Dear Cecilia, Happy 1st Birthday!

Dear Cecilia,

My sweet, sweet girl. Your entry into this world was shadowed by the fact that we had just moved across the country and were adjusting to life in Japan but you still came into the world with a BIG bang. The doctor smiled and said to me, “Looks like you have a red head!” It gave me the last UMPH I needed during those 3 hours of pushing. A red head, how lucky we are!! You are also what they call a Christmas Baby and while we are already seeing some of the side effects of that, I think I will never tire of knowing that December will be filled with so much love because of you! Our few days in the hospital were some of my most favorite early memories. Your daddy decided to sleep at home with your bother so it was just you and me during those first few late nights. You would snuggle and nurse and you were just so content. 

You latched like a pro and despite the normal wear and tear, our nursing relationship has always been so easy and so natural. Words can not really describe what it is like to nourish and provide for such a small and vulnurable human being. I knew you would be the last baby that I would nurse and the last baby that I would have all of those late night moments with. I tried not to think about it too much but I sit here today and am so grateful for that time we have shared. I have kept you full, I have kept you healthy and I have given you exactly what your little body needed to survive this world. But, you also did so much for me without even knowing it. You gave my confidence in what my body can do, you taught me to practice the art of just taking it all in and you also embraced my sometime very sweaty and very rushed nursing sessions while training for my big run. You did it all with a big smile. And while I am ready to stop nursing at any point, know that I am so happy we had that time together and know that I am truly amazed at what both my body and your body did to make this first year so fulfilling.

The love you have for your daddy makes me so happy. You are truly a daddy’s girl. Even with a 5 month intermission in there, you still prefer him to anyone. The joy this brings me is quite amazing. I love how you light up when he comes home from work or when you spot him walking across the room. I love that you snuggle up to him when you need some alone time and I especially love how you giggle at all of his silly ways. Your miniature under bite while you concentrate is inherited from your main man and we can't help but to laugh every time we see it. Never stop being a daddy’s girl, they are the best kind.

Your brother’s love for you is BIG. Transitioning from one to two was easy for our family because of your big brother. He couldn’t wait to meet you and to help us grab diapers for you. He also loved to give you big kisses, sometimes too big but was always so willing to be gentle with you after we reminded him that you were just a tiny baby. During your daddy’s deployment your brother was SO helpful. I look back on those five months and I know we survived because of him. Because of his love for you and me. Now, you love following him around, albeit much slower than him, you are always right behind him. I know you will have a special relationship growing up and that makes me so happy. The age gap was a bit scary for me, but I think that won’t stop you two from being close throughout life.

We are coming up on a fun time in your early years. You will start to see and experience something new daily. You are about to start to express yourself even more and maybe even start talking. A part of me is sad because we had such a good year, like seriously the best year ever. When I say you were a dream baby, you really were, for so many different reasons. But, I am excited to see you grow and see you experience all the new happenings around you. I am also excited to add to your passport, now that you have some more traveling under your belt. The world has not seen enough of Cecilia!

You are the most perfect addition to our family. You are the last addition to our family and I feel so content and happy saying that. You completed our little club and I can not thank you enough for that. Never stop seeing the joy in the world. 

I love you my sweet Cecilia!
Happy 1st Birthday!

Your Mom 

Favorite Food - Chicken and any type of beans.
New Skill - Walking!
Favorite Activity - Taking all of the cards out of mom’s phone holder or her wallet!
Sleeping - Eh ok, but on vacation it has been rough. Early riser for sure.
How Many Teeth - 8 (all within the last 3 months)
Favorite Book - God Gave Us You - MarbleSpark personalized book
Words - Mama and Dada and a specific noise when she points to brother.

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a beertastic pumpkin dinner!

The month of pumpkin has been so much fun to host throughout October! My love for pumpkin is severe, but it is well deserved. Pumpkin adds flavor, nutrients and should be used as often as possible, in my opinion! 

My last recipe for the month of October  (I am in no way saying this is my last pumpkin recipe for Fall) is Pumpkin Ale Chicken Chili. It is spicy and earthy, and the perfect addition to a cold Fall night! I know I am bias, but this dinner was pretty darn good. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for my beer bread recipe!

