Things I Love Lately

Inspired by my lovely little sister Nikki, who blogs over at Glass on the Outside, here is a list of things I love lately that you should definitely check out!

1. Fitness Blender

I love FitnessBlender.com. Because I’m antisocial and will probably never go to a gym or fitness class of any kind due to my extreme insecurity in that environment, I needed access to workouts that I could do in the safety of my own home. Fitness Blender has hundreds of FREE workout videos that give you the option to choose your kind of workout, time frame, and what (if any) equipment you need. The trainers, Daniel and Kelli, are awesome and actually do the entire workout with you, instead of demonstrating and then going to “check on the kids.” Sorry Tony Horton, but you need to suffer alongside me to earn my respect.

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Screenshot from FitnessBlender.com

I actually heard about Fitness Blender from my 7 year old nephew. I asked him if he ever did Jillian Michaels DVD workouts with his mom and he told me that she was doing Fitness Blender and that he sometimes joined in. So thank you Slade and Ashleigh (indirectly) for telling me about this! I’m just about to finish up week 7 of their 8 week paid program called FB Fit and I have loved the variety of the workouts and the structure they set up for the program. I highly recommend it!

2. PowerBlock Dumbbells

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This goes with number one, but these PowerBlock dumbbells are a huge help for my strength training workouts! They give me the opportunity to quickly change weight from 3-21lbs. per hand depending on the movement. They take up very little space in the house, are easily portable to wherever in the house I may be doing my workout, and have given me the ability to lift heavier than I had previously. I got mine on Craigslist for well under the advertised price, so keep an eye out for those deals!

3. This Song

Die a Happy Man by Thomas Rhett. I know most of you aren’t big country music station listeners, but this one gets me every time. I love the stripped down sound of the song, but mostly I love the lyrics. That’s the kind of love I want and have- the kind where you don’t need anything big and flashy, but only each other.

4. Ibotta

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This is a great little app that gives you money back for buying certain items at the store. These rebates are listed on the app (both national brands and generic descriptions) and then when you buy the items, you simply choose which items you purchased and then take a photo of the receipt to submit. It works well with every store I’ve used it (King Soopers, Target) and at restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings.

If you sign up using this link, you get $10 and I get $5 once you claim your first rebate. I’ve made $42.05 in passive income, just by buying things I was already going to buy. I’m all about that free money life.

5. Warm January Days

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Okay, so today not as much, but look at all those days in the 50s! It sounds like there’s talk of a zoo playdate on Friday and I’m probably way more excited than Jonathan is about  that. I can’t wait.

 

BONUS:

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These boots from Target! I bought them on a whim while shopping with my mom and Nana (who is all about getting a good deal) and I love them! They were on clearance at my Target for $26, which they are not listed as online, so check your local store. They fit great, are easy to get on and have more tread than my other winter boots, which came in handy when there was ice at the playground.

Two.

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As of this past Sunday, our sweet little man is officially a two-year old. I’m not entirely sure how this happened because I just had him like two days ago, but he has grown into this amazing, smart, funny, beautiful boy to whom I am so lucky to be called “mama.”

Jonathan had his two-year checkup on the day after his birthday, and clocked in at 33.5″ and 26 pounds. He’s still considered “small” for his age, but I think he’s pretty much perfect. The doctor was extremely impressed by how verbal he is and his knowledge of shapes and numbers. Leave it to Jonathan to let the doctor know that her reflex hammer is a triangle and that we were in room number 7.

Jonathan speaks very well and very clearly. He knows so many words I would be hard-pressed to list them, and has some wonderful phrases that I am totally in love with. He calls strawberries “strawbabies.” He likes to let you know that “I found them/it.” So when we are driving he will say “Airplane! I found it!” My absolute favorite is when he puts out his little hand and looks up to say “Mama hand? Please?” Melt my heart. I’m also a big fan of “Mama here?” as he pats the seat next to him. He also loves “Choc-ate” and “Stormtrooper/Vader/Loda (Yoda)” fruit snacks.

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He loves Star Wars (specifically Darth Vader and Stormtroopers) and Mickey Mouse. If you ever need the entire script, including songs, to the Mickey Mouse version of The Three Musketeers recited, I’m your girl. That’s his current favorite cartoon to watch with breakfast.

He’s just too much.

