Sunday, August 31, 2008

Where to Dine?

We're in serious need of a new kitchen table. We have a little nook area where our current ugly glass-top table resides. This table was purchased by me pre-hubs from some place like K-mart or Big Lots. In other words, it was cheap. But it has served us well. However, I'm tired of looking at it and am ready for a "real" kitchen table now.

So begins my search. I'm not looking to pay $1,200 for a new dining set. I just want a table and some chairs. But WOW is it proving to be harder than I expected! The first (and really only) table I found online that I liked was the Allegro Dining Table from Crate&Barrel.

With a price tag of only $399, it could definitely be an option. The problem? It's two-fold. First of all, I really don't care for any of the chair options that can be purchased to match this table. Secondly, I refuse to pay $80 for shipping on a table I haven't seen in-person. What if I don't like it? That'd be another $80 in return shipping. Just not worth the potential waste of $160. Especially since I'd have the chair issue to deal with.

On Saturday, hubs, LO and I spent the afternoon visiting various furniture stores in two counties! I was surprised to find there really aren't a lot of regular ol' round tables out there! Nowadays, you'll find a lot of counter height and bar height tables. At first, we weren't thinking we'd like that idea for our kitchen nook area, but after shopping around a bit, I think we changed our minds!

We happened to find the Carlyle collection at Ashley Furniture. It's a beautiful contemporary set with a dark mocha finish, and the one we liked best was the Butterfly Leaf Table (an extension "leaf" is built in to and stores in the table itself).

I really like this set and am hopeful I can convince hubs to bite the bullet and make the purchase. I think I might go the route of calling this our combined 3rd anniversary/Christmas gift for each other. I think that's the international sign that we've been married awhile... combining gifts and making a purchase for the house constitute said gift.

Good times!

Friday, August 29, 2008


When I was pregnant with LO, I bought the cutest little baby book from Hallmark. It's completely adorable! And, being the good first-time-mommy that I am, I've kept up with that book like nobody's business. It had pages about our baby showers, a letter to the baby from mommy and daddy, info about her birth, her footprints, and a page for each month of her first year of life. And of course it also had a few pages dedicated to her very first birthday! That book is complete, with the exception of a snip of her hair from her first haircut (since she hasn't had one yet).

So here's my dilemma... What about month 13? So basically after my little girl turns one, I'm supposed to stop tracking her firsts, stop taking pictures and stop writing about the fun we're having with our little one?! Seriously. That's not cool! I mean, really. We just turned her car seat around so she's forward-facing now. But it happened after she turned one. I still took pictures of the big event! And I'd like to write it down somewhere, too! But where?

I've searched online quite a bit and have had ZERO luck finding a "toddler" book that begins at age 1 and goes through 3, 4 or 5. Am I alone in this world in my thinking that I'd still like to "scrapbook" somewhat all the things LO is doing and will do over the next few years? Sure, we'll probably have baby #2 at some point, and I'll have a new baby book to keep up with. But that doesn't mean I don't want to still keep up with our toddler's milestones!

Have any of you seen something similar to what I'm talking about? A baby book that's not really for babies? Like a toddler book that starts at age 1? If anyone has any idea what I'm talking about, PLEASE HELP!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Letter to the Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa

Dear Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa,

Thank you for hosting hubs, LO and I as we spent our very first family vacation together in Hilton Head. We were very pleased that Priceline was able to step in for us to prevent us from paying an overpriced $189 per night for the luxury of staying at your establishment. Frankly, we're not sure our $64 per night was money well spent.

My darling hubs is quite a strong and capable man. If he wanted to borrow one of your luggage rack thingies to unload our luggage, you should have allowed it. Instead, you sent a very-not-needed bellman along with the luggage thingy who insisted on helping with our stuff, even though hubs had everything well under control. When I had the joy of following your bellman up to our room with LO while hubs moved the car (no valet parking, thankyouverymuch), you sure did take your time. Couldn't you tell LO was waaaaay past due for her afternoon nap? I just didn't have the time to stand by while you made small talk with your co-workers. Seriously. Oh, and the fact that you counted the tip hubs handed you before you walked out the room? Tacky.

