Saturday, December 31, 2011

Family Pictures

Last month, baby, dada, and I took a stab at family pictures. With the help of my sweet niece who agreed to take pictures (I chose the settings on the camera, she worked the rest of the magic), we managed to come away with some really good pictures. And the best part? They were free (that was dada's stipulation when we splurged for our camera last year -- not paying for professional pictures).

The pictures made wonderful Christmas presents when we compiled them into a photobook. And they look awesome on our wall, as well.

Enjoy my sweet family!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Year In Review


I returned back to work after a 6 week maternity leave, which was way too short, by the way. After the first hour away from my baby, I began to sink into a depression. My first week back was not pretty at all. Then God sent snow just for me, and we ended up having the whole next week off due to the weather. I don't remember much else, being as I was in a pretty deep funk.


Still really depressed, so I don't remember much from this month. Husband and I began discussing the possibility of me taking a year's leave of absence from work during the next shool year. We were convinced we wouldn't be able to make it on one income. Sinking deeper into depression. The baby, during all this, gets cuter and cuter. He was dedicated this month, and dada went on his first (and only) multi-day business trip.


On his 4 month birthday, Cohen starts eating pureed foods. After weeks of prayer and seeking advice from people we respect, we decide to bite the bullet and step out in faith -- I would take a year's leave of absence. I began praying then that it would be more than a year. I sewed my first baby bibs this month and got the sewing fever. Cohen got his first tooth without us even realizing it.


I told my boss I wasn't returning to work next school year. That act alone seemed to be the turning point for me -- I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I spent the entire Spring Break snuggling and loving on my baby. Cohen celebrated his first Easter. I spent my first weeked away from Cohen when we took our student ministry on a weekend trip -- that was excrutiating.


I packed up my classroom and bid farewell to the teaching profession for at least a year. Finally I can breath again. Cohen starts crawling on the very first day that I am home with him. We spend Memorial Day weekend at my parents' pool.


Cohen starts pulling up to standing position and gets into everything. I join a mom's group to meet other moms with babies and within the day get an email from a sweet mom inviting me to a playdate. Cohen and I meet our new favorite friends. We are both very happy. Cohen's sweet cousin Ava is born at the very end of the month.


Cohen starts using the Bumbo to walk across the floor -- it's only a matter of time now until he's walking. We take a wonderful family trip to the beach and discover that Cohen hates the ocean. We have a couple playdates with our favorite friends and spend most of our time in diapers (well, he does, not me).


The blog is born! I participate in my first consignment sale and have lots of fun buying all kinds of winter clothes for Cohen. Cohen stands up on his own, and the same day, he takes his first step. I get my first (of three) baby-takes-off-diaper-in-crib-and-poops surprise. Cohen gets his first little sickie bug and has a fever for a day (and scares me to death).


We go to the park for the first time and discover that Cohen loves to swing. We enjoy some fall weather and turning leaves. Cohen impresses his doctor by walking into his 10 month well baby check up. We have fun playing with bathtub paint.


We take a trip to Tennessee for a family reunion and participate in a Right To Life rally. Asher Bracelets starts up with the hope and prayer to raise enough money to pay for one surgery for a baby in Uganda (3 months later, we've got enough money to pay for 12 surgeries!). I host my first giveaway and have to most perfect day ever with my family. Cohen goes trick or treating and takes his candy like a pro. Husband gets three job offers in the span of 2 weeks (without even looking for them-- praise the Lord!).


Cohen turns ONE! I decide to get real. Husband accepts a new job. We enjoy Thanksgiving and Black Friday madness.


We started the month out right by visiting Santa and ministering to our community. Husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary and Cohen got really sick. We had a wonderful Christmas with family.

All in all, it's been a pretty great year. We've had our bad times (especially at the beginning), but without them, I wouldn't appreciate these good times so much. I have been able to witness God working in and through my life so clearly this year, and that is very exciting. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for our family in 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful. Just thankful.

Here's what I'm thankful for today:

1. Today is a pretty special day over here. It's dada's last day at his current job. It's the close of another chaper of our lives. I'm very excited to see what's in store for us in this new chapter because I'm telling you, I can feel God all over it!

2. This is the last Thursday of 2011, and I am glad. The last half of the year has been absolutely wonderful, but I still sometimes dwell on the first half (which was anything but wonderful). I'm thankful that every New Year brings a fresh start.

3. We are having fun with all of Cohen's new Christmas presents. My favorite gift he received is this bubble blower for the bathtub. He's not so sure of it yet, but it's making bathtime really fun for me!

3. Speaking of bathtime, look at this little sweetheart getting all clean. We changed bubble bath soaps, and the result has been a dramatic increase in the number of bubbles in the tub. Cohen loves it. He things bubbles are just the funniest thing ever. Especially when they make bubblefros on your head. But not when they get in your eyes.

4. Let me just tell you how much I love my Mommy friends. They were an answer to prayer, that's for sure. And the way we met makes me smile and shake my head and say, "God, how could I ever doubt your work in my life?" They make me laugh, they let me be real, and there's none of that jealousy/competition stuff that just seems to destroy so many female relationships. I am blessed.

5. The little guy is talking up a storm. Most of it is just baby jabber, but he does have a good grasp on a few words. Here's a video I took yesterday of him saying juice, woof woof, and cookie.

You have to listen carefully to hear him over the background noise, but it's there. It's so cool to hear him say words. I mean, I taught him that. It makes me feel pretty amazing.

6. Last week our dryer broke. I know, praise the Lord, right? That's exactly what you want to happen a few days before Christmas. But our washer and dryer set was ages old and not really doing their job well anyway. So we went out and bought a new set. A really nice set. And I love these things so much that I'm searching the house for things to wash. And my sweet husband is working hard to turn the laundry room into a real and pretty laundry room. And the best part about the whole thing? My husband is such a smart saver that even though we're pretty poor right now, we could totally afford it.

