Taylor’s One Year Update

Taylor is a year! Actually she is now 15 months old… but I am THAT FAR BEHIND.  But I am getting back into the blogging routine, and I wanted to finish out Taylor’s monthly-ish posts for her first year. one year old birthday pictures | www.amusingmj.com

I took pictures for this post on July 4th in the afternoon and had every intention of writing this post the next day, but my grandmother (who I was extremely close to) passed away that evening, so that week was filled with her memory, family activities, and funeral preparation (I hope to post more about her next week).  But on with the one year update!

For Taylor’s first birthday (July 2) we celebrated at my family’s lakehouse where I spent the vast majority of my childhood summer vacations and it was so fun to be able to share that with Taylor. My grandmother, Nannan, was there, along with my parents, my older brother and my niece and Reese.  We made Taylor a chocolate sheet cake and even though she hadn’t had much sugar before and is an insanely picky eater, she LOVED her chocolate cake… I guess that apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Taylor's first birthday party | www.amusingmj.com

By her first birthday she had 8 teeth, was cruising around pretty good around furniture and crawling all over the place.  She says a few hard to discern words, but we are pretty sure they are hi, dog dog and dada.  Here is the sign I made for her birthday:

Birthday Chalkboard | www.amusingmj.com

I love this little girl and her goofy smiles.  She is such a ham, she loves playing to an audience,  and smiles a lot!

one year old birthday pictures | www.amusingmj.com

She is a super picky eater, but still loves sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, yogurt and PUFFS.  She has learned to blow kisses, which looks more like covering her mouth with a wide open hand, but she is so cute doing it and it makes her laugh!



Life Lately

I’ve been mostly MIA from the blog-o-sphere for 3-5 months, and I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to get back into blogging.  Partially I started this blog to document our homes as we fixed them up… and then we had a baby.  And life became much more about hanging out with her and spending time as a family. Oh and my husband got a new job that moved us to a new town and with that job he is working about 1.5 time the amount he was before.  So now we BOTH have full time jobs (I like to call them full time plus jobs because they are both full time with a little extra required) and a whole lot less free time. And because we knew that going into purchasing our new house, he made me promise we decided not to purchase a fixer upper home.  So my DIY posts have been few and far between.  I’m not doing as many because (see above) and the ones I do, I haven’t necessarily had the time to photograph, write up and post. And although all the blog experts say: pick a theme and stick to it (i.e. DIY or parenting or cooking or lettering or…) in order to be successful, that isn’t really why I started this blog.  I have a full time job.  I don’t need to have a ‘successful’ blog, I write because I love to document or share the things going on in my life lately.

So  with that, I wanted to write this post (that sounds like a bunch of excuses) to sort of head the blog in a new direction.  I am going to write as often as I can fit it in my life, which might be 3x a week or it might be 1x a month. I am going to write about my hobbies and things I’ve been doing lately, some DIY, some parenting, some faith lessons, and who knows what else might be thrown in there.  If you want to follow along on my journey, GREAT (you can follow me on insta, like me on facebook, or subscribe to emails over to the right)! If not… keep on your merry way and find someone else to follow… no hard feelings!

And now onto a life update and what I have been up to lately.

If you follow me on Instagram (@amusingmj), you know my new obsession has been with hand lettering. I am LOVING learning to hand letter in beautiful ways and I am so inspired by some CRAZY talented letterers over on Instagram.  Maybe soon I’ll post a who I follow and why, so you can see some of their amazing work! I am also trying my hand at watercolors too… because I think watercolor flowers are amazing! Here are a few of my pieces that I’m really proud of:

Hand Lettering | www.amusingmj.com
I love that so many of the hand letterers use their skills to write bible verses, so for me it has become a great way to meditate and focus on scripture. Plus how pretty do all these flowers look exploding out from behind the banner of scripture??

Psalm 23 | www.amusingmj.com

Plus I have learned about an amazing thing called embossing (that is the gold, raised, shiny part below) and I am OBSESSED.  Love it!  He comforts us in all our affliction. 2 Corinthians 1:4 | www.amusingmj.com

Secondly, I have started taking piano lessons again.  I took them as a child for several years, but when someone posted on our neighborhood app about teaching children piano lessons, I quickly sent her a message and asked if she was willing to teach adults too.  She is this precious woman who is a retired school music teacher, and my lesson time is smack dab between a 6 year old girl and an 8 year old boy, and I missed out on piano bucks last week because I forgot to write down when I practiced <insert several crying laughing emojis here>. But I am having so much fun getting back into piano and unlike as a child, I actually like practicing the piano (sorry mom!) and I would love to be able to play better! Plus I want Taylor to learn to play when she is older… and I don’t want to have to tell her I quit and can only play  the first half of Oh When the Saints Go Marching In to show for my 6 years of piano lessons as a kid.

Third, I am starting a new workout class at a local gym, I’m going to start with a 28 day fitness challenge that includes nutrition and bootcamp classes, so I am hoping to start getting back into good shape.  Say a little prayer that I can survive jumping back in to working out… starting is the hard part right?!?

