There are some people in life that that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and just live a little better…
These are our people!
Devin and I can’t spend enough time with these two families, and their little love bugs. Not only did we all move to San Francisco around the same time but our babies are all a month apart! It’s been such a blessing going through this journey with these amazing, talented, loving, kind, hilarious, fun and inspiring people!
Today we picnicked at Oyster Point. It was a stunning Saturday here in San Francisco, and when we weren’t all swooning over our kiddo’s we managed to play a little football and soccer and hike close to four miles.
It was a perfect day… great food… great fun… great friends…
Everyday Devin and I are thankful for our friends…
We are blessed to have so many people in our lives that remind us we are braver than we believe, stronger than we seem and smarter than we think…
… and Maya!
For as long as I can remember I’ve always worked on the Fourth of July. Every year Devin would complain about us never doing anythng for the fourth and every year I would tell him he could join me at what ever hosting job I had or conference center I would be stuck in… However, now that we have Cash I’ve cut back on travel and work and that means being together as a family for the Fourth… Since it’s been so long since I had to “make plans” for this holiday I was relieved (and excited) when the Wade family told me we would be celebrating Maya’s first birthday Fourth of July.
…So this family suited up in our Patriotic colors, bbq’d, laughed, ate, drank, celebrated two birthdays and managed to even have a brief history lesson (thanks to Dustin, his America History Education, current service to our country and killer American Flag shorts).
Managed to document some of the fun we had with some of our favorite people and thier little cuties.
party party party
I finally had a minute to highlight your 8th and 9th month… and boy have you been busy!
I’m quite behind on keeping up with all your developments… But it’s because of your developments I’m behind.
You no longer sit still, and therefore, there is no down time for me. No down time for me means no writing, no blogging and truthfully, not much time for anything that doesn’t involve you and your mobility. By mobility, I mean keeping you from the dog food and from bopping your head as you lift, scoot, crawl, and shuffle.
Speaking of bopping your head– we had our first official accident while in NYC (yes that’s correct. You had yet another cross country trip– SF to NYC. NYC to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh to Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh to SF– I’ll come back to that– for now let’s go back to you bopping around). While in NYC, you became mobile and mommy wasn’t ready for it. It’s true what they say… “One minute babies do nothing… The next minute they do everything.” In any case, we ended up at the doctor who appreciated that I was extra cautious but was reassured by your smile and giggling that you were fine. She also said she was sorry to report this would be the first of many tumbles. I would however, like to request there not be many more tumbles. I’m hoping she is wrong, and that you will turn out to be the most graceful 26 pound 9 month old baby there ever was :)
Yep that’s correct. You weigh 26 pounds!!!
Side note: you are 30″ long and are in the 99.9% for height and weight. (Fun fact: your head is not on the charts).
You have been busy traveling with us for daddy’s work (NYC), mommy’s work (Louisiana) and family obligations Pittsburg). Cuz D and Cuz B had their first summer travel league baseball tournament, and we weren’t going to miss that (or the chance to show off your swimming skills in Aunt Jen and Uncle Mike’s pool over Memorial Day weekend).
Shortly after you turned 7 months you started crawling and haven’t stopped moving since… You are keeping me on my toes. Even with a baby gate and a helpful Pack n’play you manage to pick on Nemo and terrorize the kitty cat.
Your developments are quite impressive AND keeping you up at night. You are a text book case when it comes to sleep regression… You are so excited about everything you are accomplishing during the day that you are not sleeping, and you not sleeping means I’m not sleeping. In fact, last night you played for three hours as you rejected your 7pm bedtime. From 6:30-9:30pm you showed me all your new tricks even while confined to your comfy crib; Crawling… Pulling yourself up… Walking along the crib… Rolling your tongue…. Making fun noises with your lips… Playing “peek a boo”, imitating and bouncing all around. Wearing yourself out was not and has not been an option for the last 4 weeks (invert yawn and sigh). Even with your dad out of town frequently for business and me being on double duty, I can’t be mad that we are loosing sleep because you are (a) so stinking cute, (b) so proud of your accomplishments and (c) cracking yourself up. All of which makes me smile, even at 3am.
