Eighteen Months

Me and Evan

Look at that face. Oh my goodness. This little guy–ahem, big guy–turned 18 moths old yesterday. It blows my mind how quickly it happened. I can’t believe it has already been a year and a half since our sweet boy came into the world! This little boy lights up my life. I feel so lucky to be his mom. How do I have a toddler already?!

Evan loves running, climbing, “playing” basketball (or ball of any kind for that matter), dancing, pretending to talk on the phone, reading stories, going for walks, playing at the park, playing peek-a-boo, splashing in the bath (or the ocean!), building towers, making animal noises, giving high fives and “pounding it,” Curious George, giving hugs and kisses to mommy and daddy, playing with his friends, looking at the birds, and eating eating eating. He isn’t a picky eater at all, but he does tend to throw his milk and plate when he is finished eating (we’re working on it…any tips are welcomed). He is super energetic and loves to explore his surroundings, and especially loves being chased by mama. He knows around 50+ words and is a non-stop talker–haha seriously this kid talks my ear off. He is so smart, and I can already tell that he loves to learn. He also loves helping me around the house (some of his favorite things to help with are putting the socks away when we do laundry, wiping down his high chair tray after he eats, and putting away all of his toys). He is an awesome sleeper at night, and though he goes down easily during the day I wish he would nap for longer! He has twelve teeth and has been drooling a ton lately, so I have my eye out for those canines any time now. He seems to be growing like a weed–I finally moved him up to 2T clothing last week and you know me…I totally cried.

Evan has such a glowing personality and he is so much fun to be around. He has mastered the cheesy smile and when he looks at me with his little devilish grin he makes me go crazy and melt into a puddle all at the same time. Some days are hard–he is really getting the hang of temper tantrums–but every night after he goes to sleep I sit and look through pictures and watch videos of him and just want to go grab him and cuddle him. I am so grateful that I was chosen to be his mama.

I love you Evan. You’re getting to be such a big boy!

I’ll update this post with more pictures tomorrow!

High Five for Friday

Oh man you guys. October is busy, busy, busy. I can’t believe another week has flown by…mostly because there is so much that I have to do next week that I’m kind of freaking out about it! Gahh! If I can pull it all off, it should be a great week. But man oh man…I’m gonna be cutting it close. Anyway, here’s to this week!

1. My poor baby boy is sick. I hate it. He has had a fever between 102 and 104 since Wednesday night, and it just breaks my heart how yucky he feels. His fever is the only symptom though…so other than just keeping it under control at home and making sure he stays hydrated, there isn’t much else we can do for him. I was up all night last night with him because he kept waking up almost every hour. Luckily he took a pretty good nap this morning so I got to nap. I hope he’s just teething again. I know teething fevers aren’t usually this high, but last time he had a fever this high four teeth broke through at once. So…fingers crossed it’s just teeth and not something more serious.

Sick Baby Cuddling

2. I have been trying really hard for the last week to keep on top of the house, and for the most part, I have done a really good job. It feels so nice to sit down at the end of the day and not have to feel overwhelmed by a mess. It’s hard, sometimes, living in such a small space–try as we might, every time we get rid of excess or clutter we turn around and something else has taken over the space. I’ve tried hard to change my mindset recently though. I can’t change my apartment, but I can change how I think about it!

3. Halloween is next week and I was pretty excited…until I found out Brinton had to work. I was hoping he would just work the morning shift so we could go out as a family in the evening, but no such luck. Honestly, I have never cared much for Halloween. It’s not that I don’t like it…I’m just kind of indifferent to it. I think Evan and I might just stay in this year (because let’s face it…he still can’t walk around on his own from place to place–or even eat the candy for that matter–and I don’t want to be trick-or-treating for myself), but we will still dress him up for our church Halloween party on Wednesday. I’m thinking he’ll be Charlie Brown. Hopefully I can find everything I need for his costume this weekend!

4. Earlier this week I went on a baking frenzy and baked two loaves of bread and made 32 tortillas all in a few hours in the afternoon. It has been so nice having fresh bread in the house this week. Nothing beats homemade!

5. Since Evan learned how to climb last week I have spent a good portion of the day, every day, picking him up and taking him off of our ottoman, the couch, and whatever he seems to be able to scurry on to. We went from having a minor need for a baby gate to an immediate need! Does anyone have any suggestions for a good baby gate that is extra wide (more than 5 feet) and is a walk through gate, preferably tension mounted? I’m all ears, if you do! Also, here is an adorable video of his first climb, which I happened to catch on video. Sorry for it being vertical instead of horizontal…there was just no time y’all. I’ve probably watched this cuteness overload a million times. Your turn!

