Ten Months

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This post is super late- he’s now 6 days shy of 11 months!

Ten months. And every month he gets more fun.

Jonathan has brought so much laughter to our lives. He’s got such an adventurous spirit and is always ready to play with us. He’s started attending the Montessori school that I am currently long-term subbing at (where I used to work) and the teachers say what a joy he is. He loves to explore, he’s incredibly busy and he’s quick to smile and laugh.

He now has five teeth, which he’s loving using to explore new foods. He wants to try anything and everything he can get his hands on, but also still finds himself addicted to puffs. On Thanksgiving he was in heaven eating turkey, mashed potatoes and ambrosia. Bananas, cottage cheese and yogurt are becoming regulars in his meal rotation. He also really loved Uncle Brandon’s chicken enchilada casserole! He looks like such a big boy holding his banana and chomping away.

He’s getting ever closer to walking, cruising along furniture, the hearth, his parents. He still loves going up the stairs, but has just figured out that he can go down if he does it feet first. A very exciting development! He got to use a walking toy at Thanksgiving with the Athertons and he loved the independence of walking “on his own.” He likes to do it with the push wagon at school, too!

I can’t believe how close we are to his first birthday! I am both incredibly emotional that my baby is so grown up but also so incredibly proud to be his mom. His desire to learn is amazing to watch and the way that he continues to interact with the world around him and gain knowledge from it definitely brings on those proud mom moments. We’re so blessed to have such a happy, easy-going baby! He loves his teachers and all of his aunties and uncles. He is happy to cruise around the coffee table while we’re all gathered to watch football and stop in to play with everyone there. And to turn off the tv during Broncos games… that blue light on the cable box is just too good to resist!

Jonathan Michael, Mommy and Daddy couldn’t love you more!

Nine Months

Jonathan's pose for GQ 9 Months Old

Jonathan’s pose for GQ
9 Months Old

Nine months ago, this amazing child entered the world. From day one, he’s brought joy to his dad and I, along with the rest of our families. He’s been such a happy baby and continues to enrich our lives in every possible way. At nine months, he’s a very busy boy. Crawling from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed, with only very short naps in between, he’s a man on a mission. Jonathan is also a big fan of pulling himself up on everything – the couch, the hearth, people’s pant legs, the refrigerator, the side of the bath tub. He’s begun walking along things and at times pulls his hands off and stands alone for a few seconds. It’ll only be a short matter of time before he’s walking and, no doubt, running, the halls.

Jonathan is a great eater. He wants to eat everything in sight. He still nurses a few times a day, drinks some formula, eats puréed foods and also some finger foods. He has yet to dislike a food we’ve offered him. Cottage cheese and scrambled eggs are new additions to the lineup, but we are consistently letting him try pieces from our meals. He’s got a top tooth breaking through, so we anticipate having two top teeth in the near future to help chew his new culinary conquests.

He’s had a very busy few months of visits with family and new adventures. His Grandpa, Great Papa and Great Nana came to visit at the end of August and he went up his first “fourteener,” Mt. Evans.

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He also traveled to California for his Uncle CD and Auntie Ash’s wedding in San Francisco. He had lots of fun playing with his big cousin Slade and then going to Nevada to meet his new baby cousin, Milo.

Cousins pushing each other on the swing

Cousins pushing each other on the swing

J with his big cousin, Jackson and baby cousin, Milo

J with his big cousin, Jackson and baby cousin, Milo

We also made our annual Kenosha Pass trip to see the fall colors. Colorado in the fall is truly beautiful.

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He was also my little assistant on my first family photo session for my new venture, Amanda Rabon Photography. A cuter assistant you’ll never find.

Jonathan’s next adventures include his current visit from his Grandma Marcie, his first Halloween, and a trip to Florida for my cousin Jessica’s wedding (and flying with Mommy alone – pray for us!).  We go for his 9 month well-baby appointment on Monday, so be on the lookout on my Instagram or Facebook for his new stats!

A Day in the Life

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This post was inspired by a local blogger I follow over at Yes, I Want Cake. She makes delicious foods AND her baby boy was born about a week after Jonathan. I hope to do one of these every so often as Jonathan grows and his days become full of different activities.

