Fa La La La La

If you’ve been reading for a while, then you’ll know that Corey and I get just a little, ahem, excited about decorating for Christmas. I was looking back at some of our old Christmas posts recently and laughed at how quickly our house went from just a few decorations to complete over-the-top insanity. And we aren’t slowing down anytime soon – we already added a few new items to our collection this year!

What can I say? I don’t decorate for any other season, so I figure I have permission to go all-out for Christmas.

We had a special challenge when we were decorating this year – a mobile baby! Jackson isn’t walking yet, but he’s crawling all over the place, pulling up on everything, and getting into EVERYTHING. So as we were decorating (and buying new decorations) we had to seriously consider what he would be messing with and how we could make sure he stayed safe.

We went ahead and decorated our tree as normal – by the time we did the rest of the house we had already had a tree up in our room for a few weeks and he had been really good about leaving it alone. He’s curious, and he’ll touch it/bat at the ornaments a bit, but he’s generally good about listening to us when we tell him to be gentle. We stuck to putting our breakable ornaments up high, but beyond that our tree looks just like it always does.

Our bookshelf was where I really had to get creative. Jackson loves to play with the items on the shelves and I generally keep a few toys for him on the bottom shelves so he has something safe to play with. I wanted the entire bookcase to be decorated for Christmas, but didn’t want to have to constantly be pulling him off of it. So, I put all of our cookie tins on the very bottom shelf (they’re pretty much indestructible and make a really loud, fun sound when you pull them off the shelf!) and put some soft, not-suepr breakable things on the second shelf. So far it’s worked great – he loves playing with the cookie tins and has pulled a few of the items off of the second shelf but has left the stuff towards the back (like the big candle) alone. We’ll see if he stays this good about it for the entire season, but I’m pleasantly surprised so far!

The dining room is mostly the same as it is every year, but this year I added a felt tree on the back of the fireplace – Jackson loves playing with it/pulling everything off of it. It’s really meant for slightly older kids who are actually interested in decorating it, but he enjoys it a lot now, and it will grow nicely with him over the years.

Jackson loves the tree in the kitchen – all of the ornaments that he can reach are totally safe for him to play with, and none of the ornaments on this tree are too precious, so we’re a little more lax about letting him play with it. He’s still super cautious and hasn’t really pulled anything off of it yet – he just loves to touch it! He’s also very curious about all of the items on the counters – the mini tree by our sink may be his favorite decoration in the whole house!

I’ve always been a gigantic fan of the entire Christmas season, and I absolutely love everything about it…and this year, with Jackson, there are no words for how much more special it is. I love watching him experience everything for the first time, and it makes me so much more excited for future years when he understands it all a bit more!

 

Jackson: Nine Months

Psst – before I jump into the update…just wanted to let you all know that I’m now blogging as Mrs. Garland over on Hellobee! My posts may overlap occasionally, but for the most part what I post there will be totally separate from what I post here. I’d love for you to follow along! 

Stats: At his 9-month appointment, Jackson weighed 19.1 pounds and was 28.5 inches long. This is a HUGE growth spurt – he jumped up into the 40th percentile for weight and the 59th for height! Good growing, buddy!

Clothing Size: Despite the crazy growth spurt, no change in clothing size here. Jackson is still in all 6-9 month clothing and size 3 diapers. I’m glad…I don’t think I’m ready to start buying 12 month clothing yet!

Sleep: We’re still incredibly grateful every day for Jackson’s awesome sleeping habits. He sleeps from 6:30 in the evening until about 6:30 in the morning, and on the weekends will usually go back down after eating for another hour or so. Still on two naps, about an hour or two each. The kid likes to sleep!

Eating: Eating is still definitely a favorite pastime. Jackson loves to eat anything and everything – we have yet to find a food he doesn’t like. Cheese and bread (or tortillas) are definitely the favorite, but he loves all veggies that he’s tried so far, and he’s started to get more fruit this month too. He’s officially bringing a “real” lunch to daycare now too, and he devours it every day! This month did mark a sad milestone – right before he turned 9 months old we had to start supplementing his bottles at daycare with formula. I’m not pumping enough at work to keep up with him anymore, so it was time. I’ll keep breastfeeding as long as I can, though!

