Randoms And Tags

There are some "About Me" posts making their way through blog world, and I was tagged I few times for them! I love these things. Thanks to Katie, Julie, Amanda, Natalie, Dove Of Snow, and Chloe for tagging me!

I was also given a few awards in the last couple of months, and I never passed them on. So I'm going to do that now as well! Thank you to Nicole for the Blog On Fire Award, thank you to Jamie for the Versatile Blogger award, and thank you to MSDeyle for the Tell Me about Yourself blog award! I really do feel honored when I get these, even if I am terrible at passing them on.

So the awards all require telling random things about myself, as does the "About Me" tag, so I'm just going to combine the two. And everyone I tag at the end - I'm tagging you for the "About Me" post and giving you an award, so just pick your favorite of the three awards listed! I'll include the awards at the bottom, so just click on the award you choose and you should be able to save it to your computer.

Okay, here we go.





1. I have naturally curly hair. I think alot of you may not realize that because I usually end up straightening it. It's just easier to blow dry and straighten it most days, as opposed to waiting for it to dry and then fixing all the wayward curls (and there are alot of them). I used to hate my curly hair when I was a teenager, but somewhere along the way I just decided to go with it, and I did for a long time.

2. I really love hymns. Hymns have such rich lyrics. I like it when new artists record old hymns, as long as they don't change them too much.

3. I need to have trees. I really don't think I could be happy living anywhere where there aren't trees. Trees just make me feel safer.

4. I have a recurring nightmare where my teeth fall out of my mouth, and I quickly rush to my dentist while trying to put them back in their sockets. And I actually have a weird feeling of pain in my dream too - I always wake up and touch my teeth to make sure they are still there.

5. I'd much prefer a family comedy movie over a depressing chick flick any day. But there are also such things as chick flick comedies, and I love those (like You Again - I like that movie).



6. I've always liked tropical fruit flavors better than regular fruit flavors. Example: tropical flavored Skittles. But it's so hard to find those anymore.

7. I love the peppermint Hershey's kisses that come out at Christmas time. And I'm slightly depressed that my last bag of them is finally empty. Now I have to wait another ten months before I can have them again.

8. I love Valentine's Day. I suppose I can understand why some people hate it, but I think they are focusing on the wrong kind of love if they can't find any love to be happy about on Valentine's Day. The love of your family, friends, and God's love for us are most definitely worth celebrating.



Image from Inchmark, I first saw it here.

9. When I was little, I used to be fascinated with rocks. I would spend my money on the polished rocks at gift stores, and stop and pick up pretty rocks from the ground. I even had a little rock handbook that taught about different kinds of rocks.

10. Somewhere along the way my interest switched from geology to biology. I would love to be a microbiologist.

11. When I was in grade school, my brother and sister and I used to wake up early so we could watch Alvin and the Chipmunks before we started our schoolwork. Whatever happened to those good old cartoons? I think alot of the cartoons today are dumb and inappropriate, and the animation stinks.





Okay, those are my random things! For the "About Me" tag I'm also supposed to answer the eleven questions that the tagger posed to me, but since I was tagged five six times that would make this post far too long, so I'm going to answer the questions in separate posts over the next few weeks. And yes, I really am going to answer 66 questions, so if you don't feel like you know enough about me, just stick around.

And here are my questions for the "tagg-ees".



1. If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
2. If you were a teacher, what subject would you teach?
3. What is your favorite verse and/or quote?
4. Why did you start blogging?
5. What is one book you think everyone should read (besides the Bible, because that's a given)?
6. Favorite drink to get at Starbucks?
7. Would you rather it snow or rain?
8. Advice that your mom gave you that you never forgot?
9. Most read website or blog (besides mine, of course . . . *wink, wink*)?
10. One thing you would tell your 13 year old self (got this idea from Jessica)?
11. What do you hope people will say about you after you die?




And I tag. . . alot of people, since I was tagged a few times. Trying to tag some of my newer followers, some people who haven't already been tagged, and some people who I *think* will play along! Let me know if you do, because I'd love to read your answers to my questions.



Jenna from Bellies and Babies
Stephanie from How Sweet It Is!
Liz From Flying Like A Heron
Kendra from {stories}
Mrs. Shamblin from The Shamblin Stories
Jeralee from Bittersweet
Ashley from Crosseyed
Danae from Life As Husband And Wife
Felicia from Open Up The Sky
Jessica from Something Beautiful
Krystle from Three Little Men And A Mommy
Kara from Just1Step
Lauren from Chatting With The Chicks
Melanie from Country Roads
Rachel from Dreaming Of The Country
Lori from Everyday Blessings
Michelle from She Said. . .
Laura from The B Family Blog
Katie from This Is Katie
Nicole from Table For Four
Ashley from Introverted Mama
Bridget from Just A Little Part Of Me
Amanda from Lovin' Country Livin'
Marley from The Evan's
Veronica from Adventures of D and V
Jessica from Jessie This




Okay, so to participate just tell 11 random things about yourself, answer my questions, tag however many people you want, and ask them 11 questions - and don't forget to grab one of the awards and pass those along too!







Have fun with it, friends!

Answers to the questions I was asked are coming up in the next few weeks!

My Week Off

Well, I’m back.  And I’m feeling pretty good about my week off.

Last week I . . .

-Worked on a gift for my sister.  Here’s a sneak peak:

-Worked on some of the details for Wyatt’s 1st birthday.

-Vacuumed (it’s amazing how that’s always the first thing to go when I’m short on time . . .)

-Cleaned out my refrigerator (it needed it).

-Renewed my dental hygiene license.

-Wrote a post on voting, just because I felt like it (coming soon).

-Got a chiropractic adjustment (man, practicing hygiene really does kink up my back).