While I know you were super excited to have us staying with you, the added luxuries were not necessary. Charging us for the sodas and bottled water we removed from the mini-bar so we could refrigerate LO's milk while waiting for your people to bring us the mini-fridge we requested? Not cool. Although it was quite interesting how the mini-bar was apparently all technology-driven somehow since we took the stuff out, put LO's milk in, then put the stuff back in exactly where it was. And magically you knew all about it, even though we never once allowed your staff in our room. Slick. That other luxury? Standing in my own filth as I took a shower? It was over the top. Really, we're those normal, grounded kind of folks who enjoy shower drains that, well, drain.

Now we certainly loved the fact that you removed those insane mini-bar charges after hubs stopped by your front desk and chatted with your manager. What we really didn't appreciate was the unexpected $14 per night "resort fee" we were charged. Especially since I called your hotel after Priceline booked us with you specifically to make sure there wouldn't be any "hidden charges" such as this. And of course I was told there wouldn't be. What really got us was the little card you enclosed in our check-in packet that explained this resort fee, and how it included "complimentary self-parking" and "complimentary" housekeeping-type services (which I was thinking most hotels typically provide for their guests). For your future reference, Webster defines complimentary as "given or supplied free of charge." The fact that we paid for the luxury of parking our own car and housekeeping-type services (which we didn't once use), but yet it was complimentary, but yet we paid $14 a night for it, although it was free, well, we really appreciate that, too.



Back from Vacay!

Hubs, LO and I returned from our very first ever family vacation, which we spent in Hilton Head, SC! We had a wonderful time on the beach, at the pool and seeing the sights of Hilton Head. Here's a photo recap of our trip! Enjoy!

We stayed at The Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa. If you recall, we got a great deal on Priceline at only $64/night, which was absolutely fabulous because we really didn't feel this resort was worth the average $189/night price tag. I'll share more on that later...

We arrived Sunday afternoon and headed right over to the beach. LO actually seemed to enjoy splashing in the water with daddy on day 1. Not-so-much on day 2 (as you'll see shortly).

For dinner Sunday night, we headed to One Hot Mama's. We actually intended to eat at the Hilton Head Brewery, but upon finding said establishment, we decided against risking whatever disease appeared to be running rampant in that location. Luckily, right next door, we found One Hot Mama's and had quite the delish dinner! It was hands down the best BBQ pork sandwich I've ever tasted! Yum!

After dinner, we made an impromptu trip to the local Harris Teeter grocery store to pick up some bananas (for LO's breakfast) and soda (for mommy & daddy's breakfast).

Then it was a quick stop at Marley's Ice Cream for--you guessed it!--ice cream! Yummy! LO wasn't too into it, but it was getting late and past her bedtime.

Monday morning, we headed back to the beach. This picture cracks me up because it looks like it was super-foggy on the beach! Actually, it was the condensation misty stuff all over my camera, proving just how humid and sticky it was out there!

Love this shot of LO hanging by herself.

As you can see, she didn't enjoy the beach the whole time we were there on Monday.

Here's our little social butterfly making yet another friend. She kept finding little tots her size to chat with and share her toys with the entire time we were in Hilton Head.

As you can tell, LO had her own plans for our family vacation. She had things to do, people to meet, wandering to do...

These are my two favorite shots of my two favorite people! Daddy and LO on the beach together.

Exhausted after a long day of beaching and pooling.

We did a little sight-seeing while we were there, too. This is the lighthouse thingy near some golf place on some part of the island (plenty of information, huh?).

Ah, The Salty Dog Cafe. We opted not to eat here just because it wasn't quite dinner time while we were on this part of the island, but I thought it would be nice to take a pic anyway.