You are eating like a champ! I’m still making all your food, but now that you don’t “have” to eat purées, I’m stepping up my game and finding fun healthy recipes for you and the family. You LOVE chili, lasagna, eggs, broccoli, tater tots, spinach bites and even burritos. You love fruit and cheese and still can’t get enough avocado. Prunes and pears are still a favorite, but truthfully, there isn’t much you won’t eat. We have been making it a priority to eat as many meals as possible as a family. I’m sure daddy is grateful that you love breakfast as he is benefitting from the omelets and homemade apple cinnamon pancakes as well.
Speaking of food–
You are such a ham! You talk to and smile at everyone!!! From the concierge employees in our building to the strangers in the coffee shop… You bring a smile everywhere you go! You are waving and laughing and gabbing to get all the attention. Cashiers at the grocery store, strangers on the street, friends at church and friends in music class keep predicting you are going to be a professional athlete because of your size. Your dad and I just laugh and smile.
Throughout all of our travel you were reunited with some of your favorites and introduced to many new favorites.
Nana is officially your favorite babysitter. She has been traveling with us and helping to lighten the load, and boy do you love spending time with her and vice versa.
Your favorite things to do:
Play the drums at music class
Picnic with Emory and Maya
Sit and stand (all night long) in your crib
Wave hi and goodbye
Examine mommy and daddy’s teeth
Take baths (and poop in them)
Imitate sounds and lip movements
Things you could live without:
Getting your diaper changed
Riding in your car seat
Your dad and I still cannot believe how much our lives have changed since you came along. We look forward to everyday with you. We thank you for making us parents and for teaching us about life, love, laughter, patience, faith and God. Oh, how we pray we that we will always remember these movements, and that we will continue to learn from each other and help you to be the best person you can be.
Thank you for reminding us what life is about… Thank you for helping us to focus on friendships, relationships, faith, family and love.
We love you sweet boy… now lets get back to sleeping through the night!
I love tuesdays! Each week, Cash and I go to our Mom’s Group at Epic Church! It’s a chance for him to play and laugh with his friends, while I grow and learn with a bunch of Epic moms! Last Tuesday our incredible Bible Study Group leaders arranged for a little “Mothers Day” pampering party!
These “Epic Church” moms are the definition of epic:
EPIC [ep-ik]: heroic; majestic; impressively great.
The thing I will miss MOST about leaving San Francisco is this church and these moms!
But I truly believe distance means so little when someone means so much! These ladies will forever be my friends and family!
Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it
– Proverbs 22:6 KJV
When my husband and I moved to San Francisco 16 months ago, I came along kicking and screaming. It was nothing personal against the city itself; it was just how personal New York was to me.
In the beginning, I never really gave San Francisco a chance. In fact, I spent the first 6 months of our time here in the clouds… Literally. I was on a plane every other week traveling to LA for auditions and flying back and forth to the East Coast for work opportunities, teaching and family obligations. People began to make jokes calling San Francisco my “vacation home.”
After a heart to heart with the hubby, we quickly realized we were in San Francisco for a reason and not just for his work opportunity. We truly believe and believed that there was emotional, mental, spiritual and relational growth to be done in this gorgeous city. Therefore, it was time for me to stop collecting frequent flyer miles, stop comparing San Francisco to NYC and to start committing to San Francisco and all it has to offer. The first place I started was the church. At this time I was a soon to be mom, so I jumped into a moms group at Epic Church and never looked back. Not only did our church support our pregnancy and our marriage, but we created amazing friends that will forever be our family.
In addition, to the church and all the awesomeness it had to offer, our son was born in San Francisco, and it was an incredible experience. We received the most amazing care prior to his birth, during his birth and still are receiving so much TLC from our doctors, friends and teachers. In addition to that, Cash and I have become soooooo involved in the “mommy/baby community” enjoying everything from swim class and music class, to picnics and park play dates every week. We are staying busy, happy and healthy. So I guess you can say I took the idea of San Francisco being my “vacation home” to heart because it’s just that– Everyday feels like a vacation. Because of the beautiful weather, the friendly people, our amazing apartment complex and local coffee shops, everyday is heaven. I’m forever thankful to my husband for challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and comfort city and for helping me to see the beauty of San Francisco.
So it is with a heavy yet happy heart that we announce our journey back to the east coast. Our time in San Francisco has come to an end. We are officially going from the west side of the country back to being Westsiders of New York City.
And while we are elated to be reunited with family and friends and to start again in the city of opportunity, I will be leaving a peace of my heart in San Francisco.
