Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My baby's first birthday

Cannot believe this day is here - July 31, 2013 - my little baby's first birthday.  We were anxiously awaiting his arrival in the hospital at this time a year ago.  My how much our lives have changed in a year. 

Dear my sweet Charlie:

Today is your first birthday.  Yep, that means you have been in this world for a whole 365 days now.  It's been a whole year since you were inside my stomach and you could hear my heart beating from the inside and I could easily protect you from all the things in this crazy world.

I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday.  There are some days that it feels like it was yesterday and then some days I look at you and feel like I don't even remember what life was like without you in it.  I was so nervous going to the hospital.  I didn't know if I would know how to hold you or know what to do with you when they handed you over.  But the first time I held you against my chest.  My world changed forever.  I never wanted to let you go.

And I wanted to hold you all the time.  Your dad and I tended to your every need in the beginning.  We struggled with breastfeeding in the beginning.  We didn't know if we were changing your diaper right and we were horrible at swaddling you.  Horrible.  The first night we were all at home from the hospital, I got in bed and cried my eyes out because I didn't want to do something wrong.  But guess what you've taught me over this last year, Charlie?  You've taught me as long as I love you, there is no wrong.  Maybe we weren't on a perfect schedule with feedings and naps.  But it worked for us.

And guess what?  Every time your dad and I thought we finally got good at something - it was time for a change.  Just when we got into a great feeding routine with just nursing or breastmilk bottles, it was time to introduce food.  Just when we finally learned how to swaddle you and you seemed to be content, it was time to teach you to go to sleep without a swaddle.  It seems like the time was short between when you rolled over to sitting up to army crawling...that I don't even remember now what life was like when you just sat in one place and were content.  And now we're done with the bottle, moving to one nap a day and you're going to start drinking whole milk.  I guess it took your arrival to get your type-A planner mom to realize that I need to learn to adapt and "go with the flow" better.  While I'm not crazy about being spontaneous, I do think you have taught me to be more flexible and enjoy life more.  Our life together won't be perfect and there will be times when we get frustrated with each other...but how lucky we are to have our life together.  Planned or not planned, I need to enjoy every step and every stage that we take on together.

You are such a kid now.  Your personality has slowly emerged over this past year and we have loved watching you grow into the sweet little one year old.  You run around, your eyes light up when you see a ball, you say "mama", "dada", "ball", "bye bye", "dog" and a few other unknown mumbles.  Watching you at your first birthday party running around all the people that love you so much and playing with your friend, Jackson, and cousin, Will, at the water table - it was pure joy.  Your smile and laugh fill my heart and give me a sense of joy that I didn't know existed until you came into our lives.

I held you in my arms last night and rocked you to sleep with a few tears rolling down my eyes knowing that this was the last time I would hold you as a "baby".  I kissed your sweet face and rubbed your sweet and soft baby skin before I laid you in your crib.  Thinking back to the first night that we brought you home and how I was so terrified.  I rubbed your back as you fell fast asleep thinking about how much I love you and how much you have changed me, your dad and our priorities (shoot kid - we are moving to the real suburbs for you!!).  I am so thankful that you were such a sweet and loving baby that always wanted to and still want to cuddle with me.  I hope you always want to cuddle with me and will always be a momma's boy.  Because one sweet look from you, my baby, and my heart melts.  And it always will be that way.

Charlie, thank you for the best year of our lives.  Your dad and I are so lucky and blessed beyond belief to have you as our son.  We cannot wait to watch you continue to grow up and become a little boy.  I'm sure you will continue to test our patience every now and then and it won't all be fun and games, but that's just the fun that comes with the titles "mom" and "dad".  Just as I protected you when I carried you around for ten months, I will try to protect you from so many things in this world.  But I know you need to grow up and learn your own way too, so God give me the strength to grant you that freedom as well.  You are our world little man.  As your dad would say, family over everything #foe.

Happy birthday sweet boy!  Here's to many many more wonderful birthdays to come!

We love you so much,

Mom and Dad

The first time we held you! 

A little Charlie burrito.  So little and sweet.

Our little cutie at 6 months old!!

At his first birthday party!!  A few days shy of one year old!

Our sweet little family!

Monday, July 29, 2013

This house was made for memories: a goodbye

Tonight, we drove over to our house in Prairie Village one last time.  We pulled into our driveway and opened our garage door and walked into our house one last time.  Tomorrow, the new owners close on our house.  Everything is out of our house, so walking in was totally different, but I walked around it one last time.  On the floors that we picked out, the walls that we painted and the tile that we (well, Jimmy and Dave) installed.

