Friday Photo Dump

Friday.  The weekend brings an all new meaning now that I'm back at work.  Two full days to have my little man all to myself.  Is there anything better?

I survived a full week at work.  And actually, I'm glad to be back.  It feels good.  The students have been so sweet and have told me about a million times how thankful they are for my return.  One student said she learned more in one day than she did all quarter. :)  It sure is nice to be appreciated this much!

To top off my week, the hubs surprised me with an early Christmas Octobermas present.  My very own digital SLR camera!  So. excited.  Now I just need to figure out how to use it!  Thanks hubby!  You're the best!

Top: Kisses from Mommy | Yes, we do wear our jammies to Target! | Mr. Ladies' Man
Middle: Family mirror shot | Watching a little College Gameday | Mmmm tasty toes
Bottom: My gift | Sitting in my stroller like a big boy | Survived day 1 at work/daycare

We Survived!

We have two days under our belt and survived!

Made it through Day 1!
Today was a much better day for me.  No tears whatsoever!  (Yesterday was another story...)  Today was also my first day with kids, so that definitely helped.  They are thrilled to have me back. :)  And of course, I'm excited to be back!  Excited to {once again} share my love and passion for math!  It felt so good to teach once again! 

There are some times when it feels like I never left.  Yet other times, it feels like I've been gone forever.  Right now I feel very scatterbrained and overwhelmed, but I am hopeful that within a week, I'll have a good routine down.  I keep reminding myself also that it will take time to bring my kids up to speed, develop relationships with the classes, and feel like I have positive, productive days.  Being gone at the beginning of the year is not an easy thing!  (Note to self: Plan for a spring Baby #2.) :)

Getting up early is....a huge adjustment.  Before Monday, the last time I set my alarm for before 8am was the day I was induced!  And the time before that?  May 25 - our last day of school last year!  I forgot how much I hate the sound of that alarm when it goes off.  I think I already hit snooze once of twice today.

And of course, today I woke up with a sore throat and what seems to be the start of a horrible cold.  Ugh.  

Brantley had a great two days, too!  The other kids were so excited to finally meet him!  They've been hearing a lot about him, and when I picked him up yesterday, he was all smiles!

I got a picture of B-Man with Miss Stephanie on his first day at daycare.  Yep, definitely going to be that mom.

Well, I'm sure I could write lots more (there's a lot floating through this head of mine), but I just put the babe to bed and have got to get some work done! 

However, I did survive.  I imagine it will only get easier from here!

The End

Dear Brantley,

Where do I even begin?  Tonight is very bittersweet.  The final night before I head back to work.  I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.  It just seems like it happened a lot sooner than later.  I can not believe it's already the end of October!

I've been home with you for fifteen full weeks, not counting the six weeks of summer break you spent in my belly.  Those fifteen weeks have been incredible, amazing, rewarding, sentimental, awesome, relaxing (yes, relaxing!), terrific, heartwarming, the list could go on and on.  They were perhaps the best fifteen weeks of my life.  I feel inclined to say there have been challenges along the way, but once we made it home from the hospital, there really haven't been!  You are such a good baby and have made these past fifteen weeks so very easy on mommy.  Thank you!

Of course, I'm excited to go back to work.  I love my job.  I love my co-workers.  And of course, I love the students.  I've always said I have no interest in being a stay-at-home mommy.  And I still feel that way.  But at the same time, I'm very, very emotional about returning to work in less than twelve short hours.

Many moms admit to being worried about their child at daycare.  I'm really not.  I know your babysitter will care for you and love you so very much.  And I know you will meet lots of friends at daycare.  I have no fear about that.

Many moms feel guilty for going back to work and not "being there" on a daily basis for their children.  That's not me either.  My mom always worked (as did my friends' moms) and I have never thought it any other way.  Working is just something we do.  I love being able to enjoy life and the things we do because I work.

I'm not worried.  And I don't feel guilty.  I'm just going to miss you.  Terribly.  And that's why I'm so, so heartbroken.

