Friday, December 14, 2012

DATE NIGHT!

Guess what world?  Husband and I are going out on a HOT DATE TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yipppeeeeee!

It is shameful to tell you how many times we have gone anywhere alone in the past 7 months. 

Our first time going anywhere alone was about 3 weeks after E was born.  Guess where we went?  To the Health Department in our city to get our whooping cough shots together!  Romance at its best.  We stopped off for a sonic drink….so that made it a date. 

The second time we went somewhere alone was to a church banquet.  We went there alone….but there was a bunch of people there.  So…..

The third time was just a few weeks ago, when we went to see “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the theatre.  However, we went with another couple.  So…….

I told you.  Shameful. 

Even though we have hardly gone anywhere, we still have had time together at home after E goes to bed. 

BUT…..

I could not be more excited about this evening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just my sweetie and me.  Out on a date on a Christmasy night.  I will be soaking up every moment. 

We are making a resolution for the new year to be better about scheduling date nights and not allowing anything to come between our date schedule!!!! 

We have a huge problem about saying NO to stuff and people. 

A romantic post coming soon!  :) 

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wish I could wear crazy Christmas vests!

I am a crazy Christmas lady and I don’t care who knows it!!!!

I am the person that wears Christmas tree earrings and jingle bell bracelets.  I would wear more Christmas shirts,  but then I cross over into the realm of ugly sweater lady….and that’s just not good.  But when I’m 80, you know I’ll be wearing those Christmas vests with pride! ha! 

Even though Eleanor is too young to really do many Christmas festivities this year, I have still been wanting to start a bunch of new traditions with her. 

Here is my Christmas Festivities List this year:

Get a real Christmas tree-  check

Get new family stockings with our names- check (tim & I’s say mom & dad!!!! :) )

Go to the Springfield Christmas Parade

Put up outside lights- in progress

Take a family Christmas card picture- Check

Decorate E’s room- check

Decorate ornaments for the tree

Make sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve

Read the Christmas story in Luke as a family on Christmas Eve

Take E to see Santa at Bass Pro

Have a baking day

Drive around with cocoa as a family looking at lights in our city

Make a hand & foot print of E for a Christmas craft

Watch our favorite movies and have a yummy dinner as a family

Try a new cookie recipe

Deliver some surprise treats to a family in need

Drink sparkling grape juice by the light of the tree with husband

Get Eleanor the Fisher-Price nativity set

And that’s all I can think of right now! ha!  And obviously we won’t get to all those things this year.  But they are all things I would love to do.  I love starting new traditions! 

Do you have a special tradition with your family?  (that I can steal from you!)  :) 

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Merry Christmas Friends!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Turkey Day Recap

There is nothing better than celebrating the holidays with our Eleanor! 

Last week we had the best time at E’s first Thanksgiving!!!! 

I am completely obsessed with holiday clothes for E….so I am super happy I was able to find her several Thanksgivingish clothes for the month! :) 

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One of my favorites being her turkey butt jammies!

I got a little sad when I was shopping the other day because I realized that she is almost out of the sizes where they have animals or cute things on the butts of clothes!  Nooooooooo!  I love this so much.  I guess it would be wrong for an 8 year old to walking around with a turkey on her butt! ha!  I am enjoying my last little bit of  cute prints on E’s butt!

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We all woke up on Thanksgiving morning to run the Turkey Trot in our city!  It was our first time….and we will definitely be making that a tradition.  There were so many people there.  It was nuts.  E seemed to really love it.  She kept trying to get out of her stroller to look at all the runners! 

I am just now getting back into exercise and I was totally feeling it after the race!  haha!  :/ 

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The above pic is our family Thanksgiving pic.  E is wearing her turkey dress!  And yes she is sucking her thumb! :)  She has turned out to be a full blown thumb sucker.  We tried and tried to keep the paci, but she started refusing it.  We get LOTS of comments from people like….. “you better not let her do that….it will ruin her teeth!” We even get comments from strangers about it.  It is a tad frustrating.  (and annoying!)  I always keep my mouth shut.  But this is my personal blog, so I guess I can rant a little right?  What I want to tell those advice-givers….You try to stop a 7 month old from putting her thumb in her mouth!  :)  And rant over.  Plus, Eleanor is an extremely content and happy baby.  So thumb sucking isn’t all bad! 

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Just another pic of E in a Thanksgiving shirt.  And our cute little Maddie! BFF!

