Tag Archives: Journey to a Year (9-12 months)

Celebrating 1 Year!

Today marks the official first birthday of my sweet baby boy!
It seems like we’ve been celebrating this day for a month now, but it’s finally here! 

Of course, he hasn’t a clue what’s going on;
only that he’s getting to eat sweets for the first time, 
getting cake shoved in his face,
and is having all these people coming up to him smiling and he’s not sure why.

 So . . . that’s it.

I’m officially the parent of a 1 year old toddler. 

My Little Man is actually now a little man. 

How he’s growing:
  • There’s still just 8 teeth, but I’m convinced either his molars or K-9’s will be in anyday.
  •  He still takes 2 2-3 hour naps; however, we’re going to have to work on getting him down to 1 afternoon nap for when he starts MDO at Rainbow this fall. Any advice? 
  • He’s officially done with the baby food. He eats whatever we have on our plates, and prefers that we feed him with our utensils. This is harder on mommy trying to come up with 3 meals a day!
  • He started on cow’s milk this week and doesn’t seem to have any trouble! The next step will be eliminating the milk/formula right before naps and bedtime, and of course, eliminating the bottles all together. (Let the torture begin!)
  • He can walk/run, and can stand from a sitting position on his own when he’s balanced just right. 
  • He still loves Baby Einstein and Baby Signing Time. We’re attempting to introduce toddler shows so we can entertain him on our flights to/from Hawaii this fall, but all efforts have failed. 
Favorite moves:
  • He knows what the bath is! All you have to do is say, “Mark. Are you ready for a bath?” And he’ll stop what he’s doing, and run to the bathroom shouting “batd, batd” all the way. 
  • He loves “The Wheels on the Bus.” If you ever see him turning his arms, that’s what he’s doing! 
  • His new favorite face is a monster face. He squishes up his nose and looks like he’s about to growl! He’ll chance us around the house with this face trying to scare us. 
I can’t wait to see what the next year holds, and feel so blessed to have him in my life! 
The Lord knows he’s changed us for the better!

Let Them Eat Cake!

Yesterday I shared with you a little bit of what went into planning the Little Man’s first birthday party. Although leading up the event, there were a lot of tears (yes, tears!) once the party began, all was forgotten! 

We had such a great time celebrating with our family. I couldn’t have imagined his first birthday party being any better than it was! 
Showing Grandpa E the moves to Wheels on the Bus.
Looking back, maybe we should have had a balloon themed party.
He was more interested in the balloons than his cake!
Being serenaded to “Happy Birthday.”
The cake was fun for a few minutes, then he realized it’s messy. 
Opening gifts!

My cousin Amy and her daughter L (8 months).
We’ve grown up together and now we get to raise our kids together!
Our little family!

But we’ve not finished celebrating yet!

This Wednesday, on his actual birthday, we’ll celebrate with a play date party at the Rec Center with all of his friends. Then reality will finally hit me. . .I have a one year old. 

It’s All In the Details

I have a problem with expectations. 
(My husband will laugh hysterically at this understatement.) 

The Little Man’s first birthday was a huge learning experience for me and a lesson in dealing with expectations. Now that the wrapping paper has been cleaned up and the dishes have been loaded into the dishwasher, I can look back and shake my head at all the silly things I’ve been stressing over the last week. 

From the beginning, I knew that he wouldn’t remember ANYTHING from this party, but in my head I wanted to make it special for me, Tim, and all of our family that has been through this last year with us. I envisioned Martha Stewart worthy decorations, appetizers that would be pinned for years to come, a picture-perfect homemade smash cake, and a home filled with family and friends. 

What I got was this  . . . 

This is my homemade smash cake. 
Uneven fondant circles, rough butter cream icing, and leaning like the Tower of Pisa.

I don’t think anyone will be pinning this anytime soon. 

But that’s okay. Because what I learned today is that it doesn’t matter what the cake looks like. It’ll get eaten. And it doesn’t matter if the cookies I baked weren’t perfectly round because they still tasted amazing. And even though only 12 of 30 family members are able to come, the house was still filled with laughter and love for my son.  

