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}

Friday, October 17, 2014

To my Toddler --

October 9, 2013 - Welcome to the world, Baby Grayson!

Mommy & Daddy were so overwhelmed with love!

About a month in and we started looking like we knew what we were doing! ;)

Our little family - Grayson at 4 weeks

Calming a fussy baby never looked so sweet! - Grayson at 4 weeks

Trying out the K'Tan at 4 months

6 month photo shoot :)

Grayson's Dedication - 6 months

Family Selfie at the Jacksonville Zoo! - Grayson at 7 months

A little family "House Hunters" time at the hotel in JAX - Grayson at 7 months

About to watch Daddy cross the finish line of his first 1/2 marathon! - Grayson at 10 months

Happy first birthday, Grayson!

Such a big boy now! :)

Dear Grayson,

You are officially a year old! We made it through a year! You and me and Daddy. The three of us constantly trekked forward into exciting yet scary unknown territory, as each month brought new joys and new challenges. We made it through the first couple of weeks, with me crying every day for unknown reasons, lugging around sore and swollen boobs like boulders strapped to my chest, and you wanting to eat all.the.time. We made it through the first two months, constantly moving your legs, rubbing your tummy, and giving you daily gripe water and Zantac for your gas and reflux. Me practically starving myself because I limited my diet to not much more than water for fear that everything I ate might cause you to react negatively. Daddy worrying that you didn't like him because all you wanted was me and your fussy time generally kicked in right when he got home from work. Fortunately you had your "Everest" Saturday mornings to bond.

We made it through me going back to work, through the transition of leaving you with Ms. Stephanie, finding out she was pregnant again, and then transition to daycare. We made it through the tears, the separation, and the impossible decisions.

We made it through tummy time and your frustrated cries. We celebrated together, all of us, as you learned to roll over and then scoot around --first backwards, then side to side, and finally forward. We watched in awe as you mastered crawling, then pulling up, and now walking! We frantically child-proofed and still chase you around the house as you discover new things to get into all the time (today you discovered the toilet paper roll...).

We made it through introducing food--you getting used to the feel of things in your mouth, us being patient and calm as you gagged and even vomited from trying new foods (not choking!). We were persistent in continuing to try new things, little by little, until you showed more interest. And you learned to express yourself--to ask for more and say "all finished" with sign language. You taught us what foods are your favorites by shoveling them in your mouth for as long as we'll keep offering them (black beans!). There was a time that we worried about food. That Daddy said, "I guess he'll never eat!" And now you feed yourself with ease. You grab things with your fingers, but you are also learning to eat with a spoon or fork, and actually from a bowl or plate (rather than just the high chair tray). You also drink from a sippy cup on your own. You only get one bottle a day now at school, and we're about to take that away too. Just cups and boobies for you, little one! :)

The three of us have been talking for a while now. First you spoke to us in tiny grunts and coos, then higher pitched squeals, then consonant sounds, then babbling, and now a mixture of babbling and real words. You walk around the house chanting "ball, ball, BALL!" as you carry around balls of various sizes. You call us by name, and you repeat so much of what we say to you. You also like to say cat, bottle, no-no, uh-oh, hi!, hey!, "geet" (get it!), duck, and hello, among others. You also respond to our questions and commands, proving that you understand us. I ask if you want milk; if you do, you pull down on my shirt. I ask if you want dinner and you walk to the kitchen, excitedly. I ask if you want to watch Bugs and you'll say "BABBM" and try to turn on the TV with the remote. Last night I asked if you were ready to go night-night and you say "nigh-nigh" and reached for me to get you out of the tub. When I asked you again after you were lotioned and dressed in PJs, you walked over to the rocking chair and laid your head down on the seat. You are so smart! :)

We are still making it through things. We are making it through ever-shifting nap schedules and interrupted sleep at night. We went from sleeping in the pack 'n play by our bed, to spending partial nights IN our bed, to transitioning to your own crib, and now -- working on staying in your crib all night, rather than getting moved to our bed about halfway through. Bedtime has transformed from you just sleeping whenever and wherever you feel like it, to starting to feed and rock you to sleep when we went to bed (around 9:30), to putting you to bed around 6:30, and now -- getting you to sleep between 7 and 8. The routine has included rocking, stars on the ceiling, and daddy playing guitar. Then it became just you and me, nursing, rocking, singing songs, telling stories, and whispering prayers. Now, we're really working on doing some of that, and then falling asleep already in your bed. As I said, we're still making it through things!

We've had some scares and some flustered trips to the doctor (many of it b/c you happened to have a first-time parent for a mom!) -- does he have thrush? (no) does he have a dairy sensitivity? (yes, then no, then well...maybe just a little) do I have oversupply? (yes) what is that rash?? (a viral rash) not HFM?? (no) really? (really, no.) what about this one?? (still no) we accidentally fed you honey baked beans! Are you going to die? (very unlikely) you hit your head, should I be concerned? (probably not). WHEW! It has felt like a lot, but in reality, you've never had a fever, stomach bug, or anything too serious. You've never even had a bad diaper rash or cradle cap! You rock, kid! (well, you and the breast milk!)