Outside of The Salty Dog Cafe, there was a lovely little patio with live music playing. Not being one to pass up an opportunity to entertain strangers, LO busted a move. I think there was a Beyoncé move or two in her routine:

Later that night, we headed back towards our hotel and stopped for dinner at Guiseppi's Pizza. It was To. Die. For. I had a delish slice of pineapple pizza and helped LO with her spaghetti and meatballs. Hubs had some kind of a meat explosion wrapped up in a calzone of sorts. It would've been an awesome experience if it weren't for LO's bum. That's right. The poor little thing developed one of the worst diaper rashes ever, and being the horrible mommy that I am, I totally forgot to pack diaper rash cream.

So, after dinner we walked down to the Piggly Wiggly and picked up some diaper cream.

Well isn't that a wonderful note to end this post on? Diaper rash and diaper cream? Fun times. Actually, after the Piggly Wiggly run, we headed back to the hotel, put LO down for the night and started packing up to leave the next morning. I'll share more in another post about our hotel issues... We can't go on vacation and not have problems, right?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our Little Entertainer

Hubs and I were hanging out and playing with LO tonight before her bedtime and she was acting so crazy I had to share it with you guys! Notice how she takes the time to glance at mommy (the one with the camera, of course) with each go 'round. Isn't she a whole bunch of fun!? I think my favorite part is when she tries to clap for herself after she does a face-plant into the hardwood floor! What a trooper!

Enjoy the little glimpse of our little one! Leave a comment if you enjoyed watching and if you'd like me to post more video clips in the future!

What to Eat?

My little baby girl will be 13 months old in just a few days. It's so hard to believe how quickly she's growing up! I have to say one of my most favorite things about her growing up is the increased number of activities she can participate in--just like mommy and daddy. Walking, of course, was the biggest first milestone she reached. Now, if only I could get her to keep her shoes on, she'd actually get to walk around when we're outside! Silly thing! Another big milestone was the transition to "grown-up" food. This has been awesome in one sense, but extremely frustrating in another.

If you know anything about me yet, it's that I love to cook (and bake, of course!). But I'm having a hard time finding things to cook that hubs and I will enjoy but also that LO will eat, too! She is sooooooooo picky! First of all, the girl straight up refuses to eat meat. Any kind of meat. All kinds of meat. If meat somehow manages to sneak into her mouth, those little fingers will go in after it and get it out--pronto! Ugh. She also isn't a big fan of pasta, which both hubs and I could eat our weight in on any given day. So what will the little one eat? Corn. LOTS of corn. Green beans. Mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes (like they're goin' out of style!). Bread--but only sometimes if she's in the "mood" for it. One thing she could eat her massive 20 lbs. worth of weight in?

Gerber Lil' Crunchies.
Anyway, finding things that LO will eat is only half of the battle. The other question is whether or not it's healthy for her! See, I don't want to start her out this young with the bad habits I've got (cake, anyone?). I want to feed her healthy food and snacks. But it's so hard sometimes to know what the "right" things are that I should be choosing. Like, just because it has a Gerber label on it, does that mean it's the right choice for LO? I dunno.

I was surfing for info on this earlier this week and I found what looks like a great little book:

I haven't purchased it (yet), but it looks like this will be a great addition to my library! I mean, who would've known that Spaghetti O's are healthier than the ol' blue box of mac & cheese? Certainly not me! Would you believe I've been feeding LO Kraft mac & cheese since she started eating "grownup" food?! Ugh. I mean, really, it shouldn't be that hard. But this book looks like it'll be really helpful in choosing the right things to feed LO for snacks, when we're eating out, or even what to cook at home.

The best part? There's also a version of this book for adults. Guess I'll be adding two books to my library!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Lied.

I thought the Pollenex Wall-Mount Microban Showerhead was the answer to my showerhead's mildew-y, moldy yuckiness.

But alas, I was wrong.

Hubs was ever-so-sweet to install his own birthday present (ha-ha!) last night. Unfortunately, I was totally bummed to find out that there was absolutely no water pressure with our new purchase. Phooey!

I returned it to Sears today and decided to make do with the one we've got. I will give hubs some props, though. He impressed me with his mad cleaning skills. I put him to work with a spray bottle of Clorox 2, an old toothbrush and a handful of toothpicks (sounds like stuff MacGyver would use to escape a prison cell!) and our old showerhead was as good as new! At least for another few weeks before I make ask him to do it again!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Need This!

