Tag Archives: family

Changing Tradition: Baby Z’s Dedication

On Sunday, we celebrated our newest edition with a baby dedication at our church. In front of our entire congregation we made a vows of commitment to Baby Z. 

We acknowledge that he is a gift and a trust from God, 
and that we are responsible to God for his Christian nurture.

We commit to pray for him and teach him the truth of Jesus Christ.
We commit to set a Godly example in prayer, in Bible reading, in church attendance, in giving, and in serving others everywhere we go.

Being prayed over by one of our elders.
I have to admit with the Little Man I didn’t give much thought to what his Baby Dedication meant. In the past, the church used to recite its commitment to us; helping us raise him in faith.

It’s a passage I’ve said a hundred times for other babies, but I haven’t felt a strong connection to the lines I was saying. Most of the babies I might see twice a year, so the “commitment” I make  to help raise a child in Christ doesn’t mean much since I’m not a part of their lives. If I ever come across that kid in the hallway, I promise I’ll do that!

As the parent, we’d just stand there as the crowd said its reassuring words, and I’d feel thankful and loved, but once we walked off stage, that was it. Our brief moment on stage was over. 

The Little Man’s Dedication – April 2011
Yesterday, I found myself having flashbacks to my wedding. It’s been almost 9 years since I recited vows in front of my family, friends, and church members. My wedding vows were extremely important and they’re words that have formed and shaped my life.

I made a commitment to my husband; to love and cherish him, in sickness and in health for as long as we both shall live. . . 

So, why wouldn’t the vows to my children be the same? 

Just as I made these vows to my church family, I make these same vows to you to help me keep my promise to not just Baby Z, but to the Little Man too.

Going forward, and as soon as “survival mode” is over, I want to do a better job of implementing God into our lives. Over the next few months, it’s important that Tim and I sit down and discuss how we want to model Christ to our children.

I think we have the church attendance thing down, but what we’re lacking is God in our every day lives.

Do we want to pray before meals? How about at bedtime?

Do we want to start reading the Bible daily or incorporating it subtly?

We give, but how do we want to show them giving? 

Most importantly, are we showing “what Jesus would do”?
(too corny?)  
Although the new style of Baby Dedication puts more responsibility on the parents, we still need the help of our church family too. After service, everyone received a copy of Baby Z’s first Rookie Card. Each card had his birth stats and our prayer for our family during his “Rookie Year.” This make me feel good because I know even if we fail spiritually, there are still others backing us up in prayer
Have you made this commitment to your children in your Faith? 
How do you make sure to honor those commitments? 

Baby Z’s Photo Debut

Today marks 4 weeks since Baby Z’s birth, and this past weekend we were able to get a hold of his newborn photos! 

I love newborn shots because they really do capture a moment in time. These photos were taken when he was exactly 10 days old, and although that was just a few weeks ago, he already looks like a different kid! (It’s amazing what a difference a pound or two makes.) 

Two years ago, we used Plano-based photographer Rachel Cooke when the Little Man was born. (You can see his newborn session here.) 

I was a little nervous about these photos because I felt like I had a lot working against me. I had intended on getting new outfits for us prior to baby being born, and that never happened. Instead I ended up digging through my non-maternity clothes, and was lucky enough to pull 3 matching outfits together. 

Then, the only room with enough lighting to shoot in our house is the nursery; which is perfect. . . for shooting in there the first time. I was a little worried both our son’s newborn photos were going to look identical. 

And of course, the morning of, everyone was having meltdowns. . . 

But Rachel is a true professional!

My outfit choices ended up looking great with the backgrounds she chose in our home for the family shots. 

Although there are similarities in both boys photos, she did an awesome job of using completely different poses, props, and backgrounds for Baby Z’s close-ups.

And as for the meltdowns, she has the perfect touch! The Little Man turned into a model in front of the camera, and Baby Z slept the whole two hours during the session!



I’m pretty happy with how they all turned out. 
What do you think?

Welcoming Baby Z: Coming Home!