Okay, well, I wanted to get this post up earlier today, but I spent all day cuddling with my baby boy instead. Some things just jump to the top of the priorities list, you know?

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday Favorites, Five on Friday, and Oh Hey Friday!

I Am Mama: An Honest Look into My Life as a Mom

I’m going to go ahead and be very straightforward with you all. I’ve been having a really hard time lately. I have found that more often than not I feel sad, or overwhelmed, or plainly–just not good enough for any of my roles; not as a wife, not as a homemaker, not as a wanna-be blogger, and most especially, not as a mother. How can I possibly teach my son everything he needs to know, make sure he gets at least three perfectly balanced meals per day, play games that will help him develop his skills, put together adorable outfits for him, make sure we are getting out of the house enough, not lose my patience as he is learning boundaries, make him fun DIY activities, etc…all the while cooking, cleaning, maintaining our home, actually getting showered and dressed (in a put-together and cute outfit, might I add), putting on makeup, finding time to blog and take pictures for the blog, running errands, fulfilling church callings, going to appointments, and possibly even just having a moment to myself long enough to go to the bathroom alone?

The internet makes everything look so easy. It is so simple to look at other moms online and see their perfect birthday parties, or the creative well-balanced lunches they pack, or their perfectly coordinated and on-trend outfit while they are running around town. It is so easy to see the cute clothes that they handmade for their toddler, or the picture perfect dinner they have ready at 5pm every evening, or their fun trips to the library or the zoo.

A few weeks ago I read this post on Mallory’s blog, Soul Healthy, and I left her this comment. It reads, “I feel like I needed to read this today. I feel the same way a lot of the time. The comparison monster sneaks up so easily in today’s world. It’s so easy to see all of these “perfect blogs” with “perfect moms and families,” especially in the Pinterest age we live in. But I feel the same way you do. I’m doing the best with what I have, and if that means my toddler eats peas off the floor some nights (mind you, because he threw them there…) some days that just has to be good enough. I think as moms we always want to be perfect and make sure our babies and families are getting the best, be it organic food, or handmade things, etc. But all that really matters is that we love with our whole hearts. At the end of the day my baby boy doesn’t know if his lunch was Pinterest worthy or if his clothes could be highlighted on a baby fashion blog, but he does know if we played with trucks and read ten-thousand stories. He knows how many kisses I gave him and how many giggles we had. Sometimes its hard to remember that, but it really is the only thing that matters.”

The internet is not real life. As a blogger I, of course, strive to put my best foot forward. I take a bajillion photos of the meals I post so I can make sure I have some professional looking images I can upload, but you don’t see the first attempt that got burnt, or the ridiculous mess that consumed my kitchen while I was cooking. I only share outfits which make me feel attractive and which I think are on-trend enough to be current with “what’s in,” but you don’t see that most days I rock yoga leggings and a t-shirt, and every now and then–gasp!–I don’t even wear a bra. I share the cute DIY projects I do, but you never see the pile of projects that were a complete disaster and left me in frustrated tears. The internet has created this unique filter where we tend to see people’s successes, and not their failures. We see what makes people confident, but rarely get a glimpse into their world of insecurities. We don’t see the day to day. We just see the highlights.

Messy house collage

Y’all, this is a real life moment. Welcome to my messy house. It’s not always like this…but it is like this more often than I’d like to admit.

Some moms are those perfect Pinterest moms. You’re amazing women. I don’t know how you do it! If you are one of those moms, I think you’re awesome, and this post is nothing against you in any way. I just know that for me personally, and for many other women out there, sometimes seeing all this “perfect” leaves me feeling like I could never possibly compare. But you know what? Being home all day with my little boy has recently helped me realize that I am the exact mom my baby needs. He has no idea if I’m wearing sweats or couture. He doesn’t know if my face is made up perfectly or if I’m wearing three day old mascara. He wouldn’t know the difference between an activity book I spent hours making by hand or one I got second hand from a friend. He simply doesn’t care if he eats cheerios off of the floor, or if some days we don’t even leave the house, or if we don’t do fun footprint crafts coordinated with the nearest holiday. He doesn’t judge me and he doesn’t think less of me because I’m not perfect.

Evan 1st Bday 014

Sloppy, messy, perfect kisses.

