Monday, November 23, 2015

5 Things I Forget to be Thankful For

A crying baby...
Ever since that lovely thing called Daylight Savings Time, my sweet boy has been waking up crying for his Mama at 5:00 AM. Instead of grumbling as I stumble out of bed to get him, I am choosing to be so thankful. Thankful that my baby is healthy and strong, that his lungs and vocal cords are clearly intact and that he wants me. What more could I ask for (besides just a few more hours of sleep?) I just love him so much and I don't ever want to take my son for granted.

A beating heart...
This may seem like a DUH, but when is the last time you stopped and said thanks for a working heart? My pastor said something the other day that made me really think. He was talking about how many times our heart beats in a minute, then in a day, in a year, etc. On average if your heart beats 80 beats per minute, that's 4,800 beats in an hour meaning your heart beats about 42, 048,000 times in a year. If you stop to think about your body and how everything works together it's just crazy. So today I'm stopping to be thankful for a heart that is currently beating strong.

A glass of water...
I actually really enjoy water, but only if it's really, really cold. As I poured myself a glass of filtered water into my cute Crate & Barrel glass from my working refrigerator I stopped to think about how precious water is. It is essential to my everyday life. I think back to a trip I took with my husband to Nigeria where we heard stories of people walking miles for clean water. Can you even imagine doing that? It reminded me to be thankful for clean, running water that is right at my fingertips.

Piles of dirty laundry...
I don't mind doing laundry, but lately it has been a huge chore because we are having our basement re-done meaning our washer/dryer are currently not hooked up. We have had to haul our laundry over to my mother in law's house for weeks. But instead of being upset about this I should be thankful for all the piles of laundry. Dirty laundry means that we are living life. My baby has mud on his pants from playing outside, my husband has pen marks on his nice shirts from a long day of teaching and I have the remnants of my baby's dinner on every.single.outfit. But I should be glad about this and thankful that I have enough clothes that I can go weeks without washing them.

A car that {mostly} works...
Drew and I have been married for 6 years and have gone through a number of cars already. We went through a time when we felt like something was always going wrong with one of our cars. It was extremely frustrating. We rely so much on our vehicles. But you know what? If my car dies or a part needs to be replaced, it's not the end of the world and life will go on. I have family here who would gladly give me a ride or let me borrow their car for a day. And while it is frustrating, I'm thankful we can afford not just one car, but two.

These are only a few of the many things that I forget to be thankful for on a daily basis, but today I'm choosing to stop and to thank God for these not so obvious "gifts." 

What kinds of things do you forget to say THANKS for?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Aiden {12 months}

I have now loved and cared for this little guy for 365 days...52.143 weeks...12 months...ONE WHOLE YEAR. I just can't believe it. It has been the best and most full year. A year of breastfeeding (I'm so proud!), a year of changing diapers, a year of washing tiny clothes, a year of baby hugs and kisses, a year of figuring out just how the heck to be a Mom.

 I'm proud that I've actually been able to document each month. It wasn't always easy, but it was something I'm so glad I did. I've already had fun going back and being sappy  remembering all the fun things Aiden has done at each new month. I say it every time, but this month is my new favorite.
This month Aiden's personality has come out in full force. He loves to talk and he LOVES people. My Aunt said he's like a politician...always waving, smiling and saying hi to everyone he sees. He absolutely loves running errands mainly because of all the people he sees. 

