Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Confessions

I haven't blogged in weeks -- mostly because my household has been fighting off cold after cold this month, we went on vacation, and little boy is getting his molars, nursing like a newborn, and waking up 4-5 times a night. As I sit here blowing my chaffed nose and sucking on a cough drop, I thought I might write a little blog post. I admit, I have nothing profound to say today, so it's time for some confessions...and to keep with the festive season...let's make them Christmas themed! :)

This photo has nothing to do with the post; I just wanted to share! :) We had a "most spirited holiday attire" contest at a work event and Scott and I went all out! We decorated tacky shirts, mine said CLASS (College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences) and Scott's said COBA (College of Business Administration). Those are the colleges we each work for. Scott won the contest...I think b/c he went all out with a homemade elf hat, green pants (though it's hard to see that in this picture), and he even shaped his beard into something a little more elf-like (again, hard to see in this picture).
 I wrote a similar post back in 2011 where I shared some confessions as well as traditions, if you want to read more!

+ I've never seen It's a Wonderful Life.
I'll let that sink in for a minute.
We DID buy it this year for only $7 
and I WILL be watching it this weekend!!

+ I can quote large portions of Christmas Vacation.
You can see what kind of family I was brought up in. ;)

+ I've never been to church on Christmas day. 
I have been on Christmas Eve a handful of times,
but only at Scott's parents' Catholic church.
I'm not Catholic, so it hardly even counts for me!
I didn't go to church growing up, and we've always been traveling
for the holidays, so we aren't home for the services at our church.
This year I'm super excited that we're doing our annual service day
on the Sunday before Christmas. It's not our official Christmas service, but it's
a time where we go out and deliver food and gifts to those in the community who otherwise wouldn't have anything. I've never been able to participate due to travel plans, so I'm thrilled to do it this year with my husband and son by my side. :)

+ My Christmas lists look almost identical every year. 
In fact, I almost get a little annoyed that people still request one from me.
With the exception of a few specific things each year, I basically just ask for gift cards, candles, makeup, and PJs. Scott wants guitar strings and PJs. Every.single.year. 

+ I'm still torn on the whole topic of Santa. 
Grayson is still little enough that we haven't had to make a firm decision how we will handle it. 
I do know that we want to forge new traditions, probably starting next year, where we have Christmas at home, do some community service, read Luke 2, and strive to keep it fun, yet simple. I like the fun traditions of Santa, but not so much what he represents nor the idea of lying to our kids. I personally felt pretty embarrassed and deceived when I finally discovered my parents had gone to such lengths to fabricate the whole thing for so many years. I think we'll probably still do Santa, but just make it clear that he's make-believe. A tradition, something that's fun to pretend, but make it clear from the start that the Jesus part of the holiday is REAL and the Santa part is NOT. But again, we're not fully decided on this!

+ I've barely given any thought at all to Christmas gifts this year. Our entire Christmas shopping experience happened in about 1 hour and 2 stores. We are scaling WAY back and only doing one small gift for each set of parents and a couple small things for Grayson. We're done going into debt trying to buy something for everyone in our families...especially when we can never afford really nice gifts anyway. We're keeping it sentimental and keeping the importance of love and family central in our gift-giving. We opted out of buying gifts for each other this year and went on a vacation to Gatlinburg, TN instead. It's all very different for us, but I LOVE it!!

+ I'm not going to do Elf on the Shelf. Like, ever. Not because I'm morally against it. It's just the very thought of it makes me tired. 

+ I don't like Love, Actually.
I watched it for the first time last year and I thought it was incredibly boring.
I sort of feel like it's one of those things that people don't really like, but they like to talk about how they like it because they think it's cool to like it. Am I wrong? Sorry if you loved the movie. I just don't see the appeal!

+ "Baby, It's Cold Outside" may not be the most fitting song for the Christmas holiday, but I actually get pretty annoyed when people call it the "date rape song." They're reading way more into it than was intended! "Hey, what's in this drink?" is not implying that he was drugging her! The girl is clearly being coy throughout the song and she's using the alcohol in the drink as an excuse for her not-so-lady-like behavior that will clearly be happening that night. I get it, she's saying "no" and the guy is being persistent and no means no and we need to stop sending the message that girls just need a little convincing (and maybe some alcohol). But I think it's pretty clear in the song that they are flirting and her excuses are half-hearted attempted to say "she tried" but still ultimately end up staying the night. Okay, rant over. Y'all find something new to complain about! :)

I think that's it for now, folks! Hope you're all gearing up for a great Christmas! :) What are some of YOUR confessions?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our First Date

Scott and I had our first real post-baby date last week. Sure, we have lunch together every day at work and sometimes go out for those. And yes, we've had TONS of at-home dates. And there was one "date" to a work banquet, which probably counts but also doesn't because we were surrounded by coworkers just like we are every other work day. But last Wednesday, it was legit and way past due!