-Played with Photoshop a little bit (like the new layout?).

-Did some consumer research for a bigger purchase I was thinking of making (ie. spent time online trying to decide which product to order).

-Took several lovely baths.  And washed my hair with some Dove Intensive Repair shampoo.  That stuff works miracles.

-Went on a date night with Derek – comedy night at our church to see Barnes and Miner.  They are a husband and wife comedy team, and the sanctuary was all set up like a comedy club, complete with the “brick” wall behind the comedians – it was a lot of fun!

-Watched “Courageous” with Derek on Saturday night – oh my goodness, guys, there were tears rolling down my cheeks.  Derek was even choked up.  It was good.

courageousmovie

-Read all of your blog posts (I just didn’t comment, but I enjoyed every one).

As I review that list, it doesn’t sound like much, but it took a lot more time than you would think to do all that.

I am feeling pretty refreshed, but I’ve come to the conclusion that for me to completely recover from being “burned out”, I need a couple days vacation away from the state.  Preferably at the beach.  Which is not really an option.

*sigh*

But with the options I have, last week was just what I needed, and I’m more on top of things, so I’d say it was a successful break!

Those Question and Answer posts that I was tagged for are coming up soon!



Burned Out

I've been feeling pretty burned out the last couple of weeks.

I think it's partly because I had some stressful things to deal with lately. Those things are resolved now, so in that way I'm feeling better. But that was only part of it.

When my house is so messy that I don't even attempt to clean up because it just seems like too big of a project?

When I'm so behind in my blog reading that I start hitting the "mark all as read" button?

When I'm having a hard time mustering up enough motivation to do anything except sitting around watching movies with Wyatt (well, Wyatt's playing with his toys, not watching, but you know what I mean)?

Yes, those are all signs that I need a little break. I've been telling Derek this past week "I need a vacation!", knowing full well that it's not really an option in the middle of January.

I need to clean my house. I need to start getting ready for Wyatt's first birthday party in a couple weeks (how is it possible that it's been almost a year?). I need to go shopping for my sister's shower and work on a couple of the gifts I was wanting to make for her. I want to work on those "get-to know-you" posts that some of you have tagged me for! I'd like to make a little dent in my pre-second-baby list. I'd like to have time to bake something this week.

So, I'm taking a little break. Part of me is feeling more in-control this week and doesn't think I need a break, but if I don't take my break now, I'll start feeling this way again in a couple weeks. I need a catch-up week, so that's what I plan to do - just catch up on everything.

For any new visitors, please check out my tabs above, and check back next week!

Hope you all have a happy fourth week of January!

Glee And Other Media Choices

 

glee

These thoughts have been niggling in the back of my mind all week, and I decided I just had to get it out.

Last weekend Derek went to spend the night at his buddy’s place.  It’s been a while since he’s been able to hang out with this friend, and I was glad he had a chance to go.  My parents and siblings were unavailable to get together on Friday night and Saturday, and since I knew I’d be spending most of the weekend by myself, I decided to swing by the library on my way home from work and pick up a movie or TV series to watch when Wyatt was napping.

I ended up renting the first season of Glee.  I know, I’m a couple years behind on that craze, but after being a little curious about it for a while I decided to watch it and see what all the fuss was about.

As I watched, I had very mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I can see why it was so popular.  The premise of the show is interesting, and the characters are likeable.  The episodes are written in a way that leaves you wondering what’s going to happen next.

On the other hand, I didn’t feel good about what I was watching.  A lot of situations in the show are inappropriate.  As an episode ended and I went to get my boy up from his nap, the contrast between Wyatt’s sweet innocence and what I was just watching was very stark.  I felt like I needed to reset my mind in order to take care of him, because a lot of the behaviors of the characters are behaviors that are wrong and that I pray that my son never falls into.

I was sucked into five episodes before I realized that the show wasn’t going to get any better, and I packed it up to take back to the library.

Now, I’m left wondering how so many Christians think that shows like this are okay – and how I thought it was okay to watch five episodes before I turned it off.

Because it’s not okay.

Media choices are important.  They shape the way we think, they shape our interactions with others, they can shape what our kids think is right and wrong.  When a plot is entrenched in sinful behavior at every turn, and there is no “moral of the story” in sight?  That’s not okay.

And if we think that God doesn’t care about our choices in movies, music, and books, we are lying to ourselves.  He does.

I was embarrassed to admit to Derek that I had watched so much of something that is not “true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable”.  Or “excellent or praiseworthy” either (Philippians 4:8).

I’m not telling you what you should or shouldn’t watch, because that’s between you and the Lord.  And I’m not trying to just pick on Glee, because there are a lot of shows and movies that would make or have made me feel the same way. This isn't the first poor media choice I've made, and I'm sure it won't be my last. I'm not directing this post at any one person.

What I am suggesting is that maybe Christians in general (myself included) should overlook a little less when it comes to media choices, and call sin what it is, rather than willingly letting it into our homes and hearts and minds.

All I know is that if Jesus came back right this minute, I wouldn’t want Him to find me watching Glee.






Image credit.

Moms And Babies–Lori






 

This week for Moms and Babies I’m featuring my blog friend, Lori from Everyday Blessings!  Lori’s due date was about a week after mine, and her baby girl was born a week after Wyatt (both about three weeks early – what are the odds?).  You can tell by reading her blog how much Lori loves being a mom, and I’m glad to know her!  Read on for more.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a very Blessed wife and Mother! My husband and I struggled to conceive our 1st child for almost 4 years. Those years were very challenging for both of us, and we have learned a lot from them. We were Blessed to get a positive pregnancy test in July of 2010, just days before our 5 year anniversary. We welcomed our beautiful daughter on February 18, 2011. I never imagined how much love I would have for this precious little girl. She has brought such JOY to our lives this past year. I m a very over protective Mama!! I sometimes struggle with that, but at the same time I know that it will never change. She is our little child, and it is up to us to protect her, love her and cherish her. So if you would get to know me 'in real life" you would probably think I am a crazy Mama!! :) Some other things that I LOVE  would be, Organizing, Shopping, and watching way too many reality shows!

