Monday, December 12, 2011

One Year!

Well, we made it! We all survived Will's first year of life. Oh has gone so quickly! Even though those first few weeks seemed like they would never end, the year ended up being a total blur. One minute I was holding my precious newborn, and the next minute I was chasing my toddler around the house, picking up the messes left in his wake. At least once a day, I think "when did my baby get so big?" Anyway, whether I believe it or not, a year has come and gone, and it truly has been the best year of my life!

Will had his 12 month well check, which included more shots. That is never fun, but he seemed to handle them pretty well this time. He weighed in at 20 lbs. 3 oz. and measured 29 1/2 inches long.  He is a great eater, and it definitely showed at this visit! He's finally out of the 5-10% in weight, even though he still seems pretty tiny compared to other babies his age. Everything else is great. He is very healthy, and for that, I am SO grateful.

Obviously the biggest thing this month was his first birthday! We started celebrating early, so we could celebrate with my extended family and Theron's extended family. Both celebrations were so much fun, and I know Will enjoyed every minute of it, even if he had no idea why he was getting to eat cake, cookies, and ice cream. He also got to celebrate his first Thanksgiving and absolutely loved all the yummy Thanksgiving food, too. He is blessed to have so many wonderful family members, and he ended up with more presents than any one-year-old really needs...especially right before Christmas!

The day of his actual birthday, we had a few of his friends and their mommies over for lunch. They played, made messes, and ate more cookies. It was a lot of fun.

I love his little personality more and more each day. He is constantly making us laugh. He has the cutest ornery look you've ever seen...and the personality to match! He is always testing us. When we tell him "No," he usually does whatever he isn't supposed to be doing with that little ornery look on his face. I usually have to turn away, so he doesn't see me laughing, before I can try to discipline him again. He loves showing off...especially for little girls. He tries to impress them with his awesome dance moves, but so far, they do not seem too impressed.

He is learning more words and often tries to repeat what we say, but he mostly speaks gibberish and LOTS of it. I am convinced he actually knows a foreign language, and I just don't understand what he's saying. He can talk a mile a minute, but goodness knows what he's trying to say. I can't wait for the day that all those words actually make sense! I always wonder what is going on in that little head of his. Sometimes, I'm not so sure I really want to know.

He loves to take turns chasing each other around the house, and I love his squeals as he runs to get away. He still loves taking rides in the laundry basket, and I only agree to it because it's great exercise for me! He has an obsession with socks. He will take them, put them in a pile, then move them to the laundry basket, then back out of the laundry basket into another pile on the floor. He will sometimes play with socks for half an hour. Whatever keeps him entertained. He also loves loading and emptying the dishwasher and emptying "his" cabinets and drawers that he's allowed to play in. Right now seems to be all about sorting and stacking, and I figure all of these messes spread throughout my house are only serving educational purposes, right?

He will also play with any kind of ball. He loves to roll them, throw them, kick them, and put them through the hoop on his new basketball goal. I keep telling myself he doesn't have to like sports. He doesn't have to play sports if he doesn't want. But I keep hoping, that he will want to without any pressure from his mom and dad. So far, it seems like I don't have to worry.

He still takes one nap in the morning for about 30 mintues and one nap in the afternoon for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (unless we're at someone else's house!). He refuses to nap well when he's anywhere but in his bed. I can't say I blame him. I prefer to sleep in my own bed, too! I don't know how long his morning nap will last, but I'm going to hold on to it as long as I can. He goes to bed around 7:30 each night and sleeps until 6:00 or 6:30 in the morning...we even made it to 7:15 one day!

He gets so excited for bath time or "baa ta," but he hates having his hair washed. He DOES NOT like having his diaper changed, but will lay still just long enough for me to get the job done if I sing the BC Clark Christmas Jingle. He still doesn't like us to leave him anywhere, but he usually cries for just a little while and does fine after that. Most of all, he doesn't like to sit still! I cherish the moments that he is sleepy enough to sit on my lap for just a few minutes. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between!

I could go on and on. I love him more than I ever could have imagined, and just when I think I can't possibly love him any more...I do. I constantly thank God for the blessing he is to my life. I know the years will only go faster and faster, and I hope I can live in the moment, through each and every unique phase and just soak them all up!

You are such a blessing to me, Will Cooper! I love you so much!

Friday, November 4, 2011

11 Months

OK, so I've been terrible about blogging lately. It's already been an entire month since I last blogged, and now it's time for Will's monthly update again. Maybe the fact that I have an 11-month-old has something to do with my lack of blogging. Did you hear that? I have an 11-month-old! Can you believe it? I know I can't. This month has been lots of fun and full of action!

Will is a full-time walker now, which means I do not sit down often. Thank goodness for nap time! I have come to realize that nap times are definitely more for the parents than for the child. Can I get an amen? Anyway, we do lots of running around. Will has even learned to "race." He stands at one end of the hall, and I say, "On your mark, get set, GO!" Then, he takes off, going as fast as his little legs will carry him, and ends by clapping for himself and looking very proud. It really is very cute.

He loves playing outside and going to the playground by our house. The swing is his favorite. The kid would swing for hours if I'd let him. Our visits to the park usually end in crying (Will's, not mine), as I tear him away from the swing and put him back in his stroller. He gets over it pretty quickly, though, since we have a nice walk to get back to the house.

This month has been all about messes. I thought that they were bad before, but I had no idea what was coming. This kid can make a mess, and he does it with such joy. He loves to throw all the books off the bookshelf. I hate picking up the books multiple times a day, but he just looks so happy as he's throwing those books on the ground. Plus, it keeps him quiet and occupied for a few minutes, so I can actually do something productive. He's also become a pro at opening cabinets and drawers and throwing the contents all over the room. Again, a big mess, but sometimes it is totally worth it. I love the sound of his "uh-oh" as he throws everything on the ground.

He is quite a talker. Most of the time I have no idea what he is saying, but he just jabbers away. I'm not sure how I ended up with such a noisy child, :). I love it, though! The sound of that sweet voice can just make my day. He has also started doing this crazy laugh. I have no idea where he got it, but it is hilarious. It's almost a cackle. I definitely need to get it on video, so I never forget that sound.

Will has always been and continues to be a great eater. Right now he wants to eat anything and everything that is on my plate. Slightly frustrating at times, but I'm glad he likes trying new foods. He loves pasta and baked beans. A boy after my own heart. He is only nursing once a day now. I have slowly switched one feeding at a time, and it has worked out well for both of us, so far. After his birthday, I think he will be ready to switch to drinking from a cup full time.

He seems like he has grown a lot this month, but it's hard to tell without official measurements. He unofficially weighs around 18 lbs., but I have no idea how long he is. He does not stay still long enough for me to measure. His 12 month check up should be an interesting one. I might have to sit on him in order for the doctor to do what she needs to do.

A few notables and favorite things from this month:
- Will destroyed another cell phone (almost) miraculously recovered after being thrown in water. He threw the first one in the toilet. The recovery was not so successful.
- He loves being pulled around the house in the laundry basket. He also loves putting things in the laundry basket and pulling them around the house.
- He likes to make piles of clothes (dirty laundry...yes, we consistently have piles of it) and jump in them. He actually just falls face first into them. It makes me laugh so hard every time.
- He also likes jumping on the bed. This probably wasn't the best thing to teach him, but he has so much fun doing it, so there's no going back now.
- He loves hugs. He sometimes scares other children with his excessive hugging. I, however, can't get enough of it.
- He likes to dance. At the slightest sound of music, he starts bouncing his little legs and waving his arms.
- He loves to wave at everyone in the grocery store. We make new "friends" every time we go to the store.
- He celebrated his first Halloween by going to our church's Fall Festival, dressed as the cutest lumberjack you've ever seen.

I just adore this boy. He is not the perfect child. He can be grumpy and whiny and clingy. He makes messes and breaks things and constantly gets crumbs all over the floor. But he is mine, and that's all that matters.

Monday, October 3, 2011

10 Months

Well, it's been awhile since I blogged, but you know I wouldn't miss one of Will's monthly updates! Wow, this month flew by. Just like all the rest. I'm afraid this post could get really long because I feel like SO much has happened this month. I'll try my best just to hit the highlights.