Before arriving home, Tim and I only thought we were prepared for what life would be like with a newborn. But we were so wrong! 
It’s been much, much better! 
My Recovery
With the Little Man, I had to recover from a 4th degree tear. I spent the first few nights at home sleeping in a recliner in the living room because I wasn’t able to lift my body into our bed or get out of it to be able to nurse or change his diaper. Tim suffered beside me by sleeping on the couch and helping me at all hours with what he could so I didn’t have to move. 

I’m pretty sure I took pain medication for about 2 weeks, and it was at least 4 weeks before I was feeling back to normal. 

With this birth, I was feeling like myself the day we arrived home! Although I was slightly sore, I was down to only 2 hydrocodone a day, and was doing laundry that night. I’ve been sleeping in my own bed the whole time, and have actually managed to sleep at night. 

Baby Z is now 8 days old, and while we’ve been home we’ve gone out to eat, purchased a car, and made a trip to the mall. I’m even off my pain medication with the exception of a pill that helps with the cramping. I’m still “suffering” from a small side effect no one warned me about after a C-Section; swelling. For 5 days my feet have looked like an elephant’s, which has been great entertainment for my husband. But even now, they’re starting to go back to normal.

Unlike with the first, we actually might remember a lot of this experience and it won’t be all a blur of bad memories! 

What We’re Doing Different
Adjusting to being a family of 4 hasn’t been easy. Tim and I have basically split up parenting duties. He’s taking care of the Little Man while I take care of the baby. Of course, I’m feeling some slight guilt with this arrangement because I miss hanging out with my little guy. (But now I know how my husband feels working 5 days a week and missing out on all of the things he’s doing.) We try and switch it up when we can, but Baby Z is basically eating every 2-3 hours which means he’s sort of attached to me. 

Which brings me to our other change. . . we’re trying the co-sleeping arrangement for a week or so until he gets adjusted; something we never did with our first. This child must be addicted to my smell because he knows the minute he’s away from me! He’s also had some terrible tummy issues and gas (our fault) which has made swaddling really uncomfortable for him. 

So, since his birth, he’s spent most lights laying next to me or on me while we’ve gotten some much needed sleep. Right now because of the co-sleeping he’s only waking up every 3 1/2 – 4 hours for a feeding, and then sleeps the rest of the time. 

Being a Big Brother
The Little Man has adjusted REALLY well to being a big brother. He comes running into our room each morning to give his brother a kiss and hug. He just wants to touch and look at him whenever he can. 

I was prepared for him to be resentful and stand-offish, but he’s been anything but. We were even surprised when we brought him to the baby’s first doctor’s appointment, and he got very protective when the doctor was doing his exam. He does not want anyone hurting him! 
And that’s it! 

We’re now a family of 4, and adjusting to our new life! 
Stay tuned to this blog for more adventures to come! 

Welcoming Baby Z: Special Visitors

One of the reasons we feel so blessed living in Dallas is being so close to our immediate family. Both sets of our parents live within 15 minutes of our home, and starting this fall, all of our brothers (their uncles) will be within a 60 mile radius too. 

Most families aren’t able to make this happen, but when I’m ever in need of someone to give me a hand with the Little Man (or be on-call in case my water breaks), we have a large list of people who are available to help. 

It also makes it really special when you have a child born, and you know there will be a long line of family members waiting at the door to meet your newest little one! 
Uncle Eric & Aunt Sarah

Meet the Little Man & Baby Z’s great grandparents who drove in from Oklahoma City to be here the day he was born. 

Baby Z’s middle name is Scott; and so is his Granddad’s and Uncle Brian’s! 
Uncle Eric & Aunt Sarah brought the 7 week old twin cousins to play! 
Granddad & Grammy meeting their 2nd grandchild. 

We also had visits from Baby Z’s Great Aunt & Uncle, his Great-Grandma Phillips, and his other grandparents NaNa & Papaw (which my husband mistakenly didn’t get a picture of at the hospital!) 

And of course, there was the best visitor of all. . .
The New Big Brother! 
One of the hardest parts about being in the hospital was being away from my son. He was in great hands with his Granddad and Grammy, but it didn’t stop me from missing him like crazy. 
To make sure he still knew we were around, Tim went several times to pick him up from his grandparents, and had some special “Daddy time” with the Little Man at our house or at the park. 

