much will she weigh?
will she have hair like Asa did?
will she look more like mama than daddy?... (it's only fair.  Asa's his father's son ALL THE WAY)
will she have a dairy allergy?
will she spit up? 
will she sleep on her back? (Asa wouldn't)
and what will her personality be like?
maybe a bit more laid back, or just as much a wild spitfire as her big brother... i'd take either very happily!

my thoughts are interrupted by tiny doses of anxiety.
we have an ultrasound appointment tomorrow to determine whether or not i'll need a C-section.  i'm not too worried. 
12 weeks ago, they found that i had placenta previa.
this means that my placenta was blocking my cervix.
there's a very good chance it has moved... considering mine and baby's significant growth over the past weeks.
anyhow, i wouldn't be allowed to go into labor with this condition as there's risk for bleeding.
so, they'd have to schedule an early C. 
there are lots of reasons why this wouldn't be ideal.
anyway, i always seem to be holding my breath for ultrasounds... waiting for the tech to tell me "it's all good!"
so, i'm just praying and asking  you to do the same.
and, although the circumstances aren't the greatest... i'm still pretty stoked that i get to see my little girl tomorrow!

okay, off to put the monkey bed.
i love that boy. so much.


simple food...

let me start by saying...
my little brother's a college grad!  i'm so proud!

not sure what's next for him, but it'll be good!

okay so, let's get down to business...
i think other mommas might agree that simplicity (without sacrificing taste) is key when it comes to dinner time.  when 5 o'clock rolls around, there's a little one hungry at your feet and the hubs is due to walk in any minute... it's nice to be able to whip it up quick and delicious.  
doesn't everyone have their go to dishes for when 'one of those' nights comes along??
i thought i'd share a couple of our semi-homemade, easy peasy, kiddo friendly dindins... in hopes that i might hear a few back from you in return. 
these might be old news to some, but here goes...

1} baked chicken, string beans and rice
preheat oven to 350
grab a pack of chicken thighs with skin
cut away the fat (if you wish)
sprinkle them with seasoned salt and cracked pepper
bake for 1 hour
(for crispier skin and juicier chicken, set oven to 300 and cook for 1.5 hours... if you have the time)
we buy the frozen string beans from Trader Joe's, throw 'em on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil and salt, and bake at 350 til they're done
Rice a Roni (don't hate)
it's crazy how simple and yummy this meal is!

2} tomato basil mozzarella pizza
we get the ready made pizza dough (either from Trader Joe's or the Pillsbury thin crust)
obviously, follow their baking instructions.
also, a fresh ball of mozzarella.
spread a thin layer of basil pesto as the sauce
cover evenly with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and freshly chopped basil
it turns out heavenly and takes a mere 20 minutes!

3} grilled cheese and tomato soup
the key to this is TRADER JOE'S!
we get their Tuscan Bread, Havarti Cheese, and Organic Creamy Tomato Soup
something tells me, you can take it from here ;)
5 minutes!

the only thing special about ours is that we mix ground italian sausage with the beef and i add a chopped tomato to the sauce... for extra freshness.
top it with some fresh grated parmesan... yum.

5} last but never least...
in case you're unfamiliar with this lingo -- that would be breakfast for dinner.
it's a major favorite around here!
we like everything from bacon egg and cheese biscuits to
french toast or pancakes with sausage
that Trader Joe's Tuscan bread i mentioned earlier is great for the french toast and we're hooked on Neese's Hot Sausage.
also, a little secret... brown the butter in the egg pan before pouring them in.  you won't be sorry.

hope i haven't bored you... maybe i've even taken a load off by providing you with next week's dinner menu... hope so!

happy weekend!


wishful wednesday...

