carson taylor: ten months

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1-0, 10!  whoa!  double digits already?! all i can say is whoa!

this month was better than the last and the last was better than the one before it!  this baby, baby stage has to be my favorite!  watching you grow and change so much over the past month has been the best.  i can only imagine the joy i’ll experience as you continue to become your own person.

this month:

you became even more of a noise maker.

you experienced your first ear infection.

learned to say ‘mama’ and ‘dadda’.

started crawling!

poked through two teeth.

continued sensory play with muffin tins and and hair rollers at daycare.

chased allie, fed her puffs and ripped tufts of her fur out.

started to play games of ‘pick up’ from the high chair.

learned that the word ‘no’ has a different tone than all of the other words mommy and daddy say.

 mastered the stare.  when in public, at home and especially before bed.

as you continue to grow you continue to change.  you’re becoming your own little person and i’m amazed at how much you’ve already learned and by how much you’ve grown (not up though – nope you’re still 0% haha.)

your lovins from you look a little different now.  slobbers and raspberries, crawling to us and big hugs are all new.  in fact, i can’t do much of anything without you tugging on my pants or sitting by my feet.  you love to be held and placed in the carrier or your stroller so that you can explore the world around you.  you crawl everywhere and in what seemed like a night you went from 0 to 60.  there’s no place you can’t get to in our little apartment.

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you continue to try new foods and no longer like peas.  surprise. surprise.  you’re a fan of the sweets and anything fruity is your fav.  you do a great job of eating mashed solids and your puffs but choked on a banana bite earlier this month.  we’ll stick to pureed foods and puffs until you’re at least…oh, i don’t know – 15.  okay?!

with two teeth on the bottom with no others in sight you wake once in the night and then are up at the crack of dawn until your early morning cat nap.  you sleep 2-2.5 hours a day and go to bed around 7.  you’re wearing size three diapers and 9 months duds.

speaking of teeth, daddy sings this song to you every night while brushing (his own musical creation…and he’ll probably kill me for writing about it.)

‘weeee arrrreee brushin’ our teeth!  brushin’ our teeth.  we are brushin’ our teeth.’

i can overhear it from the kitchen while i’m cleaning up dinner and it usually ends up trailing off into …

‘we are brushin’ our teeth.  not very well. actually pretty terrible but we are brushin’ our teeth.  oh no, you are chewing your brush.  ok, we’re done.’

sweetest.moments.ever!

i’m looking forward to celebrating fall with you – it’s my favorite season!  and i imagine it’ll be yours: our birthdays, halloween, football, thanksgiving.  it’s going to be awesome!

a few words about your personality before i wrap this post:

when you want picked up you fall on your tummy and in superman fashion look up and cry a little – what’s funny is that if, in the middle of a cry, you see something that catches your attention you get to all fours and go – faker! total faker!  (and it gets me every time!)

‘dancing’ now is by rocking on your bottom and moving your arms up and down.  whenever ‘ain’t no mountain high enough’ comes over the alarm or mommy and daddy say ‘yay!’ it’s on and it’s the cutest.

you have some serious ‘tude!  you’ve mastered the art of telling us what you DON’T want by throwing fits.  the night dad took the shampoo bottle away from you in the tub was one of the more memorable.

my favorite part of the day is picking you up from daycare.  before i was met with an ambivalent smile now you excitedly crawl over to meet me at the door as soon as i say your name.  you always smile when i kiss your cheek at the end of the day.

bath time is a favorite and splashes so much mommy and daddy have to hold a towel over ourselves to stay dry

in true fashion i’ve already started party planning and it’s incredibly bittersweet.  you’ll be a toddler before i know it and then off to college.  i’m not going to think about that now or wish the time away.

bathtime
look at those teeth….and that happy little water baby
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caught him ‘readying’

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choosing to feed himself

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first snowcone

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playdate with e – the boys were very busy!  oh things to come, lib!
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carson’s first selfie – haha.