Milestones: This month, Jackson started signing – he’s got “more,” “finished,” and “water” down. Still a ton of babbling and pulling up on everything – the doctor predicting that he’ll be walking pretty soon…he’s getting more and more confident walking when he’s holding our fingers! He’s gotten up on his hands and knees to crawl a few times, but usually gives up and drops to his stomach pretty quickly. I still think he’ll skip traditional crawling. He figured out how to play peek-a-boo and “so big” this month, and he started to wave hello and goodbye sometimes!

Things we want to remember: I love watching him crawl around and play in the kitchen, and I love (LOVE) seeing him sign now! He’s communicating! I never want to forget how sweet it is to watch him hang out at the front window with Ranger – they both love to watch everyone walking by, and Jackson loves to YELL out the window.

Special outings or adventures: We went to Jackson’s first family reunion this month, which was Jackson’s first overnight trip away from home. It was also our first time to all sleep in the same room, and we survived! We also visited a pumpkin patch this month and Jackson LOVED it.

Favorites: He’s starting to play with more “big kid” toys like balls and his standing toys. He even rolled a ball back and forth with me a few times recently! His favorite time of the day is mealtime, but naked time after bath follows shortly after! He loves watching the big kids play outside at daycare and loves to hang out at the front window and play with the curtains. We love to watch him figure new things out (I feel like he has a new trick every day!) and love when we come into his room and he’s standing up in his crib waiting for us – so cute!

What we’ve learned: We’ve learned that it pays off to spend a ton of time working on new skills (we signed to him for four months before he started signing back!) and we learned that Jackson is a FABULOUS traveler! We’ve also learned recently that it’s about time to get Jackson some new toys – most of the ones we have are intended for smaller babies and he’s definitely starting to get bored with them. It’s about time to enter the world of toys for more mobile babies – can’t believe our little guy is already so big!

Life Lately

Can we go back in time a little bit?

Like, back to October and November?

I know Halloween and Thanksgiving are long gone and (trust me) I’m fully into the spirit of Christmas at this point in the year, but with my blogging hiatus I didn’t get to chat about all of the fun things we did at the start of fall, and there were a LOT of fun things that happened, so I want to go back a little and share. So, let’s make like the Doctor a do a bit of time traveling, shall we?

OCTOBER

October was a busy month for us! We kicked off the month with our annual family reunion (my side of the family) in Fayetteville, TX. Never heard of it? That may be because it has a population of, like, 258 (not an exaggeration). It’s an adorable little town and we absolutely adore going every year – Jackson had a blast this year!

The very next weekend we went to Waco for a board game conference. Yup, we’re officially that nerdy. It was a ton of fun, and while we were there we went to the Waco Zoo – Jack was totally into it, and we can’t wait to take him back! Two weekends in a row of traveling taught us that Jackson is surprisingly adaptable and generally awesome at traveling.

We also hit up a local pumpkin patch for some photos and took Jackson to the Fall Festival at our church – the petting zoo was the highlight of his Halloween!

NOVEMBER

November was a bit less crazy for us. It was a pretty rough month for us, but we managed to find some bright spots. Like Christmas shopping and putting up (one of) our tree(s) embarrassingly early.

We house-hopped for Thanksgiving this year – dinner at my sister’s house and dessert at ours, and it was fabulous. We had entirely too much food, spent a ton of time with our family, and just generally enjoyed ourselves. And Jackson was a huge fan of Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and we made enough dessert to feed roughly ten million people.

Once Thanksgiving was over we decorated for real – more photos of that to come soon!

Whew. That was a lot. Now, catch me up. Did you do anything fun at the start of fall? I’ve got to say, this season has never been as much fun as it is now that we have a baby!

Jackson: Eight Months

Stats: About 18ish pounds (total estimate!)

Clothing Size: Still in all 6-9 months, still in size 3 diapers. I’m predicting his pajamas will start to get too small in the next month or so, though – he’s getting long!

Sleep: Still amazing! He’s still waking up a lot of nights around 5:00 to eat, but it’s becoming more and more common for him to sleep all the way through (the other night he slept from 6:45 to 8:30!). He’s officially at two naps a day now – usually about an hour in the morning and 2+ hours in the afternoon.

