Monday, June 30, 2008

Baby Bliss

Friday night, Becca and Neall hosted a going away party for Ambre', Jimmy and their son, Evan. (This is the the THIRD going away party that I have been to in the past month!!!!). They are moving to Memphis to be closer to Ambre's job and to be closer to a Target :) I love going to Becca and Neall's house because they are such good conveners. They always have an interesting, refreshing and diverse crowd. There were people there from the age of early 80's to 6 months! And it was baby bliss! Julia had a great time playing with her friends and I had a great time comparing notes with all of the other moms who were there. This is Julia and Parker, who is 10 days younger than Julia! Parker shared a Baby Num Num with Julia and that caused us to have to rush to Wal-Mart the very next day to purchase some. They are a melt in your mouth cracker. This was Julia's first "self feed" experience. She knew exactly what to do with it when I put it in her hand because everything, from newspapers to washcloths, goes straight into her mouth!

The look of terror on Julia's face when sweet Sol tries to kiss her. I told her this was a really good sign and I hope she always looks terrified when all boys come towards her with their lips puckered......except Sol. I didn't get a good picture of Evan and Caroline, but they were there too!

Julia at home eating her Baby Num Num

Sweet Julia with her baby doll and her sippy cup with water in it. She is learning how to use this cup, but mostly she just loves to chew on the mouthpiece.

Aunt Sarah came over Sunday afternoon with Julia's pool. It was a perfect day to sit outside under the persimmon tree. We had a friend come over to study our front yard and give us a new driveway consultation. He pulled up on a Harley and his specialty is really dirt work and so I wasn't sure if he would be able to come up with anything. He told us to leave him alone and let him "meditate." After an hour of meditation, he came up with some truly brilliant ideas to improve our home's curb appeal. We have been laboring over this for entirely too long and I have had nothing more than a very vague idea of what it should look like. However, everything has come together in my mind and I can finally picture it! More than likely, we will do a little bit at a time and our goal for now is to build the new driveway and to have some shutters made for the house.

MOM-MA! Loud and Clear!

She did it! In a crowded room Friday night, someone said, "Julia just said Momma." I smiled, but kind of ignored it, because I knew it was probably just a figment of my imagination. Low and behold, Saturday when Julia and I were headed to town in the car for our walk, she said Momma so loud and clear that it sent a chill up my spine. John ignored me when I told him about it. Later that night, after me saying momma about a thousand times, she said it again in front of John. Now, don't get me wrong......she says momma...momma....momma...several times, but it is crystal clear! Everything I have read says that babies will typically make "d" sounds before "m" sounds so da da will come first. But because my daughter is so brilliant and not your ordinary child, her "m" sounds came first. How lucky am I????

Friday, June 27, 2008

Julia's First Art Project

Julia got to spend about 4 hours at her grandparent's house yesterday because it was John's last day of Algebra and he needed some extra time to finish. He finished with a B, by the way! She did her first art project with JiJi and made John a t-shirt. He really liked it and I imagine that I will have to tell him to go and change when he tries to wear it somewhere fancy. Julia seemed happy to be with her grandparents and I really appreciate their help this week! When John got home last night, he said probably 10 times how much he missed his baby girl. I was thinking.....yesterday was the first day since Julia was born that he has had to depend on someone else to keep her for any more than 1 or 2 hours during the day! He can be so sappy sometimes, but I think it is really cute.
Speaking of child care decisions, John is taking 1 day class next summer term (starts next Tuesday) from 12-2:00 pm. The class will be from Monday through Thursday for 5 weeks. We have struggled and struggled with making a decision about what to do with Julia during that time. That is her nap time so we really didn't want to have to wake her up and take her somewhere. We finally decided to hire Sarah, even though I don't think that hiring family members is the absolute best decision. But, she loves Julia so I guess that is all that matters. The fall semester will present another challenge..... Classes from 8-11 every Tuesday and Thursday. We have some time to think about this one so hopefully we can come up with something that makes us all happy.
I would pay somebody to LET me keep Julia. She is such a JOY and we could not adore her anymore that we already do!
Julia's art project

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Days

Julia spent an hour or two on Monday and Tuesday afternoons with my parents so that John could have some extra time to finish up his algebra. Yesterday, when I went to pick up Julia, she was so happy! Dad emailed me the picture below and now I see why!

This was the look on Julia's face yesterday after I told her that she was going to get her first second cousin on the Bonady side! She was thrilled (and so was I) when my cousin Anna called me and told me that she and Brian are having a baby. I am still having trouble wiping the grin off my face. Congrats Anna and Brian and welcome to the happiest chapter of your lives!

