Three 31


6 Comments

Finish This #45

IT’S WEEK 45 OF FINISH THIS … If this is your first time here, welcome. If you’re a repeat participant, thanks for playing along and joining the shenanigans. Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog and add the post to the link up. Next week, we’ll do it all over again with a new set of prompts (located at the bottom of this post). Let’s get started!

FINISHTHIS.linkupbutton

Have you heard about the *YEAR IN REVIEW* questionnaire and link up happening in December?
If you are a blogger then you absolutely MUST complete the *YEAR IN REVIEW* questionnaire. If you’ve never completed a similar questionnaire, click HERE. This special event will take place during WEEK 52 of the Finish This link-up, beginning Wednesday, December 31. Please share this with other bloggers. In case you’re easily distracted or forgetful, I’ll periodically remind you of this awesome event!

1. The best physical feature on my body is
I’d say it’s my smile but Kamden and the countless number of NICU babies eating my breast milk would say my boobs.

2. The best physical feature on my spouse’s body is
Husband’s hands. He’s got really big hands, long fingers, clean and trimmed nails (most of the time), and no calluses. His feet are the same way, except when his toenails scratch me when we’re in bed and I jump up immediately to grab the clippers. Ain’t nobody got time for shenanigans like toenails touching you while trying to sleep. Pffft.

Prompts for WEEK 46– November 19
If I could fly to any destination tomorrow, I’d go to
My best advice for travelling is
I (like / dislike) to travel because


2 Comments

10 Things I’m Loving

I’m going to references this list of NON TOY gifts for kids for many, many years to come.

Attention Hunters: this is a monster buck! (Plus, the shooter and I graduated high school together!)

I have all the supplies needed to make this DIY growth chart, except I plan to use stencils and paint the numbers instead of using self-adhesive metal ones. I must get this done before Kamden’s birthday next month. Eeek!

Kamden has two of the top 10 toys of 2014: Sophie the Giraffe and the sit-to-stand learning walker. They’re both worth their weight in gold.

A great tutorial on taking really beautiful “backlit” photographs.

Dear Santa, I want this camera and this lens. Please and thank you.

The ultimate lists of gifts for every person on your shopping list, including DIYers, photographers, bakers, artists, bloggers, and more!

Do you have a vision statement? Me either.

Psychological warfare in the supermarket.

Because whiskey (bourbon) makes everything better, including pork chops.


4 Comments

The Ultimate List of Non-Toy Gifts for Children

TheUltimateListofNonToyGiftsforChildren

With Christmas just six weeks away and family members asking about Kamden’s wishes, this list of *NON TOY* gifts for kids couldn’t have come at a better time. Plus, this list can be used for many years as there are ideas for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and even teenagers. There is truly something for every child at any age and any price point.

Technically speaking, this Christmas isn’t Kamden’s first. Last Christmas (2013), was overwhelming and crazy. Kamden was less than a week old and we spent Christmas Eve day in the pediatrician’s office and hospital waiting for his bilirubin (jaundice) tests results. It wasn’t exactly how I envisioned our son’s first Christmas. So, I’m declaring that Kamden will celebrate his first birthday and first Christmas in 2014. Besides, it makes much more sense this way and is easier to remember!

Kamden is (and will always be) an only child. I want to give him the world, but that doesn’t mean materialistic things. Husband and I aren’t anti-toy, quite the contrary actually. We want Kamden to have toys AND experiences that are educational and meaningful. More importantly, we want him to know the real reason we celebrate Christmas. We want Kamden to know Jesus as his Savior and have a personal relationship with God, his creator. We want him to realize Jesus is the best gift of all. We also want Kamden to be generous and have a kind heart. Scripture tells us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When Kamden is older, we’ll adopt meaningful gifting practices. For example, before Kamden receives a new toy, he’ll pick some to donate or give to a child or family in need. Eventually, he can create his own NWWR list: something he needs, something he wants, something to wear, and something to read. It’s practical and manageable … and our house won’t become inundated with toys!

