Saturday, December 31, 2011

Baby's First Christmas (in photos)

Honestly, I've been procrastinating this post because I just don't know how to put into words the last two weeks... But, since it is New Year's Eve and I have all kinds of things up my sleeve to move into 2012 blogging; I figured I needed to just get it up.  Hope you enjoy these photos (and brief explanations) of Baby's First Christmas.

We kicked off the season with Christmas at the Chapman's one week early because Daniel & Jayme were going to be out of town on the 25th. Sam enjoyed hanging with the guys and sitting on his favorite lap (Great-Grandmother). Even Addy and Daisy got to open presents!

On the Thursday before Christmas, we had our annual celebration with the Thompson family. Sam bonded immediately with Emily and had some very deep political conversations with Alex. ;) He also got his very first "Elf on the Shelf." Let the fun begin!

I took ZERO pictures of Christmas Eve... But it was a wonderful day. We spent it at home wrapping last minute gifts and making the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls (delicious).  Then, we went to Jeff's parent's house to celebrate with his mom's side of the family.  This has been Jeff's tradition his whole life, and I've participated for the last TEN Christmases.  It was SO fun to add Sam to the mix this year!

On Christmas morning, we had a quiet morning and did "Santa" just the three of us.  Sam got this great Baby Einstein Exersaucer.  (Which may be as big a gift for us as it is for Sam, since it seems to keep his attention pretty well for 15 minutes at a time.)

Afterwards, my family came over for gift-exchange (Sam was TOTALLY spoiled) and breakfast.  We have always done breakfast on Christmas morning, but this year was different because it was at our house.  It was a little extra work preparing for it, but it was worth it to celebrate Sam's first Christmas at our own house. We missed my Granny's sausage gravy, but has yummy breakfast casseroles and cinnamon buns instead.

Later, we drank mimosas and played our new board game - Logo.  In the afternoon, Jeff's parents came over for more eating, playing, and relaxing.  We (literally) stayed in our pajamas ALL day and ended the night with the movie The Help.  (I love the idea of always getting a new board game and a movie for our family for Christmas that we can enjoy together on Christmas day.  I hope that is a tradition we will continue in the years to come.)

(I REALLY wish I had more photos of Jeff's family.)

On the day after Christmas, we loaded the car (and I mean LOADED) and headed to Northern Virginia to see Aunt Delores and Uncle Richard and more of my dad's family.  Monday night we ate at a favorite Mexican restaurant and had another Christmas gift exchange with D & R.  As usual, they TOTALLY spoiled all of us!  (Seriously, Aunt Delores keeps Sam SO well dressed.)  Then, on Tuesday, my Uncle Richard got a limo-bus from his company and drove us into Maryland to have our annual lunch with my Great Aunt Martha.  Later, we went to Georgetown for shopping... In his true fashion, Sam was a GREAT sport all day.  He LOVES being around lots of people and getting tons of attention! :)

Overall, an EXCELLENT first Christmas!!! 

We'll be home tonight ringing in the new year from our bed. :)  I'll be back tomorrow with a little reflection on 2011 - a big year, indeed.  Happy happy!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Books I Read in 2011

The Nester posted a little linky for this on her blog yesterday, and I love thoughtless blog material a good link-up, so...

Books I Read in 2011:
(Books read to my students and/or Sam are excluded; list is in no particular order.)

The Hunger Games

Silver Girl

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

Sarah's Key *Favorite

Sing You Home *Favorite

What to Expect When You're Expecting

On Becoming Babywise

The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay *Favorite

Operating Instructions *Favorite

The Moms on Call Guide to Basic Baby Care

So Long Insecurity, You've Been a Bad Friend to Us *Favorite

Currently Reading...

One Day

One Thousand Gifts

What were your favorite 2011 reads?  What should I put on my list for 2012?  Do tell!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Midweek Confessions - Better Late Than Never

Oh my what a few days it has been... Lots of fun + 2 broken down cars and a sick baby.  I'll let that explain my blog absence and tardiness to the "Midweek Confession" party.  Sorry friends... I hope you'll still join in.

