Monday, November 30

A FULL weekend...

FULL of food...
FULL of friends...
FULL of good memories...
We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day at our good friends' home, the Joyce's. We were also joined by friends from church and my friend from Istanbul & her family. Their first experience with an American Thanksgiving!
Fulya & I
Ali & Graham have lots of fun playing together!
They are 3 weeks apart.

Graham enjoyed his turkey, mashed pots/gravy & sweet potatoes!
A Blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday we turned to the madness of Christmas decorating!

Graham all of sudden went back to being confined to his exersaucer...he wasn't sure why!

Nothing more cozy than a home decorated for Christmas.

Home, Sweet, Home!
Saturday morning we went downtown for the Pittsburgh Christmas Parade.
It was chilly, but fun!

Happy Harry also happens to go to our church.

Say HI to Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

Graham snuck a few minutes of naptime in,
despite the cold...
sitting straight up...
and marching bands going by!

Wednesday, November 25

Giving Thanks

Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Sunday, November 22

In the mood...

Yep. I'm ready for the holidays! These will be especially fun months being our first with our little man! Let's see how he's already changed things...

yep...missed our neighborhood Christmas lighting.
yep...missed the downtown Christmas lighting.
yep...missed anything that happens after 7 and outdoors when it's cold!!
yep...gearing up for the battle of "don't touch the Christmas tree" (really wondering how that's going to go down!)

It's all GOOD though...#1 it will always come around again next year and #2 there are so many other fun things that we're loving sharing in his firsts!

I can't wait to decorate and hopefully we'll be getting our tree soon!

Here are some things I am looking forward to this season:
>Andrew only works 16 out of the next 25 days!!! We're so thankful that his new job provides much better (paid) holiday time than fedex. For the first time he doesn't have to work the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve!
>Starbux Peppermint Mochas!
>Going to visit my family very soon!
>Watching Graham open his first presents! I already know he will be WAY more into the wrapping paper & boxes!
>Taking in the Pittsburgh Christmas scene!
Hope your holiday season is merry & bright!

Tuesday, November 17


Monday: Zoo w/ friends
Tuesday: Playshop @ the library
Wednesday: Playdate at a friend's house
Thursday: Mom has meeting, G play w/ friends
Friday: Kiddy Pittsburgh Symphony Concert w/ friends

Do you think Graham is being over-socialized?!!!

The best thing is, all of these events were free for us through various means. Thank you God, for the FUN you provide for us!

BUT..........oops. I did not mean to end up with a playdate every day this week! Whew. I am glad he's getting to experience lots of fun things, but leaving the house somehow means that mom gets very little done the entire day! We're going to try to stick closer to home next week...................except for those 2 playdates already planned. agghhh. :)

At first I was really kicking myself for probably over-extending both of us this week! But it got me to thinking...several months ago we moved away from a wonderful circle of great friends, especially other young families with little ones. Moving here, we only knew one other family with little ones. In a few short months, God has brought several new young families across our paths and is slowly rebuilding another circle of friendships. So while I would like to take a nap this week (not likely!), I am also reminded and thanking God for filling such a void. And it's not like I can complain, since I'm the one who did it. :) And I do still miss you, my VB friends............. :)
But we're enjoying a fun, if slightly packed, week!

Thursday, November 12

the NINES...

Before anyone gets too excited, this is NOT, I repeat NOT, a new ultrasound pic! :)

ok, now back to my original purpose...

Graham's 9 month bday kind of flew past me, but I've been thinking a lot lately about this time of year in my life last year! I remember us saying at halloween, can you believe next halloween he'll be here to dress up and will even probably be crawling (he was!)? And of the holidays, trying to visualize what it would be like to have him being 10 months old! This Christmas, we might even have a walker on our hands! What a difference a year makes!

9 weeks: our first glimpse of our little peanut
9 months prego: I can't believe I am bringing this back! :)
9 months old: a very busy little man who is always on the move!
We're enjoying this "nine" stage best!
No sickness, no fatness, just fun. We love it!

Monday, November 9

Happy To Report...

Several reasons to be thankful!
>After our nap fiasco day, I decided to try something different the next day. I left him alone without going in to battle! The first time resulted in crying. for. a. long. time. And then he layed down and slept! The next naptime, no tears at all! So... you are told to choose your battles, I obviously chose th wrong one! Very thankful that we only had one day of that! whew.

>At church on Sunday, we had a record high of almost 40 attenders. That is huge. I can't explain to you how huge. Wow. We have 2 new couples who seem excited to join us our body, and 2 other new families who visited for the first time on Sunday. We are thrilled to see our little group grow. So exciting to see God moving here in Pittsburgh!

>It was 70 degrees this weekend! I thought the next time I was going to be outside without freezing would be March! I was SO thankful to be wrong! We enjoyed a little outdoor family time on Sunday. We spent some time walking through the campuses of the University of Pitt and Carnegie-Mellon, both of which are very old & beautiful.

