Liam | One year (!)

How is this possible?!  Our baby isn't a baby anymore - he is one year old!  Practically a toddler.  It's crazy to think about what we were doing a year ago; reading our birth story is surreal (yeesh I was in labor a long time!  I still remind myself sometimes after a good toe stub that I had a baby for pete's sake!).

While individual days and weeks may have seemed long, the year as a whole flew past.  Every day he seems more and more grown up, and I catch glimpses of what he'll look like when he's about four years old often.     

Being a mom is not easy.  If you are a mom, you already know this.  If you're not a mom, go thank yours for all of the sleepless nights she had when you were young.  

Look at that pose!

Growth & Looks
Our little buggaboo weighs in at almost 20.5 pounds and 30.5 inches long (official measurements from our new pediatrician's office, which weighs the kiddo diaper-free, while his last one weighed him with his diaper on...).  That's about 35% for weight and 65% for height.  Our little hockey player is turning into a string bean.  Apparently all of that speedycrawling is a good workout! 

Someday, Liam will get more teeth.  But not for his first birthday gift, apparently. We're starting to see lots of bumps on those tops gums, but he's sticking with those bottom two for the time being. 

Now that we're settled into our new home (what? your husband graduated? you moved? he started residency? you have a blog?), we'll probably need to find a new gal to cut our hair, since Liam apparently could use his fourth hair cut already (or maybe we'll drive back to see Janine!).  We get comments all of the time about his baby blue eyes. 

We've been battling more skin issues.  After our second trip to Denver in June, his little face was a train wreck; so many dry patches.  Our new pediatrician gave us some miracle cream that has improved things substantially!

Pure joy.

This child gets up so.stinking.early.  He had a couple of weeks this month that he was up by 5:45am.  He's pushed it back to about 6-6:15 (and even made it until 6:45 once!!), but that's still pretty early for a baby.  Bed time still has no impact on when he wakes up, so I'm pretty sure it's time to consolidate naps down to one a day, but that's rather difficult when we're up so early in the morning.  He almost fell asleep in his lunch the other day when I was trying to stretch him to stay awake later.  Sleeping remains our biggest challenge. 

New favorite photo of this little guy.

Despite his lack of weight gain, this child eats quite a bit.  We do pumpkin oatmeal or a fruit and yogurt smoothie for breakfast, with cheerios or toast (which is actually just bread.  Remember, no teeth?).  Lunch is something along the lines of spinach with red skinned potatoes and zucchini, and dinner is something like lentils with chicken and veggies.  More often than not though, we've just been pureeing whatever we're having (Balsamic turkey meatloaf with roasted veggies? Collared greens? Moroccan chicken and cauliflower?) and he devours it.  Liam still has his bedtime oatmeal and milk three times a day (cutting it down to just wake up and bedtime pretty soon). 

We've gotten to the point where we can't really eat in front of him without him whining and reaching for a bit of whatever we have.  Cute, except when we're at his grandparents' house who always have freshly made chocolate chip cookies.  It's made me realize how many of those things I eat when we're there!

Playing in OUR backyard.  Someone's not sold on the whole grass thing yet.

Liam had his first kayak ride with my dad-in-law!  He loved it and went on multiple the week we spent with them.  We also discovered it must be relaxing, as he fell asleep on one ride ;) 

First taste of cake...nom nom nom.  Actually he didn't love the first taste, but it was nearing bed time at his first-first birthday party and there were lots of people looking at him and he was so overwhelmed.  His second-first birthday party, on his actual birthday with just the three of us, cake eating went much better.  By his third-first birthday party, he knew the drill, ate a ton, and smeared the rest on his belly and in his hair ;)  White cake with white frosting is necessary for babies!

nom nom nom...

Hobbies, Talents & Likes
Little man is getting more and more vocal.  He will yell to get our attention, has a "naughty noise" which is actually quite helpful because he isn't sneaky in the least when he's going to do things like try to tip the floor lamp over ;).  When he's excited or extra happy, he'll do his "godfather" noise as we call it, a hoarse, throaty excited noise.  

Liam can walk about two steps if he has momentum going, but hasn't been brave enough to let go of the furniture while cruising by himself yet.  I'm okay with it...once he walks I think it will be about two days before walking turns into running.  He's finally started to crawl over to us and get up on his knees and raise his arms to be lifted up which is very sweet...until about the 20th time in an hour that he does it ;) I know, someday he won't want me to hold him...but we definitely need to work on independent play so that I can get some work done at home too!

