pre-party hang outs

almost done with the party pics.  i’ll be posting those next week.

some of these photos are larger in size so they may take a few minutes to load, but it’s worth it!

here is grandpa barry (dane’s dad) and caleb reading a book. (nicole took this one)

caleb’s most favorite thing to do in the world! (another one of nicole’s)

i had to get some of him sitting in his new chair! grandpa barry made two chairs for dane and nicole when they were little. grandma lisa (dane’s mom) painted them, too!  now they are caleb’s until he gets a cousin to share them with.  they are just the perfect size for him to sit and read!

these next two black and white photos just kill me! look how BIG he looks sitting in his chair and reading by himself!

grandma lisa and caleb hanging out outside waiting for his food.

dad tried to get a good one of the three of us…

grandpa layne (my dad) and caleb singing and clapping.  the light was so great!

finally eating…he loves food!

dane and grandpa barry working on caleb’s secret project!  it’s still not completely finished, but they revealed it to me on the day of the party.  i will take some photos once it’s built and reveal it to you!

book themed party: invitations

i’m working on pics of the big party we had this weekend. it was a blast! it will probably take me a few more days since i had my best friend, nicole, take most of the detail shots for me. so i have her photos as well as mine to shuffle through.

so i thought i would start with the invites.

i knew i wanted something simple yet fun.

here is what i came up with. it was printed on UV coated thick paper so that added a nice touch as well. it was a single 5×7 card printed front and back.

this really set the stage for his entire party.  i wanted it to be clean, modern, and not overwhelming. it also doubled as a new pic for the fridge!

here was my thought process for the party (that i started planning 6 months ago!):

  • i knew i wanted to create my own theme. yes, i know that having a book party is not original, but the way it was all put together made it so.
  • i did not care to have any ‘sets’ of anything (i.e. – matching spiderman cups, plates, napkins, etc). when he gets older he can help plan how he wants to celebrate.
  • i would start with a white ‘base’ (table cloths, cake, cake bites) and then add in pops of red and aqua to bring it all together
  • i wanted to make most everything (but not the cake stuff. ha! i’m not a baker)
  • i wanted to give guests another option besides toys as a gift (this helps both parents AND guests!)
  • i wanted it to look simple. and neat.

so i had to start with the invites (in my head) first. they didn’t actually get done until the last minute, but i had the idea for months.

little did i know i would have the hardest time choosing a photo. i went back and forth several times with design, but in the end i chose just one (like i had originally wanted) and then printed the rest (all 60 something) and had them displayed on a tree at the party. i still don’t know how i decided. i had my own system that made sense at the time. ha!

here were some of my favorite out takes (i even had a hard time picking these 16! there are so many fun ones!)…

blogs i love: the happy family movement

yes! just the site i’ve been looking for. i’m all about the mom/family blogs these days. especially ones that provide fun, daily, easy activities to do with caleb.

josh and jenny solar are photographers. they are also parents.

really fun and awesome parents.

and they blog about it.

and have started a movement.

it’s called the happy family movement and it truly is happy.

i joined their ‘music for happy people’ newsletter a month ago. each monday, they send you five songs they have found to be happy. i’ve bought a few of them and am working on making an entire play time album for caleb for his room.

they also have a road trip travel kit. they have three young kiddos and they love taking road trips together. they know how stressful that can be for parents (and the kiddos) so they have created an ‘adventure in a box’ that you can purchase to take on your road trips. it’s a pretty neat idea and a great resource if you’re looking into hitting the road this summer!

happy birthday, belac tnarg!

what?!!? i cannot believe a year ago today i gave birth. without drugs. daaaaaaaaang. and i’m still having flashbacks. hehe.

back to the birthday boy…

here’s what he’s been up to this past month:

