In Retrospect

Caroline at 2 weeks old. Photo by Bethany McGhehey.

Approximately one time per year, I get a little reflective and, well, cheeseball-ish. (Though, with Caroline's arrival, I've become one of those women who bawls happy tears at the drop of a hat. But normally, I save the sentimental nonsense for New Year's.)

And folks, it's that time of the year.

I was going to do a month-by-month recap of what we did this year, but honestly, it would have all been pregnancy-related, ha! And since most of y'all were here for that ride from the get-go, I won't make you suffer through it again.

In all seriousness though, this year was unbelievably, amazingly wonderful.

I mean, WE HAD A BABY.

And gaw, y'all. She is simply magnificent.

I cannot wait to see how she changes and develops throughout the coming year. I know that the best is still yet to come and this makes me exponentially happy.

I hope your 2014 is full of treasures. Not the kind that money will buy, but the little gems that can only be felt by the heart and experienced by the soul.

Thank you all for sticking around here for another year of memories. Let's do it again, shall we?


*All photos are property of A Blonde Ambition Blog and Bethany Blair Photography. Please do not re-post or "pin" without express written consent. Thanks for being kind, y'all!


Gravy and Gabbing

It's Friday, y'all. Let's give a collective golf clap, (or a big 'ol hoop and holler, if you're like me.) Another day, another post filled with random goodness - delicious and ready to be served. So let's do it!


On Christmas day, I posted a photo of my Memaw's chocolate gravy, which I made for us. I got a couple of emails asking if the recipe was a family secret and I'm happy to report that I have cleared it with the source herself and I can post it : )

Here goes:

3/4 cup sugar (white, granulated)
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (I like Hershey's, but hey - it's your world.)
3 Tbsp. self-rising flour
2 cups milk (skim actually works best.)
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. real, salted butter
1/8 tsp. salt


Mix the sugar, cocoa powder and flour together in a bowl until there are no lumps. In a sauce pan, combine the milk and egg yolk. Add the flour mixture and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It should take on the consistency of pudding. Once it thickens, reduce to low heat and continue to stir constantly until it's silky smooth. Add butter and stir again.

Serve piping hot on top of fresh biscuits for a crowd-pleasing breakfast!


I was BLOWN AWAY by the amount of responses from those of you interested in the mom Gmail chat forum and also the local mom playgroup. I'm currently organizing the emails and will continue to do so over the weekend! I'll email everyone next week with details of both the chat forum and the playgroup/meet-up for Northwest Arkansas moms.

Right click and save the image above, and post on your own blogs to spread the word! The more moms we get, the better the chats will be!

Thanks again for your interest in all this mom stuff! I'm so excited to talk to you girls and meet those of you who are local. Yay for new friends!!


Okay gals, I'm out. Stephen and I are packing up the baby and our 150 pounds of baby stuff and heading to my parents in Heber Springs, AR to celebrate Christmas with them. I'll talk to you bunnies on Monday!


Thursday Randomness

I hope everyone enjoyed a fantastic Christmas day and that y'all gorged yourself on as many redonkulously bad, (but good-tasting), foods as I did.

1. We had the best Christmas day of our lives, Stephen and me. We celebrated quietly, just the three of us, with our sweet Caroline Rose. I cannot wait until she's big enough next year to understand more of what's going on. Still though, it was amazing. I highly recommend Christmas with a baby ; )

2. Confessional Friday....oh yes, it's baaaaaack. Beginning on January 3rd, our little weekly link-up resumes. I'm still not certain if I want to do topics, but I do think to get us back into the swing of things, we'll begin with a little questionnaire-type theme. Something like, "One thing people might not know about me is __________." I'll get the questions posted no later than Monday on here and we can begin that way.

3. Would any of the new moms out there be interested in doing a weekly or bi-weekly Gmail chat forum? Where we throw out a couple of pre-set topics, like breastfeeding advice or tricks for getting baby on a schedule, and just talk it out? I'd like to cover many of these on the blog, but I realize that not every one is interested in my baby's bathroom habits or favorite Baby Einstein toys : )

If you think you'd be interested in this, shoot me an email at askblondeambition@gmail.com! If there's enough interest, I may just start this thing up! 