When buying gifts for children, consider their age, level of maturity, interests and hobbies. For example, at one year, Kamden is more suitable for alphabet letters and numbers rather than tickets to a drive-in movie. To help select gifts for your loved ones, consider these *NON TOY* options:

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Children’s magazine (i.e. Highlights, Ladybug, or National Geographic Kids)
Imaginative kits (i.e. Citrus Lane, Little Passports, SparkBox, or Kiwi Crate)
Book-of-the-Month club (i.e. GiftLit)

SPECIAL EXPERIENCES

Semester at The Little Gym or Kinder-Music
Membership to the zoo, amusement park, or local waterpark
Take child to the public library for stories or to check-out books
Tour the local fire station
Photography lesson with a professional or mentor
Portrait session in favorite costume, sports jersey, or with group of friends
One day pass to an aquarium, museum, festival, or county fair
Paint-your-own pottery or canvas class
Tickets to a concert, play, or sporting event
Cooking class
King/Queen for the day
Design a yearly calendar using custom artwork or photos
Bake and decorate your own birthday cake
Build the ultimate ice cream sundae
Watch a movie at the drive-in theater
Camp in the backyard
Carriage ride in the park
Ride a train

LEARNING AIDES

Puzzles
Books
Flash cards (alphabet, animals, colors, etc.)
Easel, a roll of butcher paper, paint brushes and water-based paint
Construction sets or building blocks
Animal or alphabet magnets
Train set
Activity cubes or boards
Foam letters and numbers
Bird house, bug catcher, or gardening tools
Crayons, markers, and coloring books
Point-and-shoot digital camera
Drinking cups
Personalized plate, bowl, and utensils
Powered toothbrush

PLAY

Kamden.RadioFlyer.XS

Tricycle or Bicycle (Kamden loves his Radio Flyer 4-in-1 trike)
Busy board with knobs, drawer pulls, locks, light switches, door stops, etc.
Bath crayons or water paint
Sports equipment
Sidewalk chalk
Inter-locking foam floor mats
Inflatable swimming pool
Inflatable ball pit
Bubbles, wands, or blowers
Sand or water table, buckets and shovels
Cooking utensils

 

ballpit{ source }

CLOTHING & WEARABLES

Uniform for school or extra-curricular activity
Sports jersey
Pajama set
Superhero cape or costume
Personalized backpack or luggage
Personalized chef’s coat and hat

FURNITURE & DECOR

chair{ source }

Growth chart
Outdoor swing or climbing gym
Picnic table or junior table and chairs
Personalized lounge chair
Book case or shelves
Toy chest
Sleeping bag with blanket and pillow
Framed portraits or artwork
Wood letters for an alphabet wall

 

h-wall{ source }

THE GIFT OF SERVICE

Monetary donation to favorite charity
Deliver canned goods to the local food pantry
Visit a retirement community or nursing home
Donate clothes, shoes, toys, or food to a homeless shelter or family in need
Bake cookies for neighbors
Write a thank-you note for each gift received
Send a care package to a soldier or college student

OTHER

Money for savings account, college fund, stocks or bonds
Gift card for big-ticket items such as a convertible car seat

What non-toy gifts would you add to this list?


2 Comments

how to send the perfect card this Christmas

This post is sponsored by Minted.com, all opinions are my own.

Since 2005, sending Christmas cards to family and friends has been an annual tradition of mine. I truly enjoy sitting down with my favorite pen and handwriting names and addresses on envelopes! Every year, around the first of November, I start looking at designs and purchase a roll of stamps. In the past, I’ve selected a card design that supports a specific charity. Last year, I was too busy (and a little overwhelmed) with Kamden’s birth and did not send a single Christmas card. In January, however, I mailed his birth announcements to everyone who would have normally received our Christmas card. This year, I’m pulling out all the stops. For our first “official” Christmas as a family of three, I’ve hired a photographer and scheduled a portrait session. Let me just tell you, Husband is so excited. (Yeah right.) But we’re making memories and starting our own holiday traditions!

There are a few things to keep in mind when preparing to send Christmas cards:

one. // choose the right photographer

Finding a photographer is pretty easy, but choosing one that fits your style, budget, and personality can be a challenge. Fortunately, I have Becky (The Java Mama) in my life. She’s taken pictures for me in the past and does an incredible job. I met Becky through a local bloggers’ network and we instantly became friends. As a mother, she works well with children. As a wife, she is incredibly patient when someone (cough-Husband-cough) doesn’t like having their picture taken. Basically, Becky is a saint with a camera! It’s important to remember that photographers are really busy this time of year. It’s best to schedule your family’s portrait session well in advance to avoid the holiday rush.

two. // choose a color scheme 

I am NOT a fashion expert, but I know what I like when it comes to clothes. For portrait sessions, I tell my own subjects to coordinate their outfits but avoid matching. Gone are the days where everybody has to wear khaki pants and a white top or all denim. Thank goodness! It’s also important to dress comfortably. When you’re comfortable, you’re relaxed. And when you’re relaxed, your pictures are better. Comfortable for Husband means jeans and boots. Since he agreed to a portrait session, I agreed he could wear his jeans and boots. (Pick your battles, people!)