  • we started giving him almond milk. no cow’s milk for us. he’s also eating more ‘real’ foods like pasta, breads, cheerios, etc.
  • he gives kisses. they’re sweet and tongue-y, but so perfect coming from him
  • he loves to dance! i love this stage. i remember this time with my niece and couldn’t wait for caleb to get here. we dance all day every day!
  • he signs ‘more’ (same as clapping), ‘all gone’ (hands really high in the air waving), says ‘hi’. he says a lot of other words, but these are the only ones he can do on command.
  • he is pulling up on everything and getting braver each day.
  • he is now sleeping on a floor bed. he has transitioned really well considering he slept in a box cage for 9 months. i still sit with him for 30-45 minutes until he falls asleep, but that’s progress from the 120 when we started. 🙂 i hope to be completely out of his room in the next week.
  • he now has room time which is individual play time by himself in his room for about 20-30 minutes twice a day. i already mentioned that i rearranged his room and now it’s more ‘playtime’ friendly. we both love it.
  • he could sit and read books for hours at a time. he’s still really great at turning pages and i’m impressed that he doesn’t try to eat them.
  • he now officially sucks his thumb when going to sleep. he had been doing this off and on for about 3 months, but now it’s constant. and it’s so cute.
  • grew another tooth….he now has 5

we’ve been playing with blocks more and more each day. we’re working on keeping focus this week. i did some research on 12 month activities and ‘knocking down blocks’ was one of them. so we sit for 20-30 minutes and i build towers while he knocks them down…..

he loves time with his dad. dane is definitely becoming the ‘fun’ one. he spins, throws, and wrestles…just like boys are supposed to. it’s so sweet seeing them bond together. here they are sharing one of dane’s favorite treats…

he also loves hanging out with both of us. (it’s really hard to get a pic of all three of us, btw!)

there are those cute teeth.

i can hardly get a photo anymore because if i get down on the floor he comes and finds me and stands up. i love this shot of his profile.

so today (on his birthday) we went to visit my mom in mineral wells. she got a new job as the administrator for the palo pinto nursing home and they were hosting an easter egg hunt for the preschool kiddos. i brought caleb and granny brought my niece kinsey. it was supposed to be outside, but we were a bit rained out. they changed the location of the hunt to the dining room so that’s why these are all black and white (poor lighting + laziness).

here is my niece geared up for the first hunt…

gah!!!! i just LOVE those eyes! i was reading in one of my child development books that there’s two kinds of babies: crawlers and seers. it makes sense, but i just loved the way it explained everything in terms of their development. my baby has always been a seer. that’s why God gave him those big eyes. he takes everything in and then he bolts away.

this is my granny (his great-granny).

here’s kinsey trying to get caleb to smile (we just arrived and interrupted his morning nap).

here’s kinsey after the first hunt. she got to participate in the 2nd one since she’s the administrator’s granddaughter. 🙂

here’s what caleb did the whole time. i was afraid he would be trampled on so he sat in granny’s lap and chewed on an unopened easter egg. he had a good time. afterwards i let him crawl all over the floor while he chased his cousin.

i’m so thankful for all the rain here in texas. i’ve been looking at the forecast since caleb’s party is scheduled to be outdoors on saturday evening and it’s looking like it will be pretty gloomy. but none of it matters, because my baby will be spending quality time with his extended family (ok, i might be a bit excited about seeing them, too!).

happy birthday,  little one. i never knew my life could change so much in just one short year.  having you has drawn me closer to God as a Believer, wife, and now mom. i want nothing more than to see you grow up a warrior for His name and glory and i am honored that He has called me to raise you. i pray your child like wonder is not tarnished by this world as we struggle to protect you.  i hope you will still give hugs and kisses even when my parenting faults show and i sin against you.  you are my treasure, my prized possession, and i will forever celebrate my role as your mom.


