Mollie arrived to us on July 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM. She weighed in at 6 lbs, 6 oz and 19 inches long!
We could not be more in love and can already see the start of our little family blooming!
Thanks for your continued love and support ~Leigh Ann, Matt & Mollie

Friday, July 6, 2012

The big 0-2!

One year I post:) I'm bringing blogging back, baby!! Mollie turned 2 today and what a blast it's been! Some up, some downs and everything in between. What is has been throughout, is the BEST experience ever & surprisingly to me, has made me fall in love with Matt all over again:) She is my heart & makes him an even better man.

 I was prompted to start blogging again by the recent article in The Atlantic, titled Why Women Still Can't Have It All & all of the post articles, comments & thought provoking questions it made me ask myself.
At work, with the Center for Women, we of course address the topic of Work/Life Balance and I'm honestly not sure if there is a true balance that's a teaching measurement. With that said, we hold those topics (and lots attend) to let others know they are not alone & we can always learn from one another as to how they survive day to day life!

After I made reference to these articles and posted the local one to my facebook page, a comment from my friend Gina really resonated with me. She noted that she had 'a great job, a loving husband, 2 wonderful kids, a nice home, food on the table & they own their own business.--she does have it all!' It made me stop and be like, wait, what is it 'all?!' and that likely differs for every woman! Based on her comment, I DO have it 'all'...and much, much more!!! I think we can make life choices to reflect our priorities and hopefully be able to act upon them. Yes, sometimes work gets in the way of life and life gets in the way of work--but as long as we give our 'all' when doing each, I feel it's the best we can do and should feel confident in doing so. I constantly remind myself when home to be present with Mollie or Matt...try not to multi-task too much and what can wait until nap or bedtime?

In all my sentiment of this 2nd bday for Mollie, of course wanting more children and gearing up for a birthday party tomorrow, I read another facebook post by a friend of mine, Mollie (pure coincidence, haha!!) that really made me think that most women struggling with the 'having it all' syndrome is coming at it from a 'not good enough mom' syndrome...The writer titles the article ' A Letter to My 51 Year Old Self' and boy did it make me proud and sad at the exact same time. My only self-doubt comes when I'm not sure if I've been the best mother I could possibly be on a given day, week or month..and what is the 'best?' I adore my child more than anything I could EVER imagine. My mom used to say that she would jump in front of a bus for her 3 girls and I was always like 'haha, yeah, we love you too.' I would seriously do anything for my family, don't get me wrong..but my children? Bus, bring it on. I could do away with all material possessions and live in my car if needed and if that meant Mollie could get the best life, education, opportunities and so on.

So, what does 'having it all' mean to you? Do you have self-doubt over motherhood, work, wife duties, community involvement or something else? I don't have many answers to overcoming that, but as another friend of mine Elizabeth said on my facebook post, 'It's all about your priorities.' I do for sure believe that 'If it's important to you, you will find a way. If it's not, you will find an excuse.'

Happy 2nd Birthday Mollie--you are my top priority and always will be. To me, that is my motherhood goal. Encourage you to be the BEST woman, role model, friend, future wife, business gal, student, great sense of honor person I could imagine--and help YOU identify your own priorities. We're all different, right?! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Big 0-1

A few days ago, as the big 0-1 was approaching fast, I found myself emotional & super sentimental. I'm sure it's that bittersweet moment of your baby becoming a toddler that does it to you, but I didn't expect to feel as I did. It was a combo of baby fever and pure excitement to watch this child develop before my eyes!!
My heart doubled in size on July 6, 2010
One of my most favorite moments of all my days is when I put Mollie to bed at night. It's a special time I can share with her, as we (I) talk about our day a little bit, read a book and it's pretty much the only time she stays still long enough to let me cuddle with her!! This past week holding M, I reminisced looking up at her newborn portrait on the wall and trying to think back when she was that tiny--how was that JUST a year ago, but then has it already been a year?! What a whirlwind and AMAZING year of tears, laughs & more laughs! I think we've had such FUN this past year, I can't wait to see what others bring.
My lil peanut!

I'm more than blown away by the love Matt & I both have for her--she is the true JOY of our lives and I feel that our marriage has grown even stronger & deeper sharing in Mollie together;) Matt is an awesome dad to say the least!!! Mollie just lights up when her 'da-da' is around and I have to say that Matt lights up even MORE when his Molls is around. Might be the sweetest thing ever to witness.

I'd always heard 'I'll do anything for my children' from a number of people, including my awesome mom and not that I didn't believe them, but at the same time kinda thought, 'well, I don't know about ANYTHING.' Boy was I wrong...Speaking for myself, I can honestly say that for the well-being or life of my child, I would give up everything for her. By that I mean, I'll live in my car if I have to. I'll live off canned food for the rest of my life if that means she'll have more. I would wear a paper bag & care less about what it looks like, if it means my daughter will be properly clothed. I would seriously jump in front of a train for her- And not think twice about doing it. I had no CLUE my love and devotion to her would go that deep--sheesh, am I in for a real treat;) I knew I wanted children & knowing Mollie it definitely makes me want more!