It was a bit of a hectic day and the promise of our date seemed to be hanging just out of reach for most of it. We helped my sister in law move, which involved some extensive cleaning projects and some actual moving of boxes and furniture. Earlier in the day, I stayed at my in-laws house with Grayson. We took a fabulous 2-hour nap which hasn't happened in a long time. Then, after lunch, we left Grayson with Scott's mom and I helped with the moving. During lunch, we decided to pre-order our tickets to the movie so that we would HAVE to go! Otherwise we feared we would get caught up in things and then it would be too late or we would be too tired to go out. We bought tickets for 6:40 and decided we needed to head back to the house by 5 to get ready. Well, we didn't end up back at the house until closer to 5:30. I decided I didn't need another shower and could get by with changing clothes, straightening my hair, and putting on some makeup. Fortunately, it did the trick and I still felt nice enough to make it worth it. We were only going to the movies so I toyed with the idea of just going as I was, but I knew I had to put a tad more effort into getting ready for this particular date!

My mother-in-law watched Grayson, and Scott and I went to a place in Marietta called The Movie Tavern. We sat in huge, cushy recliners and had dinner, Sam Adams Winter Lager, and a big bucket of popcorn delivered right to us! We laid back and watched Mockingjay on a gigantic projection screen. We have a dinner theater type place in Statesboro, but it's not nearly as nice as this! I was super impressed with the whole thing! I wish I could have gotten pictures of our giant beer and nachos, or my feet propped up on the recliner, but it was too dark! I did manage a really grainy and dark selfie! You're welcome.

After our epic movie experience (okay, I hadn't been to the movies since I was 39 weeks pregnant so it was a little more exciting than maybe it would be to others!), we decided to go in search of a nice coffee shop or cafe to have some coffee and dessert. Things got a little stressful at this time. Why are there not adorable and cozy coffee shops readily available wherever I am?? We aren't super familiar with that area so we started driving aimlessly while I consulted with my old pal Google. Every place we found seemed to no longer exist! I finally found a place that had good reviews and looked like a good option for us. I tried to use the navigation on my phone but it was taking forever. I plugged in our old Garmin GPS and it could not find the location. -_- I went back to my phone and waited for it to load (meanwhile we're driving in circles and Scott is getting stressed about the gas money and putting miles on the car {yes, really}). Finally, it loaded! And the place was only a few short minutes away! Hooray!

It was supposedly located in Downtown Woodstock which is a really cute and trendy little area. I was excited to try something out down there! We drove through the area where the GPS took us, but we didn't see the place. We decided to walk and find the actual address that way. It was a little chilly and misting lightly, but it was still nice to walk in the little downtown area and look at the Christmas lights. We came upon the address and--what do you know?--it was a BANK! I guess that place also no longer exists! Sheesh! What does a girl have to do to get a good cup of coffee?!?!

At this point we just laughed about everything and went to the first place we came across and walked in and asked if they had a dessert menu. It was a cool restaurant called Freight and had an antiquated train station theme. Unfortunately the dessert and coffee were way more expensive than we were hoping for and it wasn't really tasty at all. Of course when the waiter came by and asked if he was right about the brownies, we just smiled and said, "Oh, yeah! It was good!" Nope. Not really. But it was fun just randomly going somewhere and spending time together. Maybe next time we'll plan in advance a little more, but part of the fun (despite the stress!) was the adventure of finding something to do.

Another really dark picture...the not-so-tasty decaf coffee!

We got back to the house to find out that Grayson woke up and had been up for an hour! Eek! A little milk and snuggles and he was back to sleep in minutes, but I did feel bad that we were gone while he was struggling to sleep. Oh, well. It has to happen sometime!

All in all, we had a great time on our first *real* date outside of the house since Grayson was born! We'll have to do it again sometime! But first--family trip to Gatlinburg, just the three of us! Wish us luck!! :)

Monday, December 1, 2014


Praying for:
+ I'm doing a prayer challenge, which I discussed here. Basically, I have planned out a person, issue, or situation that I want to extensively pray over each day. Some days I'm better about it than others, but overall it has been a good experience and I've enjoyed setting aside more time to talk to God each day.
+ Healthy pregnancies for a few more friends I found out about recently! :) Hooray for more babies!

Working on:
+ Christmas shopping. We are doing things differently this year and are not buying as many presents. It's a great feeling! Not because we're being stingy. I love giving gifts, but I think scaling back to just a few meaningful gifts for those closest to us is the best way to steward the money we've been blessed with. Scott & I have also decided to go on a trip instead of buying presents for each other.  And we made sure to spend as much money on those in need as we did on Grayson by participating in the holiday helper program at our church. We were able to bless a mom with a gas card and a 1 year old with some toys. :) 
+ Preparing for our trip to Gatlinburg later this week! Yes, traveling two weeks in a row. Eek!
+ Posting things on my new FB page: Bellies, Boobies, and Babies! "Like" the page to follow along with articles, videos, and encouragement that I post for families!

