Tuesday, July 24, 2012

17 Months

Little Lady is 17 months old!
We braved the heat (again) and snapped some pictures of the little one on her 17 month birthday after our visit to the Farmers' Market.  We go just about every Saturday to get our favorites - peaches, watermelon, peppers, sweet corn, blueberries....it's hard to not buy everything, and Natalie loves to sample. :)  There's a sweet little bridge that leads over to a walking path.  We scoped out some shade, there was a light breeze, and we lasted about 15 whole minutes before calling it quits and heading to the car for the mercy of air conditioning. :)
Natalie doesn't seem to notice the heat at all, and despite her rosy cheeks and the beads of sweat on her baby nose - she is happy to explore and be outside.

Miss Independent seems to be slightly less frustrated these days.  Last month we really struggled with tantrums and throwing fits and her just completely falling apart if she didn't get her way.  This month seems to be a little better, and I think I can attribute that partly to her communication skills continuing to develop.  She is able to tell me most of the time what she wants (in one way or another), so she is easier to deal with most days.  We still have our moments, of course. :)

Otherwise, I feel that haven't been any major changes this month.  Still sleeping the same - I'm a little worried about when school starts and we have to move her wake-up time two hours earlier!  She and I have both gotten a little too used to sleeping in lately...  Still wearing the same size.  Still going through a picky eating phase.  Still the cutest girl ever. :)

I've been loving watching her play.  She comes up with some interesting ways to occupy her time and keep herself busy!  I found a sand pail full of magnet letters yesterday.  She likes to "fill" things like that, so I often find small items in weird places.  My measuring cups in her picnic basket.  Her sorting shapes in my mixing bowls.  She loves flashlights and cell phones and coasters.  Yes, I said coasters.
She has become such a little "helper".  In fact, HELP is probably the word I hear most often all day.  She either wants me to help her do something, or she is dying to help me!  She likes to stir or pour things when I'm cooking.  She loves to carry things for me, throw items in the trash, or pick up toys and put them away. 

She is so curious, and I love that she is learning so much.  I continue to be amazed by this fleeting thing called time, and how I have watched Natalie transform before my very eyes.  My little blessing!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

4th of July

I love holidays.  Any excuse to gather the family, indulge in favorite foods, watch the little ones play....sounds good in my book!  Despite the sticky heat that just wouldn't quit - we gathered the lawn chairs and cold drinks.  Once the sun went down and a small merciful breeze kicked in, it wasn't so bad.

Round 1:

You know we love a good, festive outfit and hairbow!
Natalie loved playing with all of her cousins, and especially enjoys watching the older kids play.  She is such a little studier.  She watches and absorbs and soaks it all in. 

Round 2:
 My beautiful momma and sissies.

 Natalie loves her Mimi!

 Impossible to get a picture with a wiggly toddler!

Here's a pic in the same spot last year - they have changed so much!

Little bug tuckered out at my mom's long before it got dark, so we didn't go to see fireworks.  When we got home, we did enjoy a sparkler before snuggling into bed for the night.

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012


Okay, I honestly have no clue what "week" I am on...I've lost track!
What I DO know is that I've lost TWENTY POUNDS!!!!

I am SO excited to be at my next goal!  When I started back in March, I decided I would take it 10 pounds at a time.  The first ten came off so quickly, but these last ten have been much harder.  I'd love to lose another 10, but not sure how long that will take....  But my recent thinking is "Who cares?!"  My exercise and eating routines have become such a lifestyle change for me, that I know if I continue to eat healthy and workout, the weight will come off (even if it is more slowly).  You see, I've had a big shift in my thinking.  The beginning was full of eating less, feeling hungry, and feeling guilty when I ate something I shouldn't.  But I've really started thinking that the key to maintaining this weight-loss is what I am the most interested in.  A little history....