7. We're going to see my dad and grandmother tomorrow. They haven't seen Cohen since April, so I know they are going to be shocked at how much he's grown and changed in the past 8 months.

8. This weather is gorgeous. And while I do want a little snow this winter (you know, for a day of snow-playing fun and, of course, the pictures), I'm not wishing this sunshine mild temperatures away.

9. I got some new jeans last weekend. There's something about good-fitting jeans that just makes me feel pretty.

10. I'm thankful for the sense of peace and fulfillment I have right now. My mind is quiet, and it is wonderful.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

What are you thankful for this week? You can post in the comment section below if you don't have a blog to post to!
Linking up with Candra for Thankful Thursday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 11 of '11

Today I'm joining in Naptime Momtog's fun and participating in the Top 11 (pictures I took of my kid) of '11.

Naptime Momtog

1. February (3 months old)

One of the sweetest days of this year was the day Cohen was dedicated in our church. Afterwards, the entire family joined together for lunch. Poor Cohen was so sleepy and getting so fussy, so my mom stole off with him for some quality snuggle time. It was a sweet moment to spy on.

2. March (4 months old)

This was taken the morning after Cohen had his first taste of pureed baby food. I know that because I remember how amazed I was at the personality that exploded out of my son once he started eating food. We had just gotten home from church, and I was taking off his clothes so he could nap comfortably. Only, the shirt got stuck on his head. After a few tugs, I realized that my son was giggling. He thought it was so funny that the shirt was stuck on his head!

3. April (5 months old)

Baby's first Easter. Coloring eggs with his grandma and great-grandma. This is a picture (and a moment) that I will treasure forever.

4. May (6 months old)

Memorial Day weekend, the first day of my new job as a Stay-At-Home Mom. Cohen's first time in a swimming pool. We were both so happy that day.

5. July (8 months old)

In July, we took a family trip to the beach, and we learned that Cohen hated the ocean. Like, hated-hated it. He was terrified of the waves that crashed around him, the loud noises, the excitement going on all around him. But he loved the sand, and he loved crawling around and being able to explore. That's my son -- always wanting to be free.

6. July (8 months old)

If you have ever wondered if my kid has a sense of humor, this picture should prove to you that, yes, he does indeed. In fact, that boy is probably one of the funniest people I know. He has always been so fascinated with the dog crate. He loves to open the door and let the dogs out. On this day, I turned my back on him for a few minutes only to find that he had let the dogs out and climbed in himself. Of course, many giggles followed.

7. August (8 months old)

Those eyes. That face. Those tears. I mean, how could you not love this picture?

8. August (9 months old)

A few days after Cohen turned 9 months old, he started standing on his own. And, I kid you not, the very first time he stood up, he also took his first step and his first jump. My little guy has always been so determined to go go go, so we worked really hard to get him there. I love that my husband caught this moment of pure joy and pride.

9. September (9 months old)

This was our first trip to the park. He loved the swings. He loved the slides. He loved the mulch. This was the first time I looked at a picture of my son and realized that he wasn't a baby any more at all -- he was a littl boy. And you know what? I was OK with it.

10. October (11 months old)

Cohen's first Halloween was such a fun day. He dressed up as Max from Where The Wild Things Are, and let me tell you, he was the cutest Max I've ever seen. He was not shy about walking up to strangers and taking their candy (hmmmm.... maybe we need to have a little talk about that). He loved his tail. His daddy and I loved all his candy.

11. November (1 year old)

Props to dada for taking this picture. Can you feel the love, or can you feel the love? That boy is a treasure.

Linking up with Paper Mama for Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas, Indeed.

Merry Christmas! What a wonderful few days we've had around here. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the family time we've gotten lately.

We kept our gift-giving simple this year. Partly because we've been flat broke, but also partly because we're starting to really appreciate that the best gifts are not always expensive or full of the newest technology. The best gifts are usually the ones that celebrate family and give back to others.

This year, we really focused on those two concepts. We gave photobooks full of pictures from our most recent family photo shoot. Now that the recipients have their books, I can't wait to share some of those precious pictures with you.

We also gave Asher Bracelets. Those bracelets were so special to give, and I loved sharing about how God is using this ministry to save people's lives. Asher Bracelets have currently raised $6,000 -- that's enough money to pay for 6 life-saving surgeries for babies in Uganda. And the organization that is performing the surgeries, Cure International, is matching the donations. I am so blessed just seeing what God is doing with a few beads and some scraps of fabric.

We spent our morning at church celebrating the birth of our Savior. What a special time it is when Christmas falls on a Sunday!

Afterwards, we headed over to Dada's parent's house to eat breakfast and exchange gifts. Cohen was very impressed by the tree and the mound of gifts.

He didn't really get it at first. He doesn't care much for pretty boxes, but once he saw that inside those boxes sat fun toys for him, he became more interested. My sweet boy was so overwhelmed by all his presents. He didn't know what to do.

Afterwards, we made to trip to my family's house for dinner and even more presents. By now, Cohen was beginning to master present opening, and by the time we were done, he was a pro.

We took a break from presents to play with the robots. Cohen did not like seeing the robots punch each other, and he was constantly trying to break up the fights. My little peace-maker.

This cracks me up. Cohen got a giant tub of cheese balls. Cohen loves it, and he will put his hand in and take one at a time.

My little music man got lots of musical instruments. He loves banging on his drums and dancing. We're learning how to sing into the microphone, too.

All ready to help Dada cut the grass!

Happy Birthday, Jesus! I hope you were honored through our celebrating. Thank You for the best gift no one else can give -- the gift of salvation!