Hoping for:
+ A smooth ride to and from Gatlinburg. I'm nervous about the 6-hour car ride with Grayson during waking hours! We'll be as prepared as we can be with toys, books, snacks, and the DVD player. Any other pro tips are welcomed! 
+ A fun time in Gatlinburg! :)
+ Miraculous healing for a sweet baby who is still in the womb and will likely need extensive heart surgeries after he is born. 

+ visited family for Thanksgiving. We drove up to Scott's parents' on Tuesday night, helped his sister move on Wednesday, had an awesome date on Wednesday night (more on that later!), stuffed our faces on Thanksgiving, visited my great-grandmother on Friday, went to my dad's house that night and stayed through Sunday, and had a big lunch with family at my grandpa's house on Sunday before heading home. Whew!

Unfortunately these crappy iPhone pics are the only ones we took on Thanksgiving! For shame!!

Reading (not many updates here!):
+ A Passage to India - yes, still! But I'm more than halfway through it now. I really enjoy the writing style but it's just not a page turner, which means it takes me an eternity to read it since life tends to get crazy! 
+ The Power of Habit - yes, still! But our office book club only meets twice a month now instead of every week, and we had a few off-weeks due to other events, so it's taking us a while to get through this one. 
+ The Bible - currently alternating between 1 Kings and Mark

+ Divergent - I wish I had read the books first, but I never got around to it so I went ahead and watched the movie! I loved it! Definitely want to get caught up on the books before seeing the next one!
+ 22 Jump Street - eh, it's about as good as you would expect
+ LOTS of Sesame Street and Elmo's World!
+ Season 2 of Nashville -- obsessed!!!
 + I can't even follow current shows right now b/c I'm too involved with Nashville! haha!

Listening to:
+ Christmas music...just a little!
+ Pandora...mainly 90's Alternative, Taylor Swift, and Maroon 5 stations
+ Grayson talking my ear off! :)

Laughing about:
+ everything! Scott and Grayson keep me laughing all the time! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Toddler of Many Words

Grayson is almost 14 months now, and he is a toddler in every sense of the word. He does it all! It's insane. But first...too many pictures! :)

Silly boy likes to sit inside his toy drum!

YUM! Cheerios! We were cooking a perfectly tasty breakfast, but he kept chanting "EAT!" So we gave him a "nack." :)



We got this jacket for our trip to Gatlinburg next just a TAD big!! Oops! (It was only $3 at a consignment shop!)

He was asking for a "bite." This kid and his food...

How cute is he??? Answer: Too cute!

Love to see sweet baby friends together! :)

Walking at the no mind to the leaf plastered to his face...

And the obligatory photo of my kid decorating the Christmas tree. Come on, you HAVE to do it! :)

Our Baby Center email this week said, "Your 13 month old may be able to say up to four words by now." Scott and I laughed a lot about this. Four words?!?! Are you kidding me? We started trying to list all the words Grayson can say and we gave up around 25, only to continue thinking of more as the day went on. He's clearly very advanced! ;) Some of the words I hear most often include: Melmo (Elmo), eat, snack, bite, beans (he likes food!), bottle (which is what he calls sippy cups) ball, Daddy, bath, night-night, uh-oh, bye-bye, teeth, doos (shoes), geet (get it!), dog, cat, kitty. He can say many others, but those are regulars in our home!

He also has started pointing out his body parts. He knows head, mouth, nose, and toes. He can follow simple instructions (when he wants), such as "find your ball" or "give that to Mommy." He's getting much better at the shape sorter games and is a pro at ring stackers.

He walks and borderline runs with no problems. The boy loves shoes and will carry them around the house if he isn't wearing them. He is in a size 5 now. Still wears anything from 9 months to 2T depending on the clothes. He's slowed down in growth so I think we'll be camping out at 12-18 months for most things for a while. He has started climbing, which is a little scary and very annoying! He can climb onto the ottoman we've been using as a coffee table b/c we thought it was safer (ha!). He'll pull himself on top of it and stand up! Ahhh!! He also likes to walk on the fireplace hearth which we try prevent in case he falls and hits his head on the hard parts inside. It's VERY hard to keep a toddler from standing on things!! Discipline is becoming more and more of a challenge. Still trying to figure out what works for us at this stage.

Grayson can also get down from the couch without falling, so at least that makes me less nervous when he starts climbing on it.We try to have lots of outside time on the weekends to keep us all from going stir crazy. I hate to tell him "no" so much, so we're working on other ways to entertain him.

Speaking of entertainment, he LOVES Sesame Street. What used to be the request of "BABMM!" for Big Bugs Band is now the chanting of "Melmo!" We generally only watch TV with him on the weekends, but it is truly amazing how he will just snuggle up with us on the couch and sit through almost an entire episode of Sesame Street! Scott and I both dozed off (lightly!) the other day while Grayson sat between us watching the episode and eating Puffs from his snack container.