And knowing he wouldn’t be very entertained at the hospital, we tried to revolve his visits around dinner time that way he could eat with us. 

I also made him a special Hospital Box that we kept up there for when he did visit (see photo above). It was filled with all kinds of new trinkets, toys, and snacks that would entertain him for a short time when needed. 

Then, we also had a special new gift for him when baby brother was born to ease my guilt let him know we were thinking about him even though we were with a new baby. 

If you haven’t discovered the I See Me personalized books yet, you need to check out their website. I came across their products when looking for a gift for our nephew and niece’s Christmas gift, and then discovered they had a personalized book called The Super, Incredible Big Brother

It’s a sweet story about how being a big brother will change his life because of all the special things he’ll be able to do for his little brother, and on each page they used either my son’s name or his brother’s name in the story and in the pictures. 

Making the “Cheese” face! 
 Plus, it came with a medal for being a Super Incredible Big Brother! 

Tim now reads him this story before bedtime and we often find him wearing his medal around the house. He’s even started quoting some of the book about being a big brother. 

I promise I only have 1 more post about our new little family addition,
then I won’t bore you anymore!

On Into Christmas Afternoon

Having both families within 15 minutes of each other is such a blessing, and I don’t ever take it for granted, but it makes for interesting holidays at times! 

I’m always so grateful that diving our holidays don’t involve airplane rides or car trips, 
and we don’t even have to pack a bag unless we just want to. 

On Christmas Day, we have the easy job of dividing up our day into two parts. 

Christmas morning was spent with my family, 
and Christmas afternoon was spent with Tim’s. 

Christmas #2
We joined the whole crew including the “new additions” for an amazing Christmas lunch before diving into the stockings and gifts. 
Papaw & NaNa with the Little Man.

Awesome Uncle Brian!

This was a new face from the Little Man I’d never seen before!
He was soo thrilled to be holding his cousin Davis.

And when he was able to hold both Davis & Adelyn, he was in Heaven!  
(I can’t wait to see what he does when the baby is actually his own brother!)

While we were enjoying our meal, we had a very welcomed and pleasant Christmas surprise. . . 
This was right as the snow was starting to fall, and I was so afraid we’d miss pictures of it, I grabbed the camera and headed outside. I wish I’d captured some photos once the snow had really covered the ground, but in Texas, you take what you can get! 

Our Christmas Family Photo!
Presents. . .Round 2!

Brian’s role as Santa has slowly been replaced (which I think he’s thrilled about).
The Little Man knew who each stocking belonged to! 
The day was long, but this was by far one of the best Christmas’s I’ve had in a LONG time! 
Although I loved it last year, turning Christmas around and having it be about the kids made it that much more enjoyable. 

I can’t wait to see how the next few Christmas’s unfold 
as we add more and more children to the mix!

How has Christmas changed for you as kids have come along? 

Twas the Morning of Christmas

My husband and I have a little bit of a different opinion of when Christmas decorations should come down.

I personally feel like decorations should come down the weekend immediately after so that I can begin the process of cleaning. It’s difficult to want to do a big cleanup after Christmas when you know the tree’s going to make more of a mess and boxes will still have to be put away. In our house, we even have to rearrange some furniture once the tree comes down. Besides, how are Christmas decorations related to New Year’s? Do we really need the decorations up to ring in 2013? 

Tim, on the other hand, thinks it’s important to wait until after the New Year. He’d prefer to take everything down sometime around January 6th or 7th once the holidays are long past. 

We decided my doctor’s appointment would settle the argument. If I was in any way dilated or showing progress of this baby coming before January 14th, we’d take it down this weekend. . . 

I lost. 
To stop my itchy fingers from running in there and tearing the tree down, I thought I’d recap our Christmas for you. That’ll keep me occupied for a little bit at least, and let you sneak a peek into someone else’s home on Christmas day!

Christmas Morning
Although we welcome anyone to come over and join us, we made the decision to always have Christmas morning in our home. Not only does this help create memories, but it helps us as parents introduce Santa and other traditions to our kids. 

