2013: Our Best Year Yet

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Am I the only one in shock about how fast the year has gone by?  It has been one crazy wonderful year for us.

At the first of the year, I still looked like this, and we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our son.  Can you believe that was only a little less than a year ago? It feels like it has been forever since I was having to carry that belly around!

It wasn't long though before we were celebrating the birth of our beautiful little boy.  What better way to begin a new year than with new life?

We have enjoyed a lot of firsts this year.  First snowfirst Easterfirst beach tripfirst trip to the zoofirst football gameapple and pumpkin pickin', first Halloweenfirst Thanksgiving, and first Christmas (post to come soon...I hope).  That is a lot of fun to pack into one year!

As crazy as it has sometimes been with a new little one, a new job for Corey, and all that comes with figuring out parenting for the first time, we have enjoyed every minute of this year.  I would not change a thing!

We are going to spend the last day of 2013 just the three of us.  I am going to get in every last snuggle, hug, and kiss I can this year from Cullen.  Then Corey and I are going to ring in the new year snuggled on the couch.  I can't imagine a better ending to this year and beginning to 2014.

I hope you are spending today reflecting on all the good 2013 has brought and thinking about what you want out of 2014.  I don't usually make resolutions, but I will be back tomorrow with some plans for the new year. 

Eleven Months

Saturday, December 28, 2013
As I mentioned yesterday things have been a little crazy around here lately, so at almost two weeks late, I figured it was time to update you on this little eleven month old we have cruising around.

Some stats for this month:  

Right at eleven months, Cullen weighed about 25 1/2 pounds.  Not sure about height...I didn't even attempt that this month.

Cullen has five teeth and two more that are going to pop through any minute.  

Saying 'Mama', 'Dada', 'hey' and 'no'.  My mom swears she has heard him say 'GiGi'.  

This is more of a development in the past week, but Cullen is taking a few steps.  Usually just one or two then he decides crawling is easier, but he is definitely on the verge of walking.  For a little while now, he has been standing on his own.  It's funny when he is standing and you can see him trying to decide if he wants to take a step or sit and crawl.  Such tough decisions for a such a little boy.

Sorry this has been so short, but we have a lot going on with cleaning up after Christmas and planning a first birthday party! (Which I am super excited and sad about at the same time!)  So I will leave you with two more pictures of our big boy, and I am off to shop for party supplies. 

Side note, does everyone else have such a hard time getting their little one to sit still for more than two seconds? Getting a good picture of him is hard work!

Christmas Pictures

Friday, December 27, 2013
The past couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy!  So bear with me as I catch up on some things I wanted to share with you.  Over the next few days I'm hoping to share some of our Christmas Pictures, what Cullen got for Christmas, Cullen's 11 month update (only a couple weeks late), and some plans for 2014.  Let's get started...

You have already seen the pictures we used on our Christmas card.  But, I wanted to share a few of the other pictures we took that day.  Last year, we used maternity pictures taken by an actual photographer for our Christmas card.  This year, I decided we would attempt this on our own. So, armed with a tripod, wireless shutter release, and a few props, Corey, Cullen and I headed to a little field in our neighborhood to capture a few festive photos.

I think we did pretty well.  I took about 200 pictures and only a few had everyone in focus with happy faces, but we had fun and I love any chance to practice my amateur photography skills.

While these are far from perfect, I am pretty happy with the results and can't wait to frame a few! 

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
We have a full day today starting with seeing what Santa brought Cullen, opening presents, visiting my family for lunch and Corey's family after that.  But I wanted to take a quick minute to wish you a Merry Christmas.

I hope you are spending time surrounded by loved ones and enjoying all the JOY that this day brings.  And while presents are fun to give and get, remember the best gift anyone could ever get: the love God showed us by sending his Son to become out Savior.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 28, 2013
We just wanted to take a quick minute to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for this year! At the top of the list is this beautiful little boy God has blessed us with. He continues to amaze us every day!

I hope you all have a wonderful day. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

What are you thankful for this year?

Ten Months

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Cullen has been 10 months old for a little over a week now.  In case you don't know, this is part of the reason I'm a little late with this month's update.  Anyway...onto the fun stuff.

I feel like Cullen is learning so much these days!  He can say 'Momma'.  (He only says it when he is pulling on my leg telling me to pick him up, but I'll take it.)  He also babbles 'Dada', 'hey', and says 'no'.  I think.  Some times it is difficult to discern what is an actual word and what is just babbling.  Which he does a lot.  Very loudly. I can't even tell you how many times I have heard Corey say "I can't hear you over Cullen."  I'm sure the noise level will continue to increase as he gets older.  Boys are just naturally loud, right?  I just wish a knew what he was saying.  Sometimes, he seems to have some pretty serious conversations.   I love watching all of the little conversations he has with himself, Macey, us, even his toys.  It is just so cute!

He is still trying to stand on his own. He actually does pretty well sometimes.  He can practically run if someone is holding at least one of his hands.  My mom is convinced he will be walking within the next week.  We shall see.

