Wow, okay. This post is super late. It’s November and I’m blogging about Halloween. Stuff came up, things got busy, I was needed for a top secret mission. But I really do like documenting all the major holidays for future me to look back on, so here I am…blogging about Halloween in November. Hope you don’t mind.
Halloween isn’t really a big thing for us. Never really has been, especially for me (I’d actually never even trick-or-treated until this year). But something about dressing a baby in an adorable costume is just too fun to pass up! So we made it a thing this year.
It was a Monday, our day for playgroup, so all the mamas decided to bring the kids in costume for a little photo shoot. Oh it was so cute! These are some of my favorites. ❤
Alex and I chose a monkey costume for Jameson this year just because he knows what sound a monkey makes (“ah ah!” he says) and we knew it would be hilarious to see him walking around trying to sound like a monkey all day. It was. 🙂 I wanted to dress up with Alex as something along the monkey-theme, but we didn’t want to spend any money because…what a waste. So we ended up just pulling stuff out of our closet and borrowing a couple of hats from Alex’s parents and dressing up as safari explorers.
All in all, our family costumes ended up being very ambiguous haha. Jameson’s costume was kind of poorly made so the headpiece made him look like a bear rather than a monkey, and Alex and I kind of looked like zoo keepers instead of explorers. But whatever, it all kind of worked anyway.
Our friends from church hosted a dinner and trick-or-treating party that evening and a bunch of people ended up going. We all ate together, walked the kids around the neighborhood to get some candy (I still feel like this tradition is super weird and awkward), and then sat around the fire and passed out more candy/ate that candy. As I said, this was my first year ever going trick-or-treating. But we actually didn’t even get candy because I think it’s weird for adults to have their babies collect candy when everyone know that the baby isn’t going to be the one eating that candy lol. I just felt shady about the whole thing. I think it’s fine when you have older kids too, but I would feel like a total fraud walking up to a stranger and being like, “This is my baby. Yeah uhh…he says he wants your candy.” So we mostly just went to walk around with our friends who have older kids.
We had a great time anyway. 🙂 Even though we don’t really “celebrate” Halloween, it’s still a great excuse to get together with friends and eat a bunch of sweets. So I approve.
By the way, here’s my sister and her adorable family as Mike Wazowski, Sulley, and Boo. All hand-made!
Monday nights are family nights for us. Alex gets home for work, we pack up Jameson and the Charlie woof, and we head over to my parents’ house for dinner and dessert (right now my mom has these really yummy sugar cookies from Costco at her house, which have this weird power over me like for real I eat them until I feel sick). My sister, her husband, and my niece meet us there and we all eat together, let the babes play, and watch The Voice exactly at 7pm (sometimes a minute or two later if we’re all fighting about who has to find the remote to turn on the TV).
This past Monday night, though, we did something a little different. It’s FINALLY kind of sort of Fall-ish in Arizona (not really, but we’re pretending) and Monday was a really nice cloudy evening. So, we all (minus my dad) met at Mother Nature’s Farm in Gilbert. Last year we took the babies to Schnepf Farms, which is the cutest place, but it’s really more of an all-day thing and right now the days are just too hot for it to even be fun. Maybe in a few weeks.
For now, this little farm was perfect for the toddlers. We got to take them on their first hay ride, feed the animals, and pick out pumpkins. Such a fun time!
Jameson’s favorite part was definitely the pumpkin patch; he was beside himself with joy! I’m preeeetty sure he thought it was just a giant field of orange balls, which is basically his dream come true.
I’m praying we get some cooler weather up in this oven of a state very soon. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are flooded with gorgeous autumn photos featuring cozy sweaters, colorful leaves, hot tea, and cloudy days. And I’m over here like, Jameson and I played in the sprinklers today. Ugh. It’ll happen soon, I just need to be patient.
If you live in a state where it’s actually Fall, please enjoy a pumpkin spice latte for me and fill your lungs up with that crisp autumn air. And know that I am jealous of you.
It’s been a hot second since I’ve written something for my blog. I’ve been in sort of a writing slump the past few weeks, honestly. I have all these ideas of things I want to write about but then Jameson goes down for a nap and I have to choose between writing for my blog or doing some necessary housework or just SITTING for a second. Sitting usually wins.
BUT I really want to write about this, my first year of parenting. I want to document what God has taught me and I want it to hopefully be of some help to other new mommies who are currently in the thick of it. It’s been so good for me to meditate on the things I’ve learned in this year…to see what has been useful and to know what I’ll do differently if we’re ever blessed with another baby.
So here we are. Year one is complete. My sweet, snugly, wild, adventurous, wonderful baby boy is officially a toddler and he’s heading bright-eyed and bushy-tailed into his second year of life. This first year has challenged and changed me in ways I didn’t even know I needed. It has been painful at times, exhausting and confusing, stressful and exciting, so much fun, and so fulfilling. There’s nothing I’ve found in this world (apart from the salvation I have in Christ) that I love or cherish as much as motherhood.
And this is what I have learned…
Nothing lasts forever. This is good news and bad news. The good news is that every hard thing you face in the first year (and beyond) is just a phase. Your baby will grow out of all those things that seem endless right now. But that also means that your baby will also grow out of your favorite things, too. Like those sleepy newborn yawns and stretches, the inchworm crawling, even the toddling around like a drunk sailor. All of it will pass you by eventually. Each new stage brings with it some hard things, but many many more wonderful things. Have fun with the good, wait out the bad.
