Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Things I've Learned

I haven't blogged in quite a while (shocker, I know).

This won't be another Andrew-centric post -- although I promise another update on my sweet boy very very soon. I wanted to share a few things I've learned these last few weeks. Some are light-hearted silly things, some are reminders of lessons from the past, and some unfortunately took tragedy in order to learn:

- You can never tell your kids "I love you" enough. Tell them often, and make sure they hear you.

- Being on the receiving end of a "pay it forward" gift from a stranger is indescribably wonderful. It gives you renewed hope that people truly can be kind.

- Being on the giving end of a "pay it forward" gift to a stranger can, shockingly, be genuinely hurtful. I won't go into too many details here -- but let's just say that when a third party is involved (charged with passing along this "happy" to the recipient of the gift) and are truly dumbfounded by the fact that you would want to do this, they can be very petty and downright mean. Giving should be the most rewarding thing you can do (waaaay better than receiving) and it's sad to me that that pleasure can be taken away.

- Stopping to watch a helicopter take off and land with your little boy, even for 2 minutes, can easily be the highlight of your day.

- When someone hurts you, it sucks. When someone hurts someone you love, it is impossible to forget.

- True friends are forever.

- For someone like me (about as opposite from a DIY-er as possible), I am amazingly addicted to home improvement and organization blogs. They are my weakness. I think I'm living vicariously through them. 

- Cherry chapstick is amazing.

- Finding babysitters can be extremely difficult. Especially if you wait until 5 days before the event, which you've had on your calendar for three months. Yuck. Hopefully we've learned our lesson.

- Red Lobster cheddar rolls = heaven. For reals.

- As hard as it will be to decorate for Christmas this year (it reminds me so much of my Dad and it's almost too painful to think about), I will do it anyway. It is the time for us to begin our own family traditions for the holiday, and I want Andrew to have his first Christmas tree and his own ornaments. I can't wait to see his face when he wakes up to our big ol' tree :)

- I miss Texas oh-so-much. This past year has made me ache to be a Texan even more than normal. As always I pray for God's direction in our lives, whatever that may be.

- Andrew's little fingers and toes might possibly be the cutest things I've ever seen.

The. End.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Almost 14 Months!

I know I start almost every post the same way, but seriously -- time is FLYIN' by! I have barely processed the fact that Andrew is a one-year-old, and another two months have almost already passed us by. Wow!

Andrew has become so much more communicative, and seems to understand almost every thing that Lance and I say to him. Last night I asked, "Please go get your water cup from Daddy, then come in the dining room so Mommy can put you in your high chair and we can start dinner." He walked right to Lance, got his cup, then came straight to me with his arms up, ready to get seated. He's a genius, I tell you! (and yes, I fully realize that every other parent says the same thing about their own kiddos, but I just happen to be right, ha!)

We've had such a fun couple of months. Lots of play time with his two "girlfriends", Addie and Natalie; fun dinner dates with Aunt Sara and Uncle Mitch; and an outing down to Lance's parents' house in Olive Branch for some quality time with Marty, Grandpa Billy and Uncle Reed. We're already counting down to Thanksgiving, when we will spend the entire week in Hot Springs with my family (Andrew's YaYa, aunts, uncle, cousins and GG). Can't wait!

So, without further ado, here is my (kinda) monthly breakdown of life with our sweet boy:

Mornings: I love watching cartoons with you in the mornings, snuggling in bed for a few minutes before we get moving. It's the very best way to start my day and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Bedtime: You're still a great night-time sleeper. We put you in your bed around 7:00, and you sit in your bed reading your books until you're ready to sleep. It usually only takes a few minutes before you lay down and start to doze. We love going in after half an hour or so, to cover you with your blanket, and discover what position you are in (my current fave: butt straight up in the air! So stinkin' cute!)

Naps: When you start your big boy school next week (more on that below) you will take one nap in the middle of the day, on a mat on the floor. We know that's going to be a huge transition for you, but thankfully you are so easy-going and adaptable. We hope and pray it won't take long for you to adjust to your new schedule.

