Three 31


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Finish This #26

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If you read my post last week, I’m happy to share that I went to Which Wich and enjoyed the most delicious turkey club sandwich and house chips. Kamden HAD to visit Babies R Us, which meant Mom HAD to eat at Which Wich. So, technically, it’s Kamden’s fault I drove 25 miles to the nearest location for lunch on a random Friday afternoon. Actually, Kamden slept through the entire trip and didn’t have a clue where I ate or where we shopped.

WELCOME TO WEEK 26 OF FINISH THIS … your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31). The link up instructions are simple: answer the prompts in a post on your blog. Then, add the post to the collection list using the link below. Next week’s prompts are located at the bottom of this post.

If you participated in last week’s link up (Finish This #25), here are the winners:

Starbucks Gift Card — CASSIE (My Blessed Life)
Amazon Gift Card — NINA (The Joni Journey)
DownEast Basics Gift Card — GABRIELLE (The Memoir of Gabrielle)
Target Gift Card — KRISTEN (Up North Mama)

*** CONGRATULATIONS ***
Ladies, check your email inbox and reply to Nicole’s email ASAP to receive your prize!!!
FINISH THIS Week 25 Giveaway Banner

1. It’s never too late …
to better yourself. Currently, I’m having growing pains as I learn to prioritize life’s responsibilities as God’s disciple, Husband’s wife, Kamden’s mom, a loving friend, and a healthier woman. I think I am really great at being Kamden’s mom, but there are times I feel like others areas (people) in my life suffer. If you have ideas or suggestions on staying balanced, I’m all ears.

2. I compare myself to others …
all the time. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous. It’s hard, though, exercising next to a five-foot-nothing bombshell in her teeny-tiny shorts and tank top. Her legs are long and lean. Her boobs are perfect. She has a thigh gap. Her belly is flat. Her arms are muscular. She hardly breaks a sweat while I’m looking like a drowned rat after a minute. Oh, and she’s got a bronzed tan all year. #HelloMyNameIsCasper

3. My personality is …
easy-going. I’m quirky, silly, and love to laugh. I can act like a fool one minute and be serious the next. I’m tender-hearted, authentic, Polly Positive and the eternal optimist. However, don’t push me to the point where I no longer give a damn, because once I’m done, I’m done.

4. I can …
say the alphabet backwards. I can shoot a gun and reload ammo. I can (used to) play golf. I can set a formal table. I can prepare a tasty meal. I can bake awesome cupcakes. I can produce 45-50 ounces of breast milk a day. I can eat in a restaurant by myself, or with Kamden only, without feeling weird or awkward. I can go to sleep at night content with my life and my salvation.

5. I embrace change …
fairly easily. Growing up as an only child, I learned to be independent and entertain myself. I was not afraid to move 1,500 miles from home to attend college or meet the man of my dreams (Husband). When Husband was offered a job in Fort Worth, and it required a major transition and move from a small East Texas town to a more urban area, I was fully on board and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Husband, however, is just the opposite. He does NOT embrace change well.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog and join the link up! Come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 27 (July 9) are:
For July 4, I celebrated by …
My go-to cosmetic product is …
I am inspired by …
The best relationship advice I received was …
When no one is around, I tend to …


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Resolution Update // June 2014

Summer 2014 has officially started. That also means I officially have a six month old on my hands. Dear Time, please slow down. At least a little bit. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much this month in regards to this list. There are a couple of things I really want to do, need to do, and already have plans to do in July, so here’s to better things coming. Cheers!

BLOG RELATED
co-host a weekly link-up called “Finish This” This link-up is thriving! For Week 25, the other co-hosts and I each offered a $25 gift card to our favorite retailer for a giveaway. Pretty excited that we’ve made it 25 weeks!
attend the Texas Women Bloggers’ fashion show and silent auction
write a guest post for someone
write a monthly update for Kamden

January
February
March
April
May
June

be featured on The Wise Baby
develop relations with more bloggers Thanks to Twitter, I’m surviving pump sessions in the wee hours of the night with these new mamas – Samantha, Catalyn, Cait, and Carly.
reach 500 followers on Twitter

PHOTOGRAPHY RELATED
have professional newborn photos taken of Kamden photos taken Dec 30, 2013 by Jennifer Wynne Photography
learn Lightroom On-going process, but coming along nicely. LR is so much easier, less overwhelming than Photoshop. I’m glad I made the investment and switched!
acquire this lens
take lessons with a professional
have professional family portraits taken for our 2014 Christmas card

