Now that we have a little person in the family, things like visiting the pumpkin patch are more fun! Jude enjoyed wandering around in the dirt, through fields of zinnias, and eating homemade strawberry ice cream from Washington Farms in Bogart, GA.
Here’s to fall!
Jude decided it was a good idea to put a handful of potting soil into his mouth. That kid…
Yep! Jude is about to be 15 months old – and I am finally deciding to post some pictures from his first birthday. I guess that just shows that motherhood + life keeps me busy, right?
His birthday was kept simple. He turned ONE, so he isn’t exactly going to care if he gets a big party with lots of presents or not. We got him a big gourmet cupcake and invited the grandparents over to watch him eat it with us. Is that a crazy celebration or what?
He wasn’t a fan of his cute birthday hat at first, but I finally got a couple pictures with him wearing it. Thank you, Dainty Couture!
It took a while to get much of a reaction from Jude. He just ate it – calm and collected. Eventually we did get some smiles and jibberish.
At age one – Jude is very much like his daddy. He loves cars and outside! He understands what shoes mean and eagerly sits in my lap to get them on and then goes straight for the four wheeler or our horse. He cries when I bring him in from outside. He has no fear of animals, which can be good and bad. He makes car noises with his mouth while playing with his hotwheels. He is at the stage of getting into everything – pulling everything out of drawers and cupboards and putting it back in (in the wrong places of course!). Bathtime is always his favorite – or he has been known to walk into our showers and join us. He hates if I do not pay full attention to him if I am on my phone or ipad planning seminary lessons. I have to be PLAYING with him on the floor. He loves his blocks, books, and sitting in laps. The funny thing is – he turns around way ahead of time and backs into laps. Very cute! He is a sweetie – loves people and giving kisses. Every trip to the store, he makes friends because he has to smile and wave at literally everybody. He definitely has a funny personality and we adore everything about our little Judester.
My little baby is not so much of a baby anymore. He turned one at the beginning of this month. I can hardly believe it. He’s so grown! He walks. He jabbers all day. He plays & giggles. He pitches fits. He mimics us. And he has quite the little personality! I need to post pictures from his 1st birthday “celebration” – but for now, here is one from this morning.
James and I had the opportunity of visiting Utah this Spring – as in a few months ago now – and I’m finally taking the time to post some pictures from our trip. I’m so on-the-ball!
It worked out great that James had a business conference to attend in Salt Lake City (Domopalooza) and little Jude and I were able to tag along.
Jude did great in our flights. The flight attendants LOVED him! Who wouldn’t? : ) We stayed the first part of our trip in The Grand America which was super fancy & a fun experience. After the conference was over, we headed down to Provo and stayed there a couple nights to be closer to friends. Seeing some of our favorite faces and catching up was well overdue and much needed.
One afternoon, we made it to Temple Square in Salt Lake. Utah in spring is GORGEOUS, and Temple Square in the spring definitely tops the charts. I was obsessing over all of the tulips and mass amounts of flowers EVERYWHERE. It’s amazing really.
The hanging flower boxes along the walls were my favorite part. With bright happy poppies coming out the top!
Seeing as it was Jude’s first time to Utah and Temple Square, I had to document it well for him. It’s such a special place to us. Sure, he won’t remember it…but that’s what pictures are for!
^ This photo is one of my favorites. ^
We made it into the old Tabernacle where we found a sister missionary who served in our ward in Georgia a few months prior! She is from the Philippines and was headed home the very next week. Such a sweet little coincidence to run into her there. She and her companion did the sound presentation in the Tabernacle so we could hear the pin drop. Incredible acoustics!
Even though it was spring, the wind and weather were still bitter cold. We had to stay bundled.
Seriously though…look at how many flowers!
When we were done being “tourists”, we stopped and ate at The Lion House for brunch. Warm homemade goodness!