Wrestling is a nightly activity in our home that results in endless giggles.  Growing up with no brothers, this whole rough housing thing is a little foreign to me, but baby boy loves it so much! Being chased is also very fun, but thankfully things like "This Little Piggy" also conjure up lots of laughing too.  Liam would prefer to climb over things all day if he had his way.  He'll go out of his way to crawl over my legs even if there is a clear straight path he could have taken to get to his destination.  Future rock climber in our presence? 

Not sure what cognitive development milestone these fall under, but Liam loves to hand us things, then take them back, or open boxes or drawers and pull out whatever is in it (remote and coasters...all of his shirts...the napkin rings are his current favorite though), or putting things into a box.  That makes this giraffe toy his current favorite.  

Nautical birthday party at the lake!

Liam Gabriel, you are a joy to everyone you meet, and we pray you keep that joy always.  Happy first birthday, little love bug.


Still | A book review & giveaway!

Confession: I am a closet Christian Fiction lover. A lot of people consider this genre to be "fluff" or "feel-good" type books. It may partially be true, but there are some very enjoyable, compelling novels to be found in this mix, and I love it when I stumble across one (or, even better, when one comes to me!). I was so excited to receive a copy of the newly released Still by Eniola Prentice, who recently finished medical school AND published her first novel (wonder woman, perhaps? I can't fathom completing two such awesome accomplishments at the same time!). 

When the tag line of a novel reads, "A broken soul, an alcoholic, a certifiable genius, a Christian man and a secret that will destroy the bonds of their friendship"...you can guess that there will be a good plot line with some great twists!

The summary from the book jacket:
When self-proclaimed atheist Fadesola, gets into medical school she believes that it’s a fresh start of sorts for her. Until she discovers her class mate is charming and handsome Tayo Smith, a man she encountered in a violent moment years ago. This revelation shatters Fadesola’s already fragile emotional state but hope comes where she least expects it. A seemingly innocent friendship with Tayo’s friend, Ladi, slowly develops into a smoldering relationship with both afraid to acknowledge their mutual feelings. Things get even more complicated when Nikky, Fadesola’s classmate and friend, ignores her desperate warnings and decides that Tayo is the man she is meant to be with. However, within the complexities of this friendship these flawed individuals will experience God’s redemptive grace in a setting each believed his love would never find them. Still, the first book of a four part series is a coming of age story about navigating through medical school in the first year, complete with hilarious hook ups and breaks ups, legendary parties and incessant studying, and experiencing the triumph of success and disappointment of failure.

There are very few books that I’ve found about medical school that are close to reality (not an over-glamorous "Grey's Anatomy" type novel) .  While there are of course differences in every medical school experience, the school-related aspects of Still were comparable to my husband's experiences during his first year of medical school.  However, there were quite a few aspects of the novel to which I couldn't relate (aka the party/relationship side of things).  I do know there were more than a few medical school relationships that blossomed during orientation and beyond (several of which have culminated in marriage!), so it is not far off base in that arena ;)

I was drawn in quickly to the story line, and found myself thinking about it when I wasn't able to read it, like when I was working on fun projects like washing windows.  The characters are well-developed and intriguing, and there is enough mystery to balance out the drama well. There were a few frustrating aspects to a few of the characters, but that is just like real life. The plot was quick moving and the novel was an easy yet interesting read.

The faith component of the book was not as critical as I would have thought it to be, but I'm assuming it will play a larger role in the subsequent installments. I also appreciated the taste of Nigerian culture that is woven throughout the book.  I'll be the first to admit that I knew nothing about it and it was fun to learn a bit along the way! 

While Still may have not been a very close representation to our personal medical school experience, it was still enjoyable and has left me wanting more!  I'm quite excited to read the next book in the series already.  If it comes out during Eniola's intern year I will be totally impressed!

To celebrate the release of the novel, there is a three week giveaway of a signed copy of the novel, a $40 dollar Amazon gift card AND a mystery gift! Please enter the giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
About the author: Eniola Prentice was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where she began to pen her stories as early as nine years old, inspired by an eclectic group of writers. Her budding writing career was put in the back burner as she pursued her dream of becoming a medical doctor, completing her undergraduate degree in Chicago, Illinois and her medical degree in Washington, DC. However in the third year of medical school inspired by the holy spirit or the voices in her head (she would prefer to blame God for this one) and the unique and inspiring stories of friends that became her family in medical school, she began to write her debut novel and series, Still. She hopes that her writing compels challenges, inspires people and draws people to the Christian God’s redeeming love.