FOOD & DRINK
bake homemade bread in my Le Creuset loaf pan I baked Honey Butter Beer Bread and gave it to the Zachry family since I’m refraining from all alcohol while lactating. They approved of my creation. 
eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant
prepare Kamden’s baby food purees SUCCESS! Kamden had his first bite of pureed food on May 18. I peeled, sliced, and cooked two apples then pureed with breast milk until smooth. I divided the mixture into an ice cube tray, put the tray in the freezer, and several hours later put the “cubes” into a Ziploc bag. I did the same thing with a ripe banana and avocado. Kamden loves both and I’m excited to continue exploring new foods with him. His next food introduction will be sweet potatoes. Mmmm!!!!
JUNE UPDATE: In the freezer, there are now several Ziploc bags of pureed cubes … applesauce, avocado + banana, sweet potatoes, peach + banana, kale + spinach + avocado, and blueberry + peach

create a monthly meal plan
host a dinner party
prepare a dish with curry
eat Neopolitan pizza at Cavalli Pizzeria in Irving
try a new food
JANUARY: I’ve spent more than $100 on specialty lactation products said to increase breast milk supply. I have organic rolled oats and flax seeds, essential oils, and granola mix. If milk isn’t squirting out of my nipples every time I sneeze, I’ll be disappointed.
FEBRUARY:
I found the perfect recipe for LACTATION COOKIES.

PEOPLE & PLACES TO VISIT
Thompson family reunion in Louisville, KY
Perot Science Museum in Dallas, TX

THINGS TO DO
meet with a lawyer and create our wills
open a savings account for Kamden
have my gallbladder removed and tubes tied I had surgery March 4 and the pain was worse than childbirth, especially in my shoulder from the CO2 gas used to “expand” my abdomen during the procedure. Four weeks post-op, my shoulder is tender but doctors assure me the discomfort will subside. I’m so thankful my mom was here with Husband to take care of Kamden while I recovered. I had to “pump and dump” for 24 hours but, thanks to the milk stash in the freezer, Kamden had plenty to eat.
have my DSLR professionally cleaned
renew my gym membership DONE! Renewed my gym membership on March 31, just in time to begin the #1800MinuteChallenge with Erin (@LivingInYellow) in April and May.
hire a personal trainer
wear a size 12
get fitted for a bra
plan a weekend getaway with Husband
plan an overnight girls trip
go hog hunting
compete in a shooting tournament
compete in a golf tournament Played in the Glen Lake Golf Classic on Friday, April 11 with three men from church, we shot a respectable 9-under par. We had  a lot of fun and I played much better than anticipated!
go to the eye doctor
see a dermatologist DONE! On April 10, I received a full body skin analysis and the ‘mole’ that I was most concerned about is not even a mole but rather scar tissue and poses no cancer risk. The mysterious rash that appeared the day Kamden was born is eczema and is now gone thanks to prescription steroid ointment. I was diagnosed with adult acne — not a big shock — and using a new cleanser (morning and night) and applying a prescription solution before moisturizing at night. I’ve seen improvements and will share details in a separate blog post later.
watch Jerusalem, the IMAX film
sell my car
buy a used SUV
attend a bridal shower
attend a wedding
attend a baby shower
attend a non-Christian religious event or ceremony
go to a concert
go to a musical or play
go to a college sporting event
go to a professional sporting event
take pictures for someone I have re-energized my blog and photography page — please like Three 31 Photography & Blog on Facebook — and begun taking pictures again. I took pictures for a group of high school students going to PROM, as well as family portraits of the Zachry’s. I have a few more appointments this summer scheduled too.
donate to a worthy cause
MARCH 27 — I donated my wedding dress to the NICU Helping Hands Foundation for the Angel Gowns project. You can read about my experience HERE.
APRIL 30 — I donated 367 ounces of breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas.
MAY 22 — Donated 367 ounces of breast milk to MMBNT and toured the processing facility.
clean out my closet DONE! Took six LARGE garbage bags full of clothes, shoes, and unwanted household items to Goodwill on April 12.
write a letter

WISH TO HAVE
MacBook Pro
Lightroom 5 purchased April 24
square-toe cowboy boots
Warby Parker glasses