4. With that said, are there any NWA moms reading this thing that might be interested in starting a little once-weekly playgroup or meet-up? I'd love to meet some gals in-person and make some new friends with rookie mommas like myself. If you live in NWA and are the momma of an infant or young child, hit me up!

5. I'm also thrilled that 2014 will bring outfit posts back! Now that the baby bump is officially extinct, which, I'll admit, is a little sad, I can now return to one of my favorite past-times: style posts! In fact, I'm having Stephen snap a few pics this very afternoon for a post tomorrow! (He just doesn't know it yet.) I'm so excited to get back to style blogging, and I'm sure that some of you will be refreshed by the fact that not every post will be baby-related next year ; )


That is it, that is all. So what have we learned today? Let's recap:

1. If you're a mom to a bambino and would like to start a G-chat with other moms and me, email me at askblondeambition@gmail.com

2. If you're a mom that lives in Northwest Arkansas and have an infant or young child, shoot me an email. I'd love to meet up in person and get the babies together for some social time, (both for their sake and ours!)

3. Let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief that 2014 will have a little less baby talk and a little more style.

4. Mark your calendars for January 3rd for the grand return of Confessional Friday.


My Wish For You

Hey, ladies! Yep, I'm still alive and kicking, though my lack of recent blog posting would seem to say otherwise. You see, I made it my mission to really savor each moment of the holiday season with our new baby girl, and for once, put blogging on the back burner.

Taken Sunday afternoon at Stephen's parents' house with my sweet girl.

Caroline got all dolled up to visit Santa yesterday  : )

I hope to be back writing on here full force come January, but until then, new posts may be a little scarce.

It's no surprise that we feel incredibly blessed this year to be enjoying this season with our little nugget. It certainly has the makings to be our best Christmas yet!

There were definitely times in my life where I wondered if I'd ever have my own little family with which to hang stockings, open presents and take silly Christmas morning home videos. Flash forward a few years later, and it seems crazy now to imagine life without Stephen and Caroline.

My wish for you this holiday season is this: enjoy and relish the moments with the ones you're with. Whether it be your spouse or partner, your children, your best friends or family, really make the most of the moments you're given.

As an aside, I always have a soft spot in my heart for single gals, but more so during the holidays. My advice? Enjoy this time. Now, being solo during all the festivities can be a lot of fun and I realize that many folks choose to fly solo - and that's fantastic! but if you're at the place in life where you're ready to find that soul mate or start that family, please hold on to hope. God is so good and I believe that he uses that time as a single person to really mold and shape us in a way only he could.

So whoever you find yourself with on December 25, I hope that you have the merriest of Christmases.

Love y'all.


Caroline Rose: {Two Months}

We took this photo last night to send to her grandpa, as his birthday was yesterday!

Weight/Length: We won't know until her two month appointment on Wednesday, but I'll come back and update then. (I'm guessing 8.5 pounds!)

Hair: Getting longer and longer by the day! She hasn't really lost any of baby hair yet, (I'm told this sometimes happens around one to two months old.) It's still a lovely chocolate brown color, just like her handsome daddy!

Diapers: Newborn dipes for the win! We still love our Pampers Swaddlers.

Clothing: All size newborn!

Favorite Things: Her Zubels ballerina doll, her Petit Ami doll named Penelope, Ruby (our mini dachshund) and her little Wubbanub, which we've named "Lambie".

Likes: Right now, our petite princess loves: cuddling with momma and daddy, her "Lambie" Wubbanub, shopping (the bright colors and lights of department stores make her so happy), riding in the car, our doxie Ruby (she smiles so much when Ruby nuzzles her little feet), bath time and sitting up like a big girl on daddy's lap to watch TV.

Dislikes: The Nose Frida -- but really, who would enjoy that? -- big, noisy crowds, wearing socks and her Pack and Play. We are really praying she sleeps in her P & P when we visit Stephen's mom and dad in Oklahoma City next weekend. Otherwise, it may be a looooooong three days : (

Sleeping: Our girl is an awesome sleeper! Most nights, she'll wake only once for a quick feeding then it's back to bed. We got SO lucky with a sound sleeper.

