July 24, 2009

See you later, alligator!

So we are off again for a week of sun and fun at the beach! Austin has been having fun at Grandma Jo Ann's all afternoon so mommy could finish packing up (what seems like the entire house) and that lucky little boy gets to see his Mimi, Papa and Auntie Catherine when we get down to the beach tomorrow! Eight full days of being loved on and spoiled...when we get home he's going to be completely rotten! :)

I can't wait to post some more beach pictures, but since it will be awhile before I'll be able to, I will leave you with a lovely shot of my sweet baby face before we head out. He is one happy little boy here, he's got not one, but TWO pacis! He spent the next 15 minutes crawling around with both of them in his hands and trying to decide which one he liked better. Oh that boy and his pacis....what are we going to do when we have to take it away!?

Vaccine Controversy

Kate over at Sugar and Spice posted a great discussion topic the other day on the controversial issue of vaccinations. I think it is a very important subject and one that all new parents should become familiar with before making the decision to vaccinate or not. I'd like to share my views with you and I understand that everyone will not agree with me, but hopefully it will at least stir up some conversation. If this post inspires just one person to ask questions and learn about the topic of vaccines then I feel like I have made an impact.

I will start out by saying that I am PRO vaccinations, but it took a lot of research and talking with Austin's pediatrician before I became so. Obviously, the most controversial vaccine is MMR which people are trying to attribute to the rise in cases of Autism. Let me first of all say that the CDC flat out states that there is NO scientific evidence that a vaccine can cause Autism. This thought gained popularity partly because the MMR shot is given around a child's first birthday which is also about the time signs of Autism start to show up. Using that consequential logic, one could also assume that birthday cake could cause Austim since most children get their first piece of cake on their first birthday. Crazy, huh?

So, using this consequential "evidence", some scientists came up with a hypothesis that the MMR vaccine and Autism were linked and they managed to find a few high profile celebrities, who are parents of children with Autism, to endorse and join their anti-vaccine campaign. Of course this created and uproar...who doesn't believe a celebrity, right? I can understand the sadness and disappointment one must feel to have a child who is diagnosed with Austim, I can understand the need to blame something...anything for the devastating circumstance, but to blindly place blame on a vaccine for which there is NO supporting concrete evidence is not right. If you do your research, you will see that study after study have tried and failed to link the two.

So what is the reason for the rise in Autism? My pediatrician as well as many others I have come into contact with all seem to agree that Autism is currently being mis-diagnosed and over-diagnosed which is reason for the increase in reported cases. Just like every kid who was active, curious and didn't listen in class was once diagnosed with ADD, every child who exhibits a few Autistic-like behaviors seems to be diagnosed with having Autism. Instead of spending time to find the root of all these evils, a diagnosis is made based on assumption because it's much easier to say your child has a disease than to admit that maybe they're just slow, have a mental retardation or some other combination of problems that can't easily be explained.

Autism is scary, and like most mothers, I worried from the day Austin was born a healthy baby boy that at some point along the way things could take a drastic turn and he would not develop normally. Every month I read about the milestones he should be accomplishing and watched him like a hawk to make sure he was on schedule. However, at 9 months he is doing everything a typical 9 month old should and more! I feel safe in believing that no matter what vaccine he gets a few months from now, it will not change my sweet baby boy. Of course, if after his MMR vaccine he no longer smiles at me when I get him up in the mornings, quits saying ma-ma when he wants my attention, and no longer wants to play and dance and sing with me throughout the day...I may change my opinion. However, I will have to see it to believe it and at this point I am not one bit worried! I would much rather be safe and do my best to prevent my sweet baby, and any other child he comes in contact with, from contracting any harmful and possibly deadly disease than put credit in a tested and unproven hypothesis.

July 22, 2009

Spiller for Heisman!

This morning Ryan, Austin and I waited in line outside of the Bi-Lo for the chance to receive a 6-foot tall poster of Clemson running back C.J. Spiller who is a contender in the chase for the Heisman trophy this coming football season. Clemson only released a couple thousand of these posters to various places in the upstate and Bi-Lo was the only place in Greenville that had them. We got there at 8:30 am and waited in a line that spread along the entire outside of the store for about 45 minutes. To say that I was surprised at this response would be an understatement. We even had a kid offer us $20 for one of our posters when we were leaving because they would surely run out before he got to the front!

