Friday, January 31, 2014

18 Months

I can not believe my sweet baby girl is eighteen months old today. I don't know where the past year and a half has gone. I'm so emotional today. So much has changed, even in just the past six months.
Left: First Birthday -- Right: Almost 18 Months
Where did my baby go? She's looking so grown up and beautiful. My sweet girl's baby cheeks are gone. Even though she's only gained about three pounds in the last six months, she's so much bigger. She's in 24 months and 2T clothing now. Her hair has grown so much. All of it goes into a pony tail now.

Development wise, she's so advanced. I'm beyond proud of how smart my sweet girl is. She is starting to learn her colors and shapes. She knows almost all of her body parts (more difficult ones like shoulders and elbows still stump her). She helps dress and undress herself. She knows where her snacks are, and tells us when she's hungry. She's constantly talking. Her vocabulary is so vast. She is speaking so clearly now, it amazes me. 

Today was also Miss A's first day at daycare. I chose to enroll her part time for a few reasons. Between school and photography, I have no "mommy time" anymore. Even though I'm only planning on using the eight hours a week that she's at daycare for school and getting work done... a quite house is such a nice change. It's also great for Miss A. She got to play with six other kids her age today. She's never been around that many kids her size before. She's in what they call the "waddler" room (13 months to early two-year-olds). From what her teacher told me, she did great. I'm excited to incorporate this into our weekly routine now. 

I guess I'm off! Time to go spend some quality time with my munchkin. Mommy missed her lovings this morning. 

God Bless ♥ V

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dreaming Big

I don't know exactly what changed in the past few weeks, but I'm so happy. I have this new found confidence about myself and my life in general. I'm feeling so much more comfortable putting myself out there. I'm ready to conquer the world.

This morning, Hubs and I were talking about how he (we) wishes that I could do more of my photography from home, like in our own back yard. I would love that. To have an awesome space to not only shoot at, but also work in... that's my dream. I see photos like these:

I know that this is something I want. I want to set up a space like this: 

I could do my consults, processing, ordering, and everything else except shooting in a space like that. If I had enough room, I would set up a shooting area in there too. What I would ideally like is either a finished walkout basement, or a finished loft. Lots of big windows and natural light to work with. 

Last year, I decided that my four year goal was to open an out-of-home studio. I've altered that dream now. That's to Uncle Sam, I don't know when we'll be able to have a house that will permit a space like this. Hubs is still back and forth on what he wants to do after this contract is up. If he stays active duty (and hopefully we could PCS somewhere), I would like to buy a house as soon as we get wherever we're going. If he gets out, and pursues a different career path in the civilian world, I would like to wait a year or two to make sure that he's happy where he's at before we commit to living there. So, who knows. I may open a small studio space somewhere in a few years to hold myself off until I can open a home space. 

All I know for sure, is that I will have a home office someday. I want something organized and beautiful. I would love to live in a five bedroom home, so we could have three bedrooms for us and the kid(s, someday), a guest room, and an office space. Hubs still wants a man cave, so I'd want to have another room for him to do what he wants with. 

I wish I had a timeline for this. That's honestly the hardest part of my life right now. Life is good. I'm feeling good. I'm so excited to see where I'm at, even a year from now. Hopefully I'll have at least something to show for the work I'll have done this year. 

God Bless ♥ V

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Balancing College and Motherhood

I'm just over a week into the semester and am already feeling a little stress. So far, I've done just fine on all my assignments. The kicker, all of the assignments have been "about me" or ice breakers. I have had two normal assignments and a test so far, and have done well on those. I'm just nervous about continuing that trend throughout the semester.

This week, I have two more tests, three discussion posts and responses, and a few other assignments. On top of that, I have four sessions to finish processing. I've got cleaning to do, a trip to Michigan to plan, and all the other duties that come with being a mom and wife. Miss A has been extra attached lately, and I'm not sure why. I love all the extra cuddles she's giving me though. I'm definitely taking advantage of that.

So far, I'm not at all behind, but again.... it's only a week and a half into the semester. I'm planning on putting Miss A into daycare part time starting next week or the following week. It was going to be today, but that didn't happen. She loves the facility we chose, so now it's just a process of getting her enrolled.