He’s all boy- running, jumping, riding his motorcycle and throwing footballs. He is able to go up the stairs now without holding on to anything, and goes down them holding the railing or my hand. He recognizes numbers 0-9 and points them out wherever we go. Just today he took the straw out of a juice box and told me it was a seven. He knows his colors and some shapes. He’s particularly fond of triangles and spots them wherever we go (his blocks, the hazard lights in the car, yield signs).

He does great when I drop him off at the children’s ministry at BSF and loves park dates with our moms group. He adores older children and trying to imitate them. He is very gentle and sweet with younger children. He learns important life skills from our friends, such as yelling/signaling “first down!” when watching football games. He loves to play with his uncles and aunts. He absolutely adores his big cousin Slade and Skyping with him. He’s such a little extrovert.

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He and his dad are the two cutest humans on the planet. I love them together. Jonathan laughs the hardest with his daddy- a trait he no doubt inherited from me. I can’t imagine a better man for my son to grow up imitating and learning from. They bring me the most joy of anything in this world.

As I look forward to this next year of Jonathan’s precious life, I know I will struggle with the idea that my baby is so grown up. But, I also celebrate the amazing little person he is growing into. I know God has an incredible calling on Jonathan’s life and that he will do great things. I pray that He will guide us in parenting Jonathan. My friend Nicole said so perfectly today at the park that God made us Jonathan’s parents and that He has given us everything we need to parent the child he’s blessed us with. And such a big part of that will be the community that we surround ourselves and our son with. We are blessed that our “village” is filled with God-fearing, loving, wise people. Thank you to all of you who make our lives, and Jonathan’s life, that much richer.

 

Fifteen Things I Loved About Twenty-Fifteen

Celebrating Five Years of Marriage

Photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

Photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

On April 18, we celebrated our five-year anniversary. And while we married in North Lake Tahoe surrounded by our family and friends back in 2010, we spent our five-year anniversary on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by family, friends and dolphins. There’s nothing I love more than being Stephen’s wife and hitting this milestone anniversary while on vacation in Florida was a perfect way to usher in the next five years of wedded bliss with my best friend.

 

Celebrating Jonathan’s First Birthday

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Though I can barely handle the fact that my baby is one (and he’ll be two in just over two weeks), his first birthday was such a special occasion. We had a small, intimate gathering of just us, my parents and Brandon & Meghan and it was the perfect, low-key way to celebrate our little man. He ate the sprinkles off of his cake one by one, had Rabon pancakes and birthday tacos and was surrounded by lots of love. His life brings such joy to us and I am looking forward to celebrating another year very soon!

 

Our Family Growing

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Top Left: Meeting Camden at the hospital, Top Right: Meeting Elijah, Bottom: Jeff & Abbye’s wedding

This year our family has grown in a few ways. In April, Stephen’s cousin Jeff married the lovely Abbye in Destin, Florida. In the fall, they announced that they will be having their first child in March. We can’t wait to meet Baby Wyatt!

My cousin Tori had her first baby, an adorable little man named Elijah, who has stolen my heart (and Jonathan’s- just check out that little smooch!) and whom I regularly demand photos of via text.

Our close friends Brandon and Meghan also welcomed little Camden in August and I just adore him and love being his auntie!

ALSO! Dan liked it, so he put a ring on it! Joanna will officially become a Rabon in February. I had the great privilege of taking two sets of engagement pictures for them, as well as welcoming Joanna to the family with an engagement party in August. I only get {legal} sisters through marriage so I am super excited to get another.

Dan, Joanna and Mack

Dan, Joanna and Mack

 

Twelve Photoshoots with Amanda Rabon Photography

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I feel SO fortunate to have worked with all of these beautiful people to tell their stories through photographs. It’s an honor to get to be a part of these precious moments in life and to capture the love between people.

 

Celebrating my grandparents’ 80th birthdays

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My family is SO precious to me and getting to surround my Nana and Papa with love in celebration of 80 years on this earth was perfect. It was basically a family reunion and I LOVED being surrounded by my cousins and their kids (wait, weren’t WE the kids like five minutes ago?). This legacy of love created by my Nana and Papa is so special and a beautiful example to all of us of the importance of family and raising your children to serve God and serve others. I’m so blessed by these amazing people.

