6 Months Old!!!

Dear Carter,

Six months old?? Half a year??!!! I wouldn't believe it if it weren't that you've doubled in size and grown from a tiny newborn into a little boy. How far you've come since January 29th!(In your Yankees attire, courtesy of Aunt JuJu)

It seems that you have changed this month more than any month prior. Let's see.... you are eating solids, and so far you're not a picky eater. Maybe you have Mom's taste buds. You've eaten sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, applesauce, peas, green beans, prunes, and peaches. Bananas are by far your favorite. Peas....not so much. You literally gag when I feed them to you. But you come by it honestly. Your GrandMary and Papa didn't believe that peas made your Mommy sick until they all came back up one day. So, I am not pressing the peas on you. The funniest thing about meal time is that you love to prop your feet up on the frame where the tray should snap on. And sometimes, you'll shove your foot in your mouth right after a bite of sweet potatoes. For the time being, I'm just going with it. But when you turn 15, that's not gonna impress the ladies.Yesterday, you sipped water from a real cup! I had read that we should teach you how to drink from a "grown up" cup before trying out the sippy cup. You did great and couldn't get enough water. Maybe that explains why you wet through your diaper and pjs last night.

Speaking of cups, red plastic ones can entertain you for hours. You also had a ball with a brown cardboard box. Who needs Baby Einstein multi-colored, musical toys??? You could also spend hours in the jumperoo. We love to watch you giggle with delight as you bounce, spin, and stand. You still enjoy the exersaucer but get frustrated when some of the parts won't bend over far enough to make it into your mouth. I think we're about to retire the beloved swing. While you still fall within the weight allowance, you kick so much that it causes the whole swing to shake. And that makes Mom a wee bit nervous.

One of your favorite games is peek-a-boo. We even play it with GrandMary over the computer with our cameras! One afternoon, while we were playing on the bed (actually, I was trying to get us to nap!), you pulled the sheet up over your head and then peered out and laughed. I realized you were initiating peek-a-boo! It was hilarious! You started sitting up last week, and it's clear you're very proud of yourself when you do it. You're not crawling yet, but you can definitely snake across the floor. I think we'll be baby-proofing the house very soon.
You continue to be fascinated with Sadie and Jackson. However, when they play a little too rough and bark too loudly, you start to cry. Daddy and I are working on quieting the dogs. When you're in the jumperoo, you love to hold out your hands so the dogs will tickle them with their licks.

You are still very social. You don't mind being passed from person to person...as long as Mommy is in sight. But you often leave your charm at the party. Maybe you get overtired? The 5-6 pm timeframe has become the bewitching hour. You tend to get really fussy and restless. Putting you in the bath solves that problem, but then you're ready for bed. And 6 pm might sound like a great bedtime, but 5 am is not the best wake up time.Mommy bought me some monkey pajamas because I like to use my feet to hold my toys.Look how long I am! I take up the whole chair!!

Over the last couple of weeks, you have been waking up again during the night. We think you may be teething. But we said that about three months ago, so what do we know?? However, you have just started pressing your lips together and sucking in...maybe creating sensation for the gums?

Some other firsts this month include your first virus (pink eye), your first 4th of July and display of fireworks, your first accident (falling off the bed!), your first father/son trip (across town), first visit to Dad's office where you stole some hearts, and your first bout of fake crying. (Video of this to come.)
We can't wait to get to know you more as you continue to grow and develop. You have the ability to make all our cares fall away, if only for a moment, and fill us with joy. Both sets of our parents have always said that we could never understand their love for us until we became parents ourselves. They have never been more right.

Happy 6 months, Samuel Carter Brown! We love, love, love you!!!!

Hugs and kisses,

Mom, these photo sessions are exhausting.

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Too young to discipline???

To all the mothers out there,

I need advice from your experience. Carter (almost 6 months old) is growing stronger by the day, which is great...except when he decides to pinch me while I am nursing him. He grabs at my arms, legs, chest, you name it. And it HURTS! I have even had a few tiny bruises on my arms from his strong grip. So my question is, how soon should I start addressing this behavior? Is it too early to introduce "No?" Do I tap his hand when he grabs me? Do I give him a stern look? He seems too young to understand, but I also don't want to wait too long before I introduce limits to him.

