Thursday, February 25

The little things...

This really does seem like a small detail in the scheme of life, but I am so thankful for how God daily provides "the little things". Story: Ever since Graham changed rooms to our new house, the light has been an issue. Even though he had dark-brown curtains, the light was affecting his nap times. Every mom knows, that is a real problem! Our solution: tape thick, dark blankets over his windows for maximum darkness. yes, *super cute*. I have been scouting black-out curtains for probably the last 6 months. Found the ones I should probably buy at both target & wal-mart.

Here's their promise:
~Block out over 99% of light
~Save up to 25% on home heating & cooling costs vs. ordinary curtains
~Reduce outside noise by up to 44% vs. ordinary curtains (even better since my neighbor across our [short] street likes to play piano during his naps!)
Not bad for a curtain, right??!
We received some kind cash gifts at Christmas, so I decided that was a top priority! But for the past 2 months, every time I had been in either store, I have been pushing for time, in a rush, a million other things to do, etc...
Last night I was shopping around 9:30 pm, yes, my only chance at an unrushed trip. :) And I decided, this is the day! I am finally taking down those crazy blankets! So I went to pick up the curtains, $42, which I knew to expect. I got home and was looking over my receipt and realized the curtains had rung up for only $20!! Apparently, they are on clearance (which I now know by looking at their website), but I hadn't seen anything posted. So I am just thankful for God's sovereignty in the timing of my purchase. And a little unexpected $22 savings!
If you happen to be in the market for some, there are quite a few on markdown here. (though my in-store price was actually cheaper!)

Tuesday, February 23

Graham's take on sledding....

*sees tube/hill for the first time*
"oh, boy, you're not really thinking of putting me in that are you?"
"isn't this child abuse?" "so much for going to kindergarten...."
"still breathing, still breathing..."
"here we go again...."
"whew. someone else's turn."
We had a great time sledding (even G, really, despite what he may have told you) and thank the Blumers so much for inviting us!

Wednesday, February 17

A little diversion...and a new love

So, it's been a while since I bought ground beef. We usually prefer to go the ground chicken or turkey route. But sometimes my hubby like a nice big beef burger, so I went to pick some up. $4 a lb. What?! Did I miss something? Last time I purchased it, it was around $2 a lb. And this was at Wal-mart, not a butcher shop. Wow. ok, sorry, honey. No beef for you!! So, I stuck to my turkey & chicken ($2 or so). But I knew I needed to step something up to wow his tastebuds.

First try: turkey burgers. I am thinking a little dry, a little tasteless, hmmm, definitely need something. I decided a nice, fresh salsa on top would probably help. So I hunted through my produce and came up with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and mango. Sauteed all these together in a little olive oil and threw on top of the burgers. SUCCESS. Very, very tasty!!

Second try: Chicken burgers. Mixed the meat (pre-cooking) with a packet of dry onion soup mix. This gave the meat a great flavor. I happened to have a loaf of home-made bread from my neighbor, so after cooking the burgers, I put them on 2 slices of bread, topped with provolone cheese and BBQ sauce, and then back in the pan to toast up the bread. SUCCESS. Very, very tasty!!

So if your hubby likes his burgers too, this is something to try. I promise, if my husband didn't even miss the beef, your's probably won't either!

Thursday, February 11

My one year as MOM.........

Let me start by saying I LOVE BEING A MOM!! It is something I have dreamed of since I was a little girl. And guess what? It's been even better than I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. I LOVE IT. No doubt about it!!
That being said, 4 years of college, 6 years of teaching, 4.5 years of marriage..........nothing compares to the learning curve I experienced this year! Navigating the first year of motherhood was by far the most challenging thing I have experienced! whew. getting to the one year mark was kind of like getting a breath of fresh air. Everything seems so much easier now! NOT that I
have mastered motherhood or that there aren't PLENTY of challenges to navigate in the next, oh, 20+ years, but for me, I feel like I can at least peek at them after making it thru year #1.

Here is my run-down of year #1...................

I've learned that I can:
survive childbirth, still function after 4 hours of sleep (for a limited time), type one-handed, cook with someone wrapped around my leg, *count anything as exercise*, lug around 27 lbs quite easily, have more fun than I thought possible staying home, ask my hubby to takeover when needed, accept a favor when offered, be never too busy to stop and play, be heartbroken over an abused or neglected child in a whole new way, multi-task more than I thought possible, work a 12-hour work day [every day], and love my job more than I ever dreamed!

Best advice I was given:

1} the many friends who introduced me to Babywise. I wish I could shout from the rooftops how wonderful it is to have a baby on a schedule!! This has single-handedly been the best. resource. ever. in navigating the first year. Graham has such a good disposition and while I would LIKE to say he just takes after his mother :), I know the secret (he is on a beautiful schedule and THRIVES on his routine). But to the many who have said, "I tried that and it didn't work...." let me share a secret: sometimes you have to work really, really, really, hard. Some friends told me their babies "fell into a easy routine", Graham decided that wasn't the way for him. He prefered to go about it the hard way. So we had to work really, really, really, hard. So, while it may have been nice the other way, I am thankful. Because I can tell other moms who might struggle with this. I've been there. You can do it!