I'm also sad for the moments, the milestones I going to miss.  Because, let's face it, there will be many.  Your babysitter may be the first to hear to talk.  The first to see you walk.  And that just kills me.

I'm sad I won't be there the moment you wake up each morning.  Sad I won't get to see your face light up the moment you see me.  Sad I'll likely rush off to work before you even wake up.

Sad we don't get to play, and run errands, and take naps together.  Sad I don't get to hang out with you, my little buddy, my sweet baby boy, all day long.

As I prepare to go back, I can't help but think of all the emotions I've been through over the past six months.  Crying at my desk last spring, overcome with sadness about your hydrocephalus brain; accepting the possibility of a child with special needs; hoping and praying more than ever for a normal "healthy" baby; leaving school in May thinking the next time I set foot there, I'd have a baby; learning you were being admitted to the NICU; learning you had meningitis and needed two full weeks in the NICU; the love and support of family and friends; the excitement of finally bringing you home and showing you off to your visitors, my students, and even strangers in public; the joy of seeing you smile, roll over, and laugh for the very first time; the delight in knowing you recognize me as your mommy.

I feel incredibly lucky to have that title.  To be your mommy.  And for that, I am blessed. 

I never really understood moms that struggled with going back to work.  It's just eight hours, right?  Yeah, right.  Now that I'm in this position, I get it.  I've cried.  And cried.  And cried.  Like every other day for a week.  Even more.  I cried a few weeks ago, just thinking about what was to come.  Eight hours is a long time to be away from the one thing you love the most.  Oh, Brantley, you will never even know how much I love you.

I saw this on Facebook tonight.  Talk about perfect timing.

So, although this is the end of maternity leave, it is the beginning, as well.  The beginning of my new life, my new normal.  And I couldn't be happier.  I look forward to all that this new beginning has to offer.  I will cherish our nights together and promise to be the very best working mommy I can be.  Love you, little man!

Your Mommy

Friday Photo Dump

Oh, Friday.  You bring many people so much joy.  But not me, not today anyway.  Such a sad, sad Friday.  My last official day of maternity leave.  And what am I doing?  Going into school.  For a flu shot, nonetheless.  Yuck.

But don't you worry.  I have a hair appointment, as well.  What girl doesn't love hair appointments?  Cut and highlight.   A little pampering for myself.  And I'm meeting my math ladies for lunch.  They have an in-service day today, aka get to leave school and have a normal, working person's lunch.  So excited to see my lovely co-workers!

I already told you about our upcoming weekend plans.  Hopefully the weather holds up.  It's pretty dreary out right now.

Have a great one everyone!  And please pray for me to make it through Monday without crying my eyes out all. day. long. :(

Top: What's up, Mom? | Fall craftable #1 | B-Man and his g-friend
Middle: Fall craftable #2 | Normal Kinnick behavior | DIY t-shirt fringe scarf
Bottom: Brantley's not a fan of sharing his mommy | Sleepy sleep time | Fall craftable #3

Fall Craftables

Well, hello there!  Long time, no blog!  (As the hubs pointed out last night.)

Not a lot to blog about around here.  Maybe more after this busy weekend.  The Lenexa chili cook-off (just attending, not competing), possibly some family Christmas card photos, a housewarming party, and the NICU reunion!  That's right, the hospital hosts a reunion every year for all NICU grads. :)  I am so excited to reunite with Brantley's AMAZING nurses!  I can't wait to show them how much B-Man has grown!  They will be proud, I'm sure!

And, this is my last no-worry weekend.  Back to reality (i.e. work) on Monday.  Monday is also the start of my final grad class.  Soooo not looking forward to that.  Thank goodness it's my final one!

Anyway, my last week of freedom has been pretty low-key.  Perfect, actually.

Lots of this.

And this.
 And even more.
He really was cuddling on me just can't tell. :)
Definitely been soaking up every second with this cutie.  In fact, he's sleeping on my chest as I type this post!  Multitasking at its finest.

