31 October 2011

29 Before 29

I am officially 28 years old today - wow.

It's been interesting to reflect upon this past year and it's definitely been exciting to anticipate the year ahead. :)

Here are a few things I hope to see in my 28th year of life:

1. Pray with Clay and Max every day.
2. Start composting.
3. Find a place to volunteer.
4. Use the Spanish I know more often - and try to grow my vocabulary.
5. Attend a marriage conference/ seminar with the hubs.
6. Visit a place I've never been to before (outside the US, if possible!).
7. Take one photograph each day.
8. Embrace the camera.
9. Read one book for fun each month - instead of just parenting books. :)
10. Try at least 10 new restaurants.
11. Do the 30 for 30 Challenge at least once.
12. Make my own greeting/ birthday cards instead of buying them.
13. Take the 10 Days (or more) of Real Food challenge or something similar.
14. Go for a walk with Max at least three times a week.
15. Ride in a hot air balloon.
16. Do a Bible study with my sister.
17. Find an older woman in the church who's willing to be my mentor.
18. Take a trip with just Clay.
19. Grow my hair out again, this time long enough to donate to Locks of Love.
20. Try my hand at making homemade baby food for Max.
21. Teach Max sign language.
22. Keep up with photo books for our trips.
23. Take a calligraphy class.
24. Frame and hang wedding pictures in our bedroom.
25. Start practicing yoga again.
26. Observe a weekly Sabbath or day of rest.
27. Streamline my chore routines (laundry, dusting, etc).
28. Get to know our neighbors.
29. Do one random act of kindness each month.

Wish me luck! ;)

28 Before 28: The Results

There are only two words to describe my success rate with my 28 Before 28 goals: EPIC FAIL.
There was a lot going on in my 27th year of life. I mean, I was super-busy fending off burglars and feral cats, travelling the world, and - oh yeah, making a baby. :)

Enough excuses. Here is the embarrassing truth:

1. Take a cooking class at the Fort Worth Culinary Institute.
Well, after pricing classes at the FWCI, I decided that Central Market was more my speed. But that was as far as that got.

2. Ride in a hot air balloon.
Again, why are my goals so expensive? Cost is the main reason this one didn't happen, which means I'll be saving it for a special occasion (I'm in charge of the anniversary plans this year :)).

3. Watch less news/ TV in general (two hours a day MAX).
One I actually achieved! Which is totally surprising now that I'm at home all day.

4. Do a Bible study with my sister.
I have been keeping my eyes peeled for ideas, and I think we've settled on starting So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore in January. I know her studies are intense, but we'll take it reeeeeal slow.

5. Plant more things in my "container garden."
If by "plant more things" I meant that I would replace all the things that died in the previous year's container garden, then yes, I achieved this one. ;)

 6. Go paperless in the kitchen.
Getting closer! We use cloth napkins and sometimes rags to wipe up messes. Paper towels are just so hard to let go...

7. Revive AndWritelySo, my old handwriting/ calligraphy business.
Ummm, no.

8. Make it through a chataranga in yoga without cheating. :D
This one didn't really happen since my pregnant belly got in the way!

9. Stop buying greeting cards from the store and make them myself instead!
Time management has not been my friend the past few months and I'm ashamed to say that I have not achieved this one. But this coming year is a clean slate! :)

10. Floss. Everyday.
Nothing like the threat of pregnancy gingivitis to motivate - and create a habit that I've kept up!

11. Find a place to volunteer regularly.
Still working on this one - though I'm not sure having a four month-old lends itself to this. :)

12. Host a craft day with my cousin Laura and sister-in-law Tara.
We sort of did this at Thanksgiving last year, helping Laura to get ready for an upcoming craft fair. It was lots of impromptu fun!

13. Invite someone over for dinner once a month.
While we had several friends over for dinner, I didn't quite hit the once a month mark. :(

14. Make photo books/ scrapbooks for our vacations.
I just ordered two and am working on three more. (Thank you, Groupon!)