You know your baby best. Take all advice you get with a grain of salt. Some of it will be extremely wise and useful, some of it will be total crap (well-meaning crap, but crap all the same). Sift through it with your husband, on your own, with your Biblical lens on. You know what will work for you and for your child and it doesn’t have to match exactly what anyone else recommends.
Don’t stress the scheduling thing. “Get on a schedule, get on a schedule, get on a schedule…if you want to live.” I actually heard this advice when I was pregnant! Yes, scheduling will save your sanity down the road…but you don’t have to force it. I tried sleep training Jameson WAY too early and he just wasn’t ready. All it did was stress me out and make me feel like a failure because I couldn’t figure out how to get my baby to sleep at regular intervals throughout the day. I was angry all the time because I felt like Jameson wasn’t doing what he was “supposed to be doing” until one day I said ENOUGH! And let him sleep how and when he wanted to. Eventually we got into a routine and now he’s very scheduled, but I could have saved us both a whole lot of anxiety in those early days if I had taken a breath and focused on enjoying our time together, rather than how I was going to get him to take a “good” nap at the “right time.”
Take a shower every day. Really, just do it. Even if you think you don’t have time. Even if you don’t trust anyone (not even your husband, lol sorry Alex) to take care of your infant. Hand someone that baby and take a shower. It’ll make you feel human again. Sometimes ten minutes (all by yourself!) is all you need to recharge.
Don’t feel guilty about not enjoying everything. One of the most common pieces of advice I’ve received this year is the ever so well-meaning, “Enjoy every moment! Even the hard ones!” Well, I’m telling you right now…no mother enjoys every single moment. I certainly didn’t enjoy spending the night trying to get my three month old to stay asleep for more than 40 minutes straight at a time (YEAH, GOOD TIMES!!!). It can be so hard when people tell you that it “goes by so fast” and to “soak it all in” when it’s all you can do to not drown in a sea of spit up and restless sleep. Feeling frustrated or overwhelmed does not mean you aren’t thankful for motherhood or that you don’t love your child. It means that you’re feeling very real things that every mother feels. God can (and does) fortify you in your weakness. He is your refuge and your strength, and he is a very present help in your times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Find reasons to get out of the house a few times a week. For me, actually, more like at least once a day haha. I go a little nuts if I don’t. And it doesn’t have to cost money! Jameson and I have been known to hit up the garden center of Home Depot just to look at the flowers from time to time. The library is always a hit, too. Go on a walk or to the park or have a play date with some friends. It doesn’t matter, just get your booties out of the house. It can be hard at first, especially if your baby hates his car seat as much as Jameson used to hate his. But once you feel more comfortable, even just a half hour outside can change your whole day. I promise it’s worth it! It breaks up the monotony of your day and keeps you both from going stir crazy.
Join a playgroup. This is along the same lines as number 6, but I feel it’s important. I only recently learned this but I wish I had sooner! Playgroups are an awesome opportunity for you to connect with other moms going through the same things, get advice, share stories, teach your kids about sharing and playing nice, and basically just get the chance to see that you’re not alone. Your library will probably have playgroups already scheduled for your child’s age range, which can be a great jumping off point. Or just start your own! My sister and I started meeting up with a few moms from our church and it’s already been such a blessing. Find your people. Join a playgroup.
Put the camera down every so often. This is something I’m still learning and still working on. Taking pictures is so easy these days. Our phones come programmed with really nice cameras and they’re pretty much always with us. I’m tempted every day to try and document as much as I can. Jameson will do something cute and my very first instinct is to grab my phone and take a picture or video. But I don’t want it to be that way! I don’t want my teenage kids to someday come up to me asking for stories of their childhoods and me being like, “Hold on let me pull up my dusty old Instagram account.” No! I want real stories that I remember because I was fully present, no camera between my child and me. So even though I feel this pressure to capture every single adorable thing my baby does, sometimes I force myself not to. Sometimes it’s better to make a memory and keep it just for yourself.
Make your marriage a priority. I’m writing this mostly as a reminder to myself. When all is said and done, when the kids are grown up and leading their own lives, it’ll be you and your spouse. It will always be you and your spouse. Your marriage should come even before your relationship with your kids. I know that sounds weird to say, especially in our culture, but it’s a lesson we need to learn if we want to be a good example for our children. I don’t mean neglect your kids and run off to spend tons of alone time with your husband, but carving out intentional time to be together (however that looks for you two) must be a priority. Your marriage should be “the foundation upon which all other aspects of family life [are] built” (Voddie Baucham Jr., Family Driven Faith). Discipline, discipleship, counseling, advice, every choice you make for your kids…it should all stem from the two of you working together as one for your family.
Spend time praying over your child. I don’t just mean those moments throughout the day where you’re like, “Lord, give me strength right now because I’m about to LOSE MY MIND.” (Although that’s good, too.) I mean setting aside some time each day to pray thoughtfully and specifically for your child. I started making this more of a priority a few months ago and it has changed how I deal with difficulties in parenting so much. I chose a specific time of day (happens to be right after I put Jameson down for bed) and I just spend a few minutes every night in prayer over him. Sometimes I just thank God for a wonderful day with Jameson. Sometimes I pray for his future wife. Sometimes I’m on my knees next to his crib begging for forgiveness for all my shortcomings of the day, asking God to show me how to parent him better and lead him to Christ. Ever since I started doing this, I’ve found that I’m much more likely to turn to prayer during the day when we hit rough patches and it has been so good for both of us.
