Monday, December 17, 2012

My only thought

I am stunned and still pretty speechless in light of the most horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook ES. I cannot believe this happened. I have cried a lot thinking about those children and their families. Don't know anyone personally. But like everyone else, I sure do know a lot of children their ages. I'm having a hard time posting happy, light-hearted pictures on instagram or posting in general on Facebook or even here because I feel as if we are in this reverent grieving period. Unfortunately, I have experienced (to nowhere even near the same capacity as others) going through grieving and standing by my closest friends as they travel through the grief process. I learned am still learning a lot from it.

I'm finding it hard to see people discuss the shooting in the media and on social networks. I don't think it's time yet to start talking about issues of the shooter, or his family, or gun control, or picking up the pieces. For goodness sake, just be still and let the families (and country) grieve. Just wait. Just pray for them. Knowing and watching my Ashie deal with the loss of her sister has taught me that when someone is ripped away from you there is nothing you can do or say to help them. Just be there. Just hug them, say nothing, and pray. Don't tell them it will be alright, Don't say things will get better, Don't talk focus attention onto the killer. Grieve the loss of the sweet lives and sit and pray. I do understand that for some folks this is somehow still far removed from their every day lives and I don't want it to seem like I'm angry at anyone. But I do wish that people would not try to be solvers, thought provokers, or menders. If we want to truly stand beside these families effected, then we will just be sad with them for the time.

It will be a lot easier for us to heal, move on, and live life normally. I'm sure I'll be back to posting about the joy in my life very soon. I'm thankful for that. But I am also ever so aware that for the CT families it will not be easy and they may not ever understand joy again. But in the meantime, I will pray for them and focus my thoughts on those sweet babies and teachers and their community. It's so, so very sad. "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted" Psalms 34:18

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Picture Post

A picture recap:

Here's Carmen and Daddy reading together on one of his off days.  
Carmen loves looking at books. She leafs through pages with her chubby little fingers and flips books right side up if they're upside down. She talks to them and sometimes laughs at the pictures. Her current favorite is still the Toy R Us Christmas sale catalog....Lord, have mercy if I have to "read" that magazine one more time...
Carmen loves her rocking chair from Great Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Herb. This chair was given to my aunt when she turned one and then all her younger siblings (including my dad) got to use it too. Such a special keepsake!

More play time with Daddy. We cherish all the time he has at home with us. He's working so hard and often long hours. Even on his off day he does work on the computer and we have to patiently wait to go out for our family breakfast dates. Carmen weighs 25lbs. Mommy doing airplane is not as fun as Daddy.

She loves to climb on everything. Daredevil if I ever saw one.

A favorite move: climb on top of this car and jump, stomp feet, shake, anything that will scare Mommy.

Oh here's a nice glimpse into out daily routine: "Mommy I want rrrraaaaiiiissssins! I'm starving!!!"

"I know they're in here. You keep all our food in here!"

"Ah much better. A box of raisins."

 "Now if I can just figure out how to get them out..."

"Yum. This raisin is exactly what I thought I wanted."

 And as Carmen develops and socializes we have moved into this phase of squeezing/scratching other people's faces. She does it usually because she is so happy to see them or excited. When I haven't cut her nails in a while, she can draw blood. This is a terrible thing and we are trying our hardest to teach her not to do this. I was behind the camera and caught her in mid attempt at squeezing poor, precious Katya's face... (she was quick, I wasn't trying to photograph her sin.)

We watch her closely at home, at the mall play area, in chick-fil-a, at play dates, we warn her Sunday school teachers to be on the look out. Hopefully it will pass quickly and she'll be just as sweet as she always is! Did anyone else go through this phase and find anything helpful?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Rich Legacy

Many of you have spoken this into my life already, but this morning it really hit me: Carmen was born into an incredible legacy of women. We have been richly blessed with some of the most amazing people in our lives. From her blood aunties, grandmothers and great grandmothers, great aunts and second cousins, to her sisterhood aunties to the mothers of her little "friends" to some of my closest girl friends to the women in Charlottesville who will forever be in our lives - each and every one of them is a beautiful, God-glorifying woman who I would be proud to have Carmen model herself after. I seriously am in awe at how many of you there are and how special you are to us. I will try my hardest, under the guidance of our heavenly Father, to be someone that Carmen wants to be like. But if that's not enough, I rest assured knowing that the women already in her life are perfect pictures of godly grace and beauty. What a gift it is! What a blessing to have these women praying for Carmen and loving on her and teaching her the ways of life. I pray that she grows to be just like each of these women in some way. I pray for her to find her closest friends (ideally, other daughters of the above mentioned women;)  and that they will be sisters for life. There is something incredible and unspoken in real, best friendships between women and I so deeply want Carmen to experience that as she grows older. I pray that she carries on the legacy she was born into. I'm so thankful for you all and how you already love on Carmen in so many ways!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Man oh man, can grocery shopping be stressful. I think it's the budget looming over my head that makes me cringe every time I have to buy something expensive or I decide to get something not on my list. I'm not a great sale hunter and I've learned that I can't buy ahead or stock up on items because I will waste them. We try it all. I jump around from Wegmans to Trader Joes to BJs to Harris Teeter to Giant to online ordering and back to Wegmans. I mix it up nearly every week. 

