Twelve Months With Otis

I have said this a few times over the past month, but it’s really surreal to reflect on the last year, to realize all that has happened since our little Otis boy came into our lives. A year ago we were living in Australia, decorations still on the walls, routine still in place. I had resigned to the fact that Otis was NOT going to come early like his sister, so I was surprised when I started having contractions a few days early. Otis came into the world very fast, and it was such a shock! I was happy it happened that way, though, after a very long labor and birth with Eleanor. All that to say, since his birth, we had my parents in Australia, adjusted to life as a family of four, and then we began preparing for our move back to the States. Selling things, shipping things, hanging out with friends and our church. Then the day came, and we flew around the world with a few bags and a lifetime of memories and friendships, completely changed from the people we went there as nearly a decade prior. Since arriving back in the U.S., there have been a million adjustments and transitions, and we are still figuring out so many things out. There have been many challenges and many victories, and I have been so grateful that we have Mr. Otis with us for it all. He’s such a special part of our family, and I am grateful for the joy he brings to everyone around him. Happy 1st Birthday sweet boy!

Highlights & Milestones

Otis has gotten even more adventurous and mobile this month. He is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! If someone opens the back door, he’s there in a flash. He always wants to be outside, racing to get there anytime he sees an opportunity. Front porch sitting hasn’t happened as much this month because he wants to get down and get into the dirt. If Otis is awake, he’s moving it seems. Just last week, a few days before his birthday, he took his first few steps. We were downtown at an Air B&B that Robbie’s family was staying at, and he saw something a couple feet away and just walked over to it. It was so unexpected that we all were sort of in disbelief about what had happened. Since then, I am noticing that it almost always has to be Otis’s idea; he won’t do it when prompted.

Sadly, Otis had his first case of Hand, Foot and Mouth. He’s only been sick twice in his life, one time with roseola and then this time. He was so miserable for those first couple days, and it was really heartbreaking. He recovered after a few days, even though he still had so many spots. I am glad that’s over, though, and I am so grateful he was back to his happy self for his birthday party on Saturday.

We went to an apple orchard with the kids for the first time this month, and they both loved it. Otis particularly loved the apples and trying the apple slushies! Towards the end, we let the kids play at the playground for a bit, and Otis, as usual, did not want to leave the swing.

Otis road in our new-to-us jogging stroller for the first time this month, and I think he really enjoyed it. I am sure he’ll enjoy it more and more now that it’s not so hot, though!!

He is making all sorts of sounds and faces, and he loves if people clap for him. He really loves making silly faces at Eleanor, and the two of them can make each other laugh so hard! One thing they’ve been doing that is particularly cute is when Eleanor rides on her little Frozen push car while Otis is at the back pushing her. They still love playing hide-and-seek and chase, too!

Likes

  • Food – after his birthday smash cake, I’ll put “sugar” on the list! Haha! His other favorite foods right now are any type of crackers, smoothies, fries, bananas, cheerios, sweet potatoes, avocado, cheese, apples.
  • He loves water and his milk. He’ll hold his own bottle each time now.
  • Being outside, going for walks, sitting on the front porch
  • Cars, trucks, etc. – will watch cars drive by all day long!
  • Crawling around, cruising around while holding on, climbing things
  • Playing chase/peek-a-boo with Eleanor
  • Seeing people after being away (aka when Daddy gets home, or when he sees Gaga or Papaw)
  • Being thrown in the air, when we fly him around chasing Eleanor
  • Water – bath time, water table, splash pad…he loves it all.
  • Riding in the shopping cart
  • Fun songs – Wheels on the Bus, If You’re Happy and You Know It, etc. – just not Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star bc that means it’s sleep time
  • Being tickled
  • Playing with Reese, my parent’s dog

Dislikes

  • Having his nose wiped
  • Being hungry!
  • Getting his diaper/clothes changed (unless you come up with the perfect song!)
  • If you put him down and he’s not ready for it yet

How Am I Doing?

I am mostly doing good, but this month has been a whirlwind. There have been about a million things going on, and I don’t feel like I have had any down time or breaks. Throwing in Otis’s hand, foot and mouth was certainly not helpful! I am thankful a lot of things are out of the way now, and I can focus on the few major areas that are still quite busy. I am definitely loving this season with both of my kids, though. I love seeing them interact more together and play. We are also slowly but surely getting into more of a routine as the school year has started with mom’s group, church stuff, preschool, etc. I am still working out our schedules in some areas, but we are getting a bit more settled.