^Fancy little way to keep things watered ^
Summer is now here – clearly, It’s the end of July – and we’ve been staying super busy. James just finished his summer term of school and finals this week. He’ll start up with an even heavier load in a week or so for Fall. Ugh! I’m just as ready for him to be done as he is. Still over a year to go though. Jude is walking and all over the place. His personality cracks us up & he continues to be a sweet and personable little guy. We enjoyed having my family in town this month as well – my mom, two sisters, and their kids all stayed at our house for about a week. Summer is winding down quickly – we have two more Gossling babies joining the family any day now (June and Shellie are very much about to pop!) and Jude is about to be ONE! Where has the year gone? August 6th.
This is the first spring that James and I have successfully planted a garden. In the past, we were in the middle of moves or I was pregnant. My potted tomatoes and peppers became neglected and sadly, there were little to no fruits of our “labors”. A lot of work has gone into creating plantable beds in our yard – a big thanks to my mom and dad who helped a ton when they came out last summer for Jude’s birth and blessing. It made this this year much less of a pain. Many hours have also been put in by James who leveled and built a 10×10 ft raised bed for our veggies this year. We’re starting small and hoping to expand in coming years.
I wanted to post some pictures so that I can bask in the satisfaction of seeing how things grow and change over time. Gardening really is very fulfilling. Each little plant has become almost like a child to me now.haha! I know what they are and I weed them and water them. Sounds dweeby – but true!
So, this is what the back of our house looked like back in the day before we ever moved in. The place was for sure a “fixer upper”. Of course, there was a lot of cosmetic things done to improve it before we moved in as well…but I post it because I like to see how far it’s all come.
A snapshot from this last Memorial Day weekend…
The coral bells from my mother’s yard when she lived here in Georgia are doing way better this year than last. I also feel like the start of her hibiscus grows a foot a week. Also better than last year because it was confined to a pot.
^ The only “before” shot I can find of the front/kind of the front of the house. ^
I planted gladiolus bulbs and they have all come up. Three already bloomed and each in a different color. The deep purple is back by the kitchen window. They make me so happy!
Some of my favorite little personalities of the yard…
Our veggies are doing well. I have some phone shots from while James was building…
We literally filled it with the piles of manure/straw/sawdust from behind the stables. Perfect compost!
Everything has been sprouting up really well. We already have some bell peppers and yellow crook neck squash that will be ready for picking soon! I also have eight tomato plants, cucumbers, jalapeños, chives, onions, garlic, and some pumpkin plants that came out of nowhere (from the compost). Our spinach and cilantro pretty much already bit the dust. Live and learn.
James planted seven blueberry bushes and two raspberry vines behind the house. They are doing surprisingly well and going to give fruit this year. I have already picked a few juicy ripe raspberries and they are delicious.
I have my fresh herbs growing here and there. My favorite is my herb tower that James helped me put together with some rebar and pots. He also built the bed that it’s sitting in.
Phone shot when he was building it (and also some pics in this post) …
Then our hydrangea there in the center got a disease and shriveled up! So sad. I planted some flowering vines and other herbs in its place and hope they fill in through he summer.
Love my herb tower! Basil. Parsley. Italian Oregano. Stevia. Dill. Lemon Thyme.
We’ve got some random pumpkins sprouting again – and I decided to just leave them there. And more oregano, mojito mint, and chocolate mint in the bed. I doubled up on basil & thyme and have a large rosemary bush growing on the other side of the yard as well because those are my favies that I use most (and the basil in the tower is not doing so well).
A little throwback to when I was planting and Jude was in a sailor suit (James did not approve)…
Those are all that I have on my computer right now. I’ll take more once the rainy and stormy days pass. Here’s to my little garden!
It’s May and Jude is now 9 1/2 months old. Where has the time gone? I feel as though he’s sprouted up over night. I heard him rustling in his crib after his afternoon nap yesterday and decided to grab my camera. My little boy seems so big already!