BJs surprises me and has a big selection of the organic foods we buy. It's absolutely the best/cheapest way to buy organic. As a family, Michael and I have committed to using organic dairy products, meat and poultry, and certain produce (I usually follow the dirty dozen rule). It definitely limits my choices for shopping and also costs a bit more, but I feel it's worth it. My dad laughs at me and my organic preference, but he grew up on a cattle farm and had all the quality red meat, chicken, fresh milk and veggies you could want. No need for the "organic" label there. I have it in my mind that wherever I'm purchasing from did not raise their food that way so give me "antibiotic free" please. I'm the first to admit, I'm not that educated on the subject but I'm friends with folks who are and I've been listening to them. Michael and I both agree that you can taste a major difference in organic meat and dairy. Especially ground beef. 

On a side note, this only pertains to the food we cook in our home. We eat whatever is served us in other's homes and it doesn't stop us from eating out. I have Chick-fil-A usually twice a week, Carmen too. We get our fill of regular chicken there. But Carmen gets organic raisins and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and organic hot dogs so I feel like it evens out. :) 

I tried out Walmart today. I felt like a huge snob because I had a bad attitude about it. But I think I did save some money AND they actually had the Horizon's brand there. I did however put back the stew meat that I had originally thrown in the cart. It made me sick just looking at it.

And wow, this is the most boring post ever. I'm sorry. It's late (OK only 8:45pm) and I'm alone and have been alone most of the day so I kind of feel like I'm talking/blogging to my Community Group ladies. But I'm not.... so  we're done here. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Parties

I love parties. I love to attend them and I love to throw them. Christmas is deliciously filled with parties! We are going to one on Friday night and then having one ourselves on Saturday. Normally I would be oh so beyond thrilled excited and would have already set up a mock display of how things will look. But I have been battling a nasty sinus infection for the past week and a half. I have head aches all day that drain the energy out of me. Poor Caribelle, she's such a good sport to put up with my lack of energy. Antibiotics are helping out now.

I was hoping the weather would be somewhat cold and Christmasy this weekend but it seems like we'll be in the 60's again. Normally I'd love this freakshow warmth, but I'm serving a soup bar. Who wants to eat soups in warm weather? Oh and a hot chocolate bar....who wants hot chocolate in warm weather?? We're all going to be sweating and taking turns standing outside just to cool off. But it's too late to change the plans now. Soup, hot cocoa and Christmas are coming.

I'm also going to attempt this cute little brownie tree.
Should be easy, except the cutting out of circles...I may be serving brownie crumbs stuffed in a cup if this doesn't go as planned.

But even if the soup, hot chocolate, and dessert fail, we're doing a dirty santa ornament exchange and those are always funny. Should be a sweet time together!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Michael's Birthday

Christmas is well underway now. Thanksgiving was super early this year and it's weird that it's still November. BUT November has been awesome for the Dauberts. Michael celebrated his 28th birthday with a long weekend of fun:

Thursday: I surprised him with a date night to go see Skyfall complete with hot caramel apple cider that we were allowed to take into the theater with us (it's been a couple years, I didn't know you could do that).

Friday: We had dinner a dinner date with the besties, Ash and Devin, at our home. My killer beef stew, Michael's favorite beer, dessert and fire pit on the patio. Oh and the latest episode of New Girl.

Saturday: Michael worked all day but we got a surprise call from our VA Beach Bff's - The Andrews - who were making a quick trip to Ikea. We got in the car and met them for a mini catch-up session over dinner...with 3 sweet children mind you. Our time together is never long enough Andrews!

Sunday: Michael chose to celebrate with a paella night. We invited the Vernons and Collins and David to come over all day to celebrate Michael. It was another fantastic evening of food, spanish wine and fabulous friends.

Monday: (Michael's actual birthday) We invited our families over for dinner and dessert - we ordered Cafe Rio for everyone - incredibly delicious. I crave it every day. We got him an awesome, home defense present.

