Three 31


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Finish This #35

IT’S WEEK 35 OF FINISH THIS … this can we all take a moment and thank the Good Lord fall is around the corner?! I’m so ready for cooler weather, long pants (so I don’t have to shave my legs), and college football. Amen.

You know the drill … 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’s prompts are at the bottom of the page.

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1. I celebrated Labor Day by
doing absolutely nothing. Well, let me rephrase that: I celebrated Labor Day by accomplishing zero tasks on my to-do list and enjoying every ounce of mommyhood and being a wife. I was up early to pump and thought Kamden would wake up for a bottle, but he didn’t so I went back to bed. I got up at 8:30, Husband was up at 9 and Kamden got up at 9:30. Husband fed Kamden while I pumped, and afterwards we all sat on the living room floor to play. At 11:30, we moved to our bed to continue play time – Kamden loves it when we’re together on the king-size bed and he has room to squirm around. He’s not crawling yet, but he’s close. Around noon, while reading Bible stories, Kamden drifted off to sleep and I enjoyed a snooze-session myself. The rest of Kamden’s day went something like this: he ate a little, played a little, peed and pooped a lot, and slept a little more. While Kamden took his afternoon nap, Mommy and Daddy had quality time together. (Heyyyyyyy.) By 6:00pm, our evening routine began and it didn’t matter if it was Labor Day or not. Dinner. Wheel of Fortune. (On Mondays, we watch Master Chef too!) Husband and Kamden build block towers on the floor mat while I’m in the kitchen cleaning and refilling bottles. More play time at the kitchen table or on the living room floor. Kamden gets a bath and lotion massage before his last bottle and bedtime. I pump while Husband takes a shower, then we go to bed. If anybody says our life is predictable, they’re correct.

2. My dream job/career, would be
A year ago, I might have said I wanted to be a judge or host on a cooking competition show; writer and/or photographer for a travel magazine; a tour guide in the Holy Land; missionary in Haiti; or a nanny/personal chef. Now, I’d add to this list an author; volunteer at non-profit; lactation consultant or mentor for breastfeeding women; PR/marketing/social media manager; or a donor/recipient liaison for human milk banks and hospital NICU departments. You know the luxurious retirement communities for senior citizens that have mini-buses? I could totally be one of those bus drivers and chauffeur a bunch of old, rich people around all day. Plus, I could take Kamden along. It’s a win-win for everybody.

When Vanna White retires from Wheel of Fortune, I want her job. But I’m bringing back the old manual letter boards so I can actually turn them around when a contestant calls a vowel or consonant. When someone correctly solves a puzzle, I’ll throw confetti on them too. Everybody likes confetti.

Dear Wheel of Fortune producers, if by some chance in a million-billion-trillion-gazillion you’re reading this blog post, please accept my application to be your official letter-turner. My salary requirements are much lower than your current clapper-lady and I’d much prefer flats to her high-heeled shoes. By hiring me, you’ll also save money on hair and makeup. Basically, I’m the best you’re ever gonna get. I can start tomorrow.

3. My first paying job was
babysitting two girls who went to my church in the summer of 1999. It was between my freshman and sophomore year of high school and before I got my driver’s license. I worked three or four days a week and walked a mile to their house. By the time I got my driver’s license, my babysitting duties were in high demand. I worked for five families with 16 kiddos, collectively. Now, all of these kids make me feel SUPER OLD because they are all grown up. The youngest set of triplets are now freshmen in high school and the older triplets are juniors in college …. cue the waterworks! The oldest kids I used to babysit are either in college or have graduated. I’m so old. I wish some of the older ones lived close to me though, because I would certainly have them babysit Kamden!!!! Besides the babysitting and nanny-ing gigs, I’ve been a golf course attendant, private golf instructor, church camp counselor, HR generalist, marketing and business development coordinator, middle school teacher, and youth director.