Btw, yes I wear white v-necks nearly every day.  Why wear anything else when I get spit up on frequently?  Case in point - yesterday I wore a cute sweater because we went to see a friend and her newborn baby girl...and, of course, I ended up doing an unplanned load of laundry because B-Man decided to puke all over me.  No complaints though.  Love him (and everything about him) so, so much.

What else have I been doing during my last week of freedom?  Well, crafting, of course!  I decided we needed a few more fall/Halloween things in our house, so here's what I came up with.

(Well, really I didn't come up with anything.  Copied it all from others'!)

Craftable #1: A fall wreath for our front door.  Totally stole this idea from my friend, Lauren.  Wrapped a letter with twine (both purchased from Hobby Lobby), made some fabric flowers from old t-shirts (tutorials here and here), and attached both to the wreath (also from HL).  Viola!  The flowers are hot glued, but the letter can be re-used for a similar Christmas wreath with red and green flowers.

Craftable #2: DIY candy jars.  Found this idea on Pinterest.  Love, love, love it!  Basically, I turned a bunch of individual wooden pieces and glass jars into cute, festive candy jars!  I copied the project from here.  And the best part?  The ribbon and letters can be removed/changed for different seasons/holidays.  I'm already planning JOY for Christmas.  Any 3-letter Valentine or Easter suggestions?

P.S. If you come over, eat (the candy) at your own risk.  I found two of the three kinds in my Halloween tote...they are 2+ years old, I'm pretty sure.

Craftable #3: Pumpkin and ghost wine bottles.  I pinned this on Pinterest, but didn't think much about it until my friend Lindsay made some.  She inspired me to do the same.  She brushed on acrylic paint and did the same for the faces.  I used spray paint (took the easy way out) and drew on the faces with a black sharpie.  The spray paint was easy, but if you look close, there are a lot of drips on the bottles and it doesn't look great.  Oh well.

Anyway, that's all for now!  See you tomorrow for Friday Photo Dump! :) 

Friday Photo Dump

Happy Friday, peeps!

Top: Happy baby | Friday night wine and heated blanket | Tummy time on my mama
Middle: Walk with my babes | I'm really going to miss days like this | Love me some legwarmers
Bottom: Cozy in my new JJ Cole Bundle Me | Front porch | Jailbird baby

Lovin' Fall

Let's be honest.  I'm a summer girl.  I love flip flops, sundresses, hot weather, and the sun.  Lots.

But...this time of year is hard to beat.  The colors.  The chill in the air.  The beer.  Football.  Boots.  Scarves.  Pumpkin spice lattes.  The upcoming holidays.

Ahhhh I just love it all!

This morning, I took the babes for a walk and couldn't help but take pictures of all the gorgeous fall trees.

How can you not love this??

I also love the new trends that originate every fall.  Why does it seem this is the biggest time of year for new fashions?  Or is it just me??  Some of my current faves:

Colored Jeans
I think I've mentioned this before. :)  
 I have mustard yellow, teal, and bright orange.  I really want a red pair next.  Old Navy has great selections and they are inexpensive - the best part!

Animal Print
Love the outfit in the middle.  Hence, the want for red jeans. :)  I also love the shirt on the right.  Target.  
*Hint hint Christmas is coming!*

New Colors
  Kelly green, mint, and camel are three of my faves.

Polka Dots, Stripes, & Chevron Prints 

Boot Socks/Leg Warmers
Chambray Shirts 
Or denim, as I like to call it.
 Most photos are from Target's website or Pinterest.

And, just for fun, here's a picture of Mr. Brantley in his Halloween jammies from Gramma.  He likes fall, too!

Brantley Carter: 3 Months Old!