I'll go first.
- I was so proud of myself for relaxing on Christmas and not worrying about the mess.  Then, on Monday, I had a total nervous breakdown over the condition of our house and all that needed to be done to get out of town.  Fail.

- After making a big deal about needing to eat dinner at 6PM to accomodate Sam's schedule in DC Monday night, WE kept everyone waiting two hours and arrived at 7:30PM.

- I CANNOT resist picking at Sam's ears.

- When I shop, I become a zombie.  Seriously, it's like I have a one track mind and NOTHING else matters.  Bad.

- I LOVE returning things after Christmas.  It is a dream situation - you take something back that someone else paid FULL price for, and exchange it for TWO items now marked 50% off.  I usually LOOK for a gift (or two or five) I can return.  (Sorry mom!)

- I breastfed in two public dressing rooms and in a FOOD COURT while eating french fries yesterday.

- When Sam is sick, I also turn into a crazy hot mess and Jeff has to take care of BOTH of us.

- I haven't bought my husband a Christmas gift in at least three years.

Ok, what are your Midweek-ish Confessions?  Grab the button and link up below! (Christmas pictures to come... sometime.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A good day indeed

I love this.  It isn't the best photo you've ever seen (my dad took it on his phone), but it PERFECTLY captures the joy of today.  This has been one of the simplest Christmas Days I've ever had; but, also, probably my best.  We drank a lot of coffee, opened a lot (too many) of gifts, ate a lot (too many) of the Pioneer Woman cinnamon buns, played board games, watched movies, napped with my boys, and celebrated with all the people I love.

*I probably over-embraced the Andy Rooney quote about not cleaning up the Christmas mess too soon...  But, whatever!  

I'm feeling so blessed (and merry) today.

...In the morning, after I dig us out of the pit of gifts and wrapping paper, we are headed to Northern Virginia for a few days with my family.  I'll be back Wednesday with plenty of Midweek Confessions and LOTS of photos of Baby's First Christmas.

Merry Christmas ya'll!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from Our Little Family to Yours!

Photos by Merry Studios
Card Design by TriciaNae Designs

Before I say anything else, let me just make something clear... I don't like it when people use the verse "unto us a child is born" on their Christmas cards (or any time) with a photo of their new baby. *If you did this, I don't think YOU are absurd, but the idea (in my humble opinion) most definitely IS. I mean, I think my baby is awesome; BUT, trust you me, he is no King of Kings, Emmanuel. ;) So... don't read this and think I'm all "we are just like Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus," we aren't. (For starters, Mary was a virgin... But we won't go there.) That said, I've had an interesting perspective on Christmas this year as I experience it as a young, new mom to a baby boy....

I've thought a lot about what these days must have been like for Mary - travelling, pregnant, riding on a donkey (the misery), and THEN having to deliver her baby in a barn (talk about the birth plan going awry).  For all intensive purposes, this was AWFUL timing for the SAVIOR to be born... BUT, God knew what he was doing... 

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." -Galatians 4:4-5

That's been the story of this past year for us.  One year ago tomorrow, I announced my pregnancy to the blog world.  Although we were SO excited; I'd be lying if I said I didn't question God's timing.  BUT, if I've learned anything this year, it's that His timing is always perfect

We have a lot of traditions and "fun stuff" we want to do this year as we celebrate Christmas.  I'm all about gift-giving, decorating, over-eating, and the magic of Santa & his reindeer... BUT, more than that, I want our Christmas to be about that little wrinkly baby boy born next to sheep and wrapped in swaddling clothes 2000 years ago... And his mom, who was faithful and gentle and "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

Having a son makes me appreciate God's sacrifice SO much more... And, for maybe the first time, I understand what a gift it is that because of Jesus, I, too, am loved like a son.  THAT, my friends, is a reason to celebrate.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Good Reminder

I've already started stressing a bit about the mess my house will inevitably become after we do Christmas morning here.  Between breakfast for 8, gifts galore, and a baby... It ain't gonna be neat.  BUT, it will be pretty.

