Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October

                                     
     

It is hard to believe that we are at the end of October! My favorite time of the year is October, November and December. After the long, hot summers in Texas, it is nice to look forward to cooler weather and the holidays. Never mind the fact that it is 80 degrees in Houston today...I'm definitely wearing jeans and a scarf. ;)

 As a teacher or anyone that works in education, October can often be a hard month. School is finally in full swing, the daunting task of the needs of your students for the upcoming year has set in and Thanksgiving is far away. Moral boosting and kind words are always needed in a school during the month of October. On the flip side, October is often exciting in a school because school is in full swing and you often know what the needs of your students are for that year. The community is in place and the classroom is a happy place to be.

This October has been different than any other October for me since I have been home on maternity leave. It is has been so wonderful to enjoy long days at home with Madison, running errands and being on a slower pace of life than I am used to. While the days are sometimes long, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I have had time to really reflect on my new normal, balancing being a mom & wife, and trying to make a plan for keeping a balance when I go back to work.

Eric and I were married 5 1/2 years before Madison was born. While we began our journey to have a baby much earlier, I wouldn't trade those years that it was just the 2 of us for anything. I took me a year to realize it, but I finally knew that we would get pregnant when we were supposed to and the timing was not in our control. Sure enough, the timing was right and we got pregnant in December.

Having Madison in September has been the greatest blessing ever. We have had so much fun going to the pumpkin patch, getting ready for Halloween and looking forward to spending time with family during the upcoming holidays. My love for October has grown tremendously this year thanks to my little pumpkin. Here's to many more beautiful October's with our sweet family!

       

       



Monday, October 28, 2013

100th Blog Post!

I've officially hit 100 blog posts!  It took 3 years to get here...but we made it!  As I was looking back over our blog, it really was fun to reread some of the posts and remember where we were at different parts of our life.  Here is a short history of our blog:

  • The name for our blog came from the song we danced our first dance to when we got married- Making Memories of Us by Keith Urban.
  • I started our blog in November 2010 to document the holidays.  I didn't really know much about blogging, but thought it would be a neat way to share our life with family members that didn't see pictures through Facebook.
  • In 2011, I picked up the blogging and wrote about our lives, much of which revolved around Eric and me both being in graduate school.  In August 2011, Eric graduated from UTMB and started working as a Physical Therapist.  I graduated from UHCL and started my job as an assistant principal.  Needless to say...that whirlwind made blogging go on the back burner.
  • In 2012, we started out the year with building our house and moving.  Our blog was very lonely for most of 2012...I only wrote 8 posts the whole year.  We spent May-December of 2012 going through fertility treatments and a miscarriage.  We haven't shared much about this on the blog because it was a very emotional and tiring time for us.  I have started a post many times about going through fertility treatments and our miscarriage, but have never been able to finish it.  While this was a very hard time, it brought Eric and I much closer as a couple and we now have the best gift ever...Madison!
  • Some things we missed documenting on the blog in 2012- our twin nephews being born, The Cottrell's new baby girl, our family cruise with my parents and grandparents and my trip to New York City to visit Katie.
  • In 2013, our blog has been full steam ahead!  We found out New Year's Eve 2012 that we were pregnant.  I secretly wrote blog posts for 13 weeks until we announced to the world on our 5 year anniversary in March, from Disney World, that we were pregnant!  I am so glad that I was able to document my pregnancy and the first weeks of Madison's life through our blog.  It has been a great way to share our life with others and also document the wonderful memories of this year. 
 

Below are some of the greatest memories from our blog so far:

Graduate Student of the Year

Teacher of the Year

Eric's UTMB Graduation

Top 10 of 2011

Aunt and Uncle Times 2

Welcoming 2013 With Open Arms

Start Spreading the News

First Ultrasound

Announcing our Pregnancy at Disney World 

It's a Girl! Gender Reveal Party

Twice a Week Doctor Visits- 32 Weeks

Madison's Birth Story Part 1

Madison's Birth Story Part 2

Madison's Birth Story Part 3


Here's to the next 100 blog posts being just as exciting as the first 100!

 
March 8, 2008

 
March 8, 2008

 
March 8, 2013- 5 year anniversary

 
Gender Reveal Party

 
September 6, 2013- Madison's Birthday

 
Newborn Pictures

 
Newborn Pictures

 
Newborn Pictures


                   






Friday, October 25, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday friends! The weeks have been seeming to fly by, but thankfully this week slowed down some.  Here's to another fabulous Friday!
 