Food is still going well. He eats three meals a day and small snacks as needed. Some days he is more compliant in eating what we serve him than others. He loves snacks, so we try to make those healthy. He wants a bite of whatever we are eating, so I basically only eat things that he can also have. That doesn't limit things much. At this point, he can eat just about anything as long as it isn't a choking hazard--which is mostly just whole nuts. He isn't deterred by strong flavors or spices either. Chili and black beans are among his favorites.

We are still nursing on demand at home and he still gets 3 sippy cups of pumped milk at school. He'll be switching to whole milk soon, as I don't plan to pump after the holidays. At school he'll get 8 oz of whole milk each day (once we make the switch) and he can still nurse whenever he wants at home. No weaning plans, just going with the flow for now.

He is moving full-time to the 1-year-old room at school starting next week! It's both a little sad and exciting! I know he is more than ready as he's been enjoying all the time he's spent over there lately, and clearly is bored in the infant room. Mostly I'm just going to have to get used to the new teachers.

Sleep is hit or miss, but I'm not worried. It's clear that the nights where he is up frequently are the nights that he's struggling with something, whether that be teething, congestion, nightmares, etc.. Some nights he'll sleep the whole time, others he'll wake up only once, and then on rare gems like last night he'll be up every 3 hours screaming. :( They go through so many changes at this age, I don't expect super predictable sleep patterns. He usually naps once a day for 1-2 hours, but will sometimes nap again in the afternoon. I feel like he should be napping at least one more hour a day than he usually does, but that's hard to control when he's at school for those most nap times.

We are having more fun than ever and enjoying the blossoming personality of our little boy! He wows me with his intelligence and melts my heart with his sweet snuggles. He cracks me up with his silly dances and faces and sounds. He is truly a joy and I'm loving every step of this crazy adventure. Having a toddler is presenting it's own unique challenges, and it's very different than the first year, but I think I like it even more! :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Prayer Life

Last week in our small group for church, we discussed our prayer lives. How often do we pray? What types of things do we pray about? What do we struggle with in regards to prayer? What do we believe about prayer?

I walked away from that meeting, knowing that I want to "beef up" my prayer life. There are some ways I just want to grow more spiritually when it comes to prayer. Specifically, I want to focus on these areas:

+ Pray more often. 
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul tells us to pray without ceasing.
I go through seasons with my prayer life and how often I pray. At times I pray a lot, all throughout the day, just having an on-going conversation with God. Other times I become more routine, praying only before meals, before study time, and maybe one or two quick prayers throughout the day as things come up. At this point in life, I'm in the latter stage. (Though I do also pray when putting Grayson to bed at night and that is some of my best prayer time!)

+ Pray more passionately.
I don't want my prayers to just be routine, or just be idle chit-chat with God. Both of those things are good. It's good to have a routine of praying before meals and bedtime. It's good to chat with God about the everyday things in your life. But it's also good to pray deeply. To seek God fervently and earnestly. To set aside time to really devote to hearing from God. To quiet the world around you and focus on Him. When times get rough, to not just pray that God be with me, but to call out to God with all the emotions of my heart, just like the Psalms in the Bible. When things are going well, to not just say a quick thank you, but to shout in joy to God, to dance, to sing, to really worship Him. 

+ Pray with more faith.
Sometimes I pray for people and certain situations with no real hope of my prayers being answered. Or I don't pray for something because I don't think it will help. I may not pray for healing in a seemingly hopeless situation. I may not pray for salvation for someone who seems like a lost cause. I'm hesitant to do it because I don't want to be let down. I don't want God to disappoint me. But the thing is, we are given power through the Holy Spirit to proclaim victory over certain situations through Jesus Christ. We can pray for healing with certainty that God will heal. This is hard for me. It's not that I don't believe God can do these things. I just have a hard time believing that it's 100% for sure going to happen. Because maybe it's not His will. Maybe a different outcome is better for some unknown reason. Or maybe He's just waiting for us to have a little more faith. This is probably the toughest area for me to work on. But the cool thing is, if I do the first two things, it will help me do this third thing. 

So, how am I going to work on these three areas? I know routine can be the death of passion, but for me, I thrive on routine. Routine motivates me and gives me a sense of calm in a chaotic world. So, while I don't want my prayer life to be nothing but part of a routine, I do want to use a routine to facilitate it. So, I have devised a plan.

For the next three weeks, I am praying for a specific person, situation, or large-scale issue each day. I have already written it out in my planner. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the things I want to pray about, and it becomes so overwhelming that I just give up and shut down. Instead of praying for just a few of the many needs in this world, I don't pray for any because it feels like too much to sift through. This list has allowed me to pull out a few of the things and people that have been on my heart lately. Today I am praying for my dear friend and previous co-worker Linda, who is suffering from terminal cancer. 

