Monday, September 29, 2014

Wake me up when September ends

Remember that song? Years ago, my boss and I would say it was our theme song each September, considering all that the month typically entailed for those of us working in education. In my work life, it has meant the start of another school year complete with long work days.

Nearly all of September has passed and I barely sat down to blog this month. I also took fewer than usual photos this month. Yet I find myself asking where the month went so quickly. As the last days of the month are upon us, I thought I'd recap the month with its highlights in a few photos I managed to take (albeit with my iPhone).

Breakfast dates --since Brandon started his new job last month, we have enjoyed weekends together as a family. His previous job required him to work various weekend days and we're so grateful to be able to go to breakfast on a Saturday or stay home and make pancakes. Our weekends have been more about rest and together time, which has been a blessing.

First steps --Maggie took her first steps this month and hasn't looked back. She's trying to run lately and gets around a little better each day. She has had her fair share of bruises from falling, but that doesn't slow her down. I love watching her walk with such enthusiasm.

Taking time to "be still," even in the midst of life's stuff --I plan to write more about this, but Maggie sitting in her toy box sums up the month. We have a lot of stuff (both physical and mental) and as much as I'd like to get rid of the physical somedays most days, because it (often literally) trips me up, I am learning to be content with what we have and where we are. To be content with an unfinished doorframe in the living room and toys strewn about the living room after Maggie is in bed and Brandon and I spend an evening catching up on life or watching a TV show.

What have you been up to this month?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Maggie: 14 months

She's becoming less of a baby and more of a little person each day. I know it's only natural, but I'm just in awe of watching her discover the world.

Maggie is also quite chatty at home. In public or at a friend's house, this is not always the case. She acts shy, which surprises her mama.

It has grown increasingly difficult to get a good photo of Maggie. Remember when she used to sit in one place AND smile (or at least look pleasant) for photos? Here's one of her in the chair I used to photograph her in monthly, but she climbed out before I could get a photo.

Speaking of getting around, when she was just 14 months (a week ago), Maggie is standing and since then taken her first steps and is now walking. She is now walking almost everywhere. She loves her newfound mobility. Can you tell?

Something you may not be able to tell from the photos is that her vocabulary now consists of:
bye-bye // mama // dada // no // go // uh oh // bubble // ball

Maggie's likes:

  • walking on her own
  • playing with a ball and saying "ball"
  • dropping things over the baby gate and saying "uh oh"
  • holding and "reading" books

Maggie's dislikes:
  • having the dog lick her face
  • different foods from day-to-day (we were spoiled previously by her goat-like eating habits)

We are so grateful for each day we get to be her parents. To hear her giggles and listen to her vocabulary develop is pure joy! 

Maggie's monthly updates:
1 month // 2 months // 3 months // 4 months // 5 months // 6 months // 7 months // 8 months // 9 months // 10 months // 11 months // 12 months // 13 months

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

transition is hard

We are going through yet another transition in our house. Last week, Brandon started a full-time job, which means Maggie is now in full-time daycare. As with most things, there are both benefits and drawbacks to this new chapter of our life.

It was sad to say goodbye to our friend who has watched Maggie three days per week since she was six months old. Grace was a trusted friend even before I left my only child with her. Having her care for Maggie was truly a blessing. Drop off and pick up was a time to chat for 5-10 minutes and catch up on small things in life.

In contrast, when I dropped off the paperwork for Maggie's new daycare last week I met the woman who oversees the infant room for the first time. As I walked to my car, I realized I had just met the woman I'd be sending my daughter to be with five days per week. My stomach knotted and tears flowed.

There would be no drop off chat about common friends or what was planned for the weekend. I cried that afternoon and tried not to dwell on the upcoming transition. But I had to be honest and reminded myself transition is hard.

Then I made a little list of the good this opportunity brings our whole family.
  1. My husband gets to work not only closer, but within walking distance of our house!
  2. Being around other children Maggie's age on a more regular basis will benefit her socially.
  3. Her immune system is stronger than it was eight months ago when Grace started caring for her. 
  4. Maggie has an easy-going and adaptive personality.
  5. The daycare facility is only about a mile from our home.
Those five things don't guarantee I won't cry in the car after I drop Maggie off some mornings. Nor do they erase the mommy guilt that creeps in. But they are reminders of a God who provides.

