Displaying our favorite newborn dresses

Friday, February 28, 2014

The very first time I cleaned out Caroline's closet and drawers of clothes that she had outgrown, it obviously made me sad to be doing it to begin with, but I really couldn't stand the thought of packing away some of her itty bitty little newborn dresses, mostly because she had only worn them once or twice and they were too pretty to be stuffed in some box in the garage. And to be honest, expensive newborn dresses are basically the biggest waste of money, at least if she can't wear them anymore, I can still look at them.  So I decided I would hang them up in her room.

I remembered seeing an Instagram account I follow advertising for these really cute sequin hangers so I checked out the Pearls and Pastries etsy shop, and they came in children's sizes, too. I got the first one I ordered during a sale the shop was running for $13. It may seem expensive, but since I was using it more for decoration instead of hanging it up inside a closet, I thought it was worth it. I'd spent that on picture frames or anything else for the room. 

I ended up really loving the look of the first one, so I ordered two more for some other dresses I didn't want to box up, another silver and a pink to match the colors of Caroline's room. I think they regularly run $16 apiece, but if you follow Pearls and Pastries on Instagram, she'll periodically run them on sale and you can get them cheaper, which is when I ordered mine.

I feel like these sequin hangers could be a pretty simple, albeit time-consuming DIY project. The time consuming part was enough to convince me that I'd rather just buy them from someone else, and I like to tell myself I'm supporting small business that way ;) Always doing my part for the economy over here!

I also love that I can keep her Baptism gown out where we see it every day. It's a great little reminder. And seeing her tiny newborn dresses are a bittersweet reminder of just how quickly this journey is passing us by. I got her Baptism gown from Etsy, the little pale pink dress from Oopsie Daisies in Mt. Sterling, KY is the first church dress I bought her and the white smocked dress from Kids on King in Charleston, SC was her first thing from our favorite city. They all had a special meaning so these were the ones I wanted to hang up.
I think one day, when I start to think about converting Caroline's room to a toddler/ big girl room that I may get her baptism gown shadowboxed for safer keeping, but for now, I love it in this little corner of her room.

The hangers come in lots of colors and sizes. These pictures are from the shop's Etsy page but they give you a better idea of the quality. A photographer I am not. If you're in the market for something like this, I'd recommend these. 

Not much on tap for the weekend over here. Our goddaughter is bringing some friends in with her Saturday so Caroline is sure to be putting on a show for them. She's such a little ham these days anytime she has an audience. Some cleaning, working out and church time round out the rest of the weekend. We get wild in the Pate house, what can I say? Hope everyone has a great weekend and also hope that the 4-6 inches of snow we're forecast to get Sunday stays far, far away from us.  I need spring in my life and Caroline and our dogs are beyond ready to get out of this house and play outside. 

Whatever Wednesday

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It has been a long while since I did a Whatever Wednesday post and I had a few random things on my mind so I thought I'd bring back these posts for a few weeks anyway. 

I'll start off with what we're wearing. Three words for you: Kentucky For Kentucky. I found this company a couple months back through a friend's Facebook post and I just love it! Their whole purpose is to raise awareness for just how much Kentucky Kicks Ass! I've ordered Caroline and myself a few pieces of the clothing recently as well. Everything so far has been really well made and very soft, and no, this is not a sponsored post ha.

I can just imagine how cute Caroline will look wearing this shirt and a little diaper cover running around this spring. It's going to be like reliving my childhood since in a ton of my pictures from around her age I was wearing something similar. They also make this baseball tee in ladies sizes. 

I just ordered this sweatshirt for Caroline last week and I can't wait to get it on her!

I have this t-shirt and it's one of my favorites. It's sooo soft and fits pretty true to size, if not a bit on the small side. 

While you're browsing their website, you should read the article 47 Reasons Why Kentucky Kicks Ass. Makes you proud to be a Kentuckian and it's just a fun read even if you're not :)

Moving on to What I'm Reading, or in this case, about to be reading. I love Grit Lit, or novels based in the South. I love history, mystery, romance, comedy, you name it. I'll read just about anything. But once I find a favorite author, and I have quite a few, I'll set out on a mission to read everything they publish, but sometimes I get behind. So I was browsing Barnes and Noble last night and came across some new releases by one of my favorites, Sarah Addison Allen. 