Other than that, life is pretty good. Today is Hubs and my fourth anniversary. Four years ago today, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I never imagined that we'd be where we are today. So much has happened in the past four years, and I'm thankful for every single day of it. I'm so excited to see what the next year will bring for us. I know that it will be great.

God Bless ♥ V

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed

Just over a week ago, Miss A made the transition from her crib to a toddler bed. She's almost 18 months old now. We were somewhat torn on when to start this transition, but our decision making process was sped up a bit by this:

Our little climber was consistently hanging out on the top rail of her crib. Rather than risk her falling 3+ feet off of the top, we decided it would be better to risk let her roam free in her room and convert her crib to a toddler bed. 

We switched her between her nap and bedtime, so going to sleep for the night (when she's more tired) was the first time in her big girl bed. We didn't change anything else in her bedtime routine. The only thing that changed about her bed was the front rail being removed. It stayed in the same place. Her bedding remained the same. Her bath was the same time. Her bed time remained the same. I still turned on her sound machine and night light, kissed her goodnight, and closed her door. 

Once I left her room, I asked Hubs how long he gave her before she came back to the living room. His guess: 3 minutes. My guess: 1 minute. Actual time: about 40 seconds. I put her back in her bed again, but shortly after... "Mama? Dada?" Down the hallway she came again... after about 7 more trips out into the living room, I gated off the hallway so she couldn't see us, but still had the freedom to open her door if she was scared. After about 10 more minutes, she fell asleep no problem. Woo! Not. 

Around one in the morning, she woke up freaking out. After a little over an hour, she went back to sleep. She then slept until around seven, which is pretty normal. 

The next day, we attempted nap time for the first time. It went surprisingly well, with the exception of it only being about 45 minutes instead of 2+ hours. I figured she'd be exhausted enough to just fall asleep at night with no problems. Correct! Until about 10:00pm... She was up again, and freaking out again... This time it only took me about 45 minutes to get her back to sleep, but then she woke up again around one. At one, she would not stay in her bed for anything. After close to two hours I finally got her relaxed enough to try again. She slept til almost eight. Again, pretty normal.

Night three went pretty well. She napped for about an hour and a half that day, so she wasn't overly tired. She kept wandering into the living room again so I decided to shut her door completely (locking her in her room). I was initially really against this, but after talking with my mom (she did with my brother and me), I felt a little better about it. Best. Decision. Ever. 

Since we started completely closing her door, she's been sleeping in her big girl bed like a champ. The last two nights, she's been sleeping over 12 hours. She still fights going to sleep a little bit, but she's not waking up in the middle night. She's napping pretty regularly as well. 

I feel much better knowing that she's not going to jump out of the crib now. She knocks on her door when she wakes up and we let her out of her room. Now, once she starts opening her door on her own... we'll be facing a new challenge. But for now, life is good. My big girl is growing up so quickly. I can't believe my own eyes. 

God Bless ♥ V

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Random Update

I've been getting bad about posting on here again, but hopefully this week will allow for a few posts. Nothing too exciting is happening right now. We switched Miss A to a toddler bed last weekend and after day three, it's been great! Hopefully, I'll post about that with more detail sometime this week. I started school again on Monday and I'm not too far behind yet. Really though, I only have one assignment left to do that's due today. I'm feeling a little anxious about the rest of the semester, but I'm sure that I'll pull through one day at a time. I'm also planning on starting a new fitness program today or tomorrow. December was a great month, but absolutely terrible for my waistline. I'm hoping to lose a few pounds before beach season starts. I'm planning another trip to Michigan at the end of February to watch my baby brother swim at his last league competition. I'm so sad that he's growing up on me. Time has been flying so quickly lately, I can't stand it.

Well, that's all for right now! Miss A just woke up after sleeping 13.5 hours last night! Have a happy Sunday!