Here's hoping your living room is messy, your bellies are full, and your hearts are happy this Christmas! (And, that you can relax and really enjoy it all.)

**P.S. Thanks for all the great Midweek Confession posts yesterday.  Ya'll keep my cracking up.  I'm still making my way through the links - Love them!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Midweek Confessions

First, you guys are THE BEST!  Thank you for your responses to my last post - "Mommy Questions".  If you haven't already, I definitely suggest going and reading the comments there; it is a day's worth of reading, but there is some good stuff!  I LOVE this little community.  THANK YOU!  (Also, I added my own answers in the comments too - #8 if you are interested.)

Now, here we go again... My favorite part of the week:

- I am on Christmas break this week, but I've taken Sam to the babysitter every day so far to get things done.  Then, I proceeded to walk in circles around my house, drive up and down the highway, wander aimlessly through stores, and be absolutely UNproductive.  Awesome mom. Today I have to finish all my baking, shopping, cleaning, and wrapping because I'm insisting that the rest of the week is strictly PLAY.  (This was probably a good dose of reality about my visions of being a SAHM.)

- I mailed my Christmas cards yesterday. I didn't write one single personal message - just stuff, seal, stamp, send.  (I'm considering a "Hope your holiday was great... Happy New Year" card for next year.)

- My name is Elizabeth, and I'm addicted to super-mom blogs. I think I'm doing really well with not comparing myself, and then I read a blog about babies sleeping 11 hours or being on a perfect schedule, etc. and I start getting all panicky inside about my mothering abilities.  BUT... I can't stop reading these things.  It's like crack.  (Not that I know anything about crack.)

- I haven't been to the gym in MONTHS.  Who has time?

- I let Sam sleep in my bed when he is particularly fussy at night.  I feel guilty about it, but I also kind-of love it.  (It feels good to just get that out there.  Judge away! No, really, don't.)

- I'm not a good cook.  I try, I really do; but everything I make is messy, burned, and not quite hot enough.

Ok, enough about me. What are your confessions?  Grab the button and link-up below!!

Mommy Questions

My mind is racing with questions about raising my little guy recently.  So... I figured I'd pick your brain this morning.  If you have a few minutes (who does?) please answer some (or all) of these questions in the comment sections.  Hopefully we'll help out more than just me with this. Thanks friends!

1. When did you start giving your baby "solid" foods?  Did you start with rice cereal or something else?  What brands of cereal and/or babyfood did you use?

2. Did you let your baby cry-it-out?  When?  How could you tell the difference between night-waking out of habit and night waking because he (or she) was legitimately hungry?

3. What did you give your baby for his/her first Christmas?

4. How strict were/are you about bedtime for your little one?  What time does he/she go to bed most nights?  What is your bedtime routine?

5. How often do you give your little one a bath?

6. How often do you do laundry?

7. Any tips for a stuffy nose?  How will I know if it's an ear infection too?

8. Working mamas: Do you pay your babysitter when you are off?  What did you give the babysitter for Christmas? What does baby wear most days?  What do you wear to work?  (This is random, but I'm curious because I feel like I'm the only person in the world who doesn't get to wear jeans to work every day.)

9. How long did you breastfeed?

10. If you pump, about how many ounces do you pump at each session?

Ok, seriously, I'll stop now.  As you can see, I'm all over the place...

Midweek Confessions up later this afternoon!  Come join the party! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Months

I remember when I was pregnant, the idea of having a five month old at Christmas sounded crazy.  Last year at this time I was eating every hour to keep from turning green and wondering if Baby Chapman would be a he or a she as we hung little pregnancy ornaments on the tree. And now, well, I'm still eating every hour most days here we are... 

Sam is 5 months old!
(as of December 13th)

Size: According to our home scale, Sam weighs 17 pounds!  I really don't think he is fat; but he is solid!  I call him "my little wrestler" because of his bald head and his strong but stocky little body.  (Hello stereotyping!)  He is still wearing size 2 diapers (we've tried Huggies and Pampers and like Pampers best) and is all over the board in clothing sizes - some outfits are 3 - 6 months, others are as big as 9 months.  Someone really needs to uniform baby clothes sizes.  His head is big... But adorable.