L’Chaim

To life.

Are you singing the song from Fiddler on the Roof in your head right now? I am.

In the midst of all of the busyness of this season of our lives, I have been thinking about living a life well-lived. Being intentional in the pursuit of growth, while balancing the demands (and joys) of motherhood, being a good wife to Stephen, a good friend and good to my body. I find it easy to go through the motions of life without making a point to pursue a better self. Which is not to say that life is not wonderful as it is, but the continual challenge to better oneself is an admirable goal, right? `

I’m not a risk taker by nature. I don’t like trying new things because I like knowing the outcome will be successful. I like doing things I’m good at because I am good at them. I don’t think that’s an uncommon sentiment. I have my moments of unabashed adventure, like that time in 2005 when I decided to go skydiving. It took a lot of stubborn to get through that one, not necessarily a lot of bravery. Once I’d told some people I was going, I couldn’t back out. But I did it, I survived and I daresay that it was one of the more unexpected, fun experiences of my life.

 

May 2005

May 2005

 

But to continue to grow, I need to continue to push myself. There’s a saying:

My comfort zone includes cuddling on the couch with my boys, some Del Taco chili fries and a good book or a few episodes of whatever TV show we’re making our way through on Netflix or AmazonPrime streaming video.

I want to be the best mother to Jonathan that I can be and the best wife to Stephen that I am capable of being and doing so requires me to constantly pursue the best me. It’s hard for me to take time for myself because I’d rather spend all of my time with my guys. But my theory follows two very important sayings: Happy Wife, Happy Life & If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy :)

So, in that vein, here are my most recent attempts to better and challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone.

Crossfit

I touched on this in Jonathan’s 4 month post, but when he was 4 months old I decided it was time to focus on my health post-baby. I set apart 90 days to try something new to build my body back up after being pregnant and giving birth. I committed to 90 days of 5x per week Crossfit workouts in our home gym. I learned a lot about myself over those 90 days and I’m proud of how far I have come. Honestly, who’d have thought I could deadlift 205 lbs? For that matter, who would have thought I could deadlift at all? Barbell work of any sort was completely foreign to me, so picking up the barbell to do a variety of moves (deadlifts, cleans, push press, etc.) was a new world. As those of you who have followed my blog for some time know, my go-to workout has always been running. Now, I’m mixing cardio with weights and the variety is keeping my attention. I’m planning to continue working out (I took the last week off due to a random asthma situation that ended up with me in urgent care getting a breathing treatment and a prescription for albuterol and prednisone- after not having asthma symptoms for probably a decade plus maybe a little bronchitis mixed in there) and look forward to hitting some new goals of mine. I hope to, by the end of 2014, be able to do one pull-up and deadlift 245 pounds.

 Whole 30

Surely you’ve heard of the Paleo diet, right? All the rage, especially in Crossfit circles, the Paleo diet seeks to eat as our cavemen forefathers did. This means exclusion of certain types of foods like dairy, grains, legumes, sugars and processed foods. Essentially it’s time to party primal-style with meats, veggies, fruits and nuts. I like Nerd Fitness’ description, but that might have a lot to do with those sweet Lego pictures.

The Whole 30 is a lot like Paleo, but stricter. Since it’s a 30 day challenge, they put a few more restrictions on the diet for that time. From their site:

The Whole30 is based on a Paleo framework, but restricts some foods that might be considered “Paleo” in nature. (Of course, the exact definition of Paleo varies, based on who you ask.) The goal of the Whole30 is to eliminate all foods that may be having a negative psychological or physiological effect on how you look, feel and live. As such, some technically “Paleo” foods (like honey, or desserts made with almond flour) are ruled out for the duration of your program.

Since we all know I am a sucker for a challenge (such as the 10 Day Juice Fast of 2013), I talked to Stephen and Matt and we decided to give it a go. Today is Day 8 and I haven’t died yet. I haven’t had a hard carb crash and I’m not on-edge-going-to-kill-everyone. All good signs. I’ve been testing new recipes and so far have been met with success. It takes a lot more preparation and planning than I’m used to, and our eating out choices are quite limited.

