Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

 
What a great weekend!  Jay's parents came into town from Georgia, so we spent Friday and Saturday with them.  We had a nice dinner out Friday, Jay and Jim went to a shooting range Saturday while the girls went shopping, and we grilled out Saturday night.  They love spending time with their first grandchild!  Jonah is so blessed to have wonderful grandparents.

Monday was spent with our good friends Heather and Eric at the pool.  Jonah was grouchy because he missed a nap, so he didn't take to the water as well as he did the other day!  We'll try again later this week sometime.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Lovin'

It's officially summer here in South Carolina and I am rejoicing!  I love the sun, the water, flip-flops (although barefoot is even better), the longer days, the more casual feel, the lighter clothes, and grilling out.  Sometimes I think I suffer from that Seasonal Affective Disorder... I can just feel myself getting happier the closer it gets to June.  I love the heat.   Really.  Not in a clothes-sticking-to-you kind of way, but in a this-weather-just-begs-for-a-pool kind of way.  And this summer is going to be special, because I am officially spending three weeks in my old Kentucky home!  Jay and I will be going up in mid-June for my cousin's wedding, and then he will come home and Jonah and I will stay through July 9th (when we will go to the beach- WOO HOO!!!).  I am so excited for this extended visit with my parents, and my younger brother will be home for his first summer in a long time as well (he is an actor and lives a crazy life, see www.tripparoundamerica.blogspot.com or www.tripparoundtheworld.blogspot.com for more).  Jonah will be meeting his extended family for the first time and I can't wait for them to spend time with him.  It will definitely be an adventure being away from home with the baby and having to readjust our schedule.  I will have to learn to be more flexible, but I will have lots of help!

I took Jonah to the pool for his first swim today.  It's hard juggling a baby and all their gear at the pool by yourself!  I bought him a float with a canopy over the top that worked out great (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Swimways-Baby-s-Spring-Float-with-Canopy/13264726- it says they don't have it in the store, but they had it at mine).  I was a little let down because he had ZERO reaction to the water.  Not smiling, not crying, just looking like he was totally bored with the whole thing!  He likes his bath, but I thought the cold water might not be as big of a hit.  I wanted to get him used to the pool because we'll be spending a lot of time there this summer, and I guess I don't need to worry about it anymore!  Here's Jonah as we were getting out of the water (he hates the sun being in his eyes):
All in all, it was a success!  Looking forward to many more summer days ahead...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jonah- 5 Months of Pure Love


Jonah will be 5 months old this week!  I really can't believe it's gone by so fast!  For a while at the beginning it felt like the days would drag out and I couldn't imagine him being this old.  I am loving each day... it is so fun watching him develop his little personality.  As a mom, I'm always curious about other moms' schedules with their babies, so I thought I would share ours (+/- about 30 minutes):

8:00 Wake up and nurse
8:20 Eat rice cereal
8:30 Time in the swing/play with Mommy
9:00 Nap
11:30 Wake up and nurse
11:50 Play time (run errands, spend time in Exersaucer/activity mat, read with Mom)
12:40 Nap
2:30 Wake up and nurse
2:50 Play time (Most days, Jonah goes with me to the tutoring center and gets loved on by everyone)
4:45 Nap
5:30 Wake up and nurse
5:50 Eat rice cereal
6:00 Play time (visit with Daddy, watch Mommy make dinner, take a walk, get a bath)
8:15 Nurse
8:30 Bed time (then he usually wakes up around 5:00 a.m. to eat again, then right back to sleep)

We are on a flexible 3 hour schedule.  The eat, play, sleep rotation is constant, but it stretches out in the morning and is a little shorter in the evenings.

