2014 Goals Update: January/February

Friday, February 28, 2014
Remember the goals I set for 2014?  I thought I would share with you how I'm doing two months into the year.  

1. Organize/Decorate/Clean.  Thanks to having Cullen's birthday party at our house, I did a lot of  organizing the first few weeks of the year.  When you come into our house you step into one big room that we use as a living room and dining room.  Since this is the biggest/most party friendly room in our house, it has gotten a lot of attention lately.  In just this one area we have:

Put away all of the Christmas decor/gifts and other stuff from around the house that was cluttering up this room.  I wish I had a 'before' picture to show you just how bad it was.  Then again, maybe not.  Someone would have called Hoarders on me.  But it is much better now.  Everything has been boxed up and put away.  And by put away I mean stacked in our guest room until I have time to find it a proper home.  Don't judge.  One step at a time.

Installed a shelf/clothes rod in the coat closet.  When we moved in, this closet had one of those white wire shelves.  We took it down when we first moved in so we could scrape and paint the closet ceiling, with every intention of putting it back up (the shelf and hardware have been hanging out in our garage for three and a half years).  But we I decided a wood shelf and rod would look so much nicer.  So thanks to the hard work of my Dad, this closet looks pretty good and is actually functional now!

Rearranged the furniture in this front room.  We moved around the love seats, chair, rug, and coffee table.  It flows so much better now!  And it makes me smile every time I walk into that room.  I also moved a shelf in from the kitchen.  With the low furniture and taller ceilings, everything was looking squat-y.  This room definitely needed some more height.  I wasn't loving this shelf in the kitchen anymore, but I think it is perfect in here.  I edited down the serving pieces displayed on it, but still need to add something to the bottom two shelves.  Maybe baskets; definitely something Cullen can't break.

We also got a new chandelier for the dining room and a new entry rug for the front door.  The rug we had at the front door came from our first apartment.  It did not go with anything in our house.  So in a rush to get this room ready for the party, I was lucky enough to find this super cute rug at Target.  Bonus, it is super soft...I could stand on it all day!  The new chandelier came from Lowe's and for only $79, I love it!  I really liked the previously chandelier (we had just installed it when we moved in), but when it came time to replace the light bulbs recently I could not find the right bulbs anywhere.  I would have had to order the bulbs online and would have spend $33 on just three bulbs.  That is crazy, especially for a light that was less than $150!  Anyone want a light fixture that needs some new, rather expensive light bulbs?  

There is still a lot more I would like to add to this room, but I'm pretty happy with what we've done so far!

2. Simplify.  We haven't really made much progress here, but we still have plenty of time. And I have some ideas.

3. Quality family time.  I think we have made some pretty good steps forward in this area.  Instead of eating dinner in front of the TV, we are all sitting at the kitchen table almost every night now.  I loved that we did this when I was growing up, and really want to keep family dinners a part of our family.  I think it is important for the family to spend this time together to talk about our day; things that wouldn't get said if we were sitting in front of the TV.

4. Blogging.  I'm feeling pretty good about this goal.  I've caught up on everything I wanted to share so far.  And I'm planning ahead.  So be sure to follow along, as I plan to share a lot more with you this year!

Did you set any goals for this year?  How are you doing so far?

Thirteen Months

Thursday, February 20, 2014
Our little man is now thirteen months old.  I feel like he has changed so much over the past month.  There is no sign of baby left in him; we have a full gown toddler on our hands now.  

Cullen has mastered a lot of new skills over the past month:
  • He throws away his own diapers.  Sometimes without even being asked.  But you have to watch him; he usually tries to take something out of the trash in return.
  • Running.  Walking is a thing of the past. He is always moving as fast as he possibly can.
  • The fake sneeze.  If you fake sneeze, he will throw his head back and say "Ahh-oo". It is quite possibly the most adorable thing ever!
  • He is really fine-tuning his verbal communication.  You can tell that he really understands most of what we say to him, and occasionally he even does what we tell him.  He still says "dis" (this) and "was dis" (what's this) to just about everything. But he also answers any questions you ask him with a very thorough explanation.  No one knows what he is actually saying, but he is definitely not just babbling.  I can't wait until he starts using actual words.  I can tell we are going to get some gems from this guy.

Meal time has become a struggle over the past month.  I know a lot of little ones start to get picky at this age, but I was not prepared for his level of pickiness.  He will always eat yogurt, quinoa, cheerios, and goldfish.  But that is all.  I can occasionally get him to eat half of a baby carrot, three tiny bites of banana, or a couple tiny bites of a grilled cheese (His favorite part is the crust, which I find really odd.)  I have no idea how he has gained over a pound this past month, because he doesn't eat anything. I have tried everything I can think of to get him to eat more: offering less milk, offering lots of options at one meal, giving him only one option, putting his food on the coffee table so he can graze, nothing seems to work.  So I guess we will just keep offering, and he will eat when he is ready.

Cullen and Macey are best buds these days.  Mostly because he feeds her.  When he is in his high chair and decides he is done eating, he drops his leftovers, one piece at a time, so that Macey can eat them.  He constantly shares his snacks with her.  He also LOVES  to watch her through the back door and then gives her a treat when she comes back in.  So basically, Macey loves him because he feeds her, and Cullen is okay with that.  He gives her more kisses than he gives me, and he loves to snuggle with her!