 

Joining Bible Study Fellowship

IMG_6701I’m loving learning more about God through this study on Revelation and the connections the lessons are making between Revelation and all of the books of the Bible.

Studying the Bible with other women and being taught by other women is such a rewarding experience. Seeing the Bible as one book with an interwoven story that repeatedly tells us about God’s grace and mercy towards his children has been eye-opening and refreshing to my soul. I love that Jonathan is getting lessons at his age level too.

I am loving this year and already can’t wait until next year when we study the book of John!

 

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Realizing that being a hermit might be okay for me but probably wasn’t so good for Jonathan, I joined a local affiliate group of Thrive Moms. Through this community I have met some truly incredible women of God whom I love getting together with and letting our kiddos play! Jonathan loves the mixture of older and younger children he gets to interact with and I love talking to the other moms who are in the “mommy trenches” right alongside me. Knowing that we are all like-minded, Christian women enables us to speak to each other on a deeper level when needed and encourage each other through whatever we are in the middle of at the time. I know I’ll be relying heavily on the counsel and encouragement of these ladies once we officially start potty training!

 

So Many Family Visits!

Jonathan is so blessed to have been able to spend SO much time with family this year! I want Jonathan to get to experience as much time with our families as possible- each and every person provides him with more love, more opportunities to learn and different interests. We’ve hosted my parents, Stephen’s parents, Rebekah, CD, Ash & Slade, Nana & Papa, Gram & Grandpa at our house. We’ve also visited all of our Victorville family, the Moores in Florida, and all the extended family of Rabons in Florida as well. It’s been a blessed year!

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Our New Subaru Outback

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The first “big” purchase of our marriage was our brand new Subaru Outback! With the Jeep getting increasingly tricky to drive and Colorado winters being a real factor, we needed a car that would be reliable in the snow and would work with a growing (hopefully soon) family. We love our Subaru and feel super connected to their effective marketing campaigns.

 

 

 

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We got new family photos taken by the lovely and talented Living Reflection Photography. These were the first professional photos we had gotten done since Jonathan was 3 months old. And I LOVE THEM. Check out my amazing gallery wall I made in our living room with photos that Brooke and Josh took for us. They captured so many moments of genuine love between us. Most of all, though, I love every single photo of my boys together. First of all, they’re the most handsome boys in the entire world. But, the way they interact and the pure joy and admiration on Jonathan’s face with Stephen just makes my heart so happy. They’re the best.

 

Watching my husband be a huge stud

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Anyone who knows Stephen knows he’s into Crossfit. He’s been going to BackCountry Crossfit for about 2.5 years now and the loves the workouts, the community and the challenge it presents to him. This September, however, was the first time that he competed in a competition. It made me so proud to see him out there working hard and looking darn good doing it, I must say. He’s such a great example of hard work and determination for our son!

 

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I love a real Christmas tree. The smell of fresh tree is what I imagine Heaven smells like. So when we went to buy our tree this year and found an amazing sale that enabled us to buy a larger tree than we ever had before, I was in love. This nine-foot beauty made our home home-ier, our Christmas brighter and made me literally skip through the greenhouse. So many wonderful memories of putting our tree atop our Subaru for the first time, the near impossible task of putting lights on such a large tree and Stephen getting stuck behind it will be fondly remembered for years to come.

 

Returning to being a Stay at Home Mom

In May, my return trip to working at the school came to an end with the school year and I returned to being a full-time stay at home mom. I have loved getting to be home with Jonathan every day and watching with great wonder as he has grown so much. Being a stay at home mom has also enabled me to pursue my photography more, join BSF and grow wonderful friendships with my Thrive Moms friends. I am so thankful for a husband who works incredibly hard to make this possible for us.

Household Updates

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After the boys moved out in June, I updated Dan’s old bedroom and bathroom to make it into a guest room. It was fun to give it a little makeover and it got to enjoy its first visitor just a few weeks later when my mom came out. We put lights up under the deck for Dan and Joanna’s engagement party in August and I am totally in love with them. Some warm nights were spent under the lights enjoying some wine with my husband and I can’t wait until it is warm enough to do that again! The other big change was our gallery wall, pictured above.

