Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love Her to the Moon and Back

On Saturday we took Eva to the American Airlines Museum in Fort Worth. I won't say it was the most amazing museum ever, but it was cheap and a fun afternoon of something to do out of the house. They have a children's area that is set up to have information about weather and space so we spent some out-of-the-stroller time exploring that.

We watched a movie about the history of American Airlines - Eva liked it because it was lots of shots of planes flying through the air and she likes to look at planes. We also saw how clouds are made (that's why the 2nd photo is all foggy). 

We got to crawl through a space pod. I'm not sure what exactly it was supposed to teach us but she liked crawling around. We got on an old plane like they would have used in the 1940's. It was almost as small as the plane we flew on when we went to Myrtle Beach for our honeymoon :)

My little girl is out-of-this-world cute and I love her to the moon and back!!!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Water Runs Dry

A little over a week ago we got a notice from the town of Trophy Club saying that they would be shutting off the water for our area for 12 hours last Saturday. No water for 12 hours???? I wasn't so sure about that. So like any prepared mama would do, I collected tons of water the night before. Vases, bowls, pitchers - if it could hold more than 2 quarts of water, I filled it. It was probably a ridiculous stockpile of water, but I  wanted us to have plenty available. I wish I had taken a photo of all my containers of water. And guess what happened? We never ended up needing it. Not a drop. We had plenty of water any time I went to the tap. (Some of it I did end up using the next day for various purposes so that I wouldn't be wasteful).

This week we got the same notice saying that our area's water would be off again today from 7 am - 7 pm. I meant to make another stockpile but completely forgot about it until late last night. I was already in bed and Ryan and I rationalized that we didn't end up using it last weekend so we probably didn't need to do it for today. WRONG. Arggghhh! We've been out of water all morning. We have plenty of bottled water for drinking purposes but other than that we're out of luck. Hand washing? Nope. (Germ-X). Flushing toilets? Sorry. Washing dishes? I wish. Shower? Don't stand too near to me.

All of this has made me seriously rethink my desire to go back in time and be a wife and mother out on the prairie. Last summer I wrote this post about a night without electricity. To think of life with electricity and without running water seems insane. I'm also beginning to think I would not do well in a natural disaster situation.  And yet so many people all of the world have no electricity or running water in their lives?!?!?! This situation makes me so thankful for what we have (we made sure to PRAISE GOD for our access to clean water every day this morning at breakfast) and it also strengthens my desire to care about clean water access world wide and to be generous to help more people in the countries that are so desperately poor. Water is an amazing blessing!!!

PS I have links on the side of my blog to Amazima Ministries and World Vision. Both of these are awesome ministries that we support and that have ways to help provide clean water to families and children around the world. Feel free to click on either of them to read about what they are doing and ways that you can help.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Big 5-0

Today Eva turned the big 5-0. 50 weeks old. That's a whole lot of weeks full of growing. And it means that we're only two weeks away from having a one year old. I know that every mom says this, but the time goes by way too fast.

It is so amazing to see this tiny human developing and learning so many new skills all the time. She is so fun to play with and I can tell that she is understanding more of what I say and more about life every day. Her sense of humor is developing, her vocabulary is growing, she's way close to being an independent walker. So many great things to celebrate!!!!

But at the same time it's such a bittersweet transition away from her being a baby. Each day she looks more like a toddler and less like an infant. She still wants to give me hugs and kisses, but only for a moment before she's off on her next adventure. Gone are the days of snuggling on the couch for long periods of time. Gone (or packed away) are all of the teeny tiny outfits that seemed so huge on her just under a year ago. Some days I wish that I could get a time machine and go back to the days of having a brand new baby. Then on nights when Eva doesn't sleep well and I'm up with her every few hours I remember why God made the newborn season of life so short. If it went on forever mother's would eventually loose their minds.

I'm trying really hard to focus on the excitement of planning and celebrating her first birthday instead of the sadness of no longer having an infant. I have her party dress picked out and I made her a crafty Happy Birthday hat. Although we aren't doing a huge party-of-the-year celebration, we are having family over and there will be pink cupcakes, pink balloons, pink birthday banners, and a cute little birthday girl!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back When I Was in College....

