Holden Beckett: 4 Months Old

Well here we are, 1/3 of the way through your first year of life!  The days, weeks, and months are flying by and I can't believe it was  four whole months ago that you came into this world!  It seems a little ironic that four months ago today was my last day with students...and then I went on to have a baby a few hours later...and exactly four months later my students are back!  This past month included your first plane ride(s), the start of daycare, and rolling over!

Your 4-month old self is becoming more and more aware of your surroundings.  When I'm in the room, you watch my every move and often fuss when I vanish from your view.  You are a baby that loves to be held and talked to, and you often cry if/when we ignore you.  You have become extremely interactive and respond to us whenever we talk to you.  You are a "chatty" little thing!  You are quite the mover, as well.  Not only have you rolled from belly to back (about three weeks ago) and back to belly (just yesterday), but you also spin 180 degrees!  Tummy time is going a little better, as your neck muscles are gaining strength and you can lift your head high, but you still face plant into the carpet after awhile.  You've become a thumb/hand sucker in the last month and don't love your paci, as a result.  You are still a good baby and very happy/smiley when talked to.  But like I said, you like to be entertained!

Your 4-month appointment today confirmed that you're growing like a weed.  You shot up in height, weight, and head circumference since your 2-month check.  All looked well and we got the okay to start rice cereal.  I cannot even believe it's time for that already!  You also rocked your 4-month shots, all three of them.  Get this, YOU DIDN'T EVEN CRY!!  You fussed for a few seconds and I kept waiting for the wail.  But it never happened, and then you just went about your day.  I'm still shocked about that.  Tough little guy, you are!

You still have more hair than some babies, but it's slowly but surely falling out.  It makes me so sad.  I feel like your hair is one of the things that makes you, you and I hate that it's disappearing.  That will always be one of the first things I remember about your appearance when you were born and one of my most favorite things about your newborn self!

Hair or not, I love you so much, Mr. Holden Beckett!  You are my favorite (and cutest) 4-month old and I can't wait to keep watching you grow!


4-Month Update:

Size - Height: 24.0 inches (19th percentile); Weight: 13 pounds 11 ounces (27th percentile); Head: 41.0cm (21st percentile)

Words - We have "conversations". :)  A lot of goos and gahs.

Activity - Tummy time and time under your play mat.  A lot of watching the world (and people) around you.

Food - You eat 6 ounces six times per day.  About 6-10 ounces of breastmilk, the other 26-30 ounces of formula.

Sleep - You sleep consistently about eight hours each night.  Naps are still all over the place.  Lots of cat naps (15-30 minutes) throughout the day, resulting in a sleepy baby who naps for 2 hours in the evenings.

Bedtime/Waketime - Bedtime is after your last feeding, closer to 9pm than 10 these days.  Wake time has gotten a little earlier (6ish).

Hair - Still dark brown, but there's not much left compared to your full head of newborn hair.  Makes Mommy sad. :(

Eyes - Bright blue

Teeth - None

Wardrobe - 0-3 and 3-6 month clothing.

Diapers - Finishing the package of size 1s, then it's on to size 2!

Likes - Being patted, your thumb/hand, movement, being talked to, being held.

Dislikes - Being hungry, tired, and hot.

Mommy's Fave - I love that you recognize me these days and you know that I'm your mommy.  The smiles you give us are still the best!

Week One

Well, I made it through my first week back.

Monday morning was rough.  And then I was okay for a few days.  And then Friday came and so did the tears once again.  Call it stress, lack of sleep, and just plain realization that it's going to be like this for nine long months, but it was the worst day so far  I've cried in front of far too many co-workers, but I just don't care.  All of the other mom-teachers (which, there are a lot of them in my field) have been great, supportive, and very understanding.

At times, I feel ridiculous.  After all, I've done this before.  It should be easier the second time.  But for some reason, it's not.  Perhaps it's because this is the beginning of the year and there is just so much to do.  With Brantley, I walked in a quarter in.  The beginning-of-the-year stuff was already done, classes were established, and my kids were more than thrilled to finally meet me (after a not-so-stellar long-term sub).  This time, I have to prepare to teach, but I also have to do all the management type of things that come with the beginning of the school year.  Pair that with two brand spankin' new courses (none of which I, or anyone at MV, have taught before) a new webpage format, and the fact that I just miss the little guy's smile, it's a lot to handle.  I'm not yet ready for kids, but I'm also not about to spend my precious weekend hours at school.  Luckily, I have until Tuesday before my kiddos start (freshman are Monday, upperclassmen are Tuesday) and Thursday until I truly begin to teach.