Food: You are such a great eater, as you have always been. You mostly eat whatever Mom and Dad have for dinner (sometimes if it's too spicy or strange, you get a cheese quesadilla or PB&J). You always have at least one vegetable and one fruit with every meal. You love healthy food (yay!), and enjoy the occasional treat. You are lovin' yogurt and pineapple these days.

Developmental Milestones & Firsts: You are literally running everywhere these days! It's been so much fun to watch you grow and change. You are completely confident in your new-found mobility. I am just waiting (not excitedly, I might add!) for you to discover your climbing ability. I'm praying that holds off for a little while longer :) You have given up your pacifier, except for naps and bedtime -- and you have done beautifully! I'm so proud of you!

Favorite Toys: You still love love LOVE your books! Am so glad we've nurtured this love in you at such a young age. I pray it stays with you for the rest of your life. Other faves are balls (you've got an ARM on you! Granny says if you don't become a Mets pitcher she'll be shocked!) and cars.

Sizes: You are slowly out-growing your 18-month clothes. We've gotten some 24-month stuff for you recently, and you have much more room to move and groove! We're about to go on a hunt for some pants, now that the cooler weather is making its way to Memphis. You wear a size 6 shoe.

Momma's Final Thoughts: This is where I have to admit that one night last week, after being out with a girlfriend for dinner (thus having missed Andrew's bath and bedtime), I came home and snuck into his room to watch him sleep. He was snuggled up soundly in his crib, snoring away -- and I had an overwhelming need to hold him. Lance helped me pick him up as gently as we could, so I could sit and rock him like I did when he was a baby. He didn't flinch a bit and happily dozed in my arms. I hadn't done that in almost 14 months of his life (move a sleeping child, are you crazy??) -- but I was just overcome with the need to be as close to him as I could be. That night, and every day since Andrew has been born, "my cup runneth over" with love for my precious baby boy :)


We have a big transition coming up in our family: Friday is Andrew's last day with his precious Granny, the woman who has been keeping him during the day for the past year. He begins pre-school at a local church daycare on Monday. We know he's ready to be among kids his own age, and expect he will grow and change at an even faster pace once he's there -- I'm just having a very difficult time emotionally letting go of this amazing woman who has literally been a Grandmother figure for Andrew's first year of life. She has been a support for me and for Lance, and Andrew loves her fiercely. How I will ever be able to put into words what she has done for our family, I haven't figured out yet... I am just very thankful she'll continue to be a part of our lives and that we'll be able to bring Andrew back for a visit any time.

Now for the fun part: pictures! Here's a smorgasbord of photos from the past month -- enjoy!

His newest discovery: toilet paper!

Waiting at the garage door to go "Bye bye" -- he does this any time we are about to go somewhere. Too cute!

One morning with Lance on his way to Granny's. Such a happy boy!

"Helping" Daddy get ready for work one morning, and playing with his favorite accessory of Daddy's: his belt :)

Yum! Dora yogurt!

Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

My Sweet One Year Old

Such a big boy!

Since Andrew has been a one year-old for all of 5 days now, I thought it was time for another update:

Mornings: You are so happy in the mornings! We've been letting you sleep in a little later so you almost never wake up on your own -- it's such a treat to get to wake you up every day. You rub those sweet eyes and grin at me when you realize it's time to start your day! We watch "Oswald" every morning together while you drink your bottle. I love this time with you!

Bedtime: You are such a great night time sleeper! We put you in your bed around 7:00, and you sit in your bed reading your bedtime books until you're ready to sleep. It usually only takes 10 or 15 minutes before you give in and snuggle up with your blanket to rest. We are so thankful to be past that not-so-fun phase where you did NOT like going to sleep at night!

Naps: You're still not a consistent napper. This is the one area you need to work on (it wouldn't be fair to everyone else if you were totally perfect, right?) :) You definitely give in when you absolutely have to, but most days you're content with a couple half-hour naps.