three. // choose a location

I don’t know about your significant other, but Husband is NOT looking forward to our portrait session but he’s doing it because he knows it’s important to me and family pictures are on my birthday and Christmas list. (Okay, fine, I might have bribed him with a little something later, but that’s beside the point.) To make Husband as comfortable as possible, and to ensure our pictures are natural-looking, our session will take place outdoors and near our home. Outdoor photography provides more options than a studio and, if you time your session properly, the light can be amazing. Choose a location that fits your family’s personality and style. If urban cityscapes are your thing, find a favorite spot (i.e. city park, favorite restaurant with outdoor patio, water garden, playground, train station, etc.) in your town. If you live near the ocean (lucky you!), take pictures on the beach. If rural landscapes are more your style, pick an open field, fence row, or tree-lined path. If you have specific props or personal items you want to include, discuss with your photographer and plan accordingly. If you have pets, include them in your family picture too. Make it fun but, most importantly, make it about you and your family!

four. // choose the perfect card

Thanks to Minted.com, designing Christmas and holiday greeting cards is easy. But, if you’re like me, choosing just one design is really difficult! There are hundreds (thousands!) of cards for every holiday, celebration, and life event imaginable. Every card option can be customized to fit your needs and budget. Whether you prefer a flat or folded card, one picture on the front or six, fancy paper or decorative edges, there are lots of options to choose from and you can add or edit most text on the card as well. Here are some of my favorite designs from the 2014 Christmas card collection:

bookofisaiahBook of Isaiah // source
This is one of my favorite Scriptures and it really incorporates the spirit and meaning of Christmas. This is also a wonderful pose idea for the kids, I love the use of a little red wagon!

aquarelleAquarelle No.2 // source
Sometimes, simplicity is best.

santaslittlehelpersSanta’s Little Helpers // source
What a fun and festive way to send holiday cheer to your friends and loved ones! This pose reminds me that pictures used on Christmas cards don’t necessarily have to be taken around the holidays. If your family goes on vacation every year and there is a spectacular photo where everyone looks great, use it on your Christmas or holiday card. This is also a cheaper alternative to hiring a photographer too!

brightchristmasBrightest Year Christmas // source
Awwww, what an adorable picture! I love the typography and bright colors too.

dottedborderDotted Border // source
Here is another example of using a photograph you already have and incorporating it on your Christmas or holiday card. By adding a greeting statement and decorative border, you have a unique card to send to family and friends. Small touches really add to the overall look and theme of your card.

silverliningSilver Linings // source
If you can’t decide which picture to put on the front of your holiday card, use them all! This is a great way to share multiple photos of your family, especially if you’ve invested in a portrait session with a professional photographer. You want to get your money’s worth!

FamilyYearInReviewFamily Year In Review // source
As a blogger, I love review-type posts and this card is perfect for sharing big (and small) events that have happened in the past year.

What are some of your family traditions during the holidays? Do you mail cards or have pictures taken as a family every year? Leave a comment below!


10 Comments

Finish This #44

IT’S WEEK 44 OF FINISH THIS … If this is your first time here, welcome. If you’re a repeat participant, thanks for playing along and joining the shenanigans. Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog and add the post to the link up. Next week, we’ll do it all over again with a new set of prompts (located at the bottom of this post). Let’s get started!

FINISHTHIS.linkupbutton

Have you heard about the *YEAR IN REVIEW* questionnaire and link up happening in December?
If you are a blogger then you absolutely MUST complete the *YEAR IN REVIEW* questionnaire. If you’ve never completed a similar questionnaire, click HERE. This special event will take place during WEEK 52 of the Finish This link-up, beginning Wednesday, December 31. Please share this with other bloggers. In case you’re easily distracted or forgetful, I’ll periodically remind you of this awesome event!

1. _______ makes me smile because
Email messages, Facebook posts, and blog comments from moms breastfeeding and/or pumping make me smile because they remind me of the community that is motherhood. I get messages on a daily basis from women asking me about my breastfeeding experience and current journey as an exclusive pumper. I have quite the intimate relationship with my hands-free bra and Medela pump, and I’m grateful that my supply is abundant to feed not only Kamden but the countless NICU babies who receive my donor milk. A year ago, my only wish was to have skin-to-skin contact and hope Kamden latched on after his birth. My ultimate goal was to breastfeed six months … he’s 10 months and we’re both doing really well. As successful as my breastfeeding experience is, there are moms out there who are not as fortunate, for a variety of reasons. But I get excited when a mom reaches out to me because I’m willing to share my story and the tricks or techniques that work for me. I’m not saying what I do is the only way or the right way, but I’ve certainly had some success doing what I’m doing! What is most incredible, however, is every email message, social media post, or blog comment represents a relationship. We are all women bonded by the struggles and triumphs that is motherhood, whether we breastfeed, pump, formula-feed, or a combination of all three. We’re all trying our very best to love, nurture, and feed our little one and it’s a beautiful thing.