Just like pregnancy and having a newborn, I wish I’d listened to the advice I’d been given about throwing a birthday party for my child. And just like our next child, the next birthday party I’ll do things differently.

My Advice for Your Child’s 1st Birthday 
From Someone Who’s Been There

1) When it comes to decorating, Dollar Tree is your friend. 
They have a whole aisle dedicated to party supplies. You might pay $2.99 for a brown plastic tablecloth at Party City, but you’ll pay $1 at the Dollar Tree. And just like Party City, they’ll have plates, napkins, silverware, and cups to match your table cloth. 

2) Stick with recipes you know, or at least test them in advance. 
Pinterest is awesome for discovering new recipes, but don’t expect them to always work. When trying out new recipes, go with a trusted source like Allrecipes.com or TasteofHome.com. When nap times are all the time you have to work and bake, don’t waste your time with recipes where the only comments are “Those look so delicious!” Look for ratings and comments from users who have tried the recipe before you. It will save you a lot of precious time! Then you can pin the recipes and let others learn from you!

3) Stick to a budget.
Party planning and decorating can get expensive and fast. Basic supplies like balloons, ingredients, invitations, food and party favors can easily add up to $100. Then when you add decorations, bakery cupcakes and/or cakes, drinks, etc. . .it adds up! Come up with a plan, draw out what you want your party to look like, and stay with it! 

4) Stop and smell the roses. 
Remember, when it’s all said and done, you want your memories to be of your child’s happiness on their special day; not slaving away in the kitchen throwing cookie dough at your husband when something doesn’t go right. (Did that happen?)  If it doesn’t all get done, don’t worry about! Your child will be just as thrilled that they’re being celebrated and won’t noticed the little touches you didn’t have time for.

I’ve walked away a better person for having experienced all the trials and tribulations that go into a first birthday, and now that I can take a deep breath and brush all the drama away, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. 
Salted Caramel Turtle Cookies / Gift tags by Whimsical Occassions / Turtle fonts & images by Little Prints Parties
Cake Mix Cookies / Caesar Salad Bits
Banner by Whimsical Occasions / Photo Frames – Dollar Tree

Thirty by 30: No. 4

It’s March, and although I’ve not blogged about my Thirty by 30 list in awhile, I’ve not forgotten about it! 

I’ve got 7 months to get everything crossed off, and I’m well on my way to completing it. This week I’ll spend some time catching you up on what I have done, and what I’ve got in the works! 

For my son’s 1st birthday, I made a point to have some family pictures taken. I wanted some that were more than just a fake background; a portrait that I could have blown up and hang on my wall. 
Rachel Cooke Photography took our photos back when the Little Man was born, and I thought they turned out fantastic, and I was excited to see what she would be able to do. Originally we’d set up our session on a Friday, but it’s Texas. The weather didn’t cooperate, and we rescheduled for the upcoming Sunday. And I was so glad we did! The weather was perfect. 

You can see more of our session on her blog – Rachel Cooke Photography!

Another off the list! 

Dallas is Blooming!

Dallas Blooms began this weekend at the Arboretum!
This is one of those days where I’m so thankful that I’m a stay-at-home mom! 

I can remember when I was working down in the Design District, we’d have beautiful days like today and all we could do to soak in the weather was to open the huge garage door in the back of the studio. Having the sunshine pouring in would completely make up for the smell of the trash cans lofting in from the hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant behind our building and the sound of a drifter talking to themselves in the alley.

Now that I can venture outside of a building, I can take in the sunshine with a much prettier view!

But I’m not the only one who’s now in love with the arboretum. . . 
 With no weeds or dog messes to worry about, the Little Man has free range of lawn after lawn with beautiful, soft, green grass to practice walking in. 

I even found the perfect spot. 
With a view of downtown on one side and White Rock Lake on the other, next time I’ll make sure to bring my Tuffo BlanketKindle, and lots of snacks so we can make a full afternoon out of it.
Oh! I didn’t mention the best part of today. 