Change your attitudes and actions first. This is probably one of the most important things God has taught me this year. You cannot parent well (at least not in the Biblical sense) if you’re too busy dealing with anger and frustration inside yourself. When Jameson is going crazy and I start feeling sorry for myself for having to deal with this (or worse, start feeling angry at Jameson for not doing what I want him to do)…I lose all hope of responding to the situation in a Godly, productive way. If, however, I turn to the Lord for help and begin trying to change my areas of sin, it suddenly becomes immensely easier to address the problem with gentleness.
Give more grace. Every breath we take, every time our hearts beat, every moment of every day, we are experiencing God’s grace. He never tires of us even in our darkest, most sinful hour. We should be the same with our children. When they cry through the night, give them grace. When they spill their yogurt on your nice clean floor, give them grace. When they come to you whining and crying with a snotty nose for the 100th time that morning, give them grace.
(And give yourself grace, too. You are doing better than you think you are, and God is on your side.)
Two Saturdays ago we celebrated the Jimmiest Jam turning ONE with some of our wonderful friends and family! I’ve actually been trying to write this post for several days now, but my site has been acting up and it’s been taking forever to get it all finished. But I think we’re good now. 😉
We decided a few months back to host the party here at our new house, something we’ve never been able to do because we were renting tiny apartments for the first couple years of our marriage. I was kind of nervous, but mostly just so excited to plan everything and decorate and welcome everyone into our home. We went with a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme because that show (and Mickey Mouse in general) are two of Jameson’s most favorite things. I scoured Pinterest for weeks finding inspiration, pinning decor ideas, and planning out the menu. I ended up making a lot of the decorations myself (saved us some mula) and the rest I bought here and there at Party City, Target, and Walmart in the weeks leading up to the parry. Then the night before, I basically just told Alex to stay out of my way so I could put my OCD to good use and get everything decorated the way I wanted it to be, ha! (Okay he helped blow up some balloons. And cleaned up the yard too.)
We had everyone over on Saturday, September 10th (two days before Jameson’s actual birthday). I think about 30 people were able to come! We wanted to invite more but our house is only so big haha. It ended up being perfect, though! The whole party went so smoothly. Jameson had taken two good naps earlier that day so he was in a fantastic mood (hallelujah!) and did really well even with so many people crowding his space and passing him all around (surprising to me because he tends to get overwhelmed with large groups of people). I think he liked seeing so many of his friends all in one place. 🙂
We all just mingled and chatted, had some dinner (pizza because that’s something Jameson actually likes haha), and then it was time for cake! I’d been stressing about how the song would go because, like I said, Jameson is not one for large crowds or a bunch of people staring at him (especially when they’re loud). But he loved it. 🙂 It might’ve had something to do with the fact that I’d been following him around the house for weeks singing “Happy Birthday” really loudly at him haha. I was trying to get him prepared, okay?! So when everyone started singing to him he was kind of like “What are you all doing” but then he was like “Oh cool, I know this song. Carry on.”
After we got that whole mess cleaned up (I actually ended up sticking Jameson in the bath to rinse all the frosting off ha!) we opened some presents. Jameson wasn’t super into it (I think he ripped off one itty bit of wrapping paper from one gift), so I ended up opening most everything and then showing it to him. He was so excited to see all the new toys! Everyone was so generous and he got some really cool stuff that he’s been playing with every day since.
I think my favorite memory from the party was when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to my baby. Somehow I knew in that moment that I’d remember it forever, that it would always be so special to me. Our first baby, his first birthday, his first year of life in the world. I never want to forget it.
I also loved watching him eat that cupcake. 😉
We hope you had a wonderful first birthday, Nugget! ❤ You are our greatest blessing. We had SO much fun celebrating you!
Can you believe it?! We’re here! One whole year with this sweet baby boy. I don’t fully believe it yet, even though yesterday was his birthday and all the announcements and pictures from the day he was born keep popping up on my Timehop. Somehow I still think this must all be some kind of joke! My tiny infant cannot be a toddler. That just cannot be.
All the same, I thought I would be more emotional than I am right now. I shed a few tears the other night after I rocked him to sleep for the last time as a “baby,” but mostly I’m just happy. Happy about everything from this year! The good and the bad, the fun and the sad. Every laugh, every snuggle, every proud moment, every difficult learning curve…all of it. I am happy and I am so, so thankful.
This will be my last monthly update on Jameson for awhile. I plan on coming back every few months to write down the highlights as he grows and learns, but it’ll probably be something like every 3-6 months or so, rather than every month. I will, however, be writing more frequently about other things in between the Jameson updates. 🙂 This blog started out as a simple way to document my pregnancy, but it’s turned into such a wonderful creative outlet for me and I hope to keep up with it for many years to come.
Anyway, here we go! Twelve months of Jameson. This is where we stand with our one year old. ❤
Weight & Length: We had his one year checkup this morning and he weighed in at 21 pounds, which is slightly less than last month but only by a few ounces. He’s been around 21 lbs since he was 10 months old (he’s so active, though, so that’s not surprising) and he’s in the 30th percentile for weight. Height-wise he’s 2 feet, 5 inches and his doctor mentioned that he’s starting to slide down in the percentile rankings (he’s a little less than the 25th percentile). She said it’s nothing to be worried about (especially after I mentioned that my husband didn’t hit his major growth spurt until later in high school) and said that it’s likely he’ll just be a late bloomer like Alex and I both were. Based on his height at six months, though, she predicted that he’ll be around 6’1″ once he’s fully grown (with a growth spurt around the time he’s 15-17 years old). I just feel bad that he’ll probably be a little dude for so long! Oh well, Alex survived it and I know Jameson will too.
