November 30, 2011

~ 15 Months ~

I feel like I just wrote the 14 month update the other day. Seriously. Either way, this month has been a blast! We are having SO. MUCH. FUN. with our little Andrew.

I know that he's understood what we've been saying for quite some time now, but because I knew that, and it didn't seem like he did understand, it was very frustrating. Now, it's a whole new ball game. So much so that we all of a sudden have to be very careful what we say. If you say, "ready to go bye-bye", you better be ready to head out that door because he's running to it. If you say, "get your socks and shoes", he does. He gets them, brings them to you, sits on his bottom for you to put them on and he's running for the door. "Let's get a diaper change", "bath time", or Let's go upstairs" and he's running to the stairs. "Pick out a book", and he does. Looks for whatever specific book he's wanting at the time, brings it to you and lifts his arms up to be picked up to the couch.

I know it sounds so simple, but it's amazing to us. Just watching him grow, comprehend, use toys the way their supposed to be used, stay on the sidewalk because he understands he can't go in the road... I love it all. I love being able to communicate with him. I feel like it's been one-sided conversation all this time and now it's finally paying off. He can "tell" me when he wants water by giving me his cup or going to the fridge and pointing to the water thing. He can show me when he wants a snack by going to the pantry and pointing to a certain thing. Or when he wants a banana by going to the area of the counter where they are kept. Too cool.

He is full of affection. I get so many hugs throughout the day. And now he pats or rubs my back along with the hug. Too sweet. And his little kisses.. be still my heart.

Who knows, really. I took him to the doc a few weeks ago for a lingering cough. He weighed 22 pounds and was 32 or 33 inches, I believe. Pretty sure 32.
He is wearing 24 month Pj's with a tad bit of room to grow. Mostly 18 month clothes, but some outfits are getting a bit snug. Still in size 5 diapers. Moving up to a 5 and 1/2 or 6 in shoes.

(old words)
- Car (ca)

- Dog (daw)
- Outside (ou-taaaa)
- Dada and sometimes daddddy
- Maaama

(new words)
- I really believe he is saying I love you. It sounds just like this, "ya ya ya". He'll repeat that every time I tell him I love him. See.. affectionate. Little squish face.
- Some kind of variation of What's That? Sounds like "ehh daaa". Says it every time he points to something in one of his books.

We're still going strong here. And not only is he NOT a picky eater (Dear Lord, please don't reverse this on me for bragging on my kid.) he is a much more healthy eater than most adults! His faves are grapes, bananas, green beans.. well any type of bean actually including things like lima beans.. seriously.. what kid likes lima beans? This one. Goldfish, Cheerios, and Animal Crackers. I've given up trying to give him things like chicken nuggets or fries. Which is totally fine. It's not like I wanted him to eat that stuff.. that was just reserved for my lazy days. He'll eat sweet potato fries that I bake, but not frozen regular fries. He'll eat my baked chicken nuggets made from a chicken breast, but not the Tyson stuff. I know how lucky we are and I pray pray pray this continues!! I'm not sure where all of the food he eats goes.. I swear he doesn't stop eating. Ever.

He still takes his morning nap without fail. Always at 9am and lasts either 2 or 2.5 hours. The afternoon nap is up in the air. I give him the opportunity to go down between 2 and 2:30. Whether he chooses to nap or play is up to him. I would say that 2 or 3 times a week he actually naps.. for another 2 hours. If not, he'll play for about 45 minutes in his crib.

We covered most of them, but let's see...
He knows where all facial features are and will point to them when you ask. He loves hair right now and wants to play with ours constantly. Which is pure heaven to me.
He's very aware of his own body parts (legs, arms, belly) and loves to point parts out while being changed. Loves to watch his hands pop out of his sleeve.. thinks that's the greatest thing ever.
Combined with the stuff up top of the post, I'd say we've had a big month!

Andrew, we love you to the moon and back!

Anndddd... Is this how our monthly pics are going to go from now on? This is the best one I could get..

The rest all look a little something like this...

I'm not giving up.

What we've been up to

First off, we had a great Thanksgiving. It was truly wonderful and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I cooked my first REAL meal. In years past I've admittedly served my little family of two - cringes - a turkey roll. My mother has always been appalled, and yes, she is right. She raised me better than that. I knew I had to woman up and start making a real Tday meal soon, add in two extra soldiers who were away from loved ones, and it was settled. I was going big.