Jonathan Growing Up

Left: December 31, 2014, Right: December 26, 2015

Left: December 31, 2014, Right: December 26, 2015

Though I am in massive denial that we almost have a two-year old, I couldn’t be more proud of the little man our son is becoming. He is incredibly smart, adventurous and mischievous. He talks up a storm and is so fun to interact with. He learns from everything and knows how to be funny and sweet. I’ll write more about him and his accomplishments when I do his two-year post in a few weeks, but he is by far my greatest accomplishment. I couldn’t be more proud to be his mother and to be on the journey of parenthood with the most incredible man in the world.

 

 

 

 

Whole 30 Part 2- Day 15

For those of you who have seen me post about it, but haven’t heard of the Whole 30, it is basically “a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” All good things, right?

Whole 30 is basically super strict Paleo. We did our first Whole 30 about a year ago (though only had a 27 day window between Stephen being out of town and going to my brother’s wedding, so did a Whole 27), and it couldn’t have been that bad or we probably wouldn’t be doing it again.

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This time, my eating/drinking habits were a little worse just before we began (Starbucks 2x per week? Heck yes) and so the withdrawal symptoms (headache, fatigue) that are often associated with elimination style diets were a bit more pronounced this go round. I definitely felt the cravings this time, and missed my beloved Cinnamon Dolce Lattes that accompanied our story time trips. And then Starbucks had the audacity to drop the Toasted Graham Latte like two days after we started as a temptation of total non-compliance. Don’t worry TGL, I’m coming for you on October 21. Coffee is allowed on Whole 30, but I’m not man enough to drink it black. Adding coconut milk and cinnamon helps, but not enough that I actually have desire to drink it.

I’m going to come clean with you guys. We have one cheat in this Whole 30. I can not justify paying twice as much money for half as much bacon just because it was cured. With the large amount of bacon we consume on this diet, we would go broke, I’d have to get a job and 80% of my paychecks would go to day care for my kid and the other 20% just to bacon. We decided ahead of starting that this was one compromise that we both agreed to after careful consideration. However, if you are looking for compliant bacon, it is available at Whole Foods (I couldn’t find any at our normal grocery store).

Today is Day 15, which means we’re halfway there. Here are a few essentials that are helping to make this time successful:

  • eggs (get the huge 60 pack at Costco, it’s much cheaper than the grocery store and you’ll eat eggs pretty much daily)
  • La Croix water – because sometimes you want something other than normal water and with some fizz. Our current favorites are the La Croix Curate in Pineapple Strawberry, Cherry Lime and Apple Berry. These are at our local grocery store. Costco also has a 24 pack of the normal lemon, lime and grapefruit flavors for about $7.50.
  • Sweet potatoes: for breakfast, lunch, dinner, any time. The last time we did this, we didn’t eat many starches and Stephen felt a significant loss of strength in his Crossfit workouts. We upped our sweet potato intake and he PR’d his clean and jerk two days ago. Definitely a plus for us.

A few of our favorite meals:

  • burgers – wrapped in lettuce with tomato and pickles (check those labels, if you like the Claussen pickles {which are frankly, the best} only the spears and halves do not have high fructose corn syrup, yet for some reason the whole pickles and sandwich slices do) – served with sweet potato fries
  • zoodles & meat sauce – Costco sells a marinara sauce that has no added sugar (you’d be surprised how hard this is to find) and I just love my Vegetti for spiralizing zucchini.
  • this pork chile verde recipe – good with cauliflower rice and especially good smothering burgers and sweet potato fries or on eggs
  • stir fry with cauliflower rice – with no soy sauce, I season with salt, pepper, onion power and garlic powder, and squeeze fresh lemon juice on the chicken and veggies.
  • Not a meal, but I’m totally digging green tea steeped in coconut milk (I use our milk frother to heat/foam it)

There are lots of great resources online for recipes (watch out for Pinterest if you don’t want to be shown pages of tasty temptation on your way to healthy recipes), but often we just keep it simple with grilled or roasted chicken and veggies. If we catch a good sale, I’ll grab a steak and serve that with veggies. It doesn’t have to be hard, but absolutely does require forethought. There is no “I’ll just grab something on the way home” and no making Top Ramen because you don’t feel like cooking. You’ll cook all three meals most days (or more, smaller meals) and you’ll do all the dishes in your house multiple times a day.