15. Get in the habit of taking better care of my skin (wearing sunscreen daily, using moisturizer, etc.) so I can wear less makeup.
I think I have done pretty well with this - despite the pregnancy hormones and the havoc they wreaked on my face. :) Still not makeup-free, but I'm working on it.

16. Try resale shopping more often.
I went to Just Between Friends twice and plan to check out local consignment stores more often.

17. Take a certification course so I can drive the scooter legally!
I would still love to do this - if only I could figure out how to safely take Max with me. ;)

18. Read 28 (or more!) new books.
I'm sure I read at least that many parenting books - ha!

19. Get into the habit of washing dishes every day or every other day...instead of every seven. :{
We wash dishes at least three times a week, which is a HUGE improvement. (But I'm also home all day staring at the pile of dirties - and cooking a lot more often, so I'm forced to wash if I need a certain dish!)

20. Finish painting those dead-gum baseboards.
Yeah...no. (Next year is not looking promising either.)

21. Plan a fun reunion weekend for my college roommates.
This one didn't happen, but when your former roomies live in Alaska, Colorado, and Indiana (and some in Texas), that makes it tricky.

22. Practice using the little Spanish that I know more often.
The doorknockers from the local Hispanic church have been giving me lots of practice. :)

23. Pray with Clay every night before bed.
We'll keep working on it!

24. Start composting.
I have a cute little composting pail on the counter. That's a good start, right?

25. Travel somewhere I have never been (preferrably an international locale :)).
Weatherford, Texas was as international as it got. :)

26. Take an art class.
I didn't take an art class per se, but I did go paint pottery with a few girlfriends around Christmastime last year. It was artsy - and fun!

27. Stay within my budget categories.
I think this is something I will always be working towards.

28. Keep up with (and document) all these goals!
This blog post was a great start...but that was as far as I got. But I guess since I didn't complete many of these, there wasn't much to document - ha!

So I think what I've learned is that having a baby (and life in general) really kept me busy this past year. Maybe I'll take the demands of our newest family member into consideration when setting this year's goals! :)

25 October 2011

Weekly Wows

We have FINALLY captured little man's ability to roll on film! Even though he's been doing it on and off for about two months now, Max has proved to be quite camera shy. But he just kept flipping himself over the other day, and the camera happened to be handy. :)

So far, he has only rolled tummy to back, but he is pretty darn close to rolling back to tummy.
(He finds his hands as soon as he gets to his side, which distracts him almost every time!) We shall see what the next few weeks bring for our little rock 'n roller. :)

 Our weekend was a lovely relaxing one - which is probably going to be the last for a while! Friday night the two of us enjoyed a heavenly dinner out at Ellerbe Fine Foods while our friends, the Rhoads, watched Max. Then Saturday Clay's cousin Laura, her husband Eric, and their little boy Garrett came over for a bit. We got some pretty cute second cousin pics!

And on Sunday we stayed at home all day - watching some games on TV. It was absolutely wonderful to have such a low-key weekend, especially with the holiday hubub right around the corner!

Max and I were invited to a Halloween party yesterday morning by our friends, Katie and Graham. We had so much fun catching up with old friends we hadn't seen in a while - and making some new ones! Max got to debut his first Halloween costume, but some people had a hard time guessing what it was. What do you think?

(Hint: There is a dollop of wasabi and a floret of ginger on his belt.)

I thought he was a pretty cute piece of sushi if I ever did see one! :)

Today Max will take his first plane ride! He and I are going to Tallahassee, Florida, for a week to spend some time with Grammie and Doc since we don't get to see them very often. So I'll be taking a little blogging hiatus, but will have lots to share when I come back!

Hope your week is filled with wows!

24 October 2011

Just Like Daddy

People have recently been commenting how much Max favors me.
I have always thought he looks just like me as a baby. We're talking doppelganger here.

Baby Me                                                        Baby Max 

Sometimes when those comments are made in Clay's presence, I see a brief wave of sadness wash across his face. I think he really wanted a little boy who would look just like him. And he still may! Little man is changing by the minute.

