Thursday, October 31, 2013

Connor's {FIRST} Birthday - Smash Cake

I must admit. When planning Connor's party, I did not, in no way, shape or form, want a smash cake. The thought of him being covered in cake, making a gigantic mess, smearing white frosting in his hair made me cringe. However, Connor's Aunt Dean insisted I get him one. So we made a deal. I'll let him enjoy a smash cake on his birthday IF she would clean him up afterwards. She agreed so off to order a cake I went.

Truth? I'm glad I got him one. He relished the experience. Although he was a bit uncertain at first, he ended up enjoying it far more than I had anticipated. 

Before - our tidy, cake free boy.
He started off fairly slow. He would pick at the icing.
With a little help, he got into it and as the picture shows, went crazy.
There was cake everywhere. In his hair, on his chest, on the chair. No spot was safe.

Like his purple beard?

This is my favorite photo of him smashing his cake. That face is one of pure joy. He was reaching for Momma to pick him up. Yeah, that didn't happen.
Maybe some good tasty cake went to waste. But I think it was well worth the $10 I spent. Look at how much fun the guy had? And to think, I wasn't going to let him smash a cake. Bad Momma.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy {FIRST} Birthday Connor James!


Today is your day. A year ago today, the world became a happier, more loving place because you born. You are by far the most amazing part of our world. We have loved watching you grow, learn, change and become the little boy we love so much. 

Your personality has evolved so much the last month. And if I'm going to be real with you, you haven't been the easiest to deal with this last month. You've been sick the majority of the time and since we spent 2 weeks in Ohio, your schedule was pretty much nonexistent. Along with those factors, you have been very attached to me this month. But as always, you have a way of being a complete mess one minute to making me laugh and smile the next.

 I don't have the specifics on your height and weight but I would guess you are close to 22 pounds and (maybe) somewhere near 30 inches. You are can wear 9 month pants (you can think Momma and Daddy for the short legs) and 12 month tops. Your Halloween costume is actually 6-9 month so you're all over the place in regards to clothing. You have been eating so well and today we introduced whole milk into your diet. And because you love food like your parents, you drank it with no problem. I haven't found a food you don't like just yet. Some you just like more than others. A favorite? Grapes and mandarin oranges.

 I am so glad I got a photo of this face. You have been doing this with your lips a lot lately. It cracks your Daddy up. I think you just love the attention so you do whatever you can get the attention you want. Your vocabulary has grown as well this month. You can say: Momma, Dadda, Ru (Rudy), Get it, Oh and Wow. You make lots of other noises too but you are really starting to communicate with us more. You point too, which cracks us up. If you see something or want a certain toy, you point. Sometimes with both hands if you are super excited. And if that doesn't get you want you need, you scream. That's been fun, let me tell ya!

This is happening. Enter the need to pad everything! You usually take a good 5-7 steps before falling down. You still prefer to crawl as you can get to where you want to go much quicker that way. I'm fairly certain that you'll be a full fledged walker by Christmas (just in time for another trip to Ohio). 

Rudy just walked in your room. You get so excited when you see him for the first time each morning. You love your Ru Cat and he must love you, too, because you get away with torturing him on a daily basis. You pull his tail and drag him around. Just this week, you hit him in the head with a puzzle piece. And what did Rudy do? Nothing, just laid there like he does. 

Connor, so much has happened over the last 12 months. More than anything, Papa and I have fallen more and more in love with you. You bring so much joy, happiness and pride to our world. You really have blessed us more than you will ever know. I love everything about you. Even when you wake up at 4 am because even then, you are sweet and loving and it's the best time to cuddle. You have taught us so much this last year. No matter how old and big you get, you will forever be our baby boy.

Happy Birthday sweet Connor James!
We love you... to the moon and back!
Momma and Daddy

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Connor's {FIRST} Birthday - Presents

Yesterday, I shared the details of the decorations we used for Connor's birthday. Today, I'm sharing the photos of Connor opening his gifts. I really think Connor did well (read - was very patient) with opening his gifts and taking time looking at each gift and opening the attached cards.