Jude started pulling himself up on things the first few days in May and since then is all over the place. He travels from the couch to the coffee table to the fireplace in seconds. We swore he would go straight to walking, but a week or so ago he figured out crawling and climbing up steps. There is no stopping him now! Unfortunately. He is into everything. A couple days ago he bonked his eye on the corner of the coffee table – hence the bruise in the pictures.
I am in love with his face and tousled hair when he first wakes up. Even in the mornings he’ll sit and jabber and play in his crib for a good while until I come in. He is usually all smiles when I come get him. Many people are shocked and tell me what a good and happy baby he is. We are definitely blessed with a content and “easy” child. I’m sure the next one won’t be as calm though!
Jude still has no teeth and no sight of any coming in. That hasn’t kept him from eating though! He would eat all day if I let him. He loves blueberries and scrambled eggs and gumming on a piece of wheat toast. I’m sure he would figure out a way to eat anything I give him though. When we go out for BBQ, he devours baked beans, mac n cheese, and squash casserole. Who wouldn’t?! I hope to not raise a picky eater, and so far so good! Our only problem is water – he won’t drink it unless I mix in an ounce of juice so that it has a hint of flavor and sweetness.
He makes a lot of noise – squeals and the typical, “mamamamama” and “dadadadada”. I am very proud of his wave. I think he is too – because he waves all the time to us and other people. And Kitty. He’ll even do it on cue most of the time with ‘say hi!’ or ‘bye-bye!’.
He is not much a cuddler anymore and hates being swaddled or cradled. I think he is on the verge of being a one nap a day baby, which I kind of hate. He’ll sleep through the night, but still fights sleep even if he is exhausted and rubbing his eyes.
I’m convinced that although he looks a little more like me, he has more of his dad’s personality – lately he loves his back and head being scratched/rubbed and he plays with toy cars all day. Anything with an engine immediately gets his attention and a ride on the four wheeler is my go-to to cheer him up.
He is definitely a Mama’s Boy right now – and I love that because I don’t think it will last long.
It’s 7:30am and I’m sitting at my kitchen table eating a slice of cheese pizza leftover from last night (Make A Wish Foundation built my nephew, Grant, an incredible playground in his back yard and last night was a little party / reveal for it – post on that later). Usually I come home from seminary and crawl back in bed in hopes of getting at least 30-45 minutes rest before Jude wakes up. But, this pizza is now inspiring me to blog. I have so many pictures, I ought to do something with them.
So spring is finally here! I have been very ready for it for a while. Our days are finally warming up and green is popping up everywhere. That has me pretty excited because last summer we had some perennials and bushes planted and, after a brown and dead winter, I am starting to see the green shoots come back up! I really shouldn’t take the credit because my mom and dad basically did all the work when they visited after Jude’s birth. My contribution was going to Grower’s Outlet and picking out what plants we wanted. Though this spring/summer since I’m not pregnant or recently out of surgery – I should be able to handle it.
This weather already inspired another trip to Grower’s Outlet and lots of weeding. Little Jude gets to spend that time with me outside, though he’s been a trooper about it. I often sit him in the grass with some of his hot wheels or hang his jumper in the doorway of the breezeway. He loves it!
James and I have been planning out our vegetable garden too. I am bound and determined to make it successful this year. The last two summers we have been in the middle of moves and it never happened. This year is our year! We are starting completely from scratch and it’s going to be a lot of work. There aren’t many flat areas around our house and, of course, there is no spot that is not 100% packed red Georgia clay. The abundance of deer and other critters also add the need for fencing or other protection. Luckily, my husband is awesome and enjoys working with his hands and figuring out projects. I am always amazed at the things he does. I’m the type of person that would jerry-rig something for a quick solution or “make do.” James is not. He’s all about exactness, measurements, efficiency, and quality. For example, if I’m going to hang something on the wall – I stand back and kind of eyeball where I want it and then hammer that nail in. Sometimes I end up making a couple holes before I get it where I want it. That drives James nuts. He would go get his measuring tape, this contraption that shoots a laser onto the wall for leveling, and a fancier wall mount for hanging pictures. It seems like too much work to me. Whatever though! He does everything well and likes doing it (or so it seems). So, I have no doubt that our raised beds will be top notch by the time he’s done. I can handle the planting and upkeep. He likes building, I like gardening – it works out well.
