Thursday, July 29, 2010


What can Brown do for you?

Standing at the kitchen sink washing bottles (this could really be the beginning to any story, I spend half my waking hours in this activity), I saw Brown round the corner. I toweled off my hands and ran to the door to see what Brown was brining us! This was part out of excitement and part because Maddox and Cooper flip out when normal people come to the door... so they'll definitely be flipping out over a man dressed in brown and carrying a big (read: scary) box. Yaya sent us all a new book! For Bryan, a cooking magazine. For Amy, a yoga book. And for the littlest, the newest Hallmark recordable book, "All The Ways I Love You." Thanks, Yaya! Sophie loves a book that will read itself :) Grandmothers are here to love, to spoil, and to teach. Below are some of the fun things Yaya has done with her favorite grandbaby.

Another delivery I was super excited about this week was our first Absolute Organics. I was not disappointed! Y'all, seriously, sign up if you live in Charlotte. If you are going to buy from the farmer's market, you are better off with AO. This stuff is certified USDA organic, and 75% of what I got was local. The farmer's market here trucks their stuff in from all over creation and none of it is certified organic (you might as well be buying it from Harris Teeter complete with chemicals and all that stuff...).

Yaya teaching Sophie a very important lesson - how to take Daddy's
credit card and pay for dinner and drinks!

Yaya helping Sophie to experience her toes in the pool for the first time!

Yaya taking Sophie to church.

Yaya lets Sophie bounce on the kitchen counter!

Yaya giving Sophie her first sweet taste of Dunkin' Donuts (her Daddy's fave)!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Silly bands, shattered earth tones, etc.

One silly band, one XS pair of sunglasses, one Mary Poppins DVD, one chock-full refrigerator, one-half-gallon of mint juleps and one almost empty coffee pot simmering away in the corner... the only remnants of a fantabulous girls weekend (besides pictures and lovely memories, of course). As the Honda pulled out of the driveway with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and two nieces, I got right down to business of cleaning and putting-away. Try as I may, the racket I made with the vacuum cleaner and the toilet scrubber in no way filled the void that was full of squealing baby girls, laughter, fun and food for the previous six days.

Bryan and I have worked diligently on decorating our homes for the last few years in a carefully selected palette of earth tones. At first, how horrified I was to see baby items taking over in shocking red, yellow and blue and PINK. Yet another change I didn't see coming... I much prefer seeing the patio furniture draped with itty bitty swim suits and towels and swimmies, and the sage green rug peppered with tiny toys and books than to have everything nice and neat all.the.time. (You know that I pick-up and put-away every evening, but my point is that a mess of baby things is becoming quite enjoyable.)

Back to our gals visit... Kathy (G-Mom), Kristin, Amy, Kaelin, Hannah and Sophie... a force to be reckoned with! We played games, did sidewalk chalk, spent a day shopping at Concord Mills (Sophie was up for a whopping 5 hours with very little complaint), went to the Berewick pool (one public melt-down and my very first two wasp stings - thank God it got me and not the babies), spent a day at the over-crowded-but-still-very-cool Discovery Place, said "no" to the dogs every 45 seconds, went swimming and had dinner with the Bottom's family, played Silly Bands (is that the right verb for doing stuff with shaped rubber bands?), went to the park, had a wine and cheese night, made several trips to the grocery, did lots of laundry... I think a great time was had by all. G-Mom came home from Target with a much appreciated Christmas-sized delivery of toys for the girls! Thanks again!

I have to gush for a minute about my sister in law. I am pretty sure I have the best SIL ever (and you can't have her - unless you are interested in her 17 year old brother... and if you are, that is sick because all the girls I know that read this are much older than 17). She gives and gives to her girls, loves Sophie like her own, keeps her cool, loves to chat, drinks wine and wants to be around family. She has supplied us with more baby hand-me-downs than anyone could ask for, and for that we are very thankful. Cheers to you, Kristin, and I'm looking forward to planning our mommy getaway trip!

G-Mom reading to the grandbabies.

Aunt Kristin with Hannah, Kaelin, Emma and Sophie (aka Emma's doll).

G-Mom with Kaelin and Sophie checking out the fish at Discovery Place.
((You can see that Kaelin was never more than a few steps away
from Sophie, she is such a sweet girl!!!))

Friday, July 23, 2010

Organics on wheels

Really really really really excited about Absolute Organics! Just signed up for our first weekly box of USDA certified organic produce delivered free right to our door. I'm hoping this keeps me from buying the same.thing at the farmers market every.single.weekend. Will help me to try new recipes, too! The only down side is that it isn't all necessarily local produce. But the company that delivers all local produce has (obviously) less of a variety...