The rooms that we laughed, cried, planned, dreamed and were all empty.  It was sad.  I cried and held my husband.  He laughed, but I know he was sad too.  Cannot believe that four years have passed since we bought this house.  I cannot believe how much our lives have changed since May 2009.  For sure for the better.  We are so blessed to have had this wonderful home for the last four years and are excited (even though I'm sad, I am excited) to pass it onto the next family.  The sweet family moving in will be welcoming a little baby boy at the end of next month.  I saw this post on a great blog that I read and just knew that I had to not only document my feelings about this house, but pass them on to the family that is moving in.  So that's what I did.  I wrote them a letter on my blog, printed it out and left it for them on the kitchen island, with a bottle of wine, to be consumed whenever they choose.  It was bittersweet walking out and I cried some more, but it is a good thing.  We are so excited for our new house that we close on in just 9 days - but driving by this house again will be very hard.

So here you have it.  Our last picture of Jimmy and I in our house on a rainy night in July.  {363 days earlier I was SUPER pregnant with Charlie - which is so crazy!!!}

Dear new owners of this house:

To say you are walking into a house that is filled with great memories over the past 50+ years is an understatement.  What I should really tell you is that you have just bought a house that was made for the best memories.  The kind that are life changing and you want to relive again and again.  

My husband and I bought this house a month after we got engaged in 2009.  I was 23 and he had just turned 25.  We had searched and searched for a house that was going to be our house for months.  When we first saw this house, I immediately dismissed it being on our list because it looked like it was straight out of the past - wallpaper everywhere, pink/burgundy walls, pink and light blue tile and dark wood paneling.  But my husband had fallen in love.  He said it had good "bones".  So I tried hard to see past it all and envision how we could transform this house into our perfect house.

Over the last 4 years, that is exactly what we did; from replacing all the landscaping and adding a cute front porch and a new driveway outside, to ripping the 2 full bathrooms down to the studs and updating them.  We painted every room (some rooms twice) and spent our first wedding anniversary ripping up the old carpet upstairs to find beautiful hardwood floors that just needed to be refinished underneath.  My dad is a seasoned handyman and with the help of him and some of our friends with talents we lacked (tiling and plumbing), we slowly but surely transformed this house into our home.

But don't think that it was the transformation projects that truly made this house a special place.  While we spent a lot of our time and money updating this house, what truly made it special to us was how it was our constant place during 4 years that were full of life changes.  As I mentioned before, we were just engaged when we bought this house.  We planned our wedding in this house - from making our invitations on the kitchen table to a pre-wedding meltdown over alphabetizing place cards (crazy bride!!) - there was lots of talk about our future together.  We even took some of our wedding pictures in this house.  And finally, we came home from our honeymoon to this house and spent hours and hours excited about our lives together in this house, wondering what was ahead of us!

From birthday parties to Christmas parties to random get togethers, this house has seen its fair share of good times.  We even decided that the wall between the kitchen and the dining room just had to go because it really didn't work well with entertaining (I'm sure you agree!).  We learned how marriage "works" in this house - or our attempt at it.  We figured out how to have hard conversations, manage our finances and sat in the family room talking about our dreams and the future.  This house saw it all and helped us learn and love each other for who we are and become a great team.

And this last year?  Well, this last year this house saw a lot of love.  This house will always be so special to us because this is where we found out we were going to be parents to our sweet little boy.  It still makes me sad to leave this house because this is where our lives changed forever.  We worked so hard to decorate his nursery just right and tried to think of everything we could do to make this house ready for his arrival.  And when he arrived the last day of July 2012 and we brought him home a few days later - this house welcomed one more child into its memory books.  This is where we spent sleepless nights feeding our little man and rocking him to sleep.  This is where we heard him laugh for the first time and watched him eat solids for the first time.  We watched him start crawling in this house and watched him take his first step.  I will never forget when I was standing at the island in the kitchen and he pulled up on my legs and said mama for the first time - my heart melted.  This will always be a special place to us because we saw our little newborn baby boy transform into a toddler in this house.  I'm positive that over the last 50+ years, this house has been the home to many families and has welcomed many brand new babies.  We are so excited for you all that this is the place you get to bring your brand new baby boy home to.  And that you will get to watch him grow here and see your lives transform as parents.  