Clothing: Still 12-18 month clothes (but he’s starting to fit in some 18 month stuff too if it’s on the smaller side) and size 4 diapers. I love shopping for him now because he fits in the toddler outfits, which are so much cuter than all the baby clothes that say dopey things on the front of everything. Just make a darn shirt without any words on it for goodness sake. Sheesh!
Hair & Eyes: I would probably call his eyes hazel or dark green. They are gorgeous. He’s going to break a lot of hearts with those dark brooding eyes and crazy long lashes. His hair is still fairly light, partly red, partly brown, partly blonde. Just a tie-dyed mixture of really pretty shades. It still curls in the back but when it’s wet it reaches down past his shoulders hahah. Alex is getting antsy to cut it but I do not want to cut off those curls. Maybe we’ll clean it up a little soon, but his hair is so thin anyway that a real haircut would be ridiculous at this point. I comb it over all nice and neat every day anyway, so it’s not like it looks girly or silly or something like that. And besides, I would never choose to cut his hair short (like buzz it or something) ever ever ever, no matter how old he gets. I prefer slightly longer hair on boys, for styling purposes. So for now, I win and we keep the curls. 🙂
Sleep: He’s still on the two naps per day schedule but I’m guessing he’ll go down to one pretty soon. His morning nap has been total crap every day for the past week or so (used to be a solid hour and a half every day, now it’s more like 30 minutes). But one of the days this week I tried pushing him to just take one nap and it was a complete fail. He slept for like an hour tops and then was a total grump the rest of the day. So maybe he’ll just take a short cat nap in the morning for awhile until we phase it out. His afternoon nap is still solid and he’s still going to bed around 8pm. Wakes up at 6am every day (way too early for my taste) but Alex uses that time to play with him before work and lets me sleep in a little longer. So it’s all good. 🙂
Eating: Ugh, I don’t want to talk about this! I get so frustrated because Jameson is one of the most challenging eaters I’ve ever seen. He changes tastes almost daily (one day he’s into something, the next day he absolutely refuses…although his doctor did say this is typical), he throws food off his high chair all the time, he spits anything he doesn’t particularly care for out of his mouth, and once he’s frustrated with eating it’s all over. If that happens two minutes into a meal, too bad. He’s done. And he’s so little that I have no way of asking him what the problem is. Texture? Flavor? Not hungry? Want something else? I get so exasperated nearly every meal. I hate making food that he’s just going to feed the dog because that is such huge waste of time, money, and food. Plus Charlie is going to get fat haha. I’ve been trying to find healthy power foods that I can feed him quickly before he gets annoyed but homeboy is such a carb and dessert lover that anything beyond Goldfish or cookies is pretty much a total flop. Ah, please someone tell me it gets better! I nurse him about 3 times a day so he’s still getting nutrition that way…but we can’t keep that up forever and I need him to be okay with eating before we can stop. Oye. Rough times. Hopefully I have something better to report next time I write an update hahah.
Milestones: His sixth tooth is juuuust breaking through (his bottom left) and he’s gnawing on things like crazy, poor baby. In terms of gross motor development, he’s such an active kid and is always pushing himself to figure out new things. He can speed walk now (almost runs sometimes!), walk backwards, climb things, go up stairs, etc. I even saw him try to jump two different times! I’m starting to teach him how to eat with a spoon which he loves trying to do, and his fine motor skills are always improving. This age is so much fun. He’s not quite as wobbly anymore so it’s not quite as terrifying every second haha.
Communication: He says “uh oh” now, “na na” for night night, “meh meh meh” for more, “ah dun” for all done (but he thinks it means “help,” I’m pretty sure), and he understands so much. Oh it is SO fun! He can follow simple directions (“Put the toy in,” “throw the ball,” “come here,” “no touch,” “no mouth,” “give kisses, “give hugs,” “share with mama,” “where’s mommy’s nose?” etc.). And he copies words we say (like “mama” and “dada,” although he hasn’t actually called either of us by name yet. Maybe “dada” once or twice). His favorite thing to babble is “tookatookatooka” and I love it haha. He copies hand gestures too like pointing, wagging his finger for “no no no,” waving, giving high fives, and trying to do “I’m a Little Teapot.” He also sings along to the song “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers (“OH!”). I love how much more we can interact now and I can’t wait to have real conversations with him and hear all his wonderful thoughts!
Loves: Music and dancing, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, helping me with the laundry, going outside and playing in the dirt/rocks/ripping leaves off my plants, chasing Charlie, playing high-stakes peekaboo (aka I jump out and try to scare him), anything that keeps him active, bath time/all things water-related (the splash pad especially!), reading, playing in the fridge, desserts (me too, buddy), and grabbing stuff out of the dishwasher (seriously loses his mind if I close it before he can get there, and if he does make it there in time he is just beside himself with joy that he’s able to take the spatulas out and play with them).
Hates: Sitting still for too long (we’re working on that…church has become something of a circus act trying to wrangle him during the message, since we have family-integrated services). Also hates being told “no touch.” Not all the time, but when he really wants something he gets maaaad if he finds out he can’t have it. But we’re working on first-time obedience and respecting mommy and daddy. It’s hard at this age because the language is just not there to explain things, but I’m fully confident that he can learn to obey without knowing the exact reason. Honoring your father and your mother doesn’t mean “only when you know and agree with their reasons” and I want to start training him up now before he gets into full-fledged toddlerhood haha. He already does know boundaries, even this young. And he really does listen pretty well for such a little guy.