Bedtime has become a lot easier in the past month or so too.  When Cullen gets tired, he starts laying down on anything he can find: a blanket, a stuffed animal, Macey.  We then brush his teeth (easily his favorite part of the day), give him kisses, and lay him down.  He snuggles up with one of his stuffed animals (lately its been his fox) and goes right to sleep.  No more fussing while we rock him to sleep, no more crying when we leave the room.  It is absolutely wonderful! (I wish I could say the same about naps.)  The way he cuddles up with his stuffed animal and snuggles himself in has to be the sweetest thing ever!

I think it is safe to say that this is my favorite age so far.  I love watching him explore and learn. He can be clingy at times (thank you new teeth), but he is generally a happy little boy that spends most of his day laughing out loud.  I love the way he throws his head back and belly laughs at just about everything. I am so excited to watch him grow into a little boy. I am sure he is going to be wide open and Corey and I will both be exhausted at then end of every day, but I know we have a lot of fun headed our way!

Snow Days

Monday, February 17, 2014
Mondays are usually difficult; having to go back to work after a weekend of spending time with Cullen is never easy. But leaving him and making it to work today was especially difficult. If you haven't heard, the southeast got a pretty big snowstorm this past week. I got to spend almost a whole week at home with my little man! I loved every minute of it, but it definitely made today a little worse than most Mondays.

It started snowing at our house at about 5 am Tuesday morning and didn't stop until late Thursday evening.  We got more snow than we have seen in a long time! That meant I got to spend Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and half of Friday at home with Cullen.  It was wonderful!  And Corey was able to work from home most of the week, so we were all safe and warm at home.

Cullen was sick when we got a dusting of snow a few weeks ago and couldn't play in it, so I was excited to bundle him and play in the snow.  As soon as the ground was covered Tuesday morning, Cullen and I went out to play.  

Since we very rarely get this kind of weather,and it never really gets that cold, I have not invested in a heavy coat for Cullen. I had to layer several pairs of sweatpants, shirts, and jackets on him.  He had to wear regular ol' tennis shoes because the only boots he has come up to his knees and he couldn't walk in them. Can you tell we are not used to this kind of weather? I will have to be more prepared next year.  Despite our unpreparedness, we put on enough layers to venture out into the frozen tundra that was our backyard.

Cullen seemed pretty impressed with all of the snow.  And the first thing he did was taste the snow.  Isn't it amazing that some things don't need to be taught?  Obviously, the white stuff laying on the ground is meant for eating. 

Cullen seemed pretty happy with the snow so far, so I picked him up and we went further into the yard.  Big mistake.  He did not like standing in the snow.  He just plopped himself down and fussed. Poor guy could hardly walk and was very concerned about the white fluffy stuff stuck to his mitten.

So we headed back inside to warm up and snuggle on the couch.

After his initial reaction to the snow, Cullen and I didn't even attempt to go outside on Wednesday.  Instead, we got in lots of snuggles, watched the snow fall, and made snow cream, which was a huge hit with everyone.  

Since it was still snowing when Corey finished working on Thursday, the three of us bundled again and attempted this playing-in-the-snow thing one more time.  Again, Cullen was having non of it.  He was happy when we were holding him, but he did not want to be in the snow. 

And we were all upset when trying to make a snowman didn't work.  The snow was too fluffy to stick together.  Even Cullen was clearly upset by our snowman failure.  

Several inches of snow on the ground for three days and we spent less than ten minutes outside.  This child clearly does not love the snow as much as I do.  Maybe next year. 

Despite our failed attempts to enjoy the winter weather, I loved every minute of my time at home with Cullen.  We played, made messes, read the same three books over and over, and had lots of great snuggle time!  I love snow days!

Happy Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 13, 2014
I just wanted to take a minute to stop by and wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day!  I am so blessed that God brought this amazing man into my life! Corey is a wonderful husband and father, and I am beyond blessed that he is my Valentine forever!

Now, I'm off to enjoy the weekend with my two Valentines. How are you spending your Valentine's Day?

Snow Cream

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
We have gotten a lot of snow here over the past two days.  And since it rarely snows around here (actual snow, not ice), I jumped at the chance to make some snow cream!

I sat a bowl outside last night in anticipation of the snowstorm that was supposed to start early this morning. After lunch, I brought my bowl of snow inside and gathered the rest of my ingredients.

1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 - 6 cups fresh snow

Mix together the milk, sugar, and vanilla.  Add snow one cup at a time, and watch the ice cream magically form!  

Since it's almost Valentine's Day, I served the snow cream in my favorite red coffee bowl and added pink heart sprinkles. Enjoy!

Valentine's Day Cards

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
This weekend, Cullen made some Valentine's to send to his grandparents and close friends.  (And one for me to keep, of course!)

I painted his hand and used his hand prints to make a heart shape on white cardstock.  I then cut out the heart and put it on some kraft paper cardstock and wrote a little message from Cullen.

After the first three hand prints, Cullen was totally over the whole project, but he did really well about not getting paint everywhere.  And he thoroughly enjoyed the clean up.  Who knew washing your hands could be so much fun?!

I love how simple these were to make and how cute they ended up!  Corey and I have never really been Valentine's Day celebrators, but having a little one has definitely made it more fun.  I am looking forward to making Valentine's with Cullen every year...if he will let me!

Now that these are in the mail, we are going to enjoy all the snow we are supposed to get over the next few days!

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