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That face makes me MELT!

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My momma and I went out black friday shopping!  We had the best time as always…..but it was way more relaxed this year since I am still breastfeeding.  It wasn’t a marathon like it has been in years past. haha!  We can totally shop for a ridiculous amount of hours!  We made several pit stops so I could feed and cuddle with Eleanor. 

Just wanted to recap our Thanksgiving festivities!  And now the Christmas season is in full swing and I could not be more excited!!!!!! 

Did anyone go out shopping on Black Friday?  What did you shop for? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree!

This year Tim and I decided that we would go all out and get a REAL CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was such a fun time!  I wasn’t sure how I would like it…..and how it would work out for us.  BUT…we have decided that we love it and it will be happening every year! :) 

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We went out to the cutest tree farm!  On the way we stopped for a caramel mocha coffee.  Delightful!  We listened to Christmas music, Eleanor was talking away in the backseat, and we were talking about our first Christmas as a family of 4!  (we don’t forget little Maddie!) 

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It was a perfect crisp morning for tree shopping! I loved all of the huge, fat trees.  Too bad we don’t have tall ceilings in our house. 

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We chose a Nordman Fir tree!  It is beautiful!  I didn’t find this out until I googled it later….but Nordman’s are one of the best trees for families with children because they have great needle retention and they don’t have sharp needles! 

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Here is my handsome hubby making a fresh cut on the bottom!

I was a little worried that we would have a Clark Griswald moment….but everything went well!  Merry Christmas to us! ha!

Ok….one little thing….when we set it up in the living room, it was much bigger than we thought and Tim had to do a little trimming so we could still have a star on top! :) 

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I am in love with our tree and super happy that we went for the real deal!  I would definitely recommend it for a fun family outing!

We are in full Christmas mode now! I have been dressing E in all of her Christmas clothes, I got peppermint mocha creamer, Christmas candy on the coffee table and even a few gifts purchased.

Does anyone else get a real Christmas tree?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From Us to You!

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The Shepard family wants to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Our hearts are so full this Thanksgiving season.  We truly have so much more than we need and deserve.  We get to spend this holiday with our sweet Eleanor that we have prayed for during many holidays past.  We finally have our precious miracle! 

Sometimes I get to longing and wishing for the next new thing, or new clothes or home d├ęcor.  But when I stop to think about it, I have so much!  I might not consider myself wealthy, but compared to many parts of the world we are very very rich. 

Most of all I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ!  Without Him, I am and have nothing.  He makes me rich! 

I hope each of you have a wonderful day!  (and be friendly if you go out shopping!) 

With love,

Amanda

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eleanor & Sweet Potatoes

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Eleanor has officially started food!!! :)

We waited until 6 months to give her the first taste of it.  No real reason….we just waited.  Her doctor said we were welcome to start earlier if we wanted as Eleanor seemed ready. 

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Oh and we had a gift card left from one of her showers, and we were able to get this highchair!  It is the cutest thing! We decided to go with the kind that sits in your dining room chair.  We don’t have a huge house, so we didn’t really want a free standing one hanging around.  It has worked out great!  When we have people over and need the chair, we just take it off the chair and sit peanut in her excersaucer! 

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This was E’s first bite of food!  We decided to skip rice cereal and go straight for the sweet potatoes! :) nom nom.  We toyed around with trying Baby Led Weaning and I just couldn’t get over the fear of choking.  (even though they say it hardly happens)  It just bothered me.  Though….she already has 3 teeth so I think we will start letting her explore soft finger foods in the near future! 

E’s first food experience was funny.  I think she enjoyed the taste of the sweet potatoes…..but she kept trying to grab the spoon and put it in her mouth herself!  Oh boy it was a challenge.  She wanted that spoon by golly!  haha!  (another reason I think we will start finger foods soon! ha! girlfriend wants to help!)  Since that feeding, she has gotten soooooo much better at allowing us to feed her!  And she has finally started figuring out how to eat rather than pushing the food out with her tongue. 

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Here she is trying to help! Precious thing.

So what kind of food did we feed her?

I really wanted to make her food for several reasons.  (Though I’m not against jar food at all….she has already had some!)  I wanted to make her food because it is cheaper, I’m at home most of the time, and I can control what goes in it!  We started out with just a blender.  It did the job but it was not easy!  We really had to work on getting the sweet potato smooth.  One sweet potato made a ton of servings!!!!  We froze them in ice cube trays, then popped them out and put them in freezer bags.  Then we just thaw however many cubes she needs for that day!  It is awesome. 

