{From the Archives} Montreat 2012 Trip

It’s that time of year again!  After taking a year off {to have a baby!}, Bets and Jay are off to the mountains of Montreat, NC again!  And, call me crazy…but I’m taking all three kids up to meet them…by myself.  So say a prayer, cross some fingers, and wish me luck!  I’ll be back next week!

Well, we are finally back from Montreat, NC and slowly getting back into the swing of things.  It’s amazing how even four days away can mess with your household!  Unlike last year, it was a beautiful week in the mountains….not too hot and no rain!  We shared my last post with the scrapbook photos with the high schoolers that Bets and Jay brought this year, and they loved it!  They were completely amazed at how I used a disposable camera (no retaking those blurry shots!), and at how cool the three of us were back then! =)

So, to recap…Bets and Jay are our best friends from Maryland.  They are our kids’ godparents, and their little Lulabelle is like our third daughter.  Betsy, Jay and I grew up together in our church, which they are still members of, and now the youth counselors at.  So they are continuing our church’s tradition of taking the youth group to Montreat each summer.  And since Montreat is just a couple of hours from us, the girls and I try to meet up with them for a couple of days while they are up there.  While the youth group stays in the lovely dorms at the college, the girls and I prefer the local Marriott!

And although Jayna did sleep in her own bed at night, this is what I awoke to each morning!

And since this trip was a first for Millie….I decided to bring and break in my brand new stroller.  Can I just say that it is awesome!  It has like 12 different sitting combinations, but the one we used was Millie in the front seat, Lulabelle sitting on the jump seat, and Jayna standing.

And Betsy pushing. Did I mention we were in the mountains?

We finally gave up on pushing all three girls, and put Millie in the front pack and made the big girls walk!

Jayna and Lulabelle were so stinkin’ cute together.  Jayna was all about playing the cool big sister….and although she is great with Amelia, I think she truely enjoyed manipulating helping Lulabelle…from buckling seatbelts for her, to convincing her that she liked pickles, to teaching her how to hula hoop!

And every year, the scenery just takes my breath away.  Lake Susan is like glass, framed by a baby blue sky and mountains.

Jay and some of the boys noticed huge fish sitting on some of the rocks at the bottom of the lake….tadpoles?  Man, they are gonna be some HUGE frogs!

But even the small details had me appreciating the scenery.  All of the buildings are stone, and they have gorgeous hydrangias around every corner.

I even caught this little inchworm hanging {literally} by a thread!

While the big kids were in small groups, we took the opportunity to spend some time with Betsy and Jay.  There is this cute little park at Montreat that has great playground equipment, and then several creeks running through for the kids to play in.

And although they tried hard not to get wet…both girls ended up soaking wet and laughing!

It’s a good thing Jay was willing to get wet too…that mountain water was COLD!

Now we just need to get Dave up here!!

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Fourth of July Recap

The Fourth of July is one of our favorite holidays around here.  Not only are we a family of military vets and have tremendous pride for our country, but we also happen to live in a neighborhood that is big on celebrating!

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Thanks to the Target Dollar Spot, we stocked up on tattoos, headbands, glowsticks, flags, and decor.  All completely necessary since we were participating in our neighborhood’s annual Fourth of July parade.

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

The parade line up stretched over several blocks, as wagons, bikes, and golf carts were decked out in red, white and blue garb.  Some of the golf carts blared patriotic music, while others had bubble machines going and threw candy out to the few spectators {mostly moms and grandparents with infants, as everyone else participated!}.

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Even little Lincoln attempted to participate by sporting a stars and stripes-themed burp cloth…but he just couldn’t keep his eyes open for the parade!

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

The parade ended at our community center, which happens to be an old farmhouse with a cherry orchard.  We set up a couple of tents with some of our neighbors and joined the rest of the neighborhood for a potluck BBQ, swimming, and…pirates!

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Captain Tom {who actually lives up the street} sailed in on his golf-cart themed pirate ship, and led about a hundred kids on a plantation-wide treasure hunt.

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Throughout the day the adults participated in corn hole tournaments, while the kids ran relay races and just played in the massive fields.  I just loved watching them delight in old fashioned Tag and Duck, Duck, Goose!

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

And of course the girls enjoyed the evening finale of fireworks.  We are so lucky to have fantastic {and professional} neighbors who shoot them off for us every year {and a neighborhood fire department to supervise!}.

Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

Happy Fourth of July!

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Lincoln’s Newborn Photo Shoot

I know, I know.  Lincoln is well over a month old.  And I’m just now getting his newborn photo shoot pictures to you.