Food: You still love your food (just like your Momma and Daddy!). You eat everything we eat at home, and we can go to any restaurant and find something you'll like. You are not very subtle when you're done eating -- when food starts a' flyin' we know dinner time is over :)

Developmental Milestones & Firsts: The week you were in Texas with your YaYa, you grew into a little boy! You are now walking everywhere (when you left, you were taking as many as 10-15 steps at a time). You still fall sometimes, when you get too excited and your head gets ahead of your body :) But overall you're doing really great! You are talking up a storm all the time too. Even though most of what you says sounds like gibberish to us, we know you're saying something very important!

Favorite Toys: Books are still your all-time fave. You can sit for an entire hour, thumbing through your books and "reading" them. You don't seem to have favorites -- every night you choose something different for us to read to you before bedtime.

Sizes: You are wearing 18-month clothes. A lot of your shorts may not fit you too much longer! Thankfully some generous family members gave us some cute clothes for your birthday, so we have some 24-month stuff waiting in the wings!

Momma's Final Thoughts: I am still in denial that your birthday has come and gone! I am in awe of how much better my life is with you in it. I can barely remember not having you as a part of our family. You are such a happy, joyful, exuberant little boy! I can't wait for your birthday party this weekend here in Memphis with our family and friends.

Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

One year ago today, I became a Mom.

Our first family portrait

One year ago today, I learned what unconditional love truly was.

Holding Andrew for the first time

One year ago today, my heart became complete.

I have many wonderful memories of Andrew's first year. So many milestones -- from his first smile and his first tooth and his first steps, to watching him grow and change from a baby to a "big boy" right before our eyes. He's now walking and talking (although we haven't figured out how to translate the vast majority of what he says!). He loves Lance and me like we've never been loved before.

This past year was the best year of my life. It was also the hardest year of my life, losing my precious Daddy to cancer -- but I can truly say that my son is what got me through those rough months. Without him to cuddle with when I was literally doubled-over with grief, I do not know how I would've made it through. His arrival was perfectly-timed and a God-send in every possible way.

Andrew William, you are the joy of my life. It is an honor and a privilege to be your Momma. Your Daddy and I love you more than we can ever hope to express to you. Thank you for being such a sweet spirit, and for bringing heartfelt laughter and delight into our home. You are such a blessing to us!

To my loyal readers: please enjoy a sampling of my favorite shots from Andrew's recent one-year photo session!

His smile melts my heart!

This captures his sweet personality so perfectly!

Love that grin! He's one happy cake-eatin' boy!

Andrew, you are so very loved!

Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Our sweet (almost) birthday boy :)

We traveled to Nashville this past weekend to have Andrew's one-year photos taken by our amazing, fabulous, talented, wonderful (I could go on and on...) photographer, Shannon Payne (find her blog here). It was well worth the trip -- I honestly would've driven 12 more hours for her!

She's posted a few "teaser" shots on her website this morning, and they are all drool-worthy. I can't believe how well she managed to capture sweet A's personality.

We even took some smash-cake pics, which I hope turned out equally well. Hopefully it shouldn't be more than a couple of weeks before we get a link to view all of the photos. You better believe I'll be sharing them all as soon as I can!

I wanted to share these teasers with you here. Enjoy!

Isn't the Dr. Seuss shirt absolutely adorable?? Thank you, Etsy!

He loved loved LOVED the balloons!

Oh my goodness, I love that wittle face!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Loving the Little Years

I am so thankful that a friend of mine, Laura, so highly recommended a new book to me. She quoted a few lines on her personal blog a few months ago and it completely intrigued me. I finally got around to ordering myself a copy.

I am oh-so-thankful that I did.

If you are the mother of a little one, or plan to become one some day, I implore you to read "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches" by Rachel Jankovic (find it here). I have devoured it over the last two days, and am almost finished.

There have been several parts that have spoken directly to me, but I was reading today during my lunch hour and my heart strings were pulled so tightly that I had to share with you, my two very loyal readers :) (forgive the length, but I felt it needed to be shared in its entirety...)

The world has a very muddled perception of "self." They think and tell us to think that we are all little separate entities who might need to go off somewhere to get to know "ourselves," or that a mother needs to get back to her corporate job to be herself again. Marriages break up because people don't know who they are anymore. They need to find themselves.

