Wednesday, February 29, 2012


So yes, just in time for Annaliese to eat baby food...a week later she learns how to blow raspberries on her own!  I guess we've somehow "created a monster", but she's the cutest little monster I've ever met.  You may think this video is boring, but I thought it was worth showing the world :)

Learning Sounds

Annaliese has been "ooo"ing and "aahhh"ing a lot lately and it's just so darn cute!  Here's a little footage of our adorable "Bug". :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dedicated to All of You Proud Parents

I found this poem awhile ago and I love it, so I thought I'd share.

If you’ve ever:

…gotten a lump in your throat while you heard the heartbeat of your baby;

…unwrapped your newly swaddled baby, completely out of curiosity;

…held the feet of an infant to your lips;

…gotten tears on your baby’s head in the middle of the night while feeding him or her;

…been so tired you handed your spouse a sippy cup instead of a beer;

…researched the cure for croup, at 3 a.m.;

…picked a tiny nose with your pinky finger;

…stumbled over your words, as you explained something so very big to someone so very small;

…wished with all your might for moments forever lost in time;

…surprisingly realized there were tears on your cheeks;

…paced the halls of your home, mentally willing a fever to break;

…wondered how it was possible for a little person to eat so much;

…wondered how it was possible for a little person to eat so little;

…discussed growth spurts, cradle cap, and the colour, consistency and smell of poop;

…were surprised at how long his little legs were getting as you re-tucked him in, before retiring for the night;

…felt warm vomit down your back as you try to calm your frightened child;

…laid awake and wondered if you could have done something better;

…heard 18 excuses why he doesn’t want to go to bed;

…bought those new shoes despite the fact you’ve had yours for 3 years running;

…baked 32 cupcakes at 10:30 at night;(after doing a milk run in your pajamas);

…filled out a field trip form, only to worry about all the things that could go wrong;

…volunteered for that field trip to put your own mind at ease;

…stayed by the window after allowing her to bike to the variety store;

…talked candidly about sex and drugs, all the while nursing knots in your tummy;

…felt your heart soar along with his when he saved the game;

…been mad at someone else’s kid for hurting your kid’s feelings;

…taught them how to cook a meal/do a load of laundry/long division/anything, and somehow not ripped your hair out;

…been more excited than ever for Christmas morning, just to see their faces;

…spoiled them rotten when you got a few extra bucks;

…made her favorite meal, just because;

… tussled his hair, and pulled him back for a kiss and a hug when he squirmed away;

…laid awake at night and willed time to slow down;

…thought you’d never, ever feel love like this – so raw and powerful – leaving you so very vulnerable…

…then you’re doing it right.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Encounter With Baby Food!

At 4 months and 9 days old we decided to let Annaliese try her first "big girl food" from a jar.  First up, sweet potatoes!  Justin and I were both surprised at how well she did!  We recorded a video for your viewing pleasure :)  Enjoy and watch our big girl blossom right before your very eyes :')

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Remembering the Positives


You all know what it's like to reminisce about the good times and the bad times, right?  It's usually easier to recognize the bad times that stand out in your head rather than the good.  Sometimes people can have a healthy balance of both.  One year ago today is a day that I can specifically remember as a 'positive' day...literally.

You've read in my previous posts this week about how Justin and I met and how we got engaged.  Justin and I have always been very open and honest with each other about everything and I love that we have that connection.  We both love to talk and can carry on a conversation for hours and hours.  It's certainly one of my favorite pastimes.  With that being said, after we met we of course wanted to know everything about each other and one of the topics that was particularly important to the both of us was family goals and values.  We have always wanted children and wanted to wait until we met that special person who we could see spending forever with.  Well after we met and dated for almost a year, we both couldn't imagine our lives without each other and knew that this was forever.  Someday when he was able to, Justin would buy a ring and propose to make it official.  Well because those feelings of certainty were shining in our love struck eyes, we decided to fully let God be the judge of whether we were ready to be parents or not.  Justin and I had pretty much decided that we were not going to prevent pregnancy and after we got married we would TRY to conceive.  We bought the book What To Expect Before You're Expecting and 5 months after we were married our lives came to a sudden change.