Not only do I have a plan for who/what I'm praying for, but I've determined when I'm going to pray with more focus. I've decided that when I pump at work (which is three times a day), I will close out all the windows on my computer (rather than using that time to catch up on blogs and Facebook!) and spend that time praying with passion and faith. I've been using my prayer journal (pictured above) to write down the prayers, which helps me stay focused. By praying for the same person/thing multiple times a day, I'm forced to go beyond the simplistic "God, be with her" and get more specific. I've found that my passion and faith is growing with each prayer! :) I've also found that if I keep that person in mind all day, I'm likely to say quick little conversational prayers throughout the day as well. Of course I still do my usual prayers, but this makes sure that I allow time to pray for something/someone beyond that. And not every day is praying for something or someone. Some days I'm just praying about my relationship with God, my thankfulness for Jesus, etc...

In addition to this, I've dedicated myself to praying every single day for the sweet baby of a girl I went to high school with. He has not been born yet, but they already know he has a heart condition and will likely need extensive surgeries after birth. I'm praying for miracles, and trying to pray with faith that full healing WILL take place! I have no set time for this prayer, but it's on my heart and I've been making time for it throughout the day, each and every day.

What about you? What do you struggle with in your prayer life? How do you maintain a powerful and personal relationship with Jesus through prayer? I would love to hear!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Halloween Pics + Song of the Week!

I've been a sicky this week and I have to say, loads of rest, green tea, and coconut oil really does wonders!! I feel 100x better today than I did yesterday! I'm still not completely well, but I feel well rested and that is saying a lot! If you are coming down with something, I highly recommend a generous scoop of coconut oil in your tea! And a 2+ hour nap doesn't hurt, either!

Moving on, November 12th isn't too ridiculous to finally post pictures from Halloween on the blog, right??

Curious George and the WOman in the Yellow Hat!

Scott was a zoo keeper...Grayson's costume worked with each of ours, individually. ha!

 And it's also Song of the Week Wednesday! This week I'm rocking out to Katy Perry's "Roar." I know it came out over a year ago, but it's still a great song to crank up and make you feel like you can do something really run a mile in a sleep deprived state, for example. :)

{and the video for this is supremely silly! Not sure what it is with me and weird videos...oh well!}

Helene in Between Song of the Week Wednesday

Friday, November 7, 2014

For Dads of Newborns...

Ah, the newborn days! When all the baby needs is mommy, all mommy needs is a nap, and daddy is like...what am I doing in life??

I think all new dads struggle with this to a degree. Moms are exhausted, hormonal, and physically recovering from delivery (this goes double (or more!) for moms recovering from a c-section). Newborn babies desire constant contact with their moms because that's all they've known for the last 9 months, and if mom is breastfeeding, the endless cluster feedings result in baby needing mom all the time. Dads want to help. They want to make life easier for mom. They want to help take care of the baby. They want to share a bond with the baby and feel like dads. But how? Where is their place in this scenario?

This can leave a lot of dads frustrated, angry, hurt, disappointed, and insecure about their role in the family. Especially if dad has to go back to work right away, there is little time for bonding and he can't understand the day-to-day struggles of life with a newborn. Mom might not have the energy or patience to soothe the hurt emotions of dad, and she may actually have no idea how he can help anyway. It's true -- the baby wants and needs her. So, how can dads find their place in their brand new family? How can they help take care of mom, take care of the baby, and feel valued and useful? There are a lot of potential ways this could play out, but I'm going to share some of the things that Scott did that worked really well for our family. Feel free to borrow some of these ideas! :)

+ He made sure I ate! Never in my life would I guess I would be the type to forget to eat! I love food! But during the early days of parenthood, I had no idea how to balance it all! Plus, I was stressed and slightly bluesy which killed my appetite. There was more than once that Scott came home from work and I was frazzled and weak and I realized, I barely ate all day! Scott decided to help me out by making sure I had food prepared for me to eat throughout the day. Every day he would prepare a smoothie for my breakfast and have it in the fridge for when I woke up, and he would make me a sandwich for lunch. That way I didn't have to worry about cooking or anything. I just went to the kitchen and grabbed my food whenever I got hungry! Bonus points for food that I could eat one handed! 

+ He woke up for every middle-of-the-night scenario. Particularly in the beginning when we had to change Grayson's diaper every couple hours to redo the gauze on his circumcision, Scott was amazingly helpful! We worked out a pretty good system. Grayson would wake up, I would immediately pick him up and nurse him from one side. Inevitably, he would poop during that feeding (this is why we altered it from Scott doing the diaper change before I fed him. That was the original arrangement and it always resulted in needing two diaper changes!). Scott would take him, change his diaper and redress his wounds, and then bring him back to me. I would nurse him from the other side and he would fall back asleep. Sometimes I would let him sleep since I knew he had to get up early for work, but most times he was eager to pop out of bed and take care of Grayson as much as he could.

+ On weekends, he would take Grayson to the living room and let me sleep in. I would still wake up and feed Grayson, but after that I could go back to sleep for a while. Sometimes it was fruitless because I couldn't sleep while I could hear Grayson crying in the other room. But after a few weeks, they got into a routine with their "Everest Saturdays" (watching the show Everest while I slept in).