Just this week he decided to build a wall for a flower bed in our backyard where the slope makes everything muddy. He finished last night. I need to take a picture of the final deal once I plant all my pretty plants in it : ).
We love where we live, but it definitely was a “fixer upper” and we have had our work cut out for us. It’s ok though because looking back at what this place once was and comparing it to what it will be makes me excited. What a fulfilling feeling.
(We dog sat this last week for our friends, Matt & Laura. Though I had to laugh at the fact that pampered Duke did not like playing outside as much as we did. I blame Laura entirely lol!)
Jude had his first “play date” this last week. My friend, Ryan Phipps, moved to Georgia for the summer & her little babe is only a week younger than Jude. It was cute watching them. It was Jude’s first time really interacting with another person his size and age.
He is starting to get better with balance and can even stand on his own for about 3 seconds. I know that seems like nothing, but he’s a quick learner!
I’m very obsessed with watching James and Jude together. Once Jude is bigger it will only get better! I imagine he will follow James around all the time. They love each other and that melts my heart.
Here is one from last night… of this special little family of mine that I love so much … haha : )…
And so that I’m in at least one picture. Thank you, Summer! – Who came and hung out with us for an afternoon this week. …
I’m not the kind of mom that is ultra-protective and obsessive over everything. I don’t freak out when Jude swallows grass or sucks on a rock he just found (some people may shudder at that). His little toes and fingers have been nibbled and slobbered on by the donkeys on more than one occasion. It’s good for him! I’m also not an all-organic kind of mom. I don’t go out of my way to purchase the “dye free” children’s Tylenol. Or the “gentle” laundry detergent for babies. And we choose to vaccinate. So as far as parenting goes in this fast growing “granola” world – who knows where I rank.
BUT – I have recently realized that I’m going to be somewhat picky about what baby food I’m going to buy. Let’s be real, I don’t have time (or the best equipment) to whip up homemade baby food like some moms. I know it’s cheaper, but I’ve got a lot going on between early morning seminary each day with the youth at church (leaving my house by 5:40am each day – YAY!), taking care of Jude, making sure the animals get fed, staying on top of my photography business, trying to keep a “journal” for our family with my blog, laundry, keeping a clean house for my own sanity, cooking, grocery shopping, church responsibilities, catching up on sleep, spending time with my husband, etc… right now making baby food just isn’t on my list. Props to you parents who make that happen! Though I feel like I’ve found the next best thing.
A couple weeks ago, I ran to the store specifically for baby food. I was a little frustrated when half of the isle was cleared out of what I normally buy. Literally completely bare shelves. I saw the pretty little Beech-Nut jars with all of their fancy flavors and realized it was my only other option. I stocked up on some. Seeing that I am trying to keep a budget, but also want to feed my child good quality, I came home and compared. I never noticed that the baby food I bought before had additives and preservatives in it. Long story short – I’ve since switched over. I’m a little obsessed with the flavors, bright colors, and mostly – the simple ingredient list of JUST whatever it is. They taste awesome too – I always try whatever I give Jude & both texture and flavor are as though it came straight from a blender.
So, was I meaning for this to become a commercial? No. But now it kind of is. Haha. You’re welcome, Beech-Nut.
I love this sweet, happy boy! I also love how he finds and puts his pacifier in his mouth all on his own. Seven months is such a fun age. Though we are still waiting on teeth.