To my little boy, I am perfect. I am mama. I am his whole world, and the way that he unconditionally and completely loves me is so evident in the way he looks at me, and reaches for me, and snuggles with me. I can feel it in the way he gives me the sloppiest kisses in the whole world, and the way he looks at me when he accomplishes something for the first time. When we giggle together there is nothing but pure joy on his face, and it is in those moments that I just know that I am his everything. I know as he grows older I will continue to be imperfect and make mistakes, and I know eventually he will realize that I am human and that I err. Right now, though, I am the best mama because I love him completely, and I’m doing the best I can with what I have. Maybe I don’t always have a clean house and dinner ready by 5pm. Perhaps there are days that we don’t leave the house and I go to bed in the same clothes I woke up in. Maybe sometimes my child eats the same meal for dinner as he did for lunch…and neither time did it have enough veggies.

Should we as moms always strive to be better? Of course. I’m not suggesting we strive for barely getting by and doing the least amount necessary to raise children, keep up with the house, or any other role that we play. Not at all! But what I have realized, and I hope you can realize too, is that it’s okay to not be perfect. Allow yourself a little grace. Realize that many times, these expectations we are trying to live up to are self-imposed! Though I apologize a thousand times to my husband for dinner not even being started by the time he gets home, he never cares. It doesn’t bother him! He knows that I’ve worked all day too and just as hard as he did…my job is just playing with boxes and blowing bubbles. Some days just stink. Some days we will feel inadequate and defeated…we just will. But all that matters at the end of the day is that we love with our whole hearts. If we do, then no matter what else “goes wrong,” we are the perfect homemaker, wife, and mom.

You’re doing a great job, mama. Keep it up.

Thinking Out Loud, Thoughts for Thursday, Confessional Friday, Friday Favorites.

High Five for Friday!

Yes, I know…it’s Saturday. But I was both super busy and super exhausted yesterday, so when I finally did get a moment to sit and relax…I did just that, instead of blogging. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know how all you busy moms out there find time to consistently blog (let alone cook and do all of these cute DIY projects or actually get dressed and put on makeup to create the blog content in the first place) when some days I go to bed wearing the same clothes I woke up in. Haha, but I guess everybody has those days…we just don’t usually put them front and center for people to see, huh?

Anyway, since I’m a day behind here, let’s get to it.

1. Last night we went to Target and bought Evan’s first “big boy” car seat. When did my baby get so big?! I’m probably going to cry when we install it tonight. Strike that. It’s pretty much guaranteed that I will cry. He’s just growing so quickly! Also, he has been playing in it (and the box it came in) all morning. I’m pretty sure he thinks it’s a new toy.

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2. Speaking of my baby growing too quickly, this morning when Brinton left for work, we told him to say “bye.” Evan looked up at him, said, “Bye bye daddy,” and waved. We both looked at each other shocked and completely floored. I’m glad we both heard it though, otherwise I don’t think I’d believe it. He’s only 13 months!

3. I am getting my hair cut on Tuesday (I think it’s been since April!) and I am really looking forward to it. I think I’ve decided that as much as I love the look of it cut and styled short, longer hair is way more practical for me right now. I’m planning on growing it out again, but in the meantime it really needs its shape back. Also, I am going sans baby…and I am crazy excited for some relaxing “me time.” Thank you husband! Now I just have to decide if I’m going to keep the subtle a-line, or if I’m going to go for layers framing my face. I’m also trying to decide if I should keep my long bangs, or shorten them up a bit. Here are some of my pinned ideas–let me know what you think!

4. On Wednesday of this week I felt incredibly accomplished because not only did I babysit all day, but I actually got both babies sleeping at the same time and in the same room so I could finish cleaning the house. To top that off, I made four freezer meals plus dinner all before 6 pm (which is ridiculously amazing considering Brinton and I rarely if ever eat before nine). I don’t know how I pulled it all off, but somehow I did and I checked off “be awesome” from my list at the end of the day.

5. I have a wonderful review to post for Eshakti which is long, long overdue. They sent me the most adorable dress which I absolutely love, but my photographer *ahem…husband* has been so busy with working 40+ hours per week and going to school in the evenings that he and I just haven’t found the time to be able to take the pictures that this review deserves. I’m hoping the stars align tomorrow and we are able to snap some good shots in the evening so that I can get that post up this week. The dress is just so cute! I’ve been dying to show you all!