Also, he hated when Alex put him in his shirt hahaha.
Things I want to remember: How excited you get when Daddy gets home from work, how you share your toys (but since you like to chew on them all, you share by putting them near my mouth because you think I’ll like to chew on them too), how you walk around with you belly sticking out, how you mosey all over smacking your chest when you don’t have a shirt on, how you dance with your arms up in the air and slowly walk around in a circle, how you sing “Ho Hey” along with the song (“OH!), how you try to explain yourself with a very serious look on your face when you know you’re doing something bad (Me: Jameson, what are you– You: *jump away from item* Ahtookatookatooka!), when I catch you with something you’re not supposed to have and you hand it to me like that was your plan all along, how you like to explore new things with just one very careful pointer finger, how you run to us and fall into our arms with a huge smile, the way you hurry your little tushy away after baths and make me chase you to get dressed, how you sometimes start dancing or clapping along to silly songs that I’m making up on the spot (makes me feel famous or something), and how you’ve recently started sharing with other kids (gently handing your toys to someone you think might have fun with it). Sweet boy!
Jameson, my little love, you are everything to us. This year with you has been the best of our lives. You make our little family overflow with love and laughter and fun. We adore you. I am so thrilled to see what God has in store for us in year TWO! ❤
Our baby boy’s first birthday is fast approaching (next Monday, how?!) and we wanted to do something special as a family to celebrate his first year of life and all the wonderful ways he makes our lives better. So yesterday we had a photographer friend (Marissa Adams, of Lux & Arrow Photography) come to our home to capture some of the everyday moments that are so special to us. We are THRILLED with the results and I wanted to share some of my favorites from the session here today! What a blessing these photos will be for us to show Jameson later on.
We love you, sweet baby Squish!!! You’ve made this year the best of our lives. We’re so thankful that God placed you in our love and care!
Yay!!! I finally finished my first home improvement project for our new house and I’m so excited about how it turned out! Ever since I can remember it’s been a dream of mine to live in a house with a red front door. And even though our new house has almost everything on my dream home wish list, the front door was definitely in need of a face lift.
Sad. It just looked so sad. First of all, it was painted this weird creamish color (terribly done, by the way, streaks just everywhere) which faded it completely into the side of the house. No character or charm to report there. And second of all, the previous home owners had a large dog who apparently liked to scratch at their front door and lay right up against it, so it had taken quite a beating (not to mention it was filthy and it smelled like dog, ew). I couldn’t just leave it like that.
So, I did a some quick Pinterest research, looked at a few front door painting tutorials and thought to myself, I can fix that. (“Holes” quote, anyone? Anyone?) And so I did! And you can too if your front door is as desperate for some personality as ours was.
I’m putting together my own DIY tutorial now to add what I’ve learned to the mix. There are some things that worked great for me and some things I wish I had known beforehand, both of which I’ll share with you today. But first, here are the supplies you’ll need:
120 grit sandpaper
High density foam rollers (at least two) – make sure they’re relatively small so you have more precision with where you get the paint
Small foam paint brushes (at least two)
Primer (we got about one quart)
The red paint! (about one quart)
**Optional: spray paint for the hardware
We went to Home Depot for everything. I picked up some sample paint chips a few weeks prior, went back and forth a zillion times on which color I liked best, and finally settled on a gorgeous shade called Red Delicious (by Glidden). Make sure you ask for the exterior version of whatever paint you choose, as your door will be exposed to the elements.
Your first step will be to remove all the hardware and tape up the holes from the inside so that no dust/dirt can get in your house. Then, if you’d like, remove your entire door and place it somewhere you won’t mind dripping paint on (I laid out a few garbage bags on our back patio and put the door on top). I’ve read that you can do this entire project with your door still in its frame, but we chose to take it out completely because #1, it’s summer in Arizona and we couldn’t have our door just hanging open while the paint dried all day… #2, I didn’t want to spend all day trying to keep Jameson away from it… and #3, I didn’t want to take any chances with paint dripping and ruining the project. But it’s entirely up to you! If you’re using the foam rollers you probably won’t have issues with dripping anyway.
Once your door is ready, you can start to sand it down. I guess sanding isn’t necessary for everyone, but for us it was. I wanted to get off that top layer of ugly cream paint (plus nasty dirt and grime) and give my new primer and paint a clean surface to grab onto. No need to break your back over it, though! A light overall sanding (with special focus on any rough parts or imperfections) will do the trick. When you’re done, wipe the door down with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust.
Next, prime your door using a foam roller. I used this deep gray primer that was recommended to me by the nice men at Home Depot. (The can says “white” but it was actually the gray version.)
Our door only needed one coat of primer but the original paint was pretty light to begin with and, again, I was using a deep gray shade of primer. You may need a second coat if you’re painting over a dark color door, or if you’re using a white primer. The guys at Home Depot told me that red is tricky in general to get thick and even coverage with so it’s better to be liberal with your priming than to get stuck doing like six coats of red later on.
Give your primer an hour or two to dry and then break out the red! There is a particular order you need to follow when painting a six panel door to get that smooth finish. There are a couple of slight variations, but I found a general example online to follow and I love how my door turned out. Here are the steps (shown as I painted on the primer, which isn’t necessary but I did it to give myself practice before starting on the red):
Paint the insert parts using a paintbrush or a small foam brush. (I used a paintbrush but in hindsight I wish I had used a foam brush because the regular paintbrush leaves brush strokes. Not absolutely crazy about that, but oh well!)