I was mostly scared to clean the bird out, I'll admit it.

But, our good friends, The Galas's, came over to drop over some spices that I found myself without and ended up staying for hours. Nancy gave me some added confidence and in the end, the turkey was actually extremely perfect.
Everything else was homemade except the cranberry sauce. Sue me, nothing beats that canned jelly goodness. The gravy would have been disastrous if it weren't for Mel's husband, Al. God bless him. We all enjoyed the meal, some more than others, and I can't lie.. it's made me feel all kinds of good inside to hear my husband brag on me endlessly for the past week. Love that man.

We did a lot of playing outside on Thanksgiving in between cooking.

Yes, I realize this face is a bit of foreshadowing to the trouble this kid is going to be in the future. I'm totally aware and preparing myself.

 The next day, we put up our Christmas decorations. I couldn't wait a second longer and I'm so glad we did. I love that I can get that calming glow from the tree starting at 4:30 in the afternoon and get to enjoy it all night. Andrew is pretty infatuated which thrills me even more.
He had the whole "be gentle" thing down on the first two days, but he is getting braver and thus, less gentler by the day.. Bless his heart... or mine.

We've been playing with Jingle Bells.

And venturing into the world of Sensory Bins. I'm getting all kinds of ideas. Getting our materials gathered and organized. Oh yeahhh.. we're gonna have a blast. I started with water yesterday. Which was easy and I knew he'd have a blast.. but oh-so-messy. Totally worth it.

And finally, busy turning 15 months old. Yes, mum, there's a post to come!

November 21, 2011

A Little Reminder...

... definitely for me. Maybe for you too.

There are many different ways to parent. There is no right or wrong way. Well, I totally take that back. There are lots of wrong ways. But I'm not talking in the extreme sense here. Once you have the basics down.. you know.. making sure they're fed, clothed, and have a warm place to lay their precious little heads.. the other stuff is a personal choice you make. One you make based upon what works with your family. We know all of this. So, my point?

Sometimes I forget this little fact. Sometimes, I see what's working so well for others and think, "ohhh that's what I'm doing wrong. I'll do exactly what she's doing. That'll fix everything." Basically, I can be my own worst critic at times. My mind can be tricked into doing something I'm not comfortable doing, just because someone else is doing it and doing it well.

My SIL has been my parenting guide since day ONE. Her baby is 7 months older than Andrew, so she's been through everything and it's still fresh in her mind. Plus, she has set a high standard. She's an amazing mother! For the most part, our parenting beliefs have matched up exactly, so it's been real easy for me. Let her go through all of the trial and error and then have her walk me through it.. ha! And for the first year of Andrew's life, it's worked out perfectly. Everything she was advising me on, I 100% agreed with and wanted to do with Andrew.

Enter in our visit together. Andrew starts acting up and being extremely clingy to me. It looked like we were starting the next bout of separation anxiety and I'm thinking.. perfect! Mel is here! She can help me fix this. Because at that point, in my mind, I have been horrible with discipline. I felt like I wasn't disciplining at all. I knew that she has been implementing time-outs for quite a while, so I turned to her. I wanted her to guide me through this time-out thing. I wasn't planning to start them quite yet, but I just had had it up to here with my son and didn't know what else to do. Combine that with the fact that Addyson was getting time-outs and it was correcting her behavior... I was on board.

So, that afternoon, when I was getting lunch ready in the kitchen and he wouldn't let me do a thing.. crying and clinging to my leg, Mel walked me through time-out. Because that's what she would have done with Addy.

It broke my heart. I hated every single second of it. My stomach had that awful, gut-wrenching feeling because he was crying more. Now to the point of hysterics and I just wanted to hold him. "What is wrong with me??", I was thinking. I'm going to be a total sap. My son is going to walk all over me and he'll never have boundaries. I was completely beating myself up and now even more confused than ever. And, surprisingly, it took a few days of that, until I got to the point where I had to excuse myself to fall into a pit of tears in my room, until I realized that... when it comes to discipline.. for the moment... Mel and I aren't quite in sync in our methods anymore. And that's okay.

It totally works for her. Just because I won't do it quite like she does, doesn't mean that I think she's wrong. She's obviously doing a lot right. Her daughter is so very well behaved and such a sweet girl. And Mel is fierce, but at the same time completely loving and interactive. Like I said above, she's an incredible mom, we are just different at the moment.