I don't remember what was in this particular gift bag but it's pretty obvious that Connor was excited!
I love how my nephew Will is peeking in to see what Connor got. His Uncle Weevie got him his first laptop. Now, he can join me when I work on the blog.
This boy LOVES Matchbox cars. Sometimes they are used as a teething toy more than a car but regardless, he has one with him everywhere we go.
He must have liked something! His expressions are the best.
This is my favorite birthday party picture. From this snapshot, it's clear that our little ham enjoyed his day. Especially all the attention he was given.
Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!! Our little boy turns 1. Where has all the time gone?? It's insane to think that a year ago today, I was in the hospital doing everything I could to (finally) go into labor and meet our little Mister. Without a doubt, it's been the very best year of my life!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Connor's {FIRST} Birthday - Decor Post

The boys and I just returned from Ohio, where we celebrated Connor's birthday amongst family and friends. As you should expect, I took tons and tons of photos.

Instead of creating one large post with loads of pictures, I'm going to split the details in multiple posts. Today, I'm focusing on the decor.

The theme of Connor's party was Halloween. I wanted to keep it simple but offer a fun party that would be "first party" worthy. And since we were traveling from Texas to Ohio, I had to picked up everything for his party once we were in town. Between Hobby Lobby, Party City and Oriental Trading, I had everything I needed for Connor's special day.

We used the colors black, orange, green and purple. I love the look of these colors together. I'm not a fan of purple usually but I think it added a fun pop of color. Each table was decorated with a pumpkin bucket with 4 balloons. I used both black and orange table coverings. Super easy but I really liked the outcome. On the present table, I used some clothe stuffed pumpkins, a Happy Halloween printable and Connor's birthday poster. For drinks, we used orange and purple Dixie cups, adorned with eyes and chevron straws in green, purple and black. At the sweets table, the kids got to pick up a goody bag with candy along with cupcakes iced orange, green and white.

The location we used to throw the party had a screen and projector so we shared photos of the last year of Connor. I loved that little touch. And I can tell you there were a few times I got choked up looking at Connor as a wee baby. Time has gone by so quickly! The highchair displayed a printable ONE for the birthday boy. We covered one wall in black cloth, placed some hay bales on the floor and created a photo wall with Halloween masks for a Halloween style photo booth. 

The sweet table included candy for the kiddies, Connor's smash cake and plenty of cupcakes for the guest. We had a craft table so the little ones could make their own Halloween masks to wear while at the party. The punch was giving us the eye throughout the party as you can tell. 2 liters of soda were labeled with Spider Cider and Witches Brew stickers. A printable was framed, displaying one of my favorite Halloween(ish) quotes:

Double, Double
Toil and Trouble.
Fire burn and
Cauldron Bubble.

And that's all! Well, kind of. Come back tomorrow for more photos of the fun we had celebrating C.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Foxy Coxy!