 
 
 
1. This is my 99th blog post! I guess I will have to think of something special to write about for my 100th post next week.  I have written 46 posts in 2013...we sure did have lots of wonderful things to write about this year!
 
 
2. Madison has been going through a 6 week growth spurt this week.  Monday and Tuesday were a little rough for Mommy and Madison.  She wanted to eat every 1.5 to 2 hours, so that's about all we did for 2 days.  She was very fussy and had a hard time getting settled.  Thankfully, it looks like we are back on track and she has been back to her happy self.  It makes me so sad when she is uncomfortable.  Eric and I were reading about growth spurts and it said they happen around 10 days, 6 weeks, 4 months and a few other times throughout the years.  I was in the middle of having a mommy meltdown while we were reading this info and Eric pointed out that the first 2 growth spurts were when I also had breakdowns.  I knew he was trying to comfort me in a weird way, so I let it slide.  ;)  Madison is such a good baby that even our "rough days" aren't that rough.  Look at this pretty little thing!
 
 
My heart is melting!
 
 
3. Madison and I had quite a big outing on Thursday!  We went to meet my sister in law, Heather, and the twins at Memorial City Mall.  Heather is super mom and has always taken her 4 kids anywhere she wanted to go from the time they were young.  I am trying to learn from her and not be scared to go places with Madison that involve us being gone for longer than an hour.  I was able to leave the house by 9, drive 45 minutes to the mall, have a great time shopping and eating lunch, and make it back home.  Madison was an angel the whole time!  We survived 2 feedings while we were out.  It was such a nice day with Heather and always fun to have time with just the twins.
 
Here we go...We were quite a sight to see!
 
 
 
 Taking selfie's with my girl at California Pizza Kitchen.
 
 
 
Brennin the non-stop eater...look at those blue eyes!
 
 
 
 Sweet Westin
 
 
4. I have been thinking a lot lately about balance in my life when I go back to work in December.  Eric and I have both always struggled with balancing work and home.  Usually things lean towards work and our weekends are filled with cleaning, grocery shopping and other "tasks".  Now that Madison is here, I want our weekends to be spent doing things with her and not worrying about daily tasks. The plan is to do a little bit around the house each day so we don't have to play catch up all weekend.  I have found tons of cute things on Pinterest to help me organize the structure of my day, cleaning the house and budgeting for our new day care expenses.  Now I just need to put some of these cute things to use! 
 
                                  *****10 Tips for Getting More Done During the Day*****
 
 
I want to spend my time having sweet moments like this with my girl:
 
                                    
 
 
 
5. Speaking of balance...I have had many times during maternity leave that I feel guilty that I am not doing more around the house during the day.  Eric always reminds me that my job is to take care of Madison...we will get the housework done...or worry about it another day.  I appreciate him reminding me of this and it has helped lessen the guilt I put on myself.  I remember after our family friend, Brittany, had her first son, she put this quote on her blog.  I have always liked it, but it means so much more to me now that I am a mommy. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Galveston

On Sunday, we went to Galveston to enjoy the nice weather.  It was Madison fist trip to Galveston and judging by the pictures, it looks like she enjoyed it!  We started off with breakfast at the Sunflower CafĂ©.  They have the most wonderful Belgian waffle with berries.  Afterward, we went to walk around The Strand.  We quickly learned where all the ramps where..something we never needed to worry about before since we haven't had a stroller. The weather was beautiful and it was a great family outing!  We have such fond memories of Galveston from Eric's time in grad school at UTMB.It still amazes me that it has been 5 years since Hurricane Ike hit Galveston.  So much has happened in our lives since we were newly married and Eric was starting grad school in September 2008.   We look forward to sharing Galveston with Madison as she gets older.

Cuddles with Pops
 
Waiting for breakfast at the Sunflower Cafe
 
Some of her Daddy's old stomping grounds...
 
 Of course her Wubbanub pacifier had to make an appearance!
 
 
 My Dad and me on The Strand.
 
 
Clearly enjoying taking in the sights!