i wish beautiful fabric wasn't so pricey!
my sweet friend, Kristy, made for some good company at our little trip to Mary Jo's Cloth Store this afternoon.
(actually, not so little considering it's at least 45 min away)

this place is HUGE!... just a bit overwhelming at first, but sure to satisfy ALL of your fabric needs by the time you leave :)
this time, we were in search of some golden yellow upholstery fabric to recover the rocker i got for baby Belle's room.  I was sorta hoping for something with a simple pattern (i love to push the envelope when it comes to mixing patterns), but ended up with a beautiful solid that has great texture... can't wait to see the finished product!  now, to get the best deal possible on reupholstering the thing!
while there, i kept my eyes open for stuff i might want to use on future projects...
i could have died for this Waverly Tribal Thread print
or one of these beautiful prints by Design Legacy (i'm a sucker for antique botanicals)
but, at over $30 and $40 a yard... my budget practically kept me from even touching it.
maybe one day... {{dreaming}}

we're determined to make some headway in Bellamy's nursery this week/weekend.
i'd really love to check that off my list at least a few weeks before she makes her debut.

also, for those of you with little ones... you might just want to stop by and drool over this site when you get a minute... CUUUTEST kiddie duds i've seen in a while!

here's to wishin'!

happy hump day, ya'll :)


walking... why not?

Asa's not walking yet.  he'll take a few steps here and there, but definitely not full time.
it shouldn't bother me, but it sorta does.
he passed all the other developmental milestones at both average and advanced rates.
all the books say anytime between 12 and 18 months is 'normal'... anything before that could be classified as advanced, and after there might be cause for concern.
he's 14 months old now and he's been crawling for 8 months!
i will say he's the leanest, meanest, crawling machine on the block... maybe he's just convinced he can get there quicker on his hands and knees (which is probably true).
i know there's absolutely nothing wrong with my boy... i was just really hoping i'd have a confident walker by the time his baby sister arrived (in 8 weeks!).
also, i'd like it a whole lot if his knees weren't getting scraped, shoes ruined, and hands dirty every time we were outside... which is A LOT!
i know i can expect these things to happen even when he is finally walking, but just not as much.
and, i thought climbing came after walking??
he's a pro at the stairs, has mastered all the sofas, can get into and out of his wagon a million times over, pushes kitchen chairs to the counter tops to help mama with breakfast, and climbing out of his crib is looking to be in the very near future (eeek!). 
but, almost anytime i try to practice walking with him, he turns into a limp noodle and refuses... just struggling to get back to his knees.
i know the advice i'd give myself... stop worrying.  you can't make him walk. be patient. he'll do it when he's ready. pray.
take your own advice already, Carey!

all this to say, i'd love your input/advice :)

oh, and here's the monkeyness i'm always referring to


i'm happy...

when i woke up this morning, i could feel the goodness comin' on.
not just because it was Mother's Day, but because both my guys were around for morning snuggles (as apposed to Justin being off at work or on a run most other mornings).
Asa's babbling has gone to a whole new level lately... i swear the kid knows what he's talking about... i just wish i did.  it's so stinkin' cute!  as soon as he's done with his morning bottle, the conversation starts... and doesn't end 'til sundown.  now, i can hardly imagine my morning starting without it.
once we were up and running, the rest of the day included : 

a delicious breakfast prepared by my wonderful honey

10 o'clock service with our Branch family

home for some backyard fun and relaxation before little man's nap

settin' up shop for our maternity/family photoshoot

then we were off for a quick visit to my parent's for a Mother's Day afternoon meal (crab cakes, lamb chops, and orzo... yum.)

just an hour and 1/2 later, it was back home to welcome our dear friends and amazing photographers, Dustin and Diana.  
the evening was filled with photo takin', good laughs, great conversation, and thin crust pizza.  nothin' but the best!  if you get a chance, give these guys a looksie... Bella Loren Photography... you'll be very happy you did!  
be on the lookout for some photos from our shoot today in the next couple weeks!

so there you have it folks... my second mother's day as a mama myself, and gosh! it was a good one!
next year the sugar will be twice as sweet... can't wait!

hope tomorrow morning finds you all on the right side of the bed... mondays don't have to be so bad ;)