+ He texted or called me throughout the day to check in. He would also request pictures of Grayson throughout the day. This helped him feel more connected to us and what we were doing each day, and it helped me feel less alone in it all. 

+ When he got home from work each day, he was very present. He spent a lot of time talking to me about my day, and he talked very little about his. (I think he knew I was a little jealous of his regular work routines!) He held Grayson as much as he could. I think he still struggled with the feeling that Grayson didn't like him sometimes. Grayson had a fussy period that usually started right when Scott got home from work. But aside from a few sad comments or defeated exhalations, Scott remained positive and encouraging and did what he could.

+ When we were together, he would bring me whatever I needed. Whether that be my phone, iPad, a book, the TV remote, a blanket, a paci, a burp cloth, the baby...! It took me a while to get the hang of getting up and down with a baby and figuring out how to maneuver around things, carry things, etc...all while holding an infant who had zero control of his own body! Scott made that easier! 

+ He participated in every routine he could. He helped bathe Grayson, he did every single diaper change while he was home (since I did them all day while he was at work), he did endless loads of baby laundry, and he had a role in bedtime. He played his guitar softly while I rocked and nursed Grayson (around 8 months we had to retire that routine b/c Grayson loves the guitar so much that it was just exciting and distracting him!)

+ When I told him how I was struggling with losing our normal routines, particularly our time together watching TV and eating ice cream (which, by the way, fully resumed by 4 months!), he came up with a solution. He pulled up our shows on the iPad and we snuggled together in bed with Grayson and ate ice cream and watched TV before bed. It somehow made everything less stressful. 

There are countless other things that Scott did that I am probably forgetting or that just seemed so natural to me that I didn't recognize how special they were. I am beyond blessed to have Scott as my husband and Grayson's dad. His patience and love for us amazes me. Not only did these little things bring me comfort and peace, but I know they helped Scott feel more useful in a time when dads can easily be thrown to the wayside. 

Also, moms--I know this is tough, especially in the beginning, but don't forget to show dad a little love too! I distinctly remember thinking at one point that I spent all my energy taking care of a little person that I could not possibly meet the needs of anyone else. The very thought exhausted and angered me at times. But it only takes a few kind words, a loving touch, or an appreciative smile to help your partner feel loved and validated. Don't forget to do it! He's probably doing the best he can, just like you. 

What about y'all? Any tips or personal examples of how dad can help out?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

One of those days (no, the other kind!!)

This picture has nothing to do with anything, but how cute is this baby selfie?!?!

Today has been one of those days, and I don't mean "those" days. I mean the good days! :)

Nothing extraordinarily awesome has happened. I'm not doing anything particularly exciting. I'm not traveling to some exotic location or bumming around the house watching movies with my family. It's a regular work day with regular work day routines. But today it's all about the little things for me!

Earlier this week, even last night, I was in a funk. I attribute a lot of it to the time change. If not for how it has affected me, then for how it has affected Grayson. But I think it's been a bit of both. I've felt sluggish and tired, which isn't uncommon these days, but it was more than that. I also felt overwhelmed and stressed, but about nothing in particular. I may have shed some tears over my burrito last night (which is highly unusual since it's one of my very favorite meals!).

But today has felt totally different! First of all, Grayson slept through the night!! I want to say this is maybe the sixth or seventh time he's done this now? Woohoo! I'm still not convinced that it's the new normal or anything, but it's a far cry from the up-every-three-hours-screaming-for-no-reason junk we were dealing with earlier this week. Again, time change, but also three new teeth coming through. And Grayson is transitioning to the 1-year-old room at school, which means he's going 100 miles an hour for most of the day, napping less, and then coming home completely exhausted. It's all we can do to keep him up for the hour or so until bedtime and then he sleeps restlessly through the night, waking up cranky again. (side-bar: Grayson's fussy or cranky does not even register to most people. I realize this. And I know I should not complain!) But anyway, so last night he slept through the night! And here's the did I!

Usually, even if Grayson stays asleep, I'm awake every few hours to check the clock, check the monitor, and go to the bathroom because my body is used to waking up frequently. But I have no memory of waking up at all last night!

Due to the awesome night's sleep, I was able to pop out of bed (okay, maybe it was a slow pop!) and go for a jog. It was probably a little shy of two miles, but it was so nice outside and the fresh air filled my lungs and my blood surged through my body and I was quite literally pumped!

Grayson still woke up too early (5:35 AM), but my sweet hubby got up with him and took care of him until I was back home and showered. Then I spent some time snuggling and nursing Grayson and then continued with our morning routine.

Our Bible study time has been a bit strained lately as we're adjusting to Grayson's curiosity and growing ability to get into everything while we're trying to pray and read and reflect. But this morning Grayson played quietly to himself (pro tip: only get the quiet toys out!) and Scott and I were able to have a great discussion about Solomon building the Lord's temple.