God Bless ♥ V

Friday, January 10, 2014

She's Growing Up

Yesterday, Miss A hit a major milestone and I'm still not entirely sure how to feel about it. For Christmas, her great grandparents gave her money to get all her potty training supplies. She got her potty on Wednesday. I didn't bring it out until yesterday afternoon, but the second time she sat on it, she peed! I was shocked, since we've been sitting her on the big toilet every night before bath time to get her comfortable, and there hasn't been as much as a trickle. But yesterday, she legitimately peed in the potty, twice. 

We're nowhere near ready for potty training yet, but it's my goal to get her completely comfortable with the potty before we start working on it. So for the next month or two, when I go to the bathroom she comes in with me and sits on her potty. If she goes, yay! If she doesn't, at least she's getting comfortable with the idea. 

At 17 months old, I don't expect her to understand the concept of "only going in the potty." My goal for potty training her is to be finished by two, but if it doesn't happen I'm not going to stress. It makes me sad to see her growing up so fast. 

We will be switching her to a toddler bed in a month or so. I'm trying to hold off as long as we can, at least to the year and a half mark... but she's becoming quite the climber. Between transitioning to her new bed, and potty training, and just learning and growing in general... she's throwing mama through a loop. She's becoming so independent. 

She is having a little party all by herself. She does this quite often now with the table and chair set she got for Christmas. On a note about that, I'm extremely satisfied with KidKraft's customer service. We ordered this from Amazon on Friday last week and it arrived on Wednesday. One of the seat bottoms came broken (there are normally 4 seats but I only assembled two for now since she doesn't need more yet) so I called KidKraft. Less than 5 minutes later, a new seat was on the way to our house. It came today. That's right, two day shipping and less than 5 minutes on the phone. So thank you, KidKraft. You're awesome. 

Well, I'm off to go entertain my little booger. She's being a bit of a stinker this afternoon. 

God Bless ♥ V

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014 Goals

This year, I'm setting a ton of goals for myself. I made a list in a Google Doc that I plan on printing out and hanging in our bathroom, and maybe in the kitchen (if I'm brave) so I'll see it all the time. Rather than set resolutions that will be completely changing my life, I am setting goals to work towards. I'm not going to stress too badly if I don't reach them completely by the end of January, or June, or November... I just want a place to work towards. Some of the things on my list are:

Getting Healthy Before Baby #2
With my first pregnancy, I gained 30 pounds (give or take two), which I was pretty happy with. I managed to stay relatively healthy throughout, and started at a healthy weight. I lost all my baby weight within about three months. Well.... I'm fairly certain I gained about ten pounds in the month of December. Holidays were not good for me this year. I would like to get back to pre-pregnancy weight again, but not just the weight. I want to be active and feel good about my fitness before we start trying for Baby #2.

Spend More Time Off-line
I want to be more present. I plan on putting Miss A in part time daycare this year, which will allow me to get school work and photography work done while she's not home. That means less time on the computer when she's home and more time playing with her. I want to be more social with my husband too. Work cuts into our personal time far too much. I would love to have an hour of "us" time every day to discuss our days, communicate, and love each other.

Get More Self Confidence
I want to be more confident in every aspect of my life. I second guess myself way more often than I should. I want to own my photography. I want to own my parenting views and my relationship. I want to own my body. I want to own my life.

Grow My Business
I have lots of goals for my photograph business, including getting my license and insurance. Those two should be easily obtainable in January or February. But more than that, I want to grow my skill set. With my new camera, I can work better in low light, as well as outside. I want to push myself. I don't want to settle for where I'm at and plateau. I want business to boom.

There are lots of other things on my list, both for photography and for my personal life. I don't feel like sharing all of them, but they're all something to work towards, not to change overnight. The new year isn't necessarily something miraculous that is going to change my mindset completely. "Oh gosh, it's 2014. That means I need to eat only vegetables and go to the gym 26 times a week." No... it doesn't work that way for me... but I would like to start somewhere. If that means going to the gym once a week by the end of December, at least it's progress from where I'm at now.

I hope all of you have at least one goal you'd like to achieve this year. Whether it's a simple, "spend less money on gas," or an extensive, "run three marathons," choose a goal and come up with a way to make it happen.

God Bless ♥ V