“what was i thinking?” has popped into my head dozens of times this week.

on thursday our little guy is turning one. i will be traveling out of town to see my mom, granny, and niece (an hour away) for an easter egg hunt. then i will drive back to celebrate easter with my bible study for a sedar meal that evening. my in-laws are flying in late that night, but i doubt i’ll see them until friday *pout*.

friday will be a day FULL of last minute preparations for the big party! (and LOTS of california grandparent time for caleb!) i’ve received several RSVPs from my family and friends and now i’m getting excited! my dad is hosting a cookout that night at our house with just the parents. and then my bestest friend (she is also known as dane’s sister) and her husband will be flying in at midnight friday night. buuuuut, they’re staying with us so i KNOW i’ll be seeing them. it’s going to be tough not staying up until 3AM like we usually do.

and then saturday is the big day. it’s like a mini wedding (have i already said that?). BOTH of our families will be together again. i think family means so much more when you start one of your own. i might literally burst with joy just thinking about everyone being in the same area.

so, “what was i thinking?” when i decided to completely change caleb’s room to reflect a montessori setting in the midst of the craziness this week? he now has a FLOOR BED!  who knew i would be letting my almost-one-year old sleep on a mattress on the floor! crazy!

anyway, some of you may have noticed my absence from social media and/or blogging (i wrote all the recent blogs last week and scheduled them for friday and monday so maybe not). it’s because i’m spending quality time with my baby in his new play room and helping him transition to his new sleeping arrangement. it’s going really well. he’s down for sleep #4 in his ‘new’ bed and it only took him about 30 minutes. there’s been minimal crying (only when he’s super tired) and he’s learning the boundaries of his bed. i’ve been sitting in his room and only communicating with him when he gets up in a crawling position to take off. hopefully by this weekend we will be able to lay him on his bed and then leave the room. but until then i’m enjoying the extra time to read up on toddler activities, montessori, and theology.

i’m sure the other rooms of my house miss me (especially the sink), but there will be plenty of hours i’ll spend catching up with them someday soon.

until then you’ll find me in the nursery. on the floor. by the bed.

(pictures to come one day when we remove the blankets around the bed and the crib and i figure out exactly what i would like his play area to look like)

goals update

i am down 10.4% since september 2010! when i get down to my final goal…i’ll write out my entire journey after having caleb with true weight and everything. it’s definitely an up and down journey so that’s why i continue to use the percentages here.

just a recap of my weight loss goals i set last september or october:

8.8% by the end of november (baby weight GONE!)

11.7% by the end of december (wedding weight)

17.6% by the end of april (desired weight)

still not disappointed by my goal numbers. i’m a firm believer in setting high goals and as long as you’re making progress daily/weekly it’s ok to not meet those goals on an exact date. i think it’s safe to say i will NOT be hitting my desired weight by the end of april. ha! i guess i need to change that…

11.7% by the end of april ’11 (wedding weight) i am SO close to this one!

17.6% by the end of august ’11 (desired weight)

23.5% by the end of december ’11 (ideal BMI)

i am excited about this season since i know a lot of people start getting outside and working out more with summer just around the corner. it just helps motivate me!

i feel great. i fit into all of my pre mom jeans (even though i still sometimes wear one pair of maternity jeans ’cause they’re cute and lightweight). and i almost feel confident enough for summer. my body still isn’t what it used to be, but it’s slowly getting there. 🙂

i’m currently in week 6 of my 5K training and it’s going so well. i’m to the point of jogging two miles each workout and with the weather heating up, pushing a stroller, and the hills around my neighborhood it’s just enough of a challenge for me.

i finally measured myself again. i think it had been 2.5 months. i’m only down four inches, but it’s from my hips and waist! they’re finally getting the memos i’ve been sending to my body! change, change, change!

ramblom randings

1. “meemba, meemba?”

when i stayed in china we were required to take a chinese class. our instructor (who spoke absolutely no english) would ask this about 300 times in our 3 hour class each day. we always thought it meant “remember?” since that’s what it sounds like and that her english was poor, but it actually means “understand?”. for us, during that class, it made no difference as those two actually meant the same thing since we hardly ever remembered (or understood) anything from the class before. us foreigners laughed for a good 15 minutes when i found the meaning in the glossary in the back of the book.

chinese is hard.

anyway, now every time i say, “remember?” or “i want to remember this” i almost always, ALWAYS use that chinese term.

and it really does help me remember.