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

I’m so sorry…I’m still trying to figure out how to fit blogging into the 12 minutes a day I now have to myself.  I suppose when I start getting more sleep, you’ll start getting more blog posts! =)

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Once again, I am absolutely in love with Rachel Weber Photography’s photos.  She is amazing.  We use her all the time, and I’m tickled that she has photographed my kids for most of their lives…which makes each shoot so easy, since my kids are so comfortable with her.

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Usually, Rachel shoots my family outside.  She is fantastic at capturing the true personalities of the kids.  They certainly aren’t canned smiles, but somehow their souls shine through the photos!  For this session, we shot inside of Lincoln’s nursery {other than a few shots of the whole family out on the front porch}, to take advantage of the bright, natural light…while keeping him comfortable.

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

And what’s better than a happy baby?!?

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Family of Five

People keep asking me, “so how is it having three kids now?”

Newborn Shoot by Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

I bought the kids’ coordinating outfits from Red Pajamas on Etsy….aren’t they adorable?

And my answer is always, “Great!”  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for the world {well…most days!}.  But we are still struggling to find our groove as a family of five.  All in all, juggling three kids is not much different than juggling two.  The biggest challenges are coordinating “get-out-the-door” time with “feeding-spitup-blowout-time” and teaching the girls to have patience while I deal with baby stuff.  We do a couple more loads of laundry each week now {thanks to Lincoln’s excessive spitting up}, and it’s admittedly a little harder to navigate grocery stores and crowded VBS hallways while lugging a heavy infant carrier too.  Thank goodness for my carrier tent and carrier cushion, which keep germ hands away from Lincoln, and saves my arm!

Newborn Shoot by Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Overall, we are slowly starting to adjust.  Jayna is super helpful with holding, feeding, burping and diapering.  Millie is a little less enthusiastic about her brother, but still loves to kiss him and bring him pacifiers.  Maggie ignores him.  Dave has stepped up and is wonderful about nighttime feedings and dealing with the “girl drama” so I can get a break here and there.  Lincoln is a content baby, and really only cries when he needs something.  He eats every 2-3 hours, but after feeding and burping, I only have about an hour free in between.

Newborn Shoot by Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and PigtailsNewborn Shoot by Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

So admittedly, my house is a wreck.  I haven’t vacuumed in days.  I haven’t cooked in weeks {stay tuned for how I’m able to pull that off!}.  I have three goals per day.  Goal #1: Keep everyone alive.  Goal #2:  Attempt to keep my sanity.  Goal #3: Accomplish something. Anything.

I keep my expectations low each day, and so far, I haven’t really been disappointed!  Even if that means that some days my goal is to just empty the dishwasher.  Other days, my goal is to get a 20 minute nap.  Either way, as long as I accomplish it, I’m happy!

Newborn Shoot by Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

Meet my new family of five!

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All photos on this post were taken by our favorite family photographer, Rachel Weber Photography.  To see more of her work with my family, check out our pregnancy announcement photos, our fall family pics, and Millie’s newborn photo shoot.

Bonus points for you if you can find which of my kids is a model on Rachel’s Portfolio Page…

Lincoln’s Birth Announcement

Just wanted to officially “announce” our son, since I can’t send each and every one of you a postcard birth announcement.

Clever, huh?

It's a Boy!  Funny announcement card

 Haha, just kidding!  I saw this on Pinterest and laughed out loud…both at the thought of my grandmother inadvertently participating in a card like this, and the just general absurdity of it!  Admit it, you are giggling too!

Here’s our real birth announcement:

Lincoln's Birth Announcement from Shutterfly - Palmettos and Pigtails

I think my grandmother will like hanging this one on her fridge better, what do you think?

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Introducing Lincoln!

Hi there!  Did you miss me?  I missed all of you, mostly because I just couldn’t wait to share our newest bundle of joy with you!  Lincoln has officially arrived, and we are slowly getting used to our new #familyoffive {the hashtag that I have been using on Instagram, if you want to follow me!}.  Thanks to post scheduling, I’ve been able to concentrate only on my family for the past two weeks, miraculously being able to pretty much stay off of the computer.  It’s been heavenly.

Our new #familyoffive from Palmettos and Pigtails

Let me back up and tell you Lincoln’s birth story:

His official due date was May 21st, but for about 2 weeks before, I was having some pretty intense Braxton Hicks.  This happened with Millie too, and resulted in her induction and VERY fast delivery a week early…so I got scheduled for an induction on Thursday, May 15th.  We went in at 6am and I got all hooked up to IVs and my Strep B antibiotics by 8:30.  The nurses started my Pitocin at 9am, increasing the drip level every half an hour.