 First Upload 547

What's your baby's name and how old is she?

Savannah Lane, and she is 11 months and 1 day!

Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

8am-Start my day when Savannah wakes up. I have been thrilled that she is sleeping till 7:30 or 8! I still give her a 2 oz bottle when she wakes up, then an hour later I will feed her breakfast!

10-10:30am-Naptime. She has been teething horribly lately so the morning nap as not been going so well lately. It all depends. On a normal, good day, she will sleep 2 hours!! Of course while she naps I am flying around like a mad woman trying to get a lot of chores done that are difficult to get done while she's awake! I also usually get dressed and ready for the day during her morning nap.

12:00- 12:300pm-Lunch time as soon as she wakes up! Then we play till her afternoon nap.

2-2:20pm-Afternoon nap. This is usually the time that I try to complete my laundry for the day, and also my ironing. I do not like doing laundry after my husband comes home, I love to have family time in the evening with no chores other than dinner!

4:00pm-Savannah is usually up by now, so I will start to prepare Dinner. Savannah is usually really happy right after her nap, so she plays by herself the best right after naptime. I am thankful for that, because it is very difficult to prepare Dinner with a clingy baby.

5:00pm-My husband comes home!!! Love this part of my day. Savannah is so excited to see him, as am I, eight hours is just to long for me not to see him! We then have Dinner, family time which involves lots of playtime with our sweet Savannah!!

7:00pm- Bedtime for Savannah. She gets her bath, then I rock her to sleep with her bottle. After she is asleep I will get my relaxation time (soak in a bath), this is so relaxing for me. My body is usually so ready for this time of my day!!

8:00pm-This is when me and my husband catch up on shows, computer time and just relax together.

If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

Determined, charming, curious.

6 Month Photo Shoot 064

What's your favorite part about being a mom?

Being that "safe place" for Savannah. I love how I can soothe her, and how all she says now is "Mama."

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

As far as weight loss goes, I was back to my pre pregnancy weight 5 weeks after giving birth. With that being said, I still did not fit into my clothes. My body was just "different." As the weeks went on I gained 10 pounds (and I was breastfeeding) so that was very disappointing for me. I always thought breastfeeding will make you lose weight not gain! So after months of feeling so yucky, and just hating how my clothes fit, we decided to start a diet! We tried the Abs Diet, which was a total life change when it comes to your eating habits. It has been a success for us, in which I was able to drop 5 pounds in 2 weeks. I was also able to keep that weight off through the Holidays, which was a total shock to me since we were not watching what we ate! So my tip would be eat healthy foods, no sweets, water instead of other drinks, and let yourself indulge at least once a week!! I know I sure can't go longer than a week without some Dessert!!!

 Savannah's 1st Thanksgivinig 006

What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

My husband and I enjoy spending our time with our little girl, we have gone out to one Dinner on our own since Savannah has been born! As I just typed that I know that is not good, BUT we both don't mind at all. We would rather stay at home, and stick to our routine that we have. After we put Savannah down for the night, we usually have "date night!" Since Savannah's arrival we have been on a very tight budget, we are seeing so many financial success' due to staying on our budget that we really do not have much of a desire to go out and spend money. If we do go out to Dinner we usually go early and take Savannah along. It always feels like a huge treat that I don't need to cook!! I feel that once Savannah is older we will have tons of time to go out alone again, so for the time being I am beyond content with staying at home vs. going out. I would say that we have kept our relationship strong by communicating about everything, and when I say that I mean literally every little thing. Once you have a child there are so many more issues that can be stressful on a marriage, I think it is so important to pick your fights, and let the small things slide, I often times need to bite my tongue, but later I am always thankful I did!

Savannah's 1st Christmas 140

Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

The Boppy pillow was a must have for me. I used it a ton when she was younger. It was used for Breastfeeding, and also used a lot as a support for Savannah while she was learning how to sit. I do not use it anymore, but it was probably one of the things I used the most up until now.

For Breastfeeding Moms I would recommend to have some HPA Lanolin nipple cream, it was a life saver for me!!!

What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

We went to a local Fall Festival in our area sometime in October, and it was just one of those days that was perfect all around. When I think back all I can think of is how Savannah just loved all the animals they had there, and she was getting to the age where she was really aware of her surroundings. I remember the weather was so beautiful that day too, and as all you Mom's know that makes a day out with children so much more enjoyable!!

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Any advice for first-time mothers?

It's Ok to ask for advice, but it is also Ok to do things your way all the time! When Savannah was born my Mother's instinct came out, I knew what she needed at all times. Of course there are those times that I call my Mom for some advice, but do not feel bad for not taking that advice if it doesn't feel right for you and your baby. You are the Mother now, and you know your child better than anyone. Follow your first instinct, and you will have success!!!

 

Thank you Lori!  Check out Lori’s blog to read more about her!


Fun With “Words”

 

Since getting my iPhone I've discovered "Words With Friends".  If you've never played, it's basically like Scrabble, and you play with friends who also have an account.

I was pretty bad at it in the beginning, but I'm getting better at it now.  Sometimes though, when I'm really stuck, I'll have Derek take a look and see if he can come up with any words that I'm missing, so in a way Derek plays it with me.  We've been having alot of fun with it lately!

This morning I woke up and found this on the kitchen table:


I couldn’t help but smile.

