Happy Mother's Day to You!

Happy Mother's Day to all you with the dark circles under your eyes and yogurt smudges on your shirt. Happy Mother's Day to you who has become a pro at changing a dirty diaper while your little one toddles away, and you with the 15 month old who still doesn't sleep through the night (oh wait, that's me..Ha!). Happy Mother's Day to you with the toddler who is throwing a tantrum on the floor in the grocery store, and to you who is feeding your kid macaroni and cheese for lunch for the third day in a row because that is simply all. he. will. eat. Happy Mother's Day to the momma who is overwhelmed and feeling unappreciated and happy Mother's Day to you, Momma, who longs to hold your sweet baby in heaven. Happy Mother's Day to the beautiful, exhausted, selfless, caring, gracious, center of that little heart's world, Mother. You are doing the most important thing God has placed you on this earth to do and I just want you to know that you're doing a great job.

And happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mother who I am endlessly grateful for. Thank you for all the lessons you have taught me and all you continue to teach me. Thank you for being the best mother and grandma to my son I could have ever prayed for. Thank you for teaching me what it looks like to be a great mom.
I love being a momma to this cutie! ...Who refused to look at the camera because feeding his big brother sticks was much, much more important ;)

Hope all you amazing moms have a great Mother's Day spent with those precious little one's that make it all worth it!


Hanging Gardens State Park

Steven and I are terrible at making plans for the weekend. We are so excited for it all week, but then when Friday night rolls around we're all, "what should we do this weekend? I dunno.. what do you want to do? I dunno.. what were you thinking?" And then the usual errand running / baby chasing weekend ensures.  But every so often we decide to just get the heck out of dodge! Recently we did just that and discovered a beautiful little gem just 20 minutes or so from our house.
We stumbled across Hanging Gardens State Park (and no there were no hanging gardens) and it was so beautiful. After a steep climb down a rather frightening hillside that I was sure Huckleberry was going to run off, we came to the most beautiful, crystal clear water nestled within in impressive gorge. Huckleberry took a much deserved swim and I simply marveled at the fact that a place so beautiful was literally 20 minutes away from me and I never even knew it!
Jack wanted to jump in the water alongside Huck but opted for playing with some rocks instead. Steven and I explored a bit more and then decided to make the steep 2 mile climb back to our car. It was a simple, conveniently close to home hike but so gorgeous and unexpected! 

I forget more often than I like to admit how important it is to get away... even if "getting away" only means 20 minutes down the road. Just go outside and explore! There is so much beauty out there and not only do I want to enjoy it more often, but I want Jack to grow up loving the outdoors and the beauty of God's creation. And let's face it, it definitely beats out Saturday morning Costco runs in the fun department. So local hikes for the win!


Easter 2015

This Easter was a pretty laid back affair. Jack Jack actually slept in (and it was glorious) so we missed the early service at church and just hung out in our pj's while he played with his first Easter basket full of goodies!
It was pretty nice to sip my morning coffee while Jack played with his new toys. Now if I could just afford to get him a new toy to entertain him every morning so I could finish a cup of joe before my mommy duties begin.. wouldn't that be glorious! HA! ;) But Steven and I definitely enjoyed a relaxing morning watching our little guy learn and play before we heading off to a later church service.
 I know, Mom! His hair's in his face.. And no, Jack has never gotten a haircut and he never will.
Personalized Easter Basket from Good Wishes Quilts
Later that day we went to Steven's parents for an Easter brunch and just hung out with some family. It really was a pretty simple day, but sometimes those are the best kind. I love my little family --scowl faces and all.

Hope you had a lovely Resurrection Day, too!


So It's Been A While

So yeah, it's been a while since I've blogged...
and I'm feeling really rusty even typing this sentence out. 


There. That helps.

Anyways, I am definitely in a funk when it comes to this space. Mainly because I'm having trouble finding the time to invest in it, but also because I feel as though my life is lacking in inspiration at the moment.

"Ahh, but you have a kid!" you say. Loads and loads of fun stories to share and cute pictures to post. How could the inspiration be lacking?!? Well, today Jack ate a bunch of cheese and then drank copious amounts of water way too quickly. I said, "Jack Jack, slow down," and he responded by leaning over and throwing up in the diaper bag I had just neatly stocked for our mall outing. It was really cute. And super inspiring. 

And I still feel like there is the faintest smell of soggy cheese in the air.

Okay, but seriously, not a lot has been going on lately to blog about, yet at the same time I am the busiest I've ever been in my life! How is this even possible?!? The jury is out so I'm just going to have to fill you in on a little life lately update via bullet points. Enjoy.