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September 27, 2018|Family, Motherhood|

Eleven Months With Otis

Welp! We are officially in Otis’s birthday month, and I am just now writing his 11 month update. Life has been pretty full in the last couple weeks as we’ve started into a regular fall schedule with preschool, tumbling and ballet classes, and small groups starting in a couple weeks. I’m not sure how moms of elementary aged kids do it with all the schedules and running around! Alright so Otis…11 months old! Oh my!

Highlights & Milestones

One highlight this month was that we all went to the State Fair the first week in August. Eleanor and Otis both had such a great time, although Eleanor admittedly probably enjoyed it more. Otis loved watching everything, and if you’ve ever been to a State Fair, you know there is A LOT to look at. He is such an observer. He still loves to sit on the front porch and watch cars and people go by.

He’s continued to crawl, climb, stand – all the movement. He is trying so hard to keep up with Eleanor, and yet, he’s also pretty happy to find his own thing to do now that he can get everywhere. He climbed all the way up our slide in the backyard, which was super surprising. The only problem was that he then tried to just turn and sit down, which doesn’t quite work. He does LOVE going down slide, though. He’s also getting a lot more confident standing, and he’ll push a little car thing around while walking behind it. We are trying to teach him to turn around when he’s climbing down something like a step or the Eleanor’s little bed. He climbs onto things, but then he just tries to nose dive off of them.

He got his third and fourth top teeth this month, and I am pretty sure he’s working on his one-year-old molars, which is no surprise at the rate he’s been going. He currently has eight teeth, and his little smile is just the sweetest.

Otis is definitely a talker. He makes all sorts of sounds at this point, and the boy is quite loud! He loves saying “Mama”, “Dada”, “Nanana” and other various loud sounds. I am excited when he figures out something to call Eleanor someday soon.

Another highlight of this past month was a family trip to the beach in South Carolina. We drove overnight to Edisto Beach, and it surprisingly went really well. We got both the kids to sleep in their normal beds, at their normal bed time, while we all finished packing and loading the car. Once we were all ready to go and the kids had slept for a couple solid hours, we got the van started and then slowly got them both settled in their seats. They actually stayed asleep for the most part. Otis didn’t wake up until a rest stop awhile later, and he was pretty happy. I was thankful they did the drive so well. Otis loved the beach and all the sand, and I was actually able to get him to fall asleep on the beach, which is always a plus. He also enjoyed splashing around at the pool. We did mini golf one night, and he had a great time crawling around on each little green. He enjoyed the house we were staying in, and he found many new places to explore. The house was a time share we rented through Robbie’s family, and it had a good amount of space. We brought the pack-n-play for Otis to sleep in, and then did the pool noodle trick for Eleanor in the regular bed. They both did super well in their room. Overall it was such a fun week!

A milestone over the last month(ish) is that Otis has been going to the childcare during church. He’s happy as can be, and I cannot even tell you how amazing it is to really be in church each Sunday now that both kids are happily in Sunday school!

Likes

  • Food – first of all it should be noted that Otis refuses to be fed…Mr. Independent. His favorite foods right now are any type of crackers, smoothies, fries, bananas, cheerios, sweet potatoes, avocado, cheese, apples.
  • Loves his water bottle, and also will hold his own milk bottle sometimes.
  • Being outside
  • Watching – he loves to watch cars/trucks, people, water fountains, etc.
  • Crawling around, cruising around while holding on, climbing things
  • Playing chase/peek-a-boo with Eleanor
  • Seeing people after being away (aka when Daddy gets home, or when he sees Gaga or Papaw)
  • Being thrown in the air, when we fly him around chasing Eleanor
  • Water – bath time, water table, splash pad…he loves it all.
  • Riding in the shopping cart
  • Fun songs – Wheels on the Bus, If You’re Happy and You Know It, etc. – just not Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star bc that means it’s sleep time

Dislikes

  • Being hungry
  • When you put him down if he isn’t ready for it yet
  • Being in the car when he’s sleepy
  • Getting his diaper changed or clothes changed is a struggle about 3/5 times now – he just wants to be on the go!
  • When you try to feed him

How Am I Doing?