All of it was great fuel for my day -- sleep, exercise, family time, getting filled with The Spirit -- it doesn't matter how mundane my day has been ever since, it's been a great day! :) Funny how getting a good start can make all the rest just fall into place.

{Side story -- only a nursing mom could understand the struggle of stuffing your boobs into a sports bra and going for a jog after your child has slept through the night! Then I had a bit of an overflow situation while pumping at work and got milk all over my new pants...and then had to go to a staff meeting! It was still a small price to pay for the sweet, sweet sleep!}

How has YOUR day been? What do you incorporate into your morning routine to help you have a better day? I would love to hear! :)


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Song of the Week Wednesday

I recently started following the blog Helene in Between, and today Helene launched the link-up Song of the Week Wednesday. 

I'm super pumped to join along because music is such a huge part of my life! I've talked about this before when contemplated my labor/delivery playlist for Grayson. So, I am really looking forward to sharing the songs that I'm jamming out to each week and reading the posts of other bloggers to discover more awesome music! :)

This week, I've definitely been into "Animals" by Maroon 5. The music video is definitely weird and kind of creepy (okay, a lot creepy!), but the song is so great! I especially love the melodic "ahhooooo" howl! :)

You're welcome.

Helene in Between Song of the Week Wednesday

Friday, October 31, 2014

7 {Halloween} Facts About Me!

So...I started this post like over a month ago and I kind of forgot about it! Oops! I never actually got to the part where I wrote the facts. So, since it's Halloween, I'm going to do "7 Halloween Facts About Me!" Here goes!

I'm beyond honored to be nominated by my friend Stasia from Our Life on a Budget to present 7 facts about myself and nominate 7 other bloggers to do the same.


  1. For the most part, I don't do store-bought costumes. To me they are far too expensive for something cheaply made, that you'll probably only wear once. Also, it's just not as fun. For me, it's more fun to plan and prepare the costume than it is to actually wear it. Creativity always beats out putting in a lot of money to buy something from a store! That said, Grayson will be wearing a store-bought monkey costume this year (b/c I was able to borrow it from a friend!) and we DID buy replica wands for our Ron and Hermione costumes 4 years ago (see above!).
  2. The only time of year that I like watching scary movies is around Halloween. In fact, I feel like it's a must! But any other time I generally avoid movies like that. Even around Halloween, though, I prefer horror movies that aren't really scary. Like, the low-budget kind, or the classics. I don't like things about ghosts or demons. I do better with psychological thrillers, slasher films, etc.. And I really don't like anything involving gruesome torture scenes (which is why I have not seen and never will see the movie Hostel!)
  3. Every year, I make a Halloween station on Pandora and I always get really excited about it. I think it's going to be SO much fun!And then after about 30 minutes I remember that there are, maybe, four or five songs I actually care to hear and the rest is garbage. 
  4. Scary movies are better with red wine or Sam Adams Oktoberfest.  And maybe apple cider or pumpkin spice coffee as the night winds down.
  5. I'm pretty sure that there have only been two years (maybe three) in my entire 29 years of existence that I have not dressed up for Halloween. Some costumes were better and more planned out than others. But I always manage to throw something together! 
  6. I was SO excited to hand out candy at our house two years ago when it was our first Halloween in our first home. I sipped red wine while watching Psycho, waiting impatiently for the parade of children to knock on our door. It didn't happen! We had about 5 kids, total, come to our house and NONE of them were even dressed up! They did seem impressed by our house, for some reason, so at least there was that. And leftover candy. Also that.
  7. One year, I don't remember which exactly, I faked being sick so I could stay home from school. It was a few days after Halloween, and I spent the whole day watching TV and gorging myself on Halloween candy. I ate so much that by the end of the day, I legitimately had an upset stomach. At least I didn't have to wrestle with the guilt of staying home and not really being sick!
Since this challenge ended so long ago, I think I'm going to forgo nominating other bloggers--especially since I didn't even follow the rules! :) But please comment with some Halloween facts about yourself! I'd love to hear!

 Have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lately...{and a photo dump}

We went on a family walk and let Grayson walk all on his own! Then we took a family selfie. :)

a little snack time with Daddy. Grayson had his puffs from a little bowl while Scott munched on roasted peanuts.
at the fall festival -- helping Daddy pick up a pumpkin

going for a walk, sans stroller! :) Such a big boy!

My awesome best friend Kaitlin (who lives in The Netherlands) brought me these awesome treats. Umm...stroopwafles?? AH-MAZ-ING!

walking through the hay bale maze

trying to lift a pumpkin!

That one's just a TAD too big!

My other best friend Hayley's oldest little boy! :)

Me and the besties reuniting! LOVE when the three of us can get together again! :)


Kaitlin and Grayson. She's a natural! ;) can I pick this one up??