Connect with Eniola here: Twitter | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Get Still here

Many thanks to Eniola for the opportunity to read and review the first of the series Still.  Best wishes for a smooth transition to residency and as you continue on in the series! 


Liam | 11 months

Growth and Looks
I'm pretty sure Liam has plateaued  in the growth department.  His 12 month clothing still fits well, and his cheeks and thighs haven't increased in size ;)  I'm curious to see if his hair will get any lighter this summer, or if it will start to darken so that he looks like he belongs to his parents! He's still lacking in the teeth department, with a grand total of two.   

Baby boy in our new living room! This was inspection day.
Aside from any time that he has a cold (which is more often than I feel like it should be!), Liam has been sleeping through the night well and napping solidly.  The kicker is that his early morning rising is creeping earlier; he's normally awake by 6:15am.  He had his last sleeps in our apartment on May 17th, the day we moved. 

Liam crashes pretty hard sometimes.  Don't worry; I move his head to the side.
Liam eats lots of things!  I've stopped keeping track of "new" things and pretty much feed him whatever we are eating (as long as it's not too spicy or has too much curry!).  Anything with garlic and onions gets his vote of approval, and he definitely prefers veggies over fruits still.  He loves "chicken soup" (aka chicken with whatever veggies I throw in and lentils or beans).  Liam sometimes refuses to eat purees unless he has things to pick up and eat with his fingers by himself, so we'll alternate bites of puree with pieces of green beans or something (extra cooked, for our Toothless Tom!).  (Any great bite-sized foods to give for babies lacking teeth?  I just mainly do veggies or cheerios in half, but that's so boring!).  

My first mother's day!  The ring was my husband's grandmother's; it has stones from her mother's wedding ring.  My sweet husband had the band made thinner so that it wouldn't look silly on my hand.  It turned out beautifully!

Our little mover and shaker went from crawling (on 4.7) to pulling up three weeks later (on 4.28).  I feel like that was a pretty quick transition for the boy who took 7 months to roll over for the first time!  Our coffee table suddenly seems lethal.  He wasted no time figuring out how to cruise along the furniture, and squat back down to sit.

Liam also figured out how to wave the day his dad graduated from medical school.  His cousin was sitting in the row behind us, and she waved to him and he did it back!  He does big back and forth waves up high, but his little finger waggle waves are down low towards the floor.  

Hobbies, Likes & Talents
This boy is a ham to the max.  If he's intentionally being silly, he'll squint his eyes shut and laugh, then peek to make sure that you've noticed how cute he is ;)

Liam loves to do "SOOO big!" particularly while getting his diaper changed.  I never thought that seeing a baby throw his hands over his head when asked how big he is would about break my heart, but it does.  I have an adorable video, which I should post. Maybe in time for the next post ;)


Moving for Residency

Happy Medical Mondays Week ;) 

We are moving to a city with an crazy housing market where homes are sold unbelievably fast (half of the time before they are even on the market), normally for over asking price.  The supply of available homes was SHOCKINGLY low, and we would tour places that would sell for literally half as much in our current town as they were selling for in our new town.  We looked quite a bit in the suburbs surrounding our new city but it was the same story.  

Buying a house is not fun.  But to rent a 3 bedroom (totally horribly completely emerald green wallpapered slightly outdated) house in this new town of ours would have cost us twice what we pay in rent right now.  That's nuts, yo.  So despite the fact that we might only live here for three years, my accountant father-in-law ran the numbers and we determined that buying was the way to go.

So, without further ado: 

Relocating: the numbers 

89: The number of days that we had between Match Day and my husband's first day of orientation for residency. 

22: Houses toured.  

6: The number of times we've driven the five hour round trip in the past seven weeks.

2: Offers put in on houses. 

1: Offer accepted!

1: Number of times we saw our home before putting in our offer.  

1: Nerve wracking inspection

1: New home for our family!

The landscaping is a disaster but it's been empty for two years.  Maybe by the time we move out it will have an ounce of curb appeal!

Our little (I mean little like finished area is smaller than our current apartment, ha!) 3 bedroom 1 bathroom ranch on a city street that we closed on yesterday. 