Mama Thoughts: Although she's a dainty little thing, our sweet Caroline is growing every day. She is a JOY to be around, very content and easily soothed. She is starting to smile intentionally, (not from gas or during her sleep), and it makes me SO happy!

Breastfeeding is still going really well. Luckily, she has been able to take my milk easily and I haven't had to make any major changes to my diet. She latches in a snap and feeds a lot more quickly than she did a month ago. We joke that she eats like she's being timed, haha! I feel like I can finally say that we've got breastfeeding down cold : )

I feel amazing! Tons of energy and no issues whatsoever following the C-section. Honestly, the recovery was really easy considering it was a major surgery. Two weeks out of the gate and I was pretty much pain-free. We want at least one more child, but the thought of going through it again doesn't concern me at all.

It's starting to hit me that I only have a month of maternity leave left, which makes me quite sad. I'm super grateful for my job, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't love to stay at home with this little lady, too. It's the balance so many moms have to find and I pray daily that I'll be able to juggle everything come January 13.

That's all until next month, friends!


Go with the Flowbee

I wish I had some grandiose blog post to send you all off for the weekend, but alas, I do not.

Instead, (and in honor of me FINALLY getting my hair done tomorrow after 8 long weeks away from the salon), I thought we'd watch this compelling infomercial for the Flowbee. Somehow, my dear husband and I got on the topic of bad infomercials last night and this one came to mind.

"It's a vacuum! No, it's a pair of hair clippers! NO! It's the FLOWBEE!"

Children of the 80s and early 90s probably remember this hair-raising (literally) gem. Funny story, my mom was a hairdresser for many, many years and had to correct approximately eleventy million haircuts marred by this handy dandy tool.

Here are my thoughts on styling or cutting hair with a high-powered suction device:

1. The words "vacuum" and "hair" should never occur in a sentence.
2. God gave us professional hairstylists for a reason. Amen.

See yous Monday.


You Can Call Me Queen B(eanie)

Bet y'all thought I'd gone and deserted you, huh? Nope. Just enjoying a snowy, icy week inside the house with the little jewel below.

Alright, bunnies. Let's talk beanies. 

Taken yesterday with the most precious baby I've ever seen.
Beanie from Savoir-Faire last year // Fur vest from Belle Boutique Bentonville

Headband from Harts & Roses via Etsy // outfit by Carter's here
I like a fedora. I adore a baseball cap. I can even get down with a wide brimmed winter hat now and again. But, babes, I LOVE a beanie. 

Here are a few of my favorite beanies, which can be dressed up by adding a blingy brooch or even - gasp (!!) - a sparkly pair of earrings to the bottom edge.

Olive and Brown Striped Beanie from Savoir-Faire // Slouchy Solid Beanie hat in blue from Maude

And for your beanie babies...

Striped Beanie from Baby Gap in icy pink // and in navy


So It's My Birthday...

Today, I'm 29 - woot! Thanks for making 28 such a great year for me, friends! Seriously. You bunnies are the best. 

Stephen asked last weekend what I'd like for my birthday. I told him that I already got her on October 14. 

I can't wait to see what 29 holds! 

In celebration, Little Cee and I will be hitting up Starbucks for a caramel brûlée latte, then Hobby Lobby to let her "choose" a Christmas stocking. And finally, Lord willing, Stephen and I are going on our first post-baby date tonight. 

It'll be a nice low key birthday. The best sort, if you ask me.

Later gators.


But Before 30...

Hello, all! So it appears that tomorrow I shall turn 29. Yes, friends, that is '2' followed by a '9'.

I laugh because ten years ago, 29 sounded ANCIENT. Like, to me, if 29 had a smell, it would have been mothballs.

But now that I am less than 24 hours from turning 29, it feels not ancient at all. There's a lot I'd like to do this year before hitting the big 3-0. Not sure if I'll get around to accomplishing all of them, but I feel like it's an admirable goal.

Now, I'm not wishing my life away, but I'm looking forward to next year's 30th birthday. (It's such a nice, round number!) But before 30, I'd like to say I mastered (or attempted) the following:

-Learn to bake bread. Or breadsticks. Or gingerbread. I have issues with creating things made from dough, which usually involve complicated matters like opening packets of yeast and using thermometers.  This one is Everest for me, y'all.