A quick stop at our favorite bakery for some delicious cookies! 
If you’ve never been to Casa Linda Bakery, don’t let it’s run down appearance fool you! Just 2 miles down the road from the Arboretum, Casa Linda has the best cakes and cookies in Dallas. I discovered this little gem when I married into the Hurst family, and we’ve been getting our sweets there ever since!

I’ll Do It Myself, Thank You: Invitations

As the Little Man’s birthday begins to creep up on me, I’ve been head’s down on all things party. In an effort to save money, I decided I was going to make everything. From the smash cake and cupcakes to the invitations and envelopes. That’s right. . . even the envelopes. 

I may not have many talents, but the one thing I am good at is stationery. My job pre-mommy was managing a stationery and invitation studio. I handled materials, assembly, and quality control so I know the in’s and out’s of fine paper. Which is why when it came to my son’s first birthday, I wanted the best! 

Slight problem. 

I’m no longer working, so I can’t afford the best. BUT that doesn’t stop me from making it look like I can!

For weeks I’ve been working on the Little Man’s party invitations. First, if you’ve never used Photoshop Elements, I highly suggest you head over to Costco, purchase a relatively cheap copy, and learn some of the basics. When you’re familiar with Photoshop, the world is at your finger tips! 

As I was playing with the invites, I discovered there are shops on Etsy that sell graphics for your personal use. I wanted to do a turtle theme and found some great icons and alphabets from Little Prints Parties

Details of the invitation have been modified for privacy.
Using Shutterfly, I ordered some prints and had my own personalized 5×7 party invitations! 

A Little Extra: If you want to get really creative, you can purchase some card stock and glue it to the back of the invitation to add some thickness and hide the fact that it’s a photo.

But I couldn’t stop there. An invitation doesn’t really impress unless the envelope stands out too. One of my favorite ways to add a little extra “umph” to my envelopes is by adding a liner. 
Now there’s several ways to do this.

The Please Do It For Me Option:  If you really want your envelopes to sparkle, head over to Nest on McKinney Ave. or online to bell’Invito and purchase your envelopes and liners from The Paper Store. They have beautiful European envelopes and Japanese silk-screened liners packaged up and ready to assemble. (Envelopes average $8.50 for a pack of 20 & liners are $6 for a pack of 10.)

The I’ll Do It All Myself Option: Now this takes a little more time, but with a few supplies from Paper Source, you can make select your color of envelopes and make your own liners from your choice of paper. (Envelopes range between $3.25-$8 for a pack of 10; based on sizing.)
. . .This is the route I went. 

If you choose to purchase your envelopes and liners ready to go, then you can skip down a few steps. If you’ve decided to do it on your own, here’s what you’re going to need:

Scissors, Pencil, Envelope Liner Template, Paper for liners

Side Note: Silly me! I made the mistake of purchasing a roll of paper to make my liners. Don’t do that! The paper is very curled and makes cutting difficult; especially if you want to try and cut more than 1 at a time. Also, don’t purchase paper that’s over text weight; meaning it shouldn’t be any thicker than a piece of computer paper. 

Step 1
Cut your paper into squares leaving just enough for your template size. 
Draw around template, and cut out the shape. 
If your paper is perfectly flat, you can cut out several at a time using a paper cutter. 

Step 2
Glue about 1/4″ of the tip of the backside of liner. 
DO NOT glue the whole backside of liner. 
It’s unnecessary. It just wastes your time and your glue. 

Step 3
Slide liner (glue side down) into envelope. 
Press firmly along the edge where you glued starting from center and working your way down. 

Step 4
Let your envelope dry before folding. 

The easiest way to make any invitation or piece of stationery beautiful. 

The creativity doesn’t stop here!

If you really want to be unique, 
use a photo from a magazine or pages from an old book for your liner. 

The possibilities are endless!

You’re Bored Already?