Eating out is pretty hard. Our go-to place is Chipotle. Most of the time you’re going to feel like this:

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But at Chipotle, you can get a salad, with carnitas (the other meats are cooked in rice bean oil), salsas (not including the corn salsa as corn is considered a grain), guacamole (if you’re not allergic like I am). It’s definitely not as filling or delicious as my usual burrito bowl, but sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking. Plus Jonathan loves their quesadillas.

Jonathan is still eating like a 1 year-old, so his mac & cheese and quesadillas look like delicious, non-compliant heaven. I often catch myself almost taking a bite to check to see if it’s too hot for him, but have caught myself.

As an added bonus, this time I’m actually working out in conjunction with doing the Whole30. Because my son is the Energizer Baby, I’ve been getting up at 5am to get in a workout and Bible study before he wakes up (which generally occurs around 6:30am). My current routine is MWF- Fitness Blender video workout, TTh – run on the treadmill 30 minutes. Fitness Blender has been awesome and really fun yet challenging. A few of my favorites so far:

Total Body HIIT and Abs Workout- Cardio and Core Combination

Fitness Blender Total Body Barre Workout- 39 Minute Barre Workout

Better Posture Workout + Leg Slimming Pilates Butt and Thigh Workout

I have a few more saved to try, but if you’re a Fitness Blender member, I’d love suggestions! Run days are my least favorite, but in the past it has been pretty effective for me so I thought I could torture myself 1 hour a week. Maybe I’ll eventually start to like it again. Post-pregnancy, I feel like I’m having a harder time finding my groove with it, so hopefully I’ll hit my stride eventually.

The combination of Whole30 and these workouts seems to be effective as I have already lost as much weight in the first two weeks of Whole30 as I did the entire time last time.

I’m looking forward to the next 15 days as the down hill portion of the journey. I may try a few new recipes between now and the end, which is always fun.

If you’re interested in trying a Whole30, don’t be afraid to message me. I probably have a few recipes bookmarked somewhere, but I’d recommend checking out the following sites for ideas (some recipes may need to be altered slightly to make Whole 30 compliant):

Nom Nom Paleo – I use her cauliflower rice & zoodle methods regularly, in addition to other recipes (her kalua pig is great and makes enough to eat in salads, bowls, omelets, etc)

PaleOMG – I think she’s pretty funny, she’s local, and her recipes look very tasty

Whole 30 Recipes Instagram – they have guest posters who will share recipes and then if you like them, follow the poster for more recipes!

Follow #whole30 on Instagram or Twitter to find recipes that others are making that you may want to try. I love doing this on Instagram because sometimes it just LOOKS so good.

A Day in the Life

“A Day in the Life” posts chronicle Jonathan’s day, every hour on the hour, while he’s awake. I think it will be fun to be able to look back on these posts and see how his days change as he grows older.

8 months old: A Day in the Life
Almost 15 months: A Day in the Life

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7:00am

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Hello, September

I really wanted to title this “Hello, Fall” because there’s a cool breeze coming in my window, I had a salted caramel mocha today and I finally took off the last little bits of the nail polish from the pedicure I got in Spring and replaced it with a darker, more Fall-y shade. I should probably be a little embarrassed by that, right?

Fall is just around the corner, but for now I’ll enjoy the last few hot days by taking backroad drives with my little co-pilot, windows rolled down and country music playing. Is there a genre of music more perfect for summer than country? If you can’t get into a little Florida Georgia Line “Cruise” while actually cruising, there may not be help for you. Stephen got us a 90-day trial of Apple Music, so there’s been some serious late 80s- early 90s country playing around here and I have been loving it. I think Jonathan is a little worried about me, but he’s too small to have me committed, so I think I’m safe.

Summer was busy and brought a lot of changes to the Rabon homestead. The biggest of these is Stephen’s job change. After 11 years at Starbucks, he has moved on. He could better explain his actual role, but the important part for Jonathan and I is a regular schedule. Never, I repeat, never since I have known Stephen has he had that luxury. Weekends off. Holidays off. It. is. glorious. We had the first three day weekend in our entire relationship over Labor Day that did not require the use of PTO, trading in favors or voodoo.