Anna and Brian's engagement picture from their wedding last October. This was the trip to Northern California that John and I took when I was 7 months pregnant. We had such a good time and made some very happy memories on that trip!

This is Anna and her sister Beth and us on the trolley in Memphis at Leslie and Richard's wedding almost 2 years ago.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stopping to Smell the Roses

I mentioned yesterday that John always helps me to stop and smell the roses when my mind is crowded with "to do" lists. Last night was another prime example. It was around 8:30 and I was feeding Julia her dinner of sweet potatoes and peaches and going through my mental list. Give Julia a bath, feed Julia a bottle, play, put Julia to bed, take a shower, help John with a quiz he has to take online, be in bed by 10:30, read book, asleep by 11. John comes home from class and says, "Let's go get in the hot tub." My brain says, uh, I don't think so, but I grudgingly do it anyway. It's 9 and we all three go jump in the hottub. 39 minutes later, we are all much more relaxed and happy. Thank you John for the divine intervention!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Joy and John at Shawnie and Lance's going away is rare that I get a picture of us together!

Skydiving and Molly's La Casita

Friday afternoon when I got home from work, John happily announced that Julia could officially sit up. I had been considering taking her to the doctor because I really thought that she should be at least working towards sitting up with no help. Sure enough, without any previous indication that she might be ready to sit, there she was sitting up! She looks like a skydiver with her arms out keeping her balance! I thought if I started letting her wear her I heart NY outfit now that maybe her chances of loving the city half as much as I do will be better.

Saturday, John suggested that we head to Memphis for the day and visit "The Big One" flea market. Off were my plans to have a productive weekend of house cleaning, sewing, and two or three social obligations that I had. John is so good at helping me keep a balance of fun and work. For example, he forced me stop and watch a movie last night when I really had a ton of stuff that I needed to do since I had put it off while we had fun the day before! We watched "Bordertown" with Jennifer Lopez and we both thought it was about the most lame movie we had ever seen. On a positive note, the I devoured a book this weekend, "Eat, Pray, Love." Good stuff. I know it's good when I want to go home at lunch and read while eating my sandwich! This is Julia at Molly's La Casita, one of our favorite local restaurants in Memphis. John and I ate there a lot when we were dating and we always order the same appetizer called Mr. Bruce's nachos. A Shepherd Tradition! Julia is such a girl of leisure. She always props her foot on the table when we eat out. Julia was content eating her baby's head while John and I enjoyed.....
Mr Bruce's nachos! The menu says this is an appetizer that feeds two. It really is a meal that could feed four!

John and Julia at the entrance of Molly's.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Busy Week

Julia got to meet her great Uncle Mel this week. He is my Mom's younger brother who lives in Mt. Ida. He is retired from the bank and drives a BMW motorcycle all over the country. His goal is to visit every state in the US and I think he is about 3 states away from accomplishing his goal. Listening to him talk was pretty inspiring....I would LOVE to see the countryside this way!

Julia and I have gotten to go for 2 walks this week because the temperature and humidity was much more bearable than it has been lately. She loves the walk for about 2 miles, and then starts crying the last half mile. I should take a hint since she has followed this pattern ever since we started strolling. I am thinking about buying a tread mill soon so that I can be more than a fair weather walker. Walking has been the best cure that I know of to help keep my blood sugars under control and to help manage stress. That is reason enough to make the purchase! Last night was Shawnie's going away reception at the Chamber. It was well attended and a little on the emotional side. My entire family was at the Tech Center at 3 different events at the same time yesterday. John was in algebra class, I was at Shawnie's reception at the Chamber office, and Mom and Dad were at a bank sponsored cook out. Pretty amazing that the building that houses all of this was once a K-Mart! I brought Julia with me and we all took turns strolling her around the building. She got ready for her nap and let everybody in the entire building know about it. John said he was sitting in class and one of his classmates said, "Somebody needs to do something about that crying baby." John said he took that as his cue to get to Julia and help!
Every night before bed, we all get in our bed and play, sing, and John plays his acoustic guitar. He played us a part of a song that he is in the process of writing last night. The only lyrics that he has written so far are, "Julia." I am hoping that he will finish his song and eventually record it so she will always have it. I savor our bed time because it is rare that we all three are together. Julia is always is a good mood and is hamming it up. I think it's her favorite time of the day too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

As you can see, our Father's Day lunch was pretty much focused on Julia. This picture cracks me up because all eyes are on Julia! My Aunt Jane came to hang out with us and we all love having her around. After lunch and when Julia laid down for a nap, we all got to watch some home videos of Julia! Yippee! I love family because they are the only people on earth that would watch those AND they even acted like they enjoyed them!
"Mom, you PROMISED me that you would not be one of those Mom's who would make me wear a hairbow before they really served a purpose!"
A friend gave me a ton of hair in every color! I just had to break my promise to Julia and try one on her.... just to see what the future holds. I told her that we wouldn't put on another one until she had hair that needed to be pulled out of her face by a bow.