Like I said, I just came across these books, so I can't attest to their quality yet, but I can highly recommend every other book I've read by Sarah Addison Allen. They're all light reads, but well-written and entertaining. Most have some element of supernatural and some element of romance but tend to be centered around a female lead finding herself along her journey. I've loved everything of her's I've read so far so these will be in the mail heading my way soon enough. 

While I'm recommending books you should read, if  you enjoy self-help, leadership type of books, my husband has published his first book, The Leadership Pyramid. His book is in the vein of a John Maxwell style book, which I personally like to read so if you like things like that, then you'll enjoy his book :)  Juston works in education, so this book will especailly resonate with anyone working in school systems at any level, but it has a transcendence into everyday application so I feel like anyone can benefit from reading it, at least I have. He's working on his second book now which should be drafted soon. 

Moving on, but sticking with reading, I wanted to share some blogs I enjoy reading regularly. 

Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers  ~I love this blog for lots of reasons. Natalie is a doll, her kids are precious, she finds some really cute clothing and I enjoy reading her blog. 
Sweet Southern Prep~ Ashley finds the cutest "Mama friendly but not mama looking" clothes and is always on top of great sales and deals. Her family is just adorable. 
Southern Curls and Pearls This is a fashion blog that always has some cute outfit ideas. I originally came across the blog via Instagram because I was always seeing the adorable outfit posts. 
A Touch of Southern Grace~ This blog covers the spectrum sort of like a Southern Living magazine blog. Entertaining, clothes, decorating, cooking. All things that peak my interest, so I look checking in on this blog regularly
Harrison Homeplace~ Just the cutest little family, fellow Kentuckians and so sweet. I love checking in on this blog! It's another one that I actually came across via Instagram and have really enjoyed following. 
The Heathered Life~ I started following Heather on Instagram a ways back and she recently started a blog that I'm loving. Again, it's a mix of things I'm interested in like fashion and fitness so it's a fun read. 
The Honeybee~ This blog is another great mix of a lot of my favorite things with fashion, nutrition, a mama with a girl close to Caroline's age. I really love this blog and I think most people with similar interests to those I mentioned will as well. 

There's more that I read with some frequency, but these are the ones that came to mind first and I always like to find new ones, so if you have any recommendations or have one yourself, please share :) I need to step up my blogging game since I've been MIA for over a week. Oopsie. haha

How my workouts are going:

And just an update, I am still hitting my 12 week fitness challenge, I've just been ornery remembering to post my weekly workouts after the fact. I think I'll just make a tab and post them all under there. I have three weeks to go with this session and I have made amazing strength gains, which was my primary goal with this 12 weeks! My next 12 weeks are going to focus on diet cleanup and cutting, or leaning out so that's when the real fun begins and I hope to really start seeing big results. I'm also contemplating a half marathon in the fall.  

I haven't been strict with my diet, but I still nurse and I'm afraid to be super restrictive for fear of my supply diminishing, so I'm going to research a bit about the best way to approach my diet modifications while nursing. I'll post anything I find that I think may be of use to anyone. So far, I've lost 5 1/2 inches overall and about four pounds. I'll be checking my body fat percentage next week but I don't expect a significant difference. I almost feel like since I am nursing, it's harder to lose fat right now than it would be if I wasn't.  It could also have something to do with it being Cadbury Egg season.

Our Weekend

Monday, February 17, 2014

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend. Ours actually ended up being a lot more eventful that most weekends around here. Caroline had shots and a well visit Friday morning and did great with everything. Thanks to my parents, Juston and I got a rare date night out Friday and went to a local restaurant for a great dinner.  We're the type who really prefer cooking ourselves and staying in, but going out and letting someone else cook and especially clean up has so much more appeal these days.