Anyhow I'll give it a few weeks and see how we like it! If anyone in Charlotte decides to give it a try, please put my name in the referral and then pay it forward.

Yesterday I made a giant batch of Sophie's favorite chicken dinner from my baby food cook book. The apples and sweet potatoes in it really help with that weird pureed chicken texture. And it's really good - so if I ever need my food pureed for any reason I hope someone makes it for me :)


We DO get local produce with Absolute Organics!! I'm SO excited for our first Tuesday delivery.

LOCAL tomatoes, yellow onions, lettuce, blueberries, red potatoes, white mushrooms and corn, and not local but still usda organic: kiwi, fuji apples and banana!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I looooooove going into the nursery to get Sophie first thing in the morning and after her naps. She is all smiles and giggles... it simply is the best.

Sometimes I let Maddox (her four-legged big sister) come with me to get Sophie. Now that we've lowered the mattress one notch, Maddox and Sophie are eye level and Maddox will slip her tongue through the crib slats to slather Sophie with big kisses and Sophie just laughs and laughs.

This morning I went in to get her (sounds of "mamamama" over the monitor melting me), anticipating the smiles meant only for this mommy, and beaming a little myself. I was trumped! She wouldn't even look at me, but scanned all around the crib for Maddox! I picked her up and planted a big kiss on each of her sweet cheeks and she nearly had whiplash from turning her head towards the door hoping to see the pup.
OK! I'll let Maddox come get you from now on. Let's see how well she picks you up, changes your diaper, makes you a bottle... might I remind you she doesn't even have opposable thumbs?

It was the first, but hardly the last, that mommy was passed over for something far more fun and exciting :( But I have to admit, I love how patient and sweet Maddox is with Sophie. They are my baby girls and they have a mutual adoration for each other.

An old picture, but just an example how Maddy is always watching over Sophie!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back where I come from

We've just returned to the 'Lotte after a week in a little piece of paradise also known as my home town. It is a place that boasts the whitest beaches in the world, the original Florida coastal settlement, a bustling little downtown, excellent food and the home of the Blue Angels. We ate our way through the week (forget the whole losing weight thing I had going on): Bagelheads, Jerry's Cajun Cafe, Global Grill, Grand Marlin, Cactus Flower, Bonefish, the obligatory Whataburger (twice) and Mellow Mushroom. (This is sounding more like the Hungry Caterpillar: one slice of swiss cheese, one popsicle, one piece of cherry pie...) Bryan got to see his first Blue Angels air show at the Navy base and it was spectacular. I was seeing it again for the first time through his eyes. I was so proud to be a Pensacolian!

It is a town where there isn't much to complain about other than politics or the pesky new stop sign that changes one's work commute from 5 minutes to 5 minutes and 20 seconds; a town where life is pretty good. But I believe my beloved Pensacola, and the entire Gulf Coast, now has something to really get upset about. Tar balls and oil washing ashore almost daily... onto what was once the whitest beaches in the world... the beaches where we spent entire Saturdays as children, where we had parties and graduations as high schoolers, where we were married as adults, the same beaches we want to take our children to one day if we still can. My heart ached driving past billboards with an 800 number for reporting oiled wildlife, and after seeing the front page of the newspaper every single day detailing the previous days' progress on that dang busted oil well.

Sophie had a great time splishin' and a splashin' in her Yaya and Grandpa's pool, and visiting with some of her baby friends, Harper and Avery. I thought she might start crawling when we were in the sunshine state, but she is still waiting for just the right moment! Some of her firsts for the week were (homemade) chicken dinner and Dunkin Donuts. She put on a raspberry spectacular show after the munchkin sugar rush... it was absolutely hysterical. In an early morning meeting I'm pretty sure she gave the first intentional wave across the table to our financial advisors! Between family time, catching up with lots of old forever friends and good food, Bryan and I still had a lot of down time to just hang out and sunbathe, chat, plan (still working on that Maui trip... at least we have flights and a rental car reserved now!) for the upcoming year, read books and nap in the hammock.
Three generations... indulging at Bonefish Grill!
Sophie and Bryan enjoying the pool.
Sophie with Yaya and Matt at the Brazil's store.
Sophie with Grandpa getting ready to do the puzzle before work.
Sophie in a headlock with baby Avery.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Attack of the remora bibs

A nugget of advice for anyone reading out there (leave me a comment if you're out there!) that I never read in any book. I pulled Sophie's clean clothes out of the dryer today to find her adorable little swim shirt being attacked by Velcro bibs like little remora on a shark.