4. My current job is
stay-at-home mom to Kamden and Husband’s wife. I think I’m doing a pretty good job, most days. No, the house isn’t spotless and I don’t make our bed every morning, but Kamden’s the happiest, healthiest, most loved mini man-child in the history of ever and Husband’s well taken care of too. I’m a regular donor to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas and very active at church. Once I became pregnant and after Kamden was born, improving my health and well-being became my ‘job’ too. I consider exercising 4-5 days a week a personal responsibility with far-reaching benefits to my family. One of these days, when Kamden starts school, I’ll return to the workforce and use my professional skills but I’m not rushing back to the 9-to-5 gig. Besides, Kamden is growing faster than I want to admit … slow down, kid!

Healthy Mama + Happy Baby + Content Husband = A Blessed Life
You might have a bigger house, newer car, and prettier clothes, but I’ve got all I need.


Invite your blogging friends and come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer another set of prompts!

Prompt for WEEK 36 — September 10
I am serious about
I am most relaxed when
There’s no place like


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Resolution Update // August 2014

BLOG RELATED
co-host a weekly link-up called “Finish This” This link-up is thriving!
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
July
August

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

*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.

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 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.
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. Complete and exceed the #1500in30 exercise challenge (1500 minutes in 30 days) and lose 10lbs. Start outlining a book study I’m creating. Begin The Story Bible study at church. Participate in the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Eat (relatively) clean for 30 days, eliminating processed foods, sugars, and carbohydrates. Read The Bible Storybook to Kamden every day, for at least 30 minutes. Schedule at least one additional mini-session for Three 31 Photography. Write three articles for MOMquery. Run the vacuum once a week for a month. Purchase a new mattress set for our master bedroom.


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Finish This #34

IT’S WEEK 34 OF FINISH THIS … this week is all about hair and, quite frankly, I’m the world’s most boring, predictable person when it comes to hair. My hair looks the same every day, no questions asked. Womp. Womp. Wooooomp.

You know the drill by now … the co-hosts of this lovely link up are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are  simple: answer the prompt(s) on your blog and add the post to the link up. Easy-peasy, my lovelies!  Oh, and next week’s prompts are at the bottom of the page.

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1. My daily hair routine consists of
readjusting my messy up-do. It’s not a ponytail or bun, but rather a handful of hair, poofy and curly, gathered in an elastic band. The main reason I wear my hair up and back every single second of every day is because I hate it in my face. Yuck! I’m the most easy-going, lowest maintenance woman on the planet when it comes to hair and makeup. Most days, I glimpse at myself in a floor-to-ceiling mirror at the gym and shout, “DAMN GIRL, YOU A HOT MESS!” Okay, maybe I think it, I don’t say it, but I am hot and my hair is a mess. I don’t own a comb or blow dryer either. My hair has been professionally straightened once and I hated it. Last Saturday morning, I got a haircut. I get one twice a year, if I’m lucky, and I pay less than 20-dollars, including tip. It’s awesome.

2. The best hair advice I’ve received
was wash your hair every other day or third day. Okay! Showering is so much better when I don’t have to wash my hair. I save time, water, and conditioner, which I buy by the gallon. You girls with curls know what I’m talking about. The bottle of conditioner always empties before the shampoo. It’s super annoying.

3. My hair idol is
I honestly can’t think of anybody. I don’t want anybody else’s hair. Most days, I don’t want the hair I have, much less some other person’s hair! I definitely don’t want a cut or style that requires a lot of maintenance. Plus, my hair has never – EVER – been permed or colored, not even highlights. What you see is what you get. When I’m at the salon getting it cut, I tell the hairdresser, “You can do whatever you want, cut it as short as you wish, as long as my hair is long enough to get back up!”


Invite your blogging friends and come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer another set of prompts!

Prompt for WEEK 35 — September 3
I celebrated Labor Day by
My dream job/career, would be
My first paying job was
My current job is


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Finish This #33

IT’S WEEK 33 OF FINISH THIS … where’s everybody at?!