-Maybe clean out the heaping baskets of clean clothes in our laundry room. You know, those baskets that contain items pulled from the dryer, but not quite making it to the closet or dresser. I always say, "I have nothing to wear", to which Stephen reminds me that "there's no wonder, it's probably in one of the 18 baskets in there." If learning to make things out of dough is Mt. Everest, this one is the dadgum Himalayas.

-Go zip lining. Where? I don't care. It will likely have to be off our roof since a vacay isn't in our near future. "Honey, rig up a harness and make sure our life insurance policy is in order. Mama's going zip lining!"

-Figure out the cause behind that weird rattling sound in my car when I make left-hand turns. This could probably be easily solved with a trip to the Nissan dealership, but who wants to do that...ever?

So, that's about it, I guess. What did you do or what do you plan to do before you turn 30?

Peace out, homefries.


This Little Piggie

Caroline was so upset about the end of the Razorback college football season that she shed a few tears.

We spent today mourning the end of Razorback college football for the season. Here's hoping next year pans out a little better for us, at least in terms of wins. Victory or not, we're still proud to be Hogs fans around our household!

My favorite photo of the day is this one. This was our first Thanksgiving as a family of three now that we've added the bright-eyed girl in the middle!

We had a quiet Thanksgiving at our house with just the three of us, plus my mom and dad. Stephen's parents joined us later in the evening for dessert, so we were thrilled to have gotten to see both sets of parents on such a big holiday. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that the holidays are going to be a whole lot of fun this year ; ) I'm sure the addition of the little lady below might have something to do with it. 

 How did you spend your Thanksgiving?


A Messy House, A Thankful Heart

I did something crazy yesterday, girls.

Are y'all ready for this?

I did...nothing.

At all.

Except this:

The thing is this: I want to soak in every. single. millisecond of this baby. Her ocean blue eyes, her rich chocolate brown hair, her milky perfect skin, her puffy bow-shaped lips, her tiny hands and even tinier feet.

I could go on for days.

Before Caroline, I lived my life a lot more rigidly. I arranged my days around to-do lists and kicked myself in the rear when I fell short of accomplishing them.

Know what I call a success these days?

Holding in this girl. Going to sleep at night knowing that I really savored the moments of the day, which God so generously gave me. Seeing my husband walk in the door and pick up our daughter, his face beaming as he says, "Hey kiddo." The three of us spending a Friday night on the couch snuggled up in front of the fireplace with cheese pizza and an even cheesier Lifetime movie.

I have a sneaking suspicion that no one will remember me for a spotless kitchen floor. Or a stack of perfectly folded towels. Or for my promptness on replying to emails.

No, I'd rather them say that I was a great wife and a great mom.

Isn't it the quality of the relationships with those we hold dear that really enriches us?

I tend to think so.

My wish for all of us as this holiday season kicks off is to drink each moment in fully. Live in the here and now. Don't fret over a perfect table setting or making sure the house is in magazine-order condition. Instead, just take it all in.

I think one of the best ways to thank God for the people in your life is to spend your time with them well. Make it count.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, my friends.


Me + Emilie M: {Outfit Pics}

This morning, I thought we'd mix things up - and take a break from all things baby related - to  talk...wait for it...handbags (!!) 

(Cue thunderous applause.)

Namely, a particular handbag -- the Sheila Satchel -- by Emilie M. 

Sheila Satchel c/o Emilie M. // C'est La Vie sweater from Forever 21, here // Sequin collar plaid top from Target earlier this season // Tassel necklace, here // Jeans by Hudson, here // Heels from ASOS, similar here 

I'm carrying the Camel/Black version of the Sheila, but I really do adore all of the bags from Emilie M. And, ahem, they really would make an excellent Christmas gift for your best friend, mom, aunt, third cousin twice removed,  or dental hygienist.

And buy one for yourself while you're in the process. It's really the only sensible thing to do.

Know what I love most about this line of handbags? They look expensive. And they aren't. It's a gosh darn Christmas miracle.