The week is finally here for most high school graduates to make the big leap off to the college dorms. I was thinking back and realizing that it was just about this time 10 years ago that I was a young freshman moving into the dorms. Wow. It seems like forever ago, and yet I'd say that time has gone by so fast. In honor of the students I know heading off to dorm life I thought I'd post a page straight out of my freshman scrapbook and write up a list of my top ten memories of early dorm life.

1. My parents wanted to set me up for technology success at college so that managed to find someone with an old hand me down computer that I could take. I didn't mind that it was old, I was happy to have my own computer. Too bad when I got to the dorms and tried to set it up we realized that it was so old that it wasn't compatible with modern internet :(
2. Speaking of computers, it wasn't that long ago that most students didn't have a personal desktop, let alone a laptop, to take to school with them. The dorm I lived in had a build in shelf that attached to the desks that wasn't designed to fit with a computer. We literally had to unscrew the shelf to make room for a computer.
3. One of the things that I remember my mom reminding me to do at college was to balance my checkbook frequently. As in, an actual checkbook where I recorded the checks that I wrote. Checks! Most places don't even take a check anymore. I guess that debit cards and online banking really changed life for college students.
4. Like most college students, I didn't have much money. I remember that my roommate and I would fill up huge UNT water bottles with milk and orange juice from the cafeteria so that we didn't have to buy any. We did buy our own cereal so that we didn't have to allow time to walk down to the cafeteria in the morning so that we could sleep in as long as possible. 
5. I took 12 hours of class my first semester. And I didn't work. That means that I only had 12 hours out of an entire week that I had to be somewhere! And yet I remember feeling really busy. What was I doing?
6. I'm pretty sure that I studied a lot. I actually ended up graduating with a 4.0. Yet shockingly, I failed my first ever college test. I had never failed a test before and don't think I ever failed one after. I was horrified. It was for a professor who's name (and questionable wardrobe) I still remember. Ryan had this professor also (years after me) and we still joke about our memories of him.
 7. College is a great time to meet people - like your suite mates! Our suite mate was a bit crazy and we could always hear her spitting in the shower. We didn't hang out with her much.
8. Since we weren't hanging out with our suite mate, we needed to call other friends. Good thing we had a land line phone! I remember my roommate being excited to purchase her own landline - with an answering machine - with her graduation money. How many current freshman are purchasing a landline for their dorm room? Not many I bet.
9. One person that I always called from college was my mom. I missed my mom so much when I moved out. I'll be honest, I cried when it was that final moment to hug my parents goodbye after moving in. My roommate was my best friend and I was so excited for college, but there was something sad about that moment when you realize that you're on your own.
10. I recall having a specific conversation with some friends about how I wanted to finish college as fast as possible to move on with my life. My plan was to graduate in 3 years. 5 years later, I was so happy that I actually spend a little bit of extra time in college. College is such a unique time in life, there is no need to rush it. Make friends, learn new things, and enjoy it!

Hope all of the new freshman have great move in experiences and an awesome freshman year! Call your mom often. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Imagination Station

When we moved into our townhome we were excited to have a very large living room. We decided to make part of it a play area for Eva so that all of her toys would have a home that was near the living room/kitchen/dining room but somewhat out of the way. The location of our cable connection affected the location of the TV stand and the direction which the couch needed to face. We ended up having a perfect little nook for Eva's toys except for one problem - there was a fireplace right in the middle of it. I was okay not using the fireplace and decided that we'd find a way to cover it up so she wouldn't be able to crawl inside of it. My parents had an old bookcase that was in my room growing up and said that we could use it for Eva. Yeah! Then I got a few ideas of what to do with it. Yes, we could leave it as a bookcase and put her books on it....she does have tons of books but I thought that I'd rather leave them in tubs right now because it's easier to contain them. We have other bookshelves in our house and I knew that she'd just want to pull the books off all day long. So it might become a regular bookshelf again one day, but not now.

My next idea was to turn it into an awesome play kitchen! I love the one shown here from Nap Time Journal where she just added items found in a local thrift store and around the house. I figured I could do this cheaply and easily plus Eva already has some mixing bowls and measuring cups to play kitchen with.

My other idea was to turn it into a dollhouse. I like how this blog (not written in English) used contact paper to make each room unique and I actually have old dollhouse furniture that my mom has saved to pass down to Eva.