On July 31, 2013, our little man will turn one year old and you all will be the new owners of this wonderful house.  It is a little bittersweet, but we are excited for the new memories we will be making in our new house, but just had to let you know how special our time in this house has been.  You have so much to look forward to as your family grows to three and we are confident that this house will be the perfect place.  Make sure to enjoy time together in the beautiful backyard with all the trees that we will miss dearly.  Go on walks down the beautiful streets of Prairie Village.  On cold nights, snuggle up in the downstairs family room in front of the fireplace.  

We love this house and it will always hold such a special place in our hearts for so many reasons.  We know that this house will be the place for so many memories for you all as well.

If these walls could talk, I am confident they would tell you stories from the past 50+ years of love and laughter and happiness.  We wish you all the best of luck as you welcome your baby boy into this world and bring him home to this house.  We know that this house will be all the things it was to us over the last 4 years to you all and more.  We can only hope that our next house will capture the memories and joy as this house did.

To see pictures of this house as it transformed over the last 4 years, you can always check out my blog:

Cheers to many happy memories,

Brittany, Jimmy and Charlie Carter

{Our last family photo in front of our first house}
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Friday, July 19, 2013

Five on Friday - happy weekend!

We are on vacation and living it up day #2 at the lake with the Carter clan - but have some randomness to blog about still!

Thankful.  Wow, this week threw us quite the loop on Monday when my dad called and said that he was headed to Iowa because my grandpa was really sick and didn't know if he would make it.  So hard hearing my dad so upset and lots and lots of prayers were said.

With a huge obstruction in his colon causing him lots and lots of pain, there were lots of decisions that had to be made about hospice, surgery, etc.  But at 11:30PM on Monday night, they did surgery and my dad said at 4AM it was done and as he was in the ICU he said he felt so much better.

My dad is still up in Iowa taking care of some details, but we are all thankful that he is feeling so much better and still with us.  Here is my sweet grandpa and grandma with Charlie this March!


Empty.  This is what our house looks like now.  And slowly but surely we are getting those last minute things boxed up and they will be moved out and next weekend, it will be set up for a big first birthday bash!!!  Getting so excited!


I got a spray tan on Wednesday night before the lake and while it wasn't that great of a tan...I seriously wish I could always have a spray tan.  Or be tan, but a spray tan always makes me feel like a new person.  I mean check out this before and after (I found this image and died laughing...)


Sweet treats.  With the annual lake vacation, comes annual lake cooking/baking.

I usually always bring cake cookies (so easy - ) and they are always a hit.  Actually, Jimmy's brother Pat, always asks me to make them.  This year, I threw him a loop and made a double batch of these Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Crumble bars that I pinned on Pinterest.  OMG.  Made them on Wednesday night for the lake - so easy.  Brought them out at the lake on Thursday night and there are TWO left.  I'd say they were a hit.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars


Does anyone else still watch the Bachelorette?  That is seriously one of the few shows that I still make time (and even stay up late) to watch.  And guess what?  I've gotten Jimmy hooked too.  We finally have at least one show to watch together.
What I'm dying to see is how Des' brother acts with these guys.  From this article, it sounds like she's cut off communication with him!! I'm a little sad that Zac left last week because he was pretty funny, but I can see how the others she is probably a little more compatible with.  Still trying to decide my favorite....I haven't read the spoilers yet, but I just want to know!!
I mean...he works out, right?

 Happy weekend!!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Transitions and Life at the Y

Transition.  Change. 

Those are 2 words that are hitting hard right now with the Carter family.  In ALL aspects of life.

We moved all our stuff into a storage unit last Saturday and it was bittersweet.  And for sure could not have been done without the amazing help of Jimmy's brothers.  They are amazing.  Got all our furniture and lots of boxes into a UHaul and then into a storage until in 3.5 hours - just in time to enjoy beer and lunch on the Maloney's patio.  I went back over to our house Tuesday morning waiting for a window guy and it was crazy.  It didn't even feel like our house.  That goes to show you I guess that your stuff, your pictures, your mess really makes it a home.

So we are shacking up with my parents and it's been great so far, but we're all transitioning.  Charlie is getting used to sleeping in the office just across the hall from my old room in the basement.  We're {happily} getting used to having my parents and my cousin around.  And we are loving the meals together as a family.  Plus having an extra 3 people to hang out with Charlie means more time to get work done.  Which is NOT so fun, but life I guess.  The dogs are transitioning too, but let's be honest, they love the extra attention.

We are also getting ready to transition to having a ONE year old.  Seriously?  It cannot be true.