Eating: This child can EAT! Anytime anyone new sees him eating they have to comment on how much he eats and how much he enjoys it. There are plenty of nights where he gets close to out-eating me, and he gets so excited every night when he realizes it’s dinnertime. He eats just about everything now and we haven’t really found any foods he doesn’t like. He’s particularly partial to bread and cheese, still loves avocados, and is a huge fan of pasta. He’s currently eating lunch (was a puree at daycare, but we’re about to start sending “real” food) and dinner (whatever we are having) daily, and breakfast sometimes on the weekends.

Milestones: He’s babbling like crazy all of the time now – he makes a ton of different sounds and loves to practice them. He likes to fake cough and thinks it’s hilarious when we fake sneeze at him (he hasn’t tried it yet, though). He can pull up on anything and can even get into a standing position from laying on his stomach if he can get a good grip! Still not doing any traditional crawling, but his army crawling just keeps getting better and better.

Things we want to remember: There is nothing I love more than when he looks into my eyes and starts babbling like he sincerely wants to tell me something. It is so sweet and he’ll just stare at me and chat away. Melts my heart every time. I absolutely adore watching him explore the house and figure out new things – this age is SO MUCH FUN!

Special outings or adventures: A few play dates with Logan and lots of time spent at daycare (boo!). We’ve tried a few new restaurants this month when we went out for birthdays (September is a busy birthday month!) and just generally tried to get back in the swing of the school year!

Favorites: Jackson LOVES meal times, bath time, and naked time after bath time. He’s starting to get really into exploring the house – the kitchen is a very exciting place to be! He loves standing up on anything and gets a huge smile on his face any time he makes it to a standing position. We love to listen to him talk (and talk and talk) and how much more interactive he is getting on a daily basis. His giggle melts my hear every single time – there’s nothing better! I also love the rare occasion when he falls asleep on me while nursing before bed. I love to soak those snuggles up!

What we’ve learned: We’re quickly learning how and where we need to baby proof our house – he’s finding lots of things to get into! We are also just continuing to learn more about being parents and how to keep our sweet boy happy. We both agree that we love this age the best yet – he is SO much fun!

I’m Back!

Oh, hey there.

Remember me?

It’s been a while.

I’m not usually one to offer apologies when I’ve been gone (I know that’s annoying), but I figure an unannounced two-and-a-half month break deserves some sort of an explanation.

Honestly? I just needed a break. I’ve been blogging on an off for about 10 years now and it’s always been so much fun – it’s a creative outlet, it’s a great way to relax, and it’s awesome to have a time capsule of what I was doing at that point in time. But after we had Jackson our priorities shifted and I had a bit of a blogging identify crisis. This blog had always been about home decor – and we weren’t doing anything to our house anymore. I never intended to be a mommy blogger! I didn’t know what to write about! Suddenly, blogging became a chore and I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I needed to step away.

But now? I miss it. Dearly. I miss the community, I miss the fun of sitting down to write a post, and I miss looking back on the things I’ve written. It’s time to come back. And this time I’m not putting any restrictions on myself – I can be a mommy-blogger. Or a lifestyle blogger. Or a home decor blogger. Or just a brain-dump-write-whatever-I-want blogger. And that’s okay. This is for me. I love it. I miss it. I’m not ready to give it up. I may not blog on a regular schedule. It may be twice a week, may be once a week, may be even less than that. But I’m not stopping.

So.

Now that that’s out of the way.

Let’s catch up, shall we?

Quite a bit has happened since the last time we chatted. Jackson is 10 months old now, and he gets a little cuter every day. Seriously. I don’t know how the kid does it.

Corey and I have been working like crazy – we’re in the same district this year which is amazing, but we’ve both got a lot on our plates. This has been my most challenging (and most rewarding) year of teaching yet. We work at home at least 2 or 3 evenings a week, which is unheard of to me (I’ve always been so good at keeping work and home separate!). We’re starting to finally find a balance, and things are settling down a bit, which I’m incredibly grateful for.

The Christmas season is in full swing around here – we decorated our house this weekend and are soaking up every second of our first Christmas as a family of three. I have a feeling it’ll be the best Christmas ever.

I’ve got a lot of little updates for you, so get ready! I’m going to update Jackson’s monthly posts (we’ve got a lot to catch up on!) and there are a few little things around the house to share (including our Christmas decor)!

What have you been up to? I’ve missed you!