So, on Christmas morning, we woke up and start the first morning ritual of popping the homemade cinnamon rolls into the oven and opening our stockings. 
Tim and I both shopped for each other, 
and I had been slowly shopping for Mark throughout the last few months.  
Christmas #1
My family arrived around 8:30am, 
and we spent some time enjoying breakfast and each other’s company. 

GrandDad & Grammy with the Little Man. 

Uncle Andrew & Aunt Helen enjoying our first Christmas together in 3 years

Then. we let the presents begin!

Our Christmas tree! 

A rare photo of me. 
(Inside was my much-wanted new GE Slow Cooker!)

One of his favorite toys from the morning. . .so classic & simple! 
After Christmas #1, we jumped in our car for a 

Help in the Kitchen

My long list of holiday parties starts this weekend, and for the first time, I actually feel less stressed about this season compared to others. 

One reason, I don’t have to figure out what I’m going to wear. When you’re 33 weeks pregnant, nothing really looks good, so you just accept it and put on whatever is in your closet. 

Another reason, I’ve given myself permission to not stress out in the kitchen! 

Normally, you’d find me the morning before an event flinging flour across the room, yelling at my husband, and (sometimes cursing) at how terrible my “easy to follow recipe” turned out and praying no one notices the imperfections when I arrive. 

But not this year. . . 

Similar to how my solution to a stress-free dinner are freezer meals, I’ve discovered some great standby’s for those occasions when cooking and baking will destroy your family isn’t an option. 
* * * * * 
Elke’s Market Cafe is a new favorite of mine except I have to drive a little to get there. I was first introduced to one of their Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pies at Book Club, and loved it so much that I made a trip up to Allen the day before Thanksgiving to buy a pie for our big family lunch

They’re a little on the higher end for pricing, but for a special occasion or if you want to cheat and try to pass it off as your own, it’s definitely worth it! :) Elke’s does an amazing job of having some party staples, but making it completely unique. For example, if you need a party dip, they offer flavors like Pecan Cheddar, Brisket Queso, Smokey Almond Jack, and Spicy Artichoke Dip. ($4.50-1/2 pint, $8-pint)

They also serve a large variety of sweets like their cakes, pies, cobblers, and cookies. A typical 7 inch round cake will cost $16, but how can you go wrong with Coca-Cola Cake, Texas Chocolate Pecan Cake, Creamy Coconut or Lemon Lime Pie

* * * * * 
Honeybaked Ham is one I’ve already shared with you, but it’s a definite on my list. And yes I know Thanksgiving has passed, but think more outside of the box than just a ham or turkey. If you’re expected to bring an appetizer or snack to a holiday party, try the Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Or if you need a quick dessert, I’ve had the Carrot Cake and it’s moist and delicious. A few of my DMB contributors tried the Cheesecake Sampler and vouched that it’s legit as well! All of these serve at least 6-8 people (but easily more!) You can find a full menu here
* * * * * 
Festive Kitchen is by far my local favorite! We were first introduced to Festive Kitchen 2 years ago when my son was born. A church member had brought over some of their dinner items as a “new mom” meal for my family. Although she brought a complete meal, for some reason, the mixed green salad in particular has stuck in my mind as one of the most delicious salads I’ve ever eaten. 

For whatever reason, I hadn’t been able to try any of their other foods until recently. You may recall that Festive Kitchen was amazing and provided the DMB contributors with a complete meal the week before Thanksgiving. 

Pork Tenderloin, Carrot Souffle, Pasta Salad, Au Gratin Potatoes, Garlic Rolls...my mouth is still watering. 

Since then, I’ve used them a few times for some other events where I’ve had to bring a food dish and was short on time. (For our Ornament Exchange I brought Cranberry Salsa with Blue Chips, and it was a hit!)