What have ya'll done and/or how would you handle the situation? When do you start teaching manners??
My Little Crab
What Mom? What did I do??


P.S. Mom, can you please fix your camera or get a new one? The pink coloring makes me look sunburned. Thanks! Love, Carter

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That Dreaded Milestone

Two silly monkeys lying on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more dozing while that baby's in bed!"

I knew this moment would come one day, as all moms say it will.
Carter rolled off the bed this morning. Thank goodness we were in the guestroom's bed rather than our bed because it is pretty low to the ground and the carpet is soft and forgiving.

Like every morning, Scott put Carter in bed with me for his morning feeding. Scott went into the study to work on the Sunday school lesson he was teaching today. Many times, both Carter and I will fall back asleep for another hour or so. Today, Carter rolled over to his stomach to play, and I was trying very hard to keep my eyes open. Then suddenly, "THUD!" I jumped out of bed and scooped up my sweet baby boy, apologizing over and over again. He only cried for a minute and then was fine, but I felt horrible!! The irony of the situation was that I had stayed up during the night making sure he didn't roll out of the bed. (He's been waking up for middle of the night feedings again because of the 6-month growth spurt and he fell asleep next to me after I nursed him, hence why we were sleeping upstairs in the guestroom rather than downstairs in the master bedroom.) Then I was so exhausted that I dozed off when he was in the middle of the bed with seemingly plenty of room to spare. 

So now, it's either bed rails or earlier mornings. If he keeps up the middle of the night feedings, I'm going with the bed rails!  

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Walking the Line

I have a confession. When I was a kid, I wanted to be famous because I wanted others to think I was important. When I became a Christian, I wanted to be influential because I wanted to prove to myself that I was worthy. When I became a mother, I wanted to be inspirational because I wanted to show God that He could use me. The problem? It’s all about me.

It's the seemingly insignificant occurrences that often become defining moments in our lives. For me, such a moment happened in the lunchroom during the seventh grade. My best friend and I walked up to one of the lunch ladies to buy some ice cream. As we stood side by side, jingling our coins in our palms and debating over ice cream sandwiches or rocket pops, the lunch lady focused her attention on my friend.

“Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Christie Brinkley? You are gorgeous! You look just like a model.”

Upon hearing this, my heart quickened, my eyes widened, and I nervously waited to see if I would receive some type of praise as well. Will she tell me I’m pretty? Who do I look like? I want to look like a model! To my disappointment and despair, she simply exchanged my money for the frozen treat and gave me a brief, distracted smile. From that moment on, my goal was to be beautiful. I believed that if I could make myself beautiful, maybe I could become Somebody.

In high school, I strived to be involved in everything, subconsciously building my resume. Perhaps I was hoping that each bullet point and respective fact would add value to me as a person. I believed that if I was accomplished enough, I might become Somebody.

In college, shortly after becoming a Christian, I stayed busy plugging in to different organizations and ministries. Over time, the Lord began to show me I was placing my self-worth in worldly achievements and validation from people. My childhood desire to make a difference in the world to gain approval eventually evolved into a longing to change lives to bring glory and honor to God. At least I thought it had.

Deep down, I know that I am somebody. I am Wife of Scott, Mother of Carter, Daughter of the King. Many days, I am content to stand in those roles alone. Other days, I feel like I am called to do more. After all, contrary to what our culture dictates, life is not meant to make us happy, comfortable, and complacent. Our purpose is to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He wills. When I decide that I just want to be a wife and mom and not bother with any of my other dreams or goals, I think I am running from the fear of responsibility and sacrifice. I even fear that my dreams of a writing and speaking ministry will come to fruition...but at the expense of time with my family. I also fear that my longing for approval and fear of rejection will overcome me. That the praises of people will continue to be my driving force.

