Jack | 11 Months

Somebody grab me a tissue! 
My baby is 11 months old and I simply can't take it.
Where has the time gone???
 11 month old Jack loves...
his dino paci
Huckleberry and Herschel
being outside
walking everywhere!
his cars/trucks
experimenting (throwing) food
rough housing with daddy
(I'm still his favorite person and am soaking up every minute of it)
 11 month old Jack hates...
diaper / outfit changes
long(ish) car rides
anything taken away from him

Health: The past 2 weeks have been rough for all three of us! We decided to pass around the cold and we all experienced the whole fever, sore throat, congestion thing. Jack was such a trooper though. He never lets feeling poorly slow him down. I just wanted him to stop and snuggle with me but he simply charges ahead like nothing is wrong even when he has a temperature! He's a busy, busy boy! Other than that he's had a great month and really just enjoyed walking all around the house. Still in a size 3 diaper and wears mostly 12 month (some 18 month) clothes.

Food (Nursing): Jack's nursing habits haven't changes any this month. Still nursing about 6 times in a 24 hour period with 1 or 2 of those feedings being at night.

Food (Solids): Jack has really made it known this month what he likes and what he doesn't in the food category. Namely by throwing his food on the floor and laughing with delight as he watches Huck eat it. He is still a huge fan of blueberries, strawberries, avocado, mac & cheese, and (his new favorite) whole wheat toast with cream cheese.

Sleep: Jack is still napping twice a day. Usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours each. He's been going down around 7 and waking at 6:30-7ish. He actually has been sleeping a lot better this month. He starts out in his crib but comes into bed with me around 11 most nights. I know I'm crazy, but I have no plans of sleep training him to get him to sleep in his crib all night. I'm actually really happy with the progress we've made, but I find myself staring at the baby monitor each night willing him to wake up so I can bring him in bed with me. Deranged mother, party of one!

New this Month: So much! Paragraph form no longer suffices...
+ Walking everywhere! He took his first independent steps the day he turned 10 months, and 2 weeks later he was booking it on those chubby little legs! I love to watch him toddle around.

+ Lots of pointing. He's been pointing for a while now, but now he actually points while trying to communicate. For example, I can say "where is Huckleberry?" and Jack turns towards him and points.

+ Speaking of Huck --Jack has been terrorizing him a bit more than usual lately. Little man is a rough houser and is always jumping on Huck, pulling on him, and patting him not-so-gently. Huck is such a good boy though and never gives me cause for concern around him. Lately, Jack has loved climbing onto Huckleberry's bed and snuggling with him.. for about .02 seconds and then proceeds to push Huck off...

+ Exploring outside. On the few nice days we've had this month, Jack Jack has really enjoyed walking around outside and exploring! Picking up leaves, touching the moss, feeling the stones in the driveway. It's so fun to watch his wonder and amazement at these seemingly ordinary things.

+ Stacking rings. Jack is all about those colorful stacking ring toys. He has completely mastered it this month. He sits down and stacks each ring one by one and waits excitedly for praise between each victory. It is simply the cutest!

+ He seems to take after his mommy in the OCD clean-freak department. Jack is always picking up his toys and putting them away. He enjoys putting everything back in their proper cubby and then taking them out so he can do it all over again.

+ He also enjoys helping his mommy with laundry! He loves to move the clothes from the washer into the drying and then shut the machine doors. He's a pretty amazing helper if I do say so myself ;)

+ Throwing temper tantrums. Now when you take something away from Jack distraction no longer works! Those days passed far too quickly... He definitely is throwing tantrums, like all out on the ground kicking and crying tantrums. If you take anything away from him he falls onto his belly and puts his face in his arms and cries. Luckily they are short lived!

+ Gives kisses. He has kinda, sorta been doing this for a while, but this month he definitely perfected giving the best open mouthed kisses!
Whew! There have been so many new things this month that I fear I didn't remember it all! Jack Jack is just growing up way too quickly. I feel like he changes everyday and is looking more and more like a toddler rather than a baby. I can definitely say though that this past month with him toddling around has probably been my favorite. I love every stage he's been in, but right now he is just so much fun! I am enjoying how he interacts with me and others and just watching his eyes light up when he makes connections and learns something new. Being a momma to this little boy truly is a fascinating thing!
^^tantrum in the making^^

Hey Baby Bear,
I really do wish I could bottle you up and make you stop growing.
It brings tears to my eyes knowing in less than a month you'll be 1!
You are so precious to me. You are my joy.
I couldn't image this world without you.
Mommy and Daddy love you so, so much!
Happy 11 months, Jack Jack!