Some facts on Jonah at 5 months:
-He is almost 16 pounds and over 27 inches long.
-We just started rice cereal last week and he LOVES it.  We haven't had any trouble getting him to eat from the spoon.  He actually dives for it most of the time!
-He is s-l-o-w-l-y growing more hair.  We're hoping he won't be bald forever.
-When I sing to him for long stretches at a time, he starts to "oooh" along with me.  He LOVES music.
-He is starting to reach out and touch/hit the pages when I read to him.
-He RARELY drools or spits up.
-He still loves his bath time.  We often use it as a solution when he is fussy.
-Standing is his favorite thing to do.  Standing and DANCING is even better!
-Jay gets bigger smiles out of him than anyone else can.
-He loves having his diaper changed.  Maybe he just likes to "air out" that area (such a boy)! 
-He is wonderful in public (his mommy doesn't give him much choice).
-He likes his paci (only the MAM 6-month kind) but it's not a necessity.
-He is concentrates very hard on most tasks (reaching for something, wanting to talk, getting acquainted with a new toy, etc.) and has such a serious expression about it!
-He loves new people!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Reading, Part 1

Ever since I was knee-high, I have LOVED to read. One of the best gifts I ever received growing up was a membership to a book club that sent me new children's books each month. When I was about nine, my best friend became the proud owner of the entire series of Babysitter's Club books. I cannot remember ever being more envious! Bookstores were heaven on earth for me. Every six months or so, my mom took my brother and me on "Kids' Shopping Day," which meant The Nature Store for him and Hawley-Cooke bookstore for me. Choosing just one or two to take home was pure torture! Today, I still read about one book each week. Yes, even with the baby (I squeeze it in when he goes to bed for the night). I mostly stick to fiction, and since I am always looking for new reads, I will recommend some of mine.

"Love Walked In" and "You Belong to Me," by Marisa de los Santos
I think I just stumbled upon these books because of their pretty covers, but they are two of my absolute favorites. I am mad the author hasn't written more yet! Her writing, particularly her word-usage, is absolutely beautiful. I fell in love with her characters. And this is one time where the sequel is just as good as the original! I've also just read that "Love Walked In" is being made into a movie... don't know how it could be as good though!







"The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns," by Khaled Hosseini
These books have been around a while, but if you didn't read them when they were first popular, find them now! I'm always drawn to stories about other cultures, and these books about life in the Middle East are captivating and heart-wrenching at the same time. They are not light reading by any means, but they are absolutely fascinating.








"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Again, this book written beautifully. The entire book is a series of letters written back and forth between a woman and the people who live on the island of Guernsey, off the coast of England. All the characters become so vivid since each section is written in first person.







"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series, by Ann Brashares
Yes, these books were written for teenagers and the movies are not classics by any means, but the entire series are so much fun! Don't make fun of me until you try them. :) My mom and I both devoured all four books. They are GREAT summer reads, and very easy to get into.







 
More must-reads coming soon (including some non-fiction)! I would LOVE to hear some of your recommendations, so leave a comment!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Snugglebug


There is nothing sweeter than holding a sleeping baby. Lately, I have begun cherishing every time my baby boy dozes off in my arms while we rock. My favorite time is when he finishes nursing and presses his little face into my neck and I feel his breathing, warm and low. His features are always beautiful to me, but they just become softer in his sleep. I'm beginning to realize that pretty soon, these times will be few and far between. He is still so snuggly, but it's already not the same as it was when he was just a newborn. I want to soak up every moment he will let me hold him, knowing that someday it will break my heart when he decides he is "too big." Thank You, Lord, for the sweetest blessing I could ever hope for, and please make time slow down!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps


I would rather have Asian, Mexican, or Italian over boring, old American food any day of the week. Asian is probably my favorite (this does not include Chinese buffets, much to my husband's dismay). I could eat it every day. So when I found this recipe for Asian Lettuce Wraps, I was hoping they would at least be similar to P.F. Changs. They didn't disappoint! Jay and I love these so much, we fight for the leftovers the next day. This is an easy, fast, low-carb, one-dish meal. If you don't have some of these Asian ingredients, you can find them on the international food aisle and you can use them again and again for other Asian recipes! Enjoy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Bibb/Butter lettuce (Iceberg will work in a pinch)
1 lb. ground meat (chicken or turkey is best- and cheapest!)
2 t. dark sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. soy sauce
2 t. minced pickled ginger
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 t. chile pepper sauce (careful, it's hot!)