Around the time my little guy turned 9 months old, I remember being so excited that he was getting to the stage where he could start to play independently for 20-30 minutes at a time. He would sit on the kitchen floor or in his room and move about without straying too far. On a good day, he’d even sit for an entire Baby Einstein or Baby Signing Time video. I was able to get the dishes done, pick up his room, and even start on dinner without feeling like I was having to constantly stimulate him.

Now, he’s walking and things aren’t so easy anymore. We’ve managed to contain him to the front room that we’ve somewhat converted into a toy area, but even then he’s not entertained for very long. Toys are apparently boring after 5 minutes! 

Now I’m not a completely ignorant when it comes to independently play. I have a few tricks in my back pocket. 

For example, Tupperware Explosion
We have the unfortunate situation where most of our cabinets are below the counter tops, so for safety, he’s not allowed in most of them; with the exception of 1.  

This turns into . . .


I told you . . .I’m crafty. 
You never would have guessed that I was a teacher, would you? 

Another idea I’m contemplating is a Busy Box; a box he can go into with different objects (Popsicle sticks, straws, plastic spoons, etc.) and activities (ie: rice noise maker, family picture matchup). I’m just going to have to be okay with finding objects randomly thrown about the house. 

It hasn’t taken me long to realize, I need something more for him to do. After looking on the internet for some inspiration ideas, I’ve discovered many of the “ideas” aren’t age appropriate. A paintbrush in my 1 year old’s hand? Glue sticks & scissors? That’s a recipe for disaster! 

I’d almost given up when Dallas Moms Blog decided to do an Activity Link-Up. Parents submit their ideas on ways to keep their little ones active and engaged by linking up blogs. It’s Perfect! I could really use some great ideas on ways to entertain my toddler and keep his attention, so please. .. please link up your ideas here. I’m desperate! 

Early Birthday Surprise

The weather in Dallas has been absolutely amazing the last few days. We’ve tried to soak in as much sunshine as possible since you never know when the weather will take a turn. After all, it was this time last year we were watching the snow melt after a major snow storm. 

For the Little Man’s first birthday, we weren’t planning on getting him much (if anything). With 2 sets of grandparents in town and being an age where we knew he wouldn’t care, spending a lot on gifts for him just doesn’t make sense. We are planning on spending a little for his party by having family and friends over for lunch, and then having another play date party on his actual birthday during the week. 

But a few weeks ago, we were hanging out in the backyard, and I realized it’s pretty boring out there. There are only 2 trees, and both are newly planted so there’s hardly any shade or pretty foliage to look at. So, Tim and I did a little research on some backyard play “things” that we might consider getting him for his birthday. I wanted something that he could use now, but also grow into. 

Today we decided to check out Toys ‘R Us and found a fun toddler play set on sale, so we thought we’d surprise him with an early Birthday present. 

And a lesson every parent has to learn. . .we should have just bought him a box. 
He had a lot of fun playing with this for almost an hour inside the house. 

I can’t wait for this weather to continue so we can spend more time outside!

Molars, I Surrender!

For the last few days, I’ve been covered in snot and drool. 

There are tissues thrown about our house like confetti.

Sounds of moaning and crying fill the house at 5:30 in the morning.

. . .and no, it’s not me!

The poor guy has been working on more teeth since he was 9 months old. He still has just the 8, and the way he’s acting I’m guessing we’ll wake up one day and there will be 4 more. I assumed before his 1 year molars came in that some of the teeth on the sides would show up, but maybe not. 

Here’s to hoping the suffering will end soon. . .for all of us!

Celebrating 11 Months!

As the Little Man turned 11 months on February 14th, 
we were experiencing a lot of firsts!

His first (second, third, and fourth) airplane ride!

His first time to tell me “no.”

His first Valentine’s Day. 

And, THE BIG ONE, his first time to walk on his own! 
(You probably saw my excited posts on Facebook!)

And while Mommy was remembering to capture all these special moments on the Flip and good camera, I realized I never took his 11 month pictures. . . for which I’m thankful to only have to try and shoot one more time. He’s getting harder and harder to keep in the chair! 
You can see his 1 month pictures here!

Happy 11 Months Sweet Baby Boy!