BOOKS I WANT TO READ
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child This was an impulse purchase at 3:00am when I was trying to soothe a fussy newborn who would NOT go to sleep.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
Inferno
All Is Grace Rev. L suggested this right before she left for another trip to Jerusalem, which I’m pea green with envy about since she’ll be floating in the Dead Sea and eating shawarma without me. It’s a book I would have never found on my own but one I enjoyed. The author, Brennan Manning, a recovering alcoholic and former Franciscan priest, shares tales of his spiritual journey and how he has experienced God’s grace in a variety of ways in the strangest of places. ‘Tis a good read.
The Signature of All Things
Happier At Home

MONTHLY GOALS
January:
mail Kamden’s birth announcements FAIL but let me explain: we received Kamden’s birth day photos and I ordered the announcement cards last week. Hopefully, they ship soon so I can address envelopes and mail them before Valentine’s Day. Which brings me to next month’s goals……

February: Create a photo project for Valentine’s Day and send to the grandparents. DONE. Photo albums were mailed to the grandparents and two great-grandmothers on February 13. Address and mail Kamden’s birth announcements. DONE. Birth announcements were mailed to 65 friends and family on February 13. Schedule surgery to remove gallbladder and dismantle baby-making machinery. DONE. Surgery is scheduled March 4. Have 100 ounces of breast milk in the freezer by the end of the month. DONE. There are 52 bags, each containing six ounces, and, if my math is correct, that’s 312 ounces of breast milk collected in just ONE month –  I’m a machine!

March: Visit Lara in Salado. SUCCESS — Mom, Kamden, and I visited Salado United Methodist Church on March 9. Lara even used Kamden as an impromptu sermon illustration about letting go of control and having child-like faith. Her husband, Travis, prepared a delicious lunch for all of us and we spent most of the afternoon in their home visiting and talking and laughing and having a wonderful time. I miss my Rev. L, so any time I can get with her is a blessing. Send more photos of Kamden to the grandparents and great-grandmothers. DONE! Write more blog posts. Along with Kamden’s monthly updates and the weekly #FinishThis link up I co-host, I posted an anniversary tribute to Husband, a list of motherhood essentials for the first three months with baby, and some random thoughts from my Lenten journey. Instead of giving something up for 40 days, I decided to take something on and read the New Testament with #MargaretFeinberg. Celebrate our seventh anniversary with dinner and a movie. PARTIALLY SUCCESSFUL! We treated ourselves to a barbeque dinner Sunday night, the day before our anniversary, but there was no movie involved. There are movies coming out soon that I want to see though, I’ll ask Husband for a rain check!

April: Read a book to Kamden every day. FAIL. We play and interact all the time, but I don’t always read a book to him. Nominating myself for bad parent award. Purchase an outfit for Easter. I wore this dress from Old Navy. Visit a dermatologist for the rash (eczema?) on my left wrist. DONE. Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. FAIL. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, every day (#1800MinuteChallenge). Partial success – I exercised 950 minutes and went to the gym almost every week day.

May: Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. FAIL, but it’s on my to-do list in June. Complete the #1800minutechallenge. Major Success — not only did I complete the 1,800 minute challenge, but I exceeded it by exercising 2,160 minutes in 60 days. Not bad, huh!? Attend Mayfest at Trinity Park in Fort Worth. Fail. Host a girls’ dinner party. Semi-success because I had dinner with a friend and her daughter, plus two of her friends, but I’ve rescheduled the girls’ night I had planned originally. Donate more breast milk. Success — I’m a pumping machine! Celebrate my first Mother’s Day. Success — Husband and Kamden made my first Mother’s Day truly special with a sweet/funny card and took me out for dinner. Complete an online tutorial for Lightroom. Success — thank goodness for Pinterest, YouTube, and photographers’ blogs with video and text tutorials! Take pictures and edit them using Lightroom. Success.