Well, we made it to the 3-month mark!  According to friends, we can breathe a sigh of relief as the first three months are the hardest.  Likewise, this is supposedly when babies become more interactive, and hence more "fun".  I would have to agree!  Though you've been smiling for some time now, you started smiling at both your Daddy and I, practically every time we talk to you (except during your 3-month photo shoot, of course), just over a week ago.  It's like it finally clicked with you - you know who we are and you are so happy every time you see us!  Such a great feeling as a parent.  You also giggled for the first time last night!  A-dor-able!  You are very observant and love to look and look and look at all of your surroundings.  You babble like you're talking to us and follow us with your eyes.  This month's discoveries?  Your hands (you chew on them all the time) and most recently, your tongue!  It's so funny to watch you play with it, move it around, and even stick it out!  You are a very happy baby.  Somewhat serious, but nonetheless, happy!

The three-month-mark is very bittersweet for mama because it means my time with you (aka maternity leave) is almost up.  I can't say it enough - I've been so very lucky to have this much time with you and have enjoyed every single second of every day.  I sure will miss you once I return to the teaching world and even had my first breakdown last night.  Two weeks to go...

Look at that belly!!

Size - 13 pounds, 4 ounces (According to the Mommy & Me Boutique at Shawnee Mission.  I'm going to make it a goal to go every month on or near your monthly birthday.)

Words - Clearly, no words, but lots of baby babble, goo-goo gaa gaa, and coos.  A little crying on occasion, but not much.

Activity - We busted out the Baby Einstein bouncer a week or so ago.  Though you're still a bit small for it (your feet are a long way from the floor!), it's something new to play with!  You also lay on your play gym frequently (though you bore quickly), sit in your Bumbo on occasion, and of course, swing.  You officially rolled over (from belly to back) on September 19 and have done it again multiple times since.  You hold your head very high during tummy time...such strong neck muscles you have at just three months old!

Food - You generally eat five ounces every 3(ish) hours (except overnight).  We dropped your seventh feeding of the day, so you now eat six times per day*, the first around 7:30 am and last being 10:30 pm, for a total of 30(ish) ounces.  On rare occasions, you scream after five ounces, so we fix another ounce and you scarf it down.  We also switched from Enfamil Newborn to Enfamil Infant, and then to the Target brand of the same.  Thank goodness for's soooo much cheaper and ingredient for ingredient the exact same thing!  I quit pumping since your last monthly update.  I was not producing enough milk for it to be worth my time and as a result, don't want to mess with it once I return to work.  I wish things were different and I was producing more, but I have accepted the fact that you will be just fine as a formula-fed babe.  After all, your dad was formula-fed-only and he seems to be doing okay.

*Tomorrow, we're attempting to cut the 6th feeding, increase each feeding to six ounces (still 30 ounces each day), and put you to bed a little earlier.  

Sleep - You're back to being an amazing sleeper!  Those few nights of waking up were just that...a few nights.  Not sure what the deal was, but we sure were relieved that fourth night when you slept straight through again!  Like your mommy, you loooove your sleep!  Lots of cat naps during the day, too, though they seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

Bedtime/Waketime - Right now, you usually go down for the night around 10:45 or 11, after your final feeding.  You awake anytime between 7:15 and 7:45 in the morning.

Hair - Still looks red to me!  Though I can also see blond and brown, too.  Hmmmm....I wonder it's going to be in a year?

Eyes - Still baby blue like Daddy's!

Likes - The blinds, sucking/chewing on your hands (or your shirt, or a blanket), diaper changes (weird), your paci, white noise (especially the Sitter Seal app), your swing, being swaddled (still), car rides/movement, watching t.v., your Mommy & Daddy.

Dislikes - Wet/dirty diapers, being tired, being hungry.  (You don't dislike tummy time as much anymore since you can hold your head up!)

Wardrobe - Mostly 3 to 6-month clothing, but you still fit in some 0-3.

Diapers - Size 1, mix of Huggies and Pampers, whatever we have on hand!

Mommy's Fave - Your BIG smiles where your eyes crinkle up, especially when you're smiling at us, and of course, your newest thing - your laugh!

Love you little B-Man!! :)


First Real Laughs

One day before your 3-month birthday, you had your first round of laughter!  Mommy was playing with you and Sophie the Giraffe.  You thought Sophie's "squeak" was the funniest thing in the world and laughed and laughed at it...Mommy and Daddy both witnessed.  Of course, by the time I grabbed my phone to record your silly laughs, you were done.  I swear, you know when that thing is recording.  You must be camera shy. :)

I did capture a little, but your laughs were much more "giggle-ish" before I hit record.