Just take a look at my future football star measuring up to C.J. Only 3.5 more feet to go!

And no, this poster is not going to remain hanging on our hallway wall. I think Ryan's found a nice place in the back of the garage for it to be proudly displayed.

July 21, 2009

New Layout

*UPDATE* I had 2 no's and 1 yes to my previous layout and since I was already on the edge I just went ahead and changed it. What do you think now??


I am pretty fickle when it comes to the design of this blog and as I'm sure many of you have noticed, I change it quite often.

I worked on this new layout tonight and of course when I proudly showed it to my darling husband, he said he liked the previous one better.

I can't decide myself if I like it or not and would love some feedback. I wanted a custom header which is why I went with this layout but maybe I should just go back to clean and simple.

Let me know what you think, honestly!

Fantastic news!

I am SO excited to announce and congratulate one of my best friends and new mommy-to-be Aaron, and her awesome husband, Jeff, on their 1st little peanut due to arrive in March 2010!! I couldn't be more thrilled for them and can't wait to meet baby Willey this coming Spring! What a fantastic blessing for this amazing couple.

Adventures in dog food

"Hmmm...what's this? A yummy bowl of food just sitting here on the ground right within my reach?"
"Maybe I'll reach in and grab myself a little snack..."

"Yes, got one! Kinda looks like a Puff...I bet this tastes delicious!"

"Uh oh, here comes mommy, gotta go. Don't worry, I'll be back tomorrow!"

"I'm baaaack!"

July 20, 2009

Just Because

Just because I want to, here is a super cute picture of my sweet baby boy when he woke up from his nap yesterday afternoon. Oh how I adore that precious little face!

Things I can't live without!

I saw this on another blog that I read and thought it would be fun since I have nothing to blog about this Monday morning after one of the most laid back and uneventful weekends we've had in awhile! Besides our lunch visit from Whitney & Travis on their way to go hiking and our ritual Sunday afternoon trip to Costco, I don't think we did one productive thing! Now I couldn't live that way for long, but it was nice for a whole weekend not to worry about any chores, projects or traveling.

So anyway, I'm going to get to my reason for posting, here are some things I just can't live without!

1. Yoga pants & t-shirts - This is my daily wardrobe on days where Austin and I stick around the house and sometimes I don't change even when we go out! I love to be comfortable without looking like I'm wearing my PJs. I call it my athletic casual look (even though I'm about the furthest thing from athletic I could imagine).

2. Rainbow sandals - I love sandals and that is ALL I wear during the summer months. I have a pair of black ones and 3 pair of brown Rainbows that I wear every day. They can be worn with about anything from my t-shirts and yoga pants to my Sunday morning attire. They're so comfortable and easy, I just love 'em!

3. Camera - I have really embraced picture taking ever since Austin was born and I've got several THOUSANDS of pictures sitting here on this computer, mainly of my cute little guy. I keep my point & shoot camera with me at all times and it is a staple in my diaper bag. You never know when a cute moment is going to pop up and I always want to be ready to capture it!

4. Sunglasses - I don't leave the house without them, period!

5. Diaper Bag - I've invested in 3 super cute and very functional diaper bags over the past 9 months and they have now completely taken the place of my small designer handbags. I love diaper bags that don't look like diaper bags but have all the necessary compartments and room for the massive amount of stuff I feel I need to bring every time I leave the house. I especially love my new Amy Kathryn bag!

6. Mommy Necklace - Austin got me a very special necklace for Mother's Day this year and I don't ever leave home without it hanging proudly around my neck. It's a beautiful custom design by Lisa Leonard with Austin's name on one side and his birthdate on the other. (see picture above) Such a sweet and special gift!

7. Clinique products - These are some of the best products out there when it comes to skincare. They are well made with very few irritants and perfumes and they do wonders for my skin. I start out everyday washing my face with their Mild Facial Soap, follow that up with the Repairware Day Cream SPF 15 and instead of a heavy foundation, I love Clinique's Almost Makeup!