As a note, though, Stephen and I are only doing a Whole 27. Between when my family left/Stephen returned from San Diego and when we go to California later this month there are 27 days. We don’t ever want to be those people who make eating together for family functions difficult, so we decided missing the mark by 3 days wasn’t the end of the world. Plus, there’s In-n-Out, Chin Hua and Murillo’s to be had in Vacaville that we look forward to at each visit.

At the end of this experiment we’ll discuss if we want to adopt a Paleo lifestyle, modify it (such as including dairy – surely a caveman could milk a cow if he had been so inclined), go 80/20 or just scrap the idea all together. That’s the fun part about trying these “challenges” – no one says you have to do them forever. It’s a great way to test a potential habit you are thinking of adopting by making an informed decision based on how your body reacts to it. If we end up discovering that we feel great eating this way, we may choose to continue. If we feel that we lack the energy to perform on workouts and in every day life, we might make some modifications or discontinue use.

 And here’s the next big adventure and honestly the one I’m most anxious about…

Amanda Rabon Photography?

I have been encouraged by those around me to pursue my love of photography and possibly make a job out of it. I would say that it’s just my family being nice to me because they have to, but I’ve had a few non-family members encourage me to put myself out there and explore capturing people’s special moments for a living. Being a stay at home mom is a great gig- the best in the world- but it would be nice to make a little money on the side while doing something that I enjoy.

My biggest hindrance in pursing this is myself. I lack the confidence to put myself and my talents on the line. What if someone hired me and didn’t like their photos? I would hate to let someone down like that. It’s a lot more pressure taking photos for other people than just taking photos of my sweet baby around the house.

He's a captive subject.

He’s my number one practice subject, both because he’s so cute and because he can’t object yet – haha.

I’ve been doing an online photography class as a refresher on the basics and I’m hoping to start taking a lot of photos to hone my skills. This means that I’m going to need guinea pigs. Lots of them. I’d like volunteers, but my poor husband might just have to be willing to let me take 103357346721t3761y3i2345 pictures of him. Jonathan doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. I’ll need to practice a lot and build a portfolio before I even think about trying to market myself to other people.

This is scary, guys. It seems like everyone these days is a photographer and I don’t want to be pretentious or think that I’m better than I am. I love natural photos and shy away from heavy processing. It’s just not my jam. That means I have to be that much more confident that I am taking solid photos.

We’ll see what is to come of this. Maybe I never actually pull the trigger. Maybe I do it and it’s awesome. Only time will tell.

 But for now, let’s raise a glass (of Kombucha, alcohol is not Whole 30 compliant) to the continued quest for happiness and health and drink to life… L’Chaim.

I ended up minoring in Jewish Studies in college, which makes me feel like I have a license to throw around Yiddish words and phrases. 

Seven Months

Seven Months August 17, 2014

Seven Months
August 17, 2014

Joy.

It’s the word that sums up the last seven months. Jonathan has brought so much joy to our lives and the lives of those closest to us. His smile is infectious and his giggle is probably my favorite sound in the entire world. No one makes him laugh like Stephen does, and my heart overflows when I can hear Jonathan laughing with his daddy upstairs from the main floor. He’s an easy baby, as babies go, though he does have his moments of fussiness. But even when those times are trying, one smile erases the frustration of trying to use logic on an infant.

The look on his face when I walk into his room in the morning — yes, he is now sleeping in his own room — is one of unabashed love. It’s that smile, that coo, that love, that has made transitioning him to his own room work so well. We made the decision that he needed to move to his crib in his room, instead of the pack-n-play in our room, just over a week ago. I wasn’t getting much sleep and Jonathan seemed to be regressing a bit. Stephen thought we should move him to his room, I think mainly for my sake. After reading online about the various methods of sleep training, we decided to go with the “cry it out” method. I know this is controversial and that there are so many people who would condemn us as the lowest scum in the parental pool. That said, my parents let me cry it out and I turned out mostly okay.

