It’s that time again! First, here’s a recap of last month’s goals. I have to say, they went better than usual, although I think it’s mostly just because I’m setting more realistic goals. #thinksmall
Set an alarm clock: Success! I set my alarm for 5 or 5:30, depending on how much I had to do, Monday through Thursday all month except for a few days when my father in law was visiting. I got so much more done and felt much less stressed. I’m a major morning person and have trouble doing creative things like writing later in the day, so I did most of my writing in these early morning hours. Also, not setting an alarm Friday through Sunday kept me from getting too exhausted. I definitely plan to continue this going forward.
Run twice a week: I didn’t keep track, but I mostly did this. Now I need to get better about rolling / stretching my injured foot because I’m definitely feeling it.
Finish James’s Baby Book: I finished and ordered the first half of his baby book (I’m making it on Shutterfly and it’s too many pages for one book). I still need to finish the second half, but am hoping to get that done soon because I have a great coupon expiring October 15.
Plan Backyard Updates: I did not really do this. I did some preliminary research on improving grass and got overwhelmed and stopped. I did plant some more flowers though, so it’s looking a little better!
Make Montessori work for James: I am super uncrafty, but this post has so many great ideas for simple Montessori work for 12-14 month olds and I would love to spend some time making some of it for James.
Work on long-term writing projects: I’ve started doing some freelance writing, which I am SO excited about, but I also have a couple of personal long-term writing projects that I really don’t want to lose sight of. I’m hoping to set aside one day a week to work on those.
Find / make fun recipes for James: I was doing great with this for a while, but I lately I feel like I’ve been scrambling a bit with James’s meals (when he’s not eating what we’re eating) and I’d really like to make some new fun things for him, especially to have for lunch. My friend Laura sent me this website, which looks so great, I just need to spend some time on there!
Choose a half marathon plan: I’ve been running a bit more lately, but still haven’t mapped out any actual plan for the half I’m running with my brother in Januray. It’s been so long since I’ve run any sort of distance race and I know I need to give myself plenty of time to build up mileage, so I’m hoping to choose a plan soon.
And that’s all I’ve got! Keeping it simple as usual.
I don’t often share weekend recaps because I don’t like feeling pressure to go do all the things (#homebody), and because I often forget to take pictures when we’re out and about.
We’ve had so much fun the last week though that I wanted to share. My father in law is visiting from Wisconsin for James’s birthday and yesterday was also my husband’s birthday (happy birthday!!!!!)
I don’t think he cares at all, but I actually feel kind of bad for my husband because his birthday is only five days after James’s and I have a feeling it might get overshadowed sometimes. It’s a good thing he likes pizza parties as much as any kid I’ve ever met 😉
Here are the highlights, sentence (or two) per picture style.
It doesn’t rain much here, so when it does we make sure to watch.
Is one old enough to drink coffee?
James enjoyed helping Dad put together his new walker wagon.
This super blurry photo from his birthday is one of my favorites, pure joy.
He’s working on his death stare. I think it’s looking pretty good.
I wanted to do something a little different today. I was so inspired by this post about run of the mill bad days, and how it can be hard to share them on social media. I think most people have good intentions when sharing the highlights of their lives. We want to focus on the positive. We don’t want to seem like we’re complaining when there are people out there with very real, very big problems.
But even though we know we’re looking at the best snapshots of people’s lives, it can be discouraging if you’re having a rough day, or just a normal, unfiltered day, to see perfect smiling people all over social media.
So let’s take away the filter, just a little bit, and share our real, messy, relatable lives.
I’m going to start posting #nofilterfriday snapshots and would LOVE for you to join me! On Fridays, I’ll be sharing snapshots of everyday, always messy, sometimes exhausting life as a mom on instagram, and maybe on the blog too sometimes. (btw, in an effort to emerge from the dark ages, I’ve finally started an instagram and facebook account for the blog and would love you to follow me!)
I’m excited about this and really hope you’ll join me!