So, that is where my time has been spent lately, and check back later this week for Taylor’s One year update… 3 months late.


Traveling with Baby- by Airplane

This is part 2 of a 3 part series (unfortunately stretched over a long period of time!) If you want part one, click here for the Roadtripping with an Infant post.

Because my husband was halfway across the country for several months this last year, I had the misfortune opportunity to fly with an infant multiple times by myself. Before she turned 8 months old, Taylor had logged 11 flights.  Her very first flight was when she was just over 3 months old and they spanned the next 5 months, so I feel like I got some good experience/knowledge about what to do to make it as easy as possible to travel with an infant by yourself on a plane.  Here is what I learned.

Booking your ticket:

What seat do you pick? I stressed a little bit about which seat… do you sit on the aisle so you can go change her diaper easily… or maybe the window so that you have some arm support and containment for toys being thrown/dropped?  Or the middle seat for… wait, never mind… everyone hates sitting in the middle seat.  Over those 11 flights I ended up sitting in each of them at least once, and it was sort of a toss up between the aisle or the window.  I liked sitting in the window seat the best, but of course one of the times when she had a super stinky diaper, the guy sitting on the aisle had fallen asleep and I had to try to wait until he woke up to go change her diaper.  Whoops! If you were doing a long flight, I’d recommend aisle, shorter flight, definitely window.

Adding the infant to the reservation: If you haven’t booked the infant their own seat (and let’s be honest… who has that kind of money!?), you will have to add the infant to your own reservation in order to go through security.  On American, that requires calling the reservation desk in advance to add the kiddo’s name and birthdate to your reservation.  And double check when you print your boarding pass that it says: ‘With Infant’ on there.

Pick a good flight time: I found it best to try to find a flight during her naptime and most of the time she slept the majority of the flight. Only one flight was delayed and she slept the whole time in the airport, but was awake the whole flight.  But you win some, you lose some!

Flying With an Infant | www.amusingmj.com

Going through security: 

I always found it easiest to check the carseat unless I knew there was a seat next to me in advance. I bought this car seat cover to check the carseat without any damage to it. But checking it meant one less thing to carry around the airport with me.  I also elected to check my own bag so that I was just carrying Taylor and her diaper bag.

I carried Taylor in her Baby Bjorn through security and that left my hands mostly free to deal with my boarding pass/diaperbag/etc. Plus they send you through a regular metal detector instead of the full body scanner, and then wipe your hands with a cotton swab like thing and run it through a scanner and having her in a carrier leaves your hands free for that test.

Her bottles didn’t have to be under 3 ounces, but if they were larger than 3 ounces they ran it through a separate test and in a busy airport (like Washington Reagan) that takes a little more time than usual, so leave a little extra time.  Flying With an Infant | www.amusingmj.com

On the Flight: 

People are WAY more patient than you expect.  I had read horror stories about people who In all those flights I never had anyone make comments, roll their eyes or give us the stink eye.  In fact more often than not, people offered to help with my bag, pick up dropped items, or try to entertain Taylor.  DON’T BE AFRAID TO ACCEPT HELP.  That? Not one of my strong suits.  I’m an “I can do it myself” kind of girl, so letting others help isn’t easy for me to do, but I wouldn’t have survived otherwise!  But even when she was fussy/crying/inconsolable I discovered that as long as I was trying to appease her, and make her not as fussy, people didn’t seem to mind and they were, more often than not, sympathetic.

Speaking of being inconsolable… here are a few things that I found helpful when she got fussy on the flights:

  1. Have food ready (and more than you think is necessary!)–if you read this post, you know I have been breastfeeding Taylor, but I was a little weary about how exactly that would work on a plane, so for the first few flights I packed a couple of smaller bottles to feed her on the plane when she got hungry.  That worked well, but I also got over that fear after the few flights and managed to breastfeed her on the flight (with a cover) and found that it was easier than expected… especially if you are sitting in window seat and can use the side of the plane to block view.  But once the baby can have real food, bring plenty of crackers, puffs or anything your kiddo loves.  And if you can, pack a few pouches of food (I put mine in my plastic baggie in place of toiletries).
  2. PLENTY of toys. I packed several toys that were sure fire favorites and with minimal sound.  When she got tired of one, I’d shove it back into her bag and bring another one out.
  3. Pacifiers, pacifiers, and more pacifiers.  I had one that I clipped to her shirt (which was awesome) so that she couldn’t spit it out and onto the ground.  But it was always nice to have a few backups.

As far as changing her diaper on the plane, all but the smallest planes we took had a fold down changing table above the toilet that was surprisingly easy to use. I did take a few disposable changing pads to keep her just a little more sanitary during the process.

Overall, patience and a knowledge that things are not going to be perfectly will help you more than anything on a flying day, but trust that other people are TYPICALLY helpful.

Anyone else have tips for flying with a baby?
Flying With an Infant | www.amusingmj.com