Beth Moore has said that our desire to be great could be our biggest hindrance to greatness. Subsequently, I have often had the thought that God can’t possibly use me in “big” ways because of my desire to be Somebody. I like to think that my ambition to be known has been transformed into a passion to make God known. But there is such a delicate line, and I don’t always know which side of it I am on.

You always hear stories of God using someone for a job that they didn’t want. For example, years ago, the woman who disciples me prayed that God would use her to do anything except teach. A few weeks later, He used circumstances and people to place her in a position to teach over 20 women. And she has taught and discipled many individuals since then.

Could it be that God will be most proud of me, that I will have reached my highest potential on earth, when I obey Him through an action with eternal relevance and significance of which I will never know the impact?

One thing I do know... I will be most effective in ministry when it’s no longer about what I can do but about what God can do. I just don’t know how to get there. I know in my head...but if only my heart and will would follow. I find myself embarrassed, disappointed, and appalled at my preoccupation with myself. And as soon as I think I have clothed myself in humility, I am back where I began. In my obsession with self, I forget that I can’t make that transformation without the Lord’s help.

Every day brings that internal struggle between pride and humility, between vain ambition and a servant’s heart, between a desire to be great and a longing to do great work for God. It’s there I find myself walking the line. Thank goodness Somebody is walking there with me.

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Fourth of July Fun (3 weeks late)

Since our camera has been acting up, most of our pictures from July 4th were on my mom's camera. She is in town for a few days, so I just downloaded them off of her camera. Here are a few from that weekend....

Hmm...how do I get all these swirly things on my arms?
Ahh...there we go. This is the life.
Me and Aunt Coco
The newlyweds...
Gram Me was sweet to hold me while everyone else was eating. I wanted to sit at the table with everyone....usually I don't have all FOUR grandparents together at the same time!
Dad, this little contraption is choking me!
I guess it's not too bad...as long as the boat is moving and I feel a breeze.
Papa even let me drive!

Nothing like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. (Actually, it's empty. But this was my favorite toy all weekend.)

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Look At Me!

I'm sitting up all by myself!

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The Blog Phenomenon

So you know I've run out of writing material when I post about blogging! :)

But to be completely honest, I have been thinking a lot about this whole blog phenomenon. A year ago, I wasn't even aware of blogs. Now, I have my own and get stressed if I haven't updated it in a while.  Nearly all of my friends have blogs, and I spend HOURS reading them. Magazines, TV shows, and newspapers have blogs in addition to their websites.  Blogs are becoming as prevalent and popular as emails and Facebook pages.  So here are my observations on this growing trend.

Top 10 Positive Aspects of Blogs:
1. Updates: It's a great way to keep up with friends and family by sharing pictures, stories, thoughts, and even prayer requests. With my parents living several states away, the blog posts are their closest thing to personal visits.
2.  Reconnecting: I have found (and been found by) friends with whom I had lost communication over the years. High school friends, sorority sisters, college classmates... 
3. Insightful: When you only have the opportunity to talk or visit with someone periodically, it's difficult to get past the superficial questions and get to the heart of their life.  Blogs allow you to read one's deeper thoughts, learn of stories and milestones, view pictures, and reconnect at a greater depth than phone conversations or public run-ins allow. 
4. Therapeutic: For me, writing is an outlet. It helps me organize the many thoughts that crowd my mind. Once I sort through those thoughts or feelings on "paper," I often feel a burden lifted. I relish the experience of recollection, revelation, release, and renewal that accompanies the process of putting my thoughts into words.
5. Entertainment: There are many blogs that serve as a source of entertainment! Stuff Christians Like is one my favorites. It's hilarious and yet thought-provoking at the same time. 
6. Education: I have gained some parenting tips from other moms' experiences and advice that has proven very helpful with Carter. I have also learned how to make hairbows and outfits (thanks Darby!), acquired new recipes, found new books to read, and received great suggestions in response to my Laundry and Lullabies and MIA posts. 
7. Record of Memories: By posting Carter's pictures and milestones, I am not only keeping family updated, but I am also recording details and memories. When he turns one, I will order a book from Blurb.com and keep it as his baby book!
8. Ministry: Many women have ministered to me through simply sharing their lives on their blogs. I have also enjoyed Beth Moore's blog. My church (MBCC) even began a blog to update everyone on its mission trips while teams are en route so we can truly glimpse the work being accomplished and the conditions of the location.
9. New Friends: What a great way to connect with new people who share similar passions, interests, and perhaps even trials and challenges.
10. Vulnerability: In a culture that focuses so much attention on outward appearances, personal accomplishments, and "having it all together," it's great to see people offering personal reflections, sharing struggles and burdens, and generally exercising vulnerability.  I think transparency is healthy for personal growth and beneficial in encouraging others. I know that I have personally been challenged and inspired by Boothe's and the Giffens' blogs because of the honesty and vulnerability in their posts.