Loving being outside! gman sans shoes, of course!

The one-armed, upside-down snack break. Could he be any crazier or is it just extreme talent? :)

Especially thankful for this crazy bundle of fun who cracks us up every day!!

Thursday, November 5

Twittering My Day Away...

So I thought I would see what it would be like if I were tweeting all day...a look into the day of a SAHM and what REALLY do we do all day? :)

Here is my lofty to-do list!
>Fold the mountain of clean laundry
>unload dishwasher
>put thank-you notes in neighbor's boxes
>go to the market/errands
>write blog post for Redeemer blog
>download & send application for free tix for Pittsburgh symphony
>check on indoor pools for momtourage
(I say lofty because this is what I'd like to get done today, but chances are slim. I'll happy with crossing a least several things off the list!)
So this is my day, the good, the bad, and the agggghhhhh!

6 am - graham wakes up crying, Andrew plugs him up and G rolls over and goes back to sleep. (me, not so lucky!) I stay in bed, enjoying a few more minutes of blissfully doing nothing...
7 am - drag my creaky self out of bed. Head downstairs and pack Andrew's lunch for the day and throw some eggs on the stove for hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. (I've been wanting to give one to gman to try). Can't believe graham is still sleeping...start some devotion time studying Matthew for a Bible study through email that I am doing with my Grandma. Soon interrupted...
7:50 - Gman awakes (this is very unusual!! he's normally well-awake by 7:15!) Feed him breakfast - his milk first. I let him digest for a few minutes while I eat my eggs. Then we try for the hard-boiled egg & some pears. He gags on the eggs! (this is only the 2nd food he has ever resisted! the other being cottage cheese). So we try a few bites and then switch to oatmeal and he loves the pears, of course. He almost always has oatmeal & bananas for breakfast (hence the excited look in the pic). His look of disappointment after what I gave him was so sad. sorry, buddy, I'll try to do better next time. :)
8:30 - poopy diaper #1 changed and bathtime for G. Since he can sit so well now in the tub, it's been great because as long as I can see him, I don't have to be right on top of him. So I am trying to multi-task during that time. I have found that it's a great time to clean the rest of the bathroom! Today I decided to fold his basket of clean diapers. I looked down for one second and when I looked back up, he had popped up! (this was the 1st time he had ever stood up in the tub!) So then, we spent the next few minutes with him standing up, me putting him down, and repeat. So I decided bathtime was over. (4 diapers folders. arghhh.) So then he is dressed & ready for the day and I let him play for a few while I finish folding diapers. task accomplished!
9:15 - G is exhausted after the strenuous morning of breakfast, bath, & some play time, so he goes down for a nap. yeah! mom springs into action!
9:16 - get ready for the day.
9:45 - back to finish devotion time.
10:15 - check 2 of my 5 emails. (meant to check all, didn't get to it)
yes, 5! it's too much, right? I have andrew & my's personal one, we have one for junkmail & coupons, one for facebook & some misc, one for my piano studio, and one for momtourage. nutso!
10:25 - start this blog post (yes, I don't think tweeting will work since it's supposed to be a real-time update!)
10:30 - friend Cara calls me (mom to a 2 1/2 week old!) so fun to chat!
11:00 - hear Graham start banging crib rail, hang up phone. change diaper, yeah, just a wet one!
11:10 - come back to blog post.
current progress on to-do list... 1 basket of laundry folded :)
11:30 - G eat lunch - bananas/oatmeal & squash/rice cereal.
11:45: I eat - pb&j and an apple (I'm finding it very hard to fit in lunch right now because that's when I always seem to be leaving the house). so I've been eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches!
12:00 - leave house. go to Whole Foods, coupon for a free Happy Baby product.
Battle #1 of our day begins...
I go to get him out of the car seat and he has kicked a shoe & sock off. I put it back on and literally before I could stop him, he kicked it back off. aghhh!
This began our battle for the next 2 hours of him kicking off his shoes/socks and me putting them back on. He would look at me with a half innocent look and half look that said "I totally know what I'm doing". I'm pretty sure he did. But what could I do about it? Normally, I wouldn't care. It doesn't matter to me if he wears shoes. However, because it is COLD, he cannot go around with bare feet! Thus, the battle. I really need to get him some boots that he can't kick off!
12:30 - head to the Strip District for our weekly produce run. got some fresh meat & few other items as well. the battle is still raging. As we head back to the car (a 3 block walk), he kicks his shoe off and I let it stay off this time, making sure his sock is on well. Get back to the car, yep, sock is gone. So, that was our trip, came home with quite a few groceries, minus one sock. :)
Current progress on to-do list - I basket folded & went to the market. (though now the groceries need to be put away, so do I add that to my list?!)
2:00 - now home, naptime. Battle #2 ensues. REALLY? I don't think I can do another battle right now! 2 weeks ago, I had a perfect napper. 2 weeks ago, he learned to stand up in his crib. Since then, naptime has become a battle of him standing, us putting him down, and repeat. (he has not figured out how to get back down, which is why we have to keep laying him down) Yesterday and today, we actually had several victories and he went down without a fight. and this morning as well! afternoon nap? not so lucky. I have now been up the stairs, I've lost count, I think it's 8 times to put him back down. And he's so tired that he's just been crying the entire time. I am at my wits end! Pulling my hair out. agghhhh! I think God gave me an extra special day today to share. :) I have not had a day quite like this before. nice & humbling. :)
2:40 - have now been upstairs 10 times. he stopped crying which hopefully means he's wearing down, however, still fighting. that little bugger! the good news is, who needs to work out when you run up & down the stairs for 30 minutes!!
2:45 - standing in his crib looking behind the curtains. A 9 month old does that? it would have been so cute if I wasn't going crazy! ok, it was still a little cute. :) stay on the 2nd floor (should have given up on my 1st floor task a while ago!) and fold my laundry. at least I got that done!
3:00 - the house is eerily silent. I'm almost too afraid to hope. but yes, it looks like the little one is silent & still in his bed. ONE HOUR BATTLE. yikes, I'm sure I didn't handle that right and need to come up with a different game plan! I think next time I will try staying out of there and just see what happens.
3:01 - EXHAUSTED! I didn't plan for a nap...but I feel like if I don't at least rest for a few minutes, I'll very much regret it!
Current progress on to-do list - laundry folded & errands done.
3:40 - Graham wakes up. yep, 40 minute nap after that long battle. can't wait for Andrew to get home, I need some re-enforcements today. agghh. this is a long day!
4:00 - G - eats and we watch a few minutes of Oprah. She has a singer on and he is mesmorized!
Feel like our day is getting back on track now. Everyone is happy again! He is playing and I'm back to attempting my to-do list. :)
4:30 - cleaned spit-up off the floor and changed poopy diaper #2. still trying to get the dishwasher/dishes done before 5. go, go, go!
4:45 - hear a crash and then the cry. Graham aquires a new war wound on his forehead.
4:50 - dishes complete. yeahhh!
5:00 - feed graham dinner - chicken, squash, and apples.
5:15 - figuring out to plan dinner. thursdays are very tricky because Andrew gets off at 6 and we have community group at 7. we roughly get home about 6:30. getting dinner in 15 minutes - almost impossible, since we go pick him up. hmmmm...decide that tonight is Subway night!