You know the drill by now … the co-hosts of this lovely link up are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are
simple: answer the prompt(s) on your blog and add the post to the link up. Easy-peasy, my lovelies!
Oh, and next week’s prompts are at the bottom of the page.

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1. I feel stupid when
I’m trying to edit photos using Photoshop, which is why I switched to Lightroom. I also feel stupid when trying to comprehend HTML, which is why I don’t have my own dot-com for this blog.

2. I hope I never
forget who I am and whose I am.

3. My one piece of advice to the world
is learn to cook. Get comfortable in the kitchen, try new recipes, explore different spices or ingredients, learn from your mistakes, and experiment with a variety of appliances and cooking methods. You don’t have to be a trained, professional chef to feed your body and nourish your soul. In our digital age, and with popularity of Pinterest, there is no shortage of easy-to-follow recipes accessible to the most novice of wannabe cooks.

Invite your blogging friends and come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer another set of prompts!

Prompt for WEEK 34 — August 27
My daily hair routine consists of
The best hair advice I’ve received
My hair idol is


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Eight. { Kamden’s Monthly Update }

Kamden.8months.small

Kamden is eight months old! I’m loving the current stage as he is in full “baby mode” experimenting with sound and noise and discovering his vocal chords; grabbing his toes; chewing on his fingers and toys; and exploring his home environment. His personality and social patterns are also developing. Like me, he is a very social baby and likes to be around people but, like his Daddy, when he’s done socializing, he’s done! Quiet time is sacred around these parts and sleep is never too far away.

I thought for sure he’d have a tooth by now, but nothing has pushed through the gums. He’s just a slobbering, jabbering little dude of awesomeness!

If Kamden is bored, tired, hungry, or doesn’t get what he wants, he’s not afraid to show some attitude – and by attitude I mean faux-crying without tears – causing Husband and I to laugh, making Kamden more mad! For family fun time, we’ll either sit on the living room floor with Kamden’s toys surrounding us or Husband and I will sit at the dining room table and Kamden sits on the table top. He has a magazine he has torn to shreds by wrinkling the pages and he likes to pull apart Post-It pads. He’s mesmerized by the sticky part!

The child loves to eat, but he DEMANDS adequate sleep. There have been a few nights, early mornings really, when he’s woken up for a feeding, but they’re few and far between, thankfully. I can’t decide if he’s waking up because his gums are sore from teething or if his belly is growling because he’s “Starvin Marvin,” but the minute he finishes the bottle, it’s lights out and he is back to sleep. If my child is hungry he is going to eat, of course, but I hope these extra early feedings don’t become a habit. Kamden’s been an excellent sleeper from the very beginning, we know he can go 10+ consecutive hours at night without a feeding. Is he playing me for a fool?!

GROWING // I swear, every morning when I get Kamden out of his crib, he has grown an inch and gained a pound. Not really, of course, but he’s growing and developing more with each passing day. I’m thankful he still fits in his infant car seat because our trip to Kentucky might have been more interesting if I had to shoulder the diaper bag and checked bag, carry the cooler bag of bottles, roll the carry-on luggage, push him in the stroller, AND carry a convertible car seat by myself! Speaking of convertible car seat, I really – REALLY – need to get busy on finding the right seat for Kamden and one that is not only safe and comfortable, but will fit in the back seat of my Camry. Husband, not to sound petty, but a crew-cab truck would sure be nice! I’d really prefer to keep with the Britax brand, as they are incredibly safe and have great reviews, but they are one of the largest, space-consuming seats on the market. Decisions, decisions …

Kamden has nearly outgrown his reclining rocking chair and baby seat. The Exer-Saucer is on the highest position, as is the Joovy walker. The kid is big and tall, “solid” as Husband likes to call him. If you’re holding him, you definitely feel every pound of him!