Welcome to the world, Lincoln!

By 11:00, I was bored and uncomfortable. I was having lots of pressure and contractions about every 90 seconds.  But, I was still only 2cm dilated {yes, you read that right, I was less dilated than I had been at my 39 week appointment!}  Talk about frustrating.  At 1:15, the nurses broke my water, and I had very slow progression of dilation after that.  Finally, I got my epidural at 5:30pm and became a little more comfortable, but more frustrated at the lack of progression.  I was afraid that I was going to end up having to have a C-section since he wasn’t coming on his own.

I went from 5cm at 8:45 to 9cm at 9:10…my doctor {who was off duty and home doing homework with her kids!} was called and she arrived just in time for my pushing to begin just after 10.  I pushed through 3 contractions {so a total of about 3 minutes} and Lincoln Christopher was born at 10:15pm.

Many thanks to the Delivery Dream Team {aka Dave and Loo}, who have coached me through three amazing deliveries now.  And I had a fantastic set of nurses and doctors who went above and beyond to help deliver Lincoln.  I’m always impressed at our experience at our hospital…the staff there are just. so. great.

Lincoln weighed 8 lbs 14 oz and was 20.5 inches long.

The girls came on Friday morning to meet Lincoln, and they were so sweet with him.  Jayna immediately wanted to hold him {and did hold him for about 45 minutes!}, while Millie gave a couple of kisses…and then wanted a snack.  Typical.

So, here we are at home now, slowly figuring out how to do life as a family of five.  The girls have been terrific so far, “babysitting” their brother so that I can try to get some stuff done around the house.  Jayna loves to feed and burp Lincoln, but has informed me {after witnessing a couple of Lincoln’s “fountains,”  that she won’t be doing diaper changing!}.   And Dave has been wonderful with nighttime feedings and picking up the slack around the house.  And our friends and neighbors have been Godsends, feeding us almost every night!  All in all, we are settling in!

Stay tuned for more updates!

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{From the Archives} DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List

School is officially out.  My parents {who stayed with us for a week to help with the baby} are officially gone.  Dave has gone back to work.  And now I am home with three children by myself.  All. Summer. Long.    Luckily, we have a couple of weeks of Vacation Bible School and cheer camps and such.  But what about the rest of the summer?  I needed ideas!  

So I brought out the Summer Bucket List we created last year and Jayna was occupied for over 30 minutes putting the “puzzle” of the words on the cookie sheet.  And viola! Instant ideas for simple activities this summer!  Here’s my post from last summer on how to make your own Magnetic Summer Bucket List.

So, you’ve finished writing your summer bucket list.  You know, a list of all of the places and activities that you’d like to do this summer?  Well, for this post’s sake, let pretend it’s done {if it’s not and you need ideas, check out mine….or this one….or this one}.  How on earth are you going to display it?  And be able to cross things off on it in a functional way?  And have it NOT get lost under a pile of bills/magazines/children’s drawings?   I came up with this AWESOME way to display our Summer Bucket List!DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List - PalmettosandPigtails.comIt’s like magnetic puzzles pieces that the kids take off each time the complete an activity, and literally place in a bucket. Cheesy, I know.  But so far, it has been a tremendous hit!DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List - PalmettosandPigtails.comWant to make one?  I made mine in about an hour.  The most time was spent on deciding which fonts I wanted to use.  Do you recognize the chalkboard bucket?  It’s the same one {from the dollar store} that I painted to use with our Disney Countdown Chain and Disney Countdown Activities.DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List - PalmettosandPigtails.comStep 1: Go to www.picmonkey.com and choose “Edit a Photo.”

Step 2: Open any photo that you have.  Click on the “Overlays” button on the left hand side.

Step 3: Click on “Geometric” and choose the rectangle shape.  Use it to completely cover your photo.  Change the color to white.

Step 4: Click on “Text” from the left side, and, in SEPARATE text boxes, type out all of your activities.  Change the fonts as you please.DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List - PalmettosandPigtails.comStep 5: Move your activities around and change the fonts and sizes as needed to fit into your picture.

Step 6:  I chose some little pictures {the pig, fire, and the cricket} from the “overlay” tab on the left hand side.DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List - PalmettosandPigtails.comStep 7: Once you have everything where you want it to be, go back and choose some colors! {click on each word to edit}DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List - PalmettosandPigtails.comStep 8: Print onto magnetic paper.  Don’t forget to UNCHECK the “fit to frame” box.

