Tag Archives: Journey to a Year (6-9 months)

9 Months Ago Today . . .

Happy 9 Months 
to My Little Man!!
(You can see his 1 month picture here!)

I was finally able to take our monthly birthday picture on time! 
The last few months I was always a few days late, 
and when I would finally take the pictures, they didn’t turn out very well. 

But yesterday, he was so excited to sit in the chair! 
He not only figured out that he can rock it by himself, 
but that he can stand up in in and look down at the dogs. 

Very exciting stuff for a 9 month old!

How he’s growing:
  • He currently have 8 teeth (4 on top, 4 on bottom), and I’m pretty sure he’s working on some more right now!
  • He’s now sleeping from 8pm-6:00am(ish), and will sometimes go back down until 8am. He takes 2 naps during the day; the first one is usually an hour, the second is usually 2-2 1/2 hours.
  • He’s eating stage 2 baby foods 2-3 times a day- loves all veggies and white meats, but is still hesitant about the fruits. He can also chow down on Gerber Baby snacks (veggie sticks, freeze-dried yogurt, and wheels) Puffs, and Mum Mum’s. 
  • He’s down to 5-6 feedings a day; although, only 2-3 of those are through nursing. I wanted to go a year, but when he started (and continued!) to bite me, I decided it was time to start weaning him onto a bottle. He doesn’t seem to mind at all! 
  • He just learned his first sign! Now he goes around signing “milk” for everything.He figured out crawling in the middle of 8 months and now wants to go everywhere.
  • He can pull up on just about anything with a ledge or handle, and has a few bumps to show for it. Baby proofing is just a game for him!
  • He still loves to watch Baby Einstein, but we’ve added Baby Signing Time to his rotation.
  • Bath time is his favorite time of day! He could sit in his inflatable duck and play for hours! 
  • He’s very vocal now about everything. He’ll fall asleep talking to himself, and wake up in the mornings talking. He will get mad if he doesn’t have what he wants and tells me all about it. We’ve had to start using the word “no;” which I hate. :( 
  • He loves to be sung to and read to. His favorite book is Goodnight Moon.

The Little Man meets The Big Guy

I can honestly say I was more excited on Saturday than either my husband or my son. I had no idea what to expect when we got there, but I just knew there was going to be something magical about taking your child to see Santa for the first time. 

And it was so much better than I expected! 

Originally we’d planned to go visit the Santa at Northpark, but decided against it after hearing the advice of some of my fellow mommy friends: 
. . . arrive at 8:30am to pick up a ticket. 
. . . go with someone who can wait in line while you take care of the baby. 
. . . expect to wait at least 2 hours once you get in line.  
. . . don’t forget that ticket!

As amazing as this Santa sounded, I have a little boy who’s having teething trouble and wasn’t napping. I definitely didn’t have all day to stand in line hoping he was going to cooperate, and didn’t want to waste a beautiful Texas Saturday doing so. Which is why we chose to go to the Galleria Mall and see their Santa instead. 

We arrived shortly before 1pm, and found that he was going to be heading to lunch, so we decided to head downstairs and do the same. And I’d say this was the worst part of the experience. (Trying to find a table that was stroller friendly in the middle of a Saturday afternoon at the mall…ugh.) 

After eating lunch, we headed back upstairs around 1:45pm, and the line was already wrapping around the little make-shift village. We grabbed our spot in line and waited.  

At 2pm exactly, Santa arrived!

Before being seated, he walked around the line saying hello and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I could tell from a distance that he was tall and that the beard was real, but as he approached us, I was amazed at how authentic he was! It was as if he’d stepped right out of the poem.

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. 
-Clement Clark Moore
Once the line started to move, within 30 minutes, we were next! 

I was such a nervous mom wondering how the Little Man would react with this stranger. I can imagine to a little one how this would be a frighting; sitting in the lap of a rather large stranger. Knowing ahead of time we were going to purchase the pictures, I just kept repeating to myself “if we can get a faint smile; anything but screaming and crying, I’ll be happy.” 

As we made our way up the aisle to the Man in Red, I had Tim take him over and place him on Santa’s lap. I was too nervous and wanted to be ready to entertain with faces and dancing if needed. But as soon as he was seated comfortably, he immediately started laughing! 

Mark loved everything about Santa; from his beard to his suit! 

When the pictures were finished, Tim thanked him for being so kind, picked up Mark and that’s when he started to cry. He didn’t want to get off of his lap! 