Development: Month four was mostly just a month of "getting closer" to some big milestones.  He has been laughing outloud for a while now, and we LOVE it.  Jeff and I are the biggest goobs trying to get him to laugh; and, trust me, he does not give out those chuckles without some serious effort on our part.  He "talks," on the other hand, ALL the time.

Sam can sit by himself for a few seconds; and, just this past week he rolled from his back to his stomach for the first time.  On the floor, this is still really difficult for him (he's done it about five times total); but, he is a pro at escaping from his carseat.  It looks like our days of using that seat without a buckle are OVER. Jeff took this photo on Saturday morning - he was doing dishes and turned around to find a great escape.  As you can see, the babysitter wasn't really doing her job. ;)

Personality:  Most of the time, our little guy is full of smiles and giggles.  The older he gets, the more laid-back his personality seems to be.  That said, he does have a temper.  If he is cold/hungry/tired/bored he definitely lets us know. 

Eating: This boy can EAT!  I don't even know how to describe his eating habits because it seems like it is ALL he does anymore.  On average, he eats about five regular times each day of about about 6 - 8 ounces of breastmilk.  Recently, he's also been sneaking in one (or two or three) other large meals in the middle of the night.  We have not started solid foods yet; but, we plan to start this week or next -- he has made it quite clear that he is ready for MORE than just what Mommy has to offer.

Sleeping: Ugg... Two weeks ago I would have said he was back to being a good sleeper... But, alas, he keeps us on our toes!  Most of the time, Sam goes to bed around 8PM, wakes up to eat around 2AM, and for good at 6AM.  Unfortunately, for the past week or so, he has been waking up every 2 - 3 hours SCREAMING.  I've talked to the doctors and they said it could be any number of things - teething, hunger, nightmares, growth-spurts.  Great news for a tired mommy.  Here's hoping this gets better SOON!

Likes/Dislikes: Sam loves to go out and about with mommy.  In fact, it seems on a grumpy day, a trip to Target makes everything better!  (That's my boy!) He is crazy about his daddy and seems to give his smiles most generously to men - especially his dad and both grandpas.  He loves the Christmas decorations and anything that lights up/makes sounds - the perfect age for new TOYS!  He prefers being naked (but warm), and still loves his paci (although he's starting to befriend his thumb too).

Dislikes are just the norm - being cold, hungry, tired, etc.  He is NOT a fan of having his nose cleared or clothes put on over his head. 

Baby Boy,
Daddy and I are SO excited to celebrate your first Christmas with you in a few days.  Your little smile and fascination with all the life going on around you have given us a new perspective on EVERYTHING.  Just when I think it isn't possible... I love you even more.  Each month, we see more and more of your little spirit and learn how to be your parents more.  It truly does get better and better.  We are so blessed and so thankful. 

*Sorry the photos are so bad.  Jeff took them on his phone because I keep forgetting to charge my camera battery.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Tour of Homes

Hi there!

If you're a reader... THANK YOU for supporting my little "Midweek Confessions" gig yesterday.  You made me feel like a super star (funny how 14 - and counting - linkers will do that), which is especially appreciated given the week we've had. ;)

And, if you're just stoppin' by today... Thanks for clicking on my name and WELCOME!  I hope you'll stay and look around; we're all about bein' real and laughing at ourselves in these parts.

So, if only for today, I'm going to be one of those bloggers that decorates her house, takes pictures of it, and then blogs about it.  Look - when it is clean, you've got to milk it for all it's worth. Plus, too many of my favorite blogs (i.e. The Nester, Blue-Eyed Bride, & Kelly's Korner) are hosting link-ups. I can't miss the party!
May as well start at the front door...

Even a little tree for my little guy...

Want to see year's passed?  Click here or here.

And don't forget to check out all the other BEAUTIFUL home tours on the web today & tomorrow (and, heck, all the time)!

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