Friday Photo Dump

Happy Friday!  B-man turns three months this weekend!  All I can say to that is...WOW.

What else is WOW?  This weather!  Sunday's low is something ridiculous like 29!  Holy brrrrr!  This girl is not quite ready for coat-weather yet.  Or ever.  That would be okay, too.  Let's just hope it's a one-weekend thing and then we're back to sunny, 70-degree, fall-like days.  Please?  Pretty please?

Enjoy your weekend and stay warm!

Top: My attempt at a Chevron pumpkin | Hmmmm....I'm pretty handsome! | B-Man & Madi play date
Middle: First sushi since pre-pregnancy - YUM! | Silly boy | New necklace
Bottom: Such a big boy! | Cider Mill | The extent of my fall decor


I Believe In...

Lately, I've stumbled across some random and fun blogs.  A few fashion blogs.  Some DIYer blogs.  Some other new mommy blogs.  You name it.  I really enjoy following these blogs, despite not knowing or never having met the authors.  I guess that's what blogging's all about though, right?  Anyway, the author of this blog, Living in Yellow, recently did a post called "I Believe In..."  It was so fun to read, so I thought I'd do the same.  So, here goes...

I believe in happiness.  So much so that I have the following tattoo...

I believe in splurging on Starbucks every Friday.

  I believe in true love.

I believe true love can be found on "The Bachelor". :)

I believe in always being the bigger person.

I believe in going on yearly, family vacations.
{Next summer = Florida!}

I believe everything happens for a reason.

I believe in buying inexpensive clothes, and lots of them.
{Thank you Target, F21, and Old Navy.}

I believe Hawaii is the most beautiful place I've ever been.

I believe my baby's smile is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.  

I believe it's perfectly okay to steal copy others' creative ideas.
{Hence, this blog post and the majority of my DIY projects.}

I believe in the power of prayer.

I believe in taking photos to document life.  Lots and lots and lots of them.

I believe it's okay to scream and run and cry if there's a spider.  And I believe in making someone kill it for you.  Yes...even if you're 29 years old.

I believe in putting clothes on my dog, despite the hubs' disapproval.
{Look at this guy's wardrobe!}

I believe it's okay to never curse.  Especially the F word.

I believe in enjoying food and not worrying about every little pound or calorie.  After all, what's the point of life if you can't enjoy it?

I believe in finding a husband that makes you laugh.

I believe in taking mental health days.
{Learned this from my very first principal and the guy that hired me five years ago.}

I believe in BLACK and GOLD.

I believe in being girly.

I believe a hair appointment is one way to make yourself feel a million times better.
{Speaking of, I need one.  Have you seen my roots??}

I believe in miracles.

My sweet miracle

I believe in drinking beer over a nice glass of wine.  Nine times out of ten anyway.

One of my fave kinds.

I believe in always being optimistic.  Things could always be worse.
{Random fact: I was voted most optimistic female in my senior class in two separate polls, one by peers, the other by teachers!}

I believe it's okay to decorate for Christmas as early as November 1.
{Only one month to go!!}

I believe pretty girls can be good at math.

I believe in my students.

I believe in using proper grammer when texting.  And spelling words correctly: tonight vs. 2nite.
{This is a major pet peeve of mine.}

And along those same lines, I believe in knowing the difference between words like their, there, and they're.  It doesn't take a college degree...get it right.

I believe in seeing the best in people.  And always giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I believe in treating dogs like humans.  And allowing them to sleep in bed with you.

I believe a clean house makes you feel organized, put together, and on top of things.

I believe being early is the only way to be.

I believe there is always time for things you enjoy.  For me, that is "The Bachelor".

And finally, I believe more of my friends should start blogs.  It's fun.  I promise!
{Hint hint}

Now it's your turn!  What do you believe?