I've been up and down in my weight since about the age of 16.  Got heavier and heavier towards the end of high school, and went off to college at 185 pounds.  Luckily, I contracted a nasty stomach bug/infection my freshman year and I lost 30 pounds in about 3 weeks.  With that jump start, once I started feeling better, I began working out with friends (working out is such a social activity in college!) and lost another 10.  Came back after my freshman year - all of my friends had gained their "freshman 15", and I looked like a totally different person!  Of course, I couldn't take all the credit....nothing like a stomach virus to get you looking great!

Met my honey my sophomore year, and throughout our dating I gained about 20 pounds.  LOTS of nights out, indulging in yummy meals, ice cream dates, etc.  We broke up for about 6 months and I lost 15 pounds.  Back together, gained.  Engaged, lost.  Married, gained.  Lost before having the baby (about 15 pounds).  Pregnant, GAINED.  Do you see my pattern?  I'm so TIRED of it!!!

What makes me excited now is that I've never lost this much weight on my own before.  Feels like a giant accomplishment to me!  It hasn't been by any crazy means....just doing stuff that makes sense.  Working out 3 (sometimes 4) times a week.  Watching portion sizes.  Making healthier food choices.  Recently, trying to cut out as much processed foods as possible (within reason and within budget).  Eating whole grains.  Incorporating protein into my breakfast.  These are things that I can keep doing.  And I hope that I can stop this endless cycle of weight gain and weight loss. 

So, enough chit-chat.  Do you want to see my 20 pound pictures??

I'm gonna keep-on, keepin'-on.  I know that my weight loss has hit a bit of a plateau, but I think if I change up my workout routine a little I can get things jump-started again. 

If you are on a weight-loss journey, keep at it!  You can do it!  I know what it feels like to cry because none of your clothes fit, to look at pictures and not recognize yourself, to avoid mirrors, and to feel like you are destined to be heavy.  Now, I'm not skinny by any means, but I do know that I feel healthy these days, and I feel good when I look in the mirror.  And that is so much more important to me than numbers on a scale or the size of my jeans.  You can get there, too!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Catching Up

What a sweet, sweet summer it has been so far!
SO much has been happening around here....

A girls' day to celebrate an amazing Momma. 
We went on a garden tour in Weston, Missouri.  Included: many quaint homes, breathtaking gardens, a little rain shower, a picnic lunch, birthday presents, an encounter with a snake, lots of sister/mother chit-chat, and many sweet memories made.

Made me want to move the country-side and grow a garden!

Playing, inside and out.  Mornings out front in the shade have been tolerable.  And Natalie is game for anything that involves water.  And Daddy's paintbrushes.

Up next, an anniversary celebrated.
4 years with my love, celebrated with a night out.  Dinner (and dessert!) on the Plaza.  In lieu of window shopping, we drove around and looked at neighborhoods and houses....dreaming of where our blessed lilfe will continue someday.  So blessed to know there are many more amazing years ahead with my man!

Did you notice my hair in that picture up there?  In a moment of braveness, I decided to give my budget a major boost and color my own hair.  Which I never done before.  It had to be done.  There were gray hairs growin' in there!  WHAAAAT?!?  I've been blond forever, but earlier this year decided to go darker - for a change, and because it would be less maintenance since my natural hair color is dark.
After many youtube videos, online tutorials, etc. I trotted off to the beauty supply store to buy some salon hair color (NOT a boxed kit!).Put the babe down for a nap, got all my supplies, and went at it.
Documented the before and after with my trusty iPhone.  This is the before picture.  With day-old hair, a nervous look on my face, and no makeup.  Mmmm....
 And the AFTER.  Much better!  Came out darker than I thought....this definitely does not look like the "medium natural brown" that was indicated on the box, but I think if I let it process for less time next time it would be perfect.  That part was a bit of a guessing game considering it said, "Let process for 10-40 minutes."  Cost only $16 for the color and supplies.  Winning!  Would pay 3x as much in the salon!
(P.S. The same girl who's video I watched on to color your hair....I also watched her video on how to blow dry your hair.  Life-changing, folks.  Who knew I was blow-drying wrong all these years????)