I’m a firm believer that you should do what works best for your family and your baby. If you’re not comfortable with it, maybe it isn’t the method for you.

So, we gave it a shot. And it worked wonderfully. We decided to establish a more concrete bedtime routine so that he could get used to what came next. So: bath, Bible, breastfeed/bottle (if for some reason I’m not home at that time), bed. Admittedly, the first night was a little tough. We put him down with hugs, kisses and “I love you” from each of us and left the room. He sort of explored his crib a little and fell asleep. Then, about 2:30am, he woke up crying. This is where the video monitor we were so generously gifted by my former coworker came in clutch. Knowing that if I went in to see him, he would probably only get worse (he was used to nursing when he’d wake up in our room, another habit we wanted to break), I was able to watch him. This gave me the reassurance that, although crying, he had not hit his head or gotten a limb stuck in the side of the crib. After 40 minutes of crying of various degrees, he fell asleep. And slept until 7am.  The next night, he cried for 10 minutes when we put him down, but then slept straight through the night (I didn’t, I woke up at 2am convinced I heard him crying but he was sleeping peacefully). And every night since, he’s gone down, fussed for less than 10 minutes and then slept peacefully through the night. I’m sleeping through the night now too.  Stephen and I get some time alone in the evenings now, which makes us both very happy.

Even after that first hard night, I went into his room in the morning to a happy, calm, loving baby. I think that was God’s way of reassuring me that letting him cry during the night before didn’t teach him that we don’t love him or that he’s alone in this world. As a mom, those little “winks from God” are so valuable to know you’re doing a good job.

Very important morning reading in his crib :)

Very important morning reading in his crib : )

Our sweet boy continues to be a little explorer. Now that he’s crawling, he wants to see and experience everything. As a parent, there’s nothing quite like watching your little one take in and process the world around him. He’s realized that can open dresser drawers, decorate the room with movies from the shelf and make his swing move with the click of a button. He’s loved trying all the foods that I’ve made for him. He’s had apples, peaches, pears, butternut squash, sweet potato, green beans, peas, carrots, prunes and bananas. I just got some avocado for him to try as well. He is eager to eat solid foods, but still nurses and has formula too. I let him have a piece of pear the other day as I was making his purées. He wanted to eat it, but it was too slippery to stay in his hand. He was able to shave off a bit with his two bottom teeth, though. He had a cracker at my friend Marcia’s on Monday and was able to hold that much easier, though I’m pretty sure more ended up on his shirt and the floor than in his belly. I’m excited to add more finger foods to his expanding palette.

He spotted me while exploring the adjacent room. I love how happy he gets to see me.

He spotted me while exploring the adjacent room. I love how happy he gets to see me.

He is playing more independently now, which is actually what is allowing me to write this blog. He’s got a play area downstairs where we have toys out for him and plenty of space to crawl. He has to be watched closely still, as the house has not been baby proofed, but it is so fun to watch what he decides to do. We took him to the park not long ago and he was fascinated by the grass. I’ve heard of many children who don’t like the feel of grass, but he couldn’t wait to get off the blanket we laid out for him and explore.

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I’m so thankful to be his mom. Experiencing the world a second time, though his eyes, is incredible. Knowing that these first experiences will shape his understanding of the world is amazing. I am so excited for the rest of the year, especially with the holidays approaching. We have the unique opportunity to make family traditions that will be with him (and any future siblings) his whole childhood and might even be passed to his children someday. What a glorious and precious time is upon us!

Six Months

Six months.

One half of a year.

As I sit here, watching our six month old son happily entertain himself in his exersaucer, I can’t believe that half of his first year of life has passed. He’s grown and changed so much during the last 181 days. He gets more handsome every day. Okay, I lied. He gets more handsome every second. I’m his mom, I’m crazy about him, so sue me. He is still the happiest baby I have ever met. He’s quick to smile at funny faces I make, songs I sing to him and just about anything having to do with his daddy. Literally just saying “da” makes him giggle. There is nothing like the look of pure joy that he gives when he wakes up and one of us goes to pick him up from where he is laying.

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I just can’t get over how much I love this face.

