It always sounds so cliché, but it’s so true: The first year of a baby’s life goes so quickly! Our youngest turns one tomorrow. We celebrated with a donut-themed brunch over the weekend.

Audrey's First Birthday (13)

The bear cake, made by my mother, is a family tradition. I had it for my first birthday, as did my oldest daughter, my cousin (who is also my youngest daughter’s godmother), and my niece. The girl was really quite dainty about eating her cake. She didn’t even get frosting on her shirt!

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Audrey's First Birthday (6)

We had donuts, cake, and cupcakes. I felt a tiny bit embarrassed because our family dentist who is also a good friend was in attendance with his wife and adorable daughter. I apologized for the sugar overload (while stuffing my face with a sprinkle-covered donut.)

Audrey's First Birthday (5)

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Happy birthday to our sweet baby girl. You are a cuddly, entertaining, delightful soul. You are a terrific walker and say “mama” and “dada.” You love animals, your sister, and making us laugh. We love you!



In My House

In My House: Noodle & Boo

I had never heard of Noodle & Boo when I received some of their products as a baby gift. I was instantly hooked on the delicately fresh scent.


I have been using the lotion and baby hair and body wash on both my newborn and my toddler. I have also used the products myself a few times and love them. Noodle & Boo also has a line of products for pregnant women. Several of their items come perfectly packaged in adorable boxes like the set I received did.

Noodle & Boo’s web site says the company is “Where nature and science come together in perfect harmony to create world-class products that are both safe and effective for every newborn, child and “mama-to-be.”


Their packaging is recyclable and products are nontoxic, biodegradable, and developed with sustainable, plant-based ingredients.

I loved receiving Noodle & Boo as a gift and will be ordering more when my supply runs out.

I received no compensation for writing this post, I simply enjoy sharing products I love.

In My House

In My House: The Magnolia Journal

Maybe it’s just the old print journalist in me, but in today’s digital age, I love the feel of a real magazine with good quality paper and beautifully laid-out spreads. I subscribe to only a few and it’s a special occasion when they arrive in the mail.

I recently flipped through a copy of The Magnolia Journal in a waiting room. I am familiar with Chip and Joanna Gaines’ HGTV show Fixer Upper, but had only seen a few episodes. I fell in love with the magazine immediately and was super thrilled when my mom gave me a subscription as a Mother’s Day gift. The summer issue arrived yesterday!


I expected to find lovely images in the magazine, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing. Further, each issue has a one-word theme. This one was confidence.


Of course there are also gorgeous decorating tips and fantastic-looking recipes scattered throughout.


The magazine only comes out quarterly, but that makes seeing it in the mailbox even more special. This is one to save, share, and flip through again and again.



My Daughter Bites and Won’t Wear Shoes

It was there glaring at me when I picked my one-year-old up from daycare. I hung my head in shame, because there, stapled to her daily information sheet was the supplementary documentation no parent wants to see: The biting notice.

Yes, my dear, sweet daughter bit another child when that child would not “get out of her way.”

I want an independent, free-thinking child. I want her to be confident and not be the kid getting bullied on the playground. I do not want her to be the bully herself, biting some poor unsuspecting child who rubs her the wrong way.

I know I am overreacting. She is only one. Her teacher at daycare said we can help by reiterating that mouths are for food, not for biting.

The Biter is also the girl at daycare with the dirtiest feet because, despite being a full-fledged walker now, she refuses to wear shoes (and lately, even socks). She has a meltdown when I come anywhere near her with them.

us1(I had purchased adorable coral red ballet flats for this photo shoot, but she’s barefoot of course.)

(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

Do all parents go through these phases of feeling like their child is the bratty, or, the politically correct term, “spirited,” one? The one who acts out? I believe they do, and this phase with my daughter is teaching me to be more patient with other people’s children when they are throwing food at a restaurant, or screaming on an airplane, because no parent or child is perfect. At the end of the day, we’re all just doing the best we can. And I love my little biter, dirty feet and all.



One of the milestones I have been most looking forward to as a mother is watching my daughter devour cake at her first birthday party.


And the girl did not disappoint.


On the day of my daughter’s birthday party, the temperature hovered around 100 degrees. We rented the gazebo at a park in a nearby town that features statues of storybook characters.



My mom had saved the bear cake pan she used at my own first birthday so she recreated that cake for my own girl. How sweet is that?


She also assembled this horse out of cupcakes, a trick we had seen on Pinterest.


After a while, the girl grew tired of using her hands to eat the cake and just went for it, face first.


After a much-needed wardrobe change, we were ready to play on some of the storybook-inspired scenes. That’s Kanga from Winnie the Pooh.


Of course no July birthday party is complete without sitting on Santa’s lap. Here’s my girl with her cousin (who, believe it or not, is four months younger than she is).


Happy first birthday to my dear girl.

In My House

10 Things I Love About Being a Mom

It can be easy to get bogged down in the challenges of motherhood. There are a million Top 10 lists about parenting out there but many seem to dwell on the negative. Here are 10 things I love about being a mom. Let’s spread some positive energy to all the moms and mommies-to-be out there!


10: Experiencing unconditional love. Even in the most stressful moments, I love her so much and there is nothing that could ever change that.

9: Morning smiles. My daughter is a morning person. Her morning smiles are contagious, even when I haven’t had enough sleep.

8: The opportunity to instill values in this little sponge: I know she absorbs everything, and that forces me to be a better person.

7: Seeing a combination of my husband and I personified is strange and interesting. She has my eyes and his smile. My nose and his hair color.

6: Having an excuse to do “kid” things again. Whether it is just walking to the local park to go on the swings or a day at the zoo, it is fun to be a kid again and see the world through her eyes.

5: That contagious, deep-belly baby laughter.

4: The way she smells after her bath.

3: Arriving to pick her up from daycare and having her crawl (or sometimes walk), while giggling, to me as quickly as she can.

2: Observing as her personality develops.

1: Watching my daughter reach milestones. I work full-time so I was worried I might miss a couple of these, and maybe I will, but there are new milestones almost every single day and each is a blessing.