Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 year in review

Our year in review through pictures

January                                       February                                       March

April                                            May                                            June

July                                             August                                        September

October                                    November                                   December

2012 was a great year for our family. I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for us. Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's that time again

New Year's resolutions time. I didn't even bother with resolutions last year. The only things on my mind were getting Mason here and surviving the newborn stage with the addition of a 3-year old. Both of those tasks were accomplished reasonably well so I will consider the year a success. However, this year doesn't have anything standing in my way of setting some goals. I am a firm believer in writing down goals to hold myself accountable so here we go:

1. Ok, yes, its totally cliché, but its still my goal. I have a bridesmaid dress hanging in my closet for my sister-in-law's wedding in June that is a size smaller than I wear right now. I ordered it as motivation because I need it. I have about 3-4 more pounds to reach pre-baby weight and then I'd like to lose about 10-15 pounds on top of that. Hopefully 15+ pounds will mean the dress is too big and I will have to get it altered. But, I'll be perfectly happy if the dress zips comfortably. I have already lost 7 pounds since Thanksgiving, even after I had to take an knee injury-induced break from Insanity. I like being able to walk and knees are necessary for that, so I am going to give my knees another month-long break by doing the 30 Day Shred before I restart Insanity. I kind of miss the Insanity workouts, though, so I hope I am ready in February. After I finish Insanity, it should be around the beginning of April and I hope to start running again since it will getting warm outside. I've been cutting my calories and using My Fitness Pal to track what I eat, which is a big reason for the weight I've lost so far. I lost 30 pounds after grad school by tracking what I ate so I know this works for me. I just need to stick to it and make it happen.

2. I am starting a 365-day photography challenge. I used this blog to create a 52-week blog challenge in 2011 and I really enjoyed it. At times it was challenging and I felt forced to write, but that was the point. It forced me to write and document our lives and I love having those entries to look back on from 2011. I have been in a photography rut and needed a challenge to get me back behind the camera and be creative so I think a 365 challenge will be perfect for that. I created a separate blog for this adventure and hope to upload the pictures at least weekly.  If you'd like to check it out that blog its here:

So, those are my 2 big goals of the year. I'd love to have more goals but I have to be realistic with 2 kids and a husband in grad school. Hopefully, I will accomplish goal #1 by June and I might be able to re-evaluate my goals and make some others. But, I am only setting my heart on these 2 goals for the year and anything else will be bonus.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Christmas that made me feel like a kid again

This Christmas was the Christmas that I imagined when I thought about having children. The past few Christmas seasons we have had to do all the hyping up and create the excitement about Christmas. This year, Aubrey was plenty hyped and created the excitement for us. For weeks, every commercial that came on the tv made her Christmas wish list grow longer. She loved participating in the early Christmas  season traditions like decorating, sending/receiving Christmas cards, and picking out presents for others. It was also neat that she was learning the meaning behind Christmas and asked a lot of questions about Jesus and the Christmas story. She also anticipated things, like going to Raleigh to visit Todd's family and waking up Christmas morning. Her excitement and anticipation rubbed off on me and made me more excited for Christmas than I have been since I was kid. 

The celebrating started over the weekend when Todd took the kids to Raleigh. I wasn't able to go because we didn't want to spend the extra money to kennel the dogs so I stayed here with them. It was a nice break for me and allowed the kids to spend some good quality time with their daddy. I hated being away from them, especially since it was my first time away from Mason, but it was a well enjoyed break. Aubrey played on the farm and had a dandy time being spoiled rotten by Todd's family. Mason created a lot of extra work for Todd and kept him on his toes while he was there. Mason gave a spectacular screaming show when they tried to put him on Santa's lap and Aubrey reverted back to her unhappiness with him as well, but they both seemed to be happy with the presents Santa gave them. 

Monday night we started a few new traditions for our house like leaving cookies for Santa and writing a note thanking him for visiting. Aubrey really didn't want to go to bed, but a warning that Santa couldn't visit until she was asleep helped encourage her to go to bed. The next morning, Mason made sure Todd and I were awake at 7:15. However, Aubrey was still asleep at 7:30 so I had to go in an wake her up. There was no way I was letting her sleep in when there were good presents to be opened. We brought the kids downstairs and Aubrey was excited to see Santa ate the cookies and wrote a note back to her. She then walked in the playroom and her reaction to seeing her presents was classic. She was so excited and walked back and forth to her toys and Mason's toys trying to figure out what she wanted to play with. Mason wasn't quite as excited as Aubrey, but he still seemed to enjoy the boxes and wrapping paper he could tear into. The best part of the morning was after we opened what appeared to be all the presents, Todd brought out Aubrey's bike. I was nervous about what her reaction would be because she had told me a few weeks before Christmas she didn't want a bike. I had already bought the bike and knew it would be a gift from Todd and me. Luckily, my fears were eased as soon as Aubrey saw the bike. It was instant love because it is covered in princesses and even has a seat for a doll to ride in the back. She was so excited which thrilled Todd and me to no end.