But the Christian view of self is very different, and you need to make sure that it is the one you have. We are like characters in a story. Our essential self is not back in the intro, waiting to be rediscovered. Who you are is where you are. When you are married, your essential self is married. As the story grows, so does your character. Your children change you into a different person. If you suddenly panic because it all happened so fast and now you don't recognize yourself, what you need is not time alone. What you need is your people. Look out -- look at the people who made you what you are -- your husband and your children. Study them. They are you. If you want to know yourself, concentrate on them.

Those women who try to find themselves by stripping away the "others" will find that they are a very broken little thing. This will lead them to resent the people who they think made them that way. She may say, "I used to be so energetic, but all these people take, take, take from me and now I have no time to just be me!" And the world gathers around and comforts her and says she needs some time to follow her dreams.

But the Christian woman needs to see, "I used to be so boring! Now my character has some depth, some people to love, some hardships to bear. Now I have some material to work with." A Christian woman's view is always forward and never back. Your identity is to be found and resting in other people.

This was so profound to me. I never thought about the fact that as we grow and change, our true selves do too. We don't each have a previous, better version of ourselves that somehow gets forgotten in all the mess of living. That person no longer exists, and I for one am very thankful for that truth.

I am honored to be Lance's wife and Andrew's mother. Those roles make me my true self. The person I was before was fine and dandy -- but God knew this time and place would come, and that I would be fully me by being full in them (and in Him). I hope and pray that I will have the honor to be the mother to more children someday, and when that happens I will become an even greater version of myself because I will get to know myself as their mother too.

I am so grateful for this book, and can't wait to see what other lessons God will reveal to me through its pages.

Thanks Laura!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thoughts on Life and Mommyhood

This may seem like a completely random and rambling post... but that's okay. The two of you who read this know me well enough to know that's just how I roll :)

- Everyone told me this would be the case, but I didn't realize how true it was: every single stage that Andrew has entered has been my "favorite." When he was still little, but just starting to look around and be aware and was becoming more interactive, I told someone that it was just "the best" age. She told me to wait until the next stage -- and that would be my favorite... until the next one. It's completely true. Every time Andrew grows and matures and explores and is able to do more things for himself, it overwhelms me how much I absolutely love him at that exact age. Until the next time I stop and realize how much I love this age too. Mommyhood gets better each and every day!

- How lucky are we to have so many friends who love our son as if he were family?!? We are blessed to have incredibly wonderful friends in our lives. Some with kids of their own, some who are using him as their "practice child" until the time comes for their own. We get together on Wednesday nights with two families, and every time Andrew sees each these people he lights up! And the feeling is mutual: those friends treat Andrew as if he was their own, and love him fully. It's amazing to watch. We have a fantastic Sunday School class, full of families around our age, several of whom have young children as well. Andrew loves seeing the other kids in the nursery on Sundays, and it's heartwarming to see so many people stop us at church to speak directly to Andrew and love on him.

- I had no idea I would have to start "disciplining" my child at 10 months! Andrew is such an incredibly laid-back, happy baby -- but I am seeing him start to push boundaries and feel out exactly what he can get away with. He has started throwing his food whenever he's not in the mood to eat. It can be five minutes into lunch or dinner, but if he's decided he's done, the peas and strawberries start flying! It usually only happens at home, but this past Sunday he started throwing his food while we were out at lunch with Lance's family. We've been working on telling him no with sign-language (which our babysitter, Granny, uses with him) and looking him directly in the eye and saying it very firmly -- but when he's on a roll, that doesn't matter. So after three or four handfulls of food went flying, we packed up his food and he went without the rest of his meal. He's also discovered a new "toy" at home -- the doorstops near the floor, which make a really fun sound when jiggled by a little baby hand :) There are two just inside our front door. The reason I don't like him playing with them is that he's managed to pull off the little rubber caps off of both of them, and Momma doesn't like to find her 10 month-old with windpipe-shaped anything in his mouth! He can be playing on the living room floor, with literally dozens and dozens of toys and books -- but if he remembers the doorstops, off he goes! He gets halfway across the floor in 0.5 seconds flat, and when I call out, "Andrew?" he turns, looks me straight in the eye, pauses and waits for me to say, "No, Andrew" -- then turns around and continues on to his goal while I follow after him to bring him back to the safe zone. The little (loveable) stinker!