June: Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. FAIL, but it’s on my to-do list in July. Introduce Kamden to the swimming pool. SUCCESS … the water was a little chilly (we went at 10:30am) but he got used to it and enjoyed it. He was more aggravated by the hat I put on him more than the water. With more visits, and warmer temperatures, he’ll enjoy it! Lose 10 pounds. Losing weight is hard work. Like most people, I pay quite a bit attention to the number on the scale and, as a result, I get disappointed when the number increases after a week of relentless exercise, fitness classes, weight circuit training, and better food choices. According to my weekly measurements in the ‘Biggest Transformation’ competition at the gym, I am losing inches. Bad news: the scale number has not changed. Good news: I’m building muscle and that weighs more than fat. Attend an “ALPHA” group exercise class at the fitness center. SUCCESS … and I lived to tell about it. Seriously, the most intense workout but totally worth the sweat. Eat clean for an entire month — no white bread, white flour, sugar, or processed foods. Semi-Success. I eliminated all white bread except for one ham sandwich when we were out of wheat bread and I also had a hamburger bun. I avoid refined sugar like the plague but I’m addicted to Nature Valley ‘Oats N Honey’ granola bars and I’m pretty sure those are considered processed since they do not grow naturally in the world. Bummer. Celebrate Husband’s first Father’s Day. SUCCESS … Husband asked for pictures of Kamden for his desk at work and I happily obliged. I also created a collage using the letters D-A-D, similar to the collage I created for myself on Mother’s Day and spelled M-O-M. Husband loved them all. How could he not when our child is so adorable and delicious?! Create layout design for a gallery wall in the living room. FAIL, but there are LOTS of new pins on my Pinterest board … does that count?! I need to go through the photos and frames I already have and start from there. A gallery wall is overwhelming but I love the look, it’s going to happen soon.

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Photo for Husband’s ***FIRST*** Father’s Day!!!!

July: Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Prepare a special dinner for Husband’s birthday. Lose five pounds. Limit myself to one granola bar a day. Get a copy of Kamden’s birth certificate and call Southwest Airlines to get details on flying with an infant as a lap-child. Have lunch/dinner with a friend. Start an editorial calendar for my blog.


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Finish This #25

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WELCOME TO WEEK 25 OF FINISH THIS … your co-osts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31). The link up instructions are simple: answer the prompts in a post on your blog. Then, add the post to the collection list using the link below. Next week’s prompts are located at the bottom of this post.

FINISH THIS Week 25 Giveaway Banner

 As a ‘thank you’ for participating in the Finish This link up, the co-hosts are offering $25 gift cards to their favorite retailers. To be eligible to win, you must participate in Week 25 link up. Four (4) winners will be selected using a random number generator. Giveaway ends June 30.

1. I have a quarter to use a pay phone, I call …
first of all, I only have, like, five phone numbers memorized, 9-1-1 being one of them! Depending on the situation, I would call Mom, Husband, Alan, or Rev L. Husband gets 98-percent of my calls, no matter the situation. However, sometimes I need to hear my Mom’s voice. If I needed to be bailed out of jail, I’d call Rev L (because I know her number). I’m 99.99999% sure she’d call Alan to report my shenanigans. Knowing my luck, they’d both show up at the county jail to point and laugh … then post my bail.

2. I found $25 in my pocket, I buy …
food, and, most likely, sushi or seafood. Celeste, a dear friend and lovely lady in my life, and someone else I’d call if I were in jail, once called sushi “a treat for your palette.” I totally agree! And I’ve never met a shrimp, fish, lobster, crab, or scallop I couldn’t eat.

3. I have 25 minutes to watch anything on TV, I turn on …
Teen Mom or 16 & Pregnant or Chopped or The Real Housewives or MasterChef. I watch Wheel of Fortune every night, religiously, so that’s a given. For a treat, I like to watch cooking competitions, grown women act like fools, and, if I’m feeling like a parenting failure, Teen Mom. It lifts my spirits immediately. Basically, I feel blessed (and somewhat normal) after watching really bad TV. :)

4. A meal I can prepare, from start to finish. in 25 minutes or less is …
chicken (or pork) and rice. It’s one of Husband’s favorite meals and it’s so easy and simple to prepare. Season boneless chicken breasts (or boneless pork loin chops) and sauté over medium-high heat until done, remove from pan. Add uncooked rice (we like Uncle Ben’s original recipe), seasonings packet, and hot water to pan, bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes, until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. If I’m really in a time crunch, I’ll use instant rice or the packages of rice that cook in two minutes or less in the microwave. While the rice cooks, cube the chicken into bite-size pieces. When the rice is done, stir in the chicken and you’re done.

5. At the age of 25, I wish I had known …
that a child was DEFINITELY in my future and I’d need a bigger vehicle. In 2009, I purchased a 2007 Toyota Camry (in cash, mind you) but I had also looked at Toyota SUVs and Tundra CrewMax with giddy eyes. At the time, I convinced myself the car was the more logical choice. I don’t NEED an SUV or full-size pickup, even with Kamden, but it would be nice to have the extra room. But my Camry is paid for and I’d be stupid to have a car payment right now. Of course, the vehicle I really, really WANT is ridiculously stupid expensive and Mama didn’t raise no fool. My car gets great gas mileage and goes wherever Kamden needs to go because, let’s be honest, I’m just his titty-milk-producing chauffeur!