For the first time ever, our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans will not be impacted by the asinine fact that Starbucks is open 365 days a year. I’m sorry to those who “need” their fix on holidays, but it’s not fair to take people away from their families on these special days (yes, I am aware that baristas work these days on a volunteer basis but if there aren’t enough volunteers, who picks up that slack? The store isn’t going to close just because they don’t have enough staff). Actually, I’m not sorry. Not at all. Ranting aside, I am overjoyed at the prospect of starting family traditions in earnest this year. Stephen will actually be home on Christmas morning! And all day! Jonathan is going to LOVE it. I will probably love it a little more than he does, especially while he’s too young to fully understand, but it’s a really big deal.

Those of you who read this post almost exactly a year ago remember my inner struggle with the idea of starting Amanda Rabon Photography. Well, I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone and now, a year later, have had the opportunity to do probably 20 shoots. It’s been a challenge to put myself out there and to continue to learn and hone my craft. But I’m pleased with how far my photography has come, with the product I have created for my clients and the direction that my business is headed. I’ve already got two shoots on the calendar for October and with the beautiful leaves here in Colorado, I hope to add more to that number.

In the spirit of continuing to push myself to step out of my comfort zone and grow as a person, I’ve joined a local moms group. Thrive Moms Local – Highlands Ranch is a group of Christian moms seeking to connect moms and form a community of believers who support each other along the journey of motherhood. I’ve met up with the girls twice now and they’re super nice and have great kiddos. We’re still small and still trying to figure out how often to meet, etc. but I think that it’s good for both Jonathan and I to spend time in the company of like-minded individuals.

On Wednesday, I’ll be headed to a local church to join a Bible Study Fellowship group. I’ve heard so many good things about BSF from family and friends. It’s going to be pretty in-depth and more intense than any other bible study I’ve done, so that’s a little intimidating (not to mention the whole people I don’t know thing) but I’m hopeful to learn a lot and grow a deeper understanding of God’s word. The study is on Revelation this year and it’s only the most intense book of the Bible so nothing like jumping all in, right? The best part is that Jonathan will be learning too. My aunt raised my cousins in BSF and they’re pretty awesome so I feel like this is a good step. Plus, my friend Nicole from Thrive Moms may be joining me so that helps calm me down a little. Safety in numbers, right?

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Jonathan continues to grow into an amazing child. His laughter is infectious, his smile lights up the room and his cute little voice continues to say more and more words. He’s able to string together words often now, and even strung together “more, please” with both words and signs. It was probably the cutest thing ever and would probably get him just about anything he wanted, but don’t tell him that or I’m in serious trouble. He definitely has moments of testing his boundaries and my patience, but he is still my sweet, loving boy. He has learned to say “I love you” and has even said it to me a few times on his own. If there’s ever a thing in life that will literally make your heart feel like it could explode, that would be it. His relationship with Stephen is the joy of my life, and makes me fall even more in love with both of them. You think you love a guy, but then you see him with the child you share and it just gets out of control.

In other exciting news, our family is growing! But not in the way that you are thinking. Dan and Joanna are getting married, which means that I’m getting a new sister. I only get sisters via marriage (or those who adopt me like Sandi and Nikki) so this is kind of a big deal. Joanna has been around most of Jonathan’s life, so he will never remember a time without having an Auntie JoJo, but she will be “official” come February. I’ve been blessed by being included on some of the wedding planning and feel lucky to get to be there along the road to them starting their life together. Marriage is the best, so I can’t wait for them to experience the joy of the next adventure in their lives. I did some engagement photos for them, which can be found here.

Now that you’re all caught up, here’s what you’re really here for: pictures!

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Jonathan thinks he can Crossfit too, so he loved getting to “workout” during Dan and Joanna’s engagement session.

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Stephen, Matt and I made this corn hole set as a gift for Dan & Joanna for their engagement party. It was a fun project.

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A little bouquet I threw together for the engagement party

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He looks too grown up when he wears regular shoes so it’s going to be sandals for life.

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The two cutest boys at the cutest brewery restaurant

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Jonathan loves this magnet board at the library. He regularly disrupts story time by passing out animals to the other kids. At least he’s sharing, right?

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Jonathan’s first salon haircut. A shout out to squeeze pouches, goldfish, a truck, Uptown Funk and Sugar by Maroon 5 for the assist.