The major milestone of the month is that Will started walking! He is still a selective walker. He doesn't walk all the time...he actually still crawls quite a bit. I think it's because he can still get around faster crawling than walking. He is walking more and more each day, though, and I know crawling will be a thing of the past before I blink my eyes.

He is also picking up more words all the time. Along with the words he learned last month, he can say book, milk, more, done, and OOOOOOOOOOO U!

He loves to laugh and to tease Mommy and Daddy. He also loves to clap and cheer for himself. All the time. I'm pretty sure this kid won't have any self-esteem issues. He still loves to cuddle, and I can't get enough of his sweet hugs and kisses. He has a new pal...Mr. Bear. It is a stuffed animal his Aunt Molly gave him, and he loves to drag him around the house, push him in the baby swing, and give him hugs.

Will still loves being outside, so we try to take a walk every day, and most days we play at the park. We've also been meeting Theron at the park for lunch once a week, and Will loves getting to see his daddy at lunch time.

He is a VERY good eater. I've stopped giving him baby food because he loves feeding himself, and he's not quite ready to use a spoon by himself yet. It's quite a battle and a huge mess if I try to feed him, so finger foods it is! He is eating all kinds of foods and doesn't seem too picky...yet. We are still nursing 3 times a day. I honestly never thought I would really nurse for a full year, but now that we've made it this far, I'm determined to finish! I did replace one nursing session with a cup of formula or breast milk if I have any stored. He is doing really well with this transition, and I'm hoping gradually eliminating one nursing session at a time will make the change easier on both of us.

I have no idea how much he weighs now, but I know he is growing. He is wearing mostly 12 month or 12-18 month tops and 6-9 month bottoms. He is also wearing shoes most of the time now since he is walking, and he wears a size 3 or 3.5.

I really can't get over how much I love him. Even when he frustrates me. Even when he wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Even when he throws a fit when he doesn't get his way. I still love him more than I ever could have imagined.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dallas Trip

Every year our Sunday School department takes a weekend trip together. We started this tradition a couple of years ago, and I love it! It is the perfect chance to get away, forget about life back home, and just have fun. This year we went to Dallas, and we had a great time.

We left Friday morning. I'm not someone who just loves road trips, but I do love road trips with lots of friends! We loaded into a suburban and a church van and headed south on I-35. We stopped in Ardmore for lunch. I know you're asking, why in the world did you do that? We really did have a very good reason. One of the girls from our class recently moved to the Ardmore area, and we stopped to have lunch with her. She took us to this yummy little barbecue place where we proceeded to stuff ourselves before finishing our journey south.

We continued our trip to Dallas, getting there just in time before rush hour traffic hit. We checked into our hotel and immediately headed to the pool to hang out and lounge around until dinner time. For dinner, we went to Medieval Times. If you've never been, it's definitely worth going. I'm not much into the whole medieval scene, but it really was a lot of fun. You get a good dinner (eaten with your utensils are provided) and a show. When you come in, you are assigned a color and given a corresponding crown. This is your "team," and you cheer for the knight of the same color. Since I'm all about competition, I cheered wildly for our knight. Unfortunately, he was the first one to die. Such a disappointment. Even though our team didn't win, I still had a great time and would highly recommend visiting Medieval Times if you get the chance.

On Saturday, most of the guys headed to a Rangers game, and the girls went SHOPPING! We're not talking leisurely, walk around and look shopping. We're talking serious, put on your comfy shoes, walk until you feel like your legs are going to fall off shopping. It. Was. Awesome. We started our day at Ikea, also known as Heaven. We spent 4 hours at Ikea and probably could have stayed longer, but we were all pretty worn out and knew there was much more shopping to be done. I found some great stuff including a salad spinner for $2.99! I love that place.

After Ikea, we headed to Sam Moon...another one of our favorites. Who doesn't love cheap purses and jewelry? Then we were off the Stonebriar Mall to do even more shopping. By the end of the day, my legs were almost as tired as after running a marathon. But, I got some cute stuff and had a lot of fun, so it was well worth it. We ended our time at the mall with dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Then, later that evening, a few of us walked to a nearby frozen yogurt place for dessert. A perfect ending to a great day.

Sunday morning, we packed up our stuff and headed to the pool for a brief time of fellowship. I could handle church by the pool every Sunday. Just saying. We ate lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, which turned out to be a lot of fun, since it was the opening Sunday of NFL football. They had all the games on at one time, which was very crazy but pretty awesome, too.

That Sunday was the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. This topic really requires a post of its own, but there was a really cool moment while we were eating lunch. All of the football games had a tribute to 9/11 at the exact same time. They all had giant American flags that covered the entire field. At the exact same time, they all played Taps, followed by the National Anthem. Buffalo Wild Wings had been so loud that we couldn't even hear each other talking at our own table. We were literally shouting just to have a conversation with the person next to us. But when the music started, and Taps started playing, the entire restaurant was dead silent. Everyone sat with their eyes fixed on the nearest TV screen. Somber looks filled the room. Tears streamed down people's faces. And when the national anthem was over, the entire restaurant broke into a wild applause. It was one of the coolest moments I've ever been a part of.

After all that, we loaded back into our vehicles and headed home. Back to the real world. Back to work. Back to families. Back to whatever was waiting for us there.

I mentioned earlier that this trip would be the first time I left Will over night, and I'm happy to report that we both did very well! Theron's mom came to our house and stayed with Will, and I know they had so much fun together. She said he did great, and he was SO excited to see us when we got home. I held up pretty well, too. I definitely missed my baby, but I only broke down one time. I was able to really enjoy myself and have fun with my friends, which I think is important for parents to do. Our whole lives revolve around our kids, and I think it's nice to have some time for yourself every once in awhile. It was very refreshing, and I was so happy to see my baby boy when I got home! I think I might have even had a little more patience with him this week.

All in all, it was a great trip...just like always. I'm so thankful for our church friends. They are the best. I'm thankful for weekends away to act silly, have fun, and do ridiculous amounts of shopping. I'm thankful for a mother-in-law who came to stay the weekend to take care of my baby. I'm thankful for a chance to be refreshed and recharged. Now, I'm already looking forward to next year!

Monday, August 29, 2011

9 Months Old!

Tomorrow, Will will be 9 months old! He has officially been out of my belly as long as he was in there! Oh my goodness, it's gone so fast.

He seems to really be growing lately, and we've had to retire lots of clothes. Which is sad, but also fun because we get to buy new clothes! I think he's still somewhere in the 17 pound range, but we will find out for sure at his well child visit next Wednesday. He is now wearing mostly 9 month shirts and onesies, but he's starting to wear a few 12 month things. He is still wearing size 3-6 month shorts, but I'm thinking he won't be in them too much longer. We finally moved up to size 3 diapers. It was nice to actually be in one size for several months. That way I could stock up and not have tons of diapers leftover when he outgrew them!

His little personality just shines through more and more each day. He is so much fun. He loves to laugh and play games. His favorites are peek-a-boo and patty cake. He loves clapping for anything and everything. We watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Family Feud a lot around here, and he gets so excited for the people on those shows. He claps his hands and looks so proud of them. It's the sweetest thing ever.

I have introduced a few signs (eat, more, and all done). I thought he was trying to sign more a few times, but then I realized he was just clapping. He claps no matter what sign I show him. Apparently, he is very proud that his mom knows baby sign language. Maybe he will "get it"  before too long.

He has also started saying more words. He will even repeat a few words after me. He can repeat mama, dada, uh-oh, and ball. Uh-oh is my favorite. It is very dramatic!

He is so close to walking. He pulls up on everything and cruises around moving from one object to another. We got him one of the push-behind walker toys, and he pushes it all over the house. He's not so great at steering, so he runs into a lot of walls. I go help him turn around, and he's off again. He loves to walk around holding on to just one finger, but if you pull that finger out of his grasp, he squats to the ground. I'm ok with that, though. No need to rush the little man. He gets into enough stuff and makes enough messes as it is!

On a not so positive note, his stubborn side has really shown through this month. He has decided that he wants to wake up between 5 and 5:30 every day. Some days it is even earlier. He stands in his crib and screams until someone comes in and lays him back down. He eventually goes back to sleep. Unfortunately, his mom and dad don't always go back to sleep! This has been a source of frustration for all of us. I've tried several different things, including just letting him stand there and scream (after 45 minutes, I gave up). It could be teeth. He could be growing. I think it's just plain stubbornness. Sadly, I can only blame myself for that trait.