6. If I drove 25 miles DUE EAST from my house, I’d be in …
Mansfield, Texas. Home of my OB/Gynecologist, Dermatologist, Kamden’s Pediatrician, the hospital where Kamden was born, and Which Wich.

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photo source

I might be OBSESSED with turkey club sandwiches and house chips from Which Wich. I purposefully schedule doctor’s visits around the lunch hour so I can indulge in Which Wich. When I was pregnant, Husband quit asking where I ate lunch after maternity appointments after the third credit card charge in less than two weeks. In my hospital bag, I had a Which Wich bag (filled out with my order and name printed on the bottom) because I knew I’d be hungry after delivery!!! I still find any excuse to go to Which Wich. Two weeks ago, I attended a church conference and happily ate at the Which Wich located nearby. I’m convinced Jesus is a sandwich connoisseur and would appreciate Which Wich as much as I do. There is one in Mansfield and two in Fort Worth. I’ve been to all three, on multiple occasions! Besides tasting amazing and the bread being milk-free, I am a loyal customer because your sandwich is prepared fresh *AND* it is not a mess when you get it. Which Wich’s website is amazing and includes a complete list of common allergens for all of their menu items. I stopped going to another sandwich place (it rhymes with CUBMAY) because those people literally throw your sandwich together in a hot minute to rush you out the door and your sandwich looks nasty and tastes worse. I had a CUBMAY employee tell me I was obnoxious when I asked her to put the meat and veggies ON the bread instead of the sheet of paper. She literally grabbed a handful of spinach and turkey that had fallen off the bread and SLAMMED it down. I exited without my sandwich and never went back. At Which Wich, even though the price is higher, the quantity and quality of ingredients is so much better and the service is top-notch. Employees greet you with a smile as you walk in the door and your custom, made-to-order sandwich tastes great. I was not paid to endorse Which Wich, the company has no idea who I am. I just really, really like their food . If my calculations are correct, I am one purchase away from a free sandwich because I am in the loyalty program. Also, in the event Rev L and Alan have to bail me out of jail, I expect them to be armed with a Which Wich turkey bag with my name on it. :)

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog and join the link up! Come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 26 (July 2) are:
It’s never too late …
I compare myself to others …
My personality is …
I can …
I embrace change …


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Half A Year { Kamden’s SIX MONTH update }

Kamden Six Months SMALL

Six months.
183 days.
263,520 minutes.

As of yesterday, June 19, my baby is one half of one year. This makes me incredibly sad but also joyful for the precious moments I’ve spent watching him grow and develop into the little man he is becoming. He’s growing so fast, too fast! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am Kamden’s mommy. The old cliché is true: time flies when they’re little.

GROWING // Kamden is 21 pounds and is built like a Mack truck. His chest and shoulders are so wide he has nearly outgrown his infant car seat. He still has a bald spot on the back of his head where he lays to sleep, but his hair is growing thicker and becoming darker on top. Despite his growing belly and chunky thighs, Kamden can touch his feet and even put his toes in his mouth! He does it mostly on the changing table and in the bathtub.

Kamden.ToeLicker-1

EATING // Oh boy, since the last monthly update we’ve had a LOT of fun trying new food purees! Of course, Kamden has not only eaten them well, but worn them too! This early in the game, if he swallows some and wears the rest, that’s a success in my book. I’m having a BLAST preparing his homemade baby food and so far he’s had applesauce, avocado + banana, kale + spinach + avocado, sweet potatoes, and peach + banana. He’s a great eater and will try anything you put in front of him.

Kamden.KaleFace.large-1

WEARING // The Chunk is still wearing size 2 diapers, though once we finish this box we’ll probably step up to size 3. His clothes are all 24 months and 2T. The bottoms are big, but the tops fit perfectly. Because of his increasing drool production, we’ve had to resort to toddler-sized bibs that look like small bath towels with a hole cut in the middle. He wears one at all times and still manages to soak through his onesie top.

Nana at TLG web-7

DOING //  Oh my, Kamden is so busy! Every week day, he goes to the fitness center with me. All of the ladies smile when he arrives. He’s also made a friend with the guy at the refreshment center. Everybody wants to be Kamden’s buddy. On Wednesdays, we attend an hour-long class at The Little Gym. I enrolled Kamden in the Summer Semester and he’s having a great socializing with other babies. It’s also great for him developmentally and he achieved a milestone — sitting up unassisted — during a class! Kamden has been the star attraction at The Little Gym because he has had a special guest with him two weeks in a row: Jamie went with us for the first class and Nana C (my mom) went with us this week.