His vocabulary continues to blow my mind. Right now his favorite things to say are Mama (I love being his favorite), Dada, Apple, Ba(nana), Choo Choo, Uh-oh, Peek (ABOO!). He also loves making animal noises and knows even the most bizarre ones like rooster, donkey and turkey. What?! I'm trying to get a video of him doing all the sounds, but so far no luck. He is also pointing to and saying body parts (Eye, Nose, Hair). He is one smart cookie. It's like his parents are teachers or something. (Haha. As if that had anything to do with it.)
Another exciting thing about this month...or maybe not so exciting for my drooly baby...Aiden has finally popped out a tooth and is working on popping 5 more at a time. It seems like they are all coming at once poor guy. I already miss that gummy smile of his, but I'm excited to see him with a mouth full of teeth too!
Aiden is such a B-O-Y. He is fascinated with any kind of vehicle and loves making Vroooooom noises. He still loves Thomas the train (Choo Choo) and is always carrying around a little car or train with him. He continues to love being outside and has recently decided to begin "collecting" nature items on our walks. He will be pushing his wagon and all of the sudden he's on the ground picking up bark or leaves and throwing them in his wagon. All boy I tell ya.
Aiden loves his Dada, but he is totally a Mama's boy right now and I am l-o-v-i-n-g it. He is always asking for me and now even points to pictures of me and says Mama. He melts my heart. I know this won't last forever so I am soaking up every single second of it.

A few stats about Aiden at twelve months:

Weight: 19.9 pounds...aww our little peanut. He is still in the 5-10th percentile for weight and height.

Height: 28 inches

Size Clothes: He is finally starting to fill out his 12 month outfits and he is wearing size 3 diapers.

Sleeping: Aiden is a rock star sleeper and napper. He is taking a morning nap around 9:30 and an afternoon nap around 3:00 then goes to bed at 7. The only thing messing this up lately are those darn teeth.

Eating: Drinking whole milk like a champ! No slow transitioning for this kid, he gulped down his first cup and yummmed the whole time. I am so proud that I was able to nurse him for an entire year and I plan to continue nursing him in the morning and at night for a while. But the big news is, I am officially done pumping! Praise Jesus. Besides milk, Aiden is eating pretty much everything we eat. Except peanut butter. That makes me nervous, but we will be testing that out very soon.

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Boo, Hunny, Pumpkin, Beebo, Peach, Love bug.

Likes: Making animal sounds, walking behind his push toy, drinking milk out of a big boy cup (with a straw!), saying HI to every one in sight!

Dislikes: Not eating what we're eating. He is starting to be a little more picky when it comes to his food and will push away his spoon or spit out any food he doesn't like. Uh-oh.

My favorite moments from this month: Celebrating Aiden's first birthdaytrick or treating, Aiden's first taste of cake.
         One Month Update          Two Month Update         Three Month Update        Four Month Update
         Five Month Update          Six Month Update         Seven Month Update        Eight Month Update
         Nine Month Update          Ten Month Update       Eleven Month Update                

And the monthly updates are complete! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

{Baby Approved Meals} Banana & Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

homemade baby food
This recipe is the first in my new series: Baby Approved Meals. I'll be sharing a few simple, tried and true recipes from my kitchen as I've been spending a lot of time there making healthy meals for my little guy. This recipe is the perfect amount of sweet and is a great consistency for your little ones!

(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup jasmine rice
3/4 cup coconut milk (plus more as needed)
1/2 cup mashed banana
baby friendly recipe
1.) Combine rice and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
2.) Reduce heat to low, cover & simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed and rice is soft.
3.) Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk.
4.) Set aside to cool.
5.) Transfer cooled rice mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too think, add more coconut milk.
6.) Spoon rice pudding into a bowl and top with mashed banana.
baby approved rice pudding
Recipe adapted from one I found in this cookbook.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Getting in the holiday spirit with a GIVEAWAY! {The Blue Envelope Shop Credit!}

I'm one of those people who as soon as November hits...Christmas music is fa-la-la-ing away in my head. No I'm not playing Christmas music yet, but I'm close. I am beyond excited for the holidays this year! We will have a brand new basement with a fireplace and Aiden is at the perfect age to soak up the magic of the season! I don't like to skip over the Thanksgiving decorations, buuuuut I'm about ready to this year. I am that excited for this holiday season!
With my love for the holidays about to bubble over, it was perfect timing for Mandy from The Blue Envelope to send Aiden her newest holiday tee. I absolutely love it. Not only is the graphic adorable and the message perfect, but like all of her clothes the shirt is so soft and easy to slip on and off!
I can't wait to take Aiden to visit Santa, visit the lights at the Cincinnati Zoo, take him to the toy store to pick out presents, stay up late drinking hot chocolate and wrapping his gifts on Christmas eve and teaching him about the true meaning we celebrate. There are so many magical things about this time of year and I am so looking forward to all the family time we get these next few months. Having a baby truly makes everything more magical!
If you haven't started your Christmas shopping, you need to take a look at all of the adorable kid (and Mama) apparel at The Blue Envelope! Mandy has generously offered a $25.00 store credit to one of YOU. Just enter below and the lucky winner will be announced on FRIDAY.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