But what's crazy is, he's starting to look and act so much older everyday.  Jimmy and I were talking about how he's getting an attitude last night and I'm re-thinking the way I "parent" and do things because I know that he understands things a lot better now - particularly what he should and shouldn't be doing.  Like I cannot laugh when he throws his sippy cup down like 4 times and says "uh oh".  That gets a firm - "NO" and the sippy cup goes away. 

Oh discipline or our somewhat attempt at {sigh}

And finally - Charlie is getting ready to transition from the infant room to the ONE YEAR OLD room at school.  Wowza.  That's pretty crazy.  We have to walk through the one year old room to get to the infant room everyday, so we know the teachers and kids and parents in there - but it's going to be weird to have him in there.  You know, doing "kid" things like coloring, gluing construction paper and other fun activities.  I think I still think of him as a kid that just is content laying in my arms.  

But no, he's ready to explore the world.  Wanting to walk/run everywhere with his hands straight up in the air.  Boy on a mission {I almost typed "baby on a mission"...nope}

With this move, he goes from 2 naps a day to one.  Just one - and I'm hoping that it's long!!!  I'm sure during his transition, he's going to be beat tired, so we all have to learn our new way.  He also goes from napping in a crib to napping on a cot.  Seriously.  Now tell me that is not a big kid.

It's crazy.

But he's growing up.  Things are changing.  We are finding a new place we'll call home.

But in the mean time - I'm going to keep holding him close as long as he'll let me.  And pretend he's not turning one in a week and a half and it will be HIS birthday party.  

So with all this change, it was so fun to get the disposable camera that we took to the YMCA on his first day of school there back.  Hilarious because (a) didn't even know you coudl still buy these and (b) didn't know who developed them.

Apparently CVS does not develop them - but Walgreens does.  And guess what?  I laughed when they asked me if I wanted "singles, doubles...or a CD".  I kept thinking how different the world has become in that sense!!   

But here are the 24 daycare pictures that they took.  It's crazy how much Charlie has changed since he first started there in February.  Was so freaking little!!!

Just hanging out with all his friends! Haha!

It's good to know that he drops his food on the floor when he's done eating at school too.  Not just a bad habit at home.

Love his little high chair!  He literally goes right to that when we get there in the morning because he's so excited for breakfast!

Charlie and Ms Tamala.  She started tearing up this week when we were talking about Charlie moving to the one year old room.  She love him so much and it's so amazing!

Worn out and napping on the floor - haha.

He comes home with sand in his shoes on a regular basis!

Loves the playground so much!!

Big kid loving summertime!

And he goes from sitting to standing - all in 6 months!

I will say it was exciting to knwo that they were taking pictures but not see them until the end.  It's been fun to look back and see his progression.  Such a little boy now.  

With every transition and every change, comes good and bad.  We're trying to embrace the good things fully and not be afraid of the changing and unknowns (so not really bad).  From a new home to a new classroom to other new things on the horizon..we are soaking all these times in the best we can!!

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Five on Friday

It's Friday - and this week just flew by.  Again, too much to do and not enough time, but still linking up with Darci and friends for this fun link up.  Ali, you sent me and email this week asking me if I feel like some days it is just an accomplishment to make it through the day with how much we have going on right now.  Yes.  Every day.  I literally breathe a sigh of relief that we all survived, are all healthy and I didn't have a nervous breakdown.  I'm trying to make it a little more calm in our lives, but I don't think there is a shot of that until we are moved.  Counting down the days.

With that said, less complaining and more random things, right?  


We are packing up and moving out.  Yep, tomorrow is the day that Jimmy's brothers are coming over to help get the big stuff in our house in a truck and into a storage unit.  I feel like things have been so busy with work and packing and having a kid that is everywhere that we haven't really had time to relish in our last days at our house.  

I'm getting super sentimental about it too.  So watch out.  

We were sitting downstairs watching TV while I was working Monday night and I asked Jimmy if he was sad this was our last time that we would probably sit down here hanging out together.  In our first house.  He said he wasn't sad, but excited for our new house.  Typical guy, right?  I was and am sad - maybe more reflective and thankful then sad.  I kept thinking "But this is where you were sitting when I told you I was pregnant", "this is where we had our first Christmas together as a family of five", etc.  I won't bore you with all my sappy thoughts.  

But it's getting so real now.  I cannot imagine driving by this house and not pulling into the driveway that we repaved, opening the garage door that we replaced, going through the mud room that we built, walking on the carpet in the family room that I picked out to be extra padded for my baby on the way, up the stairs to the kitchen that we redid and up the hardwood stairs that were under the carpet that we ripped up with the stain that we picked out and into my sweet Charlie's nursery that I spent so much time decorating and preparing for his arrival.