 

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funny moment of the month:  the daycare teachers tell us you are happy, talkative and active all.the.time.  and to be honest there has only been one day since april that i have picked you up in a fussy mood, so i guess i believe them.  you love interacting with the other babies and i often wonder what they make of your enthusiasm.  the other day when daddy picked you up there was a crying baby.  it was serious! the snot was flowing and the face was turning red.  yet you were happy as can be.  and to make matters worse, or better, depending on your perspective, you were babbling and screeching at the baby as if to say ‘what’s up?! isn’t life great!! ahhhh!!’  it’s just your nature but, according to daddy it looked like you were mocking the baby for having such a rough afternoon.

let’s be honest…

fam2

it’s time to get honest.  like really deep.  ok, not that deep.

since i started this blog i’ve had a number of people comment about how ‘perfect’ our family appears and occasionally i’ll get a #goals tag on my insta account.  while it makes me smile it also makes me feel like i’m not real.  like anybody,  i want to be perceived in a certain light but i’m not perfect and my life certainly isn’t perfect.  in fact i fear that at some point i’ll be unveiled as a fraud skating by on my good luck. it’s like that feeling you get when a cop is behind you.

don’t get me wrong i do have a beautiful life full of wonderful people and experiences but i need to share with you some of the ‘raw’ and unfiltered bits and pieces.  my guess is that your perception is not reality ;o)  here goes:

the opinions of others matter to me.   i’m more self-conscious than confident.

some of our pictures are staged – surprise!  i mean they come from genuine moments.  i’m just too slow to catch them so sometimes i ask for a reenactment.  obviously that’s not always possible with a dog and a baby on the go but my husband is usually a good sport.

carson rotates wear of the same 7 outfits to daycare.  why? because their easy, that’s why.

most of our pics are taken with an iphone and my husband gets annoyed whenever i ask ‘could you take picture?’ – i love pictures.

my best laid plans fall through more often than not….i’m getting better at rolling with it but it usually pisses me off.

my husband and i aren’t that affectionate monday – friday.  a kiss in the morning and always before bed but honestly we are just trying to survive the week most of the time. haha.

i listen to the eminem pandora channel at work, on fridays, just to make it through.
i darken my brows and wear false lashes.

i curse like a sailor.

our house is covered in dog hair 😦 i could vacuum 7 days a week and it’d still be covered.  it makes me feel dirty.

if you see a food post on here or insta it’s because i made an effort that day – posting pb&j is boring and frankly, cooking is a thing of the past.

postpartum depression – been there, done that.

seriously i suck at packing a diaper bag!  i always seem to be missing 1 critical thing – wipes, formula, toys….so annoying!

without makeup i look 12

i could probably go on and on.
i certainly don’t have it all together.

i cry, i get mad, and most days i’m covered in spit and snot and white dog hair.  i nag my husband, i get frustrated by the little things

but this life is the one that suits me best.  it’s the good, the bad and the unpredictable…

and i wouldn’t have it any other way!

weekend recap

some weekends leave you feeling recharged while others leaving you wanting more.  this past weekend was the perfect blend of both.  equal parts productive yet relaxing.  i could use a few more like it in my life!

the weather wasn’t screaming ‘get your boat out fool! so we made plans to be home and stay in the area for the whole weekend.  saturday started with yoga in the park, something i’ve wanted to try for a couple of years now.  it’s free!  and somehow i talked cody into going with me.  it was a fantastic family affair.  while carson slept cody and i tried our hand at some of the moves.  surprisingly enough my husband really got into it.  afterward we ate donuts (because that’s what you do after you exercise, right?!) at cjs and then cruised over to select some samples for our house.  we made a pit stop at quiznos and then came home to binge watch the olympics and breaking bad.

sunday was even more chill.  late to the netflix game we enjoyed several more hours of breaking bad.  we walked the dog (TWICE!), went to church, played, and played, and played.  then i went for a run and made carson some food.  i really like making some of his baby food – there’s just something therapeutic about mincing food in a blender.

and that’s it.  our weekend.  snaps below.

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after yoga we came home to this – apartment living has been hardest for little allie
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i created a netflix channel for carson lol

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a half completed project this mirror entertained carson for nearly an hour – he was cracking up at himself!
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raspberries for the babe

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he was not a fan of the kiwi and peas but LOVED the apples, bananas and avocado

changes

what: now that the ‘i’s are dotted and the ‘t’s are crossed i can officially share that cody and i are moving!  it’s bittersweet but timely.