You love music and we've had a journey with that, too. From the time I was pregnant and made a playlist for your birth that I always played, to the dance parties we had when you were a newborn, to all the little kid songs and nursery rhymes, to Disney Pandora, to Daddy playing the "tar" (what you call guitars), you just love music! You love listening intently, bobbing to the beat, singing in little la-las, and sometimes even drumming pretty darn close to the actual rhythm! You were born with that talent, and I just know you will do impressive things one day! :)

Just like you, our relationship has also grown, matured, developed and changed this past year. From the way I hold you to the games we play and the conversations we have, you are blossoming into a big kid right before my eyes. Suddenly I'm the mom of a toddler! I still call you "my baby," but there is no denying that you are a toddler.

Mommy and Daddy love you, little boy. We love you in ways we didn't know we could. We love each of your features in ways we never expected to love a nose or mouth or tummy. You fill our house with joy and laughter. This year was hard, just how everything that is worth doing should be hard. You stretch us. You challenge us. You lead us to God in praise and prayers for petitions daily. I couldn't ask for a better first year, and I look forward to the many more to come!

I love you, Smo-Face! Keep on being awesome! :)


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I have so many exciting things to look forward to right now! First of all, October is my favorite month. I love those breezy transition days, catching the first glimpses of fall and enjoying the last remnants of summer. It also kick starts the holiday season with Halloween. It's all downhill from there as you speed toward Thanksgiving and my birthday and Christmas. Last October I was in a daze with a newborn and a mean case of the baby blues and exhaustion, so I really didn't experience the joys that this month has to offer. But this year! This year will be GREAT!!

So far I have celebrated Grayson's birthday with family in Atlanta, decorated the house for Halloween while sipping on some tasty pumpkin spice iced coffee, and done some fun things around town like GreenFest and the farmers market. But I have many more exciting things coming up!!

Hanging out at GreenFest...sleepy and listening to the live music :)

He was very excited as we got out the Halloween decor. He carries the pumpkin pail around calling it a "ball"

Me and my brother...throwing on some pieces to costumes from previous years

Enjoying pumpkin spice iced coffee and wearing parts of old costumes! It makes decorating more fun!

Some of our famous decor! ha!

family fun!


carrying his "ball" :)
and here's a sneak peak at his messy birthday face! I'll be posting more pictures from both parties when I do his 1-year post. Speaking of....

** Grayson turns one TOMORROW!! I can hardly even believe this! I know he's already played in birthday cake but it still doesn't quite feel real!

** Tomorrow is my last day teaching my extended orientation class. It may not seem like a big deal, but it was truly a step of faith for me to teach this class. I would say that I am generally a good teacher, but because I withdrew from the MAT program and never completed my certification before abruptly changing career paths, I have always had this negative association with teaching. It's as if I failed at it, even though that was not the case, and that makes me nervous to do anything teaching related at all. But to be honest, I have loved (almost!) every minute of teaching this class! I will definitely do it again! And tomorrow we are doing what I hope to be a fun activity--we're making a banner that says "True Blue Goals" and decorating it with things that symbolize our goals, both personal and academic. I'll have markers, magazines & newspapers, scissors and glue...and then we're going to take a class picture with the banner. Oh, and my peer leader is bringing cupcakes for everyone! I'm super excited to say goodbye to my class in a fun and memorable way! :)

** Grayson's local birthday party is this Saturday! The Atlanta party was mostly for family. This party is most for US! We're gathering with friends and their kids to celebrate the fact that the three of us made it through this first year and we're still smiling! ;) It will be a really laid-back party, just hanging out at our house and grilling hotdogs and eating cupcakes (yes, more cupcakes!). My mom is coming for the weekend since she wasn't able to go up for his other party and my brother's girlfriend will be staying the weekend too. We'll have a packed house, but it should be fun!

** The following weekend is my brother's birthday. Not sure what exactly we'll do to celebrate, but we'll definitely do something! (cupcakes?) And there is a fall festival at a nearby church that we plan to check out with Grayson. We'll also work on finalizing our Halloween costumes. The plan is for Grayson to be Curious George, Scott will be The Man in the Yellow Hat, and I'll be "The Man in the Yellow Hat's girlfriend.." I'm told this is a real thing. Apparently she's a scientist so I just need to find a white lab coat to go with my nerdy/hipster glasses. :)

** The NEXT weekend I'm meeting up with my two very best friends for a Fall Festival at Lane Orchards. There's a corn maze, hay rides, bouncy houses, costume contests, grilled food, live music, the works! Kaitlin lives in The Netherlands and is only visiting, so I'm extremely excited to get to see her and our best friend Hayley (who lives in Alabama) and spend a whole day having fun and letting the little ones run around. It should be super fun!

taken last time I went to Lane Orchards with  Hayley! Back when her oldest was just a baby! Crazy!!

** There are several local events around Halloween that we'll probably check out. Scare on the Square downtown and probably the local trick or treat event at the park... See what I mean about this month?? So many fun things to do! And you don't have to get gross and sweaty doing them! Bonus!

Taken last time we went to Scare in the Square - 2012
 **And of course, the things all of the middle-class white girls are excited about right now (let's just be real!): pumpkin everything! especially lattes!, boots, more boots, scarves, colorful leaves at my feet, and capturing both the boots and the leaves in a single photo. ;) I'm kidding about some of that, but I really am looking forward to shifting into my fall attire and filling my life with the taste and scent of pumpkin spice.

** Beyond this month, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving in Atlanta, my birthday in the mountains of Tennessee, and Christmas in Florida! I'm sure I'll have a whole new list of little events as we draw closer to that season. :)

What are YOU anticipating in this awesome month and season??

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