Monday, 16 December 2013

Reese is 11 Months Old!


I've been dreading these posts, the ones where you inch closer and closer to being a big one-year-old. Holy cow. When I look at pictures from just months ago, I can't believe how much you've changed. You have lost the look of the squishy baby who would snuggle in and sleep on my chest. The baby who couldn't sleep without touching me in our bed every night now wants her own space to roll around in her own bed. I wish I could make time slow down and just soak in these moments with you so small.

You won't ever know how much Daddy and I love you. That we sit in bed at night after you fall asleep in your room and stare at the video monitor and say how much we miss you already. You are the best part of our day. 

Weight: Guessing around 23 lbs, we will find out next month.  You are wearing all 12-18 month clothing and have been for months. 

Milestones: Still babbling up a storm. You can say: dada, dog, cat, duck, eye. You point to our eyes, ears, and nose when prompted. You have stood briefly on your own. It still freaks you out so you don't stand.. but you can! You are walking all over the house pushing your walker with no help. You got another tooth this month. You have 8 and have two molars on their way.

Sleep: Even more improvement this month. But no real consistency. You wake up anywhere from 1-4 times a night. Still, I will take that over the 1-2 hour wakings I was used to. You are now falling asleep on your own. I never thought I would see the day. No tears either! 

Eating: You like to eat what I am eating. You are doing so good with your solids. But you go on food strikes every so often for a few days where you refuse most food and only want to nurse. I think it has to do with teething. You love bananas, pears, clementines, banana pancakes, greek yogurt, rice and chicken. You still nurse around the clock. No plans to wean any time too soon.

Best Moments: We have loved watching interact with us so much more. You babble like you are talking to us. You love going on walks now, and taking showers with daddy before bed. You love playing in any kind of water! You celebrated your first Thanksgiving, and you loved putting up your first Christmas tree, and can't keep your hands off the shiny ornaments. You are obsessed with books! You have actually starting making animal sounds when we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear. You also love to walk holding onto our fingers. You could do it all day long!

Worst Moments: With all of these new skills always comes a fussy period. You want so badly to do so much, and get so easily frustrated. You are a sassy little thing. We have been seeing this for months now, and boy are we gonna have our hands full with you, girl. 

Our hearts are so full. We just treasure being your Mommy and Daddy more than we ever thought we could. We can't believe we will celebrating for birthday in a few short weeks. I don't know where our year together went. When you have a baby, everyone tells you how fast it will go. Time won't slow down for us, so we are trying to soak up these final baby moments. Each day we feel them slowly slipping away. 

No matter what a big girl you turn into, you will always be our little baby. We love you more than we could ever say. 

As big as the sky,


Friday, 15 November 2013

Reese is 10 Months Old!

Dear Reese,
You are TOO big, baby! 10 months is scary scary. It means that your first birthday is just around the corner. Time has flown. And every day I watch you grow right before my eyes. I mean, it's as if one night you went to bed my little baby, and the next morning woke up waving, clapping blurting out words and begging for pancakes. What?

You even look different! All that baby mushiness is slowly dissolving and you are crawling, pulling up all over the house, and babbling our ears off. You love your doggies, the kitty cat and getting into all the DVDs. You like to tip over the dog food bowls, splash in the bath tub, and you love to see Daddy after work.

You are really showing off these days. You love to nuzzle my face and kiss us, but you sure know how to tell us you are mad. You don't like hearing the word "no". You are obsessed with wires and outlets, and I have to watch you constantly! You are our little explorer. We love watching you figure out your world.

Weight: Probably around 22 lbs and Tall Tall. Wearing almost all 12-18 month clothing.

Milestones: So many new ones this month! You like to bounce, you pull up on everything, you clap hands, and give high-five's, and do the cutest little wave! You are finally eating big girl foods- but prefer to have it fed to you. Not using pinchers much yet. You say "dada", "cat", "dog" but no real sign of "mama" unless you count the "baba" you cry when she wants me. You started singing this month. You got two more teeth this month too! Bringing our total to 8.

Eating: Reese eats 3 mini meals a day. This is the first month we have gotten away from purees and really into food. Do you know when Reese decided she was ready for real food? When she saw Momma choking down on a pulled BBQ chicken sandwich at the state fair. Chicken has been her favorite thing since! She's also loving soft veggies and fruits, mum mums, quinoa and rice. She is still breastfeeding every 4 hours or so too. I am so proud of making it so long breastfeeding and looking forward to continuing as long as she wants.