Nana at TLG XSMALL-14

Every Sunday, since he was six weeks old, Kamden is at church. There is always a line of lovely ladies waiting for me at the door wanting to hold him through the service. I’ve considered hosting an auction and the highest bidder gets to hold my son. It’s never too early to make deposits into his college fund, right?!

Kamden’s personality is developing more and more every single day. Husband and I are having a blast making Kamden laugh and giggle. He finds the most simple, random things hilarious: chin tickles, an empty water bottle; a tree branch moving; toy boats in the bathtub; and bubbles.

Kamden is also beginning to recognize and acknowledge his name. Every morning, when I pick him up out of his crib, we look at the letters on the wall and spell out his name. Throughout the day, I sing silly songs with rhyming lyrics and incorporate his name. Most of the time, when you say Kamden, he turns toward your voice and makes eye contact. It might be a little early for him to “officially” recognize his name, but I’m convinced my child is very, very smart and ahead of the curve. :)

Whether sitting, reclined, standing in the Exer-Saucer, or lying on his back, Kamden is reaching and grabbing for toys and items around him. It’s especially fun when he’s in your lap and he reaches out to touch your nose, ears, and mouth. He’s grabbed my hair and sunglasses several times, and it’s really cute to see him grab a handful of hair on Husband’s arms. (tee hee hee)

Kamden’s sleeping patterns have re-regulated again. He goes to sleep around 9:15-9:30pm and wakes up between 7:45 and 8:30am. Having him sleep 10-11 hours again is glorious. For a while, especially last month, he went through a period of time when he would wake up to be fed around 3:30-4:30am. It didn’t happen every morning, which made the routine even more difficult. Kamden still fusses more when he is tired than when he’s hungry. The child loves (and demands) his shut-eye! Here recently, Kamden has taken a 30-45 minute nap in the mornings and a long nap (60-90 minutes) in the afternoon. Limiting his naps to 90 minutes or less means he is fussier around 7:30-8:00pm, but he goes right o sleep at bedtime and doesn’t make a peep all night.

FATHER’S DAY // For Husband’s first Father’s Day, Kamden and I did a little photo shoot using D-A-D letters. Husband had asked for pictures to keep at his work desk and we were happy to oblige.

DAD.collage.small

LOVING // Toys that make noise or play music; classes at The Little Gym; screaming and shouting; jumping and playing in the Exer-Saucer; cuddles at bedtime; chewing on Sophie the Giraffe; reading books with Mommy; and walking outside in the evenings.

LOATHING // Shots at the doctor’s office; unexpectedly waking up; waiting to be fed; and lying down when he wants to sit up

MOMMY’S MASTITIS // Despite being diagnosed with mastitis, my breast milk supply has remained steady. I’m currently taking four antibiotics a day to heal the infection and, after just three days, I’m feeling a world of difference. I’ve never felt pain like that before, even after childbirth and gallstones! Nana C saved the day when she surprised us and showed up the same day I was diagnosed. It was a blessing to have her take care of Kamden so I could get some rest and heal. Mastitis is seriously painful and knocked me for an unexpected loop!

SUMMER BUCKET LIST // Summer hasn’t officially begun but Kamden has been busy exploring and making memories. His first adventure this summer was picking peaches. We brought home enough for his food purees and surprised Daddy with a quart of homemade peach preserves for Father’s Day!

Little Elm Farm-3

We want to accomplish a few more things this summer too:

  • Go swimming
  • Attend Vacation Bible School
  • Watch fireworks on July 4 (from afar, of course)
  • Travel to Kentucky via airplane for family reunion
  • Taste a juicy watermelon
  • Blow bubbles
  • Go to the public library for storytime
  • Cool off at the local Splash Pad
  • Ride a train
  • Have lunch with Daddy
  • Grapevine Aquarium
  • Perot Museum in Dallas
  • Make bath paint with shaving cream and food coloring
  • Enjoy a popsicle

nk.