Paint the raised panels using a foam roller.
Paint vertically between each set of panels, stopping when you reach the end of a set.
Paint horizontally between each set of panels, stopping when you reach the end of a set.
Paint vertically along the two edges of the door.
Give your door a good 3-4 hours to dry really well before you start on the second coat of red (advice given to me once again by my friends at the Home Depot). I only needed to do two coats of red total and I still had a little bit of red paint leftover from the quart I bought (I actually ended up using some of that to touch up around the peephole). After you’re done with the second coat give the door a few more hours to dry again before you reattach it to the frame and close it. Otherwise it will stick to the weather stripping and mess up your beautiful work!
Once the door was done and lookin’ real purty, I knew I couldn’t just leave the hardware all brassy and outdated. But I also didn’t want to buy all new stuff either because $$$. So I did a little more Pinterest research and found a great alternative… spray paint! Seriously, so cheap (I think the can was like $7) and so easy too (I just sprayed the hardware, let it dry, and screwed it back in). And the results look awesome and super professional! I used an oil-rubbed bronze shade and it’s exactly what I was hoping for.
I left a little gold on the deadbolt because I was afraid of tampering with the lock’s functioning, but I may go back and touch it up carefully. And when we repaint the outside of the house (hopefully this winter), we’re planning to fix up the door casing as well. For now, though, the front door makeover is complete! What do you think??
I’m absolutely loving it. Makes my heart so happy! I also added a couple of pretty plants to make the patio more welcoming, and eventually I’d like to replace that light with something to match my newly bronzed hardware (because right now it is yeesh). But that’s for a later time! For now, I live in a house with a red front door and I am happy. 🙂
Things are getting interesting around here. 😉 Now that Jameson is walking like a pro (well, like a drunken sailor. But still much better than he was last month), he’s getting a lot more independent and a lot more outspoken about what he wants to do. Part of this is not so fun (e.g., he tries to leap out of my arms so he can walk to something he wants) but most of it is so awesome to see. I love his determination and I love how he doesn’t give up on his goals (although I could do without his try-to-eat-Charlie’s-food-every-few-hours goal). I can feel us transitioning into toddlerhood and I hate it and love it at the same time. Being a parent is confusing in many different ways.
I can’t believe that next month it’ll be a whole year since we met our boy! But let’s not think about that just yet, please. I’m not ready. For now, here’s where we stand at eleven months old…
Weight & Length: We won’t know any officials until his one year appointment next month, but I weighed him this week and he’s around 21.4 lbs, which is 0.4 pounds more than last month (but obviously still pretty much the same. Thank goodness, he’s a chunk to carry around all day hahah).
Clothing: Mostly 12-18 month stuff for the clothes and size 4 in diapers still. Pretty much the same as last month!
Hair & Eyes: I kiss his little blondish/reddish/brownish curls all the time. They are just so cute! His eyes are are still that dark green color. Sometimes I think they look just like Alex’s, sometimes I think they look just like mine. Maybe they’ll always be a combination.
Sleep: About the same as last month! He’s up for the day around 7 or 7:30, takes an hour and a half morning nap, an hour and a half afternoon nap, and then he’s down for the night around 8pm. He still wakes up around 5am every morning, though…sometimes he goes back to sleep on his own, sometimes Alex brings him into our bed and he’ll go back to sleep then. I keep saying we should try to break that habit, but it really doesn’t bother me too much and I know he’ll grow out of it eventually. So for now I’m just enjoying our morning snuggles in the big bed. 🙂
Eating: I’d say his nursing/eating regular food is about fifty-fifty at this point (actually sometimes more in favor of nursing). He eats three meals a day, but he still nurses in between those meals (usually right before a nap or before bed). It is slooooow goings in the regular food department. Jameson is super skeptical of everything, takes forever to warm up to a new food (besides snack foods or desserts), and fights meals almost every time. I can’t tell if it’s because he’s just not liking what I give him, if he’d rather nurse, or if he just doesn’t like sitting still to eat (this boy is go, go, go). Maybe a combination. Either way, I’ve been trying to make meals interesting and offer him lots of different choices to see what he likes. But I’m not going to force it on him. I’m fine if we keep nursing for awhile if that’s what he needs. I won’t stop nursing until I’m confident that he’s getting enough nutrition and calories from regular food anyway. And right now, he definitely isn’t. If you have any tips or meal ideas for little ones, please send them my way!
Milestones: He got his fifth tooth this month (next to his right top tooth) but no sign of the matching one for the left side yet haha. He’s gotten so much better at walking since last month and actually never even crawls anymore at all, unless he’s already playing on the floor. He doesn’t mind falling over either…he just pops right back up! He’s also getting more courageous with climbing things (scares the crap out of me all the time) and likes to test the limits to see how fast he can walk/run.
Communication: He’s been super into copying sounds and even words (not very well haha) these days. I think he’s really close to his first word, if he hasn’t said it already (hard to tell). Almost every day I think I hear him say “all done” (“ah duh”) but I don’t know if it’s just coincidence or not. He has definitely signed it, though, so I guess that’s technically his first word either way! He also copies me when I say “uh oh” (“UH!”) and babbles almost nonstop during the day. He understands a lot of the words I use every day (Daddy, Charlie, ball, water, no, hi, etc.) and will look for whatever it is I’m talking about until he finds it (e.g., “Where’s Daddy?” and he’ll look around the room until he finds Alex). He loves interacting with games and songs (especially doing the “tip me over” part of “I’m a Little Teapot”) and loves clapping for things to show you he likes something or to get me to say “yay!” He sometimes even asks for the name of things in his own way (will reach is arm toward an object and say, “eh?” and then I’ll give him the name of it). It is so much fun!