Sleep: Finally a little improvement. This probably still sounds miserable to most of you, but Reese is sleeping one 5-6 hour stretch at night, and then up every 2 hours after that. But this is amazing sleep for the momma who was used to waking every 2 hours all night long for months now. I'm hoping we can get down to one or two waking a by her birthday. Fingers crossed!

Worst Moments: Too smart for your own good. You don't like things taken away from you, and you sure don't like to hear "no". You still really hate the car seat, which is a pain in the butt! You got your first bad boo-boo, and it took days for Momma to forgive herself. You were crawling around the glider and ottoman in your room while I put clothes away and your finger got pinched under the glider as you leaned on it. The metal nearly crushed your finger. You have a black little thumb nail that will probably take a while to grow out.

Best Moments: Daddy and I are so in love with you. We love cuddling before bed time and you really exaggerate your sweet moods. You rub your head all over our heads and come at us with wide sloppy kisses. It's the best time of my day! Mommy takes baths with you at night and we splash and scrub til you get sleepy. This month we feel you interacting with us so much more. We can really all enjoy going out and doing things together and it really makes us feel like a family.

My heart is more full than I ever imagined. You are worth each sleepless night and coffee filled morning. You are my joy. You are my love. You are the light of my life, Reese Elizabeth.

As big as the sky,


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Managing Priorities

Sometimes I feel like I only add things to my to-do list and things rarely get crossed off. Does anyone else feel like that? I merely shuffle other things to do the bottom of the list so I can add more urgent things to do. Somehow there aren't enough hours in the day, not enough helping hands, and I wonder how I get so little done when I am a Stay-at-homer.

My hair hasn't been cut/ colored since I was pregnant. Umm, hello... my baby is 9 months old now! My gym membership expired a year ago. I have been meaning to buy myself something for our Christmas photos. But instead of making any of those things a priority, they fall by the wayside while I do more important mom-things. Do all Mommy's have lists that place themselves at the very bottom?

I am so envious of Mom's who hop out of bed in the morning, get their workout in, start their day with a bang, already have dinner planned and laundry in the dryer by 8am. I'm usually up 3 times between 3 and 6am, and usually give up and just let Reese wake up around 6:30. I'm dragging at the starting line. There's cloth diapers in the dryer and my clean stash is empty. I have family coming on Friday and sheets to wash, and probably 3 other loads of laundry to do. My child has no shoes (well she doesnt walk anyway!) and running low on clothes. I am running out of baby food, and I've been estranged from my blog for weeks.  My eyebrows may or may not be starting to connect in the middle. I need more time.

And when I get that precious time during nap, do you know what I want to do? Make coffee, sit my ass on Pinterest, plan Reese's birthday party, dig up more coupons for baby clothes and headbands and NOT do the things on my list. In fact, I'm spending morning nap saying hello to my blog and eating Pumpkin Spice Hershey's kisses for breakfast. Sigh.

My to-lists are a freaking joke. But at least I can admit it.

Being a stay-at-homer is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. It's easy to beat myself up about all of the things that didn't get done during the day. But when I take a harder look at what has been done. Things like... playing outside with Reese, going on a walk, playing frisbee with the dog while Reese laughs, sharing lunch, making a complete mess finger painting, taking a bubble bath together and letting her play for 5 extra minutes. Well those are the things that matter. Those are moments I will remember. And they weren't even on my list.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Reese is 9 Months Old


I can't believe you have officially been out of my tummy now longer than you were in it. Where did all of that time go? When I look at your updates, you don't even look like the same baby you were months ago. You have shed your baby skin, and are now a moving, babbling, crawling, busy almost-toddler. Some days I don't believe it, that your daddy and I have a 9 month old. We feel your first birthday looming around the corner and it makes us ache. Watching each month pass is still bittersweet. Watching you learn, change with each passing week is such a blessing. But packing up each box of little clothes that no longer fit makes me long for the days you were scrunched up like a little froggy newborn.

You are keeping Momma and Dada on our toes these days. You waited a long time to crawl. Really, it took you almost 9 months. But now that you are moving, we can't keep up with you! You are our little explorer, wanting to check out every dog bowl, piece of fuzz on the carpet, every reflection of yourself in the oven, dishwasher and garbage can. You never stop, baby! 