For our upcoming Christmas parties, I’m eager to try a few of their other menu items, and what I love about Festive Kitchen is their list of possibilities is endless! They have over 10 appetizers to choose from, and that doesn’t include their seasonal selections; Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Bacon DipBacon-Apricot Zingers, Parmesan Flans, and Bite Sized Crab Cakes

They also make desserts easy with choices like their Gourmet Cookie Dough (Voted the “Best in Big D” by D Magazine!) with flavors Chocolate Chip Pecan Coconut, Cranberry & White Chocolate, Red Velvet, Snickerdoodles, and more! Or their easy to serve bite-sized cheesecakes, Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies, Apple Cinnamon Dessert Bars, and Pecan Pie Dessert Muffins. 

And remember how I said you could cheat by claiming it to be your own? Well, the Festive Kitchen helps by selling pre-made pie crusts. . .in a pan. . .READY TO BAKE! 

* * * * * 
Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to bake and cook, but when every small minor task is so physically demanding, at some point you just have to give in and let the professionals do it. 

It’s not worth my sanity! 

So this holiday season, go out, and enjoy those holiday parties without the stress by checking out a few of these local Dallas “ready-to-eat” options! 

Do you have any favorite places I need to try? 

****I was not paid for promoting any of the companies mentioned above…they are all just really delicious and felt I had to share my findings! 

Sunday Night Shenanigans

After dinner tonight, we came home and were admiring our growing leaf collection out of the driveway. 

Normally people might rake them up, place them into trash bags, and put them out on the curb for bulk trash, but tonight, we had a better idea.

At 7:30pm, we started raking. Tim went as far as bagging, then walked them into the backyard and began dumping. . . .

After a terrible morning that started with an unexpected ear infection at 4:00am, I love that we can end the day on such a fun memory. These are definitely the moments that make all the bad parenting times worth it. 

And, now thanks to my husband, we have a “playground” in the backyard tomorrow to enjoy this beautiful December Texas weather! 

Wrapping Up November

It’s been awhile since I’ve just talked about my family in a blog post, but since this is what I’m especially thankful for this month, I thought it might be fun to do a little update on where we are and what we’ve been doing in the month of November. 

There’s been a lot of growth (not just in my belly!) and I want to make sure to write about all the changes before they become a distant memory. 

I’ve already shared with you some of the extracurricular activities we’ve been doing such as Ice at the Gaylord Texan with Chevy and our Austin weekend away, but what I haven’t told you too much about is what we’ve been doing at home. 
Sleep Training . . . Again!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve had some major projects get underway. We’ve almost completed the Little Man’s “Big Boy Room” with the exception of the closet, but he’s officially moved out of the nursery and is now a full time resident in his toddler room. 

Last Tuesday, we went cold turkey and he hasn’t been back to his crib since except for one brief nap on Thanksgiving day. His first night wasn’t as horrible as I’d been imagining it would be. It took almost 2 hours to get him to fall asleep. No crying. No fussing. Just running around and exploring with lots of reinforcement to get back into bed. Then he slept until almost 7:30 the next morning; almost 30 minutes later than normal! 

I wish I could say the next few nights were just as amazing, but thanks to a terrible cold, we spent 2-3 nights with him waking up while we helped him back to sleep. Then he’d be awake the following morning anywhere from 5:30-6:15am. 

It hasn’t been until recently that he’s gotten some relief from the cold and is once again sleeping through the night. We’ve got bedtime down and we’re back to the old routine. Nap times are still work, but he’s at least now sleeping in his bed! 

If we could only get him to wake up after 6:30am on average, I’d be much happier. But I guess I’ll take what I’m given!
Sporting the ‘stach for Movember.
(Donate to Tim’s cause here!)
A Joint Thanksgiving
This year, we were technically with my family for Thanksgiving, but since my family and Tim’s family all live within a half mile of each other, we decided to plan a joint Thanksgiving for everyone who was available; which ended up being. . .everyone! 

We hosted all of Tim’s family (Dad, Mom, 2 Brothers, & a Sister-In-Law) plus my family (Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister-in-Law and my Grandma). 

It was a Thanksgiving feast if you ever saw one!