Bittersweet is what it is.


Ok, so that was hot and heavy.  Sorry.  On a lighter note - this has to be my new favorite app:  

It is SO cool.  I love that you can essentially make cards right on your phone and then send them instantly to people via text message or email.  I love it so much.  Have used it a few times this past week for little "thank you" notes following some fun times.  Here is one I sent to Jimmy's parents after we were over at their house on Saturday night! Check it out!


Here's the thing.  My baby doesn't so much look like a baby anymore now that his main choice of mobility is on his 2 feet.  It's exciting, crazy and frightening all at the same time...

Watch out never know when Charlie will come your way.


Ok, so we love Charlie's school/day care.  They have just been the greatest and we love his teachers and it's so sad that when he turns one he moves to the one year old room because he just loves the infant room.  But here is what is fun - I love now that he is older and interacts with all these kids how they are already developing friendships...or crushes!  Haha.

This cute girl that's probably 9 or 10 months older then Charlie that is in the one year old room was saying "Hi Charlie" over and over again in her sweet little voice when we walked in one day with him.  Her mom and I laughed and laughed because seriously she wouldn't stop saying it and it was so cute.

The same girl that afternoon when we came to pick him up, immediately sees us and goes "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie" and started pointing to where he was.  So cute and man she's smart - I couldn't believe she knew that we went with him.  Pretty adorable.  And I was starting to think she might have a thing for our little man.

Then the NEXT day a different little girl in the one year old room was literaly standing at the half door that separates the one year old room and the infant room crying and saying "I want to see Charlie" over and over again when we got there.  OMG - I died.  How cute is that?!  He was over there and I guess she really wanted to see him.  Turns out, we let her walk over there with us and I think she was just really wanting the bubbles that he and his teacher were blowing, but still.  Pretty adorable!!

Speaking of adorable and because I wanted a picture - this is Charlie sporting his trunks and swim shirt on the third splash day of the summer.  Pretty cool because all the kids go outside for it and play with water.  Pretty much he loves it. 




Yep - in all this craziness of moving, we are heading off to Branson with Jimmy's family for our annual lake trip.  Last year we didn't go because a certain someone was making his debut into the world and went to Omaha instead...but this year, we are picking right back up.  Can't wait for some happy hours, pool time, boat time and Silver Dollar City.  I'm pumped that Charlie is starting to walk because that will hopefully make for a few more things he can do at SDC this year.


Maybe a ball pit and a few kiddie rides?  Can't wait to hang out and not have to think about work, moving, etc.  Now in the mean time, have to get packed for that since we're packing up our clothes....

Excited to also be checking out a new attraction this year...Dixie Stampede.

Apparently you get a whole chicken to eat and no silverware while you enjoy the show.  Interesting!!
 Hope you all are having a great Friday!!!!

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Mommy and me: after effects of a long weekend

Five days off work and lots of family time this holiday weekend has me wishing I didn't have to go back to work.  What a drag.  Especially with formal forecast coming up....makes me sick thinking about it.  I loved the days doing things to keep our little man entertained and even though we spent a lot of time packing up our house, it was time together.  Long gone are the few nights Jimmy and I had to just sit and watch TV after Charlie was sound asleep.  Ugh.

Sorry, don't want to be the Debbie downer this exciting things??  Well, Charlie is walking.  After multiple witnesses seeing it on Sunday at a super fun friend/baby get together and he took like 10 consecutive steps...I'm finally calling it.  He's been standing to himself and taking a few steps here and there, but nothing that he was too confident about.  But now he loves practicing his new trick and we are thrilled. This little stinker us everywhere now...and he couldn't be more happy about it.  He was all smiles....

Twins anyone?  Just needs some more defined eyebrows and bigger teeth. 

Hope you all had a great weekend and maybe you don't have to go back to work or real life today and can relish in a few more vacation days??!
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weeks 41 through 43 (catching up!)

So the months of May and June seriously came and went just like that.  It's crazy to think about how much has changed since then.  But guess what hasn't changed?  I still want to make it to 52 weeks of these updates.  And I couldn't dare stop at 40 weeks.  

That 52 week is coming up WAY too this mama is trying to catch up and get everything ready for the big celebration in just a few weeks.  All these weeks were filled with firsts too and it's been so fun to experience those with our little family!!!

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