I am doing really well. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed a progression of learning and personal growth, and I feel like I’ve really turned a corner in many areas. I am learning to run – training to do a 5K in 6 weeks, which I’ve never done. I’ve been loving doing my Plexus business, which is amazing to me considering I said I’d never do network marketing! Never say never! I’ve been reading more as well.

There are still some things that we are figuring out that I’ll eventually write about, but overall, we are feeling great! I cannot believe my Otis boy will be one in just a few weeks, but I am really excited to celebrate him with friends and family. We are doing a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme – it seems fitting! We also have family coming in town from Tulsa and Atlanta! The next update will be 12 months, as well as a “Happy Birthday” post – cannot believe it!!!

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September 2, 2018|Family, Motherhood|

Ten Months With Otis

Wow! Time is flying people. Otis is less than two months from his first birthday, and we got a catalogue in the mail the other day full of “First Birthday Party” ideas. How is this already happening? At the same time, this year has been insanely full and sort of feels like three years in one. Funny how time works that way. This is a week late, and I am going to turn around and he’ll be eleven months! Whew!

Highlights & Milestones

Movement milestones are happening left and right with this kid. I think part of it is having a big sister to keep up with. He has gone from just crawling to speed crawling. It’s nuts how fast he is. He has been pulling up to chairs and tables, and he is trying oh so hard to climb onto Eleanor’s toddler bed. She is always happy to give him a boost. He loves to crawl around the house and explore new things. Most of the time it’s pretty harmless, but two of his current favorite places to sneak away to are the dog’s food bowl and an artificial tree in my parents room that has this grass stuff in the bottom. You can just imagine the mess!

Otis kept going in the teeth department. At this point, I think he may not stop “teething” until all twenty are happily in his mouth. He has six now, and two more on the top are working there way in. He has decided his new skill of pulling up to the coffee table is great to combine with teething and tries to grind his teeth on the edges. I told my mom “he’s distressing it! He knows what’s cool.” I don’t know if she bought it.

My boy said “MOMMMMMMA”. This one is obviously super exciting for me. Eleanor said “Dadda” first, so I am pretty darn thrilled that he said Momma first. My mom said there is an old wives tale that says that whatever your kid says first is the opposite of the gender of your next baby. Well we aren’t quite there yet on deciding future kids, but that will be interesting to see if it pans out if and when that day comes. Anyone else have that happen?

A big highlight of this past month was traveling to Nashville to see some good friends of ours. Shawn and Sarah live in Nashville, and our other good friends that we know from Australia came through there for a weekend. It was so wonderful spending time with them and letting the kids all play together. There are three girls and three boys. The boys are all a couple years apart in age, but the girls are within 18 months of each other. Eleanor and Lilly picked right back up where they left off.

When we went there, we stayed in a hotel, and we were really surprised how well the kids did. Because of that we finally decided to bite the bullet and put them in the room together overnight. For the most part, it’s gone surprisingly well. The only downside is that Otis tends to wake up a little earlier than Eleanor. If only he could adapt to her schedule right? Am I dreaming? It has been a great accountability for Eleanor, though to go to bed when we tell her to. She can’t wake her brother!!

Otis went on swings several times this month, and he just loves it. He’s an adventurous little man, and he still loves to be tossed in the air as well. He went on a carousel for the first time on the 4th of July when we went to the Zoo, and he loved that.

Otis had his first actual cold this month. He’d had little ones here and there, but this was his first lingering one. The boy was still such a happy kid for the most part, and I was so grateful that even though I knew he didn’t feel great, he didn’t seem miserable. He hated having his nose wiped, though!!

Likes

  • Food – people food allll the way! Turkey, avocado, bread, apple sauce, crackers, sweet potatoes (and especially sweet potato fries!)
  • Loves drinking water from his new water bottle
  • Being outside
  • Watching trucks/cars/etc – he would do this for hours!
  • Exploring everywhere
  • Chasing Eleanor
  • When Daddy gets home
  • Playing with Reese (the dog)
  • Being thrown in the air
  • Water – bath time, water table, splash pad…he loves it all.