Nursing is still going well. I'm hoping we will be able to continue through 12 months, but I'm just trying to take it day by day. He sometimes seems uninterested, and I'm not sure if it's that he's just not that hungry, or if he might just be getting uninterested in nursing all together. We will see. As far as solids go, he prefers to feed himself, so we're hardly using baby food at all anymore. He is a very good eater and does really well with finger foods, so that's mostly what he eats these days. He loves grapes, blueberries, carrots, corn, and cheese (along with lots of other stuff!).

In a couple weeks, I will be leaving him overnight for the first time. Theron and I are going on a weekend trip to Dallas with some of our church friends, and Theron's mom has kindly agreed to come keep Will for us. I have been doing lots of praying about the whole thing, and I'm starting to have a real peace about it. If you think of us, you might say a quick prayer. I know it's just a weekend, but this mama has a hard time leaving her little guy behind. I know he will have a great weekend with his MeMa.

One of my very favorite things that has emerged is Will's love to cuddle. I love to cuddle, too! After he wakes up from his naps, we cuddle on the couch for awhile, and it's my absolute favorite time of the day. I love his sweet hugs, and when I walk in the other room, I love hearing "mama, mama, mama" as he looks to see where I went. He is my sweet boy, and I love him so very much!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adding Activity to Your Day

I took a short...ok...2 week break, but now I'm back, and I've got plenty to write about! I keep thinking things will slow down (I'm a stay-at-home mom for crying out loud!), but they never do. Granted, most of it is stuff I schedule and bring on myself, but I stay pretty busy, nonetheless. I actually love keeping my calendar full and tend to get bored when I have nothing going on.

However, I do like to have a day at home with absolutely nothing to do, other than stupid stuff like cleaning and laundry. That stuff never ends, though, so I try not to let it ruin a good lazy day.

The only problem with taking such a long break from blogging is knowing where to begin once I come back! A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Since it's technically Wellness Wednesday, I suppose I'll try to write something along those lines and fill you in on everything else later.

As you all know, fitness is a big part of my life. I've written about this a few times before. I've been physically active my whole life, and I really enjoy a good workout. However, since giving birth (almost 9 months ago!), it has been a struggle for me to really fit my workouts in. I've even tried to lower my expectations, and I'm still having trouble. I'm beginning to realize I have to fit exercise into my life however I can. Even if it doesn't look like what I'm used to. I may not have time to go for a 45 minute run or to do an hour long pilates DVD, but I can squeeze little things in throughout my day that really add up. Here are a few ideas that I've incorporated into my daily "workouts."

- Don't sit so much. As a mom, I feel like I am constantly running around, so when Will is napping, I often want to get on the computer or watch TV. Don't get me wrong. I do plenty of this. I began to realize I was doing WAY too much of this. Yes, checking my email, my Facebook, and Pinterest are actually good for me. I need time to sit down and take part in some mindless activities. However, I was finding that instead of spending 30 minutes doing these things, I was spending an hour...or more, which is totally unnecessary. I have tried to start limiting my computer time, and if I watch TV, I try to do crunches, push ups, jumping jacks, and other similar activities while I do it. Just getting up and moving (even if I'm watching TV) burns so many more calories than sitting on the couch or at the computer.

- Make it fun. A lot of times I don't even realize I'm being active because I'm just having fun. Will and I have been taking walks to our neighborhood park every morning before it gets too hot. We don't walk all that fast. We stop to look at dogs and trees and water. We play in the park. I push him on the swing. I take him down the slide. I'm being active, but I'm having too much fun to notice. Will and I also dance every day. Yes, every day. We have several Pandora stations that we love, so I pick one, and we dance. I act ridiculously goofy, and Will giggles and giggles. I love it! Again, it's something active that is so much fun. Have fun. Play with your kids. You'll get a workout, and you won't even realize it.

- Do the simple things. Park further away at the store. Take the stairs whenever you can. Before you put the groceries away, lift each bag a few times. I've even been known to do crazy things like walking in place while I wash dishes, doing lunges across the kitchen while unloading the dishwasher, walking laps throughout my house while talking on the phone. All of these little things add up.

These are just a few ways I try to squeeze in extra activity throughout my day. Yes, I still try to do a "formal" workout a few times a week, but on the days that doesn't happen, I just try to keep moving. Adding any extra movement and activity to your day burns additional calories, builds muscle, and gets your heart pumping.

How do you make time for your workouts? What tips do you have for squeezing extra activity into your day? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's already Thursday again?

Hey there! So...I missed a few days. I'm not really sure where they went. I'm not really sure this whole schedule thing is keeping me on track the way I thought it would. I'm not really sure it matters, though.

Anyway, I'm glad this is supposed to be a random-thought Thursday because I have lots of random thoughts to throw at you. My absolute favorite kind of post! Here they are.

* Theron and I were in charge of taking the youth group from our church to the Youth Evangelism Conference in Norman over the weekend. It was an awesome weekend filled with great Christian speakers and bands. We had a great time, and I hope the youth group had a great time, too! Sometimes I feel like everyone in the church, all ages, would benefit from going to a youth conference, camp, etc. It seems that they tend to worship much more freely and passionately than we do in our churches on a typical Sunday morning. It's very refreshing.

* My parents and my sister came to take care of Will while Theron and I were in Norman. They all had a great time. Will was spoiled rotten, and my family loved every single minute of spoiling him. I am so thankful for them and for my spoiled little boy. Even though I didn't spend the night away from him, it was the longest we had ever been apart, and we both made it through without any problems.

* My baby is transforming into a little boy right before my eyes. He is pulling up on everything...everything! It makes this mama a nervous wreck! I look up, and he's standing at the fireplace (the brick fireplace!). I turn around, and he's cruising around the coffee table (on our hardwood floors!). I open the refrigerator, and there he is...standing up, pulling out whatever is in his reach. He comes and tugs at my hands and pulls at my legs, begging me to help him walk around I try to get him to crawl, to sit, to play in the floor, but he will have none of it. I give in and walk him around the house, bent over and back aching. I know my permanent hunchback is coming soon.

* Preseason football starts tonight! I don't even care who's playing. I'm just ready for football season to be in full swing. There will finally be something worth watching on Saturdays again! Even though I'm more of a college fan than an NFL fan, I'll take whatever I can get.

* My sister-in-law leaves for Russia in just over a week. She is going to be teaching there for the upcoming school year. I try not to think about it because it brings tears to my eyes. I am so proud of her and so happy for her, but I'm going to miss her so much. I admire her obedience and her willingness to go where God wants her. Please keep her in your prayers as she starts on this new adventure.

* It is raining. Glorious wet stuff falling from the sky. It has rained here 3 days in a row, and that is nothing short of a miracle. We have also had temperatures under 100 for the past couple days, and I am loving it! I've always been more of a summer person, but I've never been so ready for Fall! Thank you God for this relief.

* Lastly, I'm just grateful. Grateful for all I've been given. Grateful for God's provision. Grateful that He is in control, and I am not. Just grateful.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Great Read for Husbands and Wives

Today, I'm combining Tip-Worthy Tuesday and Wellness Wednesday. I'm doing this for a few reasons.

1. I didn't write anything yesterday.
2. It's 112 degrees outside. That makes me feel lazy.
3. This could be considered a tip (11 tips actually) and it will help your marital wellness (that's a real term, right?)
4. I don't feel like writing 2 separate posts.
5. Did I mention that it's 112 degrees outside?

I came across this article on Twitter and thought it was great! I wish I would've written it myself, but I didn't. I DO, however, agree with everything that is in it. Ideally, I think it would be great for seriously dating/engaged couples to go over together before they get married. However, I think it's still worth looking at if you're matter how long it's been. They are good reminders for all of us!

So, here it is 11 Things a Husband and Wife Must Agree On by Mark Merrill.

Read it, and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 1, 2011

8 Months Old

Saturday, Will turned 8 months old. This month, of course, brought lots of changes. It was a month full of exploring, discovering, and making messes!

He has mastered crawling...even though it is a pretty crazy crawl. He can get anywhere he wants to go and has fun crawling from room to room finding things to drag out. My house constantly looks like a tornado just went through it, but I don't even bother trying to pick up until after Will goes to bed. There is just no point. So, if you stop by my house any time soon, just prepare yourself.