I love that man.



 


P.S.  If any of you want to play, my username is “CallieNicole7”!

Cloth Diapering Resources


Blog posts are actually what got me started on thinking about cloth diapering.  Honestly, I had never even considered it before, but shortly after I had Wyatt it seemed like I was hearing about cloth diapers somewhere every week!  There were a lot of posts from fellow bloggers that I found helpful, and I starred them at the time thinking I might use cloth on our next child.

Then I had a little panic attack about how much money we were wasting on disposables, and I decided to give it a go.  I was glad I had all those posts starred, because they were great to refer back to.

So this is a list of the posts that I read way back then and some that I’ve found since that I have found helpful.  There are probably more that I’m forgetting, but these were the ones that I starred.

Ashley wrote a great series on cloth diapers:

 

Leanna wrote a post on cloth diapering which is what got me to thinking about it in the first place.

 

Jenene wrote a two-part series, and I bought some of our diapers based on recommendations from her.

 

Bridget wrote a very informative post, and her post made the washing process sound really simple.

 

Rachel wrote a post on the products and routine she uses as well.

 

Chloe wrote a post on cloth diapering, and she uses some diapers that I haven’t heard of before.  I might give them a try after reading her post.

Lauren wrote a post that included a lot of great resources (if you’re interested in further reading) and she wrote a post with her thoughts on how cloth diapering has worked for her family.

And finally, Brittany wrote a post recently that I thought was helpful as well.

 

And that’s it, so if you are considering cloth diapering, definitely check these posts out!



Fitness and Ramblings

Today is a rambling sort of day, so I hope you all don't mind. And I don't have time to include any pictures, so I hope you all aren't bored stiff.

This week Wyatt was so happy. He's always happy, but he just seemed to smile at everything this week.

I, on the other hand, felt sick Monday through Wednesday, and just had alot to deal with, so his smiley faces were such a joy in the midst of a stressful week.

I think the Lord gives me little things like that right when I need them. A sweet gesture from a stranger, an easy day at work, or this week, an extra-happy baby to cheer me up. It's easy to miss them if I don't keep my eyes open, but there is always something if I look for it.

Though it was pretty hard to miss those extra smiles from Mr. Wyatt. Just saying.

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I kind of want to participate once in "Fitness Friday" over at Cait's blog, but I'm afraid my goals are a little lame when compared to the general spirit of the link-up.

Remember those first few weeks after Wyatt was born, when I did those little fitness updates? (Just check Friday posts in February and March 2011, if you're curious). Well, I was doing pilates at the time and really started to feel good about my muscle tone again, and then disaster struck and my knee went out. Which led to surgery. Which led to six weeks on the couch. Which led to me being a little scared to jump back into working out because my knee still felt weak.

And that's where it sat. I seriously have not worked out since. But amazingly, those six weeks on the couch didn't hurt me on the scale at all. I actually lost weight. Why didn't the weight come off that easy when I was trying to get in shape before my wedding, I ask you?

I'm pretty sure I was losing weight from losing muscle though.

To be honest, I lost all my pregnancy weight within ten days of Wyatt's birth (thank you nursing and forgetting to eat breakfast), and then I lost about 8-10 more pounds since then, which leaves me a little skinnier than I'd like to be.

I actually had to gain weight to get pregnant with Wyatt in the first place, so if we want a Baby #2, it probably wouldn't hurt to gain a few pounds.

But that seems kind of counter-intuitive for "Fitness Fridays".

However, that's where I am, and I would like to get in better shape physically, because I'm not a "healthy skinny" right now. So here are my fitness goals:

-Tone my muscles a little bit, but without losing any body fat.
-Gain a few pounds (which I think will come from gaining a bit of muscle - muscle weighs more than fat).
-Eat less sugar.

So my goals for next week would be to:

-Do a (gentle - remember the knee) pilates workout once next week (maybe twice).
-Eat more protein/whole grains/healthy fats for my snacks.
-Drink one full glass of water per day.

We'll see how this goes. I may or may not do an update next week, but I'm sure I will at some point.

the blessed life


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Do you all have any podcasts that you really like? I have to drive 45 minutes to work, and none of my talk radio shows are on that early, so I like my podcasts. I listen to sermons through podcasts, and Focus on the Family's podcast, and the "Stuff You Missed In History Class" podcast is another current favorite. But by all means, if you have any suggestions, send them my way! I need some new ones to shake things up.

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I'm pretty sure that having a yellow tissue box helps you recover more quickly from colds. You know, as opposed to blue. Because yellow is so cheerful and motivating. Don't you think?

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We're Tebow fans in this house (along with lots of other people in houses in America), and we'll be going over to my parent's house to watch the game this weekend since we don't have TV service. Yes, football games are one of the rare things that warrant a trip to someone else's house, just so we can watch. Go Broncos!

Okay, that's all. Thanks for letting me ramble!


My Memories Winner!

And the winner of the My Memories giveaway is . . .




Entrant #2, which is . . .





Marley, from The Evans blog! Congrats Marley, so glad you won! I'll be in touch shortly.

And don't forget that if you didn't win, you can still use the promo code that My Memories gave me for $10 off the software (making it only $30, which is pretty reasonable), and it also comes with $10 to spend on scrapbooking kits in the store.  Here’s the code: STMMMS8037.

I do get a compensation from My Memories if you use the code, just FYI.


Moms And Babies - E






 

This week I’m featuring E from E, Myself, and I!  I found E’s blog because people often find my blog through the posts I did on our gender reveal party, and E’s gender reveal party for her sweet little guy showed up on the same results page!  I’m so glad I found her blog, because her personality and style of writing makes me smile.  Without further ado . . .