The month of February sped by for us. Little Jude turns seven months old today, and he has quite the personality! He sits up like a champ and likes standing up in our laps. I swear this little dude is going to skip crawling and go straight to walking. Though I’m hoping we can hold off on that for a while. This stage of sitting content surrounded by toys on the floor without being mobile is very ideal. Though he drools constantly, we’ve yet to see any teeth coming in. And he is at that stage where everything he handles goes straight to his mouth. He loves to eat all that we give him (other than peas – he gags when fed pureed peas), and his rolling thighs and many chins prove it.
Jude continues to be such a “chill” baby. He jabbers and smiles all day long. Fussiness really only happens if he’s hungry or tired. And boy does this little guy fight sleep! He likes his exersaucer and doorway jumper and absolutely loves being outside. James often will take him out there when he’s checking on the animals. Jude gets very excited when around animals, especially when he sees Kitty – he starts squawking and waving his arms around. When he gets the giggles, Jude stuffs his fists into his mouth. We think it’s because he likes the feel of the sound on his hands. Recently, he discovered smacking his lips and does it all the time. It’s really cute!
Ohmygoodness! I am a little obsessed with this giggle fit he had last week…
We have finally (this last week) decided to let Jude cry it out at night. He’s always gone to bed well, but has been waking up about two times at night – expecting a bottle once usually. It’s time we stopped that though, and did so cold turkey. It’s been so nice sleeping through the night since! Honestly, I’m not even really sure if he’s waking up and crying at night because early morning seminary makes me so tired. Regardless, I am loving the non-interrupted sleep.
Our winter weather has been super wack this year. Kind of like last year. Though we had a gorgeous foggy morning recently followed by a warm sunny day. Even though it’s super early, I really enjoy getting home around 7am and being up to see the mornings unfold. It’s usually the best time to take pictures anyhow. And then, go figure, there was snow when we got out of seminary today. Whatever to this weather!
. . . . .
James and I celebrated our third Valentine’s Day together this year. We take turns “being in charge of” Valentine’s Day and our Anniversary. This year it was his turn for V-Day (I get our anniversary), which is super awesome because I didn’t have to do a thing! Literally – not a thing is expected on my part. It’s a wonderful tradition.
James planned a great date for us. We started out the evening with a 90 minute couples massage in Athens at Urban Sanctuary Spa. It was fancy and relaxing and a little taste of heaven. Afterwards, we had dinner reservations at 5&10 – a classy white tablecloth dining experience in Athens. James and I were in heaven sampling a handful of dishes from their menu. We decided it was Southern food with a fancy French twists. Their Grapefruit Pudding Cake was to die for. But then again, so was their crisp, melt-in-your-mouth Carolina Trout and Pickled Shrimp and their Sorghum Glazed Pork Belly (that literally melted in my mouth). Ooooh…I’m making myself so hungry thinking about it right now. We would definitely go back! Great choices, James. He always plans the best dates, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.
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Hopefully spring comes soon. I’m looking forward to leafy trees and getting our garden going. Fingers crossed that this year we will finally be successful – no move or pregnancy in the mix should make it much more doable.
It can’t be a winter in Georgia without some freezing rain. Our power was going in and out all night, and we woke up to heavy trees loaded with popsicled-pineneedles. The quiet of the morning was frequently interrupted by the crackle and thud of branches snapping under the weight.
The poor donkeys’ manes were icy and crispy this morning, but the goats were chowing down on fresh pine that had fallen in the night. Our horse spent the night in the stalls and was anxious to be let out. Since we got her this last weekend, all she wants to do is eat grass. Her name is Bazinga, and we are smitten by her.
She is older – about 20 years – and fully broken in and trained. We got her from a friend of a friend who needed a home that could help her gain weight. With all of the grass here, I don’t think it will be a problem. We like to take her on walks and she is so obedient. She really is the sweetest horse & is absolutely great with kids! I’m looking forward to riding her once the weather warms up.
Luckily she gets along wonderfully with the other animals here as well.
And in other news – this fat kid is six months old already! He is probably in my favorite stage yet. So happy. Sitting up. And just a sweetie all together. He’s so chill and pretty much only cries if he’s hungry or tired. We are blessed.