There were 3 types of turkeys; fried, smoked, and baked. Over 6 different sides. 3 types of desserts. Rolls, Pumpkin Muffins, you name it. . .we had it! 
And since Tim and I were the hosts, we had the privilege of assigning seats. So we came up with the perfect table combinations. . . 
The Kids’ Table
The Grandparents’ Table
(+ Grandchild/Great-Grandchild for entertainment!)
At the end of the day, we went outside to take some impromptu pictures, and were able to witness the Little Man’s first rainbowThis was sort of a neat time for us as parents since his current favorite book is a pop-up version of Noah’s Ark.  

He’s read all about rainbows for awhile, and was finally able to see his first one! 

I’ve mentioned this before, but my sister-in-law and I are exactly 4 weeks a part in our pregnancies (to the day), so we captured some shots of us for our baby books. I’m at 32 weeks, and she’s at 36 weeks. 

And if you can’t tell from the belly difference, she IS expecting twins. I am not! :) 
The Little Man’s Milestones
I also haven’t shared much about his growth lately, but over the last month, my baby boy no longer seems to be a baby. From about 17-20 months, it didn’t seem like he was having major changes in his personality or in his learning, but over the last few weeks, it seems like he’s just exploded with changes! 

Here are just a few of the differences I’ve noticed:
  • He randomly came home one day from Mother’s Day Out and started going in circles. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, but he was shouting “Posey” as he ran. Since then, “Ring Around the Rosy” has been his favorite activity. 
  • Just this week, he asked for a tissue and actually blew his nose! We’ve come a long way since using the nose bulb! 
  • Every object has become attached to a person. It can’t just be a “mixer,” but “Mommy’s”. 
  • Then, literally overnight a few weeks ago, he began putting the words together. “Mommy and Daddy’s,” “Mommy’s Car,” “Daddy’s bed,” “red truck,” “hot air balloon,” etc.
  • THEN the next week came broken sentences. Me: “What are you doing?” LM: “Standing on a box.” And it’s been chatter ever since! 
  • He’s currently in love with all of his stuffed animals. I think it’s just a comfort as he transitions rooms, but he currently sleeps with a penguin, Lucy the pug, Brobie, Elmo, Clifford, Cookie Monster (the side of a pillow!), and a lovey. He’ll go looking if one is missing! 
As I said, we’ve got several project underway. From making the nursery transition from toddler to infant again to converting our office into a functioning playroom, you’ll start to see several home improvement posts pop up during the month of December as “nesting” turns into panic. 

With less than 7 weeks to go until we become a family of 4, 
I’m trying to cherish every moment! 

How’s your family doing this November? 

A Lakeway Resort Family Getaway

This past weekend we were treated to a weekend getaway at Lakeway Resort and Spa in the Austin Hill Country. I’ll describe more about the actual resort in a Dallas Moms Blog post coming up this month, but I had to just share a few photos with you from our weekend before I forgot about all the fun we had! 

The resort was amazing! The rooms were beautiful and spacious; perfect for a trapped toddler. 😉 The room’s balcony was overlooking Lake Travis, and had a great view of the lake, wildlife, marina, and sunset. 

The resort was in the town of Lakeway which is about 20 miles southwest of Austin. It wasn’t too far from the city to enjoy quick trips into the Capital for some sightseeing, but the town of Lakeway also has some great shopping and eating destinations. 

We actually got him to say “Cheese” for the camera!
The last time we’d been to Austin, Tim and I were celebrating our 1 year anniversary. We stayed at a B&B near Congress, and saw almost all the tourist attractions like the Bats under the bridge, the Capital building, 6th Street, and Zilker Botanical Gardens. 

This time around, it was much different. Although we had a great setting for a perfect weekend, sometimes kids have plans of their own. We had to accommodate for a teething toddler who didn’t want to be in the car and refused to nap. Instead of “seeing the sights,” we walked the resort grounds, visited the Zilker Park playground, and mostly relaxed on the balcony. 

I really wish we could have explored more of the city of Lakeway and utilized more of the resort’s fun features (like their Happy Hour with FREE drinks and awesome pools!), but with a toddler, we’ll take what we can get. 

I’m so glad that we got to visit because it’s definitely a destination I can see for our future when the Little Man gets a little older!