2} "parenting is not a competitive sport". (Parenting Mag) I love this! Everywhere I go, I can find moms that are more creative than me, smarter than me, thriftier than me, the list could go on....and on.... I must stay focused on doing what is best for me & my family and not worry about those "jones'!"

3} What you want your children to do in public, you must train them to do in private. (the Hiltons & Ormistons) My best example so far is that I have places in my house that Graham is not allowed to touch/get into. While it would be easiest to kid-proof everything, I want to train him at home that there are things that are off-limits sometimes, and I am hoping as he gets older, that will sink in. :) We will also try to apply as he gets older to training him at home to sit through worship times, or grocery trips, sharing, etc....

Favorite moments:

1} of course, seeing his face for the first time! I can remember it like it was yesterday!

2} first smiles

3}GETTING TO THE 12-HOUR SLEEP!!! (happened at 15 weeks for us)

4} seeing him express joy in something

5}goofy expressions

6} when he started voluntarily snuggling

7}belly laughs [the best baby thing ever!!]

8} seeing him giggle & giggle with his daddy

9} doing family activities. I love hanging out and going to do things with the 3 of us!

Biggest Stressers:
no schedule at 2 weeks, or 4 weeks.....5 weeks we had a glimmer of hope and it finally came together! He had cried a LOT of the time those first few weeks, as soon as we were able to hit a solid schedule, he stopped crying. It was wonderful. :) Another thing I learned about the schedule is that it fluctuates a LOT throughout that first year! Every 1-2 months you might be adapting a different routine, but the concept stays the same, so as long as you stick to it, it's not too bad!

Food! For some reason, food has been the single. most. stressing. thing. of our year.
It was not my plan to stop nursing at 6 months, no way.... I was settled in for the year! But God had a different plan in mind and I had to come to accept that doing the best thing for my baby meant that he was getting adequate nutrition. And whether that was from me or from formula, it was okay. He was still a happy, healthy child and.........well, it was OKAY!
I also had a lot of stress as he began to eat solids on how much to give him, if he was getting enough, or too much........well, obviously he has never been under-nourished at any point of his life. :)

The thing I miss from pre-motherhood:

Running. yes, probably sounds weird, but I really do miss it. And yes, I do have a jogging stroller. have you tried to run pushing a 10 lb. stroller? with a 20+lb. baby in it? yeah, that's why I no longer run.

craziest thing to navigate:
lack of communication. most of the first year you are left to guess what the issue is! As a first-time mom, it sometimes would take a couple of DAYS to figure out OH, he's....teething or growing or needs an extra feeding or whatever it may be. It gets SO much easier as they start to be able to communicate their needs!

Moment of truth: I used to think people who used baby sign language were just showing off. yeah, gasp. Getting to the moment where Graham learned a few signs and was actually COMMUNICATING in a tangible way. Well, let's just say, I am now a believer.

Most unexpected:
cloth diapers no longer terrify me. In fact, I love them!

pre-child - I could sleep thru a hurricane and Andrew would wake at the sound of one raindrop. Now, he can sleep thru G crying out! And I pop awake up at the slightest little peep.

Biggest adjustment:

viewing my work at home as my "job". Since we both worked the first 4 years of our marriage, we got pretty used to sharing the tasks and workload at home. This year, I had to re-adjust my thinking to viewing our whole home as my primary responsibility. Not that Andrew doesn't help out, but it did take a while for me refocus my thinking on doing whatever I could to free him from "his chores".
Funniest daddy moment:

You know how it takes 20 minutes (at least) to get everything together to actually leave the house? One day, Andrew announced he was going to Home Depot. I said, "take Graham with you". He slung him over his shoulder, and out the door they went. I was a little in shock. He didn't have a diaper bag. a spit-cloth. a passy. a toy. shoes. the other 101 essentials. gasp, gasp, gasp. Well, guess what? They came home just fine and had the BEST time! Gotta love it daddy-style. :)

[my advice to] Take time for:

Reading God's word. It can be VERY difficult to be consistent (and give yourself lots of grace!), but this is the one thing that will bring complete peace to your soul. (I didn't say your DAY, but your soul) :)

Time alone with my hubby (and after 7pm when they're in bed, don't always count!). Even though I still find it hard to leave Graham and miss him when we leave him, it's still important to make those times away. This is not only good for you as a couple, but I think it's a good learning experience for baby too.

Take some mom time each week. It's usually not a massage or anything fancy (I wish!), in fact, it's usually grocery shopping or other errands, but one of the best things that Andrew does each week is give me an hour or two out of the house by myself. I highly recommend this to all moms as I find it very refreshing.

Favorite routines:

Andrew & I checking on our sweet baby sleeping each night before we go to bed.

Bringing him in our bed on weekend mornings for a little family snuggling.

To new moms, I would suggest:

Prov. 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Ask lots of questions & advice!

No matter what you do, your baby will survive and everything will be ok. :)


Thanks to anyone who managed through this long [pictureless] post! It's mostly for my sake, so I don't forget "the good ole' days"!