As of right now all I've done was find some cute fabric at Walmart that I added using a spring rod. Along with the 2 ideas from above I'm also considering either leaving it as is so that it can be used in different ways depending on what Eva wants to play  ( I call this idea Imagination Station) or waiting until Eva is a little bit bigger and letting her decide what she wants it to be. Hmm.... so many fun ideas....what should I do?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Family Photos

Okay, let's compare... who does she look like????? The above photos are of Eva on at 11 months, my one year old portrait, and a photo of Ryan at 6 months. What do you think?!?!?! Isn't it funny that people analyze this question so much? From the moment she popped out friends and family go back and forth about who she looks like. But seriously, I want your opinion. (vote for Kate).

These are a few other great photos that I took of Eva with my Dad on Sunday. My parents and grandma Dede came to hear Ryan preach last Sunday and stopped over for lunch afterwards.

 My mama did what when she was a baby?

I love the shear joy that you see in both their faces in these photos! This little girl sure loves her Grandpa!

 Photo courtesy of Elisa Michelene Photography

And lastly, here are a few photos that Ryan and I had taken a week ago. We had a photographer for our Bara Senior Celebration and we got to strike a few poses. Too bad we're both so shy in front of the camera :) Elisa is a very creative photographer and her photos of the event are fantastic - including the ones she took of each of Bara's high school graduates. She did a great job of making everybody feel comfortable and totally captured the vibe of the evening. I would highly recommend her and am hoping to book one of her mini sessions for Eva.  

 Photo courtesy of Elisa Michelene Photography

 Photo courtesy of Elisa Michelene Photography

I love this handsome man. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rainy Day Fun

Last night and early this morning we got lots of rain and some thunderstorms in our area. You remember rain, right? It has been a while. So when we got up this morning I decided that we could embrace this cloudy, cozy day by having a relaxing day. Eva and I stayed in our jammies for quite a while. We snuggled in her glider and read stories. We skipped out on our usual baby library time. And I got creative with some fun rainy day activities. My photos aren't that amazing because I was mostly enjoying playing with her and also because she wasn't too interested in getting her picture taken. I just took quick shots so that I could look back and remember having a great day at home with my sweet girl :)

Our first activity was pulling silky scarfs out of an old Kleenex box. Eva is an expert at pulling tissues out of the kleenex box so I figured she would enjoy this game. I found a suggestion for this online that involved using fabric squares but I didn't have those and scarfs were just as fun.

Then we played with an old muffin pan. I found an idea that involved putting cut up paper towel rolls inside of the muffins cups but Eva was pretty quick to put those in her mouth. I wasn't sure about the chemicals in the glue that they use to hold the roll together so I tossed those out and we used colorful plastic balls instead. I would put the balls in the pan, she would take them out. Repeat a hundred times. I also got out an old oatmeal container that I've cleaned out and decorated with scrapbook paper and we played "basketball" (she dropped the balls in the container). It was neat to see that she caught on that it was funny to drop the ball inside of the container. 

 And then we tried this painting activity. I have wanted to paint with her for a while but go back and forth about using actual paint. I would of course use the non-toxic, washable kind, but right now everything goes in her mouth so I'm just not sure about that. Instead I took vanilla pudding, mixed parts with different colors of food coloring and froze it in ice cube trays so that I can store it for a while and just get out a few cubes at a time. I defrosted a red and green cube and put them inside of a ziplock bag. I taped the ziplock bag on a piece of butcher paper. The point of this is for her to get to squish the pudding and mix the colors together inside the bag without it getting all over everything. Older kids can also create pictures in the paint but I wasn't expecting her to do that. Note: I try to remember to focus on the actual fun-ness of watching Eva decide what to do with an activity. Her getting to play is way more important than her doing something a specific way. With that in mind, I will admit that she squished the paint in the ziplock bag for about a second and then was way more fascinated with ripping the big piece of paper behind it. She also figured out how to rip the pieces of paper that were taped down to the floor and was very proud of herself for that.

Since we still had some pudding paint left I put that baby in the tub and let her smash it all over herself and the tub. If you look closely you can see where she wrote her name in the paint. What a genius!!!! (Okay, I did that part).  When she realized that this paint was actually sweet pudding she became more determined so eat it than paint with it. Therefore it was time for..... a bath!!!

All smiles here! Eva loves to splash in the tub and play with bath toy! Bonus, the soap and hot water made all that sticky pudding wash right off.