Have a happy, messy, real-life weekend and enjoy the highlights and push through the struggles 🙂
May you take long naps and always eat your vegetables. Oh wait, that’s my birthday wish…. let’s try again.
I’ve wanted a baby ever since I could remember. Yes, I was one of those kids. I hung up pictures of babies in my room as a little girl (from an Anne Geddes calendar, did anyone else love her? Just me?) Still, I had no idea how wonderful you would be or how very much I would love you.
I’ve loved you from the first moment I found out I was pregnant, maybe even before then. It seemed too good to be true and I spent a good part of my pregnancy worrying that something would go wrong. But it didn’t and you were born healthy and strong and I couldn’t believe how perfect you were.
I am so HAPPY to celebrate with you today. I know you don’t understand what today is all about, but I hope you can feel that it’s a special day none the less. We are going to do your favorite things (story time, playing outside, maybe a trip to Barnes and Noble or the splash pad) and eat your favorite foods (peas, pizza, bananas, blueberries).
I can’t wait to give you your first slice of birthday cake. I suspect you’ll shun it in favor of peas, like you do with ice cream, but I’m excited anyway.
I can’t wait to help you open your presents today. I’m excited to watch you play with the wrapping paper and boxes and, hopefully, eventually, with the new toys we carefully picked for you.
I can’t wait to give you a few extra cuddles, hugs, and kisses, and to read you all of your favorite books, as many times as you want.
I can’t wait to sing you happy birthday for the very first time!
I can’t wait to celebrate this magical year together, the one that rocked our worlds in the best possible way, the one that was so scary, so exhausting, and so joyful that we will never be the same.
Most of all, I can’t wait to watch you grow for another year. I have no idea what it will bring and I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ll be capable of at the end of it, but I know it will be nothing short of an amazing adventure, full of smiles and laughs and plenty of lazy afternoons at home, full of time together.
In an effort to combat my sentimental side, the (big) part of me that is struggling with my little guy turning one this week, I’ve been thinking about all of the many wonderful things we have to look forward to as he gets older – it turns out there are a lot!
Here’s my list.
Board game nights – I know this won’t be for a while, but it is my number one, I am such a board game nerd, love them
Family camping trips
Cooking / baking with James
Hearing all of the funny things he will say
Hearing him say “I love you”
Seeing what his interests are
More freedom to go out with my husband or friends
Arts and crafts time! I’m so unartistic, but I LOVE to color.
Trips to the zoo where he actually likes the animals
Watching him ride bikes with my husband
Buying little shoes! Now that he’s starting to walk, I should probably get on that.
Taking him to his first football game (hook ’em horns!)
Watching him trick or treat
Everything about Christmas with a toddler
Reading him Frog and Toad, and someday Harry Potter
Watching him learn to read on his own
Watching him (hopefully) become a big brother some day
Seeing him see snow for the first time, and go sledding!
Watching him make little friends
If you have older kids (or work with kids), what’s one of your favorite things about the toddler stage?
I realized I hadn’t done one of these posts since James was 9 1/2 months – I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seats wondering what we’ve been up to 😉 Just kidding, but I do like to capture these moments to look back on.
This was our Monday.
Per my September goals, I set my alarm for 5:30. I got up, poured some homemade cold brew and started working on a project for James’s birthday. I’m working on editing a bunch of the videos we’ve taken this year and putting them together for a birthday video. It’s been really fun to re-watch the old videos and also to learn how to use the program (I’m using VideoPad and it is free and super easy to use).
James woke up at 6:25 and talked happily to himself in his bed. After a few minutes I went to greet him, always one of my favorite times of the day. He gives the best hugs when he wakes up.
We played in his room for a while and then went to eat breakfast. I don’t have any breakfast pictures because I hadn’t decided to do this post yet, but he ate (5!) homemade banana mini muffins and a hard-boiled egg, a new favorite. He would normally eat fruit too, but we really need to go to the grocery store and are all out.