EATING // Kamden is an eating machine, as long as it involves Mommy’s milk! He is feeding five times a day (six if he wakes up extra early) and each bottle still contains six ounces of pumped breast milk. I keep reminding myself that he’s healthy and happy and has never missed a meal, but I find myself scratching my head at when he will show an interest in solid foods. I give him tastes of pureed fruits and vegetables, but as soon as he sees a spoon approaching his mouth, he shuts his mouth tighter than Fort Knox! I’ve tried different mixtures, temperatures, spoon size and he just doesn’t care. We’ll keep trying. I want this to be a positive experience and him to try as many different foods, textures, etc. as possible. We’ve had limited success with him chewing and sucking the juice of a yellow peach through the mesh feeder, but most of the time he’d rather chew on the handle. He’s going to be a good eater, I know, but I have to remind myself he’s just eight months old.

meshfeeders

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WEARING // With the exception of his 24-month Carter’s onesies (which run big), Kamden’s wearing mostly 2T clothes with a few 3T pieces in the mix. I need to go through his wardrobe again to remove the pieces that are too small and getting tight in the chest and shoulders. Husband continues to promote the idea of Kamden wearing a toga, or a belted pillowcase, and a diaper. At the rate he’s growing and going through clothes, the idea is more and more appealing! He’s officially out of size 2 diapers, we used the last one in Kentucky, and wearing size 3. The child still does not own a pair of shoes, but he has some white socks … which I don’t like because they show it’s been a while since I mopped the floors.

DOING //  The better question would be, “What is he NOT doing?” Kamden is our mini-man-child with he biggest little hands you’ve ever seen, definitely a trait of his Daddy. His grip is incredibly strong and he’s grasping objects, small and large, very well with both hands. He’ll grab anything and everything within reach, and tries to lick, suck, chew, or gnaw on whatever he’s holding. The Joovy walker has proven to be one of our most intelligent purchases to date, he absolutely LOVES it! He’s like an Indianapolis 500 race car driver making laps around the kitchen and dining area. Of course, this area is tiled so it’s very easy for him to walk around. He can be on the other side of the room but as soon as he sees or hears the refrigerator door open, he turns the speed up to Mach Four and makes a beeline for the door. He can reach the bottles of barbeque sauce and ketchup, but he’s not quite strong enough to lift them up and over the tray’s edge, which is good! He’s also figured out that we keep some of his teething toys in the bottom trays of the freezer and he tries to grab for them anytime the door is open. Whether he grabs something out of the fridge/freezer or gets a decorative towel off the rod, he is so proud of himself!

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During feedings, he keeps a tight grip on the bottle and can hold it himself towards the end when it’s less full. He has a sippy cup that he’s learning to hold and drink from, but it’s a challenge. To make it more fun, I put ice cubes in the cup and let him use it as a rattler. Every once in a while, he’ll get the cup at the right angle and take a drink.

Kamden is constantly moving and squirming around. Thanks to our exercises and classes at The Little Gym, he pulls himself up on his feet while holding your hands, arm or clothing. Unfortunately, we did not enroll in the Fall semester because the only class time available in 9:00am and most mornings he’s still asleep or just waking up. He has such a tough life!

Kamden has the best smile, laugh/giggle, and personality. When he gets really excited, he opens his mouth real wide and smiles big. When he’s trying to play cool, he’ll do a sly half-smile. What a stinker! He is also making lots of sounds, mostly ‘ooohs’ and we mimic his sounds to have a conversation. I’m teaching him to say “mommy” while Husband is instructing “daddy.” Our luck, Kamden’s first word will be something completely random and unexpected.