Some of his favorite things to do these days include unloading his diaper bag, banging coasters on the coffee table, pulling all of the diapers out of their basket, and going up the stairs (supervised of course.)  Remind me again why we buy him toys?

When he is not being a little tornado, Cullen has actually started to pay attention when we read books, instead of trying to eat them.  His absolute favorite is Five Little Pumpkins, but he also loves this puppet bookGoodnight Moon, and Hey! Wake Up!  I love watching his face light up as he takes in the pictures on every page.  We are starting to love story time in our house!  Even if it is the same few stories over and over again.

Cullen is also giving lots of kisses these days.  He even tries to give the dog kisses.  It is the sweetest!  Sure, they are open mouth slobbery kisses and can land anywhere: cheeks, nose, eyes, arm, etc.  But, I absolutely love them!

I haven't had a chance to weigh or measure Cullen this month, but based on his stats from last month he is doing okay in the weight department.  Who needs the gym when you can lift this adorable chunk?

I will be back later this week with an update on Cullen's first Thanksgiving and the start of our Christmas festivities.  Until then, have a great week!

Life with a 10 Month Old Boy

Monday, November 18, 2013
As of yesterday, Cullen is now 10 months old.  I should be posting his monthly update complete with stats and pictures, but that will have to wait until later.  Hopefully no later than the end of this week.

Why?  Because my sweet little boy has turned into a rambunctious little boy.  To keep your interest until I can get him to stay in one spot long enough to take a picture or two, I will share some of the most recent shenanigans that are keeping me from getting anything done.  

1.  I caught him feeding the dog.  Is he supposed to know how to do that already?  The other night, after eating his dinner, I left Cullen in his high chair with a teething wafer thinking it would give me a few minutes to clean up the kitchen.  I'm standing at the refrigerator with Cullen in the high chair behind me, and I hear little giggles.  Eating should not be that funny.  I turn around to see Cullen leaning over the side of his high chair and Macey standing on two legs trying to lick the teething wafer in his hand.  Then he proceeded to grin at me to try to feed it to her again after I told him NO.  

2. When I came home from work last Thursday Macey's blanket was no longer in her crate.  According to Corey, it had to be washed because Cullen decided to hold a McDonald's cup upside down over the crate and watch the drink come out through the straw.  Really?  

3.  On at least 3 occasions, he has managed to escape the baby blockade and dump over Macey's water bowl.  Up side?  That part of the floor has been mopped a few times. We have got to start making sure that gate is closed.

3. If you didn't know already, he has figured out how to turn the cable box off.  Then we turn it on again.  Then he laughs and turns it off again.  Best. Game. Ever.

4. Corey and I couldn't find the remote Saturday night.  After searching everywhere we would have put it, we found it in one of the cubbies in the sofa table.  So now, he is also hiding things.

5. He can crawl up the back of the couch to get onto the sofa table.

6. He likes to try to unplug lamps from the wall. I was not aware that baby proofing required removing everything from the room.

This is all within the past week. Did you sense a trend?  He is already blatantly defying me.  I tell him NO and he does it again and laughs.  How in the world am I going to survive the next 18 years?

I blame Corey for this.  From what I hear he was the same way.  At least we don't have a VCR for Cullen to shove a PB&J into.

Cullen's First Halloween

Thursday, October 31, 2013
I am not usually a big fan of Halloween.  It is just not my holiday of choice.  But having a little one definitely makes it more fun!  

Allow me to introduce Linus. Who, true to character, loves his pumpkin!

I started thinking about Cullen's first halloween costume almost as soon as he was born, but it took me until September to actually decide on a costume.  That was the difficult part...making the costume was pretty easy.  He already had the shorts and shoes.  I bought a blue blanket, painted black stripes on a red t-shirt, and found the perfect jack-o-lantern treat bag at Pottery Barn Kids.  At the last minute, I put together a 'Welcome Great Pumpkin' sign; a Linus costume would not be complete without it.

Corey, Cullen, and I started the night handing out candy. Cullen had a blast!  He kept reaching his hand into the bowl to take a handful of candy before we could give it to the trick-or-treaters.  Sorry Cullen, no candy yet.

Once things slowed down a little, we took Cullen to about three houses.  He couldn't not trick-or-treat on his first Halloween!  We really just wanted to show him off to our neighbors, but he got a few pieces of candy anyway.  He had way too much fun 'sorting' his candy when we got home.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Nine Months

Monday, October 21, 2013
I know I say this every month, but I cannot believe that we have a nine month old!  That seems crazy!  

I didn't know it was possible, but Cullen is becoming more independent and more clingy at the same time.  He wants his freedom; wants to be able to crawl, stand, and cruise whenever and wherever he wants.  Half the time he insists on feeding himself (which he is getting really good at!)  Then there are times when I cannot walk to the other side of the room without tears.  If i walk away from him, he crawls after me like a little puppy until he reaches the baby gate; then he pouts.  Don't get me wrong, I am glad that he loves me so much, but being loved so much makes fixing dinner or picking up the house very difficult.