It was an early Wednesday morning and my "friend" was 2 days late.  We had some pregnancy tests on hand and we decided that because I was 2 days late, I might as well take a pregnancy test.  Justin was getting ready for work.  I took the test and within seconds the "+" started to appear.  My heart started racing, my mind started racing and I couldn't get to Justin who was in the room next to me quick enough!  I sat the test on the counter and met Justin in the hallway and said "Uuuuumm....honey?  You might want to see this."  He met me in the bathroom and looked at the counter with me and got a huge smile on his face!  I said, " Well it looks like we're pregnant, but it might be a false test.  I'll take another one tomorrow to see if we get the same results." However, part of us knew that we were in fact pregnant.  That whole morning while Justin was continuing to get ready for work, we met again in the kitchen and just smiled at each other.  Thousands of questions rushed through my head.  What if this test is right?  What if today is the day that we became aware that we are actually expecting a baby?  Should I start eating better and stay away from junk food all together?  Should I start religiously taking my prenatal vitamins?  Would that glass of wine that I had for Valentine's Day dinner affect the baby in any way?  There was no way that Justin was going to be able to concentrate at work.  And there was no way that I wasn't going to be Googling my head off at home.  
So he went to work and didn't concentrate while I was home Googling.  The next day, I took another test and another "+" came up.  I was still in disbelief, so I took 2 more tests and 2 more "+"s appeared.  I guess it was true! 

After obvious disbelief...
And one more just to quadruple check...

 Yep!  We were PREGNANT!

We were very blessed and fortunate to be able to conceive at all and so quickly.  I was going to be a mommy!  My husband was going to be a daddy!  The biggest and most important role you will ever have in your life...a parent. 
Wow.  For days we waited to tell the family because we wanted to get confirmation from the doctor first.  And as soon as we did, we made up plaques for each of our brothers and our parents and gave them as gifts.  First was Justin's parents, brother and his wife.  Then was my mom and brother.  For my dad and step mom who live in New Jersey, we emailed theirs to them and called them to hear their reaction just as they read it.

We later told our close friends and then after we were out of the first trimester, we told the rest of the world!  Waiting to tell everyone was SO HARD because we were so excited, but we didn't want to tell everyone so early just in case we had difficulties.  I'll never forget those wonderful positive moments filled with so much love and joy from our family and friends.  Thank you to all of you who were there for Justin and I to share in our love and excitement.  It means more to us than you'll ever know.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 14- Heart

Today's photo of the day topic is: Heart.  This is my heart wearing hearts.  She wore a nice little ensemble today for Valentine's Day.  Black leggings, a"Little Lady" t-shirt with a lady bug on it, red skirt with black hearts with a matching cardigan.  We had so much fun today working on daddy's Valentine's Day project.  After days of preparation and working with Anna to capture pictures, it turned out pretty well and daddy loved it!  Not too bad for my first craft project in years.  

Here's the original that I got the idea from.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy "red roses, chocolate candies, sappy cards, white diamonds, sexy lingerie, special dinner date" Day!  I know, it's crazy that all of those things seem to somehow make up this day.  Especially when the story of Saint Valentine really doesn't have anything to do with those things, or love really.  Thank you to the businesses and commercialization that helped make it that way.  Well that was supposed to be sarcastic... but being a woman with a wonderful husband, I don't mind the modern Valentine's Day traditions. :)  If you'd like to know more of the real legend of St.Valentine click here, but I won't bore you with the story if you don't really care to know.

Since February 14, 2009, Valentine's Day has always put an even bigger smile on my face than years before.  That day for me was the day a woman, with dreams such as mine, waits for with anticipation of beginning a new adventure with her partner.  The day I was asked a very important question.  The day I gave a very important and anxiously awaited answer.  The day that would change my title in my relationship.  The day that would lead me closer to marrying my favorite person in the world.  Welcome to my story of our engagement.