We got MORE SNOW. I'm beyond over it at this point, but Mother Nature didn't ask me and neither did the Good Lord so we just have to deal with it. It started snowing Friday evening. All the local schools even dismissed early, but it didn't end up starting until about 5:30. When we got up Saturday morning, there was a good 6-7 inches on the ground, by far our biggest snowfall of the season.

Lucy, our rescue pup, has never been a very playful dog, but she will just romp and roll when there's snow on the ground. It's so cute to actually see her act like a puppy since she's been so timid ever since we adopted her. 

Why yes, Dixie does have a snuggie. One of our nieces got her a Snuggie for Christmas and this dog absolutely LOVES it! To spite their amicable appearance in the picture, Dixie hates Caroline. I can't say that I really blame her. 

I've not really let Caroline out to play in the snow all winter, but I did at least get out long enough to snap a picture. She loves to look at it from inside the warm house. My kind of girl right there. 

Saturday afternoon, Juston and I headed off to Lexington to do some antique furniture shopping. My parents and my sister and her family kept Caroline for us again. They live next door to one another so she just sort of bounces back and forth depending on where my sister's kids are hanging out. 

I've had this mahogany buffet pictured in my mind for years now as the piece I wanted to go in our foyer but I'd never actually looked for one until here recently. It was almost like it was meant to be when the Athens Schoolhouse Antiques posted this on their website last week. I knew as soon as I saw it that it was exactly what I'd been wanting so I called and let them know we'd be coming to get it over the weekend and they held it for us. I absolutely love antique furniture and old homes and just history in general. I feel like antiques and old homes like the ones I grew up in are a living link to days gone by. They just have a story to them and I love that character. 

Turns out that the buffet had a matching server that was just as beautiful. I had no intentions of getting both pieces when I initially enquired about the buffet, but for some reason, it seemed a shame to separate the pieces when they were a matching set, so they both came home with us. I honestly don't have a place for the server yet so it's sitting in the middle of our living room at the moment, but I have a few ideas that might work out. 

If you're ever around Lexington on a show weekend, I'd recommend a trip to the Athens Schoolhouse. They have a huge variety of real quality pieces. Even if you're not in the market to buy, it's so fun to just mill around places like this. At least for me. Juston probably not so much but he was a great sport. I found some really pretty chandeliers too since I eventually want to replace the builder's grade one in the foyer with something that has a bit more character. 

I seriously regret not bringing the piece pictured above home with us.  The photo does not do it justice, it was absolutely gorgeous in person. It wouldn't have fit in the car with us anyway, but if it's there the next time I go back, it just may have to come home with me! Each of those mirrors is actually a door with storage behind it and the marble top and finish were flawless. I just got sad all over again that I didn't get it! Ha.

For people who don't really eat out much, we ended up doing it twice in less than 24 hours. After we were through antiquing, we stopped at Old Chicago for a late lunch, ran a few more errands and headed home to get our baby. 

Sunday, we went to Northern Kentucky to have Caroline's 18 month pictures done. We were supposed to go last weekend, but big surprise, the snow ruined our plans. I'm telling you, this has been the coldest, snowiest, longest winter I can remember. We actually got a "surprise inch and a half overnight into Sunday morning. We were supposed to get a dusting but it left more like an inch behind.  Go away winter. 
Aside from being a wild woman and rearranging photo prop chairs a few times, Caroline did really good for Kacy, whose done Caroline's photos since she was a newborn and I think we got some really cute ones!  She just loved Kacy. She kept running over and sitting in her lap while she was trying to take pictures. By her last outfit change, she was over it though and kept asking for "night-night", her nap. She told Miss Kacy 'thank you', gave her a hug and was out like a light within five minutes of being in the car.

She ended up sleeping almost the whole way home, which is just over an hour and woke up in the best mood. 

It was a wild weekend by our old married people standards but we had a great time with everything. It wasn't the kind of busy, running around that I tend to dread, but instead it was mainly fun, bonding type of things. Juston and I haven't had that much couple time in about 18 months ;)  Hope everyone had a great weekend. Happy Monday!