Of course you know how this story ends; pull off the bibs and you're left with pulls and gaps in the fabric and a ruined swim shirt. I have got to remember next time to either wash bibs separate (if I actually have enough to last a week with a drooler and solid food eater in the house) OR put them in a lingerie bag to wash... but she'll have outgrown her little swim outfits in 1 more month anyhow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good fences make good neighbors

Conversely, do good bloggers make good neighbors? Working under two assumptions here: First, that I'm a good blogger and second, that we are good neighbors. Moving on... We've had some interesting happenings in the neighborhood lately, and I won't name names, but the good news is that the crazies have moved. Random doorbell rings after 11pm, police helicopters at all hours, need I say again that Papa John's won't even deliver to us?

My mommy instinct rumbles from deep inside when we're out for walks lately. An officer stopped me one morning and asked, "Have you seen a man on a bike?" Seriously, officer? We live in a self proclaimed Eco-Community (saw the crudely hand painted sign yesterday) where everyone rides bikes, walks, runs... I can't remember for the life of me if I saw a particular man on a particular bike on this particular day. Seeing room for improvement on my memory skills, I try to test myself when passing a stranger. Without turning around, I try to describe (to myself) what they were wearing, their facial features, their height, etc. (And now I stare like everyone is a suspect... which is probably strange.) Unfortunately I would be a terrible witness and NO GOOD to one of those police suspect illustrators. White male, a big-ish hat, small ears, big mouth, unshaven, small-ish nose... The sketch would wind up looking something more like Cat in the Hat.

Two new truths I've discovered today. 1. My favorite sound in the world is this inhaling-through-the-mouth (think a frog croaking) at a high pitch (more like Velociraptor) accompanied by a big gummy grin. 2. You could put ruffles on the butt of practically anything and I would swoon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sweet Carolina 4th of July

What do Southerners do? We feed people.

I pureed my way through the weekend for the youngest palette of the bunch, making a few new foods for her eating pleasure. Pureed Champagne Mangoes, Apples with cinnamon, Organic Carrots and Broccoli, and Watermelon. **Watermelon not pictured because pureeing watermelon leaves you with... pink water... not easy to spoon feed to an infant. So the watermelon wound up being used for mom and dad in some adult bevvies.

We have an Independence Day dinner tradition that started two years ago while we stayed in a cabin in Hot Springs, NC with Maddox and Coop: Tyler Florence's doubled dipped Buttermilk Fried Chicken and cherry tomatoes with buttermilk blue cheese dressing. Heaven. I also whipped up my specialty baked brie with apricots and pecans... need a double diet week from all that goodness. Yep, I gained back the 2lbs I lost, so I guess I won't be hitting my goal this week.

In other words, Sophie's first July 4th weekend was a success. The weather was practically perfect in every way - these are the Carolina weekends we live for. We took Sophie on long walks, played in her new water spray playmat, visited the swings at the park, and went to a neighborhood cookout. What about fireworks, you ask? The babe goes to sleep at 6:30, and our pooches flip out at the sound of fireworks... so, no, none for us this year. We vaguely heard the sonic booms from the comfort of our basement though. It was great to have Bryan home for a long weekend, and I will be sad to send him off to work tomorrow. But... big trip coming up this weekend, and we're getting excited to run away for a little while!

Sophie enjoying her backyard toy that finally arrived in the mail!

Sophie en Sophie on our front porch ready for festivities!

Red, white and blue!

Me and my little watermelon at the neighborhood cookout (she only lasted an hour, alas, but our good neighbor friends brought us a plate of amazing food a little later)! Might be the only time she wears this outfit on camera, the hat is already almost too small!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Victory day

We celebrate victories in the Barber household, even small ones (like poopy diapers, finishing green beans, a trip to Costco without any crying). Today we had two victories. The first being a trip to the baby drop-off at the gym without any tears! I asked the care-givers to play with her instead of strapping her in a bouncy seat. When I came back (only 15 min later - I told you, small victories), they had placed a playmate in front of Sophie; a seven month old boy and the babies just kept looking at each other and turning their heads.... frickin adorable. Of course, she cried the whole way home (mom! you took my friend away!).

Victory number two was a home run on some adorable items from Bella Tunno... sale goes on til 6pm if you haven't gotten anything! By entering the code VICTORY in the discount area, I saved 40% off the following precious accessories:

Gotta love the little headband... when Sophie has a head full of hair this will be cute!

A wipe-able placemat on one side and a re-usable chalk board on the other!
For the artist in Sophie...

To protect her little head from the sun... I heart paisley and zebra!
And a smaller third victory... mama lost 2lbs!