I had an epiphany today. It happened while I was in the shower this morning (don't worry, this story is most definitely G-rated!). I was looking up at the showerhead and, well, words cannot adequately describe what I saw. Pictures will, though:

Can you see it? Surely you can! If not, click on the images. Seriously. Do it. I'll wait. See it now? The disgusting, nasty, moldiness that is all over our showerhead! It's like all up in the little holes where the water comes out! Eeew! How can a person get clean in the shower when the water is passing through dirty, nasty holes? ((gag))

Now, I routinely force ask hubs nicely about once a month to clean the showerhead and remove any and all of the "goo" on it that most definitely should not be there. I guess I haven't been paying attention lately as much as I should have. I totally think I threw up in my mouth when I saw that nasty thing.

Enter the Pollenex Wall-Mount Microban Showerhead. Oh, baby! Check this bad boy out:

My goodness! "Manufactured with Microban™ antimicrobial protection integrated into the plastic components, this showerhead is the only showerhead in the marketplace that fights mold and mildew." Would you believe this thing retails for only $20.00?! Amazing! I've never heard of Microban antimicrobial protection, but I know deep down that this is a must-have for our household.

The best part? I think I've convinced hubs that he wants one of these for his upcoming birthday! ;) So it's a win-win, right? Really, it should save him the nagging cleaning of the showerhead each month. AND it would make ME happy. I'll go pick it up tomorrow at our local Sears. If only I can remember to slap a big ol' waterproof bow on it for hubs' big day!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vacation, Anyone?


Hubs, LO and I are heading out for a family vacation!!!

((stunned silence))

((crickets chirping))

Seriously! I'm so stinkin' excited! And you would not believe how easy it was to get hubs on board with the idea! For those of you that know hubs, it takes an act of congress for him to approve any frivolous expenditures like vacations (LOL!). Anywho, we were chatting the other night and I mentioned that I'd love to take LO to the beach again one more time before the summer's over. I didn't want to go back to the Isle of Palms where we typically go every May. I wanted to do something different. Go somewhere different. Experience something new--as a family.

I have always wanted to visit Hilton Head Island as I've heard great things about it and have seen some really beautiful pictures...

Goodness! I can't wait to hit the road! And I can't believe it but hubs is actually quite excited about our trip, too! But his excitement has little to do with being at the beach. He's totally trippin' about the awesome deal we got on Priceline! See, hubs was a "Priceline virgin" when I mentioned the idea, but actually was willing to give it a try (after reading tiny print and disclaimers and terms and conditions for hours and hours, of course!). Anyway, we managed to get a Resort hotel for $64/night right on the "main drag" of Hilton Head Island! He went to work the next day gloating and telling anybody who would listen all about it (and probably some who couldn't care less, too!). It was SO cute. But SO exciting! What a great deal!

I can't wait to tell you guys about the hotel when we get back and whether or not they stuck us in a tiny room with no view next to the maintenance/air conditioning room with all the loud noises. I'm not a big fan of hotels just because I can only imagine the germs and other lifeforms that may very well be coexisting with us during our stay (eeew!). But as long as we keep our socks on and have a big ol' bottle of Purell nearby, we should be okay! LOL!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's an Elmo Christmas!

This, my dear friends, is one of the more fun and exciting Christmas gifts we're getting for LO. Yes, in case you haven't been reading my blog and/or don't know me from Adam (or Eve?), I am a planner and like to do things as far in advance as possible. I'm just an organized person and I can't help it there's nothing wrong with it!!!
It's Elmo Live! Check out this little demo of the latest and greatest Elmo so you can truly appreciate him:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pork Gone Bad

Last night's dinner was a disaster. Ugh. I'm really trying SO hard to only use the ingredients I have on hand. I'll admit I did make a quick grocery run on Wednesday but it was only for milk and a few Gerber foods for LO.