Your personality has changed so much the past few months. You babble all the time, and even sing songs when music is on in the car. You know how to fake-cry and you surely know how to real-cry. We know when you are unhappy. You fuss, and arch your back and hit and bite. I know its hard not being able to use words yet. You are learning the meaning of the word "no" now, and you don't like it.

Some days are hard, but most days are wonderful. You are such a happy baby. You nuzzle your head on ours, and give us slobbery kisses and we just melt. You are the center of our world, baby. We adore you and love you more than the day we brought you home. 

Weight: 20 pounds 12 ounces and 29 1/2 inches long and wearing 12-18 month clothing. Holy Moly!

I never thought I would hear a doctor call you "lanky" in all my life. You always hovered above the 90th percentile, but you have finally starting hitting a plateau now that you are too busy to eat all the time.

Milestones: You say "dada" "baba - for me".You are crawling and pulling to a stand. You officially have 6 teeth and more on the way.

Sleep: I give up. You really are the worst sleeper in the world. We've tried going to bed drowsy, going to bed asleep, the sleep shuffle, me patting you and shh-ing while you cry cry cry away. Honestly, I went through a few weeks where I tried everyone's suggestions, I blamed myself for co-sleeping, I blamed you, I blamed everyone, and it only made me more frustrated, more angry. 
So I stopped comparing you to everyone else's sweet sleeping babies. I take each night and each 1-2 hour night waking as it comes. I'm rolling with it. Because eventually you will sleep through the night. It just might not be til your are two!

Eating: You have very little interest in any big girl food. I have been putting bite size pieces of everything on your tray for weeks and you just send it to the dog. If I try to squeeze a mum mum or piece of banana into your mouth it is a total gag-fest. You are doing great with purees. Sweet potatoes and blueberries are still your favorite. But nothing touches Momma's milk. Milk is still your favorite. It's my favorite too. Though it's not as easy to nurse with your foot in my eye, or you crawling away with my nipple. You are distracted by everything. You'd much prefer your milk to-go, but we still squeeze in a session 6-7 times a day.

Worst Moments: Teeth. This will be my answer every month I think. You were blessed with a mouth full of teeth honey. It hurts you, makes you cranky, and doesn't help our sleep situation any. You also went through a huge mental leap this past month. Everything made you so frustrated. You'd swing your head back and cry when your toys didn't do exactly like you wanted. But you came out of the growth spurt with so many great skills and a much better mood.

Best Moments: Watching you crawl for the first time. Giving your first slobbery kisses. Moving to a new house. Taking better naps. A visit from your MeMe. And learning to play by yourself for longer amounts of time.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

We're Still Alive

I feel awful that I've been away from writing for so long. Especially after the kind responses I got about my last post. The timing of me writing about my hardships fitting in in a city that never felt like home, and with people who didn't seem eager to get know me was pretty crazy. I told you about how long we prayed that Brandon might get another job, or get transferred to another place. We bargained with God a lot over this. That "when we move..." we will go to church again, try harder to make friends, put ourselves out there, etc, etc.

We had finally gotten to a point where we had accepted the cards we were dealt. Really started throwing ourselves into things, new churches, baby classes, I even made plans for our first play date.
Days after I wrote that post, we had an answer to prayer. It seemed God was waiting for us to really be ready to accept His plans, be open to possibilities, to start trying. Because Brandon got a call not only that he would be getting a new position. But a raise, and relocation on top of it.

I had prepared myself to have 3 or 4 weeks to pack, but Brandon's company had us moved within 2 weeks! Can you imagine packing up your entire house with an 8 month old hanging on your leg the whole time?

So life has really changed for us this past month. We didn't move far. Only about 90 minutes north, but to a much bigger city, and closer to Atlanta. So far, we really like it here. And we promised ourselves we wouldn't let a year pass before trying to make friends and making a life here.

Lots of things happening with our little lady as well. I have Reese's 9 month update coming soon! I can't wait to catch up and see what's new with all of you!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Awkward Moment of Making Mom Friends

"Wanna hang out sometime?"

Why is that like the most awkward thing to blurt out to another adult? I swear making friends as a grown up, as a mom, is the hardest thing in the world. Sure, if you are one of those people who are surrounded by friends you think I am being dramatic, but I am not.

Maybe you left college with all your friends and ended up in the same town, or maybe you made friends at work, or moved into a great neighborhood where people embraced you from the moment they saw your U-Haul pull into the driveway. Maybe you moved back to your hometown and picked back up with old friends. Well. I hate you.

