Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And this is life 10 years later....

So I had my 10 year high school reunion this past weekend. And while I loved high school....I also know that I would never want to go back and do it again. So I expected to enjoy it....just not as much as I did. It was so great to see people and catch up. High school reunions are just kindov a weird thing. Throwing such a big group of people together who may or may not have liked each other at the time and then you add 10 years on. But I thought we had a fairly good turnout and everyone seemed genuinely interested in everyone else's life. The other thing is that Shawn and I stayed out on Friday and Saturday night past 11pm. And this in itself is a huge milestone. My mom was great for making that happen. When we got home Saturday night she was still awake with the monitor glued to her ear "just in case" she made a noise. I think she was secretly hoping she would wake up:) Great fun was had by all and it made me wish bad that my group could get together more. Enjoy the pics!!!







Other parts of the weekend...

Olivia like to lick in lieu of kisses. Here she is really lathering Aunt Kat up!
I think she was telling Nana thanks for all the fun they got to have that weekend:)


Can you see the bottom 2 teeth? Have you ever seen anything cuter!?!
Signing off...have a great week. London/Scotland Part 2 is coming soon I promise!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

London and Scotland: Part 1

Our trip to London/Scotland was upwards of 2 months ago. So I'm not sure what I was waiting on in getting this post up. I think life got in the way. When we arrived home from London after travelling for too long we came home to a house with no air (for the 2nd time) and woke up the next morning to a sick child. Olivia and I both got the flu, I started a new job and now it is almost October. Here we go....

If you know me at all you know that I take tons of pictures of everything I do. And that number has quadrupled when it comes to Olivia. Therefore, tons of pics from the trip. Which means that you will get to see several posts from this trip. And b/c I simply don't have the patience to upload all the pics I want to in one sitting.

It all started when the US Airways flight went down in the Hudson. It was a tragic thing and thank goodness no one was hurt. But something for you to know is that when tragic things like that happen....airlines put tickets on a major sale. It's sick I know. But we took advantage of it and bought cheap tickets before Olivia was even born. And seeing at the time we didn't know that Olivia would have such a great personality and be a good traveler I made Shawn buy insurance on them in case we had to cancel. Our trip was a success and we really had such a great time.

We chose London b/c we had both been there several times and were pretty familiar with it and wanted a place like that since we were travelling abroad with the baby for the first time. But still had things we wanted to do and see there.

Many people looked at us like we belonged at the crazy farm for flying that long with a baby voluntarily. But we agreed when getting pregnant that we wanted to keep travelling and wanted our kids to be cultured and get to see and do as much as possible. And I knew that unless she went through a complete personality change she would be fine flying. And she was.

We stayed in Nashville the night before so we would have to add any additional travel time on that day and it was great. We played all morning and didn't have to allow 2 hours driving time to the airport. Nville to Charlotte she slept and then we got on the big bird to London Gatwick. The flight was overnight and she probably slept 6 of the 7.5 hours. Now this was not a deep sleep and she would wake up fairly often and fuss for a second and go back to sleep. We switched off holding her and didn't get to eat much or pee....but it was almost ideal. When we landed the lady sitting right across from us said (in a great English accent)..."You're a designer baby really. My boys screamed through all flights." I assume designer baby is good:)

We arrived, cleared customs, and walked straight to our hotel, the Hilton Gatwick. Some pics are below and more later!!!

Before heading to the airport. Shawn was reading the paper and apparently someone else needed to know the headlines too.


One of the smartest things I did on the trip. I bought 2 twin sized $3 sheets at Walmart. I cut them each in half and had 4 "blankets" to take with us to put on floors. I threw them away after a day or two so we wouldn't have to reuse what had been on the airport floors. This let her crawl around w/o me worrying about germs and took up hardly any space in the suitcase!!!


We have arrived, took a nap, took shower, and are ready to hit the ground running!


I thought this was a cool pic. We were at Harrod's and the sky was very cool against the building.


The famous red telephone booths. I ALWAYS have my pic made in front of these! The irony is that they are always disgusting inside and always have inappropriate pics people have put in them.


Day 2 I think? We are strapping her in for the walk to the train. I cannot even explain what a good traveler she was.





We really tried to go to areas we had never been and this pic is in Notting Hill. I had always wanted to go and it was great! They have a famous Portabella Road flea market and it was really cool. Interesting stuff and a great atmosphere. This was a beautiful area of London and I wouldn't mind staying there next time.


Gotta love public restrooms! The cool thing about this is that when someone finishes and leaves water shoots out from everywhere and disinfects it. It was probably one of the cleanest public restrooms I've ever been in. This is one of the many reasons I love Europe.