8. Diet Dr. Pepper - I try to drink H2O throughout the day as much as possible, but I need my caffeine fix in the mornings and there's nothing better than Diet DP!

9. Amazon.com - If I'm ever in the market to buy anything, I always check it out on Amazon first. Not only are there usually tons of consumer reviews to ponder, but the prices are great, you can usually get free shipping and they have almost EVERYTHING you could possibly want!

10. Chocolate covered cashews - It irritates Ryan to death, but every time I go to the grocery store I buy a can (or two) of the $3.99 Planters chocolate covered cashews (ridiculously overpriced, but SO good). Whenever I need my chocolate fix I grab a few and I'm deliciously satisfied. It's how I get though my weak moments when I want something sweet but am trying to avoid driving down the road to Krispy Kreme!

So there are just a few of my favorite things, what are some of yours???

July 18, 2009

Mommy's New Toy

I am SO extremely excited about my new toy that Ryan bought for me. It arrived yesterday and I have already been having so much fun with it. My sweet, sweet husband surprised me a new digital camera...and not just any camera, a digital SLR camera! He got the Canon Rebel XSi and it is amazing! I'm just sad that I didn't have it sooner because it takes such amazing pictures that I would have loved to have it when Austin was even younger. I am still learning how to use it and I've only taken pictures on automatic mode so far, but take a look at the beautiful shots it takes with just the push of a button! Go ahead and prepare yourselves for tons of new pictures being posted daily as I have fun playing with my new toy. Here are some completely random shots that I took yesterday evening just trying it out!

July 17, 2009

9 month visit

We just got back from Austin's 9 month doctor's visit with a pretty good report. My big baby boy weighed in at 23 lbs. and he's almost 29 inches tall. This puts him in the 81st percentile for weight and the 60th for height. His head circumference measurement was 18.5 which is in the 90th percentile! That big melon of his must be housing a pretty big brain as the doctor said he thinks Austin is smarter than most babies his age and his physical and motor development certainly surpass the abilities of a typical 9 month old. Our pediatrician even said that he wants his autograph because he's going to be a future CEO!

It would seem that Austin has gotten a lot of his daddy's smarty pants genes, (did I ever mention that Ryan got a 4.0 at Clemson majoring in chemical engineering??) and his mommy is no dummy either, even though I don't have a fancy career or GPA to prove it. Of course, a lot of things can happen between now and adulthood, I know a lot of very smart people who have gone nowhere in life, but I'm very pleased to know that my baby is moving in the right direction so far.

Ok, enough with the bragging now. In other news, Austin got 2 shots today and did FANTASTIC...ok I'm still bragging...sorry! The nurses did such a fabulous job distracting him with bubbles and a yummy lollipop and while I held him on my hip they stuck him so fast he didn't even know what happened. He let out a little growl with the first stick and went back to slobbering all over his butterscotch dum-dum. He actually fussed more when I took his lollipop away than he did when he got his shots!

Finally, I leave you with a picture of what Austin did for the entire 10 minutes we waited in the exam room. If you ever want to entertain a 9 month old, just give him a roll of paper to rip into tiny shreds and a big mirror to look at. Who knew a doctor's visit could be so much fun?

Getting hit on

After Bouncing Babies yesterday morning, the kids were released from the grips of their respective parents and let loose to play with the toys and each other. Like many of the other little ones, Austin was sitting crowded around a yellow box of toys looking for something that grabbed his attention. All of a sudden, an older little girl came and sat down beside him, picked up a toy and began beating my baby over the head with it!

As I saw what was going on from across the room all I could think about was running up to that same little girl, shouting at her and smacking that toy out of her grubby little hand, but I calmed my inner rage as I swooped in to break up the beating about the same time as the mommy of this naughty little girl caught on to what was going on. Austin was fine and ignored her until he saw me coming at him so quickly and with a look of horror on my face. He started crying as soon as I got to him but it was nothing a big mommy hug couldn't handle. The mother of the little girl was very apologetic and swiftly left the room to go home and teach her some manners.