As my sentiment kicked in this past week, I decided to take the day off work today on M's birthday--I wanted to share this day that's ours together with one another. We had a GREAT time!! Walked this morning, she took a nice AM nap, ate a good lunch (girl never has a problem eating, haha!) then we headed downtown Charleston for the afternoon!! We spent almost a couple hours at the Children's Museum, which is just precious and Molls LOVED it!
We met some other nice moms & babies & Mollie discovered that she loves stairs! Thank GOD we don't have them in or house-she was a total pro. It was hysterical to watch as I had no clue!!
The pic is blurry b/c she is SUPER fast!!
We then met Matt for some frozen yogurt on King St, mmmm and by the time we got back to the car, she was BEAT! I knew the moment I put her in the car she'd crash--oh yeah she did!

We got home & cruised the neighborhood in 'her car.' Notice that my dad, aka 'Pops' decided to outfit her ride with some bumper stickers--nice! Next up, gifts!! Molls got a precious retro pink kitchen to compliment her already 'sophisticated palate' as Matt puts it and also gives her something to do while we're Matt's in there cooking, as she only wants to do what we're doing- so funny.
Let's roooollll!
Beep! Beep!!
M's kitchen--open for biz!
The 1st anniversary of her birth is ending....but the party is not!! Typical Szteiter/Garrett fashion, we're gunna drag this sucka out!! Looking forward to a fun party and capping the weekend off with professional family pics--perfect way to be with the ones we love the most, share in the time together & create new memories. We love you Mollie!!!! Happy 1st Birthday sweetheart!!!! You are my life. Thank you for being born to us.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's been a while

As we are nearing the big 0-1 birthday, I've realized I've backed off a bit from the blog. I have all these great posts I want to do and updates I want to make, and yet, between full-time Center for Women, Stella & Dot night and weekends, planning the b-day shindig and Mollie on the MOVE when I'm with her, my 'free' time has almost become nil. And I have zero complaints, loving it!! ;)

As I write this, I'm sitting down for the first time this am and Molls is napping--I was a bit terrified about an hour ago when Mollie didn't want to go down for her usual AM nap about 9:00...she still wanted to play. I was afraid the dreaded 'dropped AM nap' had hit us! Assuming that it begins with the time being pushed back and well, here we are almost 1.5 hours later. I totally adore being with Mollie all day on weekends, but I'll happily admit I adore those 2 daytime naps she takes too...that's my time to really get myself ready for the day, clean the house, prepare/organize food for the weekend and weekdays ahead, check email, etc. I am already beginning to mourn the loss of the 2st nap..and we're not quite there yet!

I wanted to update y'all with a few good pics from recent playtimes and outings;) Mollie is SUCH a fun age and stage right now, words and jabber are all the time and girl likes to move! She's been swiftly crawling for a while now and started to pull up a few weeks we're definitely cruising the furniture, stand on our own a little, etc. Soooo cute!!

We're excited to celebrate the 4th of July with friends & family this weekend and all relatives come this next week for the birthday festivities that will drag out for many days--haha! Happy & safe 4th everyone!!!!!!
Sharing a crepe at the Farmer's Market--and trying to stay cool!!
She loves to launch everything out of her crib when she wakes in AM or nap!
Out & about all day and BOTH M and Matt crashed out in the car! Must be nice..haha

Between she & the cats, boxes are very popular around our house!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movin' on up! (to the big girl seat)

We're trying Mollie out in her new big girl car seat!!  I'm well aware that sure some of you are thinking, 'wait don't you do that at 1 year?' and others of you who know about every recall and baby alert out there, are saying 'nooooo AAP now said to wait to change car seats at year TWO!' Please don't put me in the 'bad mother's club.' On the other hand, many of my friends have been encouraging that they did this even earlier than 11.5 months!

Either way, Molls was NOT going to last much longer in her infant type car seat, for a few reasons. One, since she's rear facing her feet are pretty much hitting the seat--I can only imagine how uncomfortable that is! Two, she was on her last leg of that reclined baby seat and not being able to see anything. Even the rides to/from Jojo's house started to become a headache. We'd already purchased our seats & figured she's over the suggested 20 lbs and just dying to sit upright and face forward, so let's give it a shot! Our pediatrician was giving us the go-ahead in a couple weeks anyways;) Low & behold, we have a NEW child in the car with us!!! I swear she smiled the whole ride & continues to do so--doesn't want to miss a beat. Guess she is a BIT like me after all;)

(In dad's car) Forgive the paci..she only gets it at night, but I was covering my bases with this new arrangement:)
(In mom's car) My sweetie!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beach babe!

Today was our first day this year, to step foot onto our Charleston beach!! (We've been to Myrtle Beach, but not our own backyard!) How can that be?! For the long wait, it was welllllll worth it and SUCH a blast!!!

We started the beach excursion by stopping off at Jack's Cosmic Dogs for a quick bite and to see the new James Island location--just as awesome, if not better, than the Mt. P one. We're gunna have to go back for an ice cream or shake next time!!

