Friday, August 30, 2013

Five on Friday

Friday Friday!

I thought I'd link up with April + friends again for another round of Five on Friday. 

5 things I'm loving right now....

1. Remember a few years ago when I was pretty much obsessed with the NBC show The Sing Off that featured the incredible a cappella group Pentatonix? Check out their newest cover of "Can't Hold Us"'s amazing.

2. This top from Old Navy. It's the perfect tee for transitioning to fall. It comes in bunches of colors, it's lightweight and comfy, and it's only $12.50 + 30% off this weekend + 2% back from ebates! For this price, you need this shirt!


3. This beautiful worship song. I could just keep this on repeat all day long, which I pretty much do since it's always in my head... 

4. Little Duck Organics Pineapple and Mango Tiny Fruits....these aren't a favorite of mine, but there's a tiny little ten month old in our home who just can't get enough of these lately! We found ours locally at The Baby Grocery Store, but it looks like you can find them on (link above)!

5. My new JMU Tervis Tumbler water bottle! You all have no idea how excited this makes me. I found these great Tervis bottles at my Bed Bath and Beyond months ago, but they were only for NC colleges. I put my mom on the hunt in VA for a JMU one, and she came through for me. I'm (a little too) excited about this!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

10 Months!

This past Sunday, August 25, M hit the 10 month mark. 10 months! A year ago on August 25, I was beginning to get pretty big and uncomfortable with a very active baby in my belly, and now I have a super active baby moving all over my home. Funny how we've sort of come full circle!

Little M, you are changing and growing so much, right before our eyes right now. You are such a a busy bee. In fact, your dad likes to call you "The Busiest of Bees" on a pretty regular basis, because you truly never stop. If you're not crawling somewhere, you're standing and cruising on walls and furniture, or you're climbing the stairs, or you're pushing your push toys and walking across the kitchen, or you're crawling under the table with all your toys. You are just into everything and you love to explore. We can't take our eyes off of you for minute. You can stand unassisted for about 10-15 seconds, but as soon as your realize you're not holding onto something, you fall to your knees. I'm guessing you'll get better at this this month.

In addition to being super mobile, you're also a talker. There are constantly sounds and babbles coming out of your mouth. I think you are beginning to understand Mama and Dada and you say them often. You also say "Uh Oh!" when you drop something. I have a feeling you will be one of those children who is always talking once you begin to learn some words. Just like your mama!

You are eating more and more. Still not full meals, a lot ends up on the ground, but you're doing well! Some foods you're really loving right now...melons, peas, baked snap peas, shredded cheese, ham, steak, yogurt, spaghetti and Cheerios continue to be your most favorite! 

I'm proud to say we're still nursing at 10 months, and still going strong. You nurse 5x a day, but I really think we could cut this down to 4. I feed you at 3 which is before your afternoon nap, and again when you wake at 4:30/5 because I don't know if you could make it till your bedtime feeding. We might try to do some tweeking this month! Your last feeding of the day before bedtime has really shortened this month. Up until now, you'd nurse for 25-35 minutes before bed and always fall asleep while nursing. Not long after you hit the nine month mark, you started eating for about a total of 15 minutes and you now go into your crib at night wide awake. This scared me at first, but so far, this new routine has worked really well for us.

You still take 2 naps a day, and you've actually had a really great month, sleep wise! You struggled with sleep on our big trip at the beginning of August, but since we've been home, you've taken 2 good naps just about everyday, and your nighttime sleep is usually about 11-11.5 hours. Your morning nap is usually an hourish and your afternoon nap is anywhere from one to two hours. 

A few random notes from the month:
- We started attending music class on Wednesday mornings and you love it! You love interacting with the other babies and watching Miss Annette sing! Your favorite part is when she pulls out the scarves!
- My favorite thing you've learned this month is how to "talk" on the phone. You put remotes, food, toys to your ear and say "AHHHH" and smile. If you hear a phone ring, you immediately put your hand to our ear. Cracks us up!
-You have a great "surprised!" face and it cracks us up!
- One new tooth! You now have 4 up top and 2 on the bottom. 6 little teeth!
- You are mildly obsessed with your stuffed animals. You hug them, kiss (more of a bite?) them, drag them all over the house, insist on taking one with you to the car. It's kind of hilarious.
- You now can anticipate when we're going to do something. I can tickle you once and you laugh, ad then I'll say "I'm gonna tickle you!" and move my fingers toward you, and go bananas trying to crawl away and laugh. It's pretty cute!

Little are just the sun and the moon to your Daddy and me. I can't even begin to tell you how much we love you. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but each month really does get better and better! We love you!

Weight: About 21 pounds
Height: Around 29.5 inches
Clothes: Mostly 12 month, some 18 month
Diapers: Size 3 in disposables, 4 snaps open across in the BG cloth
Eyes: Blue
Hair: It's still coming in! This was the first month I can say you had a case of bed head after a nap!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Off to college...

About 11 years ago to the day, my family and I packed in to two cars and headed off to my favorite place on earth, where they helped me unload all my boxes and bags, and settle into my new life in the valley of Virginia.