- My sister Erica will be checked into the hospital tonight, followed by induction early tomorrow morning to give birth to her second son, Maddox. Lance, Andrew and I are driving to Dallas on Friday -- so we will get to meet our precious nephew when is only 1 day old! How special is that?? I am so in awe of my sister. She is such a calm, loving, fun Mom. She doesn't realize how much I have learned from watching her these past (almost) five years, as she has mothered her oldest son Quentin. I only hope I can be half the Mom she is. If Andrew turns out to be as sweet and fun-loving as Quentin is -- I will be one very happy Momma!

- I am getting so stinkin' excited about Andrew's upcoming birthday! On his actual birthday, we'll all be in Houston for a party with our Texas family and friends. We'll also be celebrating our nephew Quentin's 5th birthday, my cousin Aaron's 3rd birthday, my second cousin Joey's 10th birthday, and our new nephew Maddox's "coming out" to the family! It's going to be an incredible day. The week leading up to his birthday, Andrew will be in Houston for the week staying with his YaYa (my Mom), his Aunt Cynthia (my little sis), his GG Mary (my Grandma who now lives with my Mom) and his cousin Quentin (who will be coming down from Dallas for the week). It will be soooo hard to be away from our sweet boy for so long, but we know he's going to have an incredible time. We want to start this important tradition of having special time with my family every summer. The weekend after his birthday, we'll be having his big party here in Memphis. I've been working hard the last week on lots of party things: designing the invite, ordering decorations, deciding on the menu, and buying paper products and party favors. It's going to be a fun-filled day with our Memphis family and friends. I always thought we'd have a low-key first birthday for Andrew (I've never been big on kid parties for 1-, 2- or 3-year olds because I didn't think they needed a big to-do!) -- until I became a Mommy myself, and realized how many people we want to share the day with. That's a blessing -- and it's one to be celebrated and embraced!

That's all for today, folks. Can't wait to share pics with you after our Texas trek this weekend. Love you all!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

10 Months Old

Yes, that's right -- I have a 10 month-old! Wow, where does the time go?!

Riding on his first rocking horse (pants-less!) on his 10-month birthday!

Here's an update on what's going on in Andrew's world these days:

Mornings: You are still such a happy boy in the mornings! We have some Momma/son alone time while Daddy gets ready for work and before it's time for me to leave, which is becoming one of my favorite times of day with you. After your morning bottle, we play on the floor and have some tickle-time. Your belly laughs are absolutely the best way to start the day!

Bedtime: Now that you're pulling up, you're having a hard time putting yourself to sleep. Everyone that I've asked says it's just a phase. We're hoping you'll go back to your easy-to-sleep ways very soon!

Naps: You're not a consistent napper, but on those days you really need one -- you always get a couple of good ones in :) Granny says you're sleeping well for her in the mornings. It's the afternoon nap that is a little troublesome for you.

Food: You are still such a great eater! Some of your new faves: corn, watermelon, Cheerios, vienna sausages and peas. You have a wonderful appetite and love to eat -- just like your Momma :)

Developmental Milestones & Firsts: You've had a very big couple of weeks! You are now crawling, pulling up and standing on your own! It seems like in the past two weeks you have grown leaps and bounds. You love to stand at your activity table and walk around it to play with every possible button. You have crawled halfway across our house to come find me when I went "missing" -- you love being in the same room as Momma and Daddy. A friend told me last night that you're starting to look less like a baby, and more like a little boy -- which is exciting and soooo sad all at once. Where did my baby boy go??

Favorite Toys: You still love books; now you love to pull them off of the shelves and go through the pages yourself. You're absolutely loving your activity table. Two new toys that you're starting to spend a lot of time with: a rocking horse (thanks cousin Quentin!) and a push toy that you're practicing walking with. But of course, the classics -- balls and trucks -- still rule.