So I was scrounging around in the freezer yesterday and found some pork ribs seasoned with a BBQ rub. If I recall correctly, I had purchased them a few months ago, kept them in the fridge a day or two, then plopped them in the freezer (prior to the expiration date). So they've probably been in the freezer for about two months. And I'm not one of those people that take meat out of it's original packaging and put it in special freezer-safe wrap or what-not. I just throw it in the freezer in the same packaging it came home from the store in.

Now I figured I'd call my fabulous sister to get tips on cooking these ribs since her and her husband make totally killer ribs! She said they typically season them, wrap them in foil like 4 times, then bake them at 250 degrees for a few hours. That way, all they do is toss them on the grill for a quick few minutes and voila! Perfect, delicious, fall-off-the-bone ribs!

Well, I had put the ribs back in the fridge about two days ago to defrost. After talking with my sister, I got them out of the fridge and prepared to put them in several wraps of foil. When I punctured the packaging, I almost gagged at the smell. Is pork supposed to smell funny? I dunno. I googled it. People said it wasn't unusual for pork to have a funky smell. One guy recommended rinsing it. Okay.

So I get over it, wrap it all up in foil and throw it in the oven at 250 degrees. Sweet.

About two hours later, I went to check on them. I opened the oven and suddenly was hit with the smell of... fish? Is that fish that I smell? Gag. It was at that point when I decided this pork would not be part of our dinner. It would be meeting our outside trash can in 3... 2... 1. Done.

Now, what can I make instead? I had some ground beef half-frozen in the fridge, but making meatloaf would take over an hour (note it's about 5pm at this time--hubs is due home any minute), I was too lazy to make meatballs with spaghetti, and nothing else sounded easy or good. I figured I could have hubs throw some beef hot dogs on the grill, but that totally didn't sound good, either.

So what did we do for dinner last night? My solution was the frozen pizza I found buried in the freezer. Whew!

Not really what I had in mind, but it worked!

And I'm happy to say that we've spent ZERO DOLLARS on eating out this entire week! And with the exception of my $13.97 shopping spree at Blooms on Wednesday, we've spent NOTHING on groceries!

Note to self: My shopping list is growing very long since we haven't done any shopping this week. I'm afraid when I do return to the grocery store next week, my total spending will be DOUBLE what it usually is... Who's great idea was this again?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cookie Time!

Today was the beginning of what will most definitely be a mommy-daughter tradition: baking cookies! What a fun time we had! The best part that this was LO's first taste of mommy's chocolate chip cookies! We made them together (as best we could considering she's only 1!) and she got to enjoy all the best parts of baking!

Here's our delicious cookie dough:

Here are the beauties right after they've been popped into the oven:

Here they are after baking a few minutes:

And here they are just about finished:

Voila! Here are the delicious chocolate chip cookies LO and I made today:

Now that you've seen the cookies through the whole process, let's see what LO was up to the whole time...

Here she is enjoying the beater. Isn't that really the best part of baking anything? Yum!

She's going to town!

Oh! No more pictures, please, mommy...

Once the cookies were cooled, she got to have one of her very own! Mmmm!

Do you think she enjoyed her first chocolate chip cookie?

Oh, ya!

Of course I'm not a cruel mommy... You can't tell from these pictures but LO did have a sippy cup of cold, refreshing milk with each phase of our cookie baking! You can't eat chocolate chip cookies without milk, silly!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Food Challenge

I'm trying something new this week. I told hubs that we're not going to eat out or buy groceries all week. It was just a weird whim that hit me yesterday (note: several days after my most recent grocery run) and I thought it would be a fun (and money-saving) challenge. I even gave hubs an advanced warning that I can't promise that what I'll be throwing on the table by Saturday will actually be a) edible and b) food.

I realized a drawback of my ingenious plan today. This means no lunch dates with daddy! Granted he was extremely busy at work today and wouldn't have had time to meet us, but I had gotten up early and was showered and dressed by 9:00 AM (believe it or not!) since we had a play date here at the house. So after LO's nap, our afternoon was W-I-D-E open. But, alas, we made do with some leftovers from yesterday (and threw out the leftovers from last week---eeew!). Dinner was a yummy chicken noodle casserole and I even found a strawberry Jell-O cheesecake mix in the cupboard, so dessert was a nice (and delicious!) surprise!