 

 Tell us a little about yourself.

(Late) 20-something new mom.  Married to my high school sweetheart.  English teacher turned testing coordinator at my old high school.  Jesus follower.  Gold-retriever lover.  Diet Coke addict. Tall-tale teller.

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What's your baby's name and how old is he?

Sam.  Born on 7.13.11 - Sam will be SIX months on January 13th.

Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

I started back to work a couple of months ago; but can't seem to hit my groove.  So, there really is no such thing as "typical" for us.

On a good day, I'm up at 5:30 to feed Sam.  He cuddles with Dad and goes back to sleep around 6, while I start a pot of coffee, pack bottles, and get ready for my day.  I am usually out of the house by 8AM to drop Sam off at the babysitter's and head to work.  Work is a crazy blur of busyness, then I pick Sam up between 4 and 5PM.  After work, I often run errands or go by the grocery store.  When we get home, I feed Sam again, unpack all of our bags from the day, and play a bit. Jeff comes home around 6 and plays with Sam in the kitchen while I fix something to eat.  We eat together while Sam sits in the Bumbo seat or plays on his play mat.  Then we veg-out (or do chores around the house) until about 8:30 when we start Sam's bedtime routine. Sam is asleep by 9:30, I get everything organized for the next morning, and Jeff and I go to bed before 11.  Replay the next day.

On a bad day, I just run around like a chicken with my head cut-off taking the occasional break to feed or cuddle my baby.   ;)

If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

Playful, Persnickety, and Precious

Reindeer

What's your favorite part about being a mom?

Watching my boy smile dreamily as he is falling asleep after a bath, bottle, and bedtime stories.  It is the best part of EVERY day.  And, most recently, getting Sam laughing really hard.  Some times he gets so happy and excited that he actually throws back his head back and snorts.  It is a-mazing.

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

Breastfeed!  My pregnancy weight came off pretty easily with VERY little effort on my part. The other 20 pounds I needed to lost before that, however, are another story. ;)

What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

I admit that we have not been as diligent about date nights etc. as we said we would be.  However, we always go to bed together.  Even if it is just for five minutes before we doze-off, it's nice always having that quiet time together to connect, talk about our days, etc. 

Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

Soothie pacifiers.  We would never have survived the first three months without them. The Wubbanub is a highly recommended bonus.  I also LOVED the Itzbeen timer when Sam was a little younger, and the Aden + Anais swaddle blankets were PERFECT for a summer baby.

What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

Our first Christmas was pretty special.  It's fun to see our families and so many other people love Sam so much. The holidays really do have a different feel once you have kids.  Actually, everything is different once you have a baby - but in the most wonderful way.

Any advice for first-time mothers?

Go easy on yourself... This is a learning process.  The first few months ARE hard, but it gets easier and more fun every day.

 

Thanks, E!  Check out E, Myself, and I to read more!

Also, E wanted me to let you know that the photos were done by Merry Studios, in case any of you are interested and are in the area!

Eleven

 

Wyatt turns 11 months old today!  Only one more month to go until he’s a year old – hard to believe!

This past month has been a lot of fun!  Wyatt is so expressive, and he’s getting more and more mobile.  He still army crawls all over the house, and we’ve started putting barricades up to keep him away from dangerous areas (like the stairs).  He’s been pulling himself up to his knees to play with things, and he looks so grown up standing on his knees.  It probably won’t be long before he’s pulling himself up to his feet!  Sometimes when he’s on his hands and knees he’ll straighten his legs so he’s balancing on his hands and feet – it’s cute!  I haven’t been able to capture a picture, unfortunately.

This month Wyatt said his first word!  And it wasn’t “mama” or “dada”.  I still haven’t had that moment where I know he is talking about us when he says those words.  But right around Derek’s birthday, I noticed a couple different times Wyatt said “baba” when it was about time to feed him again, and then if we didn’t give him his bottle right away he started crying.  I just knew when he was saying “baba” that he was asking for his bottle!

 

I’ve been a lot more aware of how Wyatt is trying to communicate with us this month – for example, when he wants solid food he’ll start making chewing motions with his mouth.  It’s so fun to see him start to communicate!  And I know whatever word he ends up using for me and Derek won’t be far behind.

He’s also been waving more, but still just when he feels like it.  Though he will copy me if he sees me waving or clapping, and it melts my heart.

We’ve been trying more table foods this month, and Wyatt eats cereal puffs and bananas pretty well now.  I think we may start trying pieces of pears or noodles soon.

He was making the funniest facial expressions while he ate the other day, and we tried to take a video – excuse the poor quality, and the fact that Derek and I were laughing every few seconds, but we couldn’t help it – it was so funny!  He’s never done that before, and I’m pretty sure he was doing that face on purpose to make us laugh.  And see that hand thing he does?  He does that any time he’s happy or excited. 

Untitled from Callie on Vimeo.

 

His sleep is still pretty good at night, though it’s been a little rougher lately because I think he’s going through a growth spurt.  Over the last couple of months though he went from one nap during the day to two naps.  Usually babies drop a nap around Wyatt’s age, but I guess he decided to add one!  I think it’s because he’s growing, and I’m okay with him napping a little more right now – I might as well enjoy it while I can!

He’s in mostly 12 month clothes now for the length, though he can still fit into a lot of his 9 month clothes (and even a couple of his six month shirts).  He’s long, but pretty slim – he’s on almost the tightest setting in the waist of his cloth diapers.

This month Wyatt also got his right upper tooth (on the 26th), and I think he might be working on his molars soon, because he’s been grabbing his ear a lot which can be a sign of teething (he doesn’t have an ear infection).

Of course the big first this month was celebrating Wyatt’s first Christmas!  But he also got his first haircut, and we celebrated Derek’s birthday together as a family for the first time this year.