That year Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday.  Justin had to play in a Jazz gig on the Friday night before.  Cassie was supposed to attend the gig, but she stayed home not feeling well.  Justin is the type of person to get so excited to give a gift to, that he can't wait for the actual day of celebration.  So he had planned on proposing the day he had the ring in his hand.  He left work early that day...Friday February 13th, went to go pick up the ring, went to his gig, showed his parents the ring (who had come to watch him play guitar that night) and told them that he was going to propose later that evening.  When he returned home he found his girlfriend passed out on the couch still not feeling well.  He was a little disappointed, but knew it would happen the next day, which happened to be Valentine's Day.
Cassie awoke alone with a Valentine's Day card beside her bed that read "For My Wife"...
She made her way to the kitchen to get some coffee, while Justin was standing there.  They hugged and said to each other "Happy Valentine's Day".  So a curious Cassie, says to him..."Thank you so much for the sweet card, but I have to ask...why the 'wife' card?"  He answered, "Well you know we're going to get married someday, so technically you're my wife already.  Unless you just want to go to the Justice of the Peace and get married today?!"  Cassie laughed, and said "Well no...I would...but I would like to have a real wedding with all of our friends and family there, with the dress, and the cake, and the dancing..." 
And with that, Justin found that to be the perfect drop to one knee...pull out the ring, and say "Well if you want a real'll need a real ring.  Will you marry me?"  Of course Cassie said "YES!!!!!!"
We started making phone calls and sending out mass texts at about 9am of the great many people predicted that we would be calling them to announce our engagement.  Why else would you call close friends and family on Valentine's Day at 9am? :) Later that afternoon we received a very nice floral bouquet from Justin's brother, Ashley and his fiance ( wife) Jenn, Congratulating us on our engagement and wishing us a Happy Valentine's Day.  It's by far the best Valentine's Day ever!

So needless to say Valentine's Day holds a dear place in my heart for this moment alone.  Each year on this day, I reflect back and realize all that he and I been through since we've been together.  All that we are as individuals.  All that we are as a couple.  All that we are as friends.  All that we are as siblings.  All that we are as children.  And this year I'm able to think of all that we are as parents.  After all, this day has been molded over the years into a day where you should tell the people in your life that you love, that you love them!  I see no harm in that at all.  I view Valentine's Day as a day to pick up the phone and call (or text, or email, or skype, or facebook, or tweet, or instant message, get the idea) and tell the people who may need a reminder that you love them.  Even the people that don't need a reminder, the people that know deep in their heart that you, yes YOU, love them.  Those people love to hear that you love them!  Why not say those three little words and spread the love?
I am sure to tell my husband everyday that I love him.  I try to make sure that he can feel the love I have for him.  We all know that actions speak louder than words.  Every time I see or call a friend or family member, I make sure I tell them I love them.  Love is a wonderful feeling and it should be spread around the world.  To people, to pets, to nature, to everything.  It's the way to live, grow, and die happy.  Simple truth.

Ok enough about that.  Sometimes I get carried away and get in too deep and drown in my own words!  HA!  Anyway, hope you all have a great day and a Happy Valentine's Day!  Remember someone loves you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shots, Needles and Cries, Oh My!

Today was Annaliese's 4 month check up and her first shots since birth.  Luckily Justin had off work so that he could go with me and hold my ha--...I mean hold Anna's hand while she got the shots.  She got 3 vaccines with a needle and 1 oral vaccine that she had to drink.  Of course she wailed after the first needle was given and it was a cry we had never heard before.  It wasn't so bad actually... but it still was one of the worst things I had to go through.  Seeing someone "hurt" my daughter and cause her pain and hysterical tears...ugh!  I know everyone says it's really worse on the parents than it is on the child and I'll be the first to admit that was the case for me!  I know it's for her well being and health, so I can't complain too much.  I just wish there was a 'happier' way to give it to her!  

But on a good note, she's a-growin up fast!  She weighs 14.14lbs and is 24 1/2" long, both in the 75th percentile for her age.  She's going to be a tall young lady!  Good thing she didn't get her height from me.  She is also able to start on baby food now!  Mommy and daddy are excited about that!  

Here's some updated photos of our growing girl!

Sitting up all by herself

Checking out her new sneakers

Playing with her giraffe

Loving her activity mat!  SMILE!

Day 13- Blue

Today's photo of the day topic is: Blue.  This is Annaliese (of course, I mean did you expect any different?) sitting in her blue Bumbo seat.  These are pretty cool cause they help babies sit up at a young age and use their stomach muscles to gain strength to sit up on their own and it's working!  Anna can sit up by herself for 10 seconds before leaning and falling over now!  She's getting so big!  Just look at those feet!  Love them!

How I Met My Forever Valentine

In light of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I wanted to share with you how Justin and I met.  Many people often wonder how two people meet.  So before you ask, I'll tell you.  I wrote the short story below for our wedding website 3 years ago.  I wanted to write it in the 3rd person as if you were reading it from a book.  So here it is.