Right after breakfast, we go for a stroller run. I knew it would be a busy day and we likely wouldn’t have time later, plus it would be really hot.
You guys, this run was not the best. It was super humid out (not normal for Austin) and my stomach was cramping up. I think I need to drink more water in the mornings before I run. Still, we ran three miles and it felt great to get it done.
The only thing I don’t like about stroller running is the inability to shower right away when I get home. I went to wash my face (love my current rose face wash, it smells so good!) and James followed me into the bathroom and decided to play in the bathtub for a while. Whatever works little buddy.
We then played in my room so I could at least change out of my sweaty clothes. James rearranged the books for us – thanks buddy.
He always gets out this Sitting Still Like a Frog book and wants me to read it to him. It does look like it would be a kids’ book, but it’s really a book of mindfulness exercises for children and he is always disappointed lol (it is a good book though).
We eventually move into the living room. I clean out the fridge while he plays with tupperware. I then start to roll out my injured foot with a lacross ball – I am super bad about doing this, but it really helps when I do. James decides the ball looks way too interesting and we roll it back and forth instead. Oh well.
It’s almost nap time so we go sit in the backyard for a few minutes and sing some quiet songs. I find this really helps him unwind before naps.
I change his diaper, read him Global Baby Bedtimes and Flip, Flap, Fly, sing him a song and put him in his bed around 9:20. We’re using this HALO Sleep Sack for naps lately and I love the length, it should fit him for awhile! It does run big though, we got a large at first and had to exchange for a medium, and James is really tall.
I finally took a quick shower and then started cooking some chickpeas and writing this post. I also sent some emails for my sister’s upcoming bachelorette party, which is coming up and I’m super excited about!
James woke up around 10:15. I nursed him and we got ready to go to Trader Joe’s for the week. We had been hoping to meet up with some friends at the Wildflower Center, but sadly James and his little buddy are on opposite nap schedules and it didn’t work out, so grocery shopping it was!
I was SO bummed that they didn’t have the cold brew I mentioned last week! I was assured it was just out of stock, not discontinued, so fingers crossed….
We got home just in time for James to eat lunch. I almost always eat lunch with him, but I wasn’t hungry yet and also wanted to get the groceries put away, so I did that while he ate today.
He ate a super random lunch of peas, healthier mashed potatoes (made with olive oil and greek yogurt), black beans, zucchini fritters, and part of a peach. He is a hungry little guy!
I ate a little later while he played and crawled around the living room (spinach, brown rice, chick peas, carrots, hemp seeds, and tahini dressing). I had never had this brand of kombucha before and I loved it, it’s my new favorite.
We read books and sang songs (and climbed furniture…) until it was time for his afternoon nap at 1:30.
While he slept, I made another batch of kale salad for the week, did the dishes and some general cleaning and wrote some more of this post. I also started researching how to introduce whole milk to babies when they turn one – any tips?
James woke up around 2:45. I went to greet him and he seemed a little grumpy for some reason, but we made the best of it. I nursed him and we played in his room for a while. He still seemed grumpy and I decided to try giving him an afternoon snack.
He’s in kind of a weird place where he seems to be starving by dinner time, but is not always interested in an afternoon snack. Today, he was all about it though!
He ate chickpeas and we shared the rest of his peach from earlier. (I tried to start daily afternoon smoothies at one point, but the blender seems to be his #1 fear in life, so we’re taking a break from that.)
After that it was pool time! We put away his little pool when there was a big storm and never got it back out so he hadn’t played in there in weeks. He was loving it today.
I set up a blanket right next to the pool so he could climb in and out when he wanted and he had a blast. It was so fun watching his excitement. This was definitely the best part of my day.
We eventually moved back inside and played in the playroom until my husband got home from work. We were having leftovers for dinner, so I quickly assembled everything and we ate together.
After dinner was the normal bathtime, nursing, and Goodnight Moon. James has only wanted like 5 minute baths lately for some reason. He doesn’t mind getting in the tub, but starts climbing out after few minutes.