We are chilling in Kensington Gardens here. Isn't she precious???? We tried to find parks to take breaks in around feeding time. It gave me privacy and let her crawl around and gave us a good spot to change diapers. And it was actually nice to have a slower change of pace on trips than we normally do.


Family shot....Kensington again


So we have moved on from the gardens and are in front of Kensington Palace now. We didn't go in this time but my first visit to London we toured here and it is great. They were doing an amazing display of Princess Diana's dresses. I highly recommend going here! If you look close you can see that Olivia is asleep in her carrier on me. After the first day or so she got used to the fact that when it was nap time we would put her in the carrier facing in and she would go to sleep quickly. I was amazed that the loud noise of the city never bothered her. My scarves came in handy b/c I would use them to cover her!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Annual LaborDayFest

Every Labor Day my mom's family gets together. We always have an amazing time and I think everyone feels blessed to have such a big, fun family. I think this year was one of the biggest b/c some of the cousins who live the furthest got to come. Now that Shawn and I are living in KY we got to host some of my fam at the house and ended up with 5 babies age 2 and under and 9 adults! Now THAT makes for an interesting weekend:) It was chaotic but we had a blast and I was not ready to tell everyone bye. I've uploaded a bunch of pics and will let them speak for themselves.

FYI...don't drink the water b/c there is an unbelieveable amount of babies in this family! By the way...did anyone make it home with our remote???






























Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ode to Sephora

One of my favorite places ever to shop (or just to look) is Sephora. It is a meccca for makeup, hair, and body products. And there is something about "beauty products" that I just adore. And while I prefer to pay more along the line of WalMart's prices....I will shell it out if it promises to change my life (or hair/skin/face). I get mesmerized by the pretty packaging and the promises to make your skin glow, make your eyelashes long and full, or to make your hair shiny. Does this sound bizarre? Because I'm 100% serious.

Oh and the best part...when I was there a couple of weeks ago and gave them my shopper card they said...oh Mrs. S, you had a birthday and we have a gift for you. What!?!?! I could hardly contain my excitement as they gave me a FREE gift of lip glosses that I now love. So I'm listing some of my favorite Sephora products.


Christian Dior "Diorshow" Mascara. Thanks to my mom I have very fair eyelashes and not that many of them. This mascara is amazing and is well worth the money. However, due to the fact that I have decided that Sephora has a new expensive foundation that I can't live without I have decided to go on a brief hiatus from purchasing this.


And I'm now using this. It hails from WalMart and only cost me $7. It is actually really good and might be a keeper. I will always have a special place in my heart for Diorshow but this is def good competition.


The latest and greatest find is this HD Makeup Forever. It's supposed to make you look good on camera....for all those times I'm on camera. But I truly love this. The person helping me took my makeup off and put this on and it changed my life. But along with this I had to by the makeup brush that helped to change my life. I opted not to buy the expensive primer and now realize that it helped the life changing process as well. But I still love it.


One of my other fave things is this Urban Decay eyeshadow primer. You may wonder why in the world you would need eyeshadow primer. Well, I generally use very cheap eyeshadow or whatever comes in a free gift and therefore it rubs/fades off by like 10am. Not anymore:) This stuff is great.



At this point I'm going to call it a night b/c this is getting a bit ridiculous and I could go on forever. But it is 10:20pm which is way past my bedtime.




One last thing you should know is that she had Avacados for the first time tonight and unfortunately loved them. These are the most expensive and disgusting vegetables. I could have gagged feeding her but am trying to be open minded and feed her things even though I don't like. Avocados....but not bananas? Whatever.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

So the blog fairy has gotten ahold of me b/c this is post #2 since Friday. I'm taking time out of my busy schedule of laying in the bed and watching the new episode of Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami to update friends and family on what is going on in me, Shawn...but mostly Olivia's life. I will also take this moment to tell you that I'm about 4 months behind in her baby book and am hoping this post will serve as a reminder to what she is doing at this age.

So she is seven months and one week old. Everyone told (and still tells me) how fast it will go by. And every time I smile and nod. But it is so true. It makes me sad that it is flying by so fast but happy that she is healthy and progressing normally.