Loves: A lot of the same stuff as last month… Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and anything Mickey-related (included the real mouse himself in Disneyland), the ocean, listening to Alex play guitar, being in the Ergobaby carrier, playing with the coasters in the living room, attempting to grab/chew/mess with any wire he can find, playing fetch with Charlie, trying to grab Charlie’s tail, sneaking snacks from Charlie’s food bowl (I pull him away from there at least 8 times a day. It’s his biggest temptation right now.), playing with balls and blocks, walking around the house, figuring out how things work, playing peek-a-boo or hide-and-go-seek with me, READING (loves loves looooves), watching me vacuum and steam the floors and trying to catch the machines haha, playing in the open fridge, playing in the dishwasher (also an area of dislike because he’s not allowed to do this), dancing to music, and just about anything having to do with being outside.
Hates: Not getting his way. Not being allowed outside. When I close the dishwasher before he can get there (even if he just hears me close it from another room, he will start bawling his eyes out. I usually have to save doing the dishes for during his naps because of this haha). And probably the biggest one…he hates sitting still. If he’s awake, we wants to move. Which is part of the reason why I think he hates meal time so much…he just doesn’t have the patience for sitting down and doesn’t care about food enough to make it worthwhile. (He also hated when Charlie tried to share his car seat hahahah)
Things I want to remember: Our high-pitched screaming contests, your open mouth kisses which you give out sometimes when I (or Daddy or Aunt Chuck) ask for them, the way you run/stumble the last few steps to me and fall into my arms with the biggest smile, the way you take my hand and lead me around the house, that face you make when you don’t want anymore of something (nose all scrunchy, lips puckered), the way you play with washcloths in the bathtub (placing them just so in the corner, admiring your work, and then picking them back up again and starting over), how you started trying to balance things this month (carefully setting an item on top of something else and slooooowly lifting your chubby little hands off of it to make sure it stays put), the way you crawl or walk away as fast as you can after baths so you don’t have to get dressed, how you gently lay your head on my shoulder and smile shyly at people who come up to talk to you, how you absentmindedly play with my fingers or ring while I’m holding you, the way you veeerrryyy carefully duck your head and crawl nice and slow under the kitchen chairs, the way you used to speed crawl around with your head down and a look of determination on your face, how Charlie and I literally run down the hall when we hear you wake up from your naps every day, and how adorable you look when you squat down with that big old diaper booty to play with a toy on the floor. You are just so so cute, Jameson.
Happy eleven months, my very best Squish. ❤ Next month will be a whole year spent with you…the best, most fulfilling, most wonderful wonderful wonderful year of my life. I don’t have the words to tell you how much I’ve loved these eleven perfect months with you. I love you forever and ever and ever baby boy.
We just got back from our five day stay in California and I couldn’t wait to write up a summary of our vacation! Partly because I don’t want to forget anything, and partly because I just have a deep love for these pictures and wanted to share them as soon as possible.
I took Jameson by myself to Georgia a few months ago to meet some relatives on my dad’s side, but this trip to California was our first official vacation as a whole family. And it was amazing. Seriously, it went so smoothly and Jameson was a perfect angel the entire time. In fact, he got compliments from strangers for being such a well-behaved and happy baby everywhere we went. He made friends everywhere and we had an absolute blast! I don’t even know what my favorite part was.
The whole trip was arranged by Alex’s company as a fun getaway for many of the employees…but we really had the freedom to plan whatever we wanted to do in the time we were there. We actually went a few days early with Alex’s parents (his mom also works for the company) just to give us time to do everything we wanted, and it was perfect.
We left on a Wednesday and took a short flight to California (Jameson slept the entire time, bless his angel baby heart) and spent the afternoon settling into our room at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna, which was absolutely goooorgeous. The ocean was literally just a short walk down a path from the hotel…you could see it and hear it and smell it and feel the breeze through open windows all over the resort. So lovely.
That first evening at sunset, Alex and I took Jameson down to see the ocean for the first time. I was so excited and ridiculously giddy. The ocean is my favorite place in the world to be and I hadn’t been able to see it for several years (Arizona is not really the best place to visit the beach, ya know?). We half-skipped, half-stumbled down the steep path and finally made it to the sand. I scooped Jameson up and together we hurried to the water’s edge. He was absolutely mesmerized. I was too. Something about the ocean makes you feel infinitely small but also infinitely loved by the One who created it. It is the most wonderful feeling. We played in the waves until the sun was almost all the way down and then went back up to our room to get a good night’s sleep before our big Disney adventure the next day.
It was HOT at Disneyland. We got there in the morning on Thursday (me, Alex, Jameson, and my in-laws who were a huge help the entire vacation) and we could feel the heat already. It was crowded too, but we still got to do a lot of the things we wanted and we had a blast anyway. Some of my favorite moments were meeting Mickey Mouse in his house in Toon Town (Jameson was obsessed. He even kissed Mickey on the nose! And actually all of Toon Town was great…so many fun things there for little kids), going on a few rides with Jameson (his first ride ever was Small World with me and Alex, which he loved, but we also went on the Winnie the Pooh ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, and King Arthur’s Carousel and he loved those too), watching the Paint the Night Parade (sooo amazing! Definitely a must-see!), and playing in the Star Wars Exhibit (odd, but Jameson had so much fun toddling around and exploring all the Star Wars stuff haha).