Sizes: You are growing like a weed! You're wearing almost exclusively 18-month clothes now. Your 12-month wardrobe will soon be relegated to the tubs of clothes with your newborn stuff. That makes this Momma very sad.

Momma's Final Thoughts: You are the happiest, most joyful, most exuberant little boy I have ever been around! I am thrilled every day that I get to be your Momma. You make me laugh when I've had a tough day. I can't help but be overjoyed every second I'm around you. You make me want to be a better person, and I pray every single day that I will be the best Momma you could possibly deserve.

Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

First Mother's Day

I recently got to celebrate my very first Mother's Day. Some say that last year I was already a Momma since I was pregnant with Andrew, but it didn't feel "real" until this year. Having my sweet baby boy to hold and cuddle and kiss -- that's what makes being a Momma so special.

And boy oh boy, did my boys do a great job of showering me with love on my special day! I was given a beautiful necklace with Andrew's name and birthstone (sending Lance links to things I loved payed off in the end, ha!).

Being a Momma has really put into perspective the wonderful job my own Mom did raising my sisters and me. I always knew how blessed I was to have had the parents I had, but now that I'm a parent too -- well, I have a whole new appreciation for everything both my Mom and Dad did for us growing up.

As I grew up and began to meet folks from all walks of life, I never knew that some people didn't talk to their Moms every day... or tell their deepest, darkest secrets to their Moms... or say "I love you" after every conversation with their parents. Those were things that I guess I took for granted. I always felt loved and special and nurtured. I cannot imagine going through life without the support of my parents. Having known several people who did not have the same kind of family life that I did, I am truly humbled to think how my life might be different had I been raised by another set of parents. Of course, God makes no mistakes, and knew exactly what He was doing when he matched us up :)

Today I am so thankful for the gift of being a Momma. I love Andrew more than words can express. And it gets better every single day! I figured since this is my own silly blog, I can honor Andrew in whatever way I wish -- so indulge me for a second as I "count down" a few of the things that I love about life with my baby boy:

M is for making me smile. No matter what kind of day I've had, the second I pick up Andrew from Granny's house -- my heart is completely melted! His face lights up when he sees me enter the room, he squeals with delight, then he raises his arms up to me and kicks his legs while I scoop him up into my arms. Those are the moments I live for :)

O is for observing the world through his eyes. It is truly a wonder to watch him discover something new every single day. I am in awe as his little mind figures something out for the first time. I get to appreciate the world in all its wonder all over again.

T is for trying new things. I admit that before I became a Momma, I had become very set in my ways. Lance and I had our routine and did the same things and went to the same places over and over again. When you become a parent, you're forced to enter a whole new world each and every day. I love every second of it!

H is for loving that boy with my whole heart. Before I became a parent, I heard people say that the love you feel for your children is one that cannot compare to anything else. I thought I knew what it would be like, since I was deeply in love with Lance. But the love that a parent has for a child is incomparable. Getting to hold Andrew for the very first time, I truly thought my heart would burst with love and pride. Each and every day, that feeling gets stronger and stronger. I don't understand how God does it, but my friends with multiple children say that somehow their hearts grew larger with each child, and that they were able to make enough room to love each of their children equally. I can't wait until God blesses us with another kiddo to love whole-heartedly!

E is for the excitement I feel about our future. I was definitely content with my life before I became a Momma, but always knew that I wanted to become a parent -- and when I thought about my future I always had a blurry vision of what it would be like for us. I can honestly say that I am thrilled beyond belief at what is ahead for our family, now that we've added Andrew to the mix. I know that God has some amazing adventures planned for us, and now I can't imagine anything but having our sweet boy next to us as we move through this big world together.

R is for really big belly laughs (okay, I know that was a stretch for "R" but I had to include my favorite Andrew thing). My boy is uber-ticklish, and my all-time favorite sound right now is hearing him giggle to near breathlessness as I tickle his little body. I could listen all day to those laughs!