But there are many other things that Clay and Max have in common. For one, their laid-back personalities. (Yeah, did NOT get that from me!) Their intelligence (even though I'd like to claim some of it). And their loud sneezes. :)

 And now, a subaortic membrane.

When we went for Max's four month checkup two weeks ago, our pediatrician picked up on a faint heart murmur. Many children, he quickly explained, have heart murmurs. It could be nothing.

One of the reasons I love our pediatrician is because he is so calming. He has been practicing pediatrics longer than I've been alive, so he's seen a lot and is not easily alarmed. For a first-time mom like me, that is a HUGE deal. (Who knew I would have a tendency to freak out?) So when I heard him say that Max has a heart murmur - a very faint one at that - it did not alarm me. But the doctor recommended that we take Max to a cardiologist. Out of an abundance of caution, he said.

No biggie, I thought. We're just being cautious - and I'm all about being cautious.

So when I laid Max down on the examination table last week for the technician to do an EKG, I wasn't worried. Then he showed me a tiny little membrane already starting to grow across Max's aorta - just like his daddy.

The cardiologist wants to monitor this membrane and see what happens. So we'll go back in four months to do this all over again. In fact, we'll probably be going back for regular checkups for the next several years, hopefully with good results.

But if at some point they decide that Max needs to have open heart surgery to remove the membrane (which is a strong possibility), I am sure he will pull through it like a champ - just like his daddy did.

18 October 2011

Three Cheers for the Purple and White!

This weekend we took a trip to Abilene, one of the main reasons being that it was ACU Homecoming. 
It is also a great excuse to see Mini and Zu and Aunt Julie!

My boys sporting their purple at the parade

Future Wildcats

Cute family photo!
It's crazy to think that this time last year, little Max was a tiny little thing in my tummy!
It's even crazier to think that I graduated five years ago! 

 Since the parade was during Max's naptime, we brought the stroller and 
tried to walk around a bit to see if he would go to sleep. 
Nope - Max's eyes were wide open the whole time, as you can see!

The (big) boys went to the football game and cheered the Wildcats on to victory 
against West Texas A&M while the girls and babies came back to the house for naps.

The weekend was definitely different from previous Homecomings - 
babies make a HUGE difference, for sure. :) (Who'd have thought?!!)

Also, it was a little strange not seeing so much of Clay's extended family over the weekend. 
In the past, ACU Homecoming has been a family reunion of sorts, but this year with two new babies and no one actually attending the university, there was a little less Wildcat spirit. :)
And we didn't get to spend as much time with Clay's parents as usual because they were very busy taking care of all the details after Clay's grandmother passed away earlier this week. But we were so thankful for the brief conversations over a pizza dinner and quick baby snuggles in the morning! 

We look forward to our next trip to Abilene when we can enjoy more time with Mini and Zu!

13 October 2011

Four Months

Little man is growing up!

It is hard to believe Max is already four months old! Craziness...
We took our little man for his check-up this morning, where the nurse weighed him
at 16 pounds 11 1/2 ounces and measured him to be 25 3/4 inches.
He is above the 80th percentile in all his stats! Way to go, Maxers. :) 

He also did well with his shots (he go two this morning, plus one administered orally)
and only cried a little, although it was a pretty intense cry! Thankfully Dad was there
to soothe the little guy. Our pediatrician also cleared us to start baby food if we want...
so we may give it a go in the next few days and see how Max likes it! 

Our growing boy is teaching us so much daily. Currently this is what he's up to:
Max nurses 6-7 times a day. As evidenced by the weigh-in, he is not being shorted any food!

Just within the last two weeks, Max has dropped his night feeding. 
We had two glorious nights where he slept almost until morning, 
but we're still getting the hang of this sleeping through the night thing. :)

We have moved to pretty much all 3-6 month clothing. There are a few pairs of pants 
that are 6 months, but we can thank the bulky cloth diapers for that!