Dear James,
As we celebrate you today, I want to play my favorite game:
Tell Me Something Nice - The James Edition.
... You are the very best part of my world. Without you, I wouldn't be as confident as I am. Nor would I be a wife to a man that loves her unconditionally. And of course, without you, there would be no Connor and let's face it, my world would be a sad place without my little man.
.... You make me laugh. I'm not talking my fake, sympathy laugh either. I mean belly aching, tears falling laugh. I've never meet someone has funny as you. I look forward to spending the rest of my life hearing your bad jokes over and over again.
.... You are the hardest working man I know. You've accomplished so much in the last 6 years with NH and I'm so very proud of you. I can't imagine anyone doing your job with as much passion, determination and confidence. Your team and the company are lucky to have you.
.... You are the best damn Daddy. Connor loves his Papa and you two have the most precious bond. I look forward to watching that relationship grow and flourish. You had the best example of a Daddy in Connie and I know that through you, Connor will know the same love, guidance, support and sense of belonging she shared with you and Jeff.
.... You are handsome. You give me butterflies even after 5 1/2 years. The love I have for you grows deeper and deeper with each passing day. I love waking up knowing that I have your pretty face to look at for the rest of my days.
.... You are a James, not a Jimmy or a Jim. Some may call you those names, but to me, you are a James. A fella filled with pride, purpose and pose. You are one hell of a man and I'm lucky your are mine. I hit the jackpot with you. 
.... You are a sugar bear through and through. No matter how bad the day may be or how stressed you get, I know without a doubt, that a little something sweet will turn your day around.
.... You spoil me rotten. You do so much for me, give me nearly everything I could ever want and I am so thankful for that. You truly make me feel like a princess.
.... You give 110% of yourself to your friends, family and career. I hope you feel as loved and as appreciated as you make us feel.
.... You tolerant my love for reality TV, the good, the bad and the ugly. I think it's a fair trade considering you watch some pretty bad TV yourself.
.... You made my dream come true when you said it was possible for me to be a stay at home Mom. I hope that I'm doing the "job" justice.
.... Last but not least, I like your shirt.
Happy Birthday! I hope today is just as great as you are.
{I'm Yours}

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Pajama Party Link-Up

When Darci mentioned that she would be co-hosting a Halloween Pajama Party Link-up, I knew that I just had to link up! I mean, not only is Halloween my second favorite holiday, but our little pumpkin has some awfully cute pj's to wear this year! This virtual pajama party is the perfect way to share all the cuteness with ya'll!

Connor has a few pair of Halloween pajamas but these are my favorites. I remember watching "It's Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" as a child and loving every minute of it.

You can catch It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on ABC October 31 @ 8PM, ET.
I'm excited to start that tradition with Connor this year. And what better jammies to wear than this cute Snoopy Halloween pj's? I'm sure C is tired of me photographing his every. waking. move. but I just had to document his first real pair of Halloween pajamas. This might be his second Halloween but last year we were still in the hospital so I'm going to make up for it this year.

Please note that Connor had to "pose" with his Halloween/Pumpkin ducks. Baby boy is festive!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Baby Food/Bottle Transition

When Connor was born, I thought the hardest part of being a parent was going to be figuring out what he needed when he needed it. As any parent could tell you, newborns can't tell you what the need. By the grace of God, James and I figured out what Connor needed and the early days weren't as rough as I had thought they were going to be. There were times, when C would get all kinds of bent out of shape and nothing could calm him. This moments were few and far in between and I am so grateful for that. I can honestly say, we've been blessed with a pretty easy going baby boy.

C is quickly approaching that year mark. When he goes from formula filled bottles to sippy cups full of milk. From baby food to table foods. For some reason, these two transitions worry me.

For as long as Connor's been in our world, I've known exactly how much to feed him and what. Right now, he takes 4 bottles a day, 2, 8 ounce and 2, 6 ounce bottles along with 2 containers of baby food and some snacks here and there along with a single sippy cup of water. We've given him table foods from time to time but the bulk of his nutrition still comes from formula. I'm fairly certain Connor has never gotten "hungry" - I'm the Mom who keeps to the feeding schedule to a T.

So next week we will be dropping bottles and baby food. I wonder if it's best to do it cold turkey or one bottle at a time? Also, how much milk should he have throughout the day? Since his Dad has a dairy sensitivity, should I be worried Connor has one as well? When giving him table food, how much should he have at each serving? Should I be making sure he consumes a certain number of calories on a daily basis?

I have these questions and many more for C's doctor when we visit on the 31st but I thought I would through them out to fellow Mommas. I tend to trust ya'll a bit more than his doctor. Maybe it's because you've all been there before. You know what it's like to worry and doubt yourself. And even more so because us Moms gotta stick together, right?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Our 1st Week in Ohio

The week leading up to Connor's birthday party was jammed packed with visiting with friends and having fun. 