Always listen to your gut. A few days after Andrew started being extremely clingy, whiny, and just all around constantly needy like that.. he got a slight fever and started the whole runny nose, cough escapade. And then broke 2 teeth in the back. There was a reason he was acting like that. And instead of giving him the comfort that he needed, I isolated him in a separate room and used my "firm" voice. Remember that you know your child better than anyone else. I think I was feeling pressure and totally lost sight of that. If I had been more focused on the way Andrew and I handle things, and less concerned on being just like Mel and Addy.. (Ha! I have to laugh at myself)... I would have known that.

Also, I realized, once I took a step back, that I do discipline. I just do it differently. I pick my battles and the battles I pick may not be the same as hers.
1. There is no throwing. Of toys or food. He gets one firm warning (No Throwing) and I show him the appropriate ways to use said toy/food, and if he does it again, the object gets taken away. If it's a car, the car is gone. If it's food, he's done with his meal. That works for us at the moment. (I'm finding a lot of the times with food, he's telling me he's done and doesn't now how to tell me otherwise. So he's learned that if he throws his food, I put him down, and he's done. So, clearly we need to work on that :)
2. Absolutely no hitting. This he will get a time out for. Like above, he gets one warning. If it happens again, time-out. And honestly, I've only had to do the time-out two or three times. The warning is enough now and the behavior happens less and less. I'll get to the point where there aren't any warnings with this, but for now, this is working.

There are other little things, but we don't need to get into it all. You get the general idea. I'm just not as big of a time-out fan as others are. Yet. When he's older, that's totally the route we'll go. If it works for him... that's my plan anyways. I definitely won't use it ever again for when he just needs some mama comfort. Yes, sometimes it's an inconvenience, but this won't last forever. He won't need me forever, sadly. I've found that giving him something to do in the kitchen works wonders. And at times, if it doesn't, and he just wants me.. dinner can wait.

November 20, 2011

Merry Christmas

No, I haven't gotten sucked into the Christmas before Thanksgiving hype. Just because I'm itching to put the tree up and it's hard to walk by the closet that holds our decorations... I've still held out. Okay.. maybe I'm listening to Christmas music in the car. Sue me. I have to start early so Andrew can learn all the songs.

Santa did, however, visit our house early. Well, for me at least.
I had already put the bug in his ear that I wanted.. no.. really needed.. a new camera this year. My old, slow reacting one just wasn't cutting it in this fast-paced toddler-run world. 
THEN.. then.. my camera disappeared, which I believe I've mentioned. Ummm.. I absolutely cannot let a month go by without taking pictures. Not possible.
So now, thanks to Santa Clause himself, I'm the proud owner of one of these babies -
A Canon PowerShot SX40! While it's not as high tech as it would have been (ya know.. since we didn't have another month to save) I think this one is perfect! It's a step up from the point and click that I had, but not so much to overwhelm me... I think.. ha! Plus, it came with a bag, a little tripod, and an extra memory card. Hopefully I'll have lots of fun pictures to share :)

Anyone have any experience with this camera, by any chance?

Oh, and remember this post from Friday? You know.. about this smoothies. Way to leave a sister hanging! You mean to tell me that none of y'all have any smoothie concoctions to share? Except my dear friend Kristy? Y'all are in trouble!!

November 18, 2011

Foodie Friday

Second day in a row with a post! I'm on a roll!

Although I have no pictures (because my camera has mysteriously disappeared of the face of this earth. For real. It's nowhere) this is still a great recipe that can be made quickly and enjoyed any time of the day...  as a meal replacement or a snack. I mostly will make this for my breakfast, but it's great if you just have a hankering for something sweet and don't want to use 300 calories.

I just put stuff together, so it doesn't have an official name, but here is how you make my Chocolate-PB-Banana Smoothie:

You'll need:
1C fat-free milk (Smart Source is a great option)
2 spoonfuls of light vanilla yogurt
2T Nesquick dry chocolate mix (or whatever you use.. carnation is even better to use, actually. You know.. vitamins and all)
2T reduced-fat PB (preferably the creamy variety)
A banana
As much crushed ice as you'd like

Blend all of this together. I use my Ninja and it takes like 25 seconds, but anything will work. And viola.. a delicious smoothie.

You'll become obsessed and drink one every day for about 3 months. Don't worry, it may taper down to one every other day after that.

We're hard core into smoothies right now, but this seems to be the only consistent concoction so far. Do you do smoothies? Have any winning combinations you can share? Please?

