Sunshine State

Beach baby, beach baby out on the sand from July March til the end of… well, December in Florida.

Saturday morning at the Palafox Market. One day this mama will have a table there… one day.



Vine Ripe

Cousins of the third variety (Pace great-grandchildren) meeting for the first time.
Mamas and their babies – Me with Noah, Amanda with Kaitlyn & Dylan
Mountain berry bounty – she’s got him eating out of her hand.

Boys being boys – the majestic nature of a stick…


Heartbreaker. Ladies’ Man. Mama’s Boy. Lady Killer. Casanova. Rico Suave. Prince Charming. Don Juan. Romeo. Smooth Operator. Chris Jr…

Whatever you want to call him, you better watch your little ladies.

Or your cougars.

I see eyes of blue...

...And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.



Nine, you are a bit early for your reservations. I am going to need you to wait outside until I can get ready for you. My word.
What a whirlwind… Eight has been a crazy busy month around this casa:
  • Camp started… enough said.
  • The Giusti boys came and stayed a week for day camp.
  • Noah went to Dollywood for the first time, and likely last time for a while. Thanks, Dolly, for the books you send us each month, but your place of leisure is exhausting for baby and mama. See you in a couple of years.
  • My grandmother and great aunt came with my folks and spent a few days. Loved having them in my home…
  • We’ve decided to buy a cow. And eat locally.
  • I started planning Krystal’s bridal shower for this month… this will be my first go at anything girly. Wish me luck.
  • Chris and I went on our first “date” sans baby while leaving him with a gaggle of summer staff. Oh Borders, how we’ve missed you so.
  • Noah and Chris celebrated their first Father’s Day together, complete with an opening day of camp and trip to Target.
  • Abbie is here with us now for a week being “Mommy’s Helper”.
And we haven’t even gotten to all the stellar new tricks littleford has come up with… So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride:
1. Noah likes periodicals. And by like I mean that he enjoys rearranging them in the bathroom…which if you can tell by the angle of the photo is pertinent in keeping regular for some folks around here. If you know what I mean…
2. Noah is learning how to con-finger his hands into a point. I think he has picked this up from when he insists on stopping at the framed collage of Noah’s first week of life that hangs in the hallway on the way to his room. We point and name the various people who were here with us when we brought him home. He doesn’t point at anything in particular, though I think he points “out” of his room after naps…
3. I think we may have the beginnings of a pack rat on our hands. He will find any and everything and carry it around with him. For hours. This could be a toy, a leaf, or something out of the recycling bin. He’s not picky, as long as he can get it from point A to point B. I give you the apple juice bottle.
4. Noah is part fish. I am convinced. He can’t get enough of the splashing, kicking, and zooming around in his little float. You can take a baby’s parents out of Florida, but you can’t take the Florida out of the baby.
5. He has figured out what getting dressed is all about. Though his face says otherwise in the following photo, he has become quite the little helper when putting clothes on. I am not sure I am ready for these big changes…they are big neon lights that he is getting bigger. Not so cool.
6. Noah is proving to be quite the little Casanova. He’s got killer blue eyes and a smile that will melt your heart. Watch out, ladies… he knows how to use them. Just ask the women he’s been collecting.
7. Noah is his own biggest fan. He loves Baby Noah in the mirror and the one at the top of this blog. He may or may not be a little full of himself. But, with this face, come on. Can you really blame him?
8. Much to my chagrin, the little dude’s first word? Da-da. Yep. I would like a ma-ma every now and then but I think I may just be “mmmmmm” or “boob”… either one. But the smitten grin that comes across my husband’s face is plenty satisfying when the little one mutters those precious “da-das”.
9. And now for Noah’s nine month official stats and a little show of the muscles:
  • Height: 28 inches
  • Weight: 18lbs10oz
  • Head: Above average (we are advanced here in the Ford family)
Alright, Ten, consider yourself warned. Don’t you come around here like a bat out of you-know-where. 
Or I’ll, I’ll… hang my head and cry. 
Because I know you’re coming.

Gone to Carolina in My Mind

…Or for real.
Not a lot of time to give details, mostly photos. But I will provide you with a humorous conversation, slightly edited, that I was a small part of:

Mom: (asking my sister about Zane, my youngest nephew) How does he like to be held?

Heather: Up on top of your boobs.

Grace (Heather’s grandma): Put his tummy right in the middle of your big boobs.

Mom: Well, your boobs are bigger than mine, Grace.

Grace: You are working with a pretty big set yourself… just not as old and saggy.

and later…

Grace: (to me this time) Well…you’ve got a nice set, not as big as me and your moms, but it’s okay. And when you get my age you might just have to get some of that sticky tape to keep ’em up.

Oh yes.

And now for the photos:

Hiking through the neighbor’s yard to the creek… the neighbor was there for the first time ever at the same time I’ve been there.

Hey there, blue eyes.

It’s all their fault for that blue-eyed boy.
Well, half their fault.

Old car that ran off an old logging road.
Chris and I stole the headlight casing to it a couple of years ago.

He owns the juice cup. Legit.

With four teeth you have to work with what you’ve got.

That’s all for now.

And the “boob talk”? Still happening…

Bathing Beauty

It’s been a whirlwind around here for our pseudo family o’five this week… worth every less minute of sleep, speck (read: chunk) of dirt on the floor (which may or may not have been there before this week started), a potentially broken shusher, extra dirty underwear strewn about the house (extra as in “in addition to” not “extremely”), puddles of spilled milk on the table, and anything else that comes our way. I might not be able to stand up, sit down, or toot at the end of it, but I am so thankful that Chris and I live and work at a place where our nephews and nieces can come and experience things they never have before, learn something cool and fun that blows their little brains, and hopefully fall more in love with this wonderful thing called summer camp. It’s in our blood, they might as well go on and love it…or at least pretend.