She is also giving all of my fabulous readers a 20% discount code so start shopping!!
Use the CODE: NESTFUL to get 20% off your purchase.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Aiden's Smash Cake Photoshoot

Inspirational Number Shirt from The Blue Envelope
All I have to say about these pictures is, my kid is serious about cake! We had so much fun watching Aiden have his first bites fistfuls of cake! He was a fan as you will see by the end...
I think Aiden is saying, "I love cake! Victory!"

Come back Monday for your chance to win store credit to The Blue Envelope!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3 things to smile about

Aiden is living out the lyrics "All I Want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth" 
ONE. We are heading to Nashville Ya'll! I haven't been in a few years and I'm so excited for Aiden's first Tennessee trip. We are going to visit my sister & brother in law and do some holiday shopping at Christmas Village! Have any of you ever been or heard of it?

TWO. Speaking of Christmas...the holidays are right around the corner and I'm the first to admit that I'm ready to decorate! I want so badly to listen to Christmas music, but I'm holding out. Drinking my Peppermint Mochas makes it tough though. #christmasinacup I have however started coming up with ideas for Aiden's Christmas list (and my own) and I have a special giveaway happening Monday to kick off the holiday season!

THREE. Over the last few months I've spent a lot of my evenings in the kitchen whipping up meals for Aiden. I've spent a lot of time online looking for healthy, baby friendly meals and I've picked a few of Aiden's favorites to share with you. Most of them have been sitting in my drafts folder for months, but I'm trying to be more intentional about blogging so my new series, {Baby Approved Meals} will begin next week!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Aiden's Pumpkin Party {1st Birthday}

Thank you Erin for designing Aiden's party invitations!
Since Aiden is our little Halloween baby, I knew I wanted the theme of his first birthday to be festive and very seasonal so I used candy corn and pumpkins as my inspiration. Aiden loves being outside and loves our (almost daily) walks to the park around the corner from us so I thought the park picnic shelter would make the perfect party spot! (Especially since our house is currently under some construction.)
I worried all week that it would be cold and wet, but the weather was just fine. It could have been a few degrees warmer, but since Chili was on the menu it was the perfect "chili" day.
I kept the menu simple. I had a few different chilis, Cornbread muffins and some veggies and then had fun with the sweets table. I made Candy Corn Popcorn Balls and seasonal pies. Then the tables had a festive trail mix as part of the centerpiece.
I kept the decorations simple and used burlap table runners, hay bales and lots of real pumpkins. I of course made the progression of monthly pictures into a banner as well and had that hanging up. Other than that I had a few of Aiden's 1 year pictures framed, set out his memory book and that was about it. The setting of his party made it pretty easy. One thing I loved was my little circle of hay bales. I wanted Aiden to have a place to play that was enclosed. We also sat in the hay bale circle to open all of Aiden's gifts. We called it his hay bale corral. Ha.
I decided to make Aiden's cake myself and he loved it. My kid is serious about his dessert! He was very focused as he ate and kept saying "MMMmmmmm" after every bite!
Waving and saying "Hi!" to everyone watching him eat his cake! Too cute!
We were so blessed by all the people that came out to celebrate our precious little man with us. Aiden had both of his Great grandma's there, which was extra special and several of his Aunts and Uncles traveled from out of town to celebrate with us! My Dad even showed up with his videocamera to record the event. Aiden is one loved little man!
And it's nap time...
We had such a wonderful day celebrating our boy...our ONE year old boy!