November 17, 2011


I know.. I know.. not the most creative title ever. But you'll have to cut me some slack as I try and transition into regular posting again. The creativity isn't flowing by any means.

Our life is attempting to slow back down after our month of visitors. Good luck with that around the holidays, right?! In other words, it's just the three of us in the casa for a while. And while Andrew loved having his Mimi and cousin here with him for two weeks, I think us mamas learned a valuable lesson. Two weeks is too long of a visit for toddlers. The one visiting wants their own toys. Own bed. Own house. The one having the visitor doesn't want to share their toys or their mama anymore. Wants their space back. And they get cranky. Andrew is coming along, adjusting back to normal life, and seems to like other kids again. Yes, for a while there he was pretty ugly to other children. It wasn't a proud period. All of that being said...

I'm SO SO thankful, like deep down in my heart thankful, that they got that time together. It wasn't an easy trip for them to make, nor was it cheap. But they did it and I loved it.

Growing up in Massachusetts (for the first 12 years of my life), I was extremely close to my extended family (proximity and relationship-wise). And there was a lot of them.. see..

Circa summer '09 - Can you spot me?
 We were/are so close. Getting together for holidays, birthdays, cookouts, just because. And while we're still close in our relationships, life has gotten in the way. Some of us have moved. Almost all of us have our own families now. While we used to all be in the same state, just a short drive away, now we're spread across the county. Massachusetts, South Carolina, Texas, California and Oregon. And this is just my mom's side. Factor in my dad's side and we add in Maryland and Ohio. And we've never lived near each other, which makes things even more difficult.

So, after we moved away from everyone and started our life in South Carolina, I just knew my future family and I would NEVER move away. My children would see my parents all the time, not just for special occasions. We'd go over and hang out just because we felt like it. My kids would go to school with my brother's kids. They'd be best friends.
Ha! Best made plans, right? While I know that I'm living out God's plan for my life and not my own, this whole ideal was something I haven't quite been able to let go of. While my convictions that I'm doing God's will are getting stronger, and in turn, I'm coming to terms with it all, it's still something that's caused me heartache.

So when Melissa and Addy came to visit and our kids started playing together immediately.. when they laughed together.. when they walked around the house together.. heck even with they "fought" (you know.. the best way toddlers know how to fight) with each other. It did good things for my heart. To see this..

I know the distance will change things. But, as parents, we can make sure our kids are still close. Technology is wonderful for that these days. I can make sure we talk about his Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, and cousins a lot. Look at pictures. Make an effort to Skype frequently. And make the visits as much as we can. And I'm sure they will do the same.

It is what we make of it! I plan to do as much as we can!

November 9, 2011

Back to life - Back to reality

Our visitors are gone and it's back to real life! We dropped Melissa and Addyson off at the airport this morning, said our tearful see-you-laters (only minimal tears because they were sort of in a rush and we'll see them in two months anyways), and made the ... ummm.. very quiet 2 minute ride back home. Andrew was looking for Addy in the car seat next to him and it made my heart hurt a little. While they were definitely sick of each other for the past few days, I know he still got used to and enjoyed her being there. But back to their own life they must go! I'm pretty positive that Mel has a sinus infection and she's not doing very well flying, so if you happen to read this in the next few hours.. send up some quick prayers for them if you will!

I won't lie, the quiet is really nice right now. I miss them dearly, but I value my alone time as well, so I'm okay with it. Plus, I really missed blogging :)

Andrew is down for a nap and the house has been cleaned and thoroughly disinfected. Not because I wanted to scrub any remnants of them away or I think they're gross.. we've all been so sick. No fun! I think Andrew and I are turning the corner though, while unfortunately, Mel was getting worse and I really needed to get these germs out of my house. No one wants to be sick during a 4-day!

So, we had a great time over the past two weeks. We didn't get to do all that much, but we spent plenty of time just being together. Isn't that what it's really all about anyways? I think so. I spent some much needed face time with my SIL. Since we chat.. on average.. two or three times a day, it was nice not to have the phone glued to my ear! She got to hang out with her brother. Trey and I got to really know our niece. Andrew got to familiarize himself with them.
Our kids played at the park together. We scrap booked together. We laughed. We coughed. We ran errands. We vegged out on the couch. We took walks. We got our kids dressed up and trick-or-treated. We watched lots of hours of Nick Jr. and Cars (and Dexter!!). We built towers with blocks and sang lots of ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We fought off sleep deprivation with coffee together. We Pinterested together. We Neti Potted together (gross?). We made tunnels out of boxes. We colored. We just did life, really.