He’s been doing such funny things lately too – he’ll make silly facial expressions to make us laugh, which is just adorable.  He is definitely initiating play with us (I just especially noticed it this month). 

He does the cutest things.  After Christmas, I had a plastic container of chocolate covered raisins, and I was sitting on the floor next to Wyatt while I ate them.  He grabbed the lid to the container and started balancing it on his face.  Every time he had it balanced he would get so excited and look so proud of himself, and when it fell off he’d grab it and put it back on his face again!  It was so funny – of course I had to grab a picture!

  The other day he smiled at my mom and I by scrunching up his whole face (which I did as a baby too).  When he’s on the floor and gets excited about something he’ll drop to his “superman” position on his stomach and kick his legs and wave his hands – it makes us laugh every time, and Derek’s mom told us that Derek used to do that as a baby too!  It’s fun to see the ways he takes after each of us.

 

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Wyatt-Boy,

I won’t be able to call you a “baby” for that many more months – even this past month there were a couple times when you moved your head just right, or had a certain expression on your face, and it struck me how grown up you are starting to look.  You lose a little more of your “baby-ness” every day, and I’m just holding on to all these sweet moments when I can still call you Baby.  But I want you to know that though you won’t always be a baby, you’ll always be my baby, and I treasure every single day of being your mama!  I love you, Sweet Boy.  I’m so glad God gave you to your daddy and me.

Love Always,

Mama

Guest Post For Nicole

The following was originally posted as a guest post for Nicole at Table For Four - I'm just posting it here for my own records.

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First of all, thank you to Nicole for asking me to write a guest post! I think this is a great idea, and I'm so excited to be a part of it!

As a new parent, you are a prime target for all kinds of advice. Advice about infant care, advice about parenting, advice what kind of products to use. People like to tell you what worked for them, and personally, I like hearing what worked for other people, so the advice usually doesn't bother me. I've gleaned alot of useful tidbits from other's advice.

When I'm seeking advice on a certain subject though, I always go to my mom first, and the best bit of advice I've received on being a mom, particularly on being a Christian mom, came from her.

The actual words came indirectly from her in the form of parenting resources she loaned me (more specifically, tapes from Jamie Womack - we don't agree with alot of what the Womack's have to say, but I appreciated alot of Jamie Womack's thoughts on parenting). However, my mom gave me this advice in the form of her example long before I ever heard it elsewhere.

As a Christian mom, my greatest desire for my baby boy is that he would come to know the Lord at a young age. I want to do my best to teach him about Jesus as soon as he can understand so that he will have that desire to follow Him.

Obviously there are alot of ways to go about teaching your children about Jesus, but for me all of that can be summed up in this bit of advice - saturate your children with God's Word.

Looking back I can see how my mom did this for my siblings and me - she sang us Bible songs, listened to Bible tapes with us, read us Bible stories, took us to Bible studies and Sunday School and church, prayed with us often. We grew up knowing about Jesus, and it wasn't long before we had that desire to know Him personally as well.

It is my intention to saturate my kids with God's Word just as my mom did for me.

We've already started this in a way in our home. As soon as we brought our son home from the hospital we started reading the Bible together as a family before bed. We read Christian storybooks to him even though he can't understand them yet. I've started gathering Bible CDs and movies for when he gets old enough to understand.

It's not always going to be easy or like second nature (though I think it will probably get easier as I get in the habit of it). I'm sure I will get tired of listening to kid's Bible music when we are riding in the car together. But for the joy of hearing my baby singing about Jesus? I'll listen to them hundreds of times for that.

I might get tired of reading the same Bible stories over and over or watching the same old Christian kid's movies. But for the blessing of having my children grow up loving those stories? Of having them know about Jesus at a young age? For the blessing of instilling a love for the Lord in my kids so that choosing to follow Him is an easy decision? All of it would be worth it.

One thing I'm coming to realize though is that I cannot saturate my kids with God's Word unless I am saturated with it myself. This isn't a one-time, learn-it-and-your-done type of thing. Being saturated with the things of God is a constant battle, a daily decision. The world is trying so hard to get you to soak up everything it has to offer.

I know I too often focus on secular things instead of things that are helpful to me in my walk with the Lord. I want to change that though, so I can be a good example to my kids, like my mom was to me, and so I can give them the proper things to "soak up".

I think for me this starts with taking my quiet time with the Lord a little more seriously again. Reading a chapter of the Bible for two minutes before I fall asleep at night doesn't qualify, and I'm afraid that's the habit I've fallen into.

I'm getting back into the habit of setting aside the time in the morning when I'm giving my son his bottle for my devotions, and this has worked really well for me. Try to find a time that works for you to spend time with the Lord each day, and stick with it! It makes a big difference for me, because if I start out my day soaking up God's Word, it's easier to pour that back out into those I interact with, most importantly my family!

I hope you can find some encouragement from this post to begin saturating yourself and your kids with the Word of God - now is the time to start! The blessing of having our children choose to follow the Lord infinitely outweighs all the time and effort we might put in. I can't think of a better reward!

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Galatians 6:9





On Being A Christian Mom

This week Nicole from Table For Four is featuring different mom bloggers (including me) in a "Mom's Words Of Wisdom" series. She asked me to post on being a Christian mom, and I was so honored that she thought of me for this topic! Here is a little excerpt from my post:

"As a new parent, you are a prime target for all kinds of advice. Advice about infant care, advice about parenting, advice what kind of products to use. People like to tell you what worked for them, and personally, I like hearing what worked for other people, so the advice usually doesn't bother me. I've gleaned alot of useful tidbits from other's advice.