Thank you Epic Church and our San Francisco family for teaching us the true meaning of friendship and support. Thank you sunny California for teaching my son about Mother Earth and nature, and thank you to my husband for giving our family this amazing opportunity!
Since I turned twenty-five, I’ve always wanted to “turn back the hands of time”… In fact, for my thirtieth birthday my cake said “happy twenty-fifth birthday”.
However, over the last few years I’ve realized that life actually gets better with each year that passes… New year– I’m an Aunt… New year– I graduate from college… New year– new job… New year– plan a wedding… New year– married… New year– new home… New year– pregnant… New year– BABY!
Each new year brings new “clubs” and with those “clubs” comes new adventures and new feelings! I keep thinking there is no way life can get better than this… but than it does.
Don’t get me wrong, with age comes responsibility. The struggles are real and so are the growing pains. But these trials makes me a warrior, they makes me stronger, they make me a better friend, sister, wife, daughter, mother!
This year I am celebrating my first official Mothers Day! What a blessing!
Proving that once again with each year life keeps getting better!
Thank you Cash and Devin for bringing me into the best club EVER! MOTHERHOOD!
Happy 7 months to my baby boy!
Well kid we did it. Our first solo trip without Daddy. You were an angel, and I was a warrior. From lugging all the luggage from the West Coast to the west side of manhattan to lining up baby sitters and housing to organizing visits and play dates all while working.
I feel stronger than ever and more blessed than ever.
While mommy went to work you spent time with your God parents, your BFF Jesse and just about everyday with Aunt Rachel (the lifesaver)!
It has been an awesome month!
Seven months looks good on you! You are doing so many new things! You are officially sitting up all on your own and love it!!!!! You very rarely fall over and are managing to keep that big old noggin up at all times! In fact, you are bouncing and rolling and moving around all the time. Your dad and I think you are working hard to add crawling to your resume.
Things you love: Any time Nemo comes around you, when I sing AND ACT OUT “I’m A Little Teapot”, playing peekaboo, being tickled, being kissed on the neck, and mornings!
You have graduated to the big boy tub and LOVE it. You splash and laugh all through bath time.
Speaking of splashing, you are officially swimming! You started your swim classes, and the teacher says you are a natural! Not one tear, even when you went under water for the first time. Maybe you will be an ironman like your daddy.
On top of all of that, I can say you are officially eating solid foods! We were off to rocky start, but you have got the hang of it now and eat three real meals a day… And by real meals, I mean what ever mommy has pureed for you! I’ve been making all your food and love doing it.
At the moment your favorite foods are pear, banana and avocado mixed together (banana avocado smoothie as Uncle Matt calls it) and prunes.
You and your dad officially have that boy bond thing happening. I love to watch it. Your face lights up when he comes home from work or back from the gym, and he makes you laugh and smile for hours. You have the best dad ever!
You and me are busy doing our thing. You know me… keeping us busy with classes, play dates, church, flash cards, walks and reading! You make my days full and fun.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all fun this month… Would you believe you got two more teeth? And these bad boys were not easy on you. You had an entire week of teething and sleepless nights. Your dad and I felt so bad for you. This was all happening while you were eating more and more solid foods. And those solids were doing a number on your tummy… but your a champ and seem to be pushing through (no pun intended).
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being the world’s best baby. Thank you for hours of entertainment and smiles. Thank you for being you… we promise to make sure you always feel like you are enough… we promise to communicate, teach, protect, pray, love, laugh and cherish you.
Grammie and Cash to the rescue.
In month 6, you and Grammie nursed daddy and helped him get back on his feet after he had ACL surgery.
Grammie not only kept track of Dad’s meds, bandages and exercises, but she made sure there was food on the table and plenty of Grammie/Cash play time!
It wasn’t all work for Grammie. Your daddy did give her one day off to enjoy the California sunshine and some top San Francisco tourist spots. You slept the whole time… as usual. However, Grammie and I made the most of our day by enjoying fish and chips at the Wharf and shopping for your cousin Landon. We had a wonderful time!
It’s been a month of
solidifying everything you started learning in month 5!
You are officially sitting up, saying “Dada,” and now you have graduated from eating your toes to eating solids (or at least mommy tries to get you to eat your solids).
You don’t “love” this whole solid food eating thing… Your first food was a taste of an apple, and you loved it. So when the doc gave me the okay to start officially feeding you, I thought you would dive in… It was more like spit out.