Praying for...
+ a dear, sweet friend who just discovered she has cancer again. This time they do not have a treatment plan, only pain management. She is mourning the loss of her life as she knows it, particularly her ability to live on her own and take care of herself. 
+ my brother who is doing so well, working to get his life back on track.
+ our Connect Group and each of their ongoing prayer requests.
+ wisdom and discernment in parenting. always.
+ Scott who started feeling sick last night and has to work a very long day today, including traveling for a recruitment event. :(

Working on...
+ getting into a better sleep routine with Grayson (funny how this topic always seems to come up!). But so far we're doing really well!
+ Halloween costumes!
+ getting back into a workout routine. I woke up early (5:20am!) yesterday and ran a mile. It's a start! 

Hoping for...
+ a fun Halloween taking Grayson trick or treating at the park! The fall festival wasn't all I had hoped, and we missed our local Scare of the Square event (b/c we were at the other thing!), and we never made it to a different fall festival we were planning to attend. So all my fall festivity hopes and dreams are resting pretty heavily on how trick or treating goes! Fingers crossed!!

+ Had Grayson's first birthday party and was so humbled by the turnout and the outpouring of love from friends and family!
+ Spent some good time with great friends at a fall festival in Warner Robins, Ga. Too bad it was like 89 degrees, the corn maze was short, dry, and shriveled (so we didn't pay to do it), and there wasn't much else to do! It was disappointing to say the least, but time with friends is never wasted time! Plus it was fun letting the kids explore and play together.
+ Had a great time traveling to Atlanta for a work event with some awesome coworkers! We made a day of it and spent some great quality time getting to know each other better. :)
+ Died my hair dark brown/red. I didn't like it at first but I'm loving it more and more each day (could also be because it's fading a little each day. ha!)

+ No Cry Sleep Solution for some ideas on sleep routines with Grayson
+ A Passage to India...though I have to admit it's taking me QUITE a while to get into! But that's mostly the fault of my busy life, not the book itself. I am enjoying the excellent writing, but I'm not being pulled into the story very quickly. Such is classic literature!
+ 1 Kings in The Bible

+ This amazing testimony video from my church. It's long, but it's SO worth it! You will laugh and cry and praise the Lord! :)
 + Blended - cute, funny, fun for the whole family! have you seen it? 
+ The Voice!
+ Season 4 of The Good Wife
+ the current season of Parenthood (still a few episodes behind)
+ the current season of Modern Family (a few episodes behind on that as well)

Listening to...
+ Pandora on shuffle
+ Scott practicing for worship
+  noisy new "big boy" toys
+ old mixed CDs from 2010...just because!

Laughing About...
+ Grayson. He makes me laugh every day! :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

You Know You're a Parent When... {Part 4}

+ You take a day off work and spend it sleeping in until 10:30, getting your hair done, and cleaning the bathroom...all things that are impossible to do with your child in tow.

+ The word you hear the most times per day is definitely "ball"

+ You rely on a 4 PM cup of coffee to make it through the evenings. The way I see it, I need the first cup to make it through the job that pays me, and the second cup helps me through my other one! :)

+ You know all the words to "Elmo's World" and the VeggieTales intro

+ When traveling for a work event, you have to secure locations for pumping. This does not always go as planned. {story time! I was traveling to a recruitment event in Atlanta and planned to pump in the car around mid-afternoon and again that evening. But I couldn't get the car adapter to work for some reason. Ahhh! I certainly could not go from 8 AM to midnight without pumping! I scouted out all possible locations at the mall, where we stopped for dinner, looking for a semi-private location with an outlet. I finally found a nice sitting room outside of the women's restrooms at Macy's. It was not private, but at least it was somewhat secluded and only other women would be walking by. I'm totally, 100% okay with breastfeeding in public. But pumping in public? That's a different story! But it worked out. And I was able to use someone's office at the conference center where our event was being held that night. Crisis averted! #WorkingMomLife}

+ It takes you a solid 20 minutes to walk less than halfway down your street and back because you're doing it while holding the hand of your 1-year old toddler. 

+ You have 4, yes FOUR, types of milk in your fridge! {Part of this is just our family, but it all stems from parenting. I switched to Almond milk b/c of Grayson's dairy sensitivity when he was a newborn and now I never want to go back! Scott still prefers skim milk. Grayson now gets the occasional cup of whole milk. And of course there's still breast milk on most days. Feel free to contact us for any and all of your milk needs!}

+ You randomly discover a dried up black beans in the most random locations of your home because they just fall off your child after he has them for matter how much you scrub and clean him! Those beans are sneaky!

+ You obsess over mini van purchases (that one's for Scott!)

+ You simply cannot play Wii Fit. The board doesn't like when a small, second person starts crawling on it while you're trying to weigh yourself or do balancing tests.

He wanted to play, too!

+ You spend $50+ on shoes that will likely only be worn for a month or two. I shudder!

Until next time! Happy parenting! :)

{Part 1} {Part 2} {Part 3}
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