2. I put my trust
in The One who created me. Simple as that. But it’s easier said than done, especially when my human tendencies and habits and desires want to be in control. It’s a daily struggle but thank God he doesn’t give up on me!

3. I don’t
share bed linens (i.e. pillows, blankets, or sheets) with Husband. In the (almost) eight years of marriage, we have slept under the same sheet or blanket once – and we both woke up, miserable and cold, neither of us were covered. Ever since, he has his own pillows, top sheet, and blanket and I have mine. This mandatory rule is in effect even when we are staying in a hotel or a friend or family member’s home. Having your own covers is the REAL definition of happily ever after.

Prompts for WEEK 45– November 12
The best physical feature on my body is
The best physical feature on my spouse’s body is


4 Comments

Jamie Lynn // Three 31 Photography

I am so excited to share some of the portraits I took during a recent photo shoot for Jamie Lynn. She is incredibly gorgeous and so photogenic. The location, NRS (National Roper Supply) Training Center, was the perfect backdrop for her *senior session* and we had absolutely perfect weather too.

JamieCraddock.SneakPeak.06

Jamie.Craddock.SneakPeak05

JamieCraddock.SneakPeak01

Jamie Craddock.SneakPeak02

JamieCraddock.SneakPeak03

JamieCraddock.SneakPeak04

Thanks to National Roper’s Supply for providing the incredible backdrop for Jamie’s senior portraits. Sand Hill Ranch and the NRS Training Center are located in Decatur, Texas.

If you or someone you know would like to schedule a portrait session for seniors, please contact me!


2 Comments

Resolution Update // October 2014

Another month and I feel like such a slacker. I have 61 days to get my a$$ in gear and accomplish some of these goals.

BLOG RELATED
co-host a weekly link-up called “Finish This” The *FINISH THIS* link up is going strong, despite a decrease in participation the past few weeks. I have a special end-of-year questionnaire post coming up in December that I hope is popular and lots of people join the fun. Will you join me?
attend the Texas Women Bloggers’ fashion show and silent auction Farm-to-Table event
write a guest post for someone Sharing my human milk donor story on Lexy’s blog.
write a monthly update for Kamden

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October

be featured on The Wise Baby
develop relations with more bloggers
reach 500 followers on Twitter
*BLOG-RELATED NEWS*
I applied, and was accepted, to the writing team of MOMquery, a website dedicated to providing encouragement, answering questions, introducing products and gears, and being a reliable, authentic, and REAL resource for moms written by moms! My first published article, “I Exclusively Breast Pump” can be found HERE. I’m really excited about this new endeavor, an exciting opportunity to work with some amazing women/mom/bloggers, and share my experiences along this journey called motherhood. Stay tuned for more! :)

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
JULY UPDATE: Kamden is mostly interested in the bottle of breast milk. He’s just not that in to the pureed stuff. One or two licks of the spoon and he’s done. No biggie, really, we’ll keep trying.
AUGUST UPDATE: Nothing new to report, really. Kamden’s only truly interested in breast milk and pushes away spoons with pureed solids. I made a batch of homemade teething cookie bars that he likes to hold in his chubby fingers and lick, especially since I keep them in the freezer and they’re cold.
SEPTEMBER UPDATE: Kamden loves him some banana …. the kid really is a monkey!
OCTOBER UPDATE: Kamden is enjoying solids on a more consistent basis, but he still doesn’t eat very much of them. He loves bananas though and can polish off half of one all by himself. He’ll accept pureed avocado, applesauce, and sweet potatoes from a spoon. He is also eating banana-flavored Puffs. We’ll try new flavors soon.

create a monthly meal plan
host a dinner party Success! Hosted the Zachry family while my mom and aunt were visiting from Kentucky. I roasted a pork loin and, if I don’t say so myself, it was damn awesome.
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 SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kamden rode on an airplane for the first time; met his maternal great-grandmother and more aunts, uncles, cousins, and family than he knows what to do with; and, overall, travelled like a champion.
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 DONE! Probably the best 75-bucks I’ve spent in a VERY long time. I highly recommend Fort Worth Camera for their camera cleaning services. I won’t wait five years to have my camera cleaned again!
renew my gym membership DONE! Renewed my gym membership on March 31.
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.
JULY 1 — Donated 619 ounces.
JULY 28 — Took my Mom to the milk bank to see the processing facility and meet the ladies, plus I donated 431 ounces.
SEPTEMBER 23 — Delivered 625 ounces of breast milk to MMBNT.
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.