 

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new toy

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Nana C and Kamden at The Little Gym

We had the most pleasant surprise Monday: Nana C (my mom) arrived! That’s right, she drove 14 hours to see her most favorite grandson (her only), most favorite son-in-law (her only), and most favorite daughter (her only). Actually, she could not have shown up at a more perfect time. I was at my OB’s office getting diagnosed with mastitis when she got to our house. I had a clogged milk duct last week, felt better by Friday, but things got much worse Sunday afternoon. By mid-day Monday, I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other. I had fever, body aches, zero energy, and my left boob really hurt. I called my doctor and the nurse told me to get to the office immediately. Fortunately, we caught the mastitis early enough that the antibiotics are already improving my situation, but this hiccup in my breast-pumping journey has kicked my butt. Needless to say, Nana C showed up when she was needed the most. I’ve been able to rest (and even take a few naps!) while Nana C and Kamden have worn each other out. They’ve played so hard, both have been caught taking naps before noon! Yesterday, she went to The Little Gym with us for our weekly class. This is the second week in a row that Kamden has had a special guest with him. :)

Nana at TLG XSMALL-8

nana collage 1

nana collage 2

The expression on Kamden’s face in the lower right photo cracks me up. He’s just sitting up on his own, watching the world go by, staring at bubbles and babies, no big deal. HA!

Nana C had as much fun as Kamden did. They danced and sang silly songs. They stretched and exercised, tumbled and explored, and played with balls and bubbles.

nana 4

Last week, Kamden used sticks in an upper-body exercise. This week, he and Nana C used a pair as drumsticks to follow the beat of music. When the tempo was slow, he wanted the sticks to move fast. When the tempo was fast, he wanted to the sticks to go slow. Silly kid!

Finally, like all good things, fun times at The Little Gym must end because it’s time to eat and take a nap. Kamden was tired before we even arrived, so I knew he’d be ready to go by the end. He wasn’t a fan, or a willing participant, during the goodbye song either. He fussed for a minute but was sound asleep before I drove out of the parking lot.

nana 3

Nana C is on her way back to Kentucky today, missing her already, but so thankful she showed up when she did! I don’t know what I would have done without her. She’ll be back next month to join us for Kamden’s first plane ride. Wooo Hooo!!!!!!


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Finish This #24

Welcome to Week 24 of Finish This! This link-up is hosted by LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and I and we’re so glad you’re here. If you’ve joined us before, thanks for returning! Be sure to add your post to the link-up. If you don’t have a blog, don’t worry. Simply answer the prompts in a comment. Next week’s prompts are at the bottom of this post.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CO-HOSTS …

Next Wednesday, June 25 is *Week #25* of Finish This, and as a ‘thank you’ to all of our amazing participants, the four co-hosts ( Jen – Nicole – Becky – Lisa ) are each offering a $25 gift card to their favorite retailers. To be eligible to win, you must participate in next week’s link up. Easy-peasy!

FINISHTHIS.linkupbutton

 

1. I could spend all day …
listening to Kamden laugh. We haven’t recorded one of his giggling episodes yet, but we will. He’s ticklish beneath his chin (who isn’t?!) and has this deep belly laugh that melts our hearts. It’s the sweetest thing.

2. My primary and most essential goal in life …
is to raise Kamden in a Christian home. It’s important to me that Kamden attends church, and he has since he was six weeks old! I also want him to have a heart for service towards others, be humble, be kind and understanding, and grateful for the little things.

3. You might be surprised to learn …
I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hate my feet. They are rough, dry, and callused. I hate them. When I was little, I hated wearing shoes so I’d go barefoot all the time, even in the wintertime. Then, when I started playing golf, they got worse. It’s not that I had bad shoes, I didn’t, but walking 36+ holes a day will take a major toll of your toes!

4. My favorite place in the world is …
cuddles with Kamden. In the arms of Husband.  Walking barefoot in the bluegrass of Kentucky. Serving in Haiti. Floating in the Dead Sea. And church. I really, really, really love being in worship.

5. I wish I had known sooner …
how amazing being pregnant would be, how easy delivery would be (with an epidural, of course!), and how much I enjoy being a mother. I’m not saying I wish we had started a family earlier, because I thoroughly enjoyed being just “us” for almost seven years, but being Kamden’s mommy is damn good.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 25 (June 25) are:
I have a quarter to use a pay phone, I call ….
I found $25 in my pocket, I buy …
I have 25 minutes to watch anything on TV, I turn on …
A meal I can prepare, from start to finish. in 25 minutes or less is …
At the age of 25, I wish I had known …
If I drove 25 miles (direction) from my house, I’d be in ..


