Come October, the weather has been nice enough for boots and more time spent outside before evening. Jude, as always, loves helping with chores and going on long walks down by the river. I am always snapping pictures on my phone of our everyday moments, so this is a iphone pic post. I am trying to get better at doing things with all the photos I take.
Nights have been crisp, which is perfect for campfires. Perhaps we can fit in an evening camping before it gets too cold.
I always try new pumpkin recipes every year – and usually am disappointed. Maybe I can blame it on my oven, but whenever I try baking breads, they are dry or underdone in the middle. With pumpkin cookies – they are too cakey or doughy or with hardly enough flavor/sweetness for my liking. This time around, I realized that I prefer the cookies after they are fully cooled or even chilled in the fridge as opposed to hot out of the oven. And I would say the recipe was a winner; however, I have a couple more from friends that I want to try out.
Even though it never appeared on my “official” bucket list, going to pick our own strawberries is something I had never done and always wanted to do. Every summer I say I want to and it never happens. This year, I made it my birthday request (no need to talk about turning 29 and seeing the end to my twenties). So obviously, it had to happen! And it did. A simple family outing, but the kind that I love.
Yes, it was sunny and sweaty – but we enjoyed their fresh homemade strawberry ice cream and then came home and now have a freezer full of strawberry jam that I made! And some yummy strawberry syrup. A complete WIN in every way. Especially spending the morning with my two favorite boys. . .
And that morning before picking we all got to go to my dr appointment and see our little Ruby kicking around at 13 weeks! We are very excited! . . .
I am not one that spends time watching viral videos or reading the latest popular articles circling around the internet; but today in search of some things, I came across this video. It hit home for me in a few ways. In coming to post it, I noticed that the last time I wrote on here was around New Years. Reading my thoughts and goals of wanting to simplify and prioritize my year for what and who matters most only makes this that much more applicable:
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.
Today is Mother’s Day and I am feeling especially blessed. I have an amazing mother whom I love dearly. Now that I am older with a family of my own, I see her in myself every day. I hope to become more of the selfless, God loving, and hardworking woman that she is. I love that her love for God, family, the arts, gardening, and cleaning have been reflected into my life now. Some of those things might seem funny (mainly the cleaning part), but that’s what I think of when my mother comes to mind. And now they have become part of me as well. I thank you, Mom, for teaching me so much through how you choose to live. xoxo!
Not only have I been so lucky to find, fall in love with, and marry the most amazing man ever (who compliments me in every way) but now I understand the love and role of being a mother. And I don’t think my life could get any better! Isn’t this what happiness is about anyway? In the words of the apostle, L Tom Perry, from this last April’s General Conference:
“The older I get, the more I realize the family is the center of life. It is the key to eternal happiness.”
So true. So very very true.
Thank you, Mom. Thank you, James. And thank you, little Jude for making my life so wonderful!
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!
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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.