Below are a few other creative things Eva and I have done lately. Part of  my college degree is in early childhood education so I'm super excited to teach Eva all about everything! Plus it's way more fun for me to come up with new things to do than to play with the same toys every day. (Sometimes you need a break from stacking blocks and singing Fisher Price songs).  Keep in mind that Eva's attention span is very short so instead of doing these activities for a long period of time we repeat them over a few days. And I'm always right there to supervise anything that has small pieces :)  For cooler blogs, better photos, and more activities check out my Pinterest Board.

Science Bottles: I made these using things I already had in a craft box. They sort of represent different things in nature. For example, the bottle of rice makes a rain sound. One bottle has blue water and oil on top that makes waves when you roll it. One bottle has the ingredients to make a tornado inside of it.

Eva really likes to shake all of the bottles. And when I get one bottle down for her she immediately wants all of them. Be sure to glue on the lids if you try this!

Pasta Play: I had a big bag of egg noodles that I wasn't planning on using anytime soon so I made it Eva's play pasta. I dump it into some mixing bowls and let her do whatever she wants with it. We scoop it with measuring cups or take handfuls of it and put it into other bowls. And sometimes we spill it all over the floor! Good thing we have tile floor so it wipes right up. I keep it in a big ziplock bag in the closet so that it doesn't get mixed up with the rest of the pantry food.

Water Play: For the days when you don't have time to go to the pool, some outdoor water play is the next best thing. Our patio is in the shade in the morning so it's not too hot even in August. I'll take a big pitcher of water out on the porch with her and let her get crazy. I also bring along whatever plastic, washable kitchen items seem like they would be fun. Measuring cups, spatulas, bowls, anything works! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

11 Months Old

Dear Eva Kate,

You've been a blessing in my arms for 11 whole months now! Where did my tiny baby go? I'm not sure, but I love you even more now. In the photo above you are wearing one of my favorite bows that you got for a baby shower gift, and it's now really too small for your head.

I was thinking earlier tonight about your development this past month and the three words that I'd use to describe you right now are independent, determined, and social. You  have become so interested in the world around you. You want to feed yourself, so you eat lots of finger fruits and veggies now. You want to explore everything around you, so off you go as quick as you can crawl, usually making funny sounds as you journey along. You know which toys are your favorite (your rubber duck, a toy Mike Wazoski from Monsters Inc, your spatula, some black and white picture cards) and you know which toy bins they are each in, so you are quick to head that way, bend over, and reach for exactly what you want. You do not want to have your hands and face wiped down or your teeth brushed. You do not want to be still for more than a nano second for a diaper change. You do not want to be in your exersaucer anymore, you want to walk around it. You absolutely must climb up and down the stairs in our entry way at least fifty times a day. When you crawl into the kitchen you must push around my pink step stool. These things are nonnegotiable in your every day playtime.

Silly baby! You have started standing like this on your head all the time. You will be crawling along, then stop to stand on your head, and then you look at me and laugh. You never shy away from being the center of attention. This month you've also started pointing at everything and making a sound that shows that you are interested and want to know about something. When I pick up up from your crib you point out all of the fun things in your room. When we walk down the stairs you point our all of the pictures and you point to the front door. You point out every time the ceiling fan in moving. You point to your bowl of binkies that we keep on your dresses (wouldn't want me to forget where those are). You love it when we are outside and see an airplane and you point it out to me, just in case I missed it. 

You have discovered that grasshoppers like to land on our back door. When we walk into the living room you like to cruise over to the door and look for them. One day we saw four all at once and you smiled so big!!!! I love that you are so curious. Conversations with you have become very interesting as I explain the world around you to you all day long. 

You are starting to learn how to share. Mostly this means that you hand me something, I say Thank You, and then you want me to hand it back to you. At least it's a good start. You have almost learned to blow kisses - you put your hand up to your mouth and smile :) Close enough.You like to dance when you hear music - as soon as you hear a catchy tune your head starts bopping and your body starts bouncing.

What else is new this month? You have 8 teeth - 4 on top, 4 on bottom. You are pretty much down to 2 naps a day. You are sleeping a little bit better and usually only wake me up once in the night to nurse. You are loving some new foods -  canteloupe, grapes, shredded cheese, and spinach! I may have sneaked you a few teeny tiny bites of frozen yogurt. You jabber non stop - in the car, in your crib, in your highchair and playing around the house. You can follow short directions like hand me the toy, come here, uh-uh (stop!), wave bye-bye, and say hi. You like to initiate silly sounds with me.