Cassie and Justin met the night of Sept 1, 2006 at the local Amvets club in Chambersburg, PA.  Cassie was asked to be a bridesmaid in a wedding of a friend from high school.  Justin was asked to play the guitar at the reception.  The night before the wedding, while the girls were decorating tables and centerpieces, Justin arrived to set up his music equipment and test the sound quality.  As we all know Cassie loves music, so of course she was enjoying the few riffs being played as she was diligently helping the girls with the decorations.  Then a wonderful tune came across the room...."My Cheri Amour" by Stevie Wonder.  This caught Cassie's attention immediately.  She walked over to Justin told him that Stevie Wonder was one of her favorite artists and that song was one of her favorite songs.  He kept playing the song...
So the day of the wedding, after the ceremony, we all headed back to the reception to celebrate.  Of course Cassie found herself on the dance floor for most of the night.  During one of her few breaks, she sat down at a table with 2 other bridesmaids and Justin came over and complimented her on how nice she looked.  She was very flattered and complimented him on his dapper attire right back.  They spoke nothing more but made eyes at each other for the rest of the evening. 
After the wedding, Justin went to the 2 bridesmaids house to ask about the girl he was complimenting earlier.  He was sure that she was a sister of the bride (who was 16 at the time).  Everyone was very shocked to find that Justin was interested in the 16 year old sister of the bride.  This of course, wasn't the case, but they did look very much alike.  He wanted to know more about Cassie.  A week later he contacted the bride after she returned from her honeymoon and asked for Cassie's number.  He called her that night...and they stayed up and talked for hours...They hit it off from the start and have been inseparable ever since :)

It's really funny how things work out.  Justin and I have never really believed in soul mates until we met each other.  I have never met anyone who was so compatible with me in my life, until I came to know him.  We have the same interests, the same life goals, the same humor, the same family values...the list goes on and on.  Of course every relationship has it's ups and downs but it's a VERY warm feeling knowing that I will be married to my best friend in the whole world for the rest of my life.  I have never been so sure of anything else, and neither has he.  We do not believe in divorce or infidelity.  We can and will make it through anything especially with God on our side.

Sorry for the sappy love story.  Some may find it beautiful (as I do) and some may find it disgusting.  I don't care for other's opinions.  I would love you all to be truly and honestly happy for us as well as any couple in love, but I know not everyone can do that.  The reason for this post, other than it being Valentine's Day tomorrow, is because Justin and I went to see "The Vow" yesterday as part 1 of our Valentine's date (part 2 will be tomorrow- dinner at Red Lobster) and I guess you can say I've been touched by the story.

The premise for the movie (which is based on a true story) is a young husband and wife, very much in love, get into a bad car accident.  The husband, Leo, makes it out with just scratches and the wife, Paige, ends up having amnesia.  Only partial amnesia to where she can remember everything in her childhood up to her adult life, right before she met her husband.  She recalls nothing of Leo and he has to try to make his wife fall back in love with him again.  The story was very sad, but with a happy ending. (No spoilers here!  Go see it!)  Situations like this makes you really think about how precious life really is.  If that were to ever happen to me and my husband wouldn't remember anything of me, I don't know what I would do.  He and my daughter are my world and I would be lost without them.  

Dedicated to my husband, my best friend, my life.  
"I Will Always Love You"

- Also in memory of the great Whitney Houston who unexpectedly passed away this weekend.  Rest In Peace.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 12- Inside Your Closet

Today's photo of the day topic is: Inside Your Closet.  Odd request, but there you have it.  My sweaters.  Stay warm!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 11- Makes You Happy

Today's photo of the day topic is: Makes You Happy.  This is my new Vera Bradley diaper bag that my wonderful husband gave me for Valentine's Day this year...along with a matching wallet and eye glass case.  I LOVE them all and they definitely make me happy!  :)  hehe!

Really? I have a 4 month old?

