Sunday, February 4, 2018

One Little Word: Memories

 Chances are, unless you have been living under a social media rock, you've heard of Ali Edwards and her idea of choosing "One little word" to live by for the upcoming year. 

Last year was the first year I chose a word, and I chose a very appropriate word for a new mama. My word was embrace. I wanted to embrace all the new changes headed my way...and embrace my sweet little baby :) While the transition to motherhood was far from smooth, I think I did my best to embrace the good...along with the not so good :) #SleepDeprivationAnyone I also excelled at literally embracing my sweet boy! 2017 was filled with its fair share of snuggles, and you won't hear me complaining! 

For 2018, I wanted to choose a word that would not only challenge me...but benefit me ;) I thought long and hard about the different words I could choose...and to be honest, I almost scrapped the whole idea altogether..and then...it hit me. My word...while not a common one in the "one little word" community, is a word that fits, it fits the stage of life we are in perfectly, and provides me an opportunity to push myself to learn something new.


Memories...what a perfect word for the mama is who is so desperately trying to freeze time. These last 10 months have gone by in the blink of an eye, and have been filled with so many memories and moments that I will forever treasure. So many pictures, so many videos, so many adventures...

and the best part? This is just the beginning. 

Becoming a mom has been the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I always knew I wanted to be a mom...but until Bennett was born, I didn't realize how much I needed to be a mom. 

This little boy has brought such joy to our lives. We often sit and talk after he has gone to bed and wonder what we did before him. 

He is our constant entertainment and the reason I look forward to waking up in the morning. Spending time with him and his daddy is a treasure and while these moments are fleeting...it's only because they are so special.

So this year, I vow to make memories my focus. I want to create them, capture them, and treasure them. 

To do this I have a few things I plan to do...

1) I am using the 1 second every day app to create a video of our 365 days in 2018. If you have never heard of this app or used it, I urge you to download it to your phone immediately. It is super easy to use and even after just a month I am thrilled with the memories we have captured. 

It is going to be so fun in December to look back at all the fun we had and how much Benny has changed over the last 365 days. 

2) I am FINALLY learning to use my DSLR camera. I purchased my Nikon D3300 2 years ago and had yet to shoot in manual mode. I was am overwhelmed with all the buttons and settings. However, if I am capturing memories of my family...I want these photos to be great.

My plan for this is to learn as much as I can through YouTube Videos, blog posts, and possibly take a class or a course. 

3) Through learning to use my camera, I am also participating in Project 365, where I will be taking one photo a day, every day. I have done this in the past, but the majority of my photos were food...this time around it's all about Benny :) I'm hoping as I get better with my camera I will be able to capture more than just portraits of my cute little model...but we shall see :) 

Capturing all these memories is great...but what do I plan to do with the pictures? Well I am glad you asked...

4) I will be creating photo books and albums, first up is finishing Bennett's baby book and I hope to blog more and record some of the little moments that mean so much to me. There are so many things that Benny does, so many fun days and moments that I swear I will never forget...but 18 years from now my brain will likely be pretty full :)

I have also created an Instagram page to document my photo taking journey...and all the cute photos our sweet boy! At the end of this year I am hoping to create a photo album filled with these 365 photos :)

So there you have it...my New Year's Resolution for 2018! I have a feeling this will be my favorite one yet...although I think I have said that every year :) 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Life With Benny: 10 Months



Double digits...it hardly seems possible! This month flew by in the blink of an eye and it seems like you changed from a baby to a little boy overnight! I'm still constantly torn between being excited to see what you become...and wanting to pause time!

Diapers

We made the switch to Target's Up & Up brand and have been really happy with them so far. We went up to the size 4 (instead of buying overnight diapers) and we now use the size 4s full time. He has lots of room to grow into them...but we aren't having any leaks day or night, so we are going to stick with the 4s.

Clothes

Lil' man is running low on clothing that fits. I swear he went to bed able to fit comfortably into his clothes and woke up a whole size bigger! He is wearing 9 mo stuff (snugly) and is most comfortable in the 9-12 mos clothing. I am putting off going through his closet...because it makes me sad :(

Food

This little guy is still a champ when it comes to food. He will eat anything...and I mean ANYTHING. We were out celebrating a friends birthday and decided it was time to give him a lemon ;) While he did give us a pretty funny sour face...he actually reached for more.