After he went to bed at 7, I poured a glass of wine and we watched a couple of episodes of Bloodline on Netflix. We just started it, but I am totally hooked!
We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but it was a really good day.
What was the best day you had this week?
What’s your favorite part of a normal week day?
*Please note this post contains affiliate links – I get a small percentage if items are purchased, at no cost to you. I only include items I have and love. Thanks for your support!
With James’s first birthday rapidly approaching, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past year, and specifically on what I would do differently.
I couldn’t come up with too much, not because I’ve done such an awesome job (lol), but because it’s still so close to it all – I’ll probably have a better idea of what I would change in a decade or so when the results of all of my mistakes are more obvious 🙂
There are a few things I would try to do differently though.
1. Remove the pressure!
James was not gaining weight quickly enough the first few weeks and I felt SO MUCH pressure to make breastfeeding work, and it was 100% from myself.
I have mixed feelings about this, because it did work out in the end and has been easy and wonderful for months, and I know this is in part because I worked really hard to increase my supply. Still, I was pretty miserable for a while and felt like such a failure whenever my husband gave James a bottle of supplemental formula, and that is just ridiculous.
I was convinced that if he had any bottles at all in the first few weeks, he would refuse to breastfeed, and this was not the case at all. He needed supplemental formula for a few weeks while we figured things out, and then he didn’t need it anymore and everything was fine. He hasn’t had a bottle since he was probably three months old (not that there is anything wrong with bottles, just to say he did not show a preference for them like I read he might).
More importantly, even if breastfeeding hadn’t worked out, there are millions of happy, healthy formula fed babies out there thriving. I know in my heart that what matters most is that I’m here for him, showing him I love him and that he is safe, not what he’s eating.
I’m not entiredly sure where this pressure came from, but I suspect that it was my way of dealing with fear. I was so scared of SIDS and so scared something would happen to him, and I think I dealt with that by trying to control this one thing.
While I’m so happy breastfeeding worked out for us, I know everything would be totally okay if it had not. I really hope that if we have another baby, I can be a little more relaxed about this.
2. Read about baby sleep
I read so many parenting books and blogs when I was pregnant, but apparently I failed to read up on the basics of baby sleep.
I did not realize how incredibly frequently newborns need to nap. Because of this, I kept James awake too long and he fell asleep on me while I was feeding him. All of the time. This was no big deal at first because he was a sleepy newborn and I could just put him down after he fell asleep and go about my day. As the weeks went by though and he became more alert, he would wake up whenever I put him down. It got to where he would basically only nap on me.
I was so focused on making sure he got enough to eat, it took me a while to deal with this. Once I realized it was a problem, I started transitioning him to napping in his bed (I started with the morning nap, as it was the easiest for him to fall asleep, and went from there). It turned out okay, but I know it would have been a lot less stressful if I had started putting him in his bed to nap from the beginning.
Then again, those baby snuggles….
3. Make more freezer meals
I stopped working a few weeks before James was born, so had lots of time at home. I read up on freezer meals and found many great looking recipes. And then I made one of them. Yep, just the one. We survived (largely off of bagel sandwiches and eggs), but I would definitely take more time to stock the freezer next time.
4. Join a group
I got about ten times happier once I started getting out more and meeting other new moms. It goes 100% against my shy and introverted nature, but I wish I had joined some sort of pregnant ladies group (do these exist?) before I had James so that I had other sleep deprived crazy people to talk to in the newborn days. I had so much support from my husband, family, and friends, but there is something about connecting with people going through the same thing. Plus, who else will answer your texts at 3 AM?
5. Sleep in our own bed!
James refused to sleep in his bassinet. No matter what we tried, he started screaming whenever we put him in there. He loved his floor bed right away though, and slept in there just fine. So while we had planned to have him sleep in our room for the first few months (to reduce SIDS), he transitioned to his own room within a few days. But I was so worried about the SIDS thing, that we transitioned with him. We took turns sleeping on a camping mattress in his room for SIX MONTHS. There is not enough coffee in all the world….