This kid can drool! He can soak through a bib I put on him in minutes, 
especially if he's got something in his mouth - which is often. 
Hands (his or ours), toys, and really anything he can grab ahold of are fair game.

It's pretty fun to watch him focus on and grab things in front of him. 
He concentrates so hard! I am so impressed at how often he is able 
to get things to his mouth without poking himself in the eye. :)

Tummy time is still a favorite, and Max is able to push his entire torso 
up off the ground using his hands. He's also been kicking his legs a lot from this position - 
and his Daddy thinks he'll be crawling soon. I sure hope he's wrong!

He has rolled over a few more times (tummy to back, but not regularly) 
and is getting very close to rolling over from his back to his tummy. 
Usually he finds his hand when he gets halfway there and it distracts him. :)

Max LOVES to pull up to standing on your lap. He also loves to grab his feet, 
which makes for interesting diaper changes.

Our little man is quite the talker - cooing and babbling and 
blowing raspberries whenever he gets the chance. It's pretty cute!

His little smiles are the highlights of our days. 
We can't wait for the day when we can finally hear his little laugh! 
(Dad claims to have gotten a few "ha has" out of him, but I am skeptical.)

What a blessing it has been to love on our Maxwell James for the past four months.
We look forward to the next four - and many, many more!

11 October 2011

Dressed For Success

Looks like our little man is ready to go to work!

(Thanks, Katie, for this adorable onesie! 
Check out her Etsy shop for more cuteness.)

I'm sure someday he will enjoy counting things just like his Daddy. :)

06 October 2011

Rich-Craft: Door Decorations

All the time I've been spending on Pinterest lately has resulted in a very long list of craft projects I would like to do. This list includes these yarn-wrapped letters and this adorable green wreath, both of which I thought would make nice additions to our very boring doors. :)

The yarn-wrapped letter was super-easy and took me maybe 20 minutes to complete. 
You do have to pay attention to the direction you are wrapping the yarn so that all sides of the letters are covered, especially if you have a letter like R. Let's be honest - I wasn't planning on thinking that hard to do a craft!

I used a cardboard letter and a skein of yarn (on sale!) from Hobby Lobby and a little hot glue to secure the yarn in odd places. Probably could have used a bigger letter because I have a TON of yarn leftover and I'm not much of a knitter. :(

The green wreath, however, was a little more time-consuming. I used a 12" styrofoam wreath and one bag of Itsy-beadsies and a TON of hot glue. It took forever to glue those little suckers on in rows! Then I decided to add some fabric (which I had leftover from another project) to the back of the wreath to give it a more finished look and so that I didn't get styrofoam dust everywhere.

I think it turned out okay, no?

AUTHOR'S ASIDE: I thought it would be fun to hang it on our front door now, but both my husband and sister suggested I wait until St. Patrick's Day. Or at least Christmas. But I think this color green goes well with fall - am I crazy????

Up next: I think I'll tackle those really cool t-shirt necklaces I've seen on Pinterest as well.
Like a scarf AND a necklace in one!

Happy crafting!

03 October 2011

Punkin' Patch

My dear sister-in-law and her husband had planned to take their little one to the Pumpkin Village at the Dallas Arboretum on Sunday, and were gracious enough to let us tag along. :)

The weather was absolutely perfect - just a touch of cool in the air to make it feel like it was actually fall (and that I didn't start sweating in my scarf). Nothing like 60-degree weather and a bunch of pumpkins to get you in the mood for fall! And, of course, these two cuties...


Such sweet cousins! Our photo shoot next year should be extra fun. :)
Our little cutie pie
"Help, I've fallen in the pumpkins and I can't get up!"
Watch out, Mr. October!

My two main men :)

Such a cute family!

Always some excitement with a toddler around :)

Yummy acorns!

We went during Max's naptime, so it was difficult to coax smiles out of him.
He tolerated all the pictures though!

Our family of three :)

Love these father-son shots!

We set up the tripod and tried to get some pictures of the six of us. Here are the results...

Finally, a winner!

Such an enjoyable Sunday morning spent with five of my favorite people. :)