He eats 2 breakfasts (3 if we are being honest) He nurses first thing in the morning and then has some mini-pancakes and sausage or ham here at home. He then goes to daycare and about 8:30/9:00 he has apple/pear oatmeal that we make here at home and pieces of what the big kids are eating.

He is now only taking two 5oz bottles at daycare, and eating lunch with the bigger kids. Lunch is usually a Gerber Bits meal. We make all his breakfast and veggies, but when it comes to pureeing meat, I'm out!



Dinner is always an adventure. He mostly eats whatever we are having and we have yet to find a meal he doesn't enjoy. Spaghetti and meatballs are still his favorite...but he also is a big fan of any Mexican dish. #Genetic

Sleep

We seem to FINALLY be back on track with sleep. After the holidays and lots of sickness we had to do a couple "cry-it-out" sessions. I have always dreaded (and avoided) letting him cry...but we got to the point where he was just crying because he wanted us to come and get him.


We started with a nighttime session, and I was on pins and needles hating every second of listening to him cry. Luckily, it only took 8 minutes for him to settle down and go to sleep. He still woke up a few times in the middle of the night, but we again just let him fuss it out and he would put himself right back to sleep. I feel really lucky that he never cried more than 10 minutes at a time...because I can't promise I wouldn't have gone in to rescue him!



After a couple of days of torture (I'm slightly dramatic) he is now back on track with his sleep. He is going to bed now around 7-7:15 and sleeping until about 6-6:45 depending on the day. If it's a Saturday or Sunday he will wake up around 6AM, but during the week we have to wake him up at 6:45 so we can get him ready for daycare #OfCourse

Naps are great...at home, but he is still struggling to nap very well at daycare. He is back to taking his morning nap, but not much more than 20-30 mins and a short afternoon nap. It doesn't make any sense to me because on the weekends at home his morning and afternoon nap are almost 2 hours. I think he doesn't want to miss out on the fun at Miss Judy's.

Milestones

I feel like he has changed so much this month. Not a whole lot of "new" tricks, but he just seems older and less like a baby.



He waves and points at people, and even points at the pictures in his books.



He says "ma-ma" a little more these days...but "da-da" is still his favorite word. He is also babbling constantly. Lots of different sounds and different tones. He talks to himself a lot, and talks and points at pictures in his books.



He still isn't completely crawling, but he is up on all fours and taking a few steps (crawls?) forward before falling over and reverting to rolling.



This month he has mastered sitting up on his own. It was definitely a shock the morning I checked the baby monitor and saw him sitting in his crib just hanging out...we promptly lowered his crib after that!


He is trying to pull up on just about everything. He wants to stand, stand, stand! While he hasn't mastered getting himself to the standing position, he will stand and play for long periods of time if we get him there.



His two bottom teeth are completely in, and the top two have made their debut! We didn't even know he was "teething" with the bottom two...but those top teeth made themselves known!


Likes

There isn't a whole lot this sweet boy doesn't like. He has the best little personality and I am so grateful for his laid back, go with the flow self.

 

He is still a big fan of books and still chooses those over any other toy. We read him a book before bed every night and his face lights up when we walk him over to the book shelf and let him pick out a book.

He and Gracie are still best buddies...although, I am not sure she reciprocates the feelings. Now that he is moving around more she steers clear...he isn't the most gentle with his touches.


He loves being outside and going for walks/runs with mommy! The only problem is the weather isn't the warmest and he insists on taking his socks off and putting his feet up!


Second only to books is his tool bench that he got for Christmas from Grammy and Papa. He loves to "bam bam" with his hammer and put the shapes and the ball into the workbench.

Music is still a crowd-pleaser and I love watching him "dance" to the music. If I am holding him he will bounce up and down until I start to dance with him.


He still loves the bath and loves the chance to bathe in the big boy tub...daddy is a nervous wreck when we do this so it's only happened a few times...when dad is gone :)


Dislikes



Like I mentioned above, there isn't much our happy guy doesn't like. I would say the only thing that consistently ticks him off is riding in the car. He is not a baby who falls asleep during a car ride...and if it's much more than 15 minutes in the car he gets restless and fussy. Most of our car rides involve AJ driving and Benny and I in the back seat :)

I have said this every month...but it's true. Every day just seems to get better and better! This guy has added so much fun and laughter to our lives and I am loving seeing his little personality develop.








Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Book Review

These days I am reading more than ever...

 

however, 99% of the time this guy chooses the books...and let's just say we read a lot of the same books over and over...and OVER again :)

I can't say that I mind though...being a reader myself, it makes me so happy to see my little guy enjoying reading as much as I do...let's just hope he always has a love of books!

January always seems to be a pretty good month for me reading wise. The cold weather and my favorite shows being on winter break always ensures I will have a little extra time to read.

This month I read two books and I am so excited to share them with you!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735224293/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=momlifekc-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0735224293&linkId=de2fc742994e3b90dc4fc888cc3a1734

The first book I read is one I have seen LOTS of rave reviews about. It was on the list for best books in 2017 on Goodreads and highly recommended by so many people. I had it on hold at the library for several months, but put a pause on the hold because I really wasn't excited about it. You see, I read Ng's book "Everything I Never Told You" awhile back and was less than impressed. It was painfully slow to get through (even though I liked the storyline) and I was afraid I would have the same issue with this book.

While I was not a huge fan of her other book...this one totally redeemed her in my eyes. I was immediately captivated by the Richardson family and their interesting dynamic. Shaker Heights is a town where everything is picture perfect and planned out, and when Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl come to town they immediately shake things up. The story (like so many of the stories I enjoy) starts at the end with the Richardson's house being on fire. The family is standing outside all talking about the youngest daughter and how they are sure she did it. The story slowly begins to unfold with a series of events that lead to this final scene.

Not only did I have trouble putting this book down, but the writing was exquisite. I felt connected to the characters and truly invested in the way things turned out. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised especially after my not so positive experience with her other book.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735220964/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=momlifekc-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0735220964&linkId=287b1acc49944b8a8cfbb97c19b093f1

Oh.My.Word...I am not even really sure where to begin with this book. First of all, it almost felt like was several books all in one. I often felt like the book was almost over (despite the fact that I still had tons of pages left) and then bam it would start again. At times I felt as if the story were a bit disjointed and over-told...but then at other times I was completely enthralled in the story.

Lily and Ed are newlyweds and their marriage is FAR from perfect. Lily is a lawyer and takes on a convicted murderer and things don't turn out the way she planned. This single event spurs a chain of events that lead us through an extremely dark and twisty ride. I'm still on the fence on how I felt about it...I liked it...I would have liked some things to have been different, but I didn't hate it. Make sense? No? Please read this and let's chat ;)


I have already started my next book

http://amzn.to/2E3iw6L

This is the 4th book in the Winter Street (Trilogy?) I thought the last book was the final book in this series, and am thrilled that there is one more! I felt a little like there were some loose ends and I am hoping that this book ties them up for me. I am always on the fence about Elin Hilderbrand, but this series has always been one I have enjoyed.

I have a few books on hold at the library, but no guarantees on when they will be ready...so in the meantime I am on the lookout for good books to add to my "to be read" list...so send any and all suggestions my way!


Friday, January 26, 2018

My Little Book Worm

As part of my New Year's Resolution this year, I am FINALLY learning how to use my Nikon D3300. I have had this camera for 2 years and have yet to take the time to learn how to shoot in manual mode. This camera takes good pictures in auto, but with this cute little boy in my life, I just can't settle for good pictures anymore...I need GREAT ones :) 

In addition to learning how to use my camera, I really want to make sure to capture some of my favorite moments. Time goes way too fast, and while I can't pause time and freeze these moments, I sure can take a million pictures that I can look back on forever <3

One of those moments was a few weeks ago, on a day off from work. I had a whole day home with my sweet little boy and he was FINALLY healthy, happy, and enjoyable :) Christmas break and the weekend prior had been filled with a sick, clingy, non-sleeping baby...so this day was MUCH needed for all involved.

Ever since he was about 6 months old, Bennett has LOVED books. He loves holding them, flipping the pages, and being read to. He especially likes the books with animals and when we make animal noises :)


In his room we have a book shelf hanging on the wall next to his crib, and when he wakes up in the morning or after naps he always reaches for his books. Most days we are in a hurry, and don't have time to stop and read...but on the weekend and days off like this one, we always take the time to snuggle up and read a few books. This is something that fills my heart with SO much happiness and I know it's a memory I will want to hold onto forever.