Bonus! 6. This week on Thursday I took Evan to the zoo because the kid absolutely loves birds. I thought he would really like seeing all the birds at the zoo, but because of the enclosures they keep them in they were actually really hard to see. There were a ton of pigeons though, and he loved them. Also, do the peacocks run wild at your local zoo? Because they do here. Ha…that was one bird that Evan had no trouble seeing at all…probably because it was right next to his stroller.

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Crazy right?!

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday FavoritesConfessional Friday, Friday Blog Hop, Friday Finds, and Oh Hey Friday!

DIY Number Onesie

For Evan’s birthday I really wanted him to have an adorable birthday outfit. I had pinned a dozen or so ideas for a cute little outfit with dark wash jeans, suspenders, and a bow tie, but all that fanciness just didn’t really fit into our casual beach celebration. I was going to just go to the store and try to find a birthday onesie for him, but the only store I was sure I would find one at was Babies ‘R’ Us and I didn’t feel like driving 30 minutes for an overpriced onesie that he would only wear once. So instead, I decided to make him a onesie with a big number one.

Evan Jay  One year  001

This whole project cost me less than $5 and I absolutely loved the way it turned out! I don’t have a sewing machine so I ended up hand sewing the whole thing, but if you have a sewing machine I can’t imagine it would take you very long to make either. Quick, inexpensive, and adorable?! That’s my kind of project.

What You Need:
A onesie (it doesn’t have to be white)
A square of fabric in the pattern of your choice (available at Walmart for about $1)
A number in the font of your choice printed out on regular paper from your computer
Not Pictured- Fray Check (available at Walmart for about $3 if you don’t have some already)
A needle and thread or a sewing machine
A pencil, for tracing

*Baby toes not required*

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The How To:
1. Find a font you like and type the number you want to make for the onesie. Make it as big as you want it to be actually sewn on. Print it out and cut it out exactly.
2. Iron the fabric so that it lays flat. Lay the number down on the “wrong side” of the fabric and trace around the number leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch margin all the way around it. Make sure you are tracing it so that the number is the right way!!! You don’t want to flip the fabric over to the “right side” and realize you traced it backwards.
3. Cut out your number and put fray check over all of the edges. You don’t want it to come apart later! Let that dry for a few minutes.
4. Figure out where you want the number placed. I wanted a big number one right in the middle of the onesie. You can tack down the fabric if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary.
5. Hand sew or use a sewing machine to finish it off. I liked the way it looked to leave a margin around the edge, but if you want to you can also sew exactly around the edge for a different look.

You’re done!

Finished onesie

If you decide to make one, let me know how it turns out! Tag me on social media and use the hashtag #mariasmilingdiy.

Linking up!

Moonlight and Mason Jars//Your Whims Wednesday//Wow Me Wednesday//Whip it up Wednesday//Inspire Me Wednesday//Treat Yo’ Self//The Project Stash//Artsy Corner//What You Wish Wednesday//Whatever Goes Wednesday//Worthwhile Wednesdays//Work It Wednesday

One Year

It still blows my mind that my sweet baby boy is already one year old. I feel like it was just yesterday that he was a squishy little newborn and would cuddle up on my chest. I miss his milk-coma face! This year has flown by so quickly. Evan has become a whole little person with a big personality. I know it probably seems silly to say this, but I came to the realization a few weeks ago that my baby boy will only ever get bigger. Soon he will be walking and talking, and then he will be making friends and learning how to interact with others, going to school and learning, playing sports or doing theatre…and suddenly graduating and going off to live his life. I just know that if I blink too quickly it will all go by in a flash. He is still a baby of course, for now, but he is quickly becoming a toddler and every day I’m reminded that I am raising an independent and wonderful individual.

Now for some not so sappy stuff: Evan is so close to walking, but is still a bit too apprehensive to give it a go on his own. I can tell it wont be long though! He is already talking up a storm and as of his first birthday could already say six words including mama, dada, ball, quack, bye, and bird (although bird doesn’t really sound like bird yet…) and he has his own special names for a few other things. He has eight teeth, still almost no hair, and if he keeps growing at this rate he will be taller than I am by the time he’s eight. He absolutely loves to throw balls and read books, and bath time might just be his favorite time of day. He specializes in extremely wet kisses, crawling at the speed of light, and pulling every single book off of the bookshelf in less than a minute about twenty times a day. Sometimes he will just sit and giggle to himself, and though it makes me nervous to suddenly hear silence in the other room, nine times out of ten I walk into the room to see him reading. He thinks all cups are microphones and loves talking into them, and recently during meals has really enjoyed pretending to feed me and then eating it himself instead. He is a happy, silly, brilliant, and energetic little boy. I love him so much and I am so proud of him! I am in awe of him each and every day. Happy one year Evan Jay. You are my everything.