So here is what is going on with her...
  • She is probably up to 17lbs now....she was 16.5 at her last dr's visit
  • Can't remember how tall (ok maybe this is a bad idea)
  • Still wearing 3-6 month size in clothes...although I think we are going to have to bump up in the near future
  • Size 2 diapers
  • I finally started her on solids at 6.5months. The plan was to wait until 6months but then we both got the flu and that went out the window. Im so glad that I waited b/c I really feel like it was the best thing for her. And on a selfish note....feeding this child is for the birds! Do you have any idea how long this has extended meal time? Shawn was feeding her the other day and in frustration said....can she just have milk forever? Yes, it is a messy disaster and takes forever. BUT....she loves it and is a good eater. She's had rice and oatmeal cereal: loves, bananas: hates, and sweet potatoes: loves. Next up? Avocados. Don't ask.
  • She goes to bed about 7:30pm every night and sleeps anywhere from 5am - 6:30pm. If she wakes up at 5am then she eats and goes back to sleep for a while.
  • She sometimes wakes up during the night. But the funny thing is that we never even have to go in there. She just chatters and talks to herself for awhile and then goes back to sleep. So funny.
  • She started crawling right at the 6 month mark and is in full swing now. We have a lot of hardwood and tile in our house and she does not like to have her knees touch it. It is sooo funny to see her try to crawl and keep her knees in the air at the same time.
  • And as of a few days ago she can pull herself up to a standing position. Although I've tried to explain to her what a "sturdy" piece of furniture to pull up on means. She doesn't get it. As today she pulled up on the rocker and knocked herself backwards about 4 times.
  • She is the happiest baby. I hope this personality stays with her forever. Even when she is tired or not feeling good she will almost always give you a smile.
  • She is a great traveler. Although I think her days of sleeping on the carseat for long periods of time are over.
  • She absolutely GLOWS in social situations. Its almost like she sits there and waits for someone to look at her so she can flash them a big grin.

Ok....I think that was more than enough unecessary information:) Can you tell that we are like head over heels for her!?!

This is what we have been finding lately when we go to check on her and she should be napping!


I mean what do I do with this?




We went to Paducah this weekend to do some shopping. And you should know that everytime someone goes to the bathroom in our house we take a picture. Every SECOND of her life is documented.


Further documentation


So when we went into Hobby Lobby we did our first attempt at no car seat and using this cool cover. The cover is so cute and soft...I'm thinking....if only someone would push me around like that. Anyway, she did good and seemed to like the view outside of the careat.

Have a great week!!!
Lauren

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm back....

So I have been having a debate with myself over whether or not to continue to blog or not. My last post was several weeks ago. And while I have many charming and witty things to say....I just haven't been able to make it happen. But I'm going to give it another go and see if I can't do better. I also received a threat from my friend Katy that she was going to "call the blog people" if I didn't update. Im thinking it was an empty threat....but she's pretty feisty and is still fired up at her cable company for sending a repairman covered in staph infection to her house. Get em.

One of my complaints is that it is easy if I'm just typing text. But the truth is that I don't have that many creative things to say and all people really want to see is pictures of Olivia. So blog people help me....when I upload pics they automatically go to the top of my post. And it is takes an act of congress for me to successfully move and arrange the post how I want it to look. Any suggestions???

So here is an update on the Smee's. And considering that there has been LOTS going on I have decided to defer to the old faithful bulleted list.
  • Our air went out for 3 weeks and we fought hard with our warranty company and then the repairman to get them to pay for it
  • The repairman ended up telling me after 2 weeks that he would no longer work with us b/c we were too difficult (let me take this time to say that I was nicer to him than anything you have seen b/c I wanted my air fixed! But he was sketchy and had a horrible reputation around here. So....don't let the door hit ya....)
  • Repairman #2...Steve. Steve is great and had it fixed in a few hours
  • We leave to go to London and Scotland.
  • Had a fabulous time and Liv was a fabulous traveler. She behaved better that several adults on the plane. Will post pics and more details later.
  • Returned from London in time to drive home through a horrific storm that had all semis pulled over on the side of the interstate.
  • Walked in our house to instantly know that our air was out again
  • Fought with the warranty company again and Steve came to our rescue and had it fixed...but not until 3 days later
  • Morning after we get home Olivia wakes up with the fever. Dr says she has Type A influenza and it is very contagious. She was so sick that day and it made me so sad. Her first illness.
  • Next morning....I have the flu and literally think I might die. I cannot stress how awful it was. But I lost 10 lbs
  • Im sick and on my deathbed for over a week. Olivia recovered in about a day.
  • I recover and start my new job one week late. I'm sure they are proud of the stellar person they hired.
  • During all of this drama I have left vmails unanswered along with email and fbook messages. I have yet to give my parents their anniversary gift that is sitting in my purse and my poor friend Hannah has gotten nothing either.
  • Here we are......that is life in a nutshell for now!!!!
video

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tell me how I'm supposed to breathe with no air

This is the tune I've been singing to myself for a week. That's right. A week. It took about 5 seconds after getting home from work Monday to realize that somehing was very wrong with our air conditioner. But yet it has been over a week and still no air.

Here is the short of it....we have a home warranty which is great until you have something that needs to be fixed pronto. They don't do pronto. But the upside is that with them you pay a flat $50 deductible everytime something happens. The alternative was to buy ourselves a new unit at the going rate of $4600. So you can see the motivation we had to wait for our air.