Day two (Friday) was spent at California Adventure, and I have to say that I think we had more fun there than at Disney. Not that Disney wasn’t great, it was just so crowded and hectic that we had to skip some things I was really hoping we could do (like the Dumbo ride, the Teacups, and The Matterhorn for me and Alex). California Adventure was much more slow paced and not nearly as jam-packed with people so we got to relax a little and do a lot more with Jameson. The best parts from the day were definitely exploring mah girl Belle’s Library, taking Jameson on a couple more rides (another carousal & Flik’s Flyers), going on Tower of Terror with Alex and his mom, and playing on Paradise Pier (which is where I shot one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken of Jameson and Alex). We also got to see a bunch of the little shows that come through California Adventure because there weren’t as many people to crowd the way (the Mickey & Friends show, the Toy Soldiers from Toy Story, the Dapper Dans, and all those other Dapper people I don’t know the names of haha).
That evening as the sun was setting, we walked around Downtown Disney (which Alex says was one of his favorite parts). It was so much cooler without the sun beating down on us, there was live music, and we got plenty of shopping done. 😉 I love all the shops in Downtown Disney (especially the big old World of Disney store and the Lego Store) and it all feels so magical even though you’re not actually in the parks anymore.
Saturday was kind of a chill day for the most part. We went to breakfast with Alex’s parents in the morning, Jameson took a good long nap when we got back to our room (we had to wake him up after the second hour!), and then we spent awhile on the beach. Jameson had the time of his life throwing sand around, walking all over and sticking his toes in the water, and splashing in the waves with me and Alex.
After we got all cleaned up, we headed to a cocktail party hosted by Alex’s company on a patio overlooking the sea (the only work event we had to attend). It was gorgeous and the food was delicious! Plus, Alex’s uncle Andy (along with his girlfriend, Nina) drove over two hours just to spend a little time with us and finally meet Jameson. It was so nice to see them and introduce them to our sweet boy.
After the cocktail party, we all (except Alex’s dad, who stayed behind to hang out with Andy) took a bus down to the docks where we boarded a boat that took us about 6 miles out into the ocean for a whale & dolphin watching tour. We got to see a giant pod of dolphins and one really cool humpback whale, but near the end of the tour poor Jameson got sea sick. 😦 He woke up from a nap about halfway through the boat ride and was acting kind of strange, but we thought maybe he was just sleepy still…it never even crossed my mind that he could be sea sick! He loves being tossed around and he loved all the rides at Disney, but I guess being on a boat is different. Plus he’d been snacking on random food with us all evening so maybe something just didn’t sit right. Either way, it was his first time ever throwing up for real and I felt absolutely horrible. We took him onto the steadiest part of the boat we could find and I just held him and sang quietly in his ear until we got back to the docks. Thankfully by the time we got on the bus to take us back to the hotel, he was back to his normal happy self. He even started greeting people in the lobby, waving and chatting and showing off his favorite shovel! What a ham.
Sunday was really just a travel day. We enjoyed a quiet breakfast out on the hotel patio with the foggy ocean as our view and then packed everything up and headed to the airport. Jameson once again slept for the entire flight (seriously, this kid is a dream) and we made it home safe and sound!
I think what I loved the most about this trip was seeing the world through Jameson’s eyes. Being a parent gives you the chance to enjoy things you’ve done a thousand times before in completely new ways. It is such a gift! I think I actually spent most of the vacation just watching Jameson’s face to see how he’d react to everything around him. And with every bit of joy and wonder and excitement he felt…I felt it too.
Honestly, this vacation was so much more than I could have asked for. I loved getting to share it all with some of my favorite people and I loved spending so much time with my two boys. Showing Jameson the ocean and all the magic of Disneyland and watching his face light up over and over again was truly something I’ll cherish forever. I can’t wait to bring him back in a few years and see how excited he gets to experience it all again!
** One more thing I’ll mention… If you’re traveling to Disneyland with an infant, definitely check out the Baby Care Centers! They have one in Disneyland and one in California Adventure and you can find them easily on the Disneyland app. They’re quiet and air-conditioned and they have the cutest little old ladies there to help you out (at least they were there every time I went inside). There’s places to change your baby, high chairs for feeding your baby, small areas for your little one to crawl or walk around for a bit, and my favorite part was the rooms they have for nursing your baby (or for pumping). The room was darkened and secluded and was filled with these comfy wicker chairs for you to sit in. Perfect for if you need a break from all the hustle and bustle out in the park.
A few years ago I came across a series of photos on Pinterest of a little boy named Grant. The series was called “Life with Grant” and the photos were simple, everyday moments captured beautifully by his mother. Completely natural and unposed. It stuck with me all these years, and today I want to share with you my own version of that series – “A Day With Jameson.” I’m hoping to make this into a somewhat regular series (maybe once every few months) because I think it will be fun to look back and see how our days together have changed. But, maybe more importantly, because I think it’s important to take notice of the pure and beautiful moments that happen on even the most mundane days. This project forced me to slow down and intentionally find beauty in a typical Tuesday at home – something I may have missed out on otherwise. I was reminded again that some of the sweetest moments I share with my son are the ones that happen every day. And maybe that’s part of what makes them so sweet.