For now, I'm going to focus on the weekend.  Craig and Brantley are in Wichita, and though I miss the two of them, the 36 hours of alone time with Holden are/have been fabulous.  Today will be a couch napping, blog posting, People magazine reading, Bachelor in Paradise watching, coffee drinking, and baby snuggling kind of day.  Just what I need, quite honestly.  I'm not sure I've ever looked forward to a weekend quite like this first week back to work as a mom of two.  I'm going to cherish every moment, even the fussy-baby ones, because I know Monday morning is coming too soon.

My First Fix...

As much as I've been dreading this week (for obvious reasons), I've also been looking forward to it!  Why, you ask?  Because this is when I scheduled my first "fix" to arrive!

In case you haven't heard about Stitch Fix, it's an online styling service.  Basically, you fill out a style "profile" that includes your measurements, style and price preferences, and any additional info you'd like your stylist to know.  For instance, I told mine that I gave birth to Baby #2 in April and am not yet completely comfortable in tight fitting tops.  I also told her I was returning to work from my maternity leave and suggested that a new work item, or two, would be nice.  You also get to tell them how you feel about a given selection of clothing (love it, like it, don't really like it, hate it).  That was hard for me because there were pieces from each group that I loved...and there were also pieces I wasn't overly crazy about.  Here's an example:

Anyway, you pay a $20 "styling fee" for your stylist to send you five items.  You try them on in your own environment, on your own time, and with your own accessories.  You have three days to decide what to keep.  Your $20 goes towards the price of anything you keep, and the non-keepers get sent back in a prepaid envelope that's included with your fix.  Pretty genius, actually!  I'm not sure of anyone who wouldn't keep at least one item just to ensure you don't lose $20!  Oh, and if you keep all five items, you get a 25% discount.

I first heard of Stitch Fix last January.  At the time, I was six months pregnant, and unable to partake in their services. (Although now it seems like maybe they style pregnant ladies?  There is a question asking whether you're pregnant, anyway!)  I've been waiting until I was back to my normal size to give it a try.  And that time finally came in July.  I signed up, but the first available date was August 12.  Not a big deal, I figured.  I knew it would give me something to look forward to despite going back to school on the 11th.

My fix was shipped last Thursday and I've been tracking it ever since.  Not gonna lie, I was a little worried yesterday when it was still in Memphis.  But never fear, it was waiting for me on our front porch when I got home from school today!  I was so excited and definitely felt like a kid on Christmas morning!

I tried to pair each item with a couple of different things from my closet.  A style card (similar to what you'd see on Pinterest) for each piece is included in your fix, which shows two different ways to wear that particular item.

I took Jana's advice and didn't initially look at the prices.  I wanted to keep an open mind and decide whether I truly liked each item without having a price attached to it.  I'd like to say I decided how much I was willing to spend on each item before looking at the price (also Jana's idea), but let's be honest, most of my wardrobe is from Target, Old Navy, and Forever 21.  I'm not accustomed to paying lofty prices for things and if I had done that, I would have way underestimated and everything would already be in the mail headed back. :)

Without further ado, here are the five items from my first fix!

#1: Striped Maxi Dress

I loved this dress when I pulled it out of the package.  I especially loved the back.  Then I put it on.  And I wasn't sure.  It sort of reminds me of a maternity dress and I'm not sure the horizontal stripes do anything for my already-big booty.  Furthermore, it seems to be a size too big.  Yes?  No?  I can't decide.  
Price: $58

#2: Tie-Neck Short Sleeve Blouse
It seems very plain and basic.  However, I do like how it fits.  I'm undecided on what to do with this one as it's way higher priced than what I'd normally spend.
Price: $68

#3: Detail Henley Tank
I definitely like it, but I'm not sure I love it.
Price: $54

#4: Striped Maxi Skirt
I really do like this skirt.  But it reminds me of one I already have from Target that I paid only $16.99 for.  I tried pairing it with the above tank, as suggested by my stylist, but I'm not sure about that combo.  Also not sure about the price...
Price: $68

#5: Short-Sleeve Open Front Cardigan
 Another super basic item, in my opinion, as I'm sure I could find something very similar at Target.  I never would have picked this out myself because I don't typically like these flowy cardigan-type tops, but I think I actually like this.  Definitely like the price.
Price: $28 

Honestly, I'm a little disappointed in my fix. 