My mom surprised us with the Baby Bullet this week!!!!! yay!!!! I can’t wait to try it out!  I know it is going to work much better than my blender. 

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So far our little peanut has tried:  sweet potatoes, applesauce, pears, oatmeal and peas!  We have had success with all of them except the oatmeal.  But thanks to several of you ladies….you suggested mixing it with fruit and I know she will like that much better. 

I’m still doing a ton of research about baby food stuff.  It is kind of just figuring things out as you go right?  If anyone has a favorite website or book on this topic….I will love to know!!!! 

Well, that is the latest on Eleanor! 

Oh and I have a song on my heart….so I thought I would share.  No video of me singing it! haha!  Just the lyrics….

In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song.

This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought or storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I STAND!

Hugs!

AMANDA

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Eleanor’s first Halloween!

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Happy Halloween from the Shepard Fam!!!!! 

Little Eleanor was a punkin! :)

She got to go trick or treating for the first time at my mom’s work!  It was the cutest thing ever. 

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I was so impressed by her treating abilities!  She knew how to reach in the bowl….she grabbed the candy….and then she dropped it in her bucket!  I know all mommas think this, but I was convinced she was genius! haha! 

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I couldn’t find a black shirt for her to wear under her costume….so she ended up wearing a Christmas shirt! She was celebrating two holidays at once! 

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And Eleanor’s mommy & daddy were hipsters for Halloween this year!!!! hahaha! 

Mr. Tim is wearing my scarf! :) 

We had a costume & chili party for the college students at church and it was so much fun!  I tried a chili recipe from allrecipes.com and I was so not impressed! I am so bad about trying new recipes for people, when I should always try new recipes at home first! haha!  Does anyone else do that? 

I was thinking….I will be sad for the first Halloween that Eleanor won’t let me pick out her costume for her.  I guess I will enjoy it while it lasts! 

On the same note, today I am packing away her itty bitty clothes and it is BREAKING MY HEART!!!!!  ahhhhh.  Goodness….her preemie clothes were so small.  How is it that I can hardly remember holding her when she was that small? 

Oh and guess what?  I just ordered her a precious Thanksgiving dress, jammies and shirt! I so love dressing her for holidays!

Happy Saturday friends!!!!!! 

xo,

Amanda

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mom Guilt

Whew!  This week has been something else!  I normally only work 2 days a week.  Which has been the perfect mix for me.  I have enjoyed being out of the house working but I still get lots of time at home with my girl.  This week I was covering for my job share partner who went on vacation (which I’m totally happy to do!) but I realized this week just how hard it would be to work full time!  This week was hard on me.  My emotions were all over the place.  It didn’t help that every evening we had to go help at our church since we are moving into a new building (post on that later!)  So I worked all day and then I would pick up E, feed her and then we went to church….and someone else watched her.  :(  I told Tim I was worried she didn’t love me anymore.  That she didn’t remember me.  I was worried that we were taking her too many places or keeping her out too much.  Basically every bit of mommy guilt you could imagine!  This week I was also ready to throw my pump in the trash!  Ugh….pumping all week is no fun.  But I persevered and I pumped enough milk everyday for E.  yahhooooo!   (I need to post on this too….but I am so stinkin proud of myself that I am still breastfeeding E at 6 months!)  On top of everything, our house is a wreck and we went to bed LATE every night.  It sounds like I’m complaining.  Ok….I kind of am! ha!  It was rough.  Yet, I am thrilled to be doing all of these things you know? 

So back to mommy guilt. 

I talked to my momma and she said she worked full time all through my childhood.  You know who it was hardest on?  Her.  She said when I was talking to her about everything…..it brought back all her feelings of guilt she experienced when I was little.  But, the wonderful thing…..I don’t remember any of that.  All I remember are the times I was with my momma!  I remember wonderful times with my family.  Moms beat themselves up!  My mom worked so hard for us.  And when she was with us, she gave us her all!  She was selfless.  And still is. 

I’m all over the place in this post aren’t I?

But you know what?  We don’t always have weeks like this.  We got through it.  We made it! 

And today I am home with my girl!  She is getting oodles of attention and snuggles!!!!!  I appreciate today so so much. 