Current progress on to-do list - laundry folded, errands done, & dishes done. it feels like so little progress when written out. :(

5:30 - go pick-up subway, and stop at Whole Foods for another free product, and then on to get Andrew.

6:30 - home, scarf down our $5 footlong! everyone out the door.

7:00 - community group

9:00 - home, graham in bed (such a late night thursdays are for him!). just in time to catch The Office!

9:30 - finish blog post. too & posting will have to wait till tomorrow. :)

-didn't even get on blogs or fb because I was too busy tweeting!

-I obviously would not do well staying under the 140 character limit. :)
-3 out of 8 on my to-do's worse than I thought it would be!
-a great start to the day, followed by a crazy afternoon, ending with a time of refreshment with other believers. 2 out of 3 positives = a positive!

So... this day wasn't exactly what I was expecting! Isn't that the way of life for a mom? I wouldn't trade it for anything. :)

Sunday, November 1

Our Little Pumpkin

Really, what else could our little roly-poly bundle be?

Does he not just beg to be a pumpkin? :)

We obviously did not go trick-or-treating, but we did have a wonderful opportunity to go visit with about 5 of our neighbors, who we are getting to know. Several of them are older, and they just LOVE Graham. One of our neighbor ladies showed interest in possibly coming to our church & ladies Bible study. We are thrilled and pray that she will!

We were happy to be able to use Halloween for Jesus. :)

I cannot believe Graham has inherited the Hughes men syndrome....eyes are constantly closed for pictures! Can this really be inherited? Andrew and his dad always have their eyes closed! We literally could not get a pic with G & dad without his eyes closed. craziness!

Because our neighbors recognized that Graham didn't eat candy, they decided to give him cash instead. (that was a fun surprise!!) All in all he collected $13! (which yes, mom & dad will put in his savings account and not use it to go out to eat)
One neighbor gave us 4 beets from his garden as well. We didn't expect to come home with cash & beets, that's for sure! I think I will tape a sign on him next year that says he can't have candy, but will accept other donations. :) :) :)

Graham's buddies, Owen & Claire, stopped by for a visit!

Who's that cute little ladybug?

Our day ended with free burritoes from Chipotle! I knew you could get one if you dressed up as a burrito, which I was just not willing to go the trouble for. :) But then we found out that as long as you had a piece of tin foil with you, they would give you one. There was a lot of tin foil in that place! I was just thankful for a free dinner & not having to cook. Yeah!!

We enjoyed our first family Halloween!