His daily routine is very predictable, making our lives so much simpler. Even going to Kentucky, I maintained his regular schedule and he had absolutely no problem adjusting to the time difference or new people and environments. I was worried he might not sleep well, but, of course, the child slept like a rock! Because he is much more mobile and active, he is taking two naps a day, one before noon and another in the late afternoon. At night, he’s asleep by 9:30-9:45 and sleeps till 8:00-8:30 (or later) the next morning, unless he wakes up around 4:00am to be fed. After an hour or two of active play in the children’s area at my gym, Kamden most always falls asleep in the car on the way home and I let him snooze 30-45 minutes before his bottle at noon. By 2:30-3:00, he’s ready for another bottle and at least an hour-long nap. Regardless of when he goes down, we don’t let him sleep past 5:30pm so he’s nice and tired by the time we give him a bath and put him to bed around 9:30.

A week ago, during the night, he rolled from his back to his stomach while sleeping. Of course, it worried me so I stayed up to watch him on the monitor and turned the volume up so I could hear him breathe. The only drawback of him sleeping on his belly, when he wants to roll over to his back again, he usually wakes up – cue the extra early morning feeding! Nonetheless, he wakes every morning with the same bright smile ready for another day of exploring and learning.

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LOVING // Joovy walker, reaching into the fridge/freezer, touching door knobs and drawer pulls, grabbing decorative towels off the rod, exploring inside the house, walking outside, and sitting on the dining room table, chewing on anything and everything, naps on the couch with Mommy, and knocking over the block towers Daddy builds.

CHURCH BABY // Every Sunday morning, Kamden is in church. He’s an actual participant in worship, he doesn’t go to the nursery. Instead, he gets passed around the room and it’s always a game of “Where’s Kamden?” when it’s time to leave. Lately, he’s become quite the entertainer, trying to “sing” along to praise songs or dancing to the beat of the drums and guitar. There have been a few instances where he’s squealed above the sound of the music! He also enjoys going to the front during children’s time and listening to the lesson and watching the older kids.

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SOPHIE #2 // If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, or know someone who is, you must – MUST! – gift them with a Sophie the Giraffe teething toy. We introduced Kamden to the infamous teething giraffe too early (around three months) but that was the beginning of a beautiful, and tasty, relationship between child and rubber giraffe! As Kamden got older and was able to hold, squeeze, gnaw, chew, fold, and smoosh Sophie, he eventually wore her out – literally! He was playing and chewing on her one day and I noticed a seam was beginning to pull apart. I was afraid of him biting off a piece and swallowing it so we tossed Sophie #1 and welcomed Sophie #2 to our family.

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LOATHING // Not getting his way, being pushed away from the fridge/freezer, slow or non-moving car rides, waking up in the middle of the night when he’d rather be sleeping

CRISIS ADVERTED // We are almost certain Kamden has infant eczema and that is causing red, blotchy spots to appear on his neck, abdomen, and the back of his knees. After his last doctor’s appointment, we immediately stopped using California Baby soap and lotion. Per Dr. J’s instructions, we applied a 1% hydrocortisone cream to the areas for one week and saw dramatic improvements! Now, we bathe Kamden in lukewarm water (no soap) and apply Aveeno Baby lotion at night. His skin reacts when he gets too warm so we are keeping him clean, cool, and comfortable as best we can in this Texas heat. As a result, the red areas are mostly gone and his neck and knees look MUCH better. Good news for me: I don’t have to do any type of elimination diet, specifically soy. Good news for everybody!

FIRST TRIP TO KENTUCKY // Kamden and I went to Kentucky the first week of August. My mom, Nana C, flew down a couple days early so she could be on Kamden’s first airplane ride. He was a super-star traveler, lots of passengers commented on how well behaved he was, and even the pilot greeted us and gave Kamden a set of wings! I was nervous when we boarded the first plane in Dallas, en route to New Orleans for a final destination to Nashville, but he did wonderful, sleeping the majority of the ride. I foresee lots more airline travel for our Chunky Monkey, hopefully back to Kentucky for Thanksgiving! :)

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While in Kentucky, Kamden saw lots of friends and family anxious to meet him in person. We spent half of our time at my parent’s house and on the farm, Kamden even toured the garden and rode on the ATV. As soon as he’s walking, Grandaddy (my dad) will have him in the garden picking green beans, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and squash! The other half of the trip was spent in Louisville and we attended the Thompson family reunion. More details from our trip here.