Connor came down with a bad cough 3 days into our trip. Which isn't shocking since every time we travel, he gets sick. We thought it might be croup (the first night was the telltale seal like bark) so we spent Monday and Tuesday hanging out in the hotel.

When Connor felt better on Wednesday evening, we went to the mall for a few things and Connor rode a truck while we were there.

We've been cosleeping a lot this trip, which is new to us. C doesn't like the pack and play the hotel provided and wakes up every night between 2-4. It's just been easier to put him in bed with us then to fight him going back to sleep. 

We spent time shopping on Friday picking up last minute things for his party. I guess we shopped a bit to hard for him.

Connor does so well traveling and being out of his routine. We try to stick to a 9PM bedtime still but hotel life doesn't always allow for it. 

Hope everyone had a great weekend and I can't wait to share pictures and details with you about Connor's party!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Planning the PERFECT Party

In less than 2 weeks, our little boy turns one. It’s almost impossible to think that nearly a year has gone by since we welcomed him into the world.

Like most parents, we have been planning the “perfect” first birthday party for Connor. Because let’s face it, turning 1 is a BIG DEAL. C’s first birthday is even more exciting for my husband and me because we plan to have just one child. We only get one shot to throw the best first birthday ever.

And it’s those words – best first birthday ever - that causes the stress to build and my blood pressure to rise to abnormally high numbers. Moms get the “privilege” of doing the majority (if not all) the work. I decided to take the stress out of throwing a first birthday and let me tell you how I managed to do so.

[ONE] Forget Pinterest. Sure there are great ideas to be found on the site but once you start pinning, you never stop. Additionally, you soon find yourself in the middle of a pinning dilemma when it comes times to put your ideas in motion. If you find pins that you just have to have for the party, remember, smaller is sometimes much better. Pick a few of your favorites and work them into your party.
[TWO] Free is for me! Nowadays, there are a ton of free printables available to spruce up any food table, gift table or add a punch of color. Simply place the printables in frames and you have simple décor that doesn’t break the bank or require you to be crafty. Before I ever head to the store, I google what I’m looking for and add the word “free” to the search. You’ll be shocked with what you can find.
[THREE] Pick a simple theme that allows for flexibility. Connor’s party is Halloween themed – he was born the day before. This gives me plenty of wiggle room with ideas. If I were to pick a specific theme, say, Elmo or Cat in the Hat, I would be pigeon holed into sticking with very strict colors and decorations. Picking a Halloween party theme allows for me to pick and choose what colors and décor we use. Often times, a generic theme can be cheaper as well.

[FOUR] Bring in the troops. Tomorrow, a handful of my girlfriends and I are getting together to work on the decorations, favors and food before Connor’s party on Saturday. There is no way I could get everything done (while keeping up with C) so my girls and Mom are going to be put to work. We will get to spend the day together prepping for his party and I won’t be overwhelmed doing it all myself.

[FIVE] And lastly, your little one is never going to remember their first birthday. Try to remember that it’s more for you and your family and friends. Enjoy the day. After all, you survived your first year as parents.

So there you have it. Simple tips on how to plan the perfect party without losing your mind and going gray. Tomorrow we will see how well I put these tips into motion as we're having party #1 for Connor in Ohio.
Enjoy your weekend and check back next week for a birthday party update!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Guest Post - Mice In The Kitchen

Happy Friday Eve!
Today, I'm blogging over at Mice In The Kitchen. I love Laura and her blog. As a fellow Mom and Texan, I find myself relating to her often. I was thrilled to host while Laura is busy with visitors. Hop on over and read my post about planning the perfect first birthday party without going pin-crazy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So What! Wednesday

I'm linking up with Shannon again this week for another edition of So What! Wednesday.

So What...