Happy Father's Day John! Julia and I are both so lucky to have you!

After a great afternoon with the family, Julia and I took John out to eat some Mexican food. We even took him to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. When we got home, we watched Atonement. It was a great movie and definitely a good candidate for the Best Picture nomination that it deservingly won last year. It must have been good because I actually stayed awake until almost midnight to finish it! Unfortunately, I couldn't finish the last 20 pages in my book club book, "The Third Angel" because I was too tired! Wouldn't recommend the book, by the way. It has taken me a whole month to get through it!

FarmFest 2008

This week was FarmFest week in Wynne. I have heard that small town festivals are dying and it makes me a little sad to think that FarmFest may be fading away. I remember looking forward to the festival when I was little....I couldn't wait to watch the pet show and participate in the bubble gum bubble blowing contest! I volunteered early Saturday morning at the 5K and handed out trophies. The winner ran the race in 17 minutes 43 seconds. We had over 100 runners and walkers from all over the state. After the race, I hosted a bridal shower for Sara Hess who was a good friend of mine in high school. She has lived in Dallas for a long time and is marrying a guy from El Dorado. I am so happy for her and it was fun to see some old friends again.
Then, Julia and I went to FarmFest to see John's band, Idol Americans, play. Julia was in a great mood and tolerated the heat very well. She let everyone pass her around and is doing SO much better about being out of her "environment" and in other people's arms. She is even smiling at random people when they talk to her! We all had fun walking around with Julia.....I never thought I would be so lucky to have my own baby to lug around!
Julia and I watching John play.
Sarah and happy Julia
John was asked to play with the Drifters....your remember, "Under the Boardwalk!" I forget sometimes what a talented musician John is. It amazes me that he has never met these guys before and can get up there and play with them. They sounded great and John got a huge kick out of it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Simple Things In Life

"May I borrow that paper Daddy?"
Why do we spend money on toys when we have newspapers? I am thinking this is another way to recycle! Some thoughts for the week.....
1. Julia is grabbing EVERYTHING! Once she has it in her hands, it goes directly into her mouth. No sign of teeth yet, but I would guess it could happen any day now. She drools at least a gallon a day!
2. Julia spent a couple of half days this week at my parents house while John spent some extra time at school. I think she is getting better with letting them hold her, but she still prefers her own environment and is somewhat fussy when she is at their house. She just needs more practice at being out of the house.
3. She is eating well...solid foods at lunch and at dinner. She still likes fruit best! We mix everything in with her cereal which helps it all go down easier. She still has 4 bottles per day, but has cut down on the amount of milk she wants in her bottle because of the food that has been added to her diet.
4. Julia sleeps great! She goes to bed around 10 and wakes up around 8. This is pretty close to our preferred sleeping habits, so we are very lucky in that department!
5. Julia is so close to sitting up on her own. I think we will have it down soon!
6. I was named chairperson of the Endowment Foundation of Cross County this week. I am looking forward to doing the best that I can to grow our local community foundation.
7. FarmFest is this weekend so I will be spending some time volunteering at the 5K run tomorrow and John's band plays tomorrow evening.
8. Got to see Tara, Becca, Emmy and Sol today. They were getting ready for an estate sale tomorrow morning and were making good progress. I had to rescue one Bert and one Ernie Christmas ornament. They were labeled NJ on the bottom so I am assuming they were Neall's at some point. I decided that they will be Miss Teri's gift to Julia and we will treasure them!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Job Security

The hospital renewal tax passed last night by a wide margin of 82% yes and 18% no! We are very thrilled and are grateful to our administrator for being such a great spokesperson for our hospital. Thanks to everyone who voted!

Julia is at my parents house this afternoon. John needed some extra time at college to work on his algebra....he is really struggling with a 5 week algebra class! He will do fine, but will need to spend some extra time at school to finish all the course work in a short time. I got to have lunch with Ashley and her two kids, Millie and Jack. I loved seeing them and especially loved it when she gave us a huge garbage bag full of Millie's clothes for Julia. Ashley dresses her kids in only the cutest stuff and I am so excited to get the hand me downs!