Here are some of our memories from Eric's time at UTMB:

The End of the Road

Eric's Graduation

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bedtime Stories

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”–Emilie Buchwald
Ever since I was a child, I have always had a love of books, especially children's literature.  I remember being little and we always had tons of books.  My parents would read to us at night and we would often go to the bookstore to get new books.  As I got older, I continued to love reading, especially the Baby Sitter's Club series.  I remember how excited I was my first year at Texas A&M when I got to take a children's literature class as a freshman education major.  As I got into my upper level classes, my advisor and professor, Dr. Boettcher, continued my love of books through the classes she taught.  As I became a teacher, my favorite time of the day was interactive read aloud.  I loved getting to share good literature with my students, have discussions about the characters and stretch their thinking as readers.  My goal as a teacher was always to create a love of reading in my students.  Now that I am out of the classroom as an assistant principal, some of my favorite times are when I get to go into a classroom and read to the students. 

The Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, shared an article on Facebook last week that made my teacher and reader heart so happy.  It was titled "50 Books Every Parent Should Read to Their Child".  I could go on and on about my love for Teacher's College and my trip to their summer Reading Institute, but I will save that for another day.

Here are some of the books on the list that I remember loving as a kid:


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BigT344
 
 
grumpy-grumpy-grumpy
 
 
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charlottes-web1
 
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There were also a handful of books on the Top 50 list that I loved to use in my classroom:
 
amazing grace
 
 
Tales-of-a-Fourth-Grade-Nothing1-seawnb
 
 
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The-Giving-Tree
 
 
 
When I left the classroom 3 years ago, I couldn't part with any of my books.  I can't wait until Madison is a little older and she can have my classroom books in her playroom.  For now...she has a good little collection of board books going. 
 
 
Check out the list and see if any you notice any of your favorite childhood books.  I loved getting to look at the list and remember some books I had forgotten about. 
 
 
 
 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five on Friday

 
TGIF! I am amazed at how fast the weeks have been flying by!  Every Monday Eric and I are both sad that it is Monday and he has to go to work.  But before I know it, we are back at Friday and looking forward to the weekend together as our little family of 3.  This Saturday, Eric has an all day training for work...he will have to miss Madison & me and the Texas A&M game.
 
 

 
 
1. How on earth can I have a 6 week old baby?! It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the hospital, holding this tiny baby that I had gotten to know over the past 9 months. The first set of "baby is growing up tears" came when Madison didn't fit into her newborn clothes anymore.  I feel another cry coming on...6 weeks seems like such a milestone!  I still remember when we went for our 6 week ultrasound last January.  What a year it has been! Madison has started smiling this week, which just melts my heart. 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Has anyone see the new Carter's tv commercial?  Oh my gosh...talk about being a puddle of tears the first time I saw it!  I was siting on the couch a few days after we got home from the hospital with Madison.  Being a new mommy and full of emotions (hormones), I couldn't help but cry. The commercial plays on daytime tv constantly and it still makes my heart happy every time.  The part where the little kid says the first night home was a doozy- I couldn't think of a better way to describe our first few nights home. 
 
 
                                   
 
 
3. On to something a little less emotional...peanut butter! Last weekend at the store, I got a new peanut butter to try that is White Chocolate Peanut Butter.  It is AMAZING! I have had to force myself to not eat it all day long.  The brand is Peanut Butter & Co.  It turns out they have a restaurant in New York City that sells all kinds of peanut butter sandwiches.  I'm definitely adding this stop to my next trip to NYC!
 
 
White Chocolate Wonderful
 
 
4. Sticking with the food theme, my new obsession is strawberries with Cool Whip.  They are so delicious and the perfect dessert without being tons of calories.  For the past 2 weekends, we have bought a 2 lb. box of strawberries at the store and they have been gone by Tuesday.  This week, we bought 4 lbs of strawberries and they made it until Thursday night.  Four pounds-that's a lot of strawberries!
 
 
5. In just a couple short weeks, my friend Katie is coming to visit from New York City!  I am so excited for her to meet Madison and for us to be able to hang out.  Katie and I met in 2003, during the College Program at Disney World.  We worked at Pinocchio's Village House, a restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.  We have stayed in touch throughout the years and visited each other.  Last November, I went to NYC to visit Katie and had a wonderful trip.  Looking forward to getting to see her again this year, although I doubt a trip to Houston is as exciting as a trip to NYC. ;)
 
 

                           2004 @ Disney World 
 
 
                             2008 @ my wedding
 
 
                             2010 @ Texas
 
 
                          2012 @ NYC
 
 
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