July: Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. FAIL … I really, really need new contacts and glasses. This MUST get done in the near future. Prepare a special dinner for Husband’s birthday. I don’t remember exactly what I fixed for Husband’s birthday dinner, but I’m sure it was special and, of course, homemade. Lose five pounds. FAIL … but I’m losing inches. Does that count for anything besides making me extremely frustrated?! Limit myself to one granola bar a day. FAIL … yeah right, like I have self-control to eat just one! Get a copy of Kamden’s birth certificate and call Southwest Airlines to get details on flying with an infant as a lap-child. DONE! Flying Southwest with a child has to be the BEST airline choice and Kamden’s first trip away from home was a huge success. He’s such a great baby and excellent traveler. And I’m not saying that because he’s mine, he really is an amazing child! Have lunch/dinner with a friend. DONE AND DONE … Lunch with the Zachry ladies and dinner with Heather, I’d say I’m pretty blessed with friends who like to eat. Start an editorial calendar for my blog. SEMI-SUCCESS … I have the calendar. I have some ideas for scheduled blog posts. I do not have said posts written or edited. I really need to work on writing more often, especially with the incredible opportunity I’ve been given with a major website. Eeek, excited to share more, later!

August: Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. For real, this month. Nope, failed again. I’m such a loser. Exercise five consecutive days, at least an hour each day. Major failure. Publish two (additional) blog posts each week. Fail. Clear out Kamden’s wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit or he doesn’t wear anymore and post them online to sell. Fail.

September: Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Fail. This is bordering on ridiculous. I’ve got one pair of contacts left, so it’s just a matter of time before I’m walking around blind as a bat or looking like a nerd in my glasses. Complete and exceed the #1500in30 exercise challenge (1500 minutes in 30 days) and lose 10lbs. Fail on both accounts — time at the gym and the weight loss. Start outlining a book study I’m creating. Fail, didn’t even open the book I’m supposed to be outlining. Begin The Story Bible study at church. SUCCESS! Began this study on Wednesday, September 24 and really enjoyed the first session. Let’s hope my enthusiasm and enjoyment lasts another 31 weeks. Participate in the American Heart Association Heart Walk. SUCCESS! Despite the weather, it was a lot of fun to walk around the Fort Worth Stockyards for a great cause. Eat (relatively) clean for 30 days, eliminating processed foods, sugars, and carbohydrates. MAJOR FAIL. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Read The Bible Storybook to Kamden every day, for at least 30 minutes. Semi-success. We’ve been reading every day but not The Storybook because Kamden likes to grab pages and I’m afraid he’ll tear pages out. Schedule at least one additional mini-session for Three 31 Photography. Semi-Success. Another friend got engaged and we’re trying to figure out a good date for pictures. But it’s going to happen! Write three articles for MOMquery. Two complete, one on the way. Run the vacuum once a week for a month. Success. I’ve also been mopping the floors on a regular basis. And “maintaining” better. But I’m still not ready for an impromptu “white glove” test. Purchase a new mattress set for our master bedroom. Fail.

October: Visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Guess what? I still haven’t gone to the eye doctor. I know, shocking. Go to the gym at least four days every week. EPIC FAIL. I didn’t make it to the gym for an entire week, but I had a legitimate reason: Kamden wasn’t feeling well and I don’t want to be THAT MOM who takes her sick child to a public place with others. That’s just rude and my Mom raised me better than that! Complete two “photography projects” at church. Half success – half failure. I took pictures at Pumpkin Patch but the other “project” is still under development. Complete a 30-day elimination diet. I am currently on day nine of no nightshades (i.e. potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers). Stay tuned for more details in tomorrow’s blog post!

November: I’d like to get new contacts and glasses before the end of 2014, but we know my track record for this is less than stellar. I’m going to include it in my goal list though. Do a portrait session for a high school senior. Decorate for Christmas and Kamden’s first birthday party. Host a mini-Thanksgiving meal at our home with friends. Order family portraits and Christmas cards. Buy stamps for said cards. Address said cards.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,533 other followers