When I'm seeking advice on a certain subject though, I always go to my mom first, and the best bit of advice I've received on being a mom, particularly on being a Christian mom, came from her. . .
"

Head on over to Nicole's blog to read the rest, and leave her (or me) a comment while you are there!


Matron Of Honor

Have I mentioned that my sister is engaged?

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(My sis and her fiance at our crazy sweater party).

Her now fiance, Ben, proposed a couple of months ago!  He surprised her by getting her a half day off of work.  Then he took her out to lunch and for a walk around a lake, and he proposed right next to the water.  So sweet!  And the ring is gorgeous too.  They are getting married in March!

Anyway, of course I’m the Maid of Honor (or I guess it would be Matron of Honor, but that makes me sound so old).  I’m very excited about this.  I want to be the best MOH there ever was! 

Of course, Rachel might already hold that title – she was my Maid of Honor, and she and my mom practically planned the whole wedding while I studied for my boards.  But I intend to do what I can to make this time special for my sis.

We already had one shower for her (we did a foot spa theme because it was personal shower with close family, and it turned out really fun). Her next shower (which will be for everyone, so it will be alot bigger) is coming up here in February.  I don’t think we really want to do a specific theme, because finding decorations that are so specific to a certain theme can sometime get pricey, but I do want it to be nice.  So if you see any super-cute shower ideas on Pinterest, send them my way . . .

I’m also trying to think of gifts for her showers that will be special – you know, that will stand out from the crowd.  I think I have a couple ideas, and I’ll post pictures if they turn out like I’m hoping they will, but I’m open to more suggestions.

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So, I’m wondering, what are some things your Maid of Honor did for you that made your showers and wedding extra-special?  Is there anything you think would be a cool thing for the Maid of Honor to do?

I'm all ears!



P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway, it ends tomorrow!

Great Posts From 2011

Now, there were so many posts that I appreciated in 2011, and you know that I enjoy reading every single one of your posts!

But it occurred to me several months ago that there are some posts that kind of stick with me - something said that I remember as I go about my week. Those posts usually get a star from me in my reader, so I can refer back to them later - and I think they are worth highlighting on my blog.

These are some of those posts that stood out to me in the latter half of 2011 - most have already been highlighted in my sidebar, but I encourage you to check some of them out when you have time this weekend! Leave a comment from these lovely ladies too, because I know they'd love that.


Where Have I Been? Pressing The Rest Button from Fast Forward Girl. I liked Claire's thoughts on setting a good atmosphere for our household as wives and mothers.

Setting The Tone from For Everything There Is A Season. This post from Haley was similar to the post above in that she talked about the power we women have to set the tone for our households. Both great posts to read!

Let's Be Honest from Life As A Wife. I liked the quote Ria shared in this post on when God says to wait.

Starbucks Proposal from The Swede Records via Green Wedding Shoes. I had to share this post, because the "Starbucks" this guy created in the woods was so cool!

A Guest Post On Contentment from 110% Surrendered. Katy featured a post written by one of her friends, Elisha, and I loved what she had to say about contentment.

With Her Hands from Mrs. Southern Bride. A heartbreaking story from a man who's marriage failed, and I reminder for us as wives.

Commenting From The Heart from Vignettes. I thought Kristen had some good thoughts on blog commenting.

I Never Got What I Wanted from Just One Step. Kara shared a short and poignant poem she found on being happy with each stage in life.

For The Sake Of Tomorrow from Tryin' To Throw Our Arms Around The World. Chloe shared a lesson the Lord taught her and it was a good reminder to me that the Lord is always working things out for our good, even though we may not understand.

Connections at The Amazing In The Ordinary. This post from Katie made me think about the little things we do that may not seem like much but that may make a huge difference to a stranger - a good reminder to go out of your way to be kind to others, because you just don't know what they are going through.

Home Lover from Bibelot. Anne gave me a great reminder and encouragement int his post to go the extra mile to make my home a place where my family will feel comfortable and loved, and a place where Jesus is honored!

In The Dust Of His Feet from Hope Scribbles. Wonderful thoughts from Elisabeth on how our greatest calling is to follow Jesus so closely the we are covered in the dust of His feet.

Taking A Stand Against Fear from Something Beautiful. Jessica talked in this post about how when we let fear sneak into our lives we are not trusting in the Lord - a great post to read for anybody, and especially for those who are dealing with the fears associated with infertilty.

Be Content, Be Grateful from Stealing Baby Kisses. One of the drawbacks to blogging is that reading all the good stuff that everyone else posts about their lives can lead to discontentment - this post from Ashley was a great reminder that the grass isn't greener on the other side, and to be grateful for where the Lord has placed you.

A Word From Luke, Not John from Cassidy Robinson's blog. This post was about reaching out to others who need us, instead of just those who we are comfortable being friend with, and it was a great reminder of a very practical way that we can be more like Jesus.

Does Abortion Really Have To Be The Only Option from 110% Surrendered. Katy wrote this post in response to a an anonymous comment she received, and she talked about all the resources that pregnancy centers offer - I wasn't even aware of all of these! She also made the great point that we need to not only work against abortion but also work to help support and reach out to those women who do choose life, and I found the post very challenging.

Relationship Misconceptions from Something Beautiful. Jessica talked about some of the things she's learned in her marriage so far regarding expectations, and I loved everything she had to say!

A Thrill Of Hope Guest Post for Snow In December written by Semper Wifey. I liked this post because I thought she beautifully described why celebrating Christmas, with everything that comes with it, has such an impact on our hearts, and it all comes down to Christ! Definitely worth a read.

When Advent Gets Personal from Miss Magnolia. This post is about waiting, and I think it's a great post to read for anyone who is waiting for something. I found it a comforting and encouraging reminder that God cares about every little thing in our lives, and He's with us in the waiting.