Now that he can move around on his own, he is discovering lots of new things. He usually "discovers" them by putting them in his mouth. I am learning all about babyproofing even though I haven't done too much of that yet.

Being more mobile has also helped him communicate better. Several times a day, he crawls to the back door and sits there and whines like a puppy. He loves going outside, but this 100 degree weather hasn't allowed for too much of that. I also think he is beginning to understand what he is saying when he says "mama."  He has started crawling up, grabbing my legs, and saying it over and over until I pick him up. I try to remind myself that this is sweet and not just annoying when I'm trying to get things done around the house.

He is also understanding several words now including: eat, outside, bath, and uh-oh. He thinks it  is hilarious to throw things on the ground, so someone has to pick them up for him. I do not think this is so hilarious. He still loves bath time. There have been several evenings when he has crawled into the bathroom and banged on the side of the tub until we put him in.

Another one of his favorite things is to look at himself in the mirror. He loves to "kiss the baby" he sees in there!

He saves plenty of kisses for me too, though!

He is growing all the time. I don't have an official weight this month, but I think he's getting close to 17 pounds. He's wearing some 6-9 month and some 9-12 month clothes and size 3 diapers. He loves trying new foods, especially when he gets to feed himself! He's tried lots of finger foods this month. Some of his favorites are toast, blueberries, and of course, Cheerios.

He is getting very good at pulling up and prefers walking (with assistance) over crawling. I'm sure walking is in our near future, and our lives will change yet again.

He's so sweet, so much fun, and quite the charmer. I've had to allow extra time for grocery shopping, so he can stop and flirt with all the old ladies.

He is seeming less and less like a baby every day. I love seeing his independence and his personality emerge, but it is sad to see my baby grow up so quickly. Each stage is so much fun, and I'm always looking forward to seeing how he will grow and change.

Happy 8 months, Will! Best 8 months ever.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

This is one of my very favorite casserole dishes! It is so easy, and SO yummy.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

1 cup shredded Mexican Cheese blend
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 can cream style corn
1 (8.5 oz.) box corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
1 (10 oz.) can red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded chicken breast

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1/4 cup of cheese and next 7 ingredients (through green chiles) and mix well. Pour mixture into a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until set. Let cool for a few minutes, then pierce entire surface with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Cover with the chicken and remaining cheese.

Bake at 400 for 15 more minutes or until cheese is melted.


Our Attempt at a Good Family Picture

I mentioned that Theron and I were in his brother's wedding last month. We thought it would be a great time to get a good family picture. I'm not so sure we accomplished that, but I thought you all might enjoy looking at our attempts. I don't think we win the "Most Photogenic Family" award, but at least you might get a good laugh. I know I did.

Attempt #1:  I have squinty eyes and look like I'm talking, Will's covering his face, great picture of Theron

Attempt #2:  I am laughing, Will is crying, great picture of Theron (again)

Attempt #3:  I am clearly straining, but still trying to smile as Will wiggles in my arms. Theron is looking at us thinking...can't you two just get it together!

Attempt #4:  More squinty eyes from me, Will is distracted by something going on beside us, another great picture of Theron

Attempt #5:  As good as it's going to get. Clearly no one is calling us to pose on their magazine cover.

We gave up after this one. We knew it really wasn't going to get any better. Maybe I will just photoshop our Christmas cards this year.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Food Network Healthy Eats Blog

I know it's Thursday, but I didn't get around to doing this yesterday. So sue me.

OK...don't really sue me. Just read this and pretend like it's Wednesday. Then read my next post and pretend like it's Thursday. OR...just read the next post and know that it really is Thursday. Your choice.

I happened to stumble upon the Healthy Eats blog from Food Network. I pretty much love all things Food Network, and this is no exception! I found it on Facebook, so I ventured over to check it out and proceeded to waste a good amount of time. I liked it so much, I thought I would share it with you. That way you can waste time...or you can check it out when you actually have time to sit and read awhile. It's full of lots of good information!

If you're interested in healthy eating, it's a great resource. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tip-Worthy Tuesday: Freezing Cooked Meat

I know some of you will read my tip today and go "Duh." That's ok. It took me a long time to figure this out and maybe there are a few other people out there who haven't thought of it either.

My very simple tip for the day is...cook your meat before you freeze it. Genius, right? It seems so simple, but it's something I just started doing. It takes a little bit of planning and preparation (not much!), and it is such a time saver.

It seems like I was constantly forgetting to thaw the meat I was planning to use for our meal that evening. Then I would have to microwave it, stick it in water, or just cook it from its frozen state. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the meat has a different texture when you implore one of these thawing/cooking methods rather than letting it thaw completely before cooking.

Because this was an issue, I would occassionally resort to buying (don't judge me)...canned chicken. Honestly, I don't think canned chicken is that bad...other than the smell. For me, though, it seemed ridiculous to spend $2.00 or more on a can of chicken when I already had chicken in my freezer.

Finally, a solution! It took me awhile, but I finally had a great revelation. Instead of cooking just one or two pieces of chicken at a time...I could cook the whole bag! Instead of cooking just part of that ground beef...I could cook all of it! Sometimes the simplest things are the most exciting to me.

So now, I frequently cook big batches of meat at a time, and freeze them after they have been cooked. For the chicken I usually drizzle it with a little olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and bake it. For my ground beef, I usually brown it in the skillet, seasoning it with just salt and pepper as well. If you had certain dishes in mind, you could season the meat any way you wanted. I just find it easiest to keep it simple and add seasoning or other flavors later on.

I put the cooked meat in freezer bags and label them, so I know how long they've been in the freezer. Then, when I'm in a pinch, I pull out whatever I need, and it's ready to go.

Hope this helps you like it has helped me!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mommy Monday: Getting Back on Track

Happy Monday! So, I already missed a few days (can't say I didn't warn you!), but I was doing more important things like having play dates and spending time with my parents. Anyway, I'm back now with a few thoughts for Mommy Monday.

I previously wrote about trying to be more flexible and not worrying too much about our schedule. We had a few weeks in a row that were just those kinds of weeks where it was really hard to stick to our schedule (VBS, wedding, travelling, etc.). I hoped these weeks would teach me a little bit about being flexible, and they did, but they also taught me the importance of being consistent.

I would love to say after we got past those few weeks, we got home, got back on our schedule, and things easily returned to normal. However, that is NOT AT ALL the way things went. Instead, the next few weeks were hard. Really hard. And frustrating. Really frustrating.

My typically happy, easy-to-handle, low-maintenance baby was suddenly my fussy, difficult, not-so-happy baby. It was all because our schedule was off, his naps were inconsistent, and his nighttime sleep was not good at all. Even though I was hoping things would instantly go back to the way they were, it actually took a lot of hard work and patience (NOT my strongest quality).

I am happy to say things have finally returned to normal, and my happy baby is back! Here are a few things I learned throughout this process:

- BE CONSISTENT - This was the most important thing I took away. Yes, it is ok to have days where you don't stick to your schedule. In order to get back on track, though, you have to be consistent...even when it's not easy. There would be days Will wouldn't want to nap at all. He would fight it as hard as he could. The more I gave in, the more difficult it was to get him to nap the next day. When I finally decided to be consistent (despite his protests), putting him down for a nap got much, much easier. I had to endure a couple of hard days, but having a baby who goes down for regular naps is well worth the effort. He is happier. I am happier. The world is a better place.

- DON'T STRESS IF THINGS DON'T GO EXACTLY THE WAY YOU PLANNED - This one is hard for me. I like to have a plan, and I like that plan to work exactly the way I want it to. Unfortunately, babies don't always do everything they are "supposed" to do. Some days I would want Will to nap for an hour, and he would only nap for 40 minutes. I would get so upset and so frustrated, even though he was waking up happy and didn't seem to be tired. After much stress, I decided just to quit worrying about it. Turns out, he really does know how long he needs to sleep most of the time. Somedays he needs a longer nap. Somedays shorter ones work just fine. The important thing is to pay attention to if he seems well rested no matter how long he actually sleeps.

- FIND A BALANCE - As with most things in life, I think this is key. As much as I would like to sometimes, I can't stay at home all day every day just so Will can nap and eat at exactly the same time. Honestly, I would go crazy! However, dragging Will out of the house every day with no consistency doesn't make sense either. I try to protect his schedule as much as I can, while also trying to be flexible here and there.