Day two and three: Cheese, fuzzy “daddy” caterpillars, nature center, naps, lightning bugs, blue jello, water galore.

.Dos Giusti Boys at Camp John Knox, waiting for the dinner bell.
Have you ever seen anything cuter?Now you have…Hmm… looks like he could be up to something down at the waterfront… Well-balanced meals: three food groups: cheese, cheese crackers, & jello.

He had water to drink?

At the end of the day, full of sugar and out of energy.

Or full of energy and out of sugar?
Oh well.


Alright, Seven, I have a bone to pick with you. You went by far too quickly, ushering in the heat and summer rains as you scurried through. But, I should say that you’ve redeemed yourself, bringing these amazingly cute and fun things for my boy at eight…and Eight, you better behave yourself or you’re next (how does my mama voice sound? Good?):

1. “buh buh puh puh”: these are Noah’s first “words”. I think the “buhs” are his attempt at “ball” as he will find the ball in the room as he says it and someone else repeats it. His “talking” (not squealing) is also done in this faint whisper, like he’s really thinking hard about it because he doesn’t want to mess up what he’s saying. Very cute…
2. Littleford has two new chompers. Well, more like one and a half… but still. They are so darn cute up there on his top row…kind of big and bucky like his mama’s. Poor guy. Should we start saving for braces now?
And he likes taking them for a test drive–on my shoulder, finger, cheek, and most other fleshy parts he can get his grubby little paws on. Ahem, except for two in particular, thank goodness. For those, he will be cut off, thank you very much. For now, he knows where his bread is buttered.
3. He plays with the things in his crib by himself after he wakes up now. I listened to him for forty-five minutes talking to his teddybear that his Aunt KD gave him and his pillow buddies. When I scooped him out of his bed he was just sitting there, talking to them contently. Maybe he was being bossy and telling them what to do, who knows? I know that I love that he loves his bed… makes my life very easy.

4. Standing on his own isn’t too far away. He’s started to take his hands off of whatever he’s holding onto while he is standing, briefly letting go before realizing he’s not touching anyone or anything. He then either grabs ahold again or sits down. We thought we were in for it when he started crawling–bumps, bruises, mischief? Oh man, it’s only just beginning. And I still hate the tile floors…

5. Papa Bo taught him a new game–it’s called “You Squeal and I Will Echo as Loud as I Possibly Can”. Very funny to watch. I think he relates it specifically to Papa though because when I started playing the other day after his nap, he was looking around for the person squealing as I hid behind the door. Once he realized it was me, he continued to look for someone else. Funny boy.
6. Independence is already becoming important to him. He doesn’t want you to put the food in his mouth if he knows he can pick it up…like puffs, fruit, bread. He wants to do it and lets you know that he does not approve if you attempt to do otherwise. These are the peculiar type things that each kid does differently, which makes it interesting to watch other people try to live in his world. I know he’s quirky, he’s my kid, but I think he expects other people to know the “rules”, too.
7. He’s experienced grass for the first time. I know, I know, probably shocking that the girl that wears a magical crystal and wants to buy her own cow hasn’t had her boy in the grass until now, but you see, our yard isn’t really a kid-friendly yard. It’s slopey and rocky and full of things that he wants to eat. Not to mention, there is no grass to speak of. But alas, he’s gotten to feel the tickle of the blades on his little feet down at the waterfront and then again in Florida… though I am not convinced he likes it.

8. We may have a pompous one on our hands. He got it from his daddy… Noah loves to look at pictures of himself, specifically the one at the top of the blog. He grins real big and makes this “eh-uh” noise, as if to say, “what’s that?”… and I tell him that it is Baby Noah and he gets all bashful. If I close the window or look at a different page (not that I would ever want to look at anything other than my own blog) he continues to make the noise until I put it back on that picture. Silly guy. He will also grab at the frames in the hallway, specifically the one that is mostly of him, and wants me to tell him all about the photos. Same with “the baby in the mirror”… it’s okay, he can love his own face. I sure do… Love his little face I mean.

There are dozens of other new and fun things that he is doing and continues to learn that I could go on and on about, but alas, they will have to wait until Nine. I will say, though, that as he continues to develop his own personality and (sometimes) sassy-ness (can’t imagine where that came from), I am finding it more difficult to leave him with other people or let other people help me with him. Not in a “you can’t take care of my child way”, more in a “but if he makes this noise or that face you couldn’t possibly decipher what that means” sort of way. I have been learning him and getting to know him for almost seventeen months now and it’s tough to let other people into our little world…especially living in the ‘docks where we are mostly on our own the majority of the time. It will take baby steps for me (no pun intended) but really what I have to remind myself is that more than likely he is fine, it’s only me who feels the anxiety. And granted, it’s usually unwarranted, but nonetheless it’s there. And as long as I can figure this out now, which I am, hopefully my moodiness and anxiety won’t transfer to him or get to a point where he notices. I’m not a headcase, yet, but I don’t want to get to that point.


The Giusti Two (Mason and Walker) are coming to stay with us for a week of camp. We are super pumped and looking forward to a fun-filled week of craziness. This may help us to decide the number of kiddos we can handle…some people are blessed with large families and do a beautiful job at being big, like my sisters. Others, on the other hand, are fine and dandy a tad smaller. We shall see… chaos can be addicting.

And if they are all this cute, who could resist:
I mean, really.