And that was a great weekend! Nevermind Michael's incredibly painful infection that caused him to visit the doctors for 3 days and a horrible day at work when Monday was suppose to be his off day - we still made him feel loved and celebrated. He is the best and I am so thankful to get to spend my life with him!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blank Canvas

Y'all, we got hit by lightening at the end of last month and it took out so many things in our house - biggest loss being the computer. Therefore, I have no way of updating the blog with cute happenings because there is absolutely nothing on our computer. We lost everything on it. Order is slooooooowly being restored in our home thanks to Michael and my dad.

I'm anxious to browse through Carmen's birthday pictures and share some. Should be darling.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hair Bow Holders

Look what I have made recently:

I was really wanting one for Carmen and then two of her friends (Lily and Kate) had birthdays so I thought it would be a great accessory to try and make. Who doesn't love a cute personalized hair bow holder?! I get a little better each time I make one - Lily and Kate - I still love yours, there's nothing wrong with them. :) See how great Carmen's is? It actually works! I can now keep track of all her hair bows and easily pick one out to match her outfit. Anyone want one? Send me $10, I'll send you this. I have lots of ideas for new designs. Look at me, a peddler. See ya wedding planning business! Just kidding....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On to Year 2

Carmen is 1 years old!!!

We celebrated her first year of life and our survival of the first year of parenthood last week. Or maybe two weeks ago now. It was so awesome. I will share highlights once I get the professional pictures back.

I'm also very grateful for those of you aunties who gave her new clothes for the fall. Chilly weather has set in - anything under 85 degrees is chilly as far as this summer lovin' gal is concerned - and Carmen would have nothing to wear if it hadn't been for you all. Thank you!

All the mommies out there should be glad I decided not to enter Carmen into the Gerber Baby search. She would have won, I'm sure of it. ;) Here's a picture when she was 8 months old:
See? Tell me that's not a true Gerber baby. Don't be jealous. (However, my friends Lindsay and Michelle have pretty gerberish babies too. 3 way tie.) She's even doing something funny with her mouth here and it's still adorable. I don't even have to say the whole "I may be biased but" deal because I know it is what is. A lot of our friends have cute babies right now and that's a good thing.

Talking about Carmen that way isn't prideful right? RIGHT??...The Lord is always humbling me. If I look super great in a picture my BFF takes, then in the next 5 pictures of me are disgusting faces that are just natural shots but I remind me to deflate my ego because that's the real me. Or when I bake these fantastic, amazing, super perfect cupcakes from scratch and think to myself, "wow, I'm so good. I'm a fabulous, healthy cook. AND I can bake like nobody's business when I try," then the next thing I bake is like poop and I wonder what went wrong. Or when I'm so happy because all my clothes fit me so well and I think I look good, the next day my pants are too tight. Or when I think I have the house together and garden all pretty, food splatters and all the plants die. The Lord humbles me, almost immediately. Which is a blessing. I want to be more like Him. I want ugly pictures of myself hung up on a spaghetti stained walls with poop flavored cupcakes roasting in the oven. Cutest baby or not, my identity and hope is in the Lord and nothing else. He is so faithful to teach me His truths and it is most rewarding to rest in Him and His goodness alone!

Monday, August 20, 2012

11 Months

Hands down, fastest year of our life. Michael and I find ourselves saying that a lot these days. As Carmen's first birthday approaches, we can barely seem to keep up with the changes and developments she's going through.

Our girl can walk now. She's super cute on her feet. Time to buy some shoes I guess. Can you believe she's almost 1 and I still haven't bought a pair of shoes for her? Aunt Heather, you might have a cow.

She's got 6 teeth. We've added brushing her teeth to our bedtime routine...and morning when I remember.

She babbles the sweetest little words and loves to say "mama" and "dada" but usually in triples: "mamama and  dadada." Carmen also says "woof woof woof" when you mention doggy or puppy.

Why is her favorite thing in the world dogs?! I NEVER trained her to like them. She can't get enough of them. She wants to chase them, pet them, ride them, hug them, feed her hands to them. Gross. I don't know what to do with it. Although, I generally bark every time we're out walking and we see a dog on a leash - maybe that's why?

Her favorite toy is her pillow pet. Her cocker spaniel pillow pet, of course. She wakes up and first thing, "woof woof woof." She is a major snuggler! Give her any stuffed animal and she will cuddle that poor thing until there's nothing left. I love it.

She loves a good beat. Music is front and center in her daily life. She pauses to dance a little jig whenever she hears music. Now that's my girl.

She jumps and climbs. I'll have to capture it on camera soon.

She can wear hair clips (!!!) now and only pulls them out when she reaches to twirl her hair and finds one.