All of this is a work in progress. I'm sure this is much easier for most people, but for me, it truly takes a daily effort. I SO wish I had that easy-going, laid-back attitude I see in other people, but I don't. I am a high-strung, control freak, perfectionist, and it takes everything I have in me to just RELAX. Isn't crazy that it requires so much effort for me to relax!?!

This is something I've struggled with my whole life, but being a mom has taken it to a whole new level. Being a parent definitely reminds me of all my imperfections on a daily basis! But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: No Excuses Workout

I came across this SUPER fast workout on Pinterest a couple weeks ago. My favorite excuse for not working out is...I just don't have time. This workout totally eliminates that excuse. It is fast. It is hard. It is well worth it.

No time to workout? Try this today!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tip-Worthy Tuesday: Grocery Shopping without Coupons

I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted to write about for my very first "Tip-Worthy Tuesday." The options are limitless. I come across all sorts of amazing "tips" every day, and obviously, I am not the best with decisions.

I finally decided that I would write about something I actually do (instead of something I just want to try).

We all know that couponing and even extreme couponing have become all the rage. I am not against coupons, but I do think some people are taking it a little too far. It seems that some people have turned it into more of an obsession than a money-saving strategy. If couponing works for you...awesome! However, if you're NOT the coupon queen (like me), I have some tips for grocery shopping on a budget without coupons.

1. Plan your meals and make a list - Whether you plan your meals weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly really does not matter, but making a meal plan can help you save money. I do weekly meal plans because that works best for me. When making my meal plan, I take into account what I already have on hand...what's in the freezer? the pantry? etc. I try to plan meals that make the most of the ingredients I already have. Then, I make a list of everything I need (NEED being the key word here), and I stick to my list.

2. Write your list by aisle - I am very familiar with the places I normally grocery shop, and I'm sure you are too. So, when I'm making my list, I walk through the store in my mind and write down what I need aisle by aisle. Sometimes I'm off a little, but it's usually pretty close. This keeps me focused while I'm in the store, so I go down only the aisles I need (there's that word again!). By avoiding other aisles, I avoid throwing extra items into my cart. If I don't see it, I don't buy it. Making my list in this way helps me stick to just the items I actually came to buy.

3. Pay attention to prices - I always look at prices and make mental notes of them in my head. I suppose you could actually write them down if you wanted to. Then I sort of know what things cost at each place I shop. If I know something is much cheaper at another store, I'll make a special trip for that item. If I know I'll only save a few cents, I don't waste my time. Being aware of prices at the places you normally shop can help you make good decisions on future shopping trips.

4. Pay attention to sales ads - Know what stores have on sale and plan accordingly. If a certain item (or items) you know you'll use have been marked way down, buy them...even if you don't necessarily need them right then. This goes back to paying attention to prices. If you are aware of what things normally cost, you will be more aware of when they are on sale. I also try to limit the number of stores I shop at each week (another reason I'm not a fan of couponing) and paying attention to the sales ad helps me decide which place would be best to shop that week.

5. Limit the amount of processed foods you buy - People always complain that eating healthy is too expensive. I agree...IF you are buying all of those so-called "diet" products. It is true that buying things marked low-fat, fat-free, reduced calorie, or any of the pre-packaged meals or 100 calorie snack packs can get very expensive. My solution? Stop buying them...along with lots of other processed foods...and buy fresh, whole foods and ingredients to make your own food. Buying fresh produce can get expensive, but if you buy it in place of processed foods you are buying, it can drastically help your spending, and you eat healthier, too! Have fun in the kitchen and see what "packaged" foods you can make yourself.

6. Don't be afraid of generic brands - I rarely buy name brand anything. Generic brands are usually just as good and sometimes, they are even the exact same foods processed in the exact same manufacturing plant! Don't let the plain packaging scare you away. Of course, there are some things where the generic is just not as good. However, most things, especially the basics (frozen/canned veggies, flour, sugar, pasta, etc.) are just as good and cost much less. Don't pay for the pretty outside when you're getting the exact same thing on the inside.

7. Make the most of what you buy - In general...don't waste! Use what you buy and only buy what you will use. Buy products that you can use or store before they expire. Don't stock up on something just because "it's a good deal" if you know you won't be able to use it before it goes bad. Sometimes, buying in bulk can save you tons. Sometimes, it just creates tons of ways. Get creative and figure out how to use up everything you buy. This makes your food and your dollar go further.

8. Use coupons when it makes sense - If you have a coupon for something you are planning to buy...use it! Like I said, I'm not against couponing. Every cent you can save helps. I always try to find coupons for the items I need or items I buy frequently. I don't go out of my way to clip coupons for products I never buy, never use, and don't need 100 of. Coupons are good, but you can shop wisely without them.

I hope these tips are helpful whether you're a coupon lover or not. What tips do you guys have for saving money at the grocery store? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Starting Fresh

So, instead of trying to catch up...again. I'm just going to start fresh. And this time, I have a plan. Taking the lead from several other bloggers, I decided I need a schedule (you all know my love for schedules!). I think this will help me decide what to write about each day and keep me more consistent in my posts. I'm sure I will still miss a few days every now and then because that's just the way life works. Hopefully, this will help me post a little more regularly, though.

Here's the schedule:

Mommy Mondays - On Mondays (other than today) I'll share my own mommy stories and other helpful tips, articles, and other mommy-related things I might come across.

Tip-Worthy Tuesday - I'm always finding great tips for saving money, being organized, DIY projects, etc. On Tuesdays, I will share some of my favorites with you.

Wellness Wednesday - Wednesdays will be related to health and wellness. It could be any kind of health...physical, spiritual, name it. I hope to include things about fitness and healthy eating, but I want to throw in some other types of wellness too. We'll see.

Random Thought Thursday - This day is for all the things I want to write about that don't fit into any other category. Trust me. I have plenty of random thoughts in my head at all times. This day should never be difficult to find something to write about.

Foodie Friday - On Fridays, I'll feature a recipe or a restaurant/food review. I'm hoping to start posting A LOT more recipes. I've tried some good ones recently!

Then, I'll take the weekend off to spend time with my family and to do some computer detox. I could really use it!

Since today is Mommy Monday, I'll just mention that I officially have a crawler. He is an awkward crawler, but a crawler nonetheless. He makes his way around the house, dragging that poor left leg behind him. But, he gets where he needs to go and lots of places he doesn't! I'm loving that he can get around all by himself, but I'm noticing that the word "No" comes out of my mouth a lot more frequently. It is so much fun to watch my little guy explore his surroundings. Everything is so new and interesting to him, and you can just see the curiosity on his face. I love each new stage and this one certainly is a fun one.

Happy Monday! Hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

7 Months Old

Thursday, June 30, Will turned 7 months old. Each month seems to go by faster than the month before! I can't believe he is more than halfway to his first birthday...that seems so crazy to me.

No check up this month, so I don't have an official weight, but according to our bathroom scale he weighs about 16 pounds.  I can also tell he's getting longer because all of his onesies are too short! Right now he wears mostly 6-9 month onesies and rompers and 3-6 month shorts. The kid has no waist or butt, and unfortunately, he comes by that quite honestly.  He is still wearing size 2 diapers, but I think we'll be moving up to size 3 pretty soon.

One of the major developments this month was his ability to be much more mobile (say that three times fast). He wants nothing to do with the traditional method of crawling and has established his own unique combination of crawling and scooting. It looks like he's going to crawl, but then he pulls his bottom forward and scoots. As soon as he reaches his desired destination, he rolls over to his back and then pushes himself back up to a sitting position. The great thing for me is that he really doesn't move around too much unless he needs to get something (a toy, a bug, a piece of paper, etc.). Once he gets what he wants, he is very happy to sit there and play with it until his mean mom comes to take it away (only the bugs and sometimes the papers). He gets very frustrated when he can't get himself back up to sitting, but he is getting much better at it.

He has also started pulling up on things. He loves standing up, and even though he thinks he can stand by himself...he can't. He will pull to standing and let go of whatever he pulled himself up on. This has resulted in a few falls and minor crashes, but hopefully he's starting to get the message! He still loves to jump, and I truly believe he might hop instead of walking. No joke.