Now the Fourth of July is this week, which always makes me start to worry about how SOON August will be here.  But I'll be sure to just really savor the next few weeks of freedom!  Still lots to accomplish on my summer to-do list!
Thanks for reading!!

16 Months

Little lady turned 16 months old last week!  I'm so behind on blogging right now, so I'll be trying to catch up this week.  Beginning with "Miss Independent", as we call her these days.

Natalie has developed a fierce sense of "I do it MYSELF!" in the past month.  She has a definite idea of how she wants things to go, and let's just say when they don't....it's not pretty.  I have so enjoyed being home with her this summer, but it has been challenging, to be honest!  She can be so inflexible sometimes, and has a stubborn streak a mile long.  I can see her get so frustrated, and I know she doesn't understand at ALL why she can't just do what she wants all the time.  Poor little thing - I'm sure she just thinks I'm a mean Mommy!  Luckily, distraction goes a long way....

Exhibit A & B:  I wouldn't let her get in the lake at the park.  So sorry, princess!

On the flip side, she is blossoming in so many other ways.  Physically, she is climbing furniture and running everywhere.  She loves to play outside, and if she sees a hill she has to climb it!  She is busy.  Loves to open and close things.  Has learned to stack her blocks.  If she tries to put a large block on top of a small block - once she sees that it won't work, she'll switch them around.  She likes to put things "in".  Example: filling a sandpail with Mommy's measuring spoons.  She likes to hide in the closet and just shrieks and laughs when we "find" her. 

I am amazed by her language development.  She can repeat SO many words and sounds, but she is also using her words to tell what she wants, without me having to say it first.  "Book" when she wants to read.  "Up" when she wants up on the furniture to sit with me.  "Eat" when she is hungry.  "Bye bye" if she wants to go outside.  Up until the last few weeks, she would parrot me more...but these days she is talking to me.  It's crazy!  I can see the frustration when she can't communicate what she wants, but she typically does a good job of getting her point across.  She totally understands "yes" and "no", and will respond to my questions with a head nod or head shake.  Or by screaming and arching her back and clenching her fists. :)

She points at everything!!
She was quacking at the ducks at the park....so funny!

I swear, I have the hardest time photographing her when I'm alone with her.  As soon as I get in front of her with the camera, she turns and goes in a different direction.  Most of my photos from this day at the park are of the back of her head!

Other changes this month.....we transitioned to one nap at the beginning of the summer, and it has been really great.  She will sleep 2 1/2 to 3 hours in the afternoon, and now we can spend the morning running errands or doing fun things, then be home for lunch and nap, and she's good to go until bedtime.  Still sleeps a solid 12 hours at night.  Goes to bed between 7:30 and 8 at night.  She loves bedtime.  I can't even remember the last time she fought me about going to bed or taking a nap.  Give that girl a paci and a blankie and she is more than happy to snooze!  I love at night when she sees me making her bottle (yes, she still has a bottle at night....I tried to transition to a cup and she was not having it!  I'm not going to force it just yet...) she will gather up her blankie and paci and high-tail it to her room.  Plenty of snuggles and stories and singing....such a sweet time of day with her.

Mealtime is my absolute least favorite time of the day.  She used to eat anything.  Now, we never know.  She likes something one day, but the next won't even try a bite of it.  She will throw her fork when she gets frustrated.  If I want her to eat it, she won't eat it.  I pray at each meal that we can get through it without tears and that she will eat something good.  I feel guilty when she doesn't eat a good meal, but also don't want to fix her 10 different things because she won't eat what we are eating for dinner.  I really don't think it's about liking or not liking the food -- I honestly think it's a way that she can exert some choice and control over herself.  I'm going to try incorporating more choice into her meals....but don't know exactly how to do that.

I just love this little sugar bug so much.  I can't imagine one day without her - and the joy that she brings to us.  Even on her "off" days when she is whiny and crabby and disagreeable...we are so incredibly lucky!