Dislikes

  • Haaaaaaates getting his nose wiped!
  • Waiting for food

How Am I Doing?

I am doing pretty well. I just read what I wrote last month, and I am grateful that although circumstantially things are still a little challenging with what I was referring to last month, we feel stronger and filled with hope for the future. God is good!

I am feeling super encouraged about what I am doing, too, which is a welcome change after the first half of this year. I am loving both of the kids’ ages, even though they have their unique challenges. Overall they’re so much fun, and I especially love watching their friendship accelerate as Otis gets older.

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July 31, 2018|Family, Motherhood|

Three Years With Eleanor

I just scrolled back through to find my post about Eleanor on her second birthday, and after reading that, I am realizing just how big this last year has been for Eleanor…for all of us. The two obvious events – getting a new brother and moving to a new country. Although she had been to the US before, up until December, it wasn’t actually her country per say. She was born in Australia, and she spent the majority of her first few years of life there. It’s sort of hard for me to realize that she’s not actually going to remember living there, and she’s already started to forget some of the people she spent every day with, even though we often look through old photos and FaceTime our friends that are still there.

In the last year, Eleanor went from “beginning conversational” talking to “non-stop talker and singer.” Some of the things she says are unbelievable, and we laugh so hard. She expresses herself with her hands sometimes, and it’s so funny to see how she is like Robbie in that way. She has quite an imagination, and she’ll take us on adventures and missions all day. She has picked up a love for singing, and her ability to memorize songs is super impressive. I’m going to give that one to Robbie, too, because it takes me quite a bit of effort to memorize new songs. More recently we went to see the musical Annie at a local theatre, and you bet it’s been on repeat in the car ever since. She’s got most of the soundtrack memorized!

Some of Eleanor’s favorites over this past year have been dancing, more specifically ballet, and she will be doing dancing lessons for the first time later this month. I can’t wait to see this in action! She loves to help out in the kitchen, and when we got back to the States, my Dad had made her a kitchen helper, which is the perfect height for her to help. She loves dresses and having her nails painted, but she’s also not afraid to get messy and play outside. She loves to be outside, and I am so grateful for my parents backyard, which has been so wonderful as it’s warmed up. She loves singing! She loves reading books, and we’ve been to the library many times. She loves play places and playgrounds, although she’s gotten a little apprehensive on some of the bigger parts of a playground more recently. She also loves any sort of arts and crafts, and when she’s gone to summer camp at points through the summer, she’s come home with so many craft projects.

Eleanor – we love you so, so much, and we are so proud of the little lady you are becoming. You are growing in so many ways, figuring out the world around you and relationships, testing boundaries, loving hard and laughing much. We love being your parents so much, and we can’t imagine what this next year will bring! LOVE YOU!!! Happy 3rd Birthday my girl!!!

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July 4, 2018|Family, Motherhood|

Nine Months With Otis

I am approaching a week overdue for this update, but hey, better late than never. (And I’ve definitely been much later than a week!!) Otis turned 9 months last Sunday, and once again, it snuck up on all of us. He just had his 9-month checkup, and it was mind-blowing when they gave me the follow-up paper that said to return after he’s one. Only a few more months!

Highlights & Milestones

Otis had a big month on the movement front. He went from army crawling and sort of scooting around to fully crawling, and the kid is crazy fast. I forgot just how fast crawling babies get. He is loving his newfound freedom to explore, and boy is he exploring. The other day, he was in the living room playing with toys one second, and all of a sudden, he was gone. We could hear him, though, so we followed his little squeals and yells and found him near the bathroom. He loves his baths, so I suppose that’s where he was heading. It’s a whole different ballgame figuring out what needs to be baby-proofed in my parents house. Not only is it much bigger than our flat in Australia, but there’s also a lot more for Otis to get into. Have I mentioned how easy it is to get into the dog’s food and water bowls?

Otis went to the water park for the first time this month, and it was his first time in swimming gear as well. He wasn’t a fan of the water part, but he definitely liked watching all the kids run around and play. The water was decently cold, and I remember Eleanor not enjoying water at this age. I’m hoping to get them both into some swim lessons soon, though, so they’re a bit more comfortable in the water before our trip to South Carolina in August. I’ve also learned my lesson after two failed attempts at the water park by myself with two kids – bring reinforcements!!