Will got to swim in the big pool for the first time this month. To say he loved it is an understatement. He was content in his float for quite awhile, but I wanted to really let him play in the water, so I got him out. He thought it was the best thing ever! He kicked his little legs as fast as he could, and he could not get enough of splashing. I'm not sure who was more worn out at the end of or him. Either way, I can't wait to go again.

Eating and sleeping are still going great. We haven't met a food he doesn't like. He also started eating finger foods this month, which is nice for both of us. Right now he is mainly eating Cheerios, Little Puffs, and small pieces of banana. I love it because this is a great activity for him while we're eating or while I'm trying to cook. His sleep schedule hasn't really changed, although, we're starting to phase out the third nap. Some days he takes it...some days he doesn't, and he seems to do fine either way.

Will really loves to "talk," especially in the morning. Right now his favorite thing to say sounds like blah...blah...blah, which absolutely cracks me up. He has thrown in a few mama's and dada's, and even though he doesn't know what he's saying...we still love it!

He is a little bundle of energy and his sweet personality comes through more and more each day. I can't get enough of his hugs and his slobber-filled kisses. His sweet smile absolutely melts my heart.

Happy 7 months Will Cooper Stoltzfus! I love you more than you'll ever know!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Last Week

You might have noticed I was totally M.I.A. last week. It was a very busy week to say the least! It was a good busy, but busy nonetheless.

Last week was our church's Vacation Bible School. I love VBS, and even though I'm always completely exhausted by the end of the week, I'm always amazed at the way God works through little children. I taught in the completed 1st grade classroom, and they were so much fun! I love that age because they're still little enough to love you, but they're big enough to pay attention and behave (at least most of the time!).

Our VBS theme was the "Big Apple Adventure." We spent the week "touring" New York City and learning how to connect through faith, with love, with trust, with others, and with life. Each day the kids got to hear about Christ's love for them regardless of their family, economic situation, previous bad decisions, or anything else!

It was also Will's very first VBS. Although it technically doesn't start until kids are in pre-K, the workers kids get to attend no matter how young they are. I somewhat dreaded this week because I knew we would get WAY off our schedule, but I was interested to see how it would all play out. Let me just say this...getting off our schedule is NOT the end of the world, but I still don't want to do it very often. :)

If VBS wasn't enough, my brother-in-law's wedding was Friday night with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Thursday night. This meant not only were our mornings crazy...our nights were crazy too.

The wedding was beautiful, and we are so excited to have a new sister (in-law) in the family! Theron and I were both in the wedding, and it was so special to be included in Brock and Emily's special day. We are also excited that that they will be living right down the road...and not just for the free babysitting. We are really looking forward to being able to spend time with family on a regular basis.

Despite the busyness of last week, it really did teach me some valuable lessons. I think it is important to try to learn lessons from our day-to-day experiences and last week was full of them! So, here is what I learned:

- I am MORE than grateful to be a stay-at-home mom. Major props to all you working moms out there. I don't know how you do it! It was quite a challenge getting both of us up, ready, fed, and out the door in time! I truly can't imagine doing it every day. It also hurt my heart to drop Will off in the nursery every morning. I know, I know...we were still in the same building, and I was only away from him for a few hours, but I missed him so much! I am very thankful that is not something I have to do on a daily basis. I will try to remember this every time I complain about doing housework or the fact that Will is driving me absolutely crazy that day. It is a sacrifice to stay at home with him, but it is the greatest blessing!

- I really can be flexible. Like I said....this week got us WAY off our schedule. Like our schedule didn't really even exist. By the end of the week it was like, schedule...what's a schedule? BUT, we both survived. I won't say there weren't any consequences...because there were plenty! It's not that I don't like waking up 4 or 5 times a night, it's just that I really prefer to sleep ALL.NIGHT.LONG. Will's nighttime sleep still hasn't recovered, but I can tell we are getting there. In the long run, we missed some sleep, I had a cranky child from time to time, I was a cranky child from time to time, but we all survived and that's all that matters.

- Garage doors break at the most inopportune times. I forgot to mention...our garage door broke. When we got home from the wedding (around midnight....Friday night....Saturday morning...whatever you want to call it), our garage door wouldn't go up. One side tried to go up, but the other side wouldn't budge. Since I was in a really good mood at this point (note my sarcasm), I was very excited about this. We parked the car in the driveway and decided to worry about it in the morning. After taking a good look, Theron concluded he couldn't fix it on his own, so we had to have someone out to fix it. Of course, they couldn't come until Monday. We were just so thankful our car was out when it broke! It is now fixed, and all is well. I just wish the garage door would've known what a tough week it had been. Oh well. All's well that ends well, right?

Monday, June 13, 2011


So, Friday night, we went to the prom. What kind of creeps are you, you might be asking...but we really are not creeps at all. Our young adult Sunday school class had a "prom" party for our monthly class party night, and it was so much fun!

We all got dressed up in our formal wear and headed to our friends' house to party the night away. Not to brag too much, but I was awfully proud to still fit into my prom dress from my senior year of high me, a new mom needs to feel good about her body sometimes! Most of the night was supposed to be spent outside, but thanks to some wonderful Oklahoma weather, we stayed inside instead. (We really didn't feel like battling the strong, gusting winds, rain and lightening!). Despite the change of plans, we still had a great time.

Each couple brought food to share, and it was all so good...lasagna, fettucini alfredo, plenty of bread, salad, and of course, dessert! My favorite dish of the night, though, was this awesome bowtie pasta with a gouda cheese sauce. I'm hoping Tiffany will share her recipe with all of us!

We all voted on the "most likely to...", and tallied all the votes to select a prom king and queen. We also played a version of the Newlywed game, which is always good for stirring up some good arguments between couples, :).

We absoultely love our church and so many of the things it is a part of, but the thing we love the most is our Sunday school class. We have so much fun together...laughing and joking and always having a good time. But we don't just have fun together, we share life together. These are the people who are my best friends. They're the ones I know I can count on in difficult times. The ones I can call, text, or email with a prayer request, knowing they will be in prayer immediately. The ones I go on playdates with and that I can call with a last minute babysitting request.

I feel like this group truly exemplifies what it means to be the body of Christ. Each person has their own strengths that they bring to the group, and they use them to benefit everyone. They are the first to volunteer when something needs to be done around the church, and they're constantly giving of themselves to meet the needs of others. I am so thankful to be a part of this group...they are the best!

Prom was so much fun, and I can't wait for all the fun times ahead.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful hubby! 4 years ago I married the love of my life and looked forward to what the future had in store for us. We had both just graduated college and had lots of changes and transitions ahead of us. A lot of people say that the first year is the hardest, but I thought the first year was so much fun. Each year after has only gotten better and with the blessing of our first child, I can only imagine the best is yet to come!

I am so thankful for my husband and all he does to provide for our family. I'm thankful for his spiritual leadership and his dedication to the Lord. I am thankful for his hard-working, disciplined, and determined personality. He is an amazing husband and father, and I know I am so blessed.

The past 4 years have had their share of hard times, petty arguments, and disappointments. But those times don't even begin to compare to the amount of joy, fun, and laughter we've had. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

6 Months Old!

Yesterday, Will turned 6 months old, and today, we went in for his 6 month check up. It is hard to believe he is already half a year old! I remember I had just told everyone I was pregnant around this time last year.

His check up was great. He is 25 3/4 inches long and weighs 14 lbs. 13 oz. Still a little on the small side, but the pediatrician said that is perfectly normal for breastfed babies. Especially breastfed babies with small parents! He is healthy and strong, and that's what is most important.

It seems like the past month brought so many changes. He began sitting by himself, which is nice for both of us. He loves sitting in the floor playing with his toys, and I love that he can entertain himself without laying down all the time! He still loves his exersaucer, and he loves to jump! He wears my arms out daily by standing in my lap and jumping away. My biceps will be huge in a few more weeks! He doesn't seem too interested in crawling. He will scoot on his belly to get to a toy that is out of reach, and he scoots all around on his bottom when he is playing, but he really prefers to sit or stand.

He is becoming very social, and even though he still has a little bit of separation anxiety, it is getting much better. He babbles and makes noises all day long. Sometimes I wonder what in the world is going through his little mind. He has the sweetest giggle, and it's fun to find new ways to make him laugh. Peek-a-boo is one of his favorite games and usually gets a big laugh out of him.