The rest of the day was a flurry of food and more presents. We did our annual breakfast at Todd's parents house, followed by gifts, relaxing, more presents with my family, and dinner with both families. At the end of the night, Todd and I were exhausted but thankful for a great Christmas.  

Aubrey's First Stage Production

I love Aubrey's preschool for a lot of reasons. The fact that they do a Christmas show with 2 and 3-year olds makes me love them even more. I can only imagine the work and effort the teachers put into getting the 18 children ready for the 5 minutes it took to sing 4 songs. They did encourage the parents to help with their efforts by sending the lyrics home to the 4 songs the kids needed to know. We practiced the songs a few times but Aubrey seemed pretty comfortable with the lyrics so I didn't work on them very much.

I didn't know quite what to expect going into the show. But, I was still surprised at what I saw. The 2- year olds went before Aubrey's class and did a very cute nativity show. They managed to dress each child up as a part of the story and it was so precious seeing miniature versions of Mary, the Wise men and angels. Their songs were very cute and got lots of awws and laughs from the crowd. Then, Aubrey's class came out and did the caroling part of Christmas. Each little girl and boy wore a winter hat and these tiny little scarves that cracked me up. They did such a good job, even though it wasn't the production the 2-year olds put on. I later found out they cycle the kids through the parts of the show, so this year's 3-year olds did the nativity scene last year. But, I was still pleased with the entire show and so proud of Aubrey. I thought she might get stage fright being in front of an audience but she did really well and said she had a good time singing her songs. Watching a child perform is so fun and I can't wait to see what the preschool's spring production involves.

Friday, December 21, 2012

11 months

I had a completely sad realization with this month's birthday. This is the last month one of my children will be considered an infant. Even though Mason is still much more of a baby than a toddler, technically he won't be a baby much longer. While I don't want to have anymore babies, I wish our babies could be babies just a little while longer. It has all gone so fast and sometimes I feel like I get so wrapped up in the day-to-day parenting that I forget to really stop and appreciate where each child is at that moment. Ok, enough mushiness for now.

*Right upper lateral incisor broke through (11.15)
*His two upper middle teeth have all but broken the skin. They are giving him a fit and I really hope they are through by Christmas
*He has finally started to crawl more than lurch. He is still a little timid and slow while crawling but he is getting more confident and I know the speed crawling will come soon.
*He really doesn't like sitting down. He is much happier to pull himself to standing and just stay there for a while. He usually greets me in his crib standing up in the mornings.
*He had a very sudden growth spurt and outgrew his 9-month clothes in what seemed like a week. His 9-month shirts fit, but he needs 12-month pants and pjs.
*First Thanksgiving
*We've figured out just how much he looooves his big sister this month. He just grins and laughs when she walks in and he is always trying to move himself to where he can see her. He wants to keep her and us in his sights at all times.
*His nap times have become so sporadic. I know he is not ready to drop to 1 nap, but somedays he just sits in his crib and talks for an hour until I go get him up.
*The dairy trial we had last month was a big, fat fail. It took a while for some of the digestive issues to show after we started giving him some dairy, but they did finally show up. So, we've gone back to dairy free, which makes transitioning him to milk in the next month an even bigger challenge.
*First visit with Santa