And of course, you always look up to your Daddy. We love you forever, munchkin!

love, Mama

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baby Proofing

Baby proofing sounds easy enough. Put away harmful chemicals and medicines. Make sure she can't pull breakable things off a shelf. Maybe put up a gate? Let's just say that it's not a task for beginners.

If you've ever walked down the "child safety" aisle at a baby mega store it can be pretty overwhelming. So many choices. Which products are necessary? Which ones are taking advantage of a mother's desire to keep her baby safe? Can I not just bubble wrap my child for the rest of her life so that nothing bad will ever happen? Kidding. Overall my goal in baby proofing was to take a few steps to avoid putting her in harm while creating lots of space in our home where I knew that she could explore without me having to constantly redirect her. I think it is best to have an environment where she can gradually become more independent while staying safe (independent as in being a few feet away from me playing with blocks, not independent like playing in the oven).

It's easiest to conquer the obvious places in your home. Outlets? Plugged up. Stairs? Gated. Breakables? Stashed away for the next 20 years. But what about all the little things? I knew she'd want to pull out every DVD and book we own 10 times a day. I didn't expect her to pull over the entire DVD rack. Next she figured out how to open the doors to my china cabinet - this kid is strong! With in a few weeks of crawling she has discovered that she can crawl up the two steps we have leading into our living room and up into our office area. What she hasn't realized yet is that if she doesn't go far enough she can easily tumble back down the steps. We have gates on the stairs but gates in these two spaces would be ridiculous. So for now if she goes up the steps I'm right behind her. Then there's the fact that she knows how to open the bathroom trash can ... mother's of small children do not have the luxury of using the restroom in private. If I'm in there, she's in there. Which means that she will play with the trash can, pull on the shower curtain, and on the off chance that I don't wash my hands quick enough, she'll try to eat the toilet seat lid.  Are your visions of a stay at home mom sitting on the couch all day eating bon bons quickly dissolving? Good. Don't even get me started on moving to a place with tile floors just as she starts to crawl and walk. At least our floor is easier to clean when she throws her dinner off her highchair :)

A few months ago I was under the illusion that if her toy or food dropped on the floor that meant it was dirty. I didn't realize that after seeing her sweet hands crawl all over the floor/trash can/toilet and then go directly into her mouth for the 100th time, your perspective of dirty changes (we do always make sure to wash her hands before eating).

I've decided that there is only so much worrying and planning I can do. For the rest I have to pray for wisdom and learn to let go. Of course, there is always the Red Neck play pen to fall back on when needed. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Nights

The days and nights in Texas are hot. Unbelievably hot. I'll give you that. BUT there is nothing more wonderfully fun than spending one of those warm summer nights with people you love. We got to spend time as a family on both Friday and Saturday night and it was awesome. I'm all for getting Eva to bed at a normal time on most nights but we kept her up a little bit later this weekend just to soak in the last few minutes of daylight and family love.

Friday night we met Ryan's family for some Babe's fried chicken up in Frisco, TX. We have a Babe's just down the road from us - this one was definitely better. Add in some family members and a cute location, end it with a snow cone and it was a perfect night.

Saturday night Ryan and I took Eva and walked around the Southlake Town Square. We went to eat some Corner Bakery and then decided to stay and stroll for a bit. After an hour or so of window browsing we heard music coming from the fountain area. We wanted to let Eva get out of her stroller so that she could play for a bit before heading home for bedtime. Oh my gosh. It was one of those moments where your heart overflows with joy and you know that life doesn't get sweeter than this. 

Dancing around with my little girl and listening to the beautiful music with my husband was the highlight of my week. Moments like this make every dirty diaper, every middle of the night feeding, every pile of laundry, every dish washing marathon, so completely worth it. There are two super short videos below that stole my heart when I saw them. You can hear the live music in the background that compliments the extreme cuteness of our baby. Sidenote, make sure to turn up the volume so you can hear the music :)



Summer is crazy hot, but it's a great time to make memories. My baby won't be little forever, but she was still tiny in my arms tonight. My family isn't perfect, but they are the best.

THANK YOU LORD for times like this!!!