He’s very inquisitive. He studies everything. He loves to people watch when we are out in public. He’s taught himself how to use each of the toys on his exersaucer with minimal adult intervention. I am loving watching as his hand-eye coordination and dexterity become more refined than the “flailing in the right general direction” of a few months ago.  He is purposeful in his movements and very strong. He has a very firm grip and baby abs of steel. His legs have no trouble bearing his weight and, were it not for that whole balance thing, he could stand on his own.

Standing in his crib

Standing in his crib

He’s mobile. He can’t quite crawl yet, but the combination of rolling, turning different directions while on his tummy and scooting himself forward with his legs helps him cross the span of rooms or our bed. It’s an exciting and scary time for me as he can’t be left alone or he may fall off of something. He sets his mind to a destination or toy (or my cell phone) and works his way to it through the capabilities he has. I don’t think it will be long before he can really get around. Though he once hated tummy time, now that he can roll from his back to his belly and move around, he seems to enjoy the vantage point of the tummy.  As I’m typing this he just pushed himself up onto his hands and knees while trying to get to the elusive cell phone. This momma is about to be very busy.

He’s still our long and lean boy. Though 6 months old, he can still fit into a few of his 0-3 month clothes. This is totally brand dependent, though. Old Navy must run big because he fits into 0-3 still but Gerber must run small because his 3-6 clothes are tight on him. We’ll find out his weight and height at his six month well-baby visit on Monday. Then the chalkboard making and picture taking shall commence.

I am obsessed with taking pictures of this handsome boy!

I am obsessed with taking pictures of this handsome boy!

We’ve started to experiment with baby foods. He still nurses (like a champ, now!) and has formula but has extended his repertoire to include rice cereal and puréed food. So far he’s tried apples & strawberries, peaches, carrots and pears. Next on the list to try is sweet potatoes. He’s become much more skilled at the use of the spoon, as have we! He seems to like pears and apple/strawberry the best so far. I’ll be trying to make our own purées here pretty soon! I’m also intrigued by the idea of baby-led weaning, but haven’t really tried to give him any whole foods yet except a small piece of tortilla and some mashed potatoes. He is fascinated by watching people eat, especially his Uncle Matt at breakfast time. He also loves to chew on spoons. Maybe he is trying to imitate adults eating?

He babbles a lot. Sometimes he’ll just sit there or lay there with one finger in his mouth telling us his life story. Though it often sounds like he’s saying “hi” or “hey” (and the “hey” definitely makes him sound like the Fonz), I’m not really sure if those count as his first words? I’m trying to teach him to say “Daddy,” but with the amount of Crossfit talk around our house, his first word might be “deadlift.”

Jonathan means “God has given” in Hebrew. God has certainly given us an amazing gift. He fills our days with joy and laughter. He fills our hearts with a love so deep and so rich. He makes me fall more in love with my husband. He has bonded us together as a team on another level. It is an honor and privilege to raise him, to pray for him and to shape him into the man of God he will someday become.  I am so thankful for him and the great adventure his life will be.

 

Fingers are still a staple in his diet.

Fingers are still a staple in his diet.

 

 

 

Countdown to Thirty

Last weekend, Stephen turned thirty years old. Much like everything else in life, he took it in stride, with grace and dignity. Despite his loving wife making “you’re old” jokes, he entered his thirty-first year of life readily. We had a small get together with friends and family to celebrate his thirtieth, as well as the thirtieth birthday of our good friend Jeff. Good food, good drinks, great friends.

Both 30 year olds are also new dads :)

Both 30 year olds are also new dads :)

According to the internet, which has only lied to me a couple of times, it is now 167 days until my thirtieth birthday. Maybe it’s a female thing, but turning thirty seems like a pretty darn big deal to me. Though I applaud my husband’s ability to so seamlessly transition into his thirties, I’m a bit more… emotional… about it. But honestly, when am I not more emotional about things than he is?

Thirty.

