Sam | 9 Months


We’re about to finish out the year 2015 and enter 2016, where you will be turning 1 year old. How did this happen? You’re already 9 months old. You’ve learned how to crawl, walk assisted, babble, speak some sign language, you’ve cut 7 teeth in total and you LOVE music.

All of these things about your personality and your specific preferences are developing — it’s fascinating. I know that “every baby is different” is something I’ve heard forever, but I nievely thought that for the most part, the first year of a baby’s life is pretty much the same across the board. It’s not so with you! You are definitely your own, individual person with likes and dislikes, wants and needs. I LOVE it. I knew being a mom was something special, but wow. Getting to raise two boys with such different personalities is absolutely fascinating to me.

You don’t like:

  • Eggs
  • Plain avocado
  • Anything you can’t feed to yourself
  • Being left alone
  • Not being near your mama
  • When it takes too long between bites of food

You like:

  • Music
  • Exploring
  • Crawling
  • Shaking your head
  • Screeching
  • Screaming
  • Signing “more”

You love:

  • Food – all kinds, any kind. Except eggs
  • Dancing
  • Laughing
  • Peek-a-boo
  • “If you’re happy and you know it”
  • Me (woot!)

*          *         *

This past month we celebrated some of my favorite holidays with our littlest guy. Thanksgiving and Christmas. We always try and spend as much time as possible with as many family members as possible over the holidays. This means a lot of driving for us, but luckily both boys are champs in the car. We pretty much have a “Father of the Bride: Part II” map on which way to take depending on when we leave (does anyone else remember that part of the movie? Or is my type A, OCD organization showing?).

Thanksgiving was spent splitting the holiday between the two sides of our family. Meaning we get to eat two thanksgiving meals! YUM. We started with lunch at my parents house, gathered around a large table with delicious food and great conversation. We ended the evening with another delicious meal, The Peanuts Movie, and a private recital given by Nana and her guitar.


As we geared up for Christmas, everyone and their mother caught the flu! We did everything we could to avoid it and made it through Christmas without catching it… Until the day after Sammy’s 9th month birthday. But, more on that later.

Sam went to Disneyland for the first time, this month! We liked it so much, we decided to get passes. I’m so excited to do, as my parents did, surprise us and say, “We’re going to Disneyland!” on a random day. Even though Sam is about 2 months older than Teddy was when he went, Sam wasn’t overly enthusiastic about Disneyland. He’s so go with the flow that it’s pretty much what he did for the two days we were there. He enjoyed the rides well enough, but I think he’s going to be out little observer — taking things in an not being overly expressive. Don’t get me wrong, this kid radiates joy, but he’s definitely one to think about how he feels before expressing it.


Christmas, each year is SO fun! This year though was extra special. We spent as much of December as we could celebrating Christ’s birth by reading stories from the bible each morning, making Christmas cookies to pass out to the neighbors, sipping hot chocolate, driving to see Christmas lights, and listening to endless Christmas music.

A new tradition we started this year is seeing the LA ZOO lights. It was only $12 for us to go, after hours at the zoo. Over 1/3 of the place is decorated for Christmas with lights, songs, a water show, reindeer, Santa, and more! The boys stayed up pretty late but it was a blast.

Christmas Eve, we have a church tradition — the candlelight service. I led a small group of our kids from Children’s Ministry in a song on stage. Our pastor read a story to the kiddos and we all lit candles and sang Christmas Carols. It’s about a homey as you can get between the carols, kids running around and the homemade cookies everyone brings.


This year, our Children’s Ministry decided to raise funds and take present donations for a family that is living in a near by hotel. At the Thanksgiving lunch the church provides, we found a great family and began to pray about how we could give them a little Christmas cheer. The response was overwhelming. Between kiddos who donated their allowance to parents who purchase gifts, above and beyond what was asked, we were able to give a family gifts for Christmas on Christmas Eve! It was a blessing to be used in such a beautiful way and I know the kids were blessed to be a part of it.


After Christmas Eve service, we always order Toppers Pizza and open presents with Auntie Jonna. She outdid herself this year with a mini drum set for Sam and wearable, color-able T-Rex for Teddy, plus so much more.

Christmas morning was interesting. Sam woke up at 5:00, but Teddy slept in until 6:45. We only had one large gift for each of our boys so, we were anxiously awaiting the time Teddy would wake up and we could open gifts together. I always make my special hot cocoa recipe in the morning and I ALWAYS burn it. This year was NO different. The boys were finally all awake and walked/crawled down the hall to their gifts. Sam had a ride-in car with some stacking cups and Teddy received a balance bike with a helmet and pads. Both boys loved their gifts.


We then, split the day with family! The Lopezes first and then the Thomazins. Opening presents with kids is a riot. These kids are so sweet, hilarious, and radiate joy. We started the day off with brunch and then went straight into presents. Spending time together, watching the kids open gifts and then play with them outside happily has got to be my most favorite part. We all sat around the fire drinking coffee and watching the kids play with their new toys. We rounded out the day with a gift exchange, more delicious food and more hot cocoa. So much laughter, family stories, and recipes were shared.

There’s something about going home for Christmas, isn’t there? You walk in, smell the familiar smells, tasty food, warm voices and every single Christmas of the past comes flooding back. I wish I could bottle up that feeling, or capture it somehow. That way in the dreary, not so warm Christmasy times I could pull it out and inhale.