Monday, June 9, 2008

BitterSweet Surrender

Saturday morning, Julia had her pictures made with Theresa Lee who is a photographer originally from Wynne. She does some amazing stuff, so I am anxiously awaiting the viewing of our "gallery." Her website is, and she says they should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Saturday night, Jessica, Kristen, Margaret, and I hosted a going away dinner party for Shawnie and Lance. You would have thought that Martha Stewart was in the house after seeing the party setup. Fresh flowers, mint tea, shrimp linguine, and the whole works. It was delicious and so much fun to hang out with everybody. It is starting to set in with me that Shawnie is really leaving and every time I see her, I always say, "So I will see you again, won't I." I think it is just so I can avoid saying goodbye. I will miss her, but am very happy for her career move in the upward direction!

The girl of the night

Having some strawberry shortcake.

Sarah babysat Julia while we were at Jessica's Saturday night. I called twice and both times Julia was screaming a blood curdling cry. Sarah wasn't sure how long the crying had been going on. John and I took separate vehicles and I finally sent him home after the second screaming call. When he got home, she was asleep in her bed downstairs. He told me that he had to wake her up and rock her for a while and put her back where she her bed upstairs with us! Ha.

Thought I would throw this one in too. Julia loves to help me sew. The needle moving up and down is quite intriguing. It is an accident waiting to happen, so I know she won't be able to sit on my lap and help forever. I have been working on some board mounted, box pleat valances for a friend. I almost always have some baby gifts to construct....people love the monogrammed burp pads. Sewing takes much longer than it ever did before with her around! The extra sewing money is going into Julia's college fund which is a worthwhile cause for the sewing hours!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Expanding Horizons....

Julia has been doing much better with her eating since the first carrot experience. She literally gagged when she ate the first few bites of carrots, but I have read that this is normal. Since then, I have been mixing her foods with her rice cereal and she likes them much better. So far, she has tried carrots, green beans, bananas and pears. Pears are definitely her favorite.

Julia also got to stay at her Jee Jee and Grandpa's house yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours while John went to do some school work at EACC. I think it was a good experience for all. Last night, I had to go to a work years of service banquet at Kelley's. There is one employee at the hospital, the Director of Housekeeping Services, who has worked at CrossRidge for 40 years. She said that should could not wait to come to work every morning and her goal was to work for 30 more years. WOW.....she was such an inspiration. I do feel very lucky to have my job and to work at a great place. Speaking of loving my job.....a hospital city sales tax renewal special election will be held next Tuesday. We need the support of this tax to cover the hospital's bad debt. So, if you are a Cross County voter, please vote Tuesday! Oh yeah, and vote YES!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Big Girls, I Mean, Older Girls Night Out

I had my first girls night out Monday night since Julia was born....other than the monthly, local book club. Sex and the City was calling my name and we had to make a trip to Peabody Place in Memphis to catch the 5:15 movie. Then we ate sushi at Blue Fin...yum! The movie was THE BEST....we all laughed and cried through the entire movie.

I could not quite shake feeling guilty about leaving Julia when I did not absolutely have to. There are times when there is no choice but to leave her, like when I have work stuff that I can't get out of. Sarah kept Julia while John was at school. I called after the movie to check in with them, and all I could hear was Julia screaming in the background. I am learning that it is best not to call! I know I need to get a grip and figure out that she will be okay without mel. I think the real question is.....will I be okay without her? I have to admit, it was nice to get to spend some time with the girls. I also have to admit that I woke Julia up when I got home and held her for about 10 minutes. It was okay, because she went right back to sleep. I was so happy to see that girl when I got home!

Thanks, my friends, for a great time!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I HATE carrots, but I LOVE skinnydippin!

Julia went to see Dr. Beth Friday for her 6 month appointment. She weighed 15 pounds and 2 ounces and was 28 inches long. When she charted her height and weight, Julia was off the chart for height! Her weight is still in the 50th percentile which is normal. Her head measured 41 cm. which is very small. Unfortunately, they can't measure the size of her brain. I am sure that it is abnormally large. :)

Dr. Beth gave us the go ahead to start eating some real food. I decided to stop at the grocery store on the way home to buy some fresh carrots, green beans, and bananas so that Julia could have all fresh foods. I cooked it when I got home and blended it up. We were so excited to feed Julia some carrots and John had the video camera rolling. Here is how it went:

"Mom, I am really not so sure about this. My daddy doesn't like cooked carrots, so it might be genetic that I don't like them either. But, I will try them."

"I just don't think so."

"OK, it's all over. I HATE carrots!"

"However, I love skinny dippin in the hot tub!"

"And I definitely love taking a nap in my Mom and Dad's bed!"

I still can't resist those little feet!