Right now for only $25, you can add the Essentials Box to your purchase for only $25 The Emilie M. Essentials Box is a curated set of five assorted accessories designed to pair perfectly with any of the Emilie M. handbags. 

 (Top left to right, clockwise) Essentials Box // Leslie Chain Flap // Natalie Scoop Double Shoulder // Casey Flap Hobo


Five Generations + More Weekend Photos

Caroline and I had the opportunity to do something very cool while we visited my parents in Heber Springs earlier this week. On Monday, we visited my great grandma Ruth at her assisted living facility. I wanted her to have the chance to meet Caroline while she was still a tiny newborn, and my mom had the idea to do a five generations photo.

My Grandad, (my mom's father), met us there and the five of us were able to capture the special moments on the camera.

Great Grandma Ruth was so sweet and talked to Caroline the entire time she held her. I heard her say at one point, "Where did you get all of your pretty, dark hair?"

And then I melted.

Mrs. Pat, one of the residents who is also a dear friend of our family's, came out to meet Miss Caroline, too. Despite her hollering in this photo, Caroline was quite fond of Pat : )

Great Grandma was looking at Caroline in every single photo, which made made my heart so happy. 

It was a day I'll never forget.

P.S.-The baby had an absolute meltdown at the end of our visit, so I had to go out to the car to nurse and soothe her. Let me tell y'all, it was the most ungraceful feeding session to-date AND I do believe I inadvertently flashed two of the residents that were sitting on the back deck. 

Mommyhood, folks. It's not glamourous, but man, is it ever rewarding. 


Tuesday night, we had dinner with Grandma and Grandad. My cousin Mary also brought out her sweet little boy, Kyle. He is about seven months older than Caroline and SUCH a handsome little man. 

Someone asked me if massive amounts of hair run in our family, since Caroline has enough for five babies. I think Kyle's thick head of hair confirms it, ha! 

She LOVED my Grandad - her Great Grandad.

I dare you not to try to reach through your screen and pinch his cheeks. Triple dog dare you.

Before her meltdown...
...and after. In case you're wondering, it was as loud as it looks : )

And the weekend ended with the following very sleepy, yet content little lady.


Caroline's Sip and See {In Photos}

This past weekend, Stephen, Caroline and I headed down to Heber Springs to visit my family and attend the Sip and See that my home church hosted for us! Sip and See parties are really popular in the south and it's a fun chance for everyone to see the baby once he or she is born. It's basically a post-birth baby shower : )

Here are some photos from our fun day on Saturday.

First off, this sweater is from Riffraff and is SO cozy, y'all! The color is the perfect blush pink for winter. Go get'cha one!

Remember Sarah, my matron of honor in my wedding? She's been one of my best friends since we were literally infants and now, we have kiddos of our own. There we are in the photo above.

Emmalynn, Sarah's little girl, helped me open the presents : ) She's SO adorable!

Mrs. Charlotte gifted Caroline with this presh monogrammed gown. It's wouldn't be a southern Sip and See without monogramming : ) 
I'm making the most ridiculous face here, but I was so excited that Caroline received her very first piece of jewelry: a gorgeous pearl and gemstone bracelet courtesy of Mrs. Cathy Hipp.

Mrs. Vangie gifted our little "Rosebud" with this sweet Mud Pie flamingo play suit. I nearly fell out of my seat from the cuteness!

Caroline and I posing with all the hostesses. (Left to right: Sarah, me, Mrs. Donna and Caroline, Mrs. Gayla, Mrs. Vangie and Mrs. Charlotte.)

Mom, me and Caroline, my maternal Grandma and my paternal Memaw

I loved this candid shot of Mom and I going ga-ga for our baby girl : )

My great aunts. (Left to right: Aunt Laverne, me, Aunt Rose holding Caroline, Aunt Ella and Aunt Dorothy.)
Note: Caroline is named after her Great Aunt Rose, and I thought it was amazing that we have this shot of her holding the baby.

My cousin Kristen holding baby Caroline Rose. 

Would y'all believe that my Great Aunt Laverne is in her NINETIES??!! I only hope to age this well.

A special thanks to Mrs. Cathy Hughes for making these delicious cupcakes!

We are very lucky to have such great friends and family back home and appreciate all they did for Miss Caroline.