... Connor's immune system doesn't travel well. Every time we enter a new climate, he gets sick. He now how as cough. It's really always something.
... Wearing sweats and a zip up hoody made getting ready this morning super easy. It might be gray and gloomy today in Ohio, but it makes for the best comfy clothes weather.
... James thought that I was pregnant because the ladies were looking bigger than usual. Don't fret, there is no bun in the oven. And the ladies weren't any bigger than usual.
... Guess blogging makes me nervous. Check out Laura's blog tomorrow to see my post.
... Telling made up stories to an almost 3 year old was so much fun and I apparently do it so well because she was begging for more.
... I use the word hashtag daily.
... Even though we have cable and access to Mickey, Doc and the gang, Connor is more interested in PBS.
... I have a million ideas of great blog posts yet have no clue when I'll actually get them written and posted.
... My life is a constant to do list with little end in sight.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Parenting Style

A few months ago, a friend sent me an article from the Huffington Post detailing a new parenting trend. As a first time and somewhat new Mom, I hadn't quite figured out what type of parenting style I displayed. However, after reading the Huffington Post article, it was very clear that I practice the CTFD parenting style.

CTFD? Calm The F**k Down. Now before you think I shower Connor with daily eff bombs, the CTFD statement is for me, not for the child. Here are some examples:
  • When I begin to question if I'm doing enough to help Connor grow and learn at the rate of other 11 month olds, I tell myself to "Calm the f**k down" and stop comparing CJ to other children.
  • Connor doesn't seem as interested in the same things as other little boys and I begin to wonder if something is wrong. Hold up and "Calm the f**k down" and let him enjoy what he enjoys.
  • Bath time and bedtime kicked my ass and I forget to brush Connor's teeth. "Calm the f**k down" and brush them in the morning.
  • Something in the back of my brain causes me to doubt myself and my ability to be a good mom. Quit the pity party and "Calm the f**k down".
If you have been around the Mom Stephanie enough, you know I'm very much a go with the flow type of Mom. I don't get worked up over much. I tend to ONLY get bent out of shape when I can't get Connor to look at the camera and when he decides to tell me he is down eating by spitting his food in my face. Obviously, those are trivial things and as Connor matures, both will be eliminated.

But honestly, when things start getting to me and I can't see how I could possibly get through another hour let alone make it to bed time, I just look at this amazing little person that I'm molding and shaping and raising to be a wonderful, respectful, loving little boy and I tell myself that each child is different and Connor will get to where he needs to be on his own time, when he is ready, that life is a journey and not a race. But when these too practical pieces of advice don't sit well with me, I'll remind myself to just...

Calm the f**k down.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Being Home

We made it. 1 early morning wake up call, 2 flights and 1 Passat later, we are in Ohio. FOR 2 WEEEEKKKKSSSS! 

Being home is exciting. Gives me tingles but nothing makes me giddier than the Ohio fall I get to enjoy for the next 14 days. 

Texas has it's perks but one of it's biggest downfalls is that it doesn't have the fall I'm used to. Cold temps, comfort foods and the colorful leaves put me in the happiest of moods. Sure fall leads to bitter cold temps in winter but that's also the most wonderful time of the year! 

I really love everything about this time of year and I plan to enjoy all that fall in the Buckeye state has to offer with my favorite little man. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Letters

Dear Connor... I don't know what makes you HATE your car seat this week but I'm over it. You need to get with the program and realize that you will never win this battle.

Dear United States Government... did you forget the meaning of the word united? Hard working men and women are doing without because y'all can't agree!?! Do your job, UNITE and make me proud to be an American.

Dear James... you owe me.

Dear Suitcases... please pack yourself. I can't find the time, energy or want to pack you myself.

Dear Texas Dept. of Transportation... I could kiss your face. I appreciate not having my weight displayed for the world to see on my driver's license.

Dear Body... I apologize in advance for the amount of "dirty" food I will be eating while home.

Dear Tugg, Simon and Rudy... behave while we are away or else. What's the else? I'll go back to feeding each of you food bought from Wal-Mart.

Hope each of you have a great weekend!