My Big 18 Month Old

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Much like everything else I do, I'm a little behind on posting this, but Caroline is officially a year and a half old as of last Friday (February 7). It seems so strange that it's gone by so quickly, but it's also strange because in a sense I don't really remember what our life was like before we had her. 

She has absolutely turned into the most hilarious, goofy, loving, sassy little girl and I love it! I'm not going to lie, she was such a tough baby, but this stage definitely makes up for the early months. She refuses to sit in a high chair to eat, ever. She has to sit in her chair at the head of the table for every single meal. Speaking of chairs, she has to climb every one she comes across and generally, mid-meal, she decides she wants to sit in mine or Juston's chairs. So she'll climb down from hers, march over to one of us and start pushing on us. If we don't respond, she'll start saying "Cue Me, (excuse me)" and push harder until you move. And yes, I realize giving her my chair is probably silly, but if I've learned anything in the last 18 months, it's that I will have to pick my battles with my strong-willed little chick.

She absolutely loves to bring you her 'bups' to read to her. But you can't read words, she just wants to know the noises of whatever is in the pictures. Each book will last about 30 seconds before she's on to the next. My child can not sit still for any extended period of time. 

While she's still not happy about riding in her car seat, the Bubble Guppies and loving on her baby dolls can usually get us through. Bubble Guppies are her jam and I can't lie, those little mermaids can harmonize with the best of them. The songs are just so catchy, no wonder she loves them!

We have a little gymnast on our hands, too which makes me happy since tumbling has been a part of my life since age three. She's got a pretty rocking straddle sit and a mean front roll. I'll be enrolling her in classes at the end of the summer once she's old enough. She's going to go to the gym where I trained for almost a decade.

We finally have enough hair to hold a big ole bow in place on top of her head, which she's usually pretty quick to yank out. 

Caroline loves blocks, climbing anything and everything, putting other people's shoes on, throwing away her diapers after she's been changed, helping do anything, especially cooking, reading, playing with her cousins, harassing our poor dogs, sliding things under the door of Daddy's bathroom when he's in there, running around in just her diaper, being rough as a cob, dancing to any song on the Disney Channel and just exploring everything around her. She has such an inquisitive and persistent nature about her which I just love. She has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger and she sure knows it. She may have her Mama wrapped as well.  

She's a pretty adventuresome eater and will try two bites of anything before she decides whether she likes it or not.  If she likes something, the third bite will be a keeper, if not, the third bite gets spit back out. The other day, she ate two bites of steamed kale like a champ...third bite...disgust. She also has a sweet tooth like her Mama, probably from all the sweet treats I had while pregnant and nursing her. I always joke with my husband that my breastmilk is probably chocolate flavored.
Her favorite foods are sweet potato fries, green beans, baked beans, corn on the cob, creamed spinach, apples, CHEESE, roni (macaroni), pork, spaghetti, rice/ risotto, yogurt, wheat pizza, toast, eggs, breakfast bake, turkey and any kind of pasta. Like I said, she'll eat basically anything so these are just some of the ones we keep on repeat. 

Just this past week, her top two K9's came through and the bottom ones don't look to be too far behind. This past week was also a big one in that she napped laying on the couch TWICE because I had to leave for work before she'd napped. I still hold her everyday while she naps and basically always have.  

She got two shots at her check up and didn't even cry. I was shocked and I think the nurse was as well. Such a tough girl we've got. Tough as a pine knot. She weighed 22.5 pounds and was 32" long. She was 50 percentile on everything and confirmed to be "perfect" by her pediatrician. We'd suspected as much, but it's always nice to have a professional opinion. She still nurses, but loves juice and water in her sippy cups. She'll drink milk if I'm not around, but to this day refuses to drink any of the HUNDREDS of ounces of breastmilk I pumped for her. I guess I'm going to have to throw it out since it's past the allotted time when you can donate it. I think I'll have to have Juston do it for me.  It'll make me cry to just dump it all after all the work I put into pumping it but I don't know of anything else to do with it all at this point. 
Her bed time is 8:30-9:00 and she takes one nap a day, anywhere from an hour to two hours. Wake-up call can be anytime from 6:30-7:45 and once she wakes up in her crib of a morning, Juston brings her to me and she'll nurse and cuddle for about an hour usually. It's one of my favorite times of the day. She'll always pop up when she's finished, give me the biggest grin and say "mornin'", then kiss my nose. It's the sweetest thing. The days are just flying by us but we're trying our best to soak it all in.  Babies don't keep after all. 

Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Valentine's Day today! 

Hope everyone has a fun filled weekend with the ones you love the most! Our will be pretty low key, but that's the way we usually prefer it to be anyway :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We have just been getting hammered with the winter weather here in Kentucky the last few weeks. It was the frigid temperatures and wind chills, I'm talking like -15 wind chill affect. I don't think I've ever known it to be that cold in our neck of the woods before and I hope it never does again. 
And then there's the snow... 

We got somewhere in the neighborhood of six inches earlier this week and right now, we're getting pelted with an ice storm. Will this winter ever end?  It certainly doesn't feel much like it right now. 

With the Super Bowl Sunday, Juston decided to invite a couple of people over (this was also the same night the massive snow storm hit us), so I decided to make some game day food. We actually grilled out (yes, my husband was the redneck on the back porch, spatula in hand in the middle of a snow storm. No shame in his game).  I always like to have something sweet on hand when we have company coming over, so I decided to make some of my favorite cookies. The recipe is so simple but these things are addicting!

What you need:
2 Medium sized bowls

In the first bowl, mix:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In the second bowl:
2 1/2 sticks softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
10 ounce package peanut butter chips

Just mix all the ingredients together in the first bowl until they're combined well.  Cream butter and sugar together in the second bowl until it's fluffy. Then add in the eggs and vanilla, blending completely. Slowly stir in flour mixture. about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well before adding in any more. Fold in peanut butter chips. 

Use a spoon and drop rounded mounds of batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. These should look gooey still when you take them out. Let them sit and once they settle, they're ready to eat. 

I don't like crunchy cookies, but if you bake another minutes or two, they will have a crunchier texture if you like your cookies that way. I randomly found this recipe on the back of some bag of chips and have loved it ever since. It makes quite a few, depending on the size cookie you drop on the sheet, so you probably want to make these when you have people to share with. We took some to our snow plow guys that plow our neighborhood. They're earned them and then some with all the hours they've had to put in this winter.  I'm a terrible picture taker, especially with food, but you get the idea of what it should look like at the various stages of preparation.

Miss Caroline even gave one a taste and she approved. She's getting so funny these days and just so full of it. She's a mess! But in the cutest way. 

12 Week Challenge~ Week 5

Sunday, February 2, 2014

This week was a struggle for me, both as far as workout and diet go. Juston was out of town a few days and I wasn't able to work out nearly as much as I have been or wanted to and I have already noticed a drop in my energy level and just overall feeling of wellness. I also ate like a beast so there's that. I think my biggest problem was my lack of Sunday planning for the week ahead. I didn't plan my meals or my workouts in advance and it really came back to bite me in the rear. But, week 6 is a new week and I've already got my plans made for the week in an attempt to undue some of the damage I did this past week. I'm also going to start linking my exercises to Youtube videos of the exercise for anyone who is unsure how to translate some of my made-up names or shorthand. If you're like me, I learn more from watching than reading anyway, so if you're following along and you're lost on how to perform a certain move, you can click on it and find a video link example.
Here were my workouts from this past week:

Day 1~Legs and Abs

Day 2~ Cardio
20 minutes elliptical

Day 3~ Cardio
20 minutes elliptical

Day 4~ Chest and Triceps
Pushups NW 3x12

Day 5~ Cardio
20 minute Run

Day 6~ Shoulders, Back and Biceps
Lat Pulldown

Swing Curls
Heavy Quarter Raise
Superman Holds

I only hit two out of my four weekly goals this week, which is kind of a downer, but like I said, it was a result of poor planning on my part. So now its on to a new week, new goals and making better choices. Bring it on week 6!