My hat goes off to momma’s that work full time for their family.  It is hard stuff.  But staying home is no cake walk either. 

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I love love love being a mom! 

One other thing…..my friend Melissa has a cute etsy shop.  She is having a fall sale in her shop and I wanted to share that with you all.  Click here to see all her cute things.  If you use the coupon code shopfall15 you will get 15% off!!!  Yippeee!

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Here is one of the cute recipe boxes in her shop! 

Go take a look! :) 

Well everyone….I am off to do a little house work!!!!! 

Hugs to YOU!

Amanda

Thursday, October 11, 2012

0-3 month must-haves!

While I was pregnant, I loved reading posts about baby must-have items!  Everyone seemed to have different items they loved.  I thought I would share Eleanor’s must-haves for her first 3 months of life!  Those items changed quite a bit after 3 months….so I will be back later with another post on that! 

Remember that babies like different things!  But this is what Eleanor HAD to have!  And her mommy and daddy had to have. :)

1. Fisher Price Rock N Play Sleeper

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This is by far probably our favorite item!!!!!  We got so much use out of it.  This is what E slept in from birth to about 4 months.  It was so handy to put up right next to your bed.  You could give it a little rocking action.  It folded up quick & easy.  We took it everywhere we went!  We moved it into the living room for naps…..or just moved it wherever we were at.  She actually could still fit in this if we wanted to put her in there….but now she just naps in her crib or in her carseat if we are out.  I’m telling you moms-to-be…..you NEED this!!!!!!!!!

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There is E sleeping away in her Rock N Play!

2.)  The Boppy!

Another item we really couldn’t (and still can’t!) live without!!!!!! 

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We seriously have used this thing so much!  For all sorts of things!  Main use is breastfeeding!  You need this if you are breastfeeding.  At first I tried the whole stacking pillows thing….and that got old quick.  This is the perfect size and shape.  And easy to transport.  We have also used it to sit E in it for storytime, playtime, pictures, tummy time…..you name it!  She has taken an occasional nap in it….even though you are not suppose to use it for sleeping.  But we were right there with her during the nap! 

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Here is our teeny tiny Eleanor in her boppy…..I think she was 6 weeks there. 

3.  Fisher Price Glow Seahorse

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What can I say…..Eleanor loved this thing!!!!!!  She napped with it and slept with it.  The music had magic powers!  I only have one beef with this thing…..the batteries!!!!!  I don’t know if we kept getting lemons or we just used ours way too much, but we went through so many batteries!  We also had to buy another one because our doggie stole it and took it under the bed and ate it! ha!  Even with the battery issue, we still found this item to be a must-have!

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4.  Fisher Price Snug a Bunny Bouncer

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A bouncer is a life-saver for those newborn months for sure!  This one was awesome because it vibrated and played music and bird chips!  Plus it was the softest fabric ever.  This was how I was able to grab a quick shower in the early days!  Bouncer in the bathroom next to the shower!  :)  The only negative for us…..for some reason the bouncer made Eleanor poop….almost every.single.time!  wow!  If we turned on the vibrations, she would poop!  I guess if you had a constipated baby……put them in this thing! 

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She was such a tiny bunny!

5.  Paci wipes

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If you are a germ-a-phobe like me…..get yourself some of these wipes!!!!!  Granted in the early weeks, the germ fears are more intense.  And it didn’t help that I had a preemie!  But I still like to use these when we drop her paci.  A diaper bag staple. 

6.  Bottle drying rack

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Eleanor was and still is breastfed…..but we have to have our drying rack!  You don’t need one if you don’t pump.  Since I work part time, I am always pumping milk…..so we are always cleaning and drying pump parts and bottles.  This is much more effective than laying everything out on a towel. 

7.  Receiving Blankets

The perfect all purpose blanket!  We used these things for everything!  They are small and light weight.  We used them to swaddle her, cover her carseat, for a burp cloth, to prop her head up and many more!  Even though they are a little small for her anymore…..we still find ourselves using them for things!

8.  Car seat strap covers

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We didn’t have these at first and the straps were leaving marks on her neck!  We promptly ordered these from amazon!

9. Swaddle wraps 

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Eleanor quickly learned how to break out of her swaddle and would wake herself up.  So in comes the swaddle wrap!  We used the Halo and Summer brand.  We liked  both equally.  As she got older she learned how to break out of these…..but then she was learning how to roll over….so it was time to stop swaddling anyway! 