Austin quickly forgot the incident and went on to enjoy the rest of playtime, but I will never forget the first time my son got beat up by little girl. I didn't catch the incident on film but I got some before shots and you can clearly see the culprit in her green top and blue skirt.

1 little, 2 little, 3 little babies

Ryan plays softball for our church and last night was the championship game. They didn't win, but came in second which warranted the presentaion of a nice trophy and a pretty pleased team. While the team was in the field playing, however, Austin and I were hanging out with a few of our softball buddies. Leah and Malorie brought their little cuties Harper (4 months) and Kaleb (5 months) to play!

It was pretty hot out and Austin's chubby red cheeks are proof, but the 3 little ones were having a ball and just loved being outside, despite the summer heat. I even got Austin to lie down with the other two for a few moments to take some adorable pictures of the 3 baby mascots. I told Ryan that it looked like we started out with 4 babies until Austin ate one....but keep in mind he is double their ages.

July 14, 2009

9 months old

I'm not going to start out with my usual "oh my goodness, I can't believe he's already 9 months old, where has the time gone" speech. I still feel that way of course, but I've said it every month so far and I'm starting to realize that it's never going to change....he's just going to grow up faster than I would like and there's nothing I can do to stop it. I have, however, learned to fully embrace each day, each stage and each milestone and I've got plenty of photographic and video evidence to show me each and every magnificent moment.

So, here are 9 fun facts about 9 months old:

*We are starting to move further away from actual baby food and into more table food. He still prefers most baby foods but I think it's more of a texture issue, not taste. To date Austin has had baked potato, mashed potatoes, french toast, cheese, pancakes, spaghetti, banana, pears, carrots, bread, pudding, yogurt, cheerios, goldfish, sweet potato, mandarin oranges, and several other things I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention. I pretty much let him try anything that I eat myself. Today, in fact, he tried part of my oatmeal cream pie. It was a big hit!

*Austin is an absolute pro at crawling. He can crawl so fast now that I have to put him in "baby prison" (aka jumperoo, pack n play or exersaucer) sometimes just so I can go to the bathroom. He can get into anything within the blink of an eye and especially loves trying to get the dog/cat food, trying to climb the pet stairs onto our bed and trying to climb the actual staircase. In fact, he can climb all the way up the stairs by himself really well but he doesn't know how to get back down. We've now barricaded the stairs off for a little more peace of mind even though you could always tell when he was headed that way because he would start screaming in excitement once he made it half way down the hallway without being pulled back into the living room.

*Pulling up and standing are some of Austin's favorite things to do. He can pull up on anything and everything but his favorites seem to be his crib, high chair, the entryway wall, the coffee table, entertainment center, bathtub and sofa. He probably spends just as much time during the day standing as he does sitting or crawling. He's got really strong little legs and as soon as he learns to balance himself, I think he'll be walking with ease.

*Austin is still on a wonderful schedule. He wakes up around 8am each morning and takes two naps at around 10:30 and 2:30 for an hour and a half to 2 hours a piece. He goes to bed between 8 and 9 after our nighttime routine of bath, lotion massage and bottle and we usually don't hear from him again until the next morning. How did I get so blessed with such a fabulous sleeper?!

*In addition to shoes, Austin loves books and especially his finger puppet book, Little Duck. I read to him everyday and now he will go to his bookcase, pull out a book, open it and sit on the floor and "read" or babble to himself while he turns the pages. It really is one of the cutest things to watch!

*My sweet baby just loves to give his mommy big, slobbery, wet kisses all the time now. He leans in and plants one right on my lips and I love to give him one right back! Another imitative behavior that I absolutely adore!

*As you all know, Austin enjoyed his very first beach trip this month and we can't wait to go back in 2 weeks!!! He's such a little water baby!

*Austin is really talking up a storm but we haven't distinguished any new words lately. The only thing he'll say consistently is "mama" but he's getting much better at saying "dada." When I ask him where is dada or where is lulu (Lucy) he will look around for them, so I know he understands. He also seems to know what baba means (bottle) and gets pretty excited when he hears that particular sound. The boy loves his bottle and I'm terrified of starting the weaning process.