The Promise Of The Manger from Elisabeth at Hope Scribbles, posted on Young Ladies Christian Fellowship. I enjoyed reading Elisabeth's thoughts on how Mary chose to do God's will in giving birth to Jesus, and how Jesus chose to do God's will in dying on the cross for us.

Christmas Card and a Prayer from Vintch. I love this blog, because she can make even ordinary things sound poetic, and I loved the words she used to describe Christmas and it's true meaning.

Look Deeper from The Amazing In The Extraordinary. Katie talked about the blessings that can be hidden by the rush of Christmas, but I think what she has to say is applicable to the everyday busyness too.

A Search For A Scent from Vintch. I loved this post because I've been on my own "search for a scent" for a long time, and I'm never quite sure if I've found it. I love the idea of having a scent that is associated with me, and that's what she talks about in this post.

Salvation Stories from the link-up on this blog. If you haven't already checked out the posts from the Salvation Stories Link-up on this blog, please do! I was so encouraged by reading everyone's story of how they met Jesus, and I know you will be too!


Happy Reading!


Moms And Babies–Lauren and Alex





 

The Moms and Babies feature is back for the New Year!  This week I’m featuring Lauren from Meet the Chapman’s.  She has the cutest little baby boy, but I’ll let her tell you more about him!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! My name is Lauren, and I've been married to my husband Kurt for 2.5 years.  I work full time as a mom and as a project manager for a big global company.

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What's your baby's name and how old is he?

Our son's name is Alex and he will be 7 months on Saturday!  Where has the time gone!

Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

Since, most days are work days that's probably a typical day for us.
5:45 - Wake up and get myself ready for the day.  Shower, pump, make bottles, breakfast and pack bags, laundry if I'm lucky.
7:45 - Wake up Alex, feed him and get him ready for Kurt to take him to daycare.
8:30 - 5:00 - I work full time, most days onsite, some days I work from home (though Alex still goes to daycare those days too).  During the day I have to manage to fit in 3 pumping sessions which is always a challenge!  Alex generally has 3 bottles while he's at daycare and sometimes he is a great napper, sometimes, not so good.
5:30 - Pick up Alex from Daycare.  Head home for some family time.  We spend time playing on the floor, playing with the dog.  Besides dinner, this time is 100% Alex time for us (unless he didn't sleep at daycare and he falls asleep on the way home, it's usually for the rest of the night).
7:00 - Time to get Alex ready for bed.  Bath, book and one last feeding for the day.
7:30 - Alex is in bed and usually passed out already.  We spend some time together watching TV, on the computer/blogging, some nights we have to work, chores, etc.  It all depends on the night and what's going on the next day.
11:00 - Sleep!  We finally go to bed way too late!

If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

Easy-going, happy and determined.

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What's your favorite part about being a mom?

It is so hard to pick just one thing.  I love watching him learn new things and grow.  Sometimes it's so hard to see it day-to-day but when you think back to how he was doing a week before it's amazing to see the changes!  I love the happy smiles, grins and laughs for no reason at all!

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

At 5 months I had lost all but .5lb of the weight I gained when I got pregnant.  Honestly I didn't follow a routine or anything.  Breastfeeding certainly helped.  I did go for walks whenever possible and joined a moms-in-motion group (light aerobics), that helped not only get some exercise in (with baby) but meet new moms.  Give yourself time!  Also, along the same lines, get a haircut and buy a few new pieces of clothing that you like in that next size until you get back to your previous size.  You may not want to spend the money but it's worth it when you know you can put on real clothes and not maternity clothes anymore.  You'll feel so much better about yourself!

 

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What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

We haven't done as well with this as we had hoped.  Unless my sister is available, we don't have a baby sitter so most of our time together is with Alex or after bed.  One thing that's helped us is to still go out to dinner with Alex.  He is so easy going and makes it really easy to go to dinner and do some of things that we used to do before!

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Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

I think this changes based on the age!

  • We use the Adain + Anais swaddlers for lots of different things so those are a must have regardless.  Swaddling, playing, nursing cover, they're very versatile!
  • The Snap-n-go is always in our car.  We use it all the time.  It's so much more convenient than a big stroller, plus carseats don't fit in the top of carts like I thought!
  • Lastly I would say that if you're nursing, the "My-Breast Friend" nursing pillow was ah-maz-ing when I started!

 

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What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?


My favorite outing as a family has been when we went to Washington DC just a few weeks ago.  We went last minute and luckily my husband had to go for work so we tagged along.  We got up the next morning and we just walked around the city.  At this age he's still fairly easy to take along without too much of a hassle, he's a great car-seat/stroller sleeper and loves to just chill and look around.  We visited monuments and a museum and just had a good time, not rushing and slowing down to enjoy ourselves!

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Any advice for first-time mothers?

  • Do what works for you!  If breast-feeding doesn't work for you or you don't want to do it then don't!  Don't let someone tell you that one is better than the other.  Don't do cloth just because it's the thing to do.  If you want to do disposables, go ahead!
  • Get out of the house - Sometimes even if you just go to the mall or the store and walk around with no intention of buying something, it's nice to just get out and do something!
  • Take lots of pictures!  When you look back at them you'll see the difference that you don't see as well day-to-day.
  • There will be good days and bad days, you just have to take them as they come and deal with them that day.  When tomorrow comes it's a fresh day and time to start clean.
  • Take everyone's help!  If someone offers to make dinner, take them up on it.  If someone offers to help with anything, laundry, cleaning, staying up with the baby while you sleep for a little bit, be thankful and then say YES!

 

Thanks Lauren!  To read more about Lauren, check out her blog Meet The Chapman’s!



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