  

why: first of all let me just say that i loved our home!  if i could have picked it up and put it somewhere else i would have!  we poured a lot into making it ours and i am somewhat sad  that we’re moving on so quick.  

we’re tightening our radius though.  we work and carson attends daycare in different towns, several miles north of our home.  i spend at least 90 minutes on the road every.single.day.  and when your pnug is only awake and with you for so many you start to realize how precious time really is.  moving will give us the gift of time and for me will lessen my daily drive time by 40 minutes.  that’s huge!  not to mention we’ll be moving to a smaller town with a smaller school district.  that was compelling reason number two.  we both grew up in a small town and were able to explore several activities at an early age because of it’s size.  we wanted to same for carson.


where:  to a town just south of where i work – still in iowa!  in a house that we’ve not yet started on a lot that we’ve already purchased.  and the best part is cody’s brother already lives there and so do two of our friends!  


how: two moves will complete this change.  one to an apartment and another into our new home.  a throwback to our college days only this time with a baby….and a dog.  what an adventure this will be/already has been!


when:  hopefully before the holiday season.  i’d be optimistic to think we’d be in by carson’s first birthday but one can dream. 
goodbye scott street!  you’ve been good to us! 

chasing that ‘balancing act’

this post has been months in the making.  even before having carson i dedicated ridiculous amounts of time to thinking about how i planned to balance life post baby.   as someone who is fiercely ambitious i often set high expectations for myself and as a working mom i was afraid I’d over commit.  i feared that we’d let the baby be the center of our universe instead a part of it.  i thought that i’d lose myself and drive a wedge between cody and i by expecting him to pick up the pieces.  and at six months in here’s what i’ve discovered – the perfect balance doesn’t exist but in finding what works for you and your family you can get closer to juggling it all. 

since the time that cody and i decided to have kids i knew that returning to work was in the cards for me.  i have always found work satisfying.  finding a balance between what is realistic and what isn’t has been a challenge I never expected.  what’s balance anyway?!

i’ve come to the realization that i’m not great at this whole balancing act thing but i’m sure doing a good job of chasing it!  settling into a routine over the past three months has brought with it clarity in terms of what it takes for me to feel wholly satisfied and fooled into thinking balance is possible.  don’t judge – this is what’s working.

generously love me – setting aside a few hours a week for ME helps me stay sane.  i’m lucky that i have a husband who supports this and isn’t afraid to assume responsibility of the babe – something i’m appreciating more and more these days.  call me selfish but my days start at 5 AM and end around 9 PM and they are jam packed!  i’m sure any working mom can relate.  being able to run to target, grab coffee with my girlfriends, go for a long run or get a manicure allows me time to recharge which… helps me be a better wife, friend, and mommy.

accept help – back to that husband of mine.  these days i’m welcoming his help and the offers of others.  i’ve realized, somewhat painfully, that i can’t do this on my own.  to all the single moms out there – YOU ROCK!  this has been a humbling experience but a growing one as well. 

commit to priorities – this means saying ‘no’ which is always easier said than done and being fully vested in commitments.  i have a tendency to overextend myself.  these days i’m much more selective in what i do, with whom and when.  this has been my biggest challenge to date. 

maintain perspective – especially when life gets crazy. for me becoming a mom has been uniquely liberating.  organization no longer rules my life and striving for perfection has become a thing of the past.  having a baby has forced me to put things in check on the daily.  i still get frustrated; it’s just different.

start everyday with coffee – lots and lots of coffee!

xoxo 

love without expectation – a hard lesson learned

not all that long ago i decided that i would begin to love without expectation.  it wasn’t a new years resolution – i started this journey months before.  while it’s a challenge i’m hoping it will leave me feeling more fulfilled and happy in the long-run. 

so why?!  when cody and i found out we were expecting we were elated; i more so than he.  he was in disbelief.  i had dreamt of what it would be like to share our news with family and friends for years and i expected that they would all welcome the news with overwhelming excitement and … tears.  ha! 

i work in human resources.  i handle employee relations and performance issues on the regular.  i operate in a world of clear expectations.  it’s the mantra i preach to our managers.  in my personal life i had subconsciously carried over those same standards for my closest family and friends.  i expected a specific level of performance if you will: i expect that you will show up for (important) events, i expect you will visit us X times in a given year, i expect that if we help you you’ll help us, if i post a picture i expect you to like it, and i expect that if i tell you we are expecting you will do a dance and maybe even cry a little – or at the very least you’ll tell us you are beyond overjoyed.  in having these expectations i had unnecessarily robbed myself of complete happiness.  after one particularly disappointing ‘we’re expecting’ experience i had a long conversation with my husband and decided to say sayonara to expectations.  