Remember when thirty was old Like, really old? I distinctly remember in high school, which seems both an eternity ago and  like it was just a few years ago, thinking a famous person was attractive and then finding out they were thirty (or over) and thinking how impossible it was that they could be that handsome and that old. Let’s take Brad Pitt for example. It’s pretty much universally accepted that he’s good looking. In 1999, when Fight Club came out, he was 36 years old. I was 15.  How on Earth could someone so handsome be that old? Yet, Stephen is doing it right now, so it can be done.

But here I am, quickly approaching thirty, and I don’t feel old at all. Well, maybe “at all” is a bit of a stretch. I do want to go to bed by like 9:30 every night. I think I had this assumption that by thirty I would be as grown up as I always thought that my parents were at that age. When my mom was thirty, I was five (turning six later that year). When you’re six, doesn’t it seem like your parents have everything under control? Life just runs the way it is supposed to all the time. It’s interesting to be on the other side of the coin now, making the decisions with my husband that affect our family’s future. All the behind the scenes things you never once thought about as a child are all of a sudden your job. Having realized all of this now, I’m even more grateful to my parents. Thanks Mom & Dad for doing all the heavy lifting so that CD and I could just be kids.

For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my 30 Before 30 List. Essentially a bucket list for my twenties, this list was composed of things that I hoped to accomplish before my thirtieth birthday. I’m happy to say I’ve crossed nine things off that list so far. Though nine things doesn’t seem like a big dent, I crossed off the first item (have a baby) and so I think that I’ve accomplished the most important thing. I honestly believe that I am feeling pretty okay with turning thirty because of this one thing. If I entered my thirties having not had a child yet, then I think I would feel old. No offense to those who choose to wait until their thirties to have children, but I always thought I’d start having kids in my mid-twenties, so this is really pushing it on my preconceived notions of an ideal life schedule.

That said, having 167 days to work with, I think I might be able to cross a few more things off of my list. Some are most likely not going to happen, but I am working on a few:

#13: Visit a new National Park: I’ve informed Stephen that I want to go to Grand Teton National Park. It’s in Wyoming, so it’s not too terribly far. We could probably make a long weekend of it. Cabins are not cheap, so we’d probably have to tent camp. With an infant. I’m a little hesitant about that part, but I’m sure people do it all the time (suggestions are welcome). Plus, it looks gorgeous.

#24: Make a pie from scratch: I’m thinking this is doable. I’m trying to eat healthier, so I’m going to need someone to eat the majority of said pie. I think I’m going to try this Whole Wheat Apple Pie. It’s sort of healthier, right? I think the little flowers on top are so cute, though the only cookie cutters I have are Star Wars, so mine might have little Yoda heads on top. Maybe we combine pie with a Star Wars marathon.

#26: Take a class of some sort: I’m actually in process on this one! I’m taking an online photography class through The Great Courses. It’s a series of 24 lectures by Joel Sartore, a professional photographer who works with National Geographic. At about a half-hour each, the lectures are something that I can fit in during Jonathan’s brief daily naps. I’m only four lectures in, but feel like I’m learning a lot already.

I’m actually already enrolled in two courses on Coursera for August and September, so I think I’ve definitely got this one in the bag. The Camera Never Lies and Sports and Society will be my first forays into free online education. I’m very excited to start and have a feeling that I’ll soon be a Coursera addict.

#25: Take a photo worthy of blowing up to decorate our home with: I have a couple possible contenders that I’ve taken over the years, but I’m not sure I have the right space in our home for them to work with. Perhaps #13 mixed with #26 will help me complete this one?

I’m hoping to make it to a few more of the things on this list, but we’ll see what I am able to pull off all while spending my days entertaining an inquisitive baby boy. The older he gets and the more capable he becomes, the more I don’t want to miss a moment of his exploration and discovery of the world around him. Seeing him learn is so incredible.

December will be here before we know it and so will the big 3-0. But really, I’m okay with that. I know my thirties will be filled with incredible things. Jonathan will grow and change in huge and amazing ways during my thirties. We will hopefully have more children in my thirties. We’ll celebrate five years of marriage when we’re thirty. Then ten years in our mid-thirties. I hope to have a home of our own in our thirties. Our thirties will be a time of adventure and I can’t wait to live those adventures with my favorite person.