Happy December & a Free Advent Devotional

I'm sipping on some hot chocolate and enjoying some Trader Joe's ginger snaps (I'm obsessed with these things!). The Christmas lights are up, the baby is sleeping, and Huckleberry is resting at my feet. Really, it is quite the perfect evening. 

I really love this time of year. There is simply something magical about the lights and Christmas music, and just the general feel that accompanies December and seems to last through the holidays. It's really easy for me though to get caught up in all the colorful lights, gift giving, and festive flavored coffee consumption (!!!!). And all too frequently, this results in me neglecting the real reason for celebration this month... 

I don't know about you, but that seems to be a recurring struggle for me year after year after year. It's kind of embarrassing actually --instead of using this time of year to reflect on and strengthen my faith, I allow myself to get distracted by all the wonderful, but worldly things, that accompany Christmas well.  So for advent this year, I am reading this devotional by John Piper. I really want to focus on adoring Jesus this holiday season. I'm still going to enjoy all the amazing magical(ness) that goes along with this month, but I want Him to be in the center of my heart and thoughts this Christmas. I simply don't want to get distracted by all the loveliness around me like I usually do, but rather keep my eyes on Him. He is the reason for the season after all!

So are you reading anything for advent this year? And how do you keep the true meaning of the Christmas season front and center when it's been so commercialized? I'd love to hear your ideas!

If you'd like to read The Dawning of Indestructible Joy for Advent this Christmas, too, you can download it for free here.

Happy December!


Jack | 9 Months

**I've decided it is Jack's mission to successfully plummet off of his chair during one of our monthly photo shoots. 
I apologize for blurry, out of focus photos.. I have a feeling they will simply get worse from here on out.**

Someone pinch me because my baby is 9 months old! He is such a fun, giggly little man! 
 9 month old Jack loves...
his dino paci
being outside
chasing after balls
exploring in the kitchen cabinets
his walker toy
 9 month old Jack hates...
sitting still 
diaper changes
getting dressed
long car rides
 ^^dem thighs^^
Health: Happy to report Jack has been healthy as a horse since last month. Thank God! Sick babies can break a momma's heart! He even is getting a bit of a break from teething. Still rocking 6 teeth. 4 on top and 2 on bottom. At his 9 month checkup Jack weighed 20lbs 6oz and was 29 in tall. He is in mostly 12 month clothing, although the pants are usually a bit too long. Little man has some short, chubby legs! ;)

Food (Nursing): Nothing new from last month! Still nursing about every 3 hours during the day and still waking to nurse at night. (More often than I'd like... this too shall pass, right?)

Food (Solids): Oh man, does this guy love to eat! Some favorites this month are berries (especially blueberries), oatmeal, cheese, yogurt, bananas, and mac & cheese.

Sleep: Last month I mentioned that Jack has a super early bedtime (6pm) and when we tried to get him to stay up later he just. could. not. make. it. Poor buddy was exhausted and miserable. This month though he pushed back his bedtime on his own. He's still waking between 6-7, but is now able to stay up an hour longer before needing to go down for his first nap. This pushes our schedule back an hour, putting bedtime right around 7pm. It's so nice to be able to have Jack and Steven play when he gets home from work instead of just jumping right into the bedtime routine! Makes our evenings much more enjoyable.

Jack still take 2 naps a day. They usually last anywhere from 1 - 1.5 hours. He is getting so much better at going down in his crib for a nap, too! Very rarely do I find myself holding him his entire nap these days (while trying to type and work with the other hand, haha!).

His nighttime sleep is still a struggle. I get a lot of advice and I swear I've read pretty much every baby book out there (actually, this article sums up how I feel pretty accurately when it comes to baby sleep!), but honestly, I'm just doing the best I can. He sleeps a few hours in his crib each night but when he wakes up he's back in bed with me and will wake an additional 3 to 5 times most nights (it use to be a lot worse than this, so we are making progress!). It's rough, but I honestly just don't believe sleep training is best for Jack or myself. Not because I'm a martyr, as one young mom so graciously pointed out to me, but because I know it will stress me out to no end and I simply don't have the personality for it. When Jack wants cuddles and the boob at night.. he gets cuddles and the boob. And, if I'm being really honest, I love having him in bed with me. I'd just be okay with nixing the nursing habit. ;)

New this Month: Jack absolutely loves to get into anything and everything, but especially the kitchen cabinets! He now has his own little cabinet that he enjoys taking out all the pots, pans, spatulas, and other fun things and banging them together --squealing with delight the whole time! It's simply the cutest. He has also hit some big developments in the language department. He's been babbling like crazy and can even say MAMA and DADA! (I should probably note that he did say mama first) ;) It's the best! I love when he gets jabbering and throws up his hands in excitement. He's went from cruising along the furniture this past month to using one of those walker toys like a pro! He absolutely loves it! He can steer it all the way around the kitchen island and even navigate through the destruction of toys he leaves around the house. He thinks it's hysterical to chase Huckleberry with it. It has been so much fun to watch!