From my freshmen year scrapbook...

It was a bittersweet day, as I know it is for most incoming college freshmen, but my four years of college were four of the best of my life.

December 2002

Today...11 years later, my baby brother is doing the same thing, and I'm really not quite sure how in the world he is old enough to be going off to college. He was only going into second grade the year I left for college. He was a baby still! And now it's his turn!

Jason and Me...summer 2003

This not only means that my brother is starting off on a new journey, but it also means, that for the first time in TWENTY NINE years, my mom and dad will have no children living under their roof. They're officially empty nesters. I guess this just means they'll have more time on their hands to come and visit their one and only grand baby!

Good luck Jason....I believe the next year will be a giant change for you, but a good one! 
We're all really proud of you!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day Trip to Lake Placid

On the Wednesday of our vacation week in upstate New York, we took a day trip to the town of Lake Placid to do a few touristy things! I visited LP on a trip to Westport in 2006, but it was very brief and just for a quick bite to eat after a hike nearby. I wanted to go back and see some of the neat Olympic sites in town, and we wanted to visit the brew pub for Lake Placid Brewery!

Lake Placid was the home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. And for those of you who love the movie Miracle as much as I do (I love a great sports movie where the underdog wins!), this where that famous USA win took place back in 1980!

Here we are at the rink...if only we had worn our red, white, and blue. Poor planning, Mom!

We also checked out the ice rink from 1932. They were having a figure skating competition going on and we got to see all kinds of small children doing fancy tricks on the ice. I had never seen such tiny people do such complicated moves on the ice before!

There was also a bobsled sighting. Sadly, no real bobsledding this year for us. Maybe we can plan that for another year!

After touring all the fun Olympic buildings in town, we headed to the Lake Placid Brew Pub in town and had lunch and shared a beer sampler. One of our favorite thing to do on trips is to find and test out local breweries. This one had some good beers. My favorite was the Smokin' Blond Ale which was your typical blond ale but with a great smokey flavor. Very different, but great!

After lunch we walked around and explored the cute town of Lake Placid. Lots of cute gift shops, restaurants, and neat buildings. It really was a fun place to visit for the day!

We eventually ditched the stroller and M took a nap on my back in her Ergo. 
You can't really see her in these pictures, but she slept hard as we walked all over the town!

On our way back to Westport, we got to drive through the high peaks region of the Adirondacks, and we stopped at this pull off for a few pictures. The scenery here is just stunning. It's the sort of thing that just takes your breath away.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lakeside Relaxing & Exploring!

One thing we did a lot of on vacation in New York this year was RELAX. We spent a lot of time just hanging by the lake or in our little cabin reading. We tried not to make any concrete plans for each day so we could just enjoy it and not feel tied down to any obligations.

M's bathing suit from Target may just be one of the cutest things she owns!

Eating lunch on our screened in porch...

When we weren't being super lazy, we were out enjoying and exploring the scenery. Hiking in upstate NY in the summer is so pleasant. Something that isn't much fun to do in the summer in the south! We bought this hiking backpack off Craigslist for $25 before we left, and it was well worth it!

This was her first dip in the water. It was COLD!

Possibly my favorite photo EVER of these two...

We were a little let down on this hike...we were hoping for a better view, but it was really wooded and hard to see the lake. Oh well...still pretty from what we could see!

As we headed back after this hike, M started to get pretty sleepy and laid her head on J all the way back to the car.

But she quickly got a second wind before we left!

Relaxing and exploring...isn't that what the best vacations are made of?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Aunt Lindsay!

First of all....thank you thank you thank you all so much for your kind comments on my post last week about teaching. It's something I'm quite passionate about, and I am so grateful for your kind comments. You sure know how warm my heart. And to my teacher of luck to you this year. May your year be filled with fabulous students AND parents!

Secondly...who is ready for more vacation pictures? Because I still have plenty to share!

One thing that made our trip to Westport extra special this year (in addition to having M with us!), was my little sister, Lindsay, took the train up from NYC for two days. She came to babysit M while attended J's brother's wedding, but then stayed with us until Monday afternoon, giving us some more time together. We got to show her all of our favorite spots in town. She got to have a muffin from Ernie's. We taught her how to play Nertz and she won her first round. She even got to cruise the lake with J's uncle on his boat. We managed to pack a lot into her two days with us! On top of all this, I know M liked getting spoiled and loved on by her Aunt Lindsay!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Teacher

I know there are a lot of moms who read my blog who have children that are getting ready to attend school, so here's a little post for you. Your babies' teachers are hard at work getting ready for your child to walk through their doors, and as a former teacher, this is a post I always wanted to write, but was too afraid to publish....

Right now, as you go to Target and Wal-Mart and get all those last minute items on the supply list and try to squeeze in a few more trips to the pool, your child's teacher is doing the following....