Step 9: Cut out each activity.  I tried at first to cut rectangles around each activity, but found that it was much better to do it “puzzle style” and make some of the shapes different {for the sake of having to put it back together after you cut it apart!}.DIY Magnetic Summer Bucket List - PalmettosandPigtails.com10. Reassemble your magnetic Summer Bucket List puzzle on the back of a cookie sheet {I spray painted mine and hung it with ribbon on the wall}, or on the fridge.  I wanted mine accessible so we could pull the activities off easily, but not TOO accessible where the kids would mess with it.

Step 11.  Start enjoying your summer!

{From the Archives} St. George Island, Florida

That’s right folks….still on “maternity leave” enjoying my new and improved family!  Thought I’d do a TBT {Throwback Thursday} today in honor of my in-laws, who just retired and bought a house at one of our favorite beaches, St. George Island, Florida.  Here’s a post from September 2012, when we visited the island for a week with them:

Thanks to my sneaky blog posting, you may not even know that last week we were on vacation!!  We headed down to St. George Island on the panhandle of Florida for a week at the beach with Sue Sue and Papaw, and his parents, Granna and PawPaw.

The weather started out rainy, but it turns out that a couple of days cooped up in the house actually did us good!  It gave us plenty of time for puzzles, reading, and indoor swimming!

Jayna loved playing “Guess Who” and “Memory” with Sue Sue….especially since it was a glass table!! {cheater!}

The house was beautiful…four stories with five bedrooms-each with it’s own balcony.  We spent most of our time on the main porch off the living room.  Fantastic views of the ocean! And a great place to make {and enjoy} some homemade ice cream….

We made a few trips to eat and shop in downtown St. George as well as neighboring Apalachicola.

Dave and I had a date night one night and ended up at a karaoke bar named Tamara’s.  I’m just kicking myself for not having my camera {and Dave wouldn’t let me use my phone!}…because Tamara’s apparently is THE place to be on a Friday night!  There was karaoke.  There was line dancing.  There was everybody in the whole stinkin’ town!

It. Was. Awesome.

But….I don’t have any pictures of the shin dig.  But there was plenty of dancing the rest of the week!

And yes, the weather cleared and we got several perfect days at the beach.

But one day, the guys saw a shark in the water while they were fishing.  I didn’t actually get a picture of it, so I made a true-to-life rendition…to scale, of course.

 Needless to say, we stayed on the beach that day.

What a pretty family! {If I do say so myself!}

 Til we meet again, St. George……

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Holy Strawberries, Batman!

I love Spring in the South.  Not just because it’s when Dave and I got married, but because of all the fun stuff that happens in spring! The pool opens, the weather starts warming up, and…strawberries.

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

We are very fortunate that we live about 5 minutes away from a local strawberry farm.  Which means we are literally  overflowing with berries this time of year.  Usually, strawberry season lasts all of April, and into May…and we go picking several times during the season.  We just cannot get enough of those sweet, ripe berries!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

This year, it was a little chilly on our picking day, but one of the first sunny days we’d had during our spring break…so we NEEDED to get out of the house!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

I called my friend Diana, who just lives down the road, and we all met at the strawberry patch.  Have I ever told you about Diana?  She and I were best friends growing up in Maryland….she moved to South Carolina in 6th grade, but we remained “pen pals.” {remember those?!?!}  So when I was looking to relocate somewhere sunnier, beachier, and less trafficier than the DC area, I came to South Carolina to visit.  And fell in love with The South.  A couple of months after I moved down, Diana and her hubby got transferred to Myrtle Beach {which is about 2 hours from me}…but luckily, she recently moved back to my town!  And now our kids are all best friends!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

I just LOVE that they are getting to grow up together!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

After our buckets couldn’t hold any more strawberries, we traded for new buckets and the kids hunted for sweet peas on the vine….and ladybugs.  I think they were more into the lady bugs than peas!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

Then we headed back home for lunch and batches, and batches of Strawberry Jam!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

For my recipe for the best Strawberry Jam EVER…click here!  We ended up with about 8 pints of strawberry jam… and we only used about half of the strawberries!

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A Pep Talk for the Baby

Have you heard of Kid President? He’s a ten year old boy who’s got more wisdom in his words than most of us combined!  He gives pep talks to the people on YouTube….and he dances!  So cute, but with a great message.

So in honor of our Baby Lincoln coming today, I thought I’d share one of Kid President’s newest pep talks….one for a baby on it’s first day of life.  Priceless!  Feel free to show your kids too!

If you can’t see the video on this post, click this link to go directly to it.

And, for the record, I’ve scheduled some posts for next week, but I’ll be on “maternity leave” for a bit…so bare with me while I bond with my new, expanded family….and be ready for some pictures when I get back!

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