We move in eight days.  I suppose I should pack something? 


Liam | 10 months

This handsome guy is 10 months old!  Here's the monthly update for grandparents, aunts, and prosperity's sake ;)

Growth & Looks
I know other mothers might beg to differ, but I'm pretty sure Liam is the cutest baby in the world  ;) This guy isn't growing as quickly anymore.  He's staying on his growth curve right around 50th percentile, but there's no more doubling weight in three months! He's perfectly average as we like to say.

We've stayed pretty steady with this category.  Naps are normally between 1.5-3 hours a day, split into two naps.  Nighttime sleeping is still fairly solid, sleeping about 11 hours a night, from roughly 7:30p-6:30a.  I do wish he would understand the beauty of sleeping in on the weekends, but I am still not far enough away from my complete and utter sleep deprivation to complain yet!   

We introduced meat this month!  Only chicken & egg yolk thus far, but he seems to like it!  Mashing up meat is a little disgusting to me, but oh well.  Kid's not quite to the chewing stage yet!  The big news on the eating front is that he's finally figured out how to pick food up and put it in his mouth. Liam puts EVERYTHING in his mouth, like most babies do.  Ohhhh, a little piece of lint on the floor??  In the mouth it goes.  But for some reason, every piece of food that he would pick up from his tray never quite made it to his mouth.  We overcame that hurdle though and I'm a little concerned that he's going to start refusing to be spoon fed, as he's so proud of himself when he picks up those little bites and they make it into his mouth!  If I had to pick his favorite foods, they would still be lentils, zucchini and cinnamon oatmeal.  

  • Liam sat up from being on his belly for the first time this month!  It opened up a whole new world to be able to move from vertical to horizontal.  He was thrilled.  It melted my heart the first time I went into his room after a nap and found him sitting up in his crib, just as happy as a clam.
  • However, he was more thrilled when he got those roll-covered knees under himself and figured out how to crawl!   After the first few tentative moves, he can cross our apartment in no time flat.  Supervision requirement has increased tenfold.
  • Liam celebrated his first Easter (technically a day over 10 months old)!  We spent the weekend house hunting (ugh) and then with my side of the family.  No bunnies, but his grandma did have quite the goodie basket for him!

Hobbies, talents & likes  
  • Liam loves the wind in his hair, so to speak.  He thinks it's hilarious when you blow his hair out of his eyes off of his forehead.  
  • With his new found mobility, Liam is in to everything.  Just in time for us to start packing!  I now understand the fear that mothers have when their children are being too quiet.  Normally, that means that Liam has crawled to something and started chewing on it (what is it with electrical cords??).  My favorite part of him crawling is that if he's in the living room playing and I'm in another room making dinner or whatnot, he'll crawl in to come see me.  Precious.   
  • I'm not encouraging walking any more than I have to (kidding) (not) but Liam loves to walk while holding onto mine or his dad's fingers.  We have to walk quick though, otherwise his feet get planted.  We call it moon walking.    
  • A dislike would be left socks.  He always pulls off his left sock, but leave the right one on. 
  • Now that it's finally warming up outside, Liam has learned to love walks a little bit more now that he doesn't have the wind making his eyes water and turn into little tear-icicles.  He'll lean forward and hold onto his tray, which I'm sure has nothing to do with his mother's stroller driving skills.
  •  Someone has ticklish sides!  He giggles and pushes your hands away when you try to tickle his sides.  Unbelievably cute. 
  • I'm eagerly awaiting hearing the "m" sound come from this boy, but in the meantime, Liam has started carrying on grunting conversations.  If he's in the mood, he'll go back and forth "talking" and making sounds with someone for quite some time. 
  • Crawling is great and all, but how are you supposed to crawl and carry your favorite toy along with you to your destination?  By carrying it in your mouth, obviously. 
    People always talk about how quickly time flies and how fast babes grow.  It is absolutely true.  


    40 weeks in | 40 weeks out

    Hard to believe Liam's been in our arms* for as long as he'd been in my belly.

    *technically he was in my belly for 40 weeks and 6 days, but you know ;)


    Guest posting at In Residence

    Hi friends!

    I'm guest posting over at my friend Anne's blog In Residence today, as she soaks up the sun on her Spring Break trip (jealous, much?).  Head over to read my post about traveling with a baby!