Here’s to another month and a new year!


Teddy’s Firsts | Christmas

Growing up, Alex and I never spent Christmas together.  We always spent it with our families because we each had our own traditions and there’s something sacred about that family time during the holidays. After we were married we really wanted to split the time evenly as much as possible and we still do to this day. So, Christmas is always crazy! So much fun, but crazy.  Now that we live 2 hours away it’s even crazier. Oh, and we have a baby now too.

Our family has really been working on setting down roots here in Thousand Oaks. Part of that has been finding and growing with a church family. Boy, we have a great one. We decided to stay in Thousand Oaks through Christmas morning and then make the trek down to Riverside to see our families.

Christmas Eve service at church was magical. They had huge trees, poinsettias, lights, candles, and lots of music. I even was asked to direct the children’s choir on one of the songs. The evening was spent singing songs together and lighting candles. It was wonderful. Then we went home, ordered pizza and exchanged gifts with Auntie Jonna.

Teddy received so many cool gifts! including this “THEODORABLE” shirt.

Jonna went home to make the trek to Riverside herself, while Alex and I stayed up late setting up Teddy’s toys and wrapping the remaining gifts before passing out.

Since Teddy went to bed so late, we thought for sure he would sleep until at least 7:00. WRONG! Teddy was up at 5:00 am! Just as usual. You would have thought he knew it was Christmas. Alex played with Teddy while I put on some Christmas music, started the hot cocoa and got the camera ready. Then, Alex had Teddy crawl out to see his gifts! A ball pit, block toys, and stacking toys too! I’m sure we were more excited than he was, but it was still so sweet to see his face light up.

Alex and I both screwed up in the gift giving department this year by giving each other our gifts early. We decided to just make it a tradition now. Truth be told, I’m the one you royally messed up and Alex was the one to swoop in and turn it into a romantic gesture. That guy. Alex bought me a kitchen aid mixer, which I’ve been asking for three years for! I got him the 007 Trilogy and a new dvd/sound system to play it on. I accidentally left his gift out while I was wrapping the other presents and when Alex came home he say the movies out and said, “Who’s THAT for?!”

“Crap. It’s for you.”

“YES! That’s the best present EVER!”

“I know.”

“But, it’s Blueray.”

“I know. I bought you a new dvd player to play it on.”


I was totally bummed and Alex was so sweet about it. I went out to get stuff for Children’s Ministry and when I came back my Kitchen Aid mixer was out on the counter with a note that said, “Alex, don’t forget to wrap this. Your pal, Alex.”

I actually closed my eyes when I saw it on the counter thinking it was a mistake. So, we just decided to make it our tradition instead. We forget to wrap each other’s gifts and the week of Christmas is fair game. We could receive our gift at any time. I think I like it this way. It’s kind of a special thing between us and we can keep Christmas about the kids.

OK, back to our Christmas Adventure!

We spent the morning playing with Teddy’s toys for a while, got dressed, drank our hot cocoa, ate breakfast, and packed up the car. Then, off we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house!

We arrived around 10:00 am and enjoyed a relaxing morning as family arrived slowly. Grammy and Pa, Aunt Julie Ann and Uncle Thomas, and Uncle Jonathan. It’s so nice to have family who take your kid away for a little while so you can just relax. Even if the whole time you don’t know what to do with yourself. How did I hold my arms before I had a kid? Why am I always swaying back and forth? Why am I cutting up my food into such tiny pieces for myself? All these questions and more.

Anyway! We enjoyed a relaxing day, exchanging gifts and eating way too much food. Teddy was blessed with such fun toys and clothes. Alex and I were blessed as well! Our family started drawing names a few years back and it’s so nice. We focus on the time together instead of opening a million gifts. Each adult has one other adult in the family, all the kids get toys from everyone. My favorite part of Christmas really is the eating and the hanging out anyway.

When rounded out the day with an evening at Nana and Papa’s. Uncle Chris and Aunt Amber came with cousins, Julian and Emmy. Teddy and Julian are the cutest pair. Emmy is just the sweetest little thing. Teddy always has fun laughing with Julian and “talking” with Emmy. Since we have the three grandkids on this side opening presents is SO MUCH FUN! The adults draw names and of course we have fun opening those gifts, but the kids were just too much this year. The most hilarious thing was that the boy received tons of cars, planes, and boy stuff but they were the most interested in playing with Emmy’s tea set. Heh. She didn’t seem to mind much at all.

We all stayed at Nana and Papa’s house. We woke up early and enjoyed Cream of Wheat and more hang out time. We had to leave around noon to meet some friends for lunch at Gourmet Pizza in Redlands — our favorite! We had fun laughing, and eating and then more eating and laughing. Can you tell we really like to eat?

We went back to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the night and enjoyed relaxing the rest of the day.

On Friday we went to the Cotsenmoyers for Christmas there. Another fun time was had by all with three kids in the mix. Tenley took to making pictures and bracelets for everyone, while the boys wrestled over binkies and ate things off the floor. We had Del Taco (of course) for lunch and then all the adults melted into the couch to relax during naptime for the kiddos.

Finally, we made the rounds again to see Grandma and Grandpa, Nana and Papa for goodbyes. Then made the trek home on Saturday evening.

We really enjoyed our relaxing and fun, first Christmas with our Teddy! I can’t wait for many more years to come!