Pumpkin Ale Chicken Chili 


2 large chicken breasts cut up into bite size pieces (or hamburger meat)
2 T of coconut oil  
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of chili powder (or ¼ teaspoon, if you want spicy)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup pumpkin ale (I used Shipyard Pumpkin Ale)
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin puree
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained 
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained
½ cup chicken broth 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine beans, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, and spices into a crockpot. 

In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil and brown and cook the chicken. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of pumpkin ale, let simmer for 5 minutes. Dump into the slow cooker. 

In the same saucepan, cook the chopped vegetables (onion, carrots, and bell pepper). Once they are cooked through, add in the chopped garlic, cook until you smell the fragrance. Deglaze pan with remaining beer, let simmer for 5 minutes. Dump into slow cooker.

Mix everything in the crockpot and let cook on low for 2 hours. 

Served warm, topped with cheese and add pepper and salt to taste!


I served this chili with Beer Bread, as I am sure you have noticed in the pictures! I had made some in the past, but had neglected to sift the flour. Let me tell you, IT MATTERS! This bread is moist and SO easy to make. I used the same beer as the chili, Shipyard Pumpkin Ale, and thought it turned out perfectly. It was not pumpkiny, at all.

Beer Bread

3 cups of whole wheat flour, sifted (trust me, do this step!)
½ cup of sugar
3 t baking powder (do not use if using self rising flour)  
1 t salt (do not use if using self rising flour)  
1 12 oz bottle of beer (I used Shipyard Pumpkin Ale)
½ cup melted butter
¼ t of cinnamon 


Preheat oven to 375°

Grease a bread pan, I use coconut oil, making sure to completely cover. 

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix well. Pour into well greased pan and sprinkle with the cinnamon. 

Cook for 45 min, and let sit for 15 min, before removing from pan.


Happy cooking,

The Golden Bow Shop

Growing up I was somewhat of a tomboy, sure I had my pink stage and my shiny red shoes that my mom used as leverage on more than one occasion, but for the most part I enjoyed comfort over frills and bows. Fast forward quite a few years later to us welcoming Cecilia and discovering that it really is fun to dress miniature females, bows and all. The endless rows of girl clothes can overwhelming compared to the tiny boy's section next-door, not to mention the plethora of accessories that are offered for the girls, but so far she is rather loving her new closet.

Living in Okinawa, you would be surprised at how many places do not ship to our post office. Even though it is on base and the cost of shipping is the same as stateside, just add on that pesky customs form of course. So when I found The Golden Bow Shop and realized she was local, I could not have been more excited. Hannah makes the cutest bows and her prices are so affordable. Shipping costs can really determine whether or not I shop local, so I was thrilled to find out that Hannah offers no tracking option that is under $1.00 or an option to add a tracking number for just a small bit more. So affordable! She can always take custom orders, too. I have already sent in my request for a special homecoming we have soon, can't wait to show you all! 

Cecilia does OK leaving bows on her head, but I am also super concerned with her being comfortable. Insert the nylon headband bow. These stretch so nicely and seem to be much more comfortable on Ceci's head. I also have gotten a lot of people saying they love the look because of how skinny the nylon actually is. Is your little girl ready to start wearing pigtails? Have no fear, she offers pigtail bows too in the same patterns. 

Hannah just released her Fall collection and to celebrate we are doing a giveaway (giveaway is now closed)! Head over to my Instagram to enter for your chance to win your very own set of bows for your little! Follow the instructions on the pictures and make sure to follow Hannah at The Golden Bow Shop over on Facebook to get all the latest news about shop specials and new releases.

On a side note this is not a blog where the babe is somehow perfectly posed and calm for pictures. How do they do it? Seriously, Cecilia is on the move 24/7 these days.


While I may need some time to warm up to the bell bottoms and the bows the size of Texas, I am having fun being a little girly and dressing Cecilia in all of her cute new bows. Bring on the bows, frills, and occasionally white tee, because honestly babes look so cute in those simple shirts!