Let's start with work.
  • You may have read my post when maternity leave ends back in August. At that time I was in a pretty rough place dealing with a lot of postpartum issues and really struggling with the fact that I simply couldn't (I mean I physically, emotionally, spiritually) could not return to the office. I felt like the only option I had was to quit my job and Steven and I put our home on the market and drastically change our lifestyle. It was an extremely emotional and (in complete transparency) dark time for me and such a struggle because all I wanted to do was smile and love on my baby.. yet all I could do was cry. To make a long story short (don't you just love cliches?), I was allowed to stay on and work from home until they hired my replacement.. or so I thought. Turns out my boss was working behind the scenes and eventually got it approved for me to work from home full-time! It was such a huge relief and a huge answer to prayer! The task has been far more challenging than I could have ever expected though! See my little man above? Yep, he's just editing a proposal for me. No big deal. 
  • Speaking of my little man... OH.EM.GEE he is into everything and growing up so quickly! 13 months was a huge communication explosion for him. In English he can say mama and dada, but in Jack Jack speak he has quite the vocabulary. He loves to talk about the birdies and airplanes he hears outside. He loves to wave hi to Huckleberry every morning and then run up to him and jibber jabber about all his plans for the day. He loves to pull Herschel's tail and wag his finger at him when he cries in pain (poor kitty). He signs the word "more" and Daddy is busy teaching him "I love you." He waves hi and bye and gives really energetic high fives. He is a delight and a terror all in one and I wouldn't have it any other way.
  • In other baby news, Huckleberry (my first born) is a brat. He has dug a massive hole underneath our fence so he can go to the neighbors and play with his girlfriend, Jessie. He's decided he loves her more than me and I am very hurt when he sneaks away. Maybe it would help if Jack didn't pull his tail so much. Relaxing, tail grabbing free evenings are hard to come by these days.
The truth is, my life is pretty ordinary and I feel like even the prettiest of pictures and wittiest of tag lines just can't snazz that up. Maybe that's why I've been steering clear of this space? OR, maybe it's the crazy amount of time I find myself staring into a computer screen at night to finish up work after the baby's gone to sleep? My eyes literally can't take another minute of it! OR, maybe I'm just freaking tired? OR lazy? OR full of excuses. I don't know. But I do know that I love recording my little family's life together and all the memories we are making and I'm not ready to give this space up quite yet. 

And for all of you who still visit this space from time to time, thanks for sticking with me.


Jack | 12 Months

And just like that my baby's ONE!
 ^post-nap Jack face^
 12 month old Jack loves...
his dino paci
Huck and Herschel
being outside
being chased by daddy
bath time!
the slide at the park
his new lawn mower from Gma and Gpa Carroll
cars, trucks, and anything that goes VROOM!
 12 month old Jack hates...
getting his diaper changed
being told 'no'
having anything taken away from him
being put in his carseat
Health: At Jack Jack's 12 month checkup he weighed 22 lbs and was 30 1/2 in tall. I can't believe how big my little man has gotten! He also got another bit of a cold this month... it was right after I finally got the nerve to leave him in the nursery for the first time! Took me a year to leave him in the nursery and he gets sick the first time... validation that I'm not a crazy person ;) and was right when I said everyone brings their sick kids to church (which [seriously] you should just stop doing now... so stop). But I digress...  Jack also got 2 new teeth on the bottom this month (8 teeth in all now), he has moved up to a size 4 diaper, and is still mostly in 12 month clothes... although I've had to move quite a few onesies to the too small box as of late. *tear*

Food (Nursing): Really no change because I still haven't introduced cow's milk in place of any of our nursing sessions at this point. So he's nursing about 4 times a day and twice at night (bad nights a lot more though).

Food (Solids): Man, has this little guy formed quite an opinion regarding food! He loves eggs, toast with cream cheese or avocado, and strawberries and blueberries. He is pretty much refusing to eat anything green expect for avocado. I did put some spinach in his mac and cheese the other night and he didn't seem to notice. I'm pretty sure everything taste better covered in cheese.

Sleep: When Jack started cutting his two new teeth on bottom we definitely experienced some sleep regression.. I'm not going to lie, there was a 2 week period or so where I thought I was going to drop over dead from lack of sleep. He would wake after only and hour or two in his crib at night and refuse to go back down. I gave up and just put him in bed with me but he nursed what felt like non.stop.all.night.long. I seriously didn't know if I could take it anymore. I was feeling very frazzled and impatient with him and was basically a terrible person. True story. Now that those two teeth are in (THANK YOU, JESUS) he's been sleeping like his usual self.. which is still pretty terrible but the usual terrible that I am used to.