Lots of good memories were made!

November 8, 2011

Hmm.. 14 Months!

My company (SIL and Niece) are still here, but since we are all sickies and all in bed except Trey and I, I wanted to write a little blurb. Mostly because I need to do Andrew's 14 month update. I knew I skipped his picture, but I completely passed over his monthly blog shot-out. And since I've started his first years' scrapbook... I realized how important that is..shewww that's come in handy!

This is what my little man is looking like nowadays -
I know.. I know.. I don't know how I stand all of that cuteness either.

He's a full blown walker.
A touchdown signer (you know.. throwing his hands up to make the touchdown sign)
An open mouth kisser and a hugger that pats your back.
A non-hand-holder.
An almost runner.
A food lover.
Still a car, rock and dirt lover.
A very talented colorer and a sidewalk chalk enthusiast.
A skillful dancer who jams out to Fresh Beat Band.
His favorite song is Friend Like You by above mentioned show.
A great sleeper.. still.
A mommy obsessor lover... still.
And the cutest, sweetest little boy that ever existed.

Stats: If I had to guess, I would say 22.5 to 23 pounds. But I'm not positive. He's wearing 24 month PJs with room to grow, 18 month pants and shirts and size 5 shoes.

(same as last month)
- Car (ca)

- Dog (daw)
- Outside (ou-taaaa)
- Dada and sometimes daddddy
- Maaama
-yeah yeah yeah yeah (in a sing song voice... repeating me)
He also point to everything and says Da.. kind of like he's asking me what it is maybe? So we talk about lots of random objects during the day. His favorite thing to point out right now is the moon, cow, balloon, and rabbit from Goodnight Moon. So precious.
He babbles in full sentences, but I have no earthly idea what he's saying.

Food: Still everything. Even pasta now. He wouldn't eat that last month, but he thoroughly enjoyed it tonight. I know I need to get him to start practicing with his own spoon.. like.. yesterday, but I'm telling you.. I'm just not ready. I'll be sucking it up real soon though! Lord, give me patience.

Naps: Great napper. Back to his two naps a day, usually, so it looks like we don't have to give up that 2nd nap just yet! First one from 9 to 10:30-11 and the second one from 2-3:30. Talks to himself to put himself to sleep while listening to Scout play his bedtime music and usually does the same when he wakes up.. unless he's hungry, then I'm sure the neighborhood hears his screams.

That whole touchdown thing. It's gotten to the point that he throws his arms up if he even sees football on TV. Yes, we're proud.
Walking :)
Figuring out his little shape toy (He always puts the circles in the right spot and has just recently gotten the star)
First long vacation with his Mimi and Cousin Addy.
He dances and gets really excited when his Daddy does the B-A-M-A chant. (Trey really wants to make sure we remember that ) :)

He's going through another bout of separation anxiety. And apparently that's normal at around 15 months. Back to the basics of always telling him where I'm going and talking to him.. lots! Hopefully that will work again.. and at least this time he can walk to where I am instead of being stuck in one place.
More teething.
Getting him to understand that he cannot go outside first thing in the morning (it's freezing) or right before bed and us trying to figure out the best way to handle those tantrums that follow. .
We're also trying to sort out what behavior we want to correct or accept. And come to an agreement on how we are going to handle the correction.

Dear, dear Andrew,
We have more and more fun with you by the day! You are such a joy to be around with your coy smirks and contagious laughs. You are really growing up and you continue to amaze us by the minute! I'm so grateful that God thought we were worthy of being your parents. I only hope that we do better than good enough with you!
I can't believe you are walking (and almost running) through our home, discovering new things everyday. I love how curious, yet still cautious you are. I'm really loving this stage and not rushing it one tiny little bit, but I know the next few months are going to be a lot of fun.
We love you to the moon and back!
xoxo, Mama and Daddy

If you've gotten this far.. ughh.. you're awesome! My life will be getting back to normal soon and I'm looking forward to blogging more regularly. I have a few things to write about already planned, just have to find the time :)
BTW.. I have almost 200 followers now. It's crazy to me that you all take the time to read about my thoughts and our life. It's pretty flattering. But I want to know who you are and get the chance to get to know you. Introduce yourself with a quick hi if you'd like!