Let's hope I don't jinx this, but Cullen seems to be sleeping much better at night!  Cullen's nine month well check was a little over a week ago, and one of the things we discussed was his sleeping behavior.  I got a pretty stern lecture from the pediatrician about how I was handling middle of the night wakings.  (It was pretty obvious that Cullen was waking up because we I had created that habit; he didn't need anything other than attention.)  The doctor suggested that we try some kind of sleep training to get back to everyone in our house getting a full night sleep.  We discussed three or four options, but he suggested trying the cry-it-out method (based on his own personal experience with his three children.)  I was hesitant (what mother wants to let their child just cry alone in their crib?), but Corey really wanted to try it.  So I went along with it...for two nights.  Those first two nights were pretty rough.  the third night was awful.  Cullen cried that night like I have never heard him cry before.  I cried right along with him and decided that we were going to have to try another way.  This was not working.  And then, he slept 10 hours in one night.  I heard him wake up a few times, but no crying and he went right back to sleep on his own.  The next night, he slept almost 8 hours. So far, we are all sleeping much better!  I feel like a whole new person.  (Let's hope it stays this way!)

As of last Friday, this little chunk weighs 20 pounds 12.5 ounces and is 29 1/8 inches long.  That puts him in the 74th percentile for weight and 84th for length!  Which is not surprising because all of a sudden, this boy can eat!  He is up to three meals a day.  He loves any kind of fruit, yogurt, cheese, and some vegetables.  Its getting to be a little more difficult to get him to eat just veggies.  I have a feeling that is a battle we will be fighting forever, but mixed with fruit, he will eat just about anything.  And Puffs...he would eat a whole can of Puffs in one sitting if I'd let him.  We have to make sure that container is hidden until he has eaten everything else, or he will refuse to take another bite of the healthy stuff.

I love watching Cullen feed himself.  (Does that sound weird?)  He makes a huge mess, but seeing him use those little fingers to pick up a Puff or a piece of cheese and work to get it to his mouth has to be the cutest thing ever!  Macey loves when Cullen feeds himself too.  She stays camped out under his highchair at meal time.  It makes for pretty easy clean up though.  No need to mop after Cullen eats; Macey picks up every drop of food practically before it can hit the floor.

I am fairly certain we are going to have a walker on our hands before we know it.  Cullen is cruising around furniture like it's his job and is getting more confident on his feet.  He has started trying to let go of whatever he is using to balance himself when he stands up.  He very quickly sits down, or holds on again, but you can tell he really wants to stand on his own.  As much as I love watching him grow and learn new things, I am not ready to chase a walking baby around!  Chasing after him now wears me out!

Pumpkin Pickin'

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Since it is almost the middle of October, we figured it was probably time to get some pumpkins.  If you know me, you know how much I love family traditions.  I love that Corey and I have brought some of our childhood traditions into our family, but I am also excited about adding in our own new traditions.  I am hoping that one of those is picking out pumpkins every year.

Corey, Cullen, and I went to a local produce stand this morning to pick out some pumpkins to make our house a little more festive for fall.  Going to little places like this makes me feel like we live in a small town; I love it!

Look at this wall of jams, jellies, and syrups.  I picked out some pumpkin butter.  I can't wait to try it out!

I really loved all the pumpkin varieties they had.  Pink pumpkins, fairy pumpkins, whatever those green pumpkins are called. 

Cullen found a squash that was literally bigger than he is.  How does a squash even grow that big?!

Cullen and Corey picked out a pumpkin for the front porch.  It was really hard to choose!

Then Cullen got to pick out a pumpkin just his size.

He loves that little pumpkin!

I love how unique each of these pumpkins is!  And how cute they are sitting together as they bring a little festiveness (is that a word?) to our home!

See?  He loves that little pumpkin!

Also, it is crazy how much he looks like a little boy these days!  I loved watching as he saw everything at the produce stand today.  I love watching this little boy experience new things.  He was definitely at least as excited as I was!  I can't wait to make pumpkin pickin' a yearly tradition with our little family!

Now, since we are all decked out in our Clemson gear, it's time to watch the game.  Enjoy your weekend!

Apple Pickin'

Monday, September 30, 2013
Happy Fall!!! (I know it's been fall for about a week now, but it is finally starting to feel like it!) One of my favorite things about fall is apples!  Apple slices, apple pie, apple cider, caramel apples! Yum!  And in recent years we have made picking apples a little tradition.  We got to take Cullen on his first apple picking trip yesterday.

We had such a great time wandering through the orchard, sampling the apples, and looking for the best ones to take home.

We got to try a few new varieties that were pretty delicious!

And saw some pretty amazing mountain views.  Look at this adorable mountain home!

I think Cullen really had a great time!  Just look at that smile!

He wanted to eat the apples straight off the tree.  Not yet sir.

We did cut off a few bites of apple for him.  Apparently it was a little tart.  

And what is a trip to the apple orchard without a little wagon fun?

We took home sooo many yummy apples.  We are excited for all the apple pies these will make!

And we had to check out the pumpkins!  It is almost October after all.

I love that this has become such a fun tradition and can't wait for Cullen to really enjoy it as he gets older.  I'm sure we will make at least one more trip to the apple orchard before the end of the season.  

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