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FUTURE DAUGHTER-IN-LAW // Also in Kentucky, I had the pleasure of meeting two precious little girls recently born to friends of mine. I am happy to report their daddies approve of Kamden and I approve of them. In other words, one of these lovely ladies, I’m sure, will be our future daughter-in-law, Kamden’s wife. I’m anxious for them to set a wedding date so I can start planning the rehearsal dinner! It’s hard to believe, but Kamden used to be teeny-tiny like Miss Raney and Miss Hanna. In fact, Hanna Claire weighed a whopping NINE POUNDS at birth, two of which had to be her chubby cheeks! :)

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SUMMER BUCKET LIST // We made a summer bucket list and we’ve been busy trying to get as many items crossed off our list as possible!

  • 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 story time
  • 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

Kamden, my son, Mommy loves you so much and I am so proud of the tiny human you are and the gentleman you’ll be. You have just the right amount of Daddy’s spunk and Mommy’s social nature that you don’t meet a stranger. Everywhere we go, you greet everyone with a smile, unless, of course, you’re sleeping! Our weekly trip to the grocery is always an adventure. Mommy likes to show you off and you’re more than happy to perform. Someone always comments on how cute you are, but we already knew that! Your screams and squeals are delightful, as are your laughs and giggles. Here lately, you think it’s hysterical when Daddy makes a buzzing sound and waves your stuffed bee in the air. You light up our lives, every single day. I hope you never lose your sense of wonder and always see the joy in everyday moments. You have blessed my life more than you’ll ever know, and you’re just 243 days old!

Cheers to month #8 …

Love,
Mommy


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Finish This #32

IT’S WEEK 32 OF FINISH THIS … where’s everybody at?!

Naturally, I’m awarding myself as WORST BLOGGER & CO-HOST for last week’s disaster of a blog post, I’m so sorry my peeps. I promise to do better this week! Hey, did you happen to catch the post about Kamden’s first trip to Kentucky?! We had an amazing trip, but I’m sure glad to be home. We’re both still trying to recover.

You know the drill by now … the co-hosts of this lovely link up are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are simple: answer the prompt(s) on your blog and add the post to the link up. Easy-peasy, my lovelies! Oh, and next week’s prompts are at the bottom of the page.

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13 Things To Know About Me

1. My priorities in life are God (faith), marriage (Husband), and family (Kamden), in that order. I strongly believe that God is above all things because He is in all things. Husband and I are better parents for Kamden because our relationship is in harmony with God’s sanctity of marriage. I prioritize marriage over parenthood because I think it’s important to model love, grace, commitment, security, and communication in a sacred, intimate relationship. There is a reason Kamden is in church, in community, in fellowship with other believers on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. There is a reason Kamden is raised by a man, his father, who undoubtedly loves his wife with an unwavering passion. Likewise, there is a reason Kamden is raised by a woman, his mother, who values faith and family and prioritizes her marriage because she values her husband and loves him deeply. I pray that my son will one day value his relationship with Jesus Christ and find a faithful woman of God who loves him as much as I love his earthly dad and Heavenly Father.

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2. I really enjoy traveling and wish I could do it more often. So far, I’ve been to 20 states — Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and, of course, Kentucky and Texas. There are four stamps in my passport from international travel to Mexico, Haiti (twice), and Israel.

3. I will bust out in random dance moves but none are like Jagger. Case in point:

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3. I learned the alphabet backwards.