Overall, I couldn’t have been happier with our visit to see Santa. From a parent perspective, there were some behind the scenes nonsense going on with the village workers, but it wasn’t anything the kids would have noticed. Santa, himself, was such a nice old man, and I hope that he’ll be the Santa we can see for years to come.

His only flaw in my mind is that he might be putting the wrong ideas into our children’s heads. . . 

According to Santa, 
Mark wants a Porsche. 


How was your first experience taking your kids to see Santa? 
Was it more memorable for you or for them?

Part of a Community

This past fall, I was invited by a family member to join in a MoPS program at Fellowship Bible Church in Dallas. For those of you who are unfamiliar, MoPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers; although the moms who attend have a wide range of children (including those who are expecting!). It’s a program designed for moms of all different situations to be a part of a community. 

When it began this past September, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, and had some reservations. 

I was going completely out of my element by going to an event where I’d only know 2 people. I’m not very good at socializing or mingling, so I usually avoid these situations if at all possible. Since Mark’s arrival, if I want to meet new people, I’ve been trying to do better about stepping into these situations!

This wasn’t my church. I’d known going in that most of the women would probably know each other from their own small groups or Sunday morning classes, and it was intimidating to know that we wouldn’t have any mutual friend or mutual church experiences. Plus, I almost felt like I was cheating on Richardson East! (Sorry John!)

I knew I was going to be leaving my son in the hands of strangers for the first time. I routinely drop him off at our own church nursery on Sundays, but with women who I know. The only other people he’d been left with were grandparents and family members. Leaving him for 3 hours (even if in the same building) was going to be a little stressful and a learning experience! 

Our first meeting was on September 9th, and I left at noon that day feeling completely rejuvenated as a mom! From the moment I arrived, I was welcomed into a group of 8 other women who treated me as if they’d always known me. When they asked who I was and questions about my personal life, I felt as if they were genuinely interested in getting to know me and in what I had to say. Not once during the entire program did I feel like a stranger.

At each MoPS meeting, speakers would address parenting techniques, ways to manage stress, and stories from the male point-of-view. They were lively and interesting topics that frequently sparked conversations among our tables. We were able to share some of our problems that we were facing as moms and were able to give and great advice from moms who’d been there or who were going through the same issues. I found that each time I left, I wanted to go home and be the best wife and mother I could be! 

As the program rolled on, all of my concerns about going to MoPS slowly died away. Through socializing, I was able to get to know the one other person at my table who attended Richardson East on a deeper level. I discovered that other women in the group also wanted to have a Freezer Party, and we began a group (which you have to do if you’re not a part of one!)I’d discovered that my Baby Boot Camp instructor also attended the same MoPS program; which also lead us to find out we lived on the same street! And during every meeting, not once did I have any concerns about leaving the Little Man. I knew he was in another room in a great children’s environment with people who remembered his name. This reassurance allowed me to really enjoy the “adult time” I was having. 

Thanks to MoPS, I’ve had some great experiences and have met some amazing people!

If you’re looking for a way to meet some other moms in your area and to share your experiences with, I highly suggest MoPS! You can find one in your area by clicking here. Or, I’d love to invite you to visit mine!

Have you participated in a MoPS program before and how was your experience? 
What ways do you find other moms to journey with?
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It’s My Life.

This morning I was browsing through some of the blogs I follow and came across a few that captivated me. With one blog, I was sucked in to a story of the “high life” filled with travel and romance. With another, I was taken into the life of a 20 something woman whose life was filled with Manhattan parties, fashion, and celebrities. As I started to read more about these bloggers’ lives, I couldn’t help but become a little envious. Somewhere in another part of the world, someone’s living a life that’s completely opposite of mine. In 5 minutes, both of these blogs had me convinced that my life was a failure.

Here I am, not even 30, and I’m living in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. I spend most of my days alone with my (almost) 9 month old. My husband works late and often travels to extremely exciting places like Springfield, Massachusetts or Lexington, Kentucky. We’re living on one income which means my days of shopping and eating out frequently are over. I haven’t been on a real vacation since last April. And, the worst part of all, we’re thinking about purchasing a minivan. (It’s like a stab in the chest to say that out loud!)

My house is often a mess, and I spend several hours a day trying to keep it under control. Toys, swings, bouncers, and walkers have taken over every room of the house. The laundry often piles up, and I can’t remember the last time the bathrooms had a good clean. On a good day, cooking a meal out of a cookbook is a highlight. But we usually settle on spaghetti, poppy seed chicken, or Hamburger Helper. Then the dishes might sit in the sink until the next day. 

