Thomas Anthony | Your First Year

Wow. I am not sure where to begin. A whole year has passed before my eyes. On one hand, it feels like we took Thomas home from the hospital yesterday. On the other, it feels like decades ago that I was pregnant, and our life as solely husband and wife seems so distant. They say you'll never be the same... and damn, were they right.
From the second our pregnancy was confirmed, I just knew there was a little boy growing. I imagined what he would be like almost all day, everyday. Cuddly and sweet, calm as ever with a full head of dark hair. He would sleep soundly in my arms and snuggle in bed with us. I would keep working, I would do it all! My boy wouldn’t eat junk or make me blush in public. I wouldn’t take a million annoying photos and drive everyone crazy. I had it all figured out! But then I delivered Thomas Anthony Austin in a quiet, relatively quick and painless* labor. 
Thomas is basically blonde. He’s passionate and feisty. Keeps me on my toes every second of the day. He’s all boy; giggles after he farts, and makes me blush in public. He doesn't like to cuddle and hasn't slept with us since he was two months old. Work from home? Not with this little one. Who is this boy? Thomas is so bashful. Shy for a moment then giggly and wild the next. He is determined and proud, a busy bee if I have ever seen one. I love every day with him, even the hard ones. I wish I could go back to our very first day together and do it all over. I would try harder to not let my emotions take over and feel frustrated at (so many) times. I would embrace the days that felt a bit lonely, just me and my boy. But mostly, 
I would thank God more. 

Baby Boy 12 Months
Bathtime, Mom and Baby
Bathtime, Mom and Baby

Happy First Birthday baby boy. Happy 365 days in this world. You have changed me in all the best and indescribable ways. You are everything we ever prayed for, and you are far better than we could have ever imagined.
I know I sometimes talk sarcastically and joke a lot about what a handful you are (and always roll my eyes about how wild you are). I think it's my way of coping :). You are exactly what I needed, who God knew I needed. You have shown me how powerful our actions and relationships are and you have reminded me that relationships are all we really have in this world. Materials and status and titles... it turns out, none of that matters. You have given me a renewed faith, a new perspective on Jesus' unwavering and unending love for us. He did that by making you... wonderful and magical YOU. 
This year, you grew from 6lbs, 11oz to a whopping 21 pounds. You can reach your top drawers and almost get to the record player! You rolled, then wiggled and scooched, then crawled. You made your way by scaling the house by furniture piece after furniture piece. Then, just about a month shy of your first birthday... you walked. It was SO much fun to watch the surprise on your face when you took those steps. It's like you knew it... the world was yours for the taking!
You eat all the foods. You love bananas at breakfast time and avocado with your lunch. If you can hold out for some dinner, you'll take the chef's recommendation. You are our early bird special and our early to rise boy. We are digging this new schedule, though. Daddy and I get to do bath time and bedtime with you, then we have our own little dates where we get to cook dinner and enjoy our shows while you sleep soundly. Those have been little life savers (or marriage savers)! 
You go to music class, story time, swim lessons and more! You've even got a few friends (or about as many as your mama, let's be real). You love the splash pad and walks around town. That's probably my favorite...our easy days with no agenda. Just grabbing a cup of coffee and strolling through town or heading down to the bay where we can watch the water. You seem to love those days the most too! (Plus all the old folk of Fairhope give you allllll the attention you could ever want and we eat it up!).
You have broken me into a million pieces and brought me to my knees more times than I can count. You even made me homesick, and cry for my own parents to be closer. That's how important you are. I hope you always remember that.. that you are so important to us. You are so loved and we will never not love you with the fierce love that we feel for you right now. I hope that if the world gets big and scary, you find peace in knowing your Dad and I will always be here for you, always excited to talk to you, no matter where or how. I hope you always look at this world with those big black olive eyes and dream big and far and wide. I pray that we teach you kindness, joy and strength that you can carry with you forever. You have so much to offer this world, never underestimate that. We love you bigger than the ocean and higher than the sky, forever and ever.
Love, mom

Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin) - DMB

First Birthday, Baby Boy, 1, Family Photo

I cannot wait to see what year TWO has in store. I know it will bring even more joy than the year before it and somehow continue to rock my world. Go get em, Thomas! 

Summertime Fun | With Your Baby

Oh sweet (and HOT) summertime. We've been enjoying our Summer here along the Mobile Bay and I thought it would be a good idea to post about some of our activities. I found it so hard to know what do to when I first had Thomas and really wanted to get outside more!

Mom and Baby, Fairhope, Alabama
Mom and Baby, Rosemary Beach

If your baby is crawling/getting into things...
Get outside! Nothing will make you more stir crazy than staying inside all day when the sun is shining (or is that just me?).
1. Walks and Picnics by the Bay
I recommend this opposed to your backyard for a little breeze (the views are a major plus). I pack a picnic basket with his bottle(s), easy snacks such as: puffs, fruit, veggies, chopped cheese and/or turkey/chicken, etc. I usually try to pack my own lunch that is easy for Thomas to eat off of as well, like a turkey sandwich and fruit. Don't forget water!
2. Splash Pad
Great way to stay cool! We try to go early in the day but often times find ourselves there smack dab in the heat of the day. There are also swings for babies nearby if you go to Fairhope Community Park. Don't forget sunscreen!
Coastal Church off Hwy 64 in Daphne has a great splash pad as well! They even have a cafe so you can get a cold drink and lunch! The water pressure isn't quite as harsh as the Park's so I noticed it was a little more comfortable at first for Thomas.
3. Story Time
This! This is great if you just can't deal with the heat at all (I get it). Story time at Fairhope Public Library and Page and Palette are free and a great way for your little one to interact with others (bonus that you can too haha). I typically go downtown when it is convenient for us, and walk around or grab a coffee before or after story time.
Fairhope Public Library: Tuesdays at 10am (Thurs during the Fall)
Page and Palette Bookstore: Wednesdays at 10:30am
4. Pool
Or inflatable pool (if you don't have access to pool or feel comfortable with pool yet). We put a little blow-up baby pool on back porch so it is out of sun and easy to use. I'll even let him enjoy an all-fruit Popsicle while splashing so I avoid a separate mess. We also do swim lessons with Haley's Little Fish at the Fairhope Recreation Center. It can get really crowded but their pools are kid friendly, and have a large 1ft area where you can sit with your little one. Thomas loves that outdoor pool so we will do that before or after lessons. You can get membership or pay a daily (inexpensive) rate.

baby on the bay, Fairhope, Alabama

I also notice the Summer has brought a bit more unpredictable playdates (yay!) and naps prompted by the extra outside play time. Because of this, I have learned to keep a few things in car:
A big blanket: for picnics, makeshift towel, changing pad, etc.
A Stroller Fan
A few diapers + wipes
Extra Swimsuit and tee
A few easy snacks (crackers, applesauce)

Any other summertime favorites? Let me know!