His eating is going great. We recently switched to a 3 1/2 - 4 hour feeding schedule, so he nurses 5 times a day. He typically eats solids 3 times a day, although sometimes it is just twice. So far he has tried rice cereal, oatmeal, bananas, sweet potatoes, applesauce, pears, peaches, green beans, and squash. Bananas and green beans are his favorites, and he really doesn't like peaches. He has mastered the sippy cup, but he really likes drinking out of a "big" cup. I let him have sips of my water at dinner every night. He also loves ice, especially Sonic ice...a boy after my own heart.

His nighttime sleep habits haven't changed too much, but his naps have become more consistent. He goes to bed anywhere from 7:15 to 7:45 and wakes up between 6:15 and 6:45. He takes a nap around 8:15 or 8:30 and naps anywhere from 1 1/2 - 2 hours. He takes another nap around noon for about 45 minutes, and then again around 3:00 for 45 minutes to an hour. He is also getting much better at handling it if he misses a nap. He'll usually be a little crankier than normal, but much better than if he skipped a nap before!

He recently started taking baths in the big tub, and he loves splashing in the water and playing with his bath toys. I'm hoping this means he will like the swimming pool. We will see!

He has been working on two teeth for awhile now. I can see both of them right at the surface, and I just know they are about to burst through any day now. I feel like he is too little to have teeth. Babies shouldn't have teeth, right? He just keeps growing up so fast! I can't get over it.

I could go on and on about him, but for your sake, I won't. I just love him so much. Every day I look at him and think how blessed I am to be his mom. Thank you, God, for such a precious little boy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Thoughts

So, I feel like I have all kinds of random things going through my head (this is pretty typical). Instead of writing a coherent post on one topic, I decided to make a list of all these random thoughts. Maybe this will help me sort them out and make something productive out of this day.

1. Thunder basketball has taken over my life. As many of you know, I DO NOT stay up late. 10:00 is late for me! However, the NBA playoffs have changed all this. I'm so excited to see the Thunder doing so well. It is great for the team and great for our city and state. I feel like I don't know what to do on the nights they don't have a game. I think about them, I read about them, I watch everything I can about them...I've even been dreaming about them! I'm afraid I'm starting to cross some sort of unhealthy line here. As much as I don't want the playoffs to end, I'm afraid it will be necessary for me to regain some sense of normalcy in my life. Until then...Go Thunder!

2. I tried McDonald's Frozen Strawberry Lemonade a few days ago, and I was extremely disappointed. It was WAY too sugary and cost almost $2.00 for the small size. It was a little like drinking straight syrup. I threw away over half of it becaues the few sips I took gave me a stomach ache. I will say, I do not like sugary drinks at all...most kinds of Gatorade, regular soda, and even some fruit juices are too sweet for me. If you love sugary drinks, you will probably like this. If not, don't waste your money.

3. I am way excited about what God is doing at Village Baptist Church! Theron and I have been at Village for almost 4 years. Like many other churches, it has experienced more than its fair share of ups and downs just in the time we have been there. We have loved our church all along, and it hurt us to experience those difficult times. But God is faithful! I feel like He has given our church new life and a fresh start. There is an attitude of excitement and a willingness among the congregation to serve and reach out to the community around us. I am so excited about our new pastor, Jimmy Kinnaird, and the leadership he brings. It is very refreshing, and I know God will use us if we will allow Him to do so.

4. I'm really beginning to love this whole stay-at-home mom gig! As Will gets older and the days get warmer, I'm beginning to see the many benefits of this job! I'm actually probably starting to enjoy it a little too much. Will is getting to the point where he has a little bit of separation anxiety...and I am too. It's getting harder and harder to leave him as he's beginning to understand that I am leaving. Hopefully, this will eventually get easier for both of us.

5. Simple things make my life, a good book, Thunder basketball, my sweet boy, my awesome hubby, great family, great friends, and probably some ice cream. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

So, it's been awhile

Hey everyone! It's been a little while since I've posted anything. It's not because I don't have anything to's because life has been busy! I have this little thing called a 5-month-old boy that keeps me on my toes pretty much every day. Besides that, I am working hard in my Arbonne business; spending time with family; losing sleep because of Thunder basketball games and a teething child; trying to keep up with all the gifts I need to buy for holidays, babies, weddings, and graduations; playing in the park, at the zoo, and anywhere else I can be outside; and trying to squeeze in a few workouts here and know, the usual.

Anyway, in the midst of all my "stuff," I haven't set aside much time for blogging. I also haven't set aside much time for showering or housework, but at least the important things get done.

A few nights ago, I was at an Arbonne meeting that is held monthly here in Oklahoma City. That particular night, Executive National Vice President Cecilia Stoll was speaking. She is from Edmond and is one of the top income earners in all of Arbonne. She is a wonderful Christian woman, and she has an incredible story. That night at the meeting, she posed the question "If you keep doing what you're doing, what will your life look like 5 years from now?"

She had asked herself this question when she decided to really go for it in her Arbonne business, and when that question was asked of me, it hit me pretty hard.

Five years ago, I was a college student with lots of my "big questions" unanswered. What kind of job would I have? Who would I marry? Where would I live? Would I have kids? What would they be like?  Just like so many other college students, I felt like some of the most important things in my life were still a mystery, and I looked forward to them with anticipation.

However, now, I am at a point in my life where all of those "big questions" have been answered. So what now? Do I just stop working and dreaming and thinking about my future? I don't think so. I think God has created me for a reason. He has given my life purpose and meaning, and I should use every moment I am given to live the life He has planned for me. A life of abundance...not complacence.

So, over the past week, I've really been thinking: If I keep doing what I'm doing, what will my life look like in 5 years? When I really think about it, I'm not so sure I like the answer. I love my life, and I'm very thankful for everything I have, but could things be better? Yes. Could I be better? Yes. Could I live my life more effectively? Yes.

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If I want my life to be different, I have to change what I'm doing. Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is just crazy.

So what am I going to do? I'm going to dream big, set goals for myself and my family, and work hard to achieve them. Most importantly, I'm going to seek God and His will for my life, knowing if I delight myself in Him, he will give me the desires of my heart.

If you keep doing what you're doing, what will your life look like in 5 years? Just something to think about.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

5 Months Old!

Saturday, Will was officially 5 months old! Can this really be true? Is my baby really 5 months old? It really does go by as quickly as everyone tells you it will!

Let's see...this month has brought so many changes in my sweet boy. At his 4 month check up he weighed 12 lbs. 8 oz. and was 24.5 inches long. We did an unofficial weight on our scale at home a few days ago, and I think he is getting close to 15 lbs. now!

We started solids right around 4 months, but it took a couple of weeks for Will to really catch on. He's now a pro and loves meal time! Right now his diet consists of rice cereal, bananas, and sweet potatoes. He loves the bananas and sweet potatoes but is not a huge fan of the cereal. I'm trying to introduce one new food a week, and it seems to be working really well. This week we will be trying avocado, as I'm trying to get him to like something that's not sweet! He eats solids 2 or 3 times a day and still has 6 liquid feedings every day (eating about every 3 hours).

I am trying to adjust to him being awake for longer periods of time throughout the day. I like this because it makes it easier to get out and do things away from the house. I don't like this because it is difficult to get anything done around the house! Sometimes, he will play for 15-30 minutes at a time in the Exersaucer, on the floor, or in the Bumbo. Other times, he only wants to play if his mommy is giving him her full attention. I have so much fun playing with him, but I'm noticing that my housework is falling behind. Oh well. We will adjust to this new stage just like we've adjusted to all the previous stages.

Like I mentioned above, Will loves playing in his Exersaucer and on the floor with his books and toys. He LOVES being outside, so I try to spend at least a little bit of time outside with him every day. We go for walks around the neighborhood, pick leaves off the tree, and play with toys on the back porch. He also loves being high in the air. Theron will carry him around on his shoulders and even on top of his head! Will thinks it's great. He also really likes jumping while we hold him in our laps and being tossed in the air (carefully, of course). He is getting much better at sitting, although he really prefers to stand. He can roll all over the place now, which makes it much more difficult to just let him play in the floor by himself. He likes reading his books, and he is starting to really love bath time, especially splashing!

His personality is definitely shining through, and it's a little bit scary. I can already see that he is strong willed and easily frustrated. I'm not sure where he would get either of these couldn't be from his mom or dad! We had a week where he refused to take his bottle. That was a trying week for all of us! He gets so frustrated when he wants a toy that is just out of reach or when he is done playing and wants someone to come pick him up. He has also become quite the momma's boy, which has been frustrating and flattering all at the same time.