This is my life now. 
And I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

After some reflection, I realized my house is messy because I have a healthy and happy son who loves to play and roll around. My husband works late and travels to exotic destinations so I can raise our son on our own, and to provide a roof over our heads in a safe neighborhood where families drive minivans because they love large families. And although we haven’t been on vacation in awhile, in reality, it’s because we choose to save our money for other luxuries like a termite-free home, a new air conditioning fan, and that (gulp) minivan. 

I know its human nature to be envious of what others have, but the next time I come across those blogs that make me feel like my life isn’t significant, I want to remember that my life is not worse; it’s just different. God blesses us each with different talents and abilities that lead us all down different paths. 

My life might not be glamorous or sexy, but it’s an important life. I’m a parent raising a strong, Christian Little Man who will one day make a difference in the world. Where we go on vacation next year, what we eat for dinner, or what party we were invited to (or not invited to), . . . for me, none of this matters.  

A Peek Into A Dopps Reunion

This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, The Dopps. Each year, either at Christmas or Thanksgiving, the entire family gets together to celebrate the holidays, but this isn’t your typical reunion. 

My husband, Tim, has 1 living grandmother, 6 uncles, 2 aunts, and countless first and second cousins (plus all their spouses!) All in all, there’s about 100 family members, and each year they find a way to bring everyone together from across the United States for a weekend of bonding, fellowship, entertaining, and eating.

We call it Dopps Camp. 

During the last seven years that I’ve been an official member of the family, we’ve held Camp at places across the midwest; retreat centers in Kansas and Oklahoma, skiing in Colorado, and a few in the big city (Dallas). But we’d yet to have one in our neighboring city to the north – OKC. So, this year, that’s exactly what we did!

Now, if you’re not a member of the family, it can be a little hard to imagine what it might be like to have 100 family members strolling through the streets of Oklahoma City, so I thought I’d give you a little picture play-by-play. 
Welcome to Dopps Camp 2011!

Day 1: We Feast
Thanksgiving lunch was held at the Rose Briar Place;
a beautiful wedding chapel owned by Tim’s Aunt Sharon.
Where else could you have such beautiful place settings besides at a wedding chapel?
And of course, it wouldn’t be Dopps Camp without a souvenir!
A lot of prep time goes into cooking for 100 people (plus leftovers).
Each family is in charge of a meat or side dish, and this year, we were asked to fry a turkey. 
After fully stuffing ourselves, we’re ready for the entertainment. 

While the men are away, the ladies will play!
I was in charge of the ladies’ craft table. 

This year brought the return of the Talent Show.
And boy was there some amazing talent!
With that, we ended Day 1 and my Little Man’s first Thanksgiving! 
Day 2: A Tour of Bricktown
Brunch to get the day started. 
Ice Skating at the Myriad Gardens.
Bowling at Red Pin.
And of course, a Water Taxi ride to drop us off at the door of Zio’s. . .
 We took up 2 boats!
Day 3: So Long
One final breakfast with the whole family before heading our separate ways.

Can’t wait until Winter 2012!
Who’s hosting? 

Starting Traditions

This season marks a time of “firsts” for us as a new family. We’ll be attending our first Dopps Camp (husband’s family reunion) for our first Thanksgiving. Followed quickly behind our first Christmas and all the fan fair that goes along with it. 

For the last 7 years, a lot of the December activities haven’t seemed as important with just Tim and I, but when I start thinking about this being the Little Man’s first Christmas, I immediately began to think about all of the fun events there are to do in the DFW area. 

I really want to start some family traditions, but with all these opportunities, it’s hard to pick and choose! And I know we can’t do them all. 

What are some of your favorite holiday activities to do with your family?

8 Months Ago. . .

My Little Man is 8 months old today!

It seems like an eternity ago that we were taking birthing classes 
and getting ready for him to be in our lives. 

It doesn’t seem like he could possibly be 8 months old yet, 
but at the same time it’s like he has always been a part of our family. 

8 months ago today, his Aunt Sarah and Uncle Eric gave him a Birth Day gift.
Please excuse the tired look and bloating. Let’s keep it real People. I’d just had a baby! :)
I was excited to find that he’s big enough to finally wear it, 
and the weather is perfect for it too!

I think the backside is my favorite part!
Fun Facts at 8 months:
  • He can pull up on almost anything. 
  • He’s inchworming his way around a room. I would consider it crawling even though he’s a little uncoordinated with his legs. 
  • He’s a huge fan of veggies whether in the form of baby food or puffs. We’ve tried all sorts of fruits, and he just doesn’t eat them as well.
  • He prefers to drink out of a straw rather than a bottle or sippy cup.
  • He loves to walk around a room using your fingers as support.
  • He’s now a great sleeper, and such a happy boy because of it.
  • He has 4 teeth, and likes to use them!
Current Stats:
  • Height: 29 inches
  • Weight: 20 pounds, 4 ounces
  • Eyes: Looks like they’re going to be Hazel (Tim wins again!)