I tried to narrow it down to just a few of my favorite pictures...but they are all my favorite, I can't help it! Seeing him read a book just melts my heart <3


He even points at the different pictures on each page...it's seriously the cutest!


I just love watching him flip the pages and look at each page of his book.


He read through all the books within reach, and decided he just wasn't quite finished yet!


Reading books is serious business for this guy...


It's always important to get comfy when reading ;) 


Making sure he got ALL of his books out of the crate!



He especially loves the books with the flaps he can lift up and see what is underneath!


He was so into his books, he forgot mommy was even in the room!



Intense concentration!



Sorry for the picture over-load...but I just can't get enough of this little book-worm!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

November/December Book Review + End of the Year Review

You guys...I did not think this was going to happen. I did not think I was going to meet my goal of 24 books this year. You see, I started off really strong...and then this fall I kind of fell off. I blame it on being a mom, going back to work full time, and marathon training.

I cheated a little...one of the books I added to my list I read aloud to my class...

but it was the highest rated book on Goodreads (from my list) so that makes it okay ;) I added it back in October and added it to the list because I wasn't sure I would make it to 24 otherwise...turns out I didn't need to reach my goal, but it was a nice cushion ;) 


I was skeptical at the beginning of 2017 that I would be able to finish 24 books with the arrival of a cute little distraction


But, turns out, he's a big reader too...so it worked out! 

I mostly read e-books this year and read them while either rocking my cute little guy to sleep or running on the treadmill...Mom Life is all about multitasking, plus these days when my head hits the pillow I fall asleep pretty immediately ;)

While I had a pretty slow fall...my reading picked back up for November and December. Thanks to a couple of breaks (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and colder weather that forced us indoors (along with more treadmill running) I was able to finish 3 books...which is less than my intended 2 per month, but it was more than I had been managing prior...so I call it a win! 


Sarah Jio has been a favorite author of mine for years. I have never read one of her books that I didn't like...and this one was no exception. What I love most about her books is the dual setting/time period and how she perfectly weaves them together in the end. This story explores a young woman's past and the unfinished business she has with an ex-boyfriend who mysteriously disappeared from her life 12 years ago. She is currently in her dream job, living in a beautiful home with her perfect fiance when she comes across her first love, and discovers that he is homeless. She makes it her mission to help him, and get to the bottom of how he came to be homeless. I only gave it 3 out of 4 stars on Goodreads because I wasn't crazy how the story wrapped up...it wasn't awful, but it kind of left me feeling like there should have been more to it. 


Earlier this year I read One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid and loved it, so when this one was available for check out from the library I jumped at the chance. 

This book was TOTALLY different than One True Loves, but I enjoyed it just as much. In this book we hear the story of Evelyn Hugo's past as she divulges all of her secrets to a down on her luck reporter. I found myself completely entranced in Evelyn's story and could not put this book down. I would HIGHLY recommend this book! 


This book...I have to admit I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing it. This book sucked me in straight away and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. 

It was such weird, dark, and twisted book that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read it. Like I mentioned above, I am having a really hard time describing this book...but basically it is about a woman who gets married to a seemingly perfect man after a very short courtship and things change drastically once they are married. She is in a desperate situation and has to do whatever she can to escape and protect her family. I would highly recommend this book. I won't say it's similar to "Gone Girl" or "Girl on a Train" because it's not...but it does have the same dark and twisty type story. 

So, that's it...my last 3 books of 2017! I have to say I never regret making this resolution for myself. I love reading and sometimes I just need a little push to turn the TV off (or put my phone down) and pick up a book...and setting my yearly goal on Goodreads does just that!

For 2018 I decided to go a little easier on myself...because #MomLife and while I met my goal last year, I got a huge head start with books in Jan, Feb, and March before Bennett was born...and while he is sleeping better and I am managing to stay up a little later these days I still don't have quite as much free time as I used to...so for 2018 my goal is to read 20 books...I am still aiming for 24, but I don't like to fail so the official goal on Goodreads is 20 ;)

Have you set a goal for reading? Do you have a Goodreads account? If so find me on there and add me as a friend...I always love to see what other people are reading because it helps me to get ideas of what to read next!