I thank God for my good natured pup everyday! 
Hey, my silly little man! 
I can't believe you are already 9 months old!
I love watching you play and learn. 
You make each new day so much fun.
You are such a joy to your daddy and me!
We love you!


Jack's First Spooky, Prehistoric Halloween

Apparently, October has come and gone. I never got the memo. I've been too busy trying to freeze time and keep my little man a little man. Obviously, I haven't been very successful. I figured I better go ahead and document Jack's first Halloween before it's 2015. Because seriously, if I didn't you'd be missing out. 
We originally didn't plan on doing anything for Halloween other than plopping Jack down besides some pumpkins and snapping a few pictures (everyone does that with their first born, right? I'm not weird or anything). But if  we were to go trick-or-treating, I really wanted Jack to be a blue dinosaur because he is obsessed with his blue dino wubbanub. I thought it would be pretty stinkin' adorable if he was dressed as a dino while his dino wubbanub was hanging out of his mouth. (Again, I'm not weird or anything.) So after browsing online for blue dinosaur Halloween costumes and finding the most adorable one (ever!!), I decided trick-or-treating was a must. 
 Huck -- busted sniffing the little dino's booty.
We met up with some friends and went store to store showing off our cute, baby dinosaur and collecting lots of candy... Then Steven and I consumed all the candy in record time and got stomach aches. Of course we ate all our son's Halloween candy. That was my hidden motive from the beginning. Sounds like a pretty epic Halloween if I do say so myself. 

Our friend's little boy, Max, was a dinosaur, too!

I know Jack is too young to remember any of this and will probably just find these photos embarrassing when he's older, but I sure am glad for them. Because really.. have you ever seen anything more adorable?? I thought not. 

So Jack, I'm sorry for dressing you up as a dinosaur. Everyone really did think you were the cutest thing on the planet, though. And honestly, things will probably just get more embarrassing for you from here on out. Just wait until I blog about your potty training adventures.

Just kidding!




Weeks that is.
Yesterday, Jack turned 38 weeks old, and I realized that he's now been out and about growing just as long as he was tucked in safe and sound growing. That realization kind of blew my mind. Jack has been here in my arms -- breathing, cuddling, and giggling -- just as many weeks now as he was in my belly! I must say, I much prefer him out than in! ;)

But seriously, guyssss! Look how much my little man has grown!
And now promise me, PROMISE ME, that it will stop, because I've had just about enough of this growing business. I'm looking for a way to freeze time and keep him this size forever. 
Although every age so far has been unique and so much fun, I'm really digging my 8 month old energetic, vocal, and insanely fast moving baby boy. He sure does make life and I just love him!

Love him.
Love, love, love him.
Have I mentioned I love him? 
He's the best.


Off to the Pumpkin Patch

We had one beautiful, sunny Sunday a few weeks ago, so Steven and I decided to head to a local pumpkin patch with our little man. And Oh.Em.Gee. It was sort of the best. The Thomasson Family Farm had waaaay more than just pumpkins. We were able to sip some hot apple cider and roam the grounds which boasts of a corn maze, small petting zoo, an onsite country store, and a super fun looking playground that I'm sure Jack will love next year.
But since he's still young we just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful October day while picking out our pumpkins. Oh, and snapped way too many photos of course.
I must say, this fall has definitely outdone itself. We've had beautiful weather (until this week) and have been able to get out and enjoy plenty of fall festivities with Jack! The family time we've been able to squeeze in has just been so nice. Sometimes I wish I could bottle days like these up and hold on to them forever. 

The good news is that all the fall fun isn't over yet! Halloween does happen to be tomorrow and I know a cute little boy who is going trick-or-treating as a blue dinosaur in honor of his favorite dino wubbanub

Stay tuned. I have a feeling the photos will be worth it.