life after expectations:  it’s an incredibly difficult thing to ignore preconceived expectations.  (i mean, i still expect people to read this blog ;)) i haven’t mastered it but i try every. single. day.  it has certainly made a difference.  especially in the relationships of those i love.  i feel like i am enjoying life more because i’m living it for me.  i’m no longer focused on the actions or reactions of others which are out of my control.  it’s not that i don’t care or wouldn’t feel hurt, i have simply learned to look for the positive in all of my relationships and remind myself that i myself might not be meeting someone’s ‘expectation’.  had i learned this lesson earlier in life i may have saved myself from some  disappointment along the way.   

two thousand fifteen

goodbye 2015!

cody and i (mostly cody ;)) meticulously store all of our pictures on the computer sorted by year > season > event.  this year i’m so glad because honestly until opened the 2015 folder i had forgotten all of the wonderful things we did and experienced this past year. i’m a bit ashamed looking back – we made some great memories in 2015!

in january we were in full-on hibernation mode but ventured out during one snowy afternoon and captured some pretty remarkable shots.  allie loved the drive and so did i!  it’s one of my favorite things to do: drink coffee, listen to music waaayyy too loud, and drive.

in february we celebrated valentine’s day with brunch and finished the month by working on a couple of home improvement projects: replacing all of the interior the doors (which i would have forgotten about without this picture -they’re now white), laying tile around our fireplace and entry and adding the finishing touches to our dining room table. 

in march we jumped on the bandwagon and cheered on the cyclones to a big 12 championship victory in kansas city.  this month we also found out we were expecting!!! 

in april our fur baby turned two and we traveled to minneapolis for the hot chocolate 15k!  it may not have been a pr run but we didn’t walk and the run allowed us to see unique and beautiful niches of the city. 

in may i was promoted to the senior hr officer position with the city – an accomplishment of which i am very proud – and we traveled to florida where we visited cocoa beach and the magic kingdom.  despite constant nausea we had a good time. 

i continued to grow in june and july while we packed our weekends with boating and baby prep.  in july we took our annual trip north to celebrate the fourth and hosted a gender reveal baby-q with our closest family and friends.  

in august we bought a new boat and had a blast cruising the lake numerous times with our friends…and allie.  later that month we returned to kansas city for an outdoor concert.

september was our busiest month.  between labor day, baby showers, work, and a visit to the apple orchard we finished the nursery, had maternity pictures taken by the very talented allison knox, and made final preparations for the baby.


god’s unseen hand orchestrated the best month of this year!!!  in october cody and his team finished the r1 combine – it has been called ‘the greatest innovation in the company’s history’ by the almaco owners! i turned the big 3-0 and we also welcomed carson taylor into this world! allison again photographed us, now as a family of three, and my friend libby wonderfully captured carson’s first days. 

in november we returned home after nearly 3 weeks in the nicu.  with a nasty flu bug traveling around we voted to stay home for the thanksgiving holiday.  i spent the weekend decorating for christmas and even got out the fine china for a ‘fancy meal’ as cody called it.

december was truly magical!  christmastime with a baby – is there anything better?!

christmastime

without being overly dramatic i can confidently say that this past christmas was the most fulfilling of our lives to date.  with a new baby and the gift of time off i’ve thoroughly enjoyed this december.  for the first time in years i felt like i could truly appreciate the ‘magic’ of the season.  the simplicity of this holiday was quite different from years past and certainly a welcome treat.  

the past several days have been full.  full of activities, family and friends, shopping, baking, laughing, eating and drinking.  it was absolutely wonderful, if not a bit bittersweet with the passing of cody’s great aunt.  

as a twosome each year we did the same things: buy a new ornament for the tree, celebrate our own christmas together a night or two before, exchange gifts, bake sugar cookies, and watch national lampoon’s christmas vacation.  this year we started something new with the addition of our babe. carson will now get his own ornament in addition to a family one, we unwrap in the morning a few days prior to the 25th instead of at night, and we enjoyed a french toast bake.  since i love traditions it’ll be interesting to see how they evolve in the next couple of years as we settle into something that works for our family.  

these pictures from the past week capture the essence of what was our baby’s first christmas. 

wild thing

when i was younger my brother and i owned nearly every book ever made (or so it seemed) but the one we didn’t was ‘where the wild things are.’  i’ve always loved the story and knew that if i had boys they would own a copy.
so when i saw this adorable outfit on etsy i knew carson had to have it.  this splurge meant a photo shoot was inevitable.  i’m not a professional photographer by any means but with the help of picmonkey i’m loving how these pictures turned out. 
after we were done we read the story (again) and settled in for a long nap.  