2.  i ordered some favor bags, napkins, and striped straws from an online website. none of the blues match. man. i know it’s not really a big deal, but it makes me not want to use the straws. and that’s the whole reason why i bought from that site.

3. i’m pretty sure belac is cutting 2-3 teeth right now. i can see one, but i’m a little scared to try and feel around for more since he always tries to bite my finger.

4. my marriage is so precious to me.

5. yesterday we had a garage sale. we sold all of our living room furniture. well, we didn’t sell the couch, but dane refuses to put it back in the house. i think it’s a good idea. now we have two little ikea chairs sitting in its place in the living room. it’s kinda fun.

6. we also did a TON of yard work. if i had known i would (or even could) do that much work i would have taken before and after pics. we live in a rent house and who knows how long it’s been since some serious work has been put into this place. i am so sore. and it feels good! i wish i knew more about gardening. it’s just not a passion of mine. i’ll mow and pull weeds, and trim hedges…i just don’t know much about flowers or growing your own plants!

7. we bought a firepit and had a little party on friday night. we roasted marshmallows and others made s’mores. i’m not a big fan of s’mores. never have been. i like roasted marshmallows. i like chocolate. i like graham crackers. i just don’t really like s’mores. i am currently planning our next cookout/backyard party. it’s so lovely out at night these days. lemme know if you want to come.

8. how cool would that be if i could have all of my internet friends over for a party or ‘retreat’. i’ll start saving up so i can buy a big enough house for that one day.

9. i ordered some of our family pics. i really want some more money to print 4 canvases. so, if you find some please share.

10. today caleb moved up to a bigger room in the childcare at church because he was loving a bit too hard on the little babies. (he really does LOVE other babies. he starts patting them on the head and then he claps? not sure what that is about or where he learned that). i didn’t cry and i think it’s because he really likes being anywhere. when i left him he was playing with one of the ‘big’ toys and another kid had come to say hi. he just clapped and smiled and squealed at it all. and there’s too much joy in that to even think about crying.

i’m feeling refreshed in this sweet time of my life.

here we are playing in the living room. it’s a good thing i got my teeth in focus…

3 things

3 things that i love right now.


it’s a way to organize all of those neat photos you find on the internet. if you want an invite let me know!

2. Breville Juicer

these things can get expensive, but i purchased mine used from amazon and it works great! i decided to get serious about being a raw vegan. i now dry brush, juice my fruits and veggies, and drink nut milk (ok, i was already doing that last one, but i laugh everytime i say nut milk. i’m really mature.)

3. Toms Shoes –

now that it’s spring i’m so thankful for my Toms shoes! i would like to get another pair (preferably this pretty red pair…i wish they had a pretty purple-ish color) because i wear them ALL THE TIME!. they are so comfortable for photo sessions and cute, too!





standing up!

caleb confuses ‘stand up’ with ‘dance’.

he just dances when we say either one of those.

and i like it.

in the last few days he has started pulling up and standing on just about anything! it’s so weird to see my LITTLE baby acting like a big kid! he’s gaining all kinds of new strength. i’m not sure how to gauge when he will start walking. everyone keeps asking me! i can’t tell the future or gauge how fast his body learns! ha!

i just love him so much! he is such a good baby. i can’t express it enough. he is happy, content with playing on his own, sleeps well, eats well, runs errands like a champ and even smiles at everyone, is hardly ever cranky (only when teething or no nap), gives the BEST open mouthed tongue kisses, and is just so easy to love!

he’s getting to where he doesn’t want to play by himself with his own toys. sure, he’ll play with the cabinets all day long…if i’d let him! that gets to be a bit frustrating having to really discipline him. we’re using a firm voice and being consistent with distraction. so i find myself playing with him most of the time he’s awake and i absolutely love it! in his earlier months i felt like all i did was feed, burp, and change him. and now i feel like all i do is play since he’s a bit more independent with feeding, burps on his own, and needs less changing. i love falling asleep at the end of the day knowing i read 10 books, sang, clapped, danced, rolled around, beat the floor, and PLAYED with toys all day!

these are now ‘old’ photos since we no longer have that coffee table or couch!