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Fun at The Little Gym

Kamden’s first summer has been full of adventure and new experiences … and it’s just the second week of June! Two weeks ago, we attended a complimentary class at The Little Gym in Burleson. I was skeptical at first, being Kamden is just five (almost six) months old, but I soon realized its benefits, especially physically and developmentally, not to mention socially for both of us.

At The Little Gym, children are divided into groups according to age. Kamden and his classmates (four to 10 months) are called Bugs. Our weekly parent/child classes incorporate the three dimensions of learning found in all levels of classes at The Little Gym::

  • GET MOVING — Increased physical strength and muscle control, fine and gross motor skill development, coordination, and balance
  • BRAIN BOOST — Spatial and perceptual awareness, introduction to colors, language development and self-expression, knowledge of letters and numbers, and initial problem solving
  • CITIZEN KID — Developing independence and feeling comfortable away from parents, early socialization, sharing and taking turns, accepting new environments, following directions, and cooperating with others

Let’s be honest, friends, my child’s balance and coordination is solely based on the direction and momentum of his gut. The kid is a chunk. But hey, he’s built like an ox and I’m sure will be starting linebacker for the Alabama Crimson Tide one of these days. As far as feeling comfortable away from his parents, he’s pretty socially content as long as he has food and sleep. If you feed him when he’s hungry or let him snooze when he’s tired, he’s your best friend forever. Kamden is many things, malnourished is not one of them.

The Little Gym-12

For the record: my child does NOT have a unibrow. I know it looks like he does, but his eyebrows match perfectly to a crease at the bottom of his forehead. Poor kid. I guess we’ll have to start calling him Uni.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first day of class at The Little Gym for the summer semester. I made the executive decision to enroll Kamden in the 10-week program for several reasons:

  • I want him to socialize with children his own age.
  • I want to socialize with adults.
  • I want him to be comfortable in new and different places and environments.
  • I want to get out of the house.
  • It’s the perfect opportunity to learn skills and activities we can repeat at home.
  • The class time is perfectly between feedings, which means he crashes for a long nap afterwards.
  • I can take a nap afterwards.

I asked Jamie (daughter of a friend but more like a niece) to tag-along with Kamden and I so I could take pictures of him in action during his first official day as a ‘Bug.’ Who can resist spending time with Kamden? C’mon, that smile and those fat rolls?! During class, Bugs “explored” different areas of the gym. Kamden is a fan of the inclined mats and the donut. He’d probably eat a donut if you put it in front of him. At circle time, Bugs and their Mamas (or Kamden and Jamie) played with bright-colored scarfs, sang songs, and performed strength exercises. Kamden’s form in the butterfly chest press is spot on.

Kamden Jamie Collage

To encourage Bugs to get out of their comfort zone, they do assisted flips. Kamden is pretty good at touching the mat as it approaches his face and tucking his head, but he really enjoys sticking the landing. He will lie there as long as you will let him!

Will y’all leave me alone so I can take a nap?

KamdenFlip

Bugs are no where near being ready to perform gymnastic routines, obviously, but the equipment is available for older students and it’s a great way for infants to work on gripping objects and building muscle strength. Kamden held on to the bar but got distracted by the pretty girls next to him. They are twice his age but half is size. Oy!

The Little Gym-16

Another muscle-building activity for infants involves a stick. Simple, right?! I’ve done a similar exercise with Kamden at home using a large wooden spoon. He grabs on to it, as do I, and will pull himself up into a sitting position. Viola, that’s my strong and chunky boy working his core muscles like a champ!

The Little Gym-17

At the conclusion of class, which includes more circle time as a group playing with balls or blocks and singing, the teacher walks and blows bubbles. Kamden loves bubbles.

Kamden Collage

MILESTONE CELEBRATION: It was during this class that Kamden began sitting UNASSISTED on the big red mat. We were sitting on the floor, he was impressed with the purple ball, and I was suddenly aware that he was not leaning against my leg anymore. I’m one proud Mama!

I am new to The Little Gym and did not realize, until now, the variety of classes and programs available to children up to age 12. There are even summer camps and weekend specials. For locations in your area and specific details on classes, visit The Little Gym’s website and ‘like’ them on Facebook. And if you are in the Burleson area and want to see a room full of cutie-patooties, join Kamden and his fellow Bugs every Wednesday at 12:30!

You’re all invited to his ‘graduation’ in August when he moves up to the Birds (10-20 months) class. I just know my child is going to rock this semester and pass with flying colors. :)

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