Otis’s top two teeth came in this past month, and he’s already working on more. He has gotten his teeth so much quicker than Eleanor did! His toothy grin is so sweet!

A few highlights were watching the Indy 500 Parade with some friends, as well as both kids’ first time to an Indians game. Otis also tried the swings at the park for the first time and really enjoyed that!

We got Otis a shirt this month that has a lion on the front and says “Little Guy. Big Roar.” It’s so fitting for him right now because he can seriously be SO loud. He is really into shouting, squealing and growling at the moment. I “think” he has said “Mumma” a few times over the last week, but it’s not repeatable at this point. Hopefully he’ll commit to saying that one first, though, because Eleanor said “Dadda” first.

Otis’s favorite game is peek-a-boo or chase around with Eleanor, and he loves the buildup the most. He laughs so hard when he’s getting his diaper changed and Eleanor runs back and forth to him. They’ve also created a little game where Eleanor will run loops inside the house and one of us will be chasing her with Otis “flying” in our arms. They both laugh so hard. It’s quite a workout after awhile!

Otis is a little guy just like his sister was, and he’s riding the bottom line of the charts just like her. He’s actually on formula now after a month and half of transition. It was surprising for all of us considering I breastfed Eleanor until 16-months, but it’s a perfect example of taking each child as a unique individual and doing what’s best for them. No comparison! He’s also sleeping through the night most nights now, which is so wonderful. Overall, he’s hitting a lot of milestones, and there seems to be almost daily highlights with this little cutie!!

Likes

  • Food – avocado, bananas, crackers, rice, cheerios, some purees still, puffs
  • His new water bottle like big sister’s
  • Anything outside – backyard, front porch, long walks, parks, zoos, etc.
  • People watching
  • Exploring everywhere
  • Peek-a-boo and tag/chase
  • Gaga and Papaw
  • Reese-y dog!
  • Being thrown in the air, flying around chasing big sister, swinging, going down the slide (held of course)
  • Bathtime and splashing

Dislikes

  • Having to wait for food or a bottle
  • If I leave a room too fast
  • Being in the car too long (especially if he’s hungry)

How Am I Doing?

I’m not sure how/if I can answer this question fully. We had a major setback last week as a family that I’m not going to go into, but I’ll just say it rocked me a lot. Outside of that, which is sort of hard to differentiate but nonetheless, I am doing well. Eleanor and Otis are both doing well, and I feel like we are getting into a bit more of a rhythm at home. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say I am not as well as I was doing a week ago. Again, I don’t want to get into it, but I do know this – we will be ok and we will get past this. God is good. God is with us and for us. We are ok. So I’ll leave it there and finish with a cute photo of Otis working on his downward dog yoga pose. ;)

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June 29, 2018|Family, Motherhood|

Moments Captured: The Bricker Family at Mrs. Curl

I love lifestyle photography. No surprise there. I love the idea of someone capturing those moments you want to remember forever. Not that the “say cheese” moments aren’t good or have a place, but for me, the giggles and “firsts” are just as important.

I got to follow our good friends Johnathan and Ashley around with their two kiddos as Gracelynn had her first ice cream cone! She was so excited!! They waited in line and ordered their treats – Gracelynn obviously ordered an ice-cream cone with sprinkles, every kid’s favorite right? As the woman in front of her handed her the cone, the worst happened and it tumbled, face down into the ground. All the sprinkles were smushed, and big, big tears began to fall from Gracelynn’s cheeks. It was quickly remedied and a new cone was provided, but I had to laugh at the moment. Eleanor still asks Robbie why he dropped her cupcake – – months later. These things stick with you apparently.

They strolled over to the tables by the little creek, watched the ducks and ate their ice cream all together. Even little Joshua snuck a few bites! I love this little family, and I was so grateful to see this special moment happen and capture it forever for them.

Have you ever had a Lifestyle Photo Shoot done? It’s the most fun type of photo shoot in my opinion! Would you like to win a mini Lifestyle Photo Shoot for your family??? Enter my special giveaway for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest closes at 6pm Sunday, June 24, and I will draw the name at 8pm. Hurry and tell your friends!!!

Now let’s get to the photos!!!

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June 21, 2018|Family, Photography|