*And while I try not to linger too much on the developmental milestones chart since every baby develops at his or her own rate, I do want to mention that Austin has mastered the pincher grasp, object permanence and loves to play pat-a-cake. We're working on waving bye bye now but he just grins every time we do it.

Finally, Austin goes back to the doctor on Friday for his 9 month visit and we'll get updates weight/height/percentiles then (as well as a few more shots...boo).

This is it, I promise!

My little guy is finally getting his first tooth...for real this time, just in time for his 9 month birthday!! I have proof this time, I can see the white tip poking through, his gums are swollen and bleeding and he's drooling BUCKETS! He's still sleeping through the night but he did wake up about an hour earlier this morning and instead of playing in his crib for 10-15 minutes like usual, he cried for me to come get him almost immediately. I actually slept half of the night on a palette in his room because I just knew he was going to wake up screaming in pain (and because I just wanted to be close to my little man), but Ryan came and got me at 4am and I never even heard a peep! He seems to be acting ok although he doesn't want to be far away from his mommy and in the late afternoon he's been a little cranky.

I've been giving Austin cold foods like yogurt, applesauce and frozen waffles as well as teething biscuits and plenty of toys to chew on. Every once in awhile I give him a little bit of Tylenol if he seems to be extraordinarily fussy. Does anyone else have any other suggestions to help my baby feel more comfortable during this teething process? I just hate to see him in pain, even if he is taking it like a champ!

Also, does anyone know about how long it takes for the actual tooth to fully come in once it just starts to break through the gum? I'm just curious how long I can expect this to last.

July 13, 2009

Fancy Footwork

I don't know what it is...the colors, the textures, the the odd shapes and sizes...but my boy is obsessed with shoes! He's drawn to them like a moth to a flame and when he spots a pair on the floor he crawls like a maniac towards them until he gets them in his grasp. It doesn't matter who's shoes they are, what type of shoe it is, or even if it's being worn at the time or not!

Around the house I have to hide my shoes or put them up on something so Austin can't reach and anytime he ventures into our bedroom he heads right for Ryan's dress shoes which are always so nicely scattered on the floor. He even attacks the shoes on his own feet (which is why he is mostly barefoot) and he loves to grab shoes off the feet of other children as well.

I'm betting on the fact that this is just a curious phase he's going through and keeping my fingers crossed that it isn't the start of another Tanner P. foot fetish (for all you Bachleorette fans). :)

July 11, 2009

Happy Faces!

As you can see by my last video, I LOVE getting Austin up from his naps because he is always so happy to see me! I often take my camera up there with me to capture his happy little face just a smilin' when I walk into the room. I love that big gummy grin and check out that sweet little face...don't you just want to kiss those cheeks all over!

July 10, 2009

Random Cuteness!

I snuck up on Austin after he woke up from his nap this morning and caught this cute video. I love the look he has when he first notices me standing there!

July 9, 2009

Bouncing Babies!

There is a great class at the Greenville downtown library on Tuesdays and Thursdays called Bouncing Babies. Best of all, it is taught by my good friend Aaron's sister, Leigh. Aaron happened to be on vacation this week so the three of us went to Bouncing Babies this morning and had a great time! Leigh is a fantastic teacher and the kids really enjoy all the singing, dancing and activities.

Austin loves to watch other kids and there are plenty of them there to look at! He also really enjoys story time, bubbles and the puppet show. My favorite part is play time after class where I can just let him go and explore and meet the other kids. I just have to teach him not to steal pacis out of the other children's mouths!! He also has a fascination with shoes and constantly tries to pull the shoes off all the other kids feet. He also pulls them off his own feet which is why he is constantly barefoot.

Austin with his favorite teacher, Miss Leigh!

Miss Leigh starting class

Dancing and singing with mommy!

Riding around on the parachute....Austin trying his best to get everyone's shoes!

Bubble time was fun!

Watching the puppet show!

Playing ball with another 8 month old friend

Austin hanging out with his buddy Aaron

I love Bouncing Babies!!


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