1) I feel like everything is the same color (blues and white).  A little variety would be nice. 

2) I'm not sure I'm willing to spend $68 for the skirt and/or blouse when they both seem like pretty basic items.  I marked "the cheaper the better" in every category, yet I feel like they sent me some pricy items.

3) I linked my style profile to my fashion board on Pinterest, and have purposely pinned a bunch of outfits as of lately, yet I don't feel like they used my Pinterest board as inspiration.  

4) I've seen so many cute pieces in friends' and other blogger's fixes...things I like way more than what I received. :(
Verdict: I'll probably keep the white cardigan, simply because I can always find a use for a cardigan, and it's only $8 over the $20 I already paid.  Not sure about anything else.  

What do you think?

I'll also try again in another month or two.  I'll adjust a few things in my style profile and give feedback on this fix.  Here's hoping the changes better reflect my style and improve the liking of my future fixes (just not too much so I don't feel compelled to buy all five things)! 

Want to try Stitch Fix?  Use my referral code (link below) to help me earn a $25 credit!


Brantley's 2nd Birthday Parties

This post is loooong overdue.  I'm slowly, but surely, chipping away at all the blog post catching up to do!

It's no secret that Brantley's first birthday party was a bit over the top.  We wanted to do pretty much the opposite this year.  No friends, just family, and since none of them live where we do, we decided to have two smaller parties in each of his grandparents' hometowns.

First up, Fairfield.  We headed to Iowa for the 4th of July and simultaneously celebrated Brantley's birthday on the 4th.  Burgers, brats, and cupcakes--that my mom supplied, which made my life way easier--was the extent of his "party".  And entirely too many gifts, of course, from the mere seven family members in attendance (Gramma, Papa, Aunt Trisha, Uncle Justin, Kellen, and his GGs).

Call me cruel but the best of the day came when he opened a soccer ball piggy bank.  He assumed it was a real soccer ball and became beyond excited.  The moment he realized the base was attached and it wasn't a real ball - priceless.  He threw a fit.  A crying, screaming, upset-with-a-capital-U fit.  It.was.hilarious.  And perfectly describes his sports-loving, 2-year old personality.

Gramma made cupcakes with Mickey Mouse liners and decorated them with 4th of July sprinkles.  Two celebrations in one.  They were delicious, of course!

And that was about it for his Iowa "party".  Low key, but special nonetheless.

Next up, Wichita!  This one called for a little more planning on my part.  We rented a shelter at Buffalo Park near Grandma's house.  We had our fingers crossed that it was a nice park, as my husband had never heard of it and I, of course, am very unfamiliar with Wichita.  It turned out to be awesome (minus the extra long walk to the parking lot).  Not only was the park great, so was the day!  Kansas in mid-July can be quite miserable, but lucky for us, it was sunny and a perfect 80 degrees.  We couldn't have asked for a better day!

We had a traditional barbeque picnic complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, chips, lemonade, beer, and cake.  Despite not throwing a huge birthday bash, I still got to "party plan" and coordinate some of the decor! 

I ordered a cake from a local Wichita bakery.  I didn't give them much direction other than a picnic-themed second birthday.  It turned out pretty cute!

Once again, the kid got too many gifts.  Half of them are still in boxes in his closet and, like last year, will make for a nice mid-winter surprise.  However, he just couldn't wait to play with some.  Favorites include his soccer goal and real football.

It's also tradition for Papa Sides to give his grandchildren a tricycle on their second birthdays.  This tradition was started by Papa's dad (Brantley's Great Grandpa Sides) with his grandchildren (Craig and cousins) and Papa couldn't be prouder to keep the tradition going.  Brantley loves his new tricycle, despite not quite able to reach the pedals.

After gifts, it was time for cake.  Turns out, Brantley's pretty good at blowing out a candle...and then some.  I'm not sure there was a piece of cake without slobber.  Gross.

We attempted a photo with all the kiddos.  It didn't go so well.

And a few other pictures from the day.

With our BIG two-year old!

We had such a great time celebrating with both sides of the family.  Thanks to those who came out to help him ring in the big 2!