Thanks to all those who took my phone calls and emails. (I am sure there will be more in the future!)


And so ends the first year. Now on to navigating year #2!!!!!!

Monday, February 8

the ONE party....

I was going to wait until after party #2 to post pics, but I know some family members are waiting to see them, and since we're still waiting for the 2nd party, here's what we had so far!
our guest list involved 32+ people, so that's why we ended up with 2 parties. On his actual birthday, we had a chance to gather with good friends and several of our neighbors, who we've barely seen since warm weather! It was a wonderful time to be all together and we appreciate how kind they have all been to Graham! Party #2 is his "friend party" and will involve a few more little people!

I don't think you always have to have a theme, but for the last few months, I knew that since G loves all things BALL, it was an easy choice! I figured he would have the most fun surrounded by balls, and he did! This borrowed ball pit was a huge hit!

favors...(balls, of course!)
carrot cake was my compromise in actually letting him eat cake. :) I was going to let his go un-cream-cheese frosted, but I received too many cries of meanest mother ever!!!
you CAN tell it's a baseball & tennis ball, right?????????????

notice he's going at it frosting-first!
and yes, he did eat every last crumb. Not that there was any doubt that he wouldn't!

a very special apron, made by his great-grandmother Hughes!

So , needless to say, we all had a ball!!
(I had to say it, right?)

Saturday, February 6

the day the snow came...

We kind of get used to ignoring the weatherpeople, since they always overplay weather! However, it seems, this time they were right! 20+ inches in one night! It was fun to have an unexpected snow day (though a week day would have been even better!). However, we were supposed to have graham's birthday party today :( , so we're hoping it can still happen tomorrow!!
UPDATE: church was canceled AND Graham's party. Big bummer!!
On the other hand, 2 days at home, with my boys, pj's, and chillin'..........not SO bad!
Andrew spent 30 minutes with several guys trying to push a car out of our street. It was not easy, and I still don't know when we'll be able to get out! I am SO, SO thankful that we are not one of the thousands that have been without power for days now.

Since the city does not plow our little side street, we are HOPING we can get out for church tomorrow, but it could be doubtful! ready to measure!

I don't think they're going anywhere soon!

went for a walk - we haven't seen that many people out walking since the summer!
tried to hit Sbux and they were closed. boo! (as was almost everything else!) snow is up to his knees!then we came home & made snow cream.....a bucket a [fresh, clean] snow, add some milk, sugar, & vanilla and you have a tasty little treat!

on a side note............someone is walking all the way across our living room!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it's finally happening!

Tuesday, February 2

the Gman turns ONE.........

brand-new! february 3rd, 2009
One year ago today, was the most painful day of my life................ :)
It was also the day I fell in love with a tiny (relatively speaking) person who changed my life forever!
Despite the lost sleep, the inconveniences, the missed date nights, and the paniced "what do I do?"..............
I would never trade it in all the world for the snuggles, the smiles, the kisses, the laughs and the sheer JOY you have brought into our lives!

March - a very sleepy mama :)

April - Easter



July (now in Pittsburgh!)






~ What's new with Graham this month ~

the pros:

>standing on his own! the first steps should follow soon!

>mastered the sign for please!

We tried the rubbing the chest for quite a while, and he was not picking it up at all! He started clapping twice to say please, and so we are totally going with that! It also doubles as more, I want that, and give me. :) It has been EXTREMELY helpful! Now when he wants something, he points at it, and says please, be it milk, food, a toy, the computer...... :) ahhh, finally........some real communication!! He also signs eat and we're working on all done. That's another one that seem to be hard to pick up.

>done with the bottle! we transitioned to sippy cup this past week. Had some good days and some bad days (he is not in favor of altering his routines!!), but all in all, it went pretty smoothly.

>he's a foodie! yep, loves food and I am so thankful that he is such good eater. My problem is getting him to stop eating!! He doesn't EAT fruit, no, he INHALES it! His favorites are bananas, kiwi, mango, blueberries and clementines.

>I don't know that this is a pro or con, but he seems to be growing a ducktail. hmmmm....

the cons:

>Drool, will you ever go away? See that wet suit in the above picture? well, I'm thinking of buying one for him to wear all the time! We mercifully had a nice little break from the droolfest, but the last month or so, it's been back and it's stronger than ever. I still don't see any more teeth, but they have to be coming right? I admit, I am a little weary of the constant soaked shirt.

>working on NOT chucking the sippy cup off of the high chair tray!

>He's a little OCD about having things on his changing table. Which means anything that happens to be on it - lotion, diaper cover, clothes - gets immediately chucked off. Ah, Gman, sometimes you do test my patience. :) Like, wouldn't it probably be ok for that stuff to stay there just once?!!

>This past week he developed a horrible diaper rash. :( It suddenly appeared and is like an open sore. Very painful and I am glad it seems to be getting better, slowly. Poor little guy, he's taken it like a trooper. Of course, it would probably help if he didn't ______ 3x a day!

One year - February 3rd, 2010

Graham Owen, we LOVE you more than you'll ever know.
Happy FIRST birthday, our sweet, sweet boy!