First Thanksgiving meal

Trying to stand up but making sure he keeps Aubrey in his sights

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Visiting Santa

Aubrey has never had a good visit with Santa. She has been downright terrified of him since she was 11 months old. Every time she even gets a glimpse of him she freaks out. I get it, he's a stranger in a bright red suit, long beard, and all of that stuff. But, I really hated the fact she could be scared of Santa forever. I was determined to get a picture of both kids with Santa this year, even if it meant both kids were less than happy with me. I don't get to go to Raleigh this year when Santa visits the children on the farm and brings a present so I decided we would go visit Santa at the mall. We hyped it up all day before we planned to go and told Aubrey she had to be nice to Santa and tell him what she and Mason wanted for Christmas since Mason couldn't tell Santa himself. She still wasn't to sure about the whole idea, but agreed to try sitting on his lap. I even encouraged her to bring a stuffed animal to cuddle if she got nervous so she brought a penguin (completely her idea) to hold on his lap. I got nervous when we saw Santa walking down the hall towards the photo area and Aubrey buried her head in my leg. Luckily, we had 20 minutes or so to wait and we continued to hype Santa up and tell her what a nice guy he was and he would be sad if she didn't talk him. When it was finally our turn, we placed Mason in his lap and Aubrey reluctantly crawled up as well. Mason's face was hilarious as he tried to figure out just who was holding him. But, the photographer instantly starting shaking some bells and Mason was fascinated with those and forgot all about sitting in Santa's lap. We watched in amazement as not one.single.tear.was.shed. By either child. I quickly grabbed Mason after the pictures were over before he could get upset. Aubrey very quietly responded to Santa's questions and said she would like to have princesses and a Dora for Christmas. She was even able to tell him Mason wants a cash register (again, her idea) for Christmas. She was actually smiling when she got down from his lap and talked happily about Santa the rest of the night. So, I will call it a big, fat success and hope her Santa aversion is over.


5th anniversary

I was just rereading some older blog posts and I realized this blog is 5 years old this month. It is amazing to me how much our world has changed in 5 years. Todd and I were newlyweds, just getting ready to start trying to have kids. We were at different jobs, had different cars, and completely different worries about the world. We had no idea what we were in for as we hoped to start a family. When I started this blog, I kept it private to journal my thoughts around trying to get pregnant. I never really had major plans for this blog and wasn't quite sure if I would be able to keep it going. But, I am glad I kept it as a place to document our lives. I've not been very good at keeping up with the baby books. In fact, I still haven't even written the first word in Mason's book. However, this blog has all of those details and more and has become very important to me over the years. I don't write as often as I'd like because I don't have a lot of time to actually sit down at my computer and collect my thoughts. So if I get the milestones and major happenings in our lives documented I call it success. I hope to keep it going as the kids get older so they can look back and laugh at us and themselves, as well as learn about their lives before they could remember. That is why this little piece of the internet is here and I hope I do a great job for them.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Big milestone for me

So many milestones over the past 4 years have been about the kids. But, this one is all about a certain piece of equipment and myself. After 2 kids and almost 22 months of constant use this evil/wonderful contraption is finally being put to rest.

I never imagined when I first opened the package how much time I would spend with this pump. I was blissfully ignorant of exclusive pumping and had no idea how difficult nursing would be for me before Aubrey was born. After both kids were born, I spent so much time attached to it and I swear at times it was talking to me. However, this pump saved us so much money and allowed both of my children to have breast milk for their first year and I am so grateful for that.

I won't lie though, I hate this pump. I've been counting down to my last day of pumping since the first time I used it. I cried when I accepted the fact I would not be able to nurse Mason at all and would have to rely solely on my pump to help me nourish my child. But, it faithfully worked for me over all those months despite my hatred and dread of sitting down to pump. The blissful day finally arrived after Mason's 10 month birthday that I could start weaning and I was stoked. I hit my goal for storing enough milk to make it to Mason's first birthday and threw the towel in. I dropped a pumping session every few days until finally I was down to 1. I planned to pump once a day for a few more days but after 2 days of 1 pumping session there was no discomfort when I woke up so I waited another few days and finally realized I was finished. Its been a week and it still hasn't completely sunk in I'm finished. I am mostly thrilled to be finished. But, a tiny part of me is sad. My days of nourishing a child are over and its a little depressing. But, the time and freedom I've gained back have been wonderful in helping me move past that sadness and appreciate where I am now.

Now, just as I finished the food restrictions I had with Mason I start food restrictions of another variety. Now that I am free to cut calories and lose weight it is game on. I have 7 months to squeeze into a strapless dress for my sister-in-law's wedding. I purposefully ordered my dress a size smaller than I am now so it could kick start the weight loss. I have 10 pounds of baby weight to lose plus another 10-15 on top of that. So, I have start the Insanity program and am following its calorie recommendations to ensure I shed this weight. Its a different feeling losing weight this time because I know I won't have an excuse to gain it back like I did between kids. I want it to go and stay gone so I am really trying to go about it the right way. Its getting too cold to run for now so I will do Insanity (which is really freaking crazy hard) until the spring and then resume my running. I look forward to running again and hope to back to doing 5Ks in the spring.

So, let the fun begin and I can't wait to see what results I have to share in the next few months.