In 2014 I Became a Mother

In 2014 I became a mother. I experienced a range of emotion I never even knew excited. I lost a lot of sleep and had to make a lot of hard decisions.  At times I felt such love, appreciation and joy, and at other times I felt myself being engulfed in misery and an overwhelming sense of failure. I cried a lot, but I also laughed.  I quit my job, but they fought for me... and I can't even put into words how good that makes me feel. I struggled finding the balance between working from home and caring for my son around the clock. I still haven't perfected it, and know I never will. I grew a lot. I questioned myself more than I should. And I'm still growing, changing, and finding my way.
In 2014 I fell more in love with my husband. The father of our beautiful, little boy. I saw a tenderness in him I hadn't seen before, a patience I, at times, was envious of, and a love for our son that was simply the most attractive thing I have even seen. He is a great husband, an amazing father, and a blessing to me and Jack each and everyday.
In 2014 I welcomed a son. Jack Ryan has stolen my heart and the limelight on this blog (oh, wait... you hadn't noticed??) Watching him grow has been an exciting, albeit emotional, journey that I am grateful for each day. My little family (Huckleberry included, of course) brings me more joy than I could ever fathom describing. I am blessed. So, so blessed. And very grateful for this past year and all it has brought me and taught me.
2014 was a great year, and I pray for many more to come.
Happy New Year, friends!


Black & White Christmas

Who needs gifts when you have shiny, brights lights and a very compliant puppy?
 Not to mention a mother that highly encourages such behavior...
Poor Huckleberry. 
We love you. 
Thanks for being such a good sport.


Jack | 10 Months

Sorry for the grainy photos. I'm having camera issues.. I swear one day I'll read that darn users manual...

But, in other news, Jack is 10 months old! 10 months, guys. 
Seriously, this growing business just needs to slooooooow dowwwwwwwn.
 10 month old Jack loves...
his mommy
his dino paci
Huckleberry and Herschel
his push walker toy
being chased
being held
pulling the ornaments off the Christmas tree
 10 month old Jack hates...
diaper changes
his carseat 
Health: Jack is a healthy boy and growing like a weed! He is now in all size 12 month clothes and almost ready to move to 18 months in onsies. He is still in size 3 diapers during the day, but size 4 overnight diapers at night.

Food (Nursing): Jack has actually dropped a couple feedings this month. Usually only nurses 3 times during the day and 2-3 times at night. (Which I know is still pretty terrible and unnecessary for nighttime, but, hey, I'm a pushover.)

Food (Solids): Jack still loves to eat solids. His favorites right now seem to be berries (especially blueberries), cheese, and butternut squash. He usually isn't a picky eater, but he did recently turn his nose up to oatmeal. I don't think it's the oatmeal that he had a problem with as much as he just didn't want to be feed with a spoon ;) He pretty much only wants food he can feed himself. A new food this month was eggs... jury is still out on whether he was a fan of it or not.

Sleep: If sleep is a measure of success as a mother, I am a failure for sure. He isn't waking as many times as he has been in previous months, but he's still waking 3 times or more at night. Jack was such a great night time sleeper until he hit 6 months. I don't know what happened to set him back then (teething, 6 month sleep regression, etc...), but ever since we just haven't been able to get it together in the night time sleep department. Naps are usually good. He is on a 2 nap schedule still, lasting anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half each.

New this Month: Jack still loves chasing Huckleberry with his walker toy (like in the video I posted last month), but his dexterity with that thing has now really improved! He can pretty much maneuver his way into even the toughest nooks and crannies around the house to terrorize Huckleberry with that thing. I can also now really see his critical thinking skills at work while he playing. Loves cause and effect games and those toy shape sorter games a lot. Most exciting of all this month though is that on December 12th Jack took his first steps! He isn't full out walking yet, but he does let go and take 3-4 steps here and there. He actually had a pretty long walk the other day (7 steps to be exact) and took a pretty hard tumble. But this little man is all boy and it didn't even phase him! (SCARED ME HALF TO DEATH!) Also, Jack has become increasingly interested in what's going on in the kitchen. He's always pulling on my legs begging to be picked up if I'm chopping vegetables, scrambling eggs, pouring myself a glass of water...you name it! He just wants to be lifted up so he can witness all the excitement. Who knew I lived such an exciting life?? Oh the things babies can teach you ;)

Looking forward to: Babies first Christmas and a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Carroll right after the holidays!
Jack Jack! Your daddy and I love you so much.
Thank you for being such a joy to us and making us smile each and everyday.
Happy 10 months, little man.


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!