The warranty company picks the people to come and do the work. Well, the person they picked took about 30 seconds to tell us it had been struck by lightning. Shawn and I took that at face value because what do we know about air conditioners??? After telling people at work the diagnosis they started saying...that does not sound right. Get a second opinion. So we did. The 2nd opinion stated that it was out due to wear and tear. Right.

Warranty company will not pay for storm damage or "acts of God"
Homeowners insurance will not pay for wear and tear

So we have two diagnoses and two companies that we pay to insure our house. This should be easy right??? Wrong.

Homeowners still has a $1k deductible and will not cover wear and tear. Even though company #1 says lightning we are pretty sure that they do not know what they were talking about (apparently this air man was a professional photographer very recently and has done just about everything under the sun....none of which he was good at). So when the homeowners insurance sends out their adjustor they will quickly realize that it was not lightning and therefore will cover nothing.

So our best option is the warranty company. Know that we are not trying to beat the system. I can't help it that the warranty company deals with sketch people who just wanted me to pay them cash for a new unit.

So we have been battling Warrantech for over a week at this point. Shawn figured that we have logged about 40 calls with them. We have been nice and ugly. At one point I told a girl that I refused to get off the phone until I had an answer....so we just sat there for a while. And I have been drafting a letter in my head that I will send to the president of the company.

I should note this....our upstairs does have a separate unit. But I don't like to point that out b/c it makes my complaints not seem as valid. But they are valid b/c upstairs is just a bedroom. There is no kitchen, living space, or any of Olivia's stuff. But I told Shawn that we should be grateful that we have that...a lot of people wouldn't. Shawn and I debated calling again at lunch to check the status of the parts that sketch repairman is waiting shipment on. But we decided we didn't want to set ourselves up for dissapointment and have prepared ourselves that for the 9th night in a row we will not have air.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How much does it cost to go to the lake???

An extra $100 if you are part of our crew and didn't realize that the KY Lake is so shallow in some areas that your pontoon will drag bottom. And then the nasty marina man had the nerve to insinuate that we "should have known" that every cove you enter coming from the north has a sandbar. Really?? Really???? I am sorry Mr. Marina Man but where we come from in Arkansas the lakes are several hundred feet deep. Ok. Rant is over. There is a rental pontoon with a brand new prop and I'm sure we are better for it. Whew....glad I got that off of my chest:)

But yes, outside of the extra dough we had a fabulous time on the lake! Both of my brothers came for a visit along with my brother Philip's girlfriend Shellie. All of us plus a couple of friends from work and we were set.

Most things these days are adventures b/c it is usually Olivia's first time for everything...lake included. So there is always the tiny bit of me thinking....I hope she does ok with this. No one wants to be stuck on a boat in the lake with a miserable baby...myself included! But she was great and seemed to really like it. There was one minor glitch of a forgotten binky, but that was taken care of by Shawn (who was I think secretly terrified at being on the lake without the binky). So we made our slow way back through the no-wake zone to dock and get binky (I think it might be a harder day for him than it will be her when the binky goes away).
One thing that goes along with our boat draggin bottom in the shallow lake is that feet also drag bottom when you get in to swim. I swim in lakes fairly often but for some reason had the creepers this time about all the possibilities of what could be in there. I resolved to never let my feet touch the bottom and made one incredibly inappropriate comment about the possibility of bodies being at the bottom. I meant it with all reverence and just did not want to come across one with my feet.

Big thrill of the afternoon? A leech. On our boat.

Before moving to KY I had never encountered wildlife like I have here. And I'm going to put the leech in the category with wildlife for right now.
It was disgusting. And somehow Philip convinced Shellie it would be a good idea to put it on her finger and let it attach. Bless her, I don't know how she will recover. Nevertheless, we threw the leech back in the water and all checked our privates when we got home to make sure we had not acquired any more unwanted wildlife.

I think it's ironic that even people who are clean and try to (in general) avoid germs will jump into the lake like it's a chlorinated pool (and I myself fall into this category). I mean this is basically a big bathtub full of thousands of people's germs as well as scary wildlife. One of my brothers tried to defend the lake water by pointing out...doesn't it all flow into a river and therefore cycle out the dirty water? Not fast enough my friend, not fast enough.




We are fixing to leave the house. We have packed everything but the kitchen sink. And we have one very excited duck on our hands.




Prior to the realization of missing binky/past naptime saga.


Stephen, Philip and Shellie. Prior to the leech incident otherwise Shellie would not be smiling.


And she is asleep....



We think we are alone in the water....

Until this...


And this....


This picture is a tribute to the missing sibling Kathryn. Please know Kat that our empty arms and bunny ears means we missed you bad:)