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Jonathan and I have gone on a few local hikes

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These two are the best part of me

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Pictures at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park from dating to marriage to parenthood

Eighteen Months

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A year and a half ago, Jonathan Michael was born. The moment I laid eyes on him for the first time, it was instant love. Labor was already forgotten and all I could think about was the unbelievability that the baby I had been carrying for 39 weeks was finally in my arms. And that we had a son. The living, breathing result of the love between Stephen and I. A little person who is half me and half the man I love.

Yet here we are, a fast and furious year and a half later, and Jonathan is such a joy. I still can’t believe how quickly my sweet newborn has transformed into a walking, talking, running, belly-laughing little man. A boy who loves his daddy so fiercely that he asks about him literally all day that Stephen is working. A boy who amazes me daily with his increased vocabulary. A boy who definitely has a mischievous streak in him. My little explorer. My little engineer. My little sweetheart.

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Though he is definitely starting to test boundaries, he is still such a sweet boy with a compassionate heart. When he reads his Curious George book and George loses the baby bunny and is sad, he ALWAYS kisses George on that page. He isn’t much of a cuddler, but when he decides he wants to sit on me or give kisses, it’s the sweetest thing ever. Sophie, my in-laws’ yorkiepoo, may not agree. She is less than enthusiastic about the hugs and kisses he wants to give her, but he loves big. And that is definitely something I adore about my boy.

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Jonathan can say a lot of words, and he definitely has an opinion about everything. I probably couldn’t list all of the words he says but here are some: daddy, mama, eye, ear, nose, belly, koala (“wala”), caribou (“car-boo”), roo (kangaroo), hippo, lizard, fish, George, monkey, ribbit, okay (one of the cutest!), what, water, bottle, birdie, horsey, cow (always referred to as moo-cow), car, no (my least favorite), milk, sky, cracker, book, banana (“nana”), apple, hoop, walk and of course, several family names: Nani, Grandpa, Grandma, Matt, D (for Dan), Bekah, JoJo, CD, Ash, Slade, Nana, Mack, “Opie” (Sophie). When he doesn’t have the words yet, he’ll just yell out some random gibberish very vociferously to make sure his point gets across. He can string words together, such as “bunny, are you?” (bunny, where are you). He’s asked where bunny, birdie, Daddy, Nani and George all are. He will also say “I get you.”

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He walks, he runs, he tries to jump and dribble. He throws extremely well (though not always the things I would like him to throw). He mows the carpet and hardwood with his toy lawnmower. He plays his toy piano and loves listening to Baby Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. He can “count” to 3 (he knows how to repeat one, two, three, at times while moving objects). He has mastered the stairs by crawling, walking and sliding down. He likes to hand me pots and pans when I’m cooking. He figured out how to unwrap a Hershey’s Kiss on the first try. “The Wheels on the Bus” mesmerizes him. When we put him to bed at night, he says “bye” and blows us kisses (talk about melting your heart).

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He does burpees. He does sumo deadlift high pulls with my 5 lb. dumbbells. His squat form is on point. Anything his dad or uncles can do, he thinks he can do, too. All of his own volition. He’s definitely a Rabon.

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He has the best baby bed head. He has 12 teeth and his incisors are starting to make their appearances. He has a newfound appreciation for pb&j. He is quite interested in his belly button and will probably show it to you. He is a notorious water bottle thief. He charms people at the grocery store, restaurants, and Target. He high-fives all willing participants. He blows kisses to cars as they drive by.

He is truly a little man. But he’s still my baby. Not a toddler. Baby. (Someone is clearly in denial, a fact for which my husband continually mocks me.)

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He’s spent the majority of the last two months surrounded by family at my grandparents surprise 80th birthday party, followed by my grandparents visiting, followed by my parents visiting, followed by Stephen’s parents visiting. He’s loved every moment. Family is so important, so I am truly thankful that he has been spoiled both by the attention but also by the quality time. These are the moments he may not remember but will be indelibly etched into the fiber of his being and into the memories of those who love him. IMG_5181

Eighteen months in and so much life has already been lived, with so much yet to come. I feel remarkably blessed to get to be Jonathan’s mom and help guide him into the man he will become, starting with these earliest days of his life. So much of who he is and who he will become is being formed each and every day. What a mind-blowing realization that no day, not one, is insignificant. Not one day is ordinary. Not one day doesn’t hold a deeper purpose in the course of his life. What an honor and a blessing it is to spend these days with him.

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