I have no clue what we'll be eating the rest of the week. And I'm really missing the idea of having lunch with hubs. But it still seems like a fun challenge. I can see just how creative I can be in the kitchen. And just how far hubs is willing to go to be nice and say, "Mmmm, honey! This blackened barbecue pork biscuit and bean pudding really IS good!" LOL! :)

Monday, August 11, 2008


How fun is it to watch the Olympics? Hubs and I had the realization during the opening ceremony Friday night that this was "our first Olympics!" We started dating and were married in 2005, so this is the first Olympics we've experienced together. What a fun thing!

We both enjoy watching the swimming, diving and gymnastics stuff. Not so much the track n' field or outdoors-ie stuff. Watching that men's relay 4x100m swimming last night was amazing! I thought there was NO WAY team USA would pull off a win for the gold. It was SO amazing to watch it happen!

On a completely unrelated note... How many of you are active FaceBook users? I signed up last week and have found about 30 friends I know. I'm just not sure I see what the big deal is. I guess part of it is that hubs is a bit overprotective when it comes to the information we (in other words, "I") share about us on the Internet (afraid of freaky stalker-type people), so I don't plan to share photos or any other kind of personal information. But the little applications and walls and things just don't make a lot of sense to me. Maybe it's also because I'm already plugged in to Twitter? Maybe because I share photos with friends and family via email and .Me web galleries? I dunno. Just can't tell what the big fuss is. Oh, well.

Staying Connected

Okay, I just have to vent for a minute. I do NOT like my ISP. You know, Internet Service Provider. Unfortunately where we live, we have only ONE option for high-speed Internet service: Charter Communications.

Seriously people. I've looked into it. AT&T DSL? Not available in my area. Verizon DSL? Not available in my area. Satellite Internet service? Ya, it's available, but it's butt-expensive and not reliable and quite slow. So we're stuck with Charter.

I've had SEVERAL poor experiences with said ISP. Phone calls, emails, live chats, visits to the local office. If I had ANY choice whatsoever, I would ditch them in a heartbeat.

So why am I complaining about this now? Because. Not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES my connection "mysteriously" disappeared yesterday afternoon alone! We're talking over the course of, say, 3 or 4 hours. Each time, I had to get my lazy self off the couch, walk over to the modem and unplug it, then unplug my AirPort Express wireless router, too.

Wait 10 seconds...

Plug the modem back in. Wait for the lights to show it's working again.

Plug back in the AirPort Express. Wait for the wireless connection to come back up.

Try displaying whatever site it was I was trying to access in Firefox before the connection was lost.

This happened THREE TIMES! I'm telling you, I cannot stand this company. Can you say, "Monopoly!?" How is it they can get away with offering such POOR service to their customers? And are we really considered "customers" if we would drop them the very second another comparable option cane along?


Customer service has gone down the toilet these days, and it's only gonna get worse--resulting in more and more companies going "overseas" for support personnel, which ultimately involves more "huhs?" when trying to get troubleshooting support for that HP printer.

What a wonderful way to start out a Monday. Complaining.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

LO's 1st Birthday Party

Okay, folks! Here it is! The long-awaited, much-anticipated post all about LO's first birthday party! :) Sorry it took so long to put this together! I just wanted to be sure to capture all of the highlights of the planning, party, etc.

So let's start with the invitation. I chose the "Hugs & Stitches" theme, but didn't want to send a generic invite where I fill out all of the lines inside for Who/What/Date/Time, etc. I wanted something a bit more personal. So here's the standard invite that can be purchased in the theme:

I enlisted the fabulous design services of my incredible sister-in-law (she's getting married in September--check out her blog!), and this is what she came up with. It was absolutely fantastic and perfect! This is the outside of the invite...

Sooooo cute, right? Well, check out the inside (some info has been removed for obvious reasons):

The invitation couldn't have been more perfect for this party! Now let's move on to the BIG DAY! LO was absolutely hilarious when I came home with a bunch of balloons--I think 13 in all! She was in heaven! We could've just called it a day after letting her play with those balloons (and tangle them up like crazy--thanks to Gramma and Grandpa for untangling them!).