One Year Header 1One Year Header 2One Year 8One Year 11One Year Collage 1One Year Collage 2One Year Collage 3PS- This “one” onesie was a super easy DIY. I’ll be sure to post the details for you! When I do, I’ll link it here.

 

Favorite Baby Items (10 Months)

I have a few legitimate favorite things this month! Most of Evan’s very favorite things are still not baby items–currently cardboard boxes are super high on his list–but there are a few things that I wanted to share with you. I’m gonna dive right in and keep it short and sweet because I still have a dinner to cook and laundry to do. Here we go!

10 months favorites collage

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Aveeno Baby Fragrance Free Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Baby Fragrance Free Daily Moisture Lotion
This one is a dual favorite. A few months ago Evan had a really dry, rough patch of skin on his back. I didn’t really think it was eczema, but I definitely didn’t want him dealing with whatever it was, so I asked his pediatrician what we could do for it. He said it was likely the beginnings of  mild case of eczema and recommended a good moisturizer every day after his bath (which honestly I had seriously been slacking on) to try and keep it under control. I went to Target and picked up the Aveeno Baby Fragrance Free Daily Moisture Lotion mostly because I had seen pretty good reviews online and it was on sale, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. Alone, it worked well, but when I started using the Aveeno Baby Fragrance Free Soothing Relief Creamy Wash (geez that’s a long name…) his skin went back to being baby soft and smooth. I had the wash since the end of last year and just never used it because it didn’t seem to lather quite as much as I preferred, but now I only use that. It is so soft on the skin, it does get a good lather if you work it in your hands first, and it rinses clean without any kind of residue feeling. All things that I like…and it cleared up our skin issue! Yay!

Munchkin Snack Tower
Evan got this as a gift from one of our friends, and we use it all the time. It is so convenient to have his snacks in compact containers that I know wont just accidentally pop open and create a mess everywhere! His snacks stay fresh without getting stale, I can stack as many as I need together and take them with us, and the pieces come apart easily (but not so easily that it defeats the purpose) so I can clean them. Evan likes to carry it by the handle on top too. Baby and mom approved!

Oball Rattle and Roll Car
Okay so I wrote about loving the Oball rattle last month…and we have a new Oball favorite. One of Evan’s friends had this car, and when Evan saw it he went nuts. He loved it! It was so cute watching him zoom it around the floor while he was crawling after it. We happened to be at Target later that night and saw one on sale…so we scooped it up and Evan was a very happy camper. Oball is becoming one of our favorite baby brands.

Summer Infant Pop ‘N Play Portable Playard
This one is more of a mommy favorite than a baby favorite. The Summer Infant Pop ‘N Play Portable Playard was just released at the beginning of the month and we bought one the day after it came out. With our apartment being so small we have limited storage options, so it is hard to be able to baby proof everything as we really should. This play yard is great because it is big enough that Evan can crawl around and play (safely!) but small enough that it doesn’t take up all of our floor space. Most of the time I’ll hop in there with him and we will play together because I don’t want him to think he’s in a cage or something, but it is nice to be able to get up and go to the bathroom without having to pee at lightning speed and race back into the room to make sure he hasn’t gotten into trouble. Know what I mean, moms and dads? I know you do. Anyway, this one is particularly nice because it folds up super compact and is really lightweight, so it is easy to transport too. We have taken ours camping, to fourth of July fireworks, and to the beach. It works great and is so convenient! They are making a canopy for it as well, but I don’t think it is out yet.

Baby Mum Mums
These rice husks are fantastic. I know I probably give Evan too many carb loaded snacks, but I love these ones because he can hold them himself and it is helping him learn how to take reasonable sized bites out of things. He loves the independence of eating them all on his own, and I love a snack that tastes good and helps him learn how to eat. They are super inexpensive at Walmart, which is awesome, and they come in a few flavors. We prefer the veggie ones. How much veggie stuff is actually in them…I don’t know…but enough that they can market it as such, so I’m cool with that.

Perfect timing! I put dinner in the oven just as I started writing this and it just beeped that it’s ready. I’ll share the recipe for what I made tomorrow!