When I left college, I moved to Orlando with a bunch of girlfriends and had plans almost every night of the week. I'd spend weekends in Tampa with Brandon. My social life was good. Great, even. But now I find myself in a new state, a new city, as a mom, an no one to call for coffee, or a gym date, or to watch The Bachelor with! And it sucks!

This is not a pity party. This is for the other adult women who feel the exact same way. You don't have to be a mom to feel it. A lot of us go through the growing pains of leaving college, getting a job and having to start over socially. And it can feel painfully awkward to try and make friends again. But more so if you are a mom.

Other ladies have complained of losing friends when they become a mother. And maybe that is worse. You are actually still in the same city co-existing with all of your friends who are getting coffee, meeting for pedicures, and having wine after work, and you are no longer invited, because your new priority is waking you up at 1am, and 4am and demanding your attention all day.

We have been in Georgia for over a year. No family within hours and hours (like 12). I am a stay-at-home mom. My husband is a "boss" figure at work. People aren't asking us to hang out. We don't get invited to barbeques or double dates. So we haven't really met anyone. For a whole year, we have been hoping for a job transfer, that we could move away and start over somewhere else. We have prayed about it. And until recently, I have been ignoring God's answer. That I need to stop waiting for our lives to begin somewhere else, and make the most of life here, like it or not.

I know what you are thinking. Why don't you go join one of those Mom groups? Sign Reese up for classes? This is a small town. Small, as in, most people around here went to HS together, never left for college, and thought it was the biggest news ever when an Olive Garden came to town.

But we are trying. Because I need Reese to grow up playing with others and sharing, and scraping knees, and laughing, and begging for sleepovers. I don't know God's plan for us here. But I'm tired of waiting to have a life. We decided to start visiting lots of other churches. Even if we aren't Baptist, Methodist or whatever. We live in the Bible belt of the south, by the way. Brandon even invited himself to play on someone's basketball league. I found a music class for Reese that is just starting up. And maybe I will even start my own MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers group) here if I have to.

So I am off to scare people with my charm and wit. I will be trying not to come on too strong or too quickly, all the while singing, Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe...  Because making adult friends suddenly feels a lot like dating again.

Disclaimer: I have a decent handful of great friends scattered all over this country, even a BFF or two. Even a few blogger friends whom I adore. So don't feel too bad for me.  :)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Rotisserie Chicken is Your Friend

Actually it might be your very best friend if you are mom, or a helpless cook, or are super lazy. I happen to be a little bit of all three. Brining home a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is like a God send, because it means food for a couple days. Seriously, I tear off all the meat as soon as I get home and throw it in a tupperware. Next time you are in food rut,  pick up a chicken and make it stretch a few days with one of these delicious fool proof recipes.

Chicken Caesar Wraps
via BlogChef

Extra lazy? Grab a bag of salad mix. We do this just about every Sunday. 
Its yummy and we never tire of these filling wraps.

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla
via Little Clove
Ya'll I am obsessed. I eat this probably twice a week for lunch. And since I have the palate of a 4 year old, I guarantee this would be a hit with your little ones as well. This is as simple as mixing a little BBQ sauce into your chicken and throwing it on a tortilla with corn, black beans and cheese. SO good.

Easy Enchiladas
via Fork Knife Swoon
People are always intimidated about making enchiladas. They are as hard as easy as you want them to be. Sometimes the extra work for Avocado-cream-sauce-enchiladas is worth it, but sometimes it is NOT. I throw all my chicken in a bowl with chopped green chills, a few spoonfuls of sour cream and a little salsa. Wrap it all up in tortillas, cover in enchilada sauce and cheese and bake. Done. 

Chicken Salad Sandwiches
via fromValerieskitchen
Another super simple lunch idea you might be able to get me or your little ones to eat if you take out the crunchy celery. No, seriously, chicken salad is so versatile. Sub Greek yogurt for the mayo to pack it with protein. Add grapes or cranberries if you want a sweet bite, or relish if you prefer. Easy peasy.

And before you throw away all those bones and skin, wait! Throw it all in a crock pot! Cover with water, add a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and a bay leaf and cook on low for 8 hours (or overnight like I do). You will have the most delicious chicken broth and can freeze it for when the need arises! Double awesome!

These are a few of my favorite things to do with Rotisserie chicken. But the possibilities are endless! Whats your favorite way to use rotisserie chicken?