The thing is, our room is literally across the hall from his. We could have opened both doors and it would practically be the same thing. And I probably would have been functioning during the day, at least somewhat.
I’m not sure if I could actually change this, because SIDS is so scary and I was so paranoid, but I would definitely work harder to find a safe and functional sleep situation.
While I would do some things differently, there is one thing I am proud of – I really truly feel like I soaked up every minute of James’s first year. I spent time staring at him, cuddling him, and just being present and it was everything. Time does indeed pass quickly, but I know I did everything I could to slow it down, just a little bit, and that is worth the sleepless nights and hours spent googling and then some.
If you have multiple kids, did you do things differently the second time?
I meant to share the story of how my husband and I met when I posted about our five year wedding anniversary…but I forgot. Whoops. It was a busy couple of weeks.
I don’t want to wait until next year though, so here goes!
Are you a spontaneous person? I am not. At all. Sometimes I wish I were, but I’m definitely more of a type-A, often overly rigid, plans everything type of person. I sound so fun, right?
Because of this, the times I’ve taken a leap of faith and followed my gut, rather than analyzing everything and doing what I “should” do, really stand out to me. There have been three: moving to DC for college without ever visiting, quitting my career in business and becoming a teacher, and dating my husband.
I met my husband when I was a freshman at Georgetown University. I was having a great year. I had met a wonderful group of friends, and was really enjoying experiencing a different part of the country.
I had dated some, but nothing too serious, and that was fine. I was a freshman.
My best friend in college (still my best friend today!) is from Wisconsin. Some of her friends from high school drove out to visit her for spring break.
My now husband, being the complete opposite of me, had no plans, did not even realize it was spring break, and so jumped in the car and came with them. One of the many reasons I’m glad our personalities are so different 🙂
I met him at the dining hall – so romantic, I know. I liked him right away. I am pretty shy, but we wound up talking a lot that weekend. We were always hanging out in a big group, but the two of us always wound up having great conversations. One way that we are alike is that we are both major introverts. This led to some deep conversations about what we wanted to be “when we grew up” and all the rest. Plus, he was pretty cute 😉
He was super down to earth, which was so refreshing (Have you been to Georgetown? It is beautiful, but down to earth, it is not….)
The weekend ended and I felt sad when he left, but he was basically a stranger. It was just sad as in, I wished I had gotten to know him more.
We started talking over instant messenger and texting and eventually talking on the phone and became great friends that summer.
I wanted to go visit him that summer, but my Dad said no…shocking, I had only met the guy once and he lived across the country. I would say no too.
School started and we still talked all of the time. I saved my babysitting money and flew out to see him. All of my guy friends had serious concerns about this and I don’t blame them! It was an illogical thing to do. My best friend did fly out with me, but she was going to Wisconsin for a family thing and we weren’t mostly together. Also, his roommate was one of her best friends, so we at least knew he wasn’t a psycho!
Still, this was a theoretically stupid thing to do. Yet, it was the best decision of my life.
We dated long distance for a little over two years and then he moved to DC. We’ve been together ever since and he is my best friend and now such an amazing Dad.
I’m so glad that I didn’t let my often overly cautious mind get in the way of my happiness. I’m so glad that I didnt’ listen to anyone saying it was a dumb thing to do or that long distance never works. I’m so glad I listened to my heart, took a leap of faith, and made space to fall in love.
Here’s to taking risks and finding happiness!
Are you spontaneous?
Have you ever taken a big risk that paid off?
How did you meet your significant other if you have one?
I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but I was just thinking, “Hey, I bet it’s been almost a year since I started posting.” So I checked. And it’s been exactly a year today! Who knew? Some part of my brain apparently.
I couldn’t let the day pass without popping in to say THANK YOU to everyone who reads. This has been such a wonderful creative outlet for me and such a great way to connect with people, when I spend many hours at home with just me and the little guy.