There are dozens and dozens of things that I could say about my life as a Momma. I will just simply say that I am awed every single day by this amazing gift that God has given me! Andrew, your Momma loves you more than you'll ever know!

Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Favorite Things

Inspired by another blog, here are some "favorite things" I've loved recently:
We recently threw a party at our home in honor of Andrew's dedication on Easter Sunday. I had so much fun making the food and decorations. These two were a hit with all of the guests, and were super easy to make. They will definitely be on my list to make again when the occasion calls for it!

We've been trying to eat healthier at our house. This yummy site is my new favorite place to find meal inspirations for our busy, time-strapped family! As a matter of fact, I just printed out several recipes so I can add those ingredients to tonight's grocery shopping list.

During our family getaway to St. Louis this past weekend (pics to come soon!) we visited one of their many children's museums, The Magic House. They have a special area just for babies under 24 months old. Andrew had such a wonderful time playing in the bouncy balls, watching himself in the mirror, and "singing" along with the songs that played in each room.

I love love LOVE this necklace I discovered on etsy.com. This may or may not be making an appearance in someone's Mother's mailbox very shortly :)

I stumbled across this fabulous blog last week. Who doesn't love to cyber-stalk someone you've never met? :) I've loved reading the honest, sometimes laugh-out-loud posts. It's wonderful when someone shares their great and not-so-great parenting moments for other Mommas. Plus she's an uber-decorator which appeals to the decorator-wannabe in me. She's also the one who inspired this "favorite things" blog and I may or may not have borrowed the categories for my previous update on Andrew from her too. Thanks Katie!

That's all, folks! I hope that since I'm back on the blogging bandwagon, I'll keep this up. It's fun to think about the things I've loved and been inspired by recently.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Too Early?

Is it too early to start planning Andrew's first birthday party? :)

By the way, this is where I admit I've already been mentally planning this day for at least two months...

I love planning parties. Birthdays, baby/wedding showers, any excuse to put together a menu, make fun foods, get a group of people together that I love -- that's totally me. Add to that the fact that my first child is having his first birthday -- that's a combination made in heaven.

First step: theme. You can't throw the perfect kid's birthday party without a theme. I can't remember the last time I had a themed party... unless you count my 30th and I guess you could say those themes were "limo", "wine" and "pink" -- but that's for another post, ahem... :)

I started with the idea of doing a monkey theme. We call Andrew our little monkey, a lot of his clothes have monkeys on them, and to be honest, I think it's just cute. I found lots of fun things online that I thought would work great. I even designed the invite, and laid in wait until it was time to actually do something about it.

But then I was blog-browsing one day, and I found more inspiration online -- ladies and gentlemen, we have the perfect theme for Andrew's first birthday party:

Dr. Seuss
(applause! applause!)

The designer in me fell in love with the fun colors -- bright red and aqua, with a splash of yellow -- and I am a teacher's daughter, after all, so I love any kid's party theme that revolves around books and learning.

Let me tell you how stinkin' excited I am about this party! I wanted to share some things I've come across online that I'm admittedly "borrowing" from for Andrew's shindig. I'm planning to do most everything by hand -- invites, decorations, food, drinks, party favors, thank-you notes -- with the exception of Andrew's outfit (I can't sew, boo! But I'm sure you'll be glad once you see what I've chosen for him to wear!).

So enjoy this "sneak peek" of what's to come in a very short three months' time! (click each description to find it online)


table centerpieces

food table


Andrew's outfit (sooo cute, right?)

Yes, I know I'm crazy. But my baby boy only turns one once, so I've gotta make it perfect!

Can't wait til your big day, Andrew! Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!

I'm Back!

So... Andrew's personal baby website expired -- but to be completely honest, I wasn't a pro at updating it. Since everyone is on Facebook I was not good at posting photos and things on multiple sites. A Momma's free time is valuable enough as it is! :)

I decided to come back here, where I started my blogging adventure years ago. This will be my blog to our sweet baby boy. A place where I can share what's going on in his big bad world... write notes to him... share favorite pics... and just love on him from afar. That's what Mommas are good at, right?