Car time is on the decline(...hey, gas ain't cheap!)
Prior to this change, my husband's commute was previously 1-2 hours ONE way and I spent about 50 minutes in the car on my way to and from work.

We'll get more time together as a family. 
For more than 75% of our marriage, Brandon's worked hourly jobs with hours outside of 9am-5pm and finally we're  back to "regular" hours.

Opportunities to get better connected to our community.
By not spending time commuting longer distances, we'll be able to know more people in the who live nearby, along with meeting people through Maggie's daycare.

We've been hoping to get more connected with our community, spend more time together as a family and less time commuting for about two years!

Monday, August 18, 2014

potato "nachos"

It's probably been a year since I blogged a recipe. I love food and love finding and sharing good recipes almost as much. I am hoping to get back into the rhythm of blogging recipes a bit more frequently in the coming months!

For now, here's a recipe we've had a few times in the past month. I first got the idea from Andrea's Gwyneth Made Me Do It Instagram feed (BTW if you're looking for a great IG account to follow, I highly recommend it), but my method of cutting and cooking the potatoes is a bit different.

3-4 red potatoes OR 1 large sweet potato
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 fresh ear of corn on the cob
shredded cheese
plain yogurt or sour cream

Preheat oven to 400.
Slice potatoes into rounds (about 1/4-1/2" thick)
Drizzle less than a 1 tablespoon olive oil in cookie sheet and arrange potatoes on sheet
Bake for 15 min and flip potatoes, return to oven for another 15-20 min or until tender
While potatoes are cooking, place corn (husk and all) into microwave for 2 min (more details on this cooking method)
Once potatoes are done, divide among two plates (or however many portions you're cooking)
Top with black bean and cheese and heat in microwave for 1 min (or return to oven)
Continue to add toppings you like.

I've also made it with sweet potato and loved it! What keeps making its way on to your menu lately?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Maggie: 13 months

Our girl is past the one year mark and I feel like the learning process (for her) is really beginning. She's picking up on so many new things each day. It's both terrifying (what kind of dumb thing will I say that she tries to repeat) and hilarious (she doesn't need me for this part).

She's always loved exploring, but as she gets more and more mobile, her independence has introduced her to many new things. Maggie may not be walking, but she's getting around just fine. She loves to stand and hold on to the couch/her walker while "cruising."

Thirteen months of life means, I'm looking back on baby pictures of Maggie a year ago and saying things like "she was so small" or "look at those cheeks." Of course, I can still say such phrases with accuracy, but now I realize firsthand how much the human body can grow and develop in one year.

From her one year well visit we learned she gained 13lbs and 6oz and grew 9.75 inches on one year! I'm sure that's totally normal, but wow. Baby's growth amazes me (in case you couldn't tell).

A few things you might not be able to tell from her photos:
  • Maggie loves music and has started to "sing" which basically means she says a string of ba-ba-ba to a little tune.
  • She is downright silly. Maggie loves to do things to make us laugh/smile.
Lest you think she's an angel, turning one has meant she has a mind of her own...or so it seems. She's learned to say no, throw things on the floor and even had a mini tantrum. I know she's testing us, but it's been somewhat of a surprise that it's come so soon.

  • Holding on to an object when she's tired (anything from a cucumber to a DVD box)
  • Books...carrying them while crawling, holding them, bringing them to her parents, flipping the pages or pretty much anything besides quietly sitting while they are read to her!
  • Blankets being thrown over her head. She giggles and then finds her way out. 
  • Petting Milton (our dog) while standing
  • Realizing she can make choices whether it's what food she does/doesn't want to eat or what book she likes best
  • Hand gestures with songs...Itsy Bitsy Spider is her current favorite
  • Any given food...some days it's meat and other days it's veggies. I think she may be rotating, but I haven't caught on to her rotation yet
  • Laying down for her diaper's become a battle to keep her on the changing table

Seriously, being this girl's mama is so great!

Maggie's monthly updates:
1 month // 2 months // 3 months // 4 months // 5 months // 6 months // 7 months // 8 months // 9 months // 10 months // 11 months // 12 months