It wouldn't be a party if we didn't grab a pic of the food. Yes, the food.

Here's a pic of the cake. A good friend of mine manages the bakery at our local Bi-Lo and she let me get all crazy about how I wanted the cake. As with all things, everything wasn't perfect with this party. The cake was one of those things. I had an image in mind of what I wanted, and I described it (and even drew it out) quite well! Unfortunately, they decided to make the cake look exactly like the napkin... who wants a gigantic napkin-cake!? Whatever. It wasn't as pretty as I was expecting, but it sure was delicious. It was a white cake with raspberry filling and yummy buttercream frosting. YUM-LISH!

Here's a picture of LO's smash cake. Isn't it cute? This one was a yellow cake with buttercream frosting.

Here's LO and me (yes, that's my hand!) as everyone is singing "Happy Birthday!" to her. I was worried she'd get embarrassed or super-shy with everyone staring at her and singing. But, no! This little girl is quite the entertainer! She was just eating it up!

Hmmm... Her first thoughts of cake were a bit perplexing. She wasn't quite sure about it at first, but definitely got the hang of eating such yummy cake!

Here she is enjoying the cake. Notice that adorable pic on the TV in the background? Oh, yes. That was the dreaded video presentation that was the thorn in my side the day before (and day of!) her birthday!

When LO was done with her cake, she made sure to let everyone know it! She has this adorable(?) way of clinching her jaw, making fists and squealing when she's frustrated or angry or upset or doesn't get her way. Am pretty sure it's adorable right now, but it will probably get old at some point. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure she gets this trait from her mommy's side...

LO really wasn't that interested in the opening of presents. I was surprised!

Of course, I made a novice mommy error in opening the biggest (and what ended up the most engaging) toy FIRST. It was electronic, had lights and sounds and everything. She was engulfed in this toy the entire time so mommy ended up opening all of her gifts. Fun.

Here she is playing with a stuffed piggy she got from a dear friend of mine. She loves her piggy!

Later after all the gifts were opened, she got to play on the ride-on toy we had opened first. Here's hubs pushing her around the living room (isn't he handsome?!).

Big surprise... LO loved her new bean bag! And one of those durn popcorn popper things? Ya, she would literally pick it up and carry it everywhere instead of roll it on the ground so it makes noise. Not sure I mind this technique...

Here she is chillin' with her popcorn popper on her new bean bag.

At the end of the day, it was time to put in one of her new "Elmo's World" DVDs and break in the new bean bag. Can you tell she had a long day?

Now, for those of you who may have children, this part may be hard to believe. See, LO had a short morning nap before the party (like 9:00 AM), and had a short afternoon nap after the party (around 5:00 PM). She hung out and played with us all afternoon. Keep in mind she typically goes to bed around 8:00 PM. Well, my dear friends from Atlanta drove up for the party, but were leaving that evening. We got to talking and decided to go out for dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew. It was 8:30 PM, people, when this decision was made. So we were heading out to dinner a good 45 minutes past her bedtime. We had no idea how she'd behave.

Oh. My. Goodness. I don't know if she was on a cake high or what, but this child was a pleasure the entire time we were at dinner! I couldn't believe it! I brought all kinds of entertainment, snacks, drinks, a paci, her teddy that she sleeps with--even had a back-up plan for hubs or I to take her out to the Jeep to watch a DVD if she got super restless. We didn't need any of that stuff! Okay, maybe some snacks, but that was it. She was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! We didn't put her to bed until almost 11:00 PM and--as you can imagine--she slept like a baby, even though she's officially a toddler now!

Anyway, that's the rundown of LO's first birthday party! It was amazing, fun, exciting and all-around wonderful! Hubs and I celebrated the fact that we made it through our first year of parenthood, and LO celebrated the greatness of her one year of life! We are looking forward to all of the milestones and accomplishments that await our LO during year #2!

We are SO blessed!!!