So to start off today... Here's a few highlights of what's going on in Andrew's world these days. (FYI: I stole these "categories" from another Momma's blog)

Mornings: You are the happiest, happiest baby in the mornings! Which says a lot, since you're pretty stinkin' happy all day long. I absolutely love waking you up (at 6:00). After you've rubbed that sweet sleep away from your eyes, you give me the biggest grin and it's just what this tired Momma needs to get my day started!

Bedtime: We've gotten into a pretty predictable bedtime routine, and since you're following in your Momma's footsteps already, you love and thrive on a routine! You eat dinner at 6:30, followed by bathtime (every other night), then I lather you up with your sweet-smelling lotion, put you in your PJs, let you play with your toys for 15 minutes or so -- then it's off to bed at 7:30! We snuggle up in the rocking chair in your room, where you have a 4 oz bottle (which, to be honest, is more for routine's sake and not for nutrition... we'll be ending this feeding very soon, I think). As soon as you're done, you put your pacifier in your mouth, close your sweet little eyes, lay your head on my shoulder and it's a done deal, baby! I lay you down in your crib, wrap your arm around your giraffe, and kiss your head. Some nights you fight it for a few minutes, but most of the time you are out like a light. It's so much fun for Daddy and me to peek in your room throughout those first few hours. We never know what position you'll be snoring away in! You like to scoot around and sleep in some pretty funny poses, kiddo!

Naps: Oh... naps how I miss thee! Naps are not your friend these days. For some reason you've decided you're not a fan of daytime naps. I think you're too excited about everything going on around you that you don't want to miss a thing. Not that I blame you, kid, but we're working on it! Granny and I are going to try to come up with some solutions to try during the day when you're with her. If you don't get your naps at her house, you're one grumpy boy by the time Momma picks you up -- and I much more enjoy a happy Andrew than a sleepy grumpy one! But we've decided it's only fair that we've found a weakness in you since you are absolutely perfect in every other way :)

Food: Thankfully you are not a picky eater. You love fruits and veggies and meat. Your new fave finger foods are mandarin oranges, grapes (skin-free) and grape tomatoes (skin-free). You love to snack on mini vanilla wafers, animal crackers, yogurt meltaways and cereal puffs. In the next few days I'm going to start introducing a few newbies: cubed cheese, shredded chicken and macaroni and cheese. We've found a couple flavors of jarred baby food that you are not fond of, but when I've tried a second (or third) time to give it to you, you've eaten it right up. I pray you stay an adventurous eater like your Momma and Daddy!

Developmental Milestones & Firsts: Oh where to begin... You are waving "bye bye" and it's so stinkin' cute! You are getting up on your hands and knees and rocking... You are sooooo close to crawling across the floor! You love to roll all over the place. You could literally get around our entire house if you wanted to, but you seem content to stay in the room where Momma is (which I'm thankful for! I'm not yet coveting the phase where I have to chase you around the house!). Since your legs are so strong, and you've been supporting your weight since you were 2 months old, I wouldn't be surprised if you skip crawling altogether and just start walking one day very soon.

Favorite Toys: The stacking rainbow rings -- the same kind that Momma used to play with as a baby -- are your favorite toys right now. You love throwing them and chewing them and putting them on your feet. You love to read your cloth books, and roll your balls and play with your big toy truck (you love the sound it makes when you push it and it zooooooms across the floor!).

Sizes: You are a growin' boy indeed! In the last 6 weeks, you have started wearing and are about to outgrow 12-month clothes. You're already wearing a few 18-month onesies since you're so stinkin' tall (where did that gene come from, by the way??). Momma and Daddy need to have another garage sale soon so we can make money to fund a new wardrobe for our big boy!

Momma's Final Thoughts: In three short days you will be nine months old, and I must say that this Momma is in denial! How in the world has the last 3/4 of a year gone by so fast?? You have taught me so much in such a short time. You are such a happy boy that everywhere we go -- the grocery store, Target, church -- people stop me to ask, "Is he always like this?" I am one proud Momma when I get to tell them all, "Yes, always." I pray you never lose your sweet spirit!

Kisses, my sweet sweet boy!