4. I cherish the nighttime routine we’ve created for Kamden. It begins around 6-6:30pm when Husband gets home from work and Kamden’s eye light up when he sees his daddy walk in the door. After dinner, while I’m cleaning the kitchen, Husband puts Kamden in the Exer-Saucer or Joovy walker and the two entertain one another with silly faces, loud noises, and exuberant laughs and giggles. By 8:00pm, Kamden is getting tired and fussy, so we go outside (if the weather is nice) or Husband will sit on the floor with Kamden. The two of them play, which usually results in Kamden knocking down the tower of blocks Husband has built over and over again. At 8:45, I get Kamden’s bath ready while Husband undresses him. Around 9:00, Kamden is on our bed getting a Mommy Massage while Daddy gets the bottle warmed and nursery prepped – monitor turned on, blanket in the crib, closet light turned on, and a bottle of water for me to drink on the side table. By 9:15pm, I am sitting in the comfy rocking chair in Kamden’s bedroom feeding him his last bottle of the day and thanking God for my many blessings. Once he’s done eating and I know he’s asleep, I silently count to 200 before putting him in his crib. I cherish the extra three-and-a-half minutes of rocking, not to mention the extra cuddles.

5. I always knew I wanted to be the mother of Husband’s son, but I had no idea how awesome, amazing, and wonderful it is to be Kamden’s mom.

6. I love eating sushi, but I’m always hungry an hour later.

7. Every day, without fail, I drink a minimum of 150 ounces of water and produce at least 50 ounces of breast milk.

8. I am in the process of becoming a contributing writer for a popular blog/website dedicated to moms.

9. Unlike my mother, clutter and dirty laundry do not bother me … until I know someone is coming over and I become a BEAST with the vacuum, dust rags, and clearing off the dining room table.

10. I have one wish for my birthday and Christmas this year: family pictures. Yeah, Husband, that includes YOU. Yes, you can wear your dirty boots, as long as you’re in the picture I don’t care what you wear!

11. Speaking of birthdays and Christmas, I have no clue what to do for Kamden’s first birthday on December 19. I already have a cupcake smash photo shoot planned, but what am I supposed to do for the kid whose birthday is a week before Christmas? Do you have a party for a 12-month-old who’s more interested in empty plastic bottles than expensive toys? Do I decorate a miniature Christmas tree with birthday paraphernalia? I now fully acknowledge and recognize the difficulty my parents and family suffered to keep my birthday (December 17) separate from Christmas. Bless their hearts.

12. Three nights ago, while laying in bed, Husband asked what I was thinking about. I replied, “A tub of chocolate fudge icing and rainbow sprinkles.” The struggle to be healthy is real folks, the struggle is real.

13. I really like NOT having a smartphone. I don’t text, I don’t have the Internet at my fingertips 24/7, and I feel more connected to people when we’re together because I’m not fidgeting with my phone. I have a flip phone that I use (sparingly) to make and receive calls, and I use the alarm function on a daily basis. It is also my timekeeper until I get my lazy butt to the jewelry store to replace the battery in my watch.

Before you go, I’d love for you to visit my ABOUT ME page!

Invite your blogging friends and come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer another set of prompts!

Prompt for WEEK 33 (August 20) is:
I feel stupid when
I hope I never
My one piece of advice to the world


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10 Things I’m Loving Right Now

We’re still waiting for Kamden’s first tooth to appear.

I am, most definitely, a Beta Parent. The “five second rule” is in effect at our house!

Southwest Airlines is the best. That is all.

August is breastfeeding awareness month.

I love these non-toy gift ideas for Kamden, now and in the future.

I need to do a better job at taking more photos (quality vs. quantity) of Kamden each month.

Visiting the zoo in San Diego is on my bucket list, but I’ve always said Fort Worth has one of the best in the country!

This is not how I would spend a Thursday night in Louisville, Kentucky, but it’s a great suggestion.

30 more reasons I love my Mom.

I don’t ever see myself homeschooling Kamden, but this Mom has a good point about how to learn vs. what to learn.

Do you have a nightly bedtime routine to help you sleep?

New thoughts on parenting in the 21st century, including introducing solids to babies … and why skipping rice or oatmeal cereal to promote healthier eating habits in the future is a-okay.

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