I love him more and more every day, and I am so thankful for every moment I get to spend with him. I love his sweet smiles, his precious giggles, and his cuddles, hugs, and kisses. Just this week, he has started attacking my face, like he is going to eat it, haha. I think it is his attempt at returning all the kisses I give him every day. Of course there are moments of screaming and crying and frustration, but there are so many more moments of fun and laughter and cuddles.

He is so sweet, and his smile can just melt my heart. I think my favorite time every day is when I go get him out of his crib in the morning. I look down at him and say, "Good morning, Will." Then, he looks up at me, gives me a huge grin and lifts his arms up. Best. Feeling. Ever. I love him so very much and can't wait for all the wonderful moments to come!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Thunder Playoff Experience

As I told you last week, Theron and I got to go to the Thunder game last Wednesday. It was game two of their playoff series with Denver, and it was so much fun! My sweet sister came and stayed with us and kept Will for the evening, so we could enjoy a night out. We appreciated it SO much!

I hadn't been to a Thunder game this entire season, so I was really looking forward to it. I always love going, and I knew the playoffs would be even more exciting than a regular game. You could feel the energy as you walked up to the OKC Arena. They had live music, inflatables, and all kinds of other activities set up right outside for everyone to enjoy. Everyone was handed what I thought was banner as they walked through the door. When we got to our seats, I saw people folding them up accordian-style like a fan. I eventually found out that they were the world's greatest noisemakers, helping to make it louder than I had even imagined. Everyone also had a blue Thunder shirt laying on their seat to wear during the game. I was so pumped!

I definitely was not disappointed. The Thunder led from start to finish, completely dominating the Nuggets. While a really close game is fun sometimes, I kind of enjoyed that the game was stress free. The atmosphere also lived up to the hype. It was so loud that my head was pounding and my ears were ringing, but I absolutely loved it! There was one point in the game where the entire crowd was on its feet, cheering loudly and banging their noisemakers. You could see the appreciation on the players faces and you could see the energy it added to their demeanor. I've mentioned before how sporting events often make me emotional, and this was one of those times. Watching this scene play out before me almost brought tears to my eyes.

It is amazing what the Thunder have done for Oklahoma City. In just a few short years, they have gone from being one of the worst teams in the league, to being a true playoff contender. The entire city (and state for that matter) have rallied around them. As I looked across the crowd that night, I loved the sense of unity that could be felt throughout the arena. It was as if everyone had put aside their differences for that night to join together to support "their" team. People of every size, shape, color, religion, political affiliation, and even those loyal to red or orange all stood together in their bright blue cheering on the Thunder.

Because I'm always so deep (ha!), this really caused me to think. What if the Church...not just my church, not just your church, but The Church...the body of Christ came together with this kind of unity? What if we could put aside our differences to focus on the commonalities we share? What if people of every size, shape, color, and even denomination (gasp!) came together for the common purpose of sharing the love of Christ with a world that is in desperate need of that very thing? If we can do this for a sports team, why can't we do it for our Savior who gave up his life for us?

I love Thunder basketball. It is so much fun, and it has truly impacted and changed Oklahoma City forever. It just makes me think of the impact we could make on this city (state, nation, world) for Christ, if we could be so passionate about and unified around Him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Life Update

Is it Wednesday already? Sometimes I feel like a whole day goes by without me even realizing it. Anyway, we're already to the middle of another week, and April will have come and gone before we know it.

We haven't had too many really exciting things going on in our lives, but we have had a lot of normal "stuff" going on in our lives, so I thought I would give a brief update on what our family has been up to lately.

Will - He is growing daily. I'm always amazed when an outfit fits him one day and doesn't fit 3 days later. I'm afraid one morning I will go to get him out of bed, and he will have burst out of his clothes overnight. He is also learning new things every day and is developing quite a little personality. He finally rolled from back to tummy, and now he cannot get enough of it. I don't know how many times I have put him down to play on his playmat, turned my back for just a minute, only to find him completely off the playmat when I turn back around. He is also beginning the first steps toward crawling. He can't get his belly off the ground yet, but he moves his arms and legs furiously, trying to get to his toys, books, etc. It really is quite entertaining.

He is also eating solids on a regular basis now. He doesn't love his rice cereal, but he is getting much better about eating it. He tried bananas for the first time yesterday and loved them! I'm thinking he might have a sweet tooth like his momma.

Last Sunday, he got to participate in his first ever Easter egg hunt. Of course, he had no idea what was going on, but I was really excited to get some cute pictures!

I can't wait to give him his Easter basket full of goodies this Sunday! I got him lots of fun stuff, and I found the sweetest little book called, "What is Easter?" It does a good job of teaching the true meaning of Easter in a way little ones can understand. Not that I think Will will really get a grasp on the meaning of Easter this year, but it's never too early to start teaching him about Jesus and what He did for us.

Theron - As you all know, Tax Season is over! Theron might actually have a life outside of work again. We are all very excited to have made it through this busy time. Yesterday, he enjoyed the day off, spending the morning at home with us and the afternoon golfing with some of his co-workers. He has also started running again and will be on a relay for the Memorial Marathon coming up on May 1. Other than that, he is enjoying working in the yard and getting things ready in the garden. I can't wait to reap the fruits of his labor!

As for me, I'm working hard at keeping up with my growing boy. He is so much fun these days, and I'm loving every minute. I'm also working hard at growing my Arbonne business. It is something I enjoy because it gives me a little bit of "grown-up" time. I actually really like working, and Arbonne gives me the ability to do that while I stay at home with my little guy. I have set some business goals for myself and look forward to working hard and reaching them! It is also nice to provide a little bit of income for our family. Extra income never hurts! I am really looking forward to summer...filled with lots of swimming and play dates in the park! Since I'm not in an office all day, I might actually get a tan this year! It's been awhile since that happened.

I am, however, most excited about tonight! My sister is coming to babysit Will (and to see me, of course), so Theron and I can go to the Thunder game! The 2nd playoff game to be exact. I am beyond pumped. I haven't been to a game all season (having a baby really does change your life), and I can't wait to be a part of the craziness that is the playoffs in Oklahoma City.

So, there's a little bit of what's been going on in our lives. Happy Wednesday and Thunder Up!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bierocks Casserole

I grew up eating Bierocks. They are basically a filling of hamburger, onion, and cabbage wrapped up in a yeast roll. Think Hot Pockets...only much better. From the small amount of research I did, I learned they have a German-Russian origin and were brought to America by German Russian Mennonite Immigrants. My husband and I both have German heritage (come on...our last name is Stoltzfus), so I think this is a fun dish to incorporate into our family meals.

I've always loved bierocks, but I will admit, they are quite a bit of work. Making the dough, making the filling, stuffing and wrapping each individual can be a bit time consuming. So, when I found this recipe for Bierocks Casserole, I knew I had to try it.

It is so simple, and we loved it! Of course, I will continue making traditional bierocks from time to time, but this is a nice substitute when we're a little pressed for time.

Bierocks Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 small onion
1/2 pkg. cole slaw mix
1 tube crescent rolls
salt and pepper for seasoning

Brown ground beef and onion. When cooked, add coleslaw mix, salt, and pepper. (I also added some celery salt, which I thought added a great flavor). Cook and stir about 10 minutes or until everything is cooked through. Prepare a greased 2 quart casserole dish by putting half of the crescent rolls on the bottom of the pan and sealing the seams. Evenly spread the meat mixture over the crescent rolls. Arrange the rest of the crescent roll dough over top of the meat mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Brown ground beef and onion.

Stir in coleslaw mix and seasonings.

Bottom layer of crescent rolls.

So, I forgot to take a picture after I added the meat mixture, but I know you're all smart enough to complete that step without a picture. Here is what it looks like once the top layer of crescent rolls has been added. A helpful tip for the top layer:  Roll the dough out on a greased sheet of saran wrap. Then lay it over the top of the dish and pull the saran wrap away.

I also forgot to take a picture of the final product (not a great day for picture taking...or my memory for that matter). Anyway, it looks a lot like the uncooked product, only golden brown. You get the idea. This is a great recipe when you're in a hurry and need something quick and yummy! Try it this weekend and let me know what you think. Happy Friday!