It's really true.  Today I have a 4 month old daughter.  It's really amazing how fast the time is going.  She is already 1/3 into her first year of life.  8 more months until her first birthday party.  Wow.  Annaliese is getting so big and seems to be growing taller and stronger and more aware of things everyday.  She is reaching out for things with her hands.  And when she's not reaching out, those hands are in her mouth!  She is still teething, but still no teeth have made it through yet.  We're waiting though.  She was able to roll onto her back from her belly while using some object (usually her crib or her mommy) before, but now she is able to roll to her side and back without any problem all by herself.  She also has figured out how to "scoot" while laying on her belly or her back.  Within a few minutes she is 2 feet from where she started out, so we have to keep an eye on her more closely now.  She has become (drum roll please...)  MOBILE!  We're told it's all downhill from here!  haha!  She has complete control of her head.  She is able to somewhat pull herself up while holding onto our hands.  She has found her feet and likes to try to fit them in her mouth.  She can sit up all by herself for a matter of 3 seconds before she falls over (and lands gently in our hands), so that's a start!  Month 4 might be the month she is able to completely sit up all by herself.  Oh and she is SO smiley now!  She is so much fun to play with!  She laughs and giggles and smiles and squeaks all the time now!  Talk about constant happy tears!  She is also 100% sleeping through the night too!  (YAAAAAAAAY!!!)  Sometimes she likes to fight sleeping (which we think is CRAZY!) and cry for 30-45 mins before falling asleep in the evenings and that's usually between 10pm and midnight.  Talk about a long day.  On occasion she will wake up crying between 2am and 4am but when I go get her, she falls right back asleep in my arms and will finish sleeping through the night, for a total time of usually 6-8 hours (even up to 11 hours).  And still during growth spurts, while she's sleeping more through the day, she is also eating more through the night (just one feeding as opposed to none).    

I'm still just incredibly shocked that I am a mother.  I don't know why it's so hard for me to just accept.  Maybe because I've wanted this for so long.  The first 2 months of Anna's life, I felt like I was just babysitting a baby who looked like my husband and I for a very long time.  But now it feels more real.  I still cannot get over how much bigger my heart has grown.  I never thought that I could love someone this much, ever.  I never realized how human beings could be capable of this strong connection, this innocent and unconditional love.  I'm learning very quickly how much I want to protect her, nurture her and teach her.  I always want her to be happy and not stick out her bottom lip so far with a huge frown on her face; which she is getting to be more known for when dealing with strangers and people she hasn't seen in awhile.  We are trying to get her out more, but it's hard because there are still a lot of people getting sick in our area, I guess because of the flu.  And it's so darn cold outside!  The average temperature is like 25 degrees.  BURRR!!!  It will certainly get better when it's warmer out!  I plan to take Anna on a daily walk around the neighborhood and take her with me to places so she can get more used to being around other people.  She is getting a lot better but still has her moments where she gets scared and wants mommy or daddy.       

Here's a few pictures of our growing baby girl within the last few weeks.

Sitting pretty watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!  She LOVES Mickey!

Mommy disturbed her watching her "Baby First TV" shows

Sleeping soundly after eating

Hanging out with mommy on the big bed

My buddy and me

Having an appetizer

Ready for the Superbowl!

Pretty blue eyes!

Playing with her feet!

Look at those lips!

Having a serious talk with mommy

Fell asleep after playing in her gym

Having a serious conversation with her seahorse

Scooted completely off her play mat

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 10- Self Portrait

Today's photo of the day topic is: Self Portrait.  Since my beautiful daughter was born, I rarely take pictures of myself anymore.  Seeing as though today's topic is a picture of me, I thought it should have my sidekick in it too!  We we're playing on the floor so I thought it was a great time to turn the camera around and snap!  Look at that pretty baby with blue eyes!  My eyes are more greenish hazel and daddy's eyes are more brownish hazel.  They say 1 of 4 babies will have a different eye color than their parents.  Maybe she's that special one!  But we'll have to wait and see.  Their eye color isn't determined until at least 12 months, so it still may change.  We hope it stays :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 9- Front Door

Today's photo of the day topic is: Front Door.  Sure, why not?!  Well, not much to say about this one...pretty self explanatory.  Here's our front door of the house that we currently rent.  She's a beauty, huh?  But hey all jokes aside, I'm thankful we have a house and a house with a front door...that locks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 8- Sun

Today's photo of the day topic is: Sun.  And since I live in Pennsylvania and it's a cloudy/rainy/snowy/cold February day, there was no sun to be found.  So I had to improvise.  I used a picture from our honeymoon to Negril, Jamaica.  August 2010 on a Caribbean I wish I felt that nice weather right now!  Hot is my kind of weather!  Oh yes, I remember this sunset.  We were on our way back from living out one of my life long dreams of swimming with dolphins!  (See one of the biggest grins I have ever been capable of producing below)  

Anyway, the sunsets on this island were breath-taking each and every night.  Just happened to catch this one in motion with the reflection on the street.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 7- Button

Today's photo of the day topic is: Button.  I chose to take a picture of our tv remote control.  I know it sounds like a silly idea but the reason I chose this is because my father-in-law always used to call the tv remote "buttons" and I always got a kick out if it!  "Where's the buttons?"  Gotta love that southern slang!  :)  
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