Brown meat in medium skillet. Drain and set aside. Cook onion in the same pan until soft. Add all other ingredients except green onions, stirring to combine. Simmer 10-15 minutes, add green onions last. Serve in a large bowl alongside the Bibb lettuce, spooning the mixture into the lettuce cups as you eat. YUM!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tips from a Mom Still Figuring Things Out

Jonah is about 5 months old now, and I feel like I have learned more in such a short time than ever before. When he was first born, my mom was a God-send helping me figure things out with a new baby at home, and I was absolutely terrified for her to leave. I just kept thinking, "It's crazy that anyone would trust us with a baby by ourselves!" Somehow we've made it through and, for the most part, pretty successfully if I do say so myself. Here are some tips and tricks for any other new moms out there:

1. LEARN THE 5 S's. Drum roll, please. Swaddle, side-hold, shush, shake (gently), and suck. I don't know that we would have survived without this! When Jonah was about 3 weeks old until about 8 weeks, he would cry several hours each day. I was upset, he was upset, and I thought I might rip my hair out trying to soothe him! One day, I stumbled on this video, showing Dr. Karp (a.k.a. One of the Greatest Men to Ever Have Been Born) putting his "5 S" philosophy into action (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6KnVPUdEgQ). Once we saw this, we never turned back. Combined, these five steps work like a magical baby drug that puts your screaming child in a Zen-like trance. And I have NEVER been more attracted to my husband than when he could calm Jonah down in 8 seconds flat. Seriously. You can thank me later.
Jay after employing the 5 S's and Jonah in "the trance."

2. DON'T RESIST THE PACIFIER. I was determined not to give Jonah a paci because I didn't want to be sticking it in his mouth a thousand times a day. But as Jay pointed out the first time we got Jonah to take one, there is a reason they call it a "pacifier." I will say that we don't allow Jonah to have it during naps or at night in the crib. And as it was pointed out to me, when they're two years old, it's easier to take away a pacifier than it is to take away a thumb!

3. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Everyone thought I was crazy when I took Jonah to Wal-mart when he was about a week old. I think I have a psychological problem that causes me to go nuts when I stay in the house too long. Before Jonah was born, I told my friends that they would not be seeing less of me, because I made a resolution to leave the house at least once every day. They doubted me, but I was determined. Whether it's going to the bank/post office/grocery, visiting Jay at work, having lunch with friends, or strolling around the world's smallest mall in Greenwood, Jonah and I are on the go! I really believe this helps me keep my sanity.
Our first trip to Walmart. Yes, my mother decided to have a Kodak moment in the parking lot.


4. LET OTHER PEOPLE HOLD YOUR BABY. Because Jay and I are in ministry and we are a part of a super-friendly, loving church, we knew Jonah would be popular. And boy, is he ever. He is passed around like a hot potato on Sunday morning. I teach at a tutoring center here in town for an hour or two every afternoon and Jonah comes with me (which is such a blessing!). He loves being held by the other teachers there and I love how much they dote on him! I hope that this will help him be comfortable around other adults in the long run, and not clinging to me and screaming anytime someone else wants to hold him or we need to leave him with a babysitter. Jay and I were both raised to be pretty independent, and I hope we can instill this in our kids as well!

5. REALIZE THAT YOUR JOB IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE YOU COULD ASK FOR. Going from working a full-time job to staying at home can be an extremely difficult transition. There is no recognition, and you spend most of your day talking to someone who doesn't talk back. It is so easy for me to feel like I'm failing. But really, I have never been more blessed. My job is to show love, patience, and kindness to my son. My job is to teach him to love Jesus and to know that Jesus loves him. My job is to make our home a warm, inviting place for my husband. There is no other job that will ever be more important than this. I pray daily that I will remember that it is an honor to wash these dishes, do one more load of laundry, and get down on the floor to play with my sweet boy.

(Re)Introductions

My name is Taylor. My husband is Jay. Our baby boy (one of the cutest ever) is Jonah. This will be a peek into our lives of loving each other, doing ministry together, and figuring our this whole parenting thing.

The main cast of characters:
Yes, this blog was in full swing a couple of years ago. Life has changed a lot since then!

P.S. It would really make me less nervous (and terrified) if a few of you would "follow" this blog. Otherwise, it might just be read by my mom. I promise I'll try to make it worth your while!