i am sure going to miss these days!

i’ll eat you up, i love you so! 

tuesday

capturing the mundane moments in our life appeals to me; always has.   so i challenged myself to take pictures of a typical day in our life as it is at this moment in time.  it wasn’t an exceptionally eventful day by any means, just another day with our newborn.  
it was a tuesday.

 breakfast!  most days if i get two cups of coffee i’m doing good; eating is overrated yet a necessary evil.  there is no time to eat yet i have to eat to produce milk.  sleep is the same.  uh oh, baby is squirming and grunting.  that only means one thing: i have about 60 seconds to get situated before my peanut explodes.  being hangry was obviously inherited from his mother. 😦  (allie paws at her bowl, she also wants food.) 

this is my favorite time of the day – i refer to it as the sunrise feeding.  it’s roughly 7/7:30 am but i could have easily started this post with bleary-eyed pictures from the 12:30 and 3 am feedings.  those feedings make me cringe – i literally fall asleep while being awake (have a baby, you’ll understand).  he sleeps soundly after he eats at this time so i love to get my snuggles for a good hour or so before starting my day.
after snuggles, pumping, a quick workout, bottle cleaning and milk storing i literally have about 9 minutes before he wakes again to eat…sometimes more, sometimes less.  i start by brushing my teeth and doing my ‘make-up’.  this picture is of my ‘make-up’.  it’s absolutely essential that i use the depuffer and mascara to hide my blood-shot eyes…and feel even remotely put together.  
it’s also during this time that allie wants to play.  she feels starved for attention these days so i do my best to play with her any chance i can while carson sleeps.  she’s a handful and often ends up barking and running into the rock-n-play making carson squirm.  again, i cringe.  i desperately need my last 5 minutes to start some laundry – the little guy has nearly run out of what he can actually wear. 
ahh baby laundry! before having the baby i had nostalgic thoughts about happily folding baby clothes and cheerfully matching outfits  … then reality set in.  with any luck i’ll get this pile folded before cody gets home.  forget about putting it away.
naturally allie needed to go out and come in and go out during the next feeding.  the baby is awake and pissed.  allie’s timing is most impeccable.  this is only her fourth time out in the last two hours!  she’ll continue at this frequency all day until cody gets home and then magically quit.  why am i such a sucker for this dog of ours?!

almost noon and it’s time for a new outfit – this one has elbow patches and the cutest bear butt – swoon!  we’ll need at least one more outfit before the day ends. three is our average.  i’ve lost track of what feeding we’re on but, i know it’s almost time for another.  i would have taken a picture of my lunch but most days it’s either 1) peanut butter  and jelly (boring) or b) whatever leftover can be heated and ate while i pump.  (i hate pumping!) 
we’ve recently started doing tummy time and laying on our play mat.  i had no idea that you could literally sit and watch a baby and do nothing else yet be so completely content.  sometimes i make allie go outside for these times so that it’s quiet…but then when i do he wants none of it.  i swear those two have a sixth sense for when i want to eat, sleep, or sit.
speaking of…i was going to nap at this time.  i always tell myself i’ll nap after his late afternoon feeding.  it has yet to happen.  he was fussy this day so i wrapped him up and got sh*t done!  that laundry pile got folded and put away and i started the dishwasher.  this wrap is a lifesaver but, he’s a little furnace so i decided to change into a t-shirt.  dumb!  he woke and was hungry, allie needed to go out and my phone was ringing…he got a cold bottle.  
well it’s time to start thinking about supper.  i plan meals in advance and if it wasn’t for that we would be eating pizza and pb&j every night.  until cody gets home i bring the rock-n-play into the kitchen and with one foot rocking him, one hand tugging with allie and the other either looking up a recipe or stirring a pot i fumble my way through meal prep.  when cody gets home i nearly have to restrain myself from tossing the baby into his arms before escaping to the gym or taking a shower.  ah a shower!  (my poor husband)  
after we eat it’s time for daddy snuggles before we start the cycle over again with another bottle, assured outfit change, rocking, pumping, bottle washing, storing, and if i’m lucky a two-hour nap.   this is my reprieve but i’m too tired to even scroll or sleep.  allie needs to go out again.
despite the chaos of this phase someday i hope to look back fondly at these photos knowing that some of my best days were spent nurturing my newborn son.  i also hope that we can find humor in the trends and styles that will most definitely change and in my not-so-fine-tuned parenting skills!