Our last beach visit to Myrtle had us a little timid to go back on the beach with her. Granted this was a couple months ago as she was a bit younger. She was fussy out there, her nose got stuffy and she was just not really a happy camper. I couldn't believe MY child was not obsessed with the beach--how is that possible?? Well, I'm delighted to say after today, she is a beach babe!! I knew she had it in her. My sweetie.

Any of you moms know that anytime you leave your house, you have to take everything including the kitchen sink for baby. Even with Mollie being 11+ months, I still am scared to not have something she might need. We of course had the beach plan pretty thought out ahead of time; knowing what we wanted to bring, thinking about her fave toys & adding in a few new surprises for her, but we also thought a little out of the box. We have these great party tubs that we use for chilling drinks at home gatherings and figured, hey, let's make this a little pool on the beach!! Mollie LOVES the water, so we knew this would buy us some time if/when she got tired of the beach, but we weren't--haha.
Happy as a clam!
Kicked back, feet propped--just as the beach should be!
I think Matt & I just hit upon something brilliant--who's with me?! You carry your things down to the beach in this tub, THEN your baby plays in it. Yeah, like I said, brilliant;) Highly recommend this for you with kids age 6mths-1 year!

As we play in the sand a bit, I was so excited to see what M would do with the rush of waves--the girl loves a little adrenaline rush (to be rough housed, to be flipped upside down, etc). The waves came up to us way faster than expected, as you see here Matt & I both reached in to hold her from tipping over & she just has this look like BRING IT! Great..a little daredevil girl.

I was a bit afraid that she'd hate the sand and freak out if it was on her-totally not the case. Little did I know she'd want to eat the wet sand AND even make a gigantic mess. I mean, I should have known because she loves being messy with her food--what the heck kinda shape is her 1st birthday smash cake gunna be in?! I already feel sorry for that poor cake.

Prissy little girl?? I think not...just another example to support the many others! LOVE HER.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fun in the Sun!

What a lovely, long Memorial Day weekend we had and hope y'all did as well:) We went to Hilton Head for a few days, which was great in many ways and 'interesting' in others. Haha.

We chose our hotel because it was beachfront, had a great pool and yeah...a tiki bar at the pool! Baby or no baby, Matt & I are still suckers for a pool-side bar:) Needless to say, on Memorial Day a hotel with a tiki bar..and a baby, we didn't quite fit in. There were a couple others kids at the pool, but 95% of hotel guests and boozers were college kids. There I was in my bikini, holding a 10 month old with one arm and a cold beer with my other. My, how things change in just a short year or so! In the most AMAZING way I never knew possible!!! Swimming around with her in our floatie, listening to live music and sharing in a wonderful holiday weekend with my two favorite people made me enjoy the time for sure!

Lunch at Salty Dog
Chillin' at the hotel pool
Later at night was a different you remember how late you stayed up when you were in college?? Now, do you remember how you acted on holiday a beachfront hotel?! That's what I thought. Us and baby Mollie were no match for the drunken banter in the hallways ALLLLLL night long. Ha, I couldn't even call the front desk because I was afraid if I moved too much and rummaged around the room, Mollie would wake up and that could be a disaster. I'm still not sure how she slept in her pack n' play through all that ruckus, but she did. Alas Matt and I, not even a wink, well ok, maybe a few blinks. So much for 'vacation' huh? We did have fun..but these 'Motherhood Whoa's' sure do teach me a lot..and sometimes make me feel old. Here's to 30 years young!!! 

Takin' a swim break..girl could live in water!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let the games begin!

Who knew that month 10 would bring about sooo many wild & exciting happenings with Mollie! Girl is on the move and running her lips! I'll confess that one of my last posts was about her being on the move...I guess I didn't really know what that meant. I didn't fully grasp what a crawler will do your house and life until it REALLY started this past weekend. No more turning around for a second, the girl takes off and those wheels are just spinning:)

All of a sudden her communication is outstanding She's been saying 'Da-Da' for a while now and while quite vocal, no true words. Not anymore! We have 'Ba-Ba' for bottle, 'baby' for her babydoll Rosie, 'ball' 'book' and even 'bubbles!' Obviously she has her 'B's' nailed down:) Matt & I nearly feel out of our chairs when we were blowing bubbles on Sunday in the back yard and she belted out with 'bu-bles'--it was sooooo stinkin' CUTE!

After returning home from a fun weekend in Myrtle Beach, we then proceeded to REALLY child-proof the house. The socket plugs went in, I switched living room rugs with mom to have a softer one on her knees, other than my sisal and even put up the new Amazon purchase that is totally awesome, the baby gate with a pet door so the cats can get to their area, but Molls can't. LOVE IT!!!!

So, the games have officially begun...and we are having a blast!!!!! *Check back with me in a couple weeks & see if my enthusiasm and sanity are still around:)

**I just had to throw this pic in...Pops let Mollie play with his Blackberry & she was in hog heaven!