We are so thankful for her. She is the best.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Must See

I know a lot of you have seen this on Facebook already, but if not, it's definitely worth 55 seconds of your time. Carmen was so funny driving this boat:  

First Beach Trip with Baby

Last month we joined my parents and siblings for a short week at the beach. Michael was able to join us for most of the time even though it was a wonderfully busy week at work. Carmen loved the beach. The sand, the water, the kiddie pool - she's definitely a beach girl. She and I didn't spend much time on the beach this trip but when she did, her gorgeous skin soaked up those rays just like her daddy! 

Aunt Heather and Uncle Matt took most of the great pictures from this trip....maybe some day she'll send me some? But here's my little goose on her first beach day:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Doing What We Can

Somehow we've gotten to be involved in a couple Romney Campaign activities. It's been pretty cool actually. Michael is always inspirational when it comes to being involved with politics so I blame him for sharing that excitement with us.

Carmen and I got to be in a campaign commercial they are producing. I can't tell you much more about it because I haven't actually seen it nor do I know when and where I would see it. But we were selected by some agency in New York who liked our head shots...I mean, we all know Carmen's a winner.

Then we got to host and participate in a press conference. Yep. A real live press conference in our home. Former Congressman Artur Davis, Alex Schriver the National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee and yours truly all gave statements regarding the national debt crisis. It was really cool to see how they work - reporters, questions, campaign managers and all.

We'll see what else we end up doing to help with the presidential campaign this year. I know we'll at least vote in November! Carmen is already such a good citizen.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July

 Happy Birthday America!!

While Michael is at work today, Carmen and I are preparing for our 4th of July Celebrations. I hope she learns to love this holiday as much as I do. I've got big plans for the years to come!

Last night our little family drove to Waterford, VA for their big fireworks show. It stormed 30 minutes before the start time so we ended up parking our car in a lot and watching from the front seat. It was actually perfect because we had the comfort of our car and the noise was a little buffered making it much less alarming for Carmen. Carmen loved the fireworks - a girl after my own heart!

Today we are celebrating with our fabulous neighbors who we are loving more and more every time we get together with them. We just threw together a BYO block party real quick and we'll meet at the playground pavilion right next to our homes. Should be fun and simple! (The above picture is my controlled attempt at decorating. It was really hard not to go all out and throw together a themed party, but again, big plans for the future.)

Tomorrow we are participating in something totally random and pretty cool so I need to go prepare for that. I'll write more about it later on!

I love America. Best Country Ever. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mommy-Daughter Days

With Michael being gone all last week, Carmen and I had lots of Mommy & Daughter dates. I tried to make the best of it and do lots of things to keep the days interesting for the both of us. We made a shopping trip to Reston Town Center on one of the gorgeous 70 something degree days last week. We walked around and shopped for her birthday party. It was so pleasant and Carmen was such a trooper. 

We spent time at the pool with Aunt Ashleigh and Devin:

We had a morning coffee and playdate with Colston, Ashby and Emery - Carmen always loves that time!

 I also took Carmen to the princess night at a local Chick-Fil-A. We were a bit bored and knowing that she loves to be around other people I thought that it would be a great night out. She loved it! There were little girls everywhere. Most of them had on princess dresses, there were horse and carriage rides around the parking lot, a real princess was walking around the store, they were setting up for a princess movie on the lawn - it was so festive. AND I gave her the very first taste of chicken! She loved that even more than the tiny princesses around her. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Windy night

So the moment I post pictures of the patio we get a nasty storm that pretty much completely rearranged the outdoors. The above picture is even after I took the furniture down from being piled on the AC unit. The winds swept all that furniture, picked up the wheelbarrow and threw that elsewhere and obviously blew away the grill cover. During the storm I had heard banging on our front door step and turns out the mat was blowing around because it left it upside down. I thought that was hilarious - only after the fact though. I was scared when the storm was passing through. Of course Michael was out of town (recall the little tornado last summer that Michael was not home for either) and I was alone with my tiny sleeping baby. Our location as an end unit town home and up on a hill is particularly windy under normal circumstances, so when the 80mph winds struck, the walls were literally shaking. I was shaking too and trying to pack a bag because our power was flickering. I wasn't sure how long we would have electricity so I wanted to pack a bag in case we needed to sleep elsewhere. BUT we are so fortunate and did not lose power and currently have a nice, cool, air-conditioned home. Thank you Jesus!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Made by Michael


Just kidding! Although, yes, he did "make" her but I am referring to THIS:

Our patio! He finished it in May and it's been put to good use already. Look at each stone he laid by hand:

We're also attempting to keep somewhat of a garden on the side. Michael is actually a fabulous gardener, I had no idea. He prunes and maintains the rose bushes like they are babies. I'm still waiting for the gladiolus to blossom...Michael thinks I planted corn instead. I may have been tricked.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I've missed the blog. It's weird, I guess I'm more of a journal keeper than I thought. June has been filled with wonderful things. Having a 9 month old is certainly a blast. You folks aren't kidding when you say how fun 9 month olds are.