Here are the five most read posts from the year:
Five Parenting Lessons I Learned as a Teacher This has been by far my most read post, by a factor of…45! I attribute this to the fact that the wonderful Janet Lansbury shared it on her Facebook page, so thank you very much Janet! If you are not familiar with her work, you should definitely check out her website.
It has been a particularly good week over here, for no specific reason, just happy ordinary days.
Here are a few things that have made me happy lately:
A Little Garden
After adding it to my goals many months ago, I finally took the first step to gardening! I was siting outside with James on Sunday morning, looking around and wishing our backyard were nicer. He was about to nap and I decided it had been long enough, we’d lived here for over a year, it was time to do something about it. I spent both of his nap times clearing space for a flower bed, went and bought dirt, and planted some flowers during his nap the next day. I still need to get some more flowers, but it already makes me so happy every time I go outside! Next, I’d love to start an herb or vegetable garden.
It’s so easy to feel like I get nothing done, and I know that just comes with this stage in life, but it felt great to get something tangible done that I can actually see (and that won’t be undone as soon as James crawls by….)
I first had this salad at Thanksgiving a few years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since. I get the pre-shredded brussels sprouts and pre-torn kale from Trader Joe’s, which makes it really easy. I also like to add some dried cranberries or cherries and hemp seeds. It’s so good and it makes a ton so I’ve loved eating it for lunch this week.
Okay, it doesn’t exactly feel like Fall here in Austin (we don’t really have much of a Fall), but the highs have been in the high 80’s or low 90’s this week and it feels comparatively amazing. It’s pretty dry here too, so the mornings actually feel cool. I have been loving all of the outside time and extra long walks!
Trader Joe’s Nitrogen Infused Coffee
I just started buying this last week and I love it a little too much. These little cold brews are infused with nitrogen, which makes the coffee super foamy when you pour it into a cup. It’s delicious and looks so pretty. The only downside is that they’re kind of hard to open (I couldn’t open my last one this morning and had to make normal coffee and almost lost it…this probably says more about me than the coffee…Edited to add: my husband easily opened it with a bottle opener…smart man.)
Story time started back up at the library this week (they take August off). Our library has the best children’s librarian. She knows all of the babies’ names, and there are a LOT of babies who come. It’s the only library story time in Austin for just 0-12 months and I’m so grateful for it. James will only be able to go for a few more weeks and I will really miss it!
Batch Cooking / Freezing Food for James
I’ve never really been into freezer cooking – well, that’s not really accurate, I’ve just never really thought about it or figured it out. Lately though I’ve been trying to cook a big batch of something for James once or twice a week and freeze most of it. This has been super helpful when I make his lunch, as we’re often just getting home from a morning activity at lunch time. Lately I’ve made banana mini muffins, zucchini fritters and greek yogurt pancakes. I want to make pumpkin pancakes, but haven’t seen pumpkin yet.
Have you ever wished for an extra hour in the day? Well, I got one!
I’ve been feeling a little stressed about getting things done (or, not getting things done, I suppose). My AWESOME husband agreed to play with the little guy for an hour before work a couple of times a week so that I can have a little extra time. It has been amazing. I am way more of a morning person than he is, so I always wind up taking care of James in the early morning because I’m either already awake or wake up at the first peep he makes. My husband can sleep through anything.
This week, I went for a run..by myself…with no stroller. I don’t actually mind running with the stroller, but we don’t usually get out until later if I do that and it felt amazing to be out running before the heat of the day. Plus, when I run with James, there’s the whole issue or showering when I get back…. I also had a chance to make a big batch of pancakes one morning, so the freezer is stocked again with easy breakfasts.
Always, every week, but especially right now as I try to savor every day that he’s still a baby. I’ve been catching little glimpses of the little toddler lurking inside (like him going over to something he’s not supposed to touch and grinning at me…) and I love toddlers, but I just want him to be a baby a little bit longer!