Sleep Intervention: 1 Week Later

It’s been a little over a week since we started the Ferber sleep training, and a week since my last posting about it. I’m happy to say by Night 5 & 6, Mark was officially sleeping all the way thought the night. And I’m not just talking the medical sleeping through the night of 6-7 hours. He now sleeps from 8pm to 6am. Occasionally, we’ll hear a whimper in the night, but he goes back to sleep pretty quickly. 

Nap times are also on schedule. He goes down at 10:30am and 3:30am with a little bit of fussing, but once he’s asleep naps range from 1-3 hours. 

He’s even napping right now!

Words cannot describe how much of a difference this has made on our lives. Leading up to the sleep intervention, I’m not ashamed to say that I was not enjoying my son. Anytime I was around him, he would scream and cry in my ear. He was just fussy all the time. Naps times were a beating. I was convinced I was going to break my ankle at the rate I was having to rock him; or at the least he was going to fly out of my arms. 

And now, he’s a completely different kid! He’s happy during the day, and loves to be around me. We’ll have “giggle time” in the afternoons, and he’s just so sweet. I feel like I have my Little Man back. Another benefit is that I’m not falling down exhausted anymore. I’m getting continuous sleep, and I have time to myself during his naps.   

Now, to be completely fair, he did have 2 top teeth come in right around the weekend we started the sleep training. Tim will tell you his behavior was 80% teething. I’ll slightly agree with him, but I think it was more like 40%. I only feel this way because he never slept this way before he started teething either. Nap times were no where near as good as they are now. At the most they were 30-45 minutes.  

I hope by blogging about this it helps a few people. I know the Ferber method hasn’t worked for everyone, but I will say it’s at least trying if you can stick to it. 

In the end, here’s a few of my personal tips I have if you’re interested in making it work:

1) Read the book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems (New,Revised and Expanded Edition) by Richard Ferber. I tried to cheat several times by picking up pieces of information here and there and letting him just “cry it out.” You should really understand the way your child sleeps and the correct process before going forward. It’s a very easy read! 
2)  If you give in one night, don’t give up! Pick up right back were you started. 
3) Make sure that you can apply naps to your sleep training. Getting good sleep during the day helps to get good sleep at night. (It’s all in the book!)
4) Remember, it’s just one week! Each time I felt terrible for letting him cry, he’d wake up smiling at me in the morning and have no recollection. If it doesn’t work, it’s only a week of his/her life, and you can move on and try something different. You haven’t scarred them for life!

And please, I’d love to help if you have any questions!
It has definitely changed my life!

A Spook-tacular Weekend

We have been celebrating Halloween since Friday. 

We’ve had pumpkin decorating play dates to Halloween themed workouts. .

We dressed up for our church’s big Trunk or Treat event 
and ended the holiday with a wonderful meal with family. 

I could go through and try and describe all the fun in detail,
but I thought pictures would do it for me. 

I hope you had a Happy (and safe) Halloween!

Sleep Intervention – Night 4

Last night (or should I say this morning) was definitely a step in the wrong direction. 

Going into last night, I knew he was either going to do one of two things; either he’d continue the pattern of the last 3 nights and go all the way until 7m, or he’d regress and wake up early again. I was guessing between 3-4am. 

Sure enough! I was right! 3:15am rolled around and he woke up screaming. His screams slowed as time went on, but by 5am, I caved. 

Now, in all fairness, the night didn’t start off right, and the minute he woke up crying, I had 0% confidence. Being Halloween, he’d stayed out way too late! When we got home, he was falling asleep while nursing and didn’t eat as long as he normally does. In hindsight, I should have kept waking him up to make sure he nursed fully, but I thought I’d be okay. 

So, when he woke up at 3:15am, my first feeling was he’s waking up crying like this because he’s hungry. And this feeling continued for the entire time before I finally gave in. I was so worried he’d continue to cry through the rest of the night simply because he was hungry. 

Again, looking back, he may have been a little hungry, but didn’t he NEED to eat? Probably not. And if I’d had a support system laying next to me, I could have been reassured, but Tim left town yesterday. It just all seemed to work against me. 

But tonight WILL be better! I now know what I need to do, and will go into tonight with more confidence. 

Parents: 3 – Mark: 1