10.  Zip up sleepers!

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This is another thing that just depends on your preference.  Some people prefer the snap up sleepers.  For us we thought zippers were the only way to go.  So much easier for all those middle of the night diaper changes!  I don’t know how many nights I would get so frustrated because I would snap the wrong snap and would have to unsnap the whole thing!  sheeesh!  Plus, Tim hated the snaps and would only put the zipper ones on her.  And I liked his help in the nighttime…..so zippers it was! haha! 

10.  Pampers

Diapers are totally unique to every baby!  They all work differently for each baby.  For Eleanor, Pampers contained everything the best!  We had some serious serious blowouts in Huggies!  yikes is all I can say.  Now that E is getting bigger, we tried Luvs and we are Luvin them! heehe! :)  Someone told me that Pampers actually makes the Luvs brand!  They fit the exact same….but are about $3 cheaper!  And we have yet to have a blowout!  And we are actually going to start doing cloth diapers on the days I’m not working. 

So those are the things that made things work at the Shepard house for Eleanor’s first 3 months!  I am going to do a post on my favorite items for myself during the first 3 months too! 

Oh yes….and a few things we didn’t really use the first 3 months:

Wipe warmer

diaper genie (we just take our diapers out everyday and that works fine. I’m also cheap and didn’t want to buy refills for the genie!)

a swing (E hated it! but she ended up loving it later.)

diaper rash cream (she has never had a rash and still hasn’t. I’m sure we will have to use it eventually.)

crib mobile (we just never bought one….and I thought I had to have it.)

That is all I can think of right now!  Hope that helped all you prego ladies out there! 

Lots of love!

Amanda

Friday, October 5, 2012

Peanut’s first road trip.

We had our first family road trip!  Where to?

A Mizzou game of course! :)

The drive is only about 3 hours….but I was still nervous.  Plus we rode on a 15 passenger van with other MU fans!  So, I really didn’t want E crying the whole time.  I was also worried about how and when I was going to feed her since we were traveling with a bunch of people and a football game isn’t necessarily nursing friendly! 

Here was peanut on the drive to Columbia….

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The trip there was perfection!  She didn’t cry or fuss one time!  whoohoo!  We stopped for lunch and I stayed in the van to nurse her.  That went well….so no worries there!  Then I joined everyone in the restaurant to eat. 

Oh another good thing….she didn’t have any blowouts on the trip!  Another thing I was worried about.  She is definitely a big pooper!!!

We got to the stadium in good shape!  We all got out of the van to hangout for a bit.  Most people come to tailgate, but we didn’t this time. 

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We got peanut all dressed up in her cheerleading outfit for the game!  She was sooooo adorable I could hardly stand it!!!!!!!!

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Then it was time to enter the ZOU……

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E was just taking it all in!  There was so much for her to look at and enjoy!

Bringing a baby to a football game sure brings you a lot of attention too.  Goodness….I don’t know how many people stopped to talk to us about E!  haha! 

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She was a very good girl for most of the game!  yahoo!  I brought the Baby Bijorn and she sat in that for the first half.  The other half she went back and forth between me and her daddy. 

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It got a little chilly as the sun went down.  We had brought a hat for E but it was too small! haha!  We should have tried it on her before.  It must have been a newborn hat or she just has a large melon!  So, we bought her a hat at the team store!

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It kind of made her look like a boy….but she was still wearing her cheerleading outfit……so…….

We had to leave our seats once because she was fussing pretty bad and I felt bad for those around me.  It was about time for her to eat anyway.  I had packed a bottle with formula for this very moment! ha!  I was not sure where to nurse her at in the stadium?  I didn’t want to in the bleachers! I have nursed her before on a toilet (at church) but I didn’t feel like doing that in a nasty bathroom.  So, bottle it was!  I would be interested to know…..where is the strangest place you have nursed your baby?  haha!  Mine is the toilet! :)

Tim and I headed back to the van just a bit earlier than everyone else so we could get E ready for “bed”.  We changed her dipe, put her in jammies and I nursed her.  Then it was time for her carseat.  She slept the whole drive home!!!! yay!  When we got home, she transitioned to her crib just fine. 

So I would call that a successful first road trip!!! 

I love taking Eleanor new places!  It sure is a lot of work…..but it is so much fun!!!!!

Go Tigers!

xo,

Amanda