Michael and I celebrated 5 years of marriage!

My baby brother graduated from high school!

Some of my beloved aunts and uncles came to VA for the graduation, always a good time!

Knocked out a fabulous, rustic-elegant wedding at a vineyard on Sunday. Confession, I texted Michael after the ceremony, "Why am I so good at what I do?" Humble, I know. But I was pretty proud of the day.  Wedding #30-something was a home run!

Michael is still loving Chick-Fil-A and is more and more excited about the company. I am also more and more excited, as my intake of Combo #1s and chocolate milkshakes have increased.

Carmen's bed time is more well established now, so Michael and I have been able to have some great evenings grilling out with a margarita or a beer on our wonderful patio lately. I need to put up pictures of that!
We also have a tradition of family breakfast's when Michael is home in the morning. We have a new favorite spot that we are beginning to frequent. For some reason, breakfast always tastes better when someone else cooks it for you?

Carmen's favorite book these days is, "Charlie the Ranch Dog" by Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) and her favorite toy is her dolly, Dolly. She is also great at playing Michael's keyboard and walking behind her babydoll stroller.

I've started the birthday party planning for Carmen's ....1st  Birthday?! How can this be, it's only 2 months away. I used to be more of a crafty person, but in my recent years I've had better things to do so I'm a bit rusty when it comes to hole punching. The first birthday is totally about the family and what kind of cake you serve. 1 year olds could care less and will only remember pictures. That being said, I'm trying to keep a good balance of catering to my baby girl's celebration and focusing on the rest of the family that will be there.
Here's some pics:  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Grandma Fran

My Grandma is awesome and needs prayer. Pray for her healing, strength and peace from the Lord!  
 Four Generations

We love you Grandma Fran and are praying for your healing!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5 Year Anniversary

On Saturday Michael and I celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary! Typing that number looks so small, but it feels like a greater amount of years. It has flown by but has been so good. It is so comforting, peace bringing, and exciting to know that we will be together for the rest of our lives - celebrating just like this. 

We were busy all weekend with college reunions at UVA but Michael set aside some time for just the two of us on Saturday morning. He booked a couples massage for us and a spa manicure for me at Boars Head.

It was so great! Best part is that Michael might now be hooked on massages which means more for me too. 

We stayed at our friend's beautiful home in Charlottesville - actually the pastor's home of Portico in Cville. Chris and Jenn were wonderful hosts. We had early starts to each day and I desperately wanted coffee each morning. Chris was walking out the door both days as I came into the kitchen but stopped to ask if he could get me a cup of coffee, with cream and sugar? At first I said don't bother, I'll get it myself, but he insisted. BOTH mornings books and bag in hand - heading out on Saturday to teach a class and Sunday to preach (THREE services mind you) he served me coffee. I know it's weird but I felt so blessed and so encouraged at the servant leadership displayed in the smallest of actions and at the most seemingly inconvenient time. It was his joy to serve. Portico is so blessed to serve under Chris's leadership. I hope that I can model that same type of servant's heart. It means a lot. 

Carmen was in little girl heaven because the Atwell's have 3 girls of their own. She was the happiest baby to get to interact and smile and laugh at the girls. I couldn't have planned it better myself! In a weekend full of adult activities and stroller confinement, I was thankful that Carmen had some good laughs first thing in the morning. 

A lot more to catch you all up on later!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I've planted some flowers for the first time ever. They are still alive too. Our grass is super dead right now, so we needed some color to compliment our pretty little home. I have some more in mind to plant and then mulch needs to be filled in. Oh and Michael planted some azalea bushes for us too! I love beautifying things - that's a natural womanly instinct right? I just really hate bugs. But flowers are so lovely.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rolls and Water

 Carmen got to experience the kiddie pool for the first time last week. Her buddy, Colston, got a pool for his birthday so on our 90 degree day we walked over for some "summer" fun. She really liked it! I learned that one piece bathing suits are really not practical on the wee ones. SO hard to get on and off and change diapers in. Or maybe that just goes for my baby....with all the rolls. Carmen looked so adorable in her swimming tutu though, I may put up with the fight just to keep the cuteness factor high.


I stole this photo from Colston's mommy because our girl is just so precious here:
Squeeze away!