Your first official food was avocado, and you literally gagged. So I moved on quickly to sweet potatoes… Still gagged… Then I tried pear, and we made some progress, but I think it’s only because Grammie was feeding you.
Finally, through recommendation of Aunt Lauren, we tried avocado and banana mixed together. You actually liked it! From there, you and I have been exploring new foods 2 to 3 times a day trying everything from beans to organic puffs. I’m trying to find something you can sink your teeth into… That’s right you have acquired MORE teeth. You now have a tooth for each month you have been alive! SIX TEETH!
Weight: 22 pounds
Clothing Size: 12-18 months
Head: Sooooo big!
Your dad and I are having more fun with you than ever.
You love music class with me (you light up the minute teacher Heather starts singing or playing an instrument). You also enjoy all your play dates with Emory and Maya and don’t mind that I take you everywhere I go… You and I have become regulars at the grocery store and Philz Coffee Shop.
I try not to hog you toooooooo much… you looooove playtime with daddy. Especially when he uses his hand i.e. “the claw” to make you laugh and giggle.
Thank you for filling the home with laughter and giggles and for filling our hearts with happiness and wholeness. We love you more and more each day!
We continue to pray that God will bless you.
We pray for protection to keep you healthy and happy and that you will be brave, confident and valiant!
Here is to 6 months!
Devin and I have so much to celebrate this Easter. But then again, don’t we all?
Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross so that we may be forgiven.
Christian or not… Easter is a great reminder of forgiveness and hope.
In fact, Mark 14:50 says that Jesus’ Disciples “left” Jesus when things got tough. Obviously, I’m paraphrasing but my point is… even the Disciples made mistakes. They abandon the “big” Man during His darkest hours, some lied, some cheated, and for a moment some even lost faith… Jesus’ Disciples, His band of brothers, His bff’s, His boys did not live a “sinless” or “blameless” life, yet Jesus never gave his friends the silent treatment, he didn’t judge them, he didn’t talk bad about them… He forgave them and had hope in their ability to be better. He helped them. He inspired them. He didn’t give up on them.
Regardless of your belief in the Bible or your belief in Religion may you let this holiday inspire you to judge less and forgive more…
May we have hope in the broken, hope in the hopeless and even hope in those we don’t understand or those who don’t understand us.
I am grateful everyday for the ability to forgive and to be forgiven…
and thus a reason to celebrate…
and throw a party…
and eat lots of Cadbury Creme Eggs… among other things… like a bundt cake.
Cash’s First Easter Egg Hunt!
In many cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth… another reminder of Easter’s ability to inspire one to have hope in a “fresh start”.
I’m not going to pretend that I am a master Chef… but after many years of burnt casseroles, tasteless vegetables, questionable meats and watching my mom cook up a storm… I have worked hard to make my husband happy when it comes time to ring the dinner bell (breakfast, lunch and dessert bell too). However, just when I think I’m ready to debut my latest creation on “Top Chef” this whole baby thing has thrown a wrench in my prep time.
So… below are three of my favorite EASY recipes that take very little time and are big enough to feed a family! Enjoy!
(Lasagna in a crockpot– what?!? Slow cooker recipes are the best kind of recipes for those of us with little ones… I can prepare it during Cash’s nap and it’s ready by his bedtime– hello life savor!)
- 1 lb. of ground meat (Vegetarians can substitute black beans)
- 1 pk taco seasoning
- 16 oz salsa
- 16 oz jar of Alfredo sauce
- 2 cups of shredded Monterey jack/cheddar blend
- 2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese
- 12-14 uncooked lasagna noodles (no boil lasagna)
*special shout to my sister Jennifer (aka the Dip/Slow Cooker Queen — for the original version of this recipe… this is my modified version.
Brown the beef with taco seasoning (or black beans for vegetarian option). Be sure to “butter” the crockpot before you do the following. Put a thin layer of the salsa on the bottom of slow cooker then stir the rest of the salsa in with meat (or beans).
Mix the Alfredo sauce with all the cheese and now you are ready to begin layering.
Lay about three noodles down (I break them up to make them fit the “slow cooker shape” and then top with 1/2 of the cheese mixture.
Lay three more noodles down and top with 1/2 of the meat (or beans) mixture.
and repeat both layers.
When finished with all your layers pour 1/3 cup of water over the top.