Naps twice a day most days. Except these last two days he's taken one 2 hour nap. I'm not sure if he's ready to drop that second nap or not at this point.. we'll see how it goes! At night he is still going down around 7 and waking up around 6:30/7. Wakes two or three times to nurse in that 12 hour period. I talked to my pediatrician about night weaning him at his last checkup, so I may share the journey a bit later on as things improve (crossing fingers).

New this Month: 
+ We bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner and Jack is obsessed with it! He loves to push it around and help me vacuum and he throws a huge tantrum when we put it away!

+We've had a couple sunny days this month and have taken advantage of it by going to the park. I was shocked to find out Jack hates swinging! He kicks his legs and throws a fit (I have to admit it's sort of hilarious)... I wasn't expecting that at all! I definitely thought he'd love to swing. On the bright side though, he does love the slide.

+Following simple commands. Lately if I say "give mommy a kiss" or "bring mommy the ball" Jack is able to understand what I'm asking and follow through. It's so fun to be able to communicate with him more and more! I'm really surprised with how much they do understand at such a young age.

+Jack has definitely been showing a more independent strike, especially when it comes to feeding. He loves to use his own spoon and fork now. He isn't really coordinated enough to get a lot in his mouth but I know he has fun trying so I welcome the mess.

+Jack moved out of his infant carseat into a big boy carseat. It was a pretty sad day for me! I do notice that he is much happier during car rides now though. He still hates actually being put in his carseat however and uses his lungs with much gusto to let everyone in the parking lot know it.

+Jack celebrated his first birthday! We had a lumberjack themed birthday party at our home last Sunday. Jack had such a blast and was so spoiled. Photos to come later this week hopefully.
Jack, I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone.
Truly, it's been the best year of my life. 
The hardest, but the best.
Your daddy and I love you so, so much and are so thankful for you!
Thank you for bringing us so much joy this past year.
Now stop growing up, will ya!?!?


Happy Birthday, Jack!

On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
"Life will never be the same."

Because there had never been anyone like you...
ever in the world.
Today my sweet, cuddly, rambunctious, curious, strong willed, and (unarguably) adorable baby boy turns ONE! My heart is so full that I feel as though it might burst. I am so in love with this most perfect being that God blessed me with.  
So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain 
that they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

It sailed through the farmland high on the breeze...
over the ocean... and through the trees... 
Until everyone heard it and everyone knew
of the one and only ever you.

Jack, this past year has been such a whirlwind! I feel as though I've blinked and you became a toddler! I love watching you grow and seeing you learn and discover each and every day, yet a part of me just wants to bottle you up and keep you from growing any more! Each and every milestone you hit has been bittersweet for me. I can't help but be your biggest cheerleader at each and every step, but your growing independence leaves a lump in my throat!
Not once had there been such eyes, such a nose,
such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.

But I have so thoroughly enjoyed each and every stage we've been through together so far! I marvel at how the simplest things bring so much wonder to your eyes, like the leaves on the ground and the rocks in the driveway. And I can't help but smile in amazement when you laugh hysterically at the silliest things, like Huckleberry eating the food you throw on the floor or daddy flipping you upside down. Seeing the world anew from your eyes has been such a pleasure. 
When the polar bears heard, they danced until dawn.
From far away places, the geese flew home.
The moon stayed up until morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.

From the beginning I knew you were one strong willed little man! Man, I never knew it was possible to break a sweat changing a baby's diaper! And naps... definitely not your forte! But you are so undeniably sweet at the same time. I love that at one year old you still fall asleep snuggled up to me in the rocking chair, stroking my hair. You are a cuddle bug and I am so grateful for that.
So whenever you doubt just how special you are
and wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They're singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It's because they've been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely... it's whispering your name again!)

I love when you stand up in the tub and lean over just to give me a big kiss! I love that you use your Ikea fort as a hamster ball (although at first it scared me to death!). I love that you love to make others laugh. Anything you do that entices a laugh from me or your dad is sure to be done over, and over, and over again. I love how you are so easy to make laugh in return! I love how you sit on the floor flipping through your books and "reading" aloud every morning. I love your curiosity and adventurousness even though it often leads to a battle of the wills between me and you.    
If the moon stays up until morning one day,
or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
it's because they're all hoping to see you smile...

I just love you so much, baby bear! I honestly never knew I had the capacity to love another the way I l love you and I thank God every day for allowing me to be your momma and experience this depth of love. 
For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
has the world ever known a you, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again...

I want you to know how much joy you have brought your dad and me. I'm sure I will never tell you enough. You've changed us both for the better and I'm so excited to see the three of us grow together and continue to live life side by side. I am so proud of you, so grateful for you, and so excited to continue to see you grow day by day.  
Happy Birthday, Jack Jack!
You are so, so loved!

Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.
                                                                      - Nancy Tillman


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!