She is pouring her heart and soul into a classroom. Spending a lot of her own money on pillows and beanbags so that she has a cozy reading corner, and markers and crayons because there will definitely be children who show up with no supplies. And she's more than likely bought a new rug because let's face it, a classroom full of dirty tennis shoes means you can only get one year out of a rug. But cold tile floors are not warm and inviting, so a rug or two will help her students feel more at home in her room. She will have tired arms from carrying in boxes and bags full of stuff for her classroom from the car. She's probably going into her building at all sorts of crazy hours, even if her "work week" hasn't begun yet, so she can hang posters and put name tags on desks and sort through tubs of books.

That same teacher will probably have to sit through 8-12 hours of meetings once her work week begins. Some of these meetings will be useful, and some will be a waste of time, but she will sit there as the to-do list in her minds grows. All of the new practices of teaching and planning her district implemented last year will be thrown out the window because they didn't get the results the system wanted. So she will have all sorts of information and new standards thrown at her and be told to implement them in her classroom from day one. Out with the old in with the new. She will be given large binders that she's required to use to track data and anecdotal notes on each of her twenty five students. She will have one on one meetings with Special Education teachers in the building to go over the IEP's of students in her class who have special needs. And she'll be given some guidance on how to modify her instruction for those children.

Meanwhile, at home, she'll still be required to cook, clean, and do laundry, but in her "free" time in the evenings, she'll begin to put together her lesson plans and units for those first few weeks and months. Not just a "list" of what she'll do each day, but detailed plans for each day and each subject. These plans will include her essential questions and and established goals, and she'll have to include how she plans to assess and collect data on her students with each lesson. And chances are she can't call it a "lesson" plan anymore. That's not the PC term these's probably called a "learning" plan, and she'll be collaborating on it with her fellow teachers on her grade level in their "PLC's" (professional learning communities), because "teammates" isn't the professional term she can use anymore.

There will be a filing cabinet in the office that has a drawer with her name on it, with twenty-five folders in it, one on each of her students, and she'll be asked to go through and take a look at each students folder. If she misses something in a folder, such as a note that a child has asthma or maybe he moved here from a new school where he had been suspended six times, that's on her. She better read all twenty-five files carefully.

Some of her friends and acquaintances will roll their eyes and make rude comments as she says she's heading back to work. They'll comment that it must be nice to have your summers off, despite the fact that she was required to attend multiple professional development workshops over the summer (with no pay), and has a total of two personal days to use between September and June.

But despite all of these things...she will be delighted on open house night when she gets to meet your babies and put a face to a name for the first time. She will excitedly give them hugs and show them where to put their supplies, because this is the part of the job she loves...the students. She will spend the next 180 school days loving on them, helping them, counseling them, teaching them. She will do this on days when she feels sick because there are no subs available. She will do it when she's missing her own child's field trip to the zoo, because once again, she only has two personal days. She will do all of these things even after she's been brought to tears and is questioning her career choice after a hateful email from a parent who thinks they can say whatever they feel over the computer screen.

So as you get ready to send your children to school this fall, or you have a friend who is a teacher and she's doing all of what I described above....take a second to say thank you and recognize that she's putting 110% into a job that recognizes maybe 20% of your effort. She is a human being, who has her own family and life at home, but for the next ten months, she will lose her own identity and just be a teacher to most. On the first day, bring her a card saying how excited you are to work with her this year. Let her know that you, the parent, are on her team. Remind her that you want to work alongside her to see your child flourish over the school year. Gifts are not required, but certainly appreciated, but nothing says thank you like a heartfelt card or email reminding her how thankful you are for what she does for your little one. You may bring her to tears, but I promise they'll be the good kind!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Westport Wedding

Yesterday I blogged about my BIL's rehearsal dinner, and today I'm back with wedding photos! He and his bride (my new SIL!) got married in a ceremony by the water, and it was truly gorgeous! They could not have asked for a prettier day or a more scenic backdrop. 

M did not attend the wedding with us. Instead, my sweet sister took the train upstate from NYC and stayed with M while we attended the ceremony and most of the reception. It was so great knowing she was in good hands while also being extra loved on and spoiled by her Aunt Lindsay who she doesn't get to see often!

See....she was having a blast without us!

We actually did steal her for about 20 minutes and dressed her up to come hang out during cocktail hour, but as you can see by her face, she wasn't too into it. No smiles here.

She eventually warmed up a bit and put on a grin!

The rest of the evening was a great time. Dancing, dinner, food, a photo booth! 
It was fun having a night "out." And even more fun getting to enjoy it with lots of cousins and family we don't get to see often.

(Recognize my dress? This is the one I blogged about here that I got in my first Stitchfix!)

I loved Katy's wedding dress. Everything about it was perfect!

This is me with all of the "girls" in the family. J is the youngest of four. He has two brothers and a sister, and now that both brothers are married, I have three sister in laws! I love that when you put all four of us together our hair colors cover pretty much the whole spectrum!

So happy for the new couple! Less than 24 hours after the wedding, they hopped on a plane to Chicago to start their new life together. They had been living in Boston, but my BIL took a new job and his start date was the Monday after the wedding. Talk about a whirlwind of a weekend!