Cover and cover on low for 4 1/2-5 hours
(yep… tis true another slow cooker recipe)
- 4 thawed chicken breasts (cut in bit size pieces)
- 2 cups stovetop stuffing
- 1 can of cream of chicken soup (you can substitute cream of mushroom soup)
- 1/2 can of chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of sour cream
Mix soups and sour cream together in separate bowl. Coat pan (with butter or preferred product). Lay chicken at the bottom of slow cooker. Make the next layer the dry Stove Top Stuffing. Top with the soup/sour cream mixture. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
SMART DOG CASSEROLE
- 1 package of Smart Dogs (Smart Dogs are amazing vegetarian hot dogs– but you can substitute your favorite hotdog in this recipe)
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 package of corn bread (and any ingredients needed) * I use Marie Callender’s Organic Corn Bread mix — just add water *
- 3 can of your favorite baked beans
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce
Cut up hot dogs in bite size pieces and sauté on stove top with butter. In separate bowl mix BBQ sauce and brown sugar and beans. Add the beans mixture to the sautéed hot dogs on the stove top… once heated put it in a casserole dish. In a separate bowl make the cornbread mixture and pour that overtop of the beans/hot dog mixture that has been placed in casserole dish.
Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes.
FIVE months… insert foot in mouth!
(you officially are obsessed with your feet)
You have been very busy this month… and I’m not just talking about music classes, play dates, picnics and trips to Los Angeles. I’m talking rolling over, discovering your toes and cutting TWO teeth. You have been so busy learning how to use your hands and body that I think you forgot how to sleep through the night. Well, who can blame you? After all, if I was discovering all that goodness, I wouldn’t want to sleep either.
Teething was not your finest moment, and as a mom, it was hard not being able to make the pain go away. Thankfully, 5 days later you were smiling and showing off your new “big boy” smile. It’s the same smile you flaunt every time you role over!
You and I have been making trips to Los Angeles for my auditions and meetings, and you have been an angel every step of the way (even on the six hour car ride). We have had a ton of mommy/son time this month while Daddy stayed busy traveling to NYC and France for work.
While in LA, you met so many new faces and were reunited with some of your favorite faces: Nana, Aunt Lyndsy and Uncle Schram. They all continue to say the same thing… that you are so fun to be around! (Your father and I agree)
(meeting Teyonah and Corey)
Aunt Lyndsy not only welcomed us and our car load of cribs, play mats, bathtubs, toys and strollers, but she babysat you during my acting classes, auditions, photos shoots and meetings. We owe Aunt Lyndsy big time! You love her and laugh at everything she does! You are already ladies man!
(Aunt Lyndsy time is the best time)
Speaking of laughing, you are obsessed with “Itsy-Bitsy Spider!” It’s a guaranteed good time for you and has come in handy during many a photo shoot and post bath time diaper change.
While we were in LA, Nana flew across the country to visit us and help take care of you! Your father and I are forever grateful for Nana and her flexibility and willingness to help at the drop of a hat. We were able to play tourist while she visited, and you loved every second of it. From checking out the walk of fame, Hollywood Boulevard and The Santa Monica Pier to visiting and shopping in Beverly Hills and becoming an “Oscar Award” winning 5 month old, you had quite the month!
While LA was very exciting, we have been staying busy in San Francisco too with your girlfriends Emory and Maya, as well as Superbowl parities, playdates, picnics in Alamo Square (aka the “Full House” park) and music classes with your friend Cade!
(Alamo Square, San Francisco)
(music class with Cade)
Some stats: at your Four Month check up you were just under 20 pounds and measured at 29″! When strangers ask us how you old we always get the same reaction… after the jaw drop they normally say “wow, big boy”.
Things I don’t want to ever forget about this magical month: How everything goes from hand to mouth (especially your feet), how excited you were when we toured Hollywood– you laughed, sang and were mesmerized the whole time, the smile you give me when you wake from your nap, the pterodactyl dinosaur sounds you make when you are super excited, how loud you get when you are tired, the dimples on your hands and the “fat” rolls on your wrists, how curious you are about the dog and cat and light fixtures and most of all how every night this month you fell asleep in my arms!
Aunt Jenine sent us this poem. 5 months into motherhood and I already know it to be true…
Ten Things Your Mom Never Told You
You made her cry… a lot.
She wanted the last piece of pie
She was always afraid
She Knows she’s not perfect
She watched you as you slept
She carried you a lot longer than nine months
It broker her heart every time you cried.
She put you first
She would do it all again