Top 10 Negative Aspects of Blogs:
1. Pressure: Pressure to update. Pressure to read others' updates. Since blogging has become many people's central way of communicating news, I feel like I am really out of the loop if I get behind on reading posts!
2. Blog Envy: I can't help but sometimes envy the beautiful writing, great stories, and even life experiences conveyed. Sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in comparisons. 
3. "Blog Stalkers":  People jokingly use this term to mean that they continually visit blogs of people they don't know. Maybe because the writing is good. Maybe because the stories are funny or inspiring. Maybe because the pictures are fun to look at.  To be honest, I  would be flattered for someone to find my blog entertaining enough to merit repeat visits even when they don't know me personally.  I suppose there is the fear that someone might really "stalk" you (or your children) through your blog. I think the chances are slim, but sitemeter is a great tool to keep an eye out for people who visit at an abnormal frequency. (Here is a blog that I blogstalked for a while...well, I kind of know Abby from Auburn so it wasn't completely stalkerish. :) But I owned up to being a frequenter and now occasionally comment on her posts. Check her blog out...her writing is fantastic!)
4. Money drain: This probably isn't a factor for everyone, but since reading about projects and looking at pictures on other blogs, I now have many new items I would like to purchase. :) A sewing machine, "professional" camera, and the entire Gilmore Girls series on DVD are just a few things on my wish list. :)
5. Anonymous Comments: I don't mind anonymous comments, even ones with opinions contrary to mine, as long as they're tactful and respectful. Unfortunately, many of my friends have received hurtful comments that were completely unnecessary. On the first post in which I made myself somewhat vulnerable, I received an anonymous comment that seemed a little harsh. I felt like they missed the whole point of the post, and I was on the verge of tears for the whole afternoon! Then I realized that, if I want to be a writer, I need to develop a tough skin. But I still think someone should not post an unnecessarily critical comment unless they're willing to step up and post their name. After all, my blog is my personal site. No one HAS to read it.
6. Brag Forum: Blogs have the potential to be a brag board - a place to advertise one's "perfect life." But as far as I can recall, I haven't read a blog where the person toots her horn too much.  And one shouldn't be afraid to post milestones, celebrations, and happy moments, as they serve as reminders of the joys and triumphs of life. Sometimes we need that glimpse of hope. 
7. Time-Consumer: I have spent some of Carter's entire naps reading blogs!! It's really easy to spend large amounts of time jumping from blog to blog. And the more you discover, and the more blogs you find of "lost" friends, the more you evolve into a bloggie. (I think I just made that word up. It means "a blog-obsessed online surfer.") 
8. Out in the open:  Unless your blog is private, your life is out there for the world (literally) to see.  In some ways, that's a little creepy. But I think most of the positive aspects already mentioned outweigh this negative.
9. Hard to respond:  I have to say that it's frustrating to receive a comment and not be able to respond back like  you can via email. If they have a blog, you can go post a comment on one of their posts, but the response comes across as really random. If they don't have a blog, and you don't have their email, you can respond by posting a comment under theirs. But how do you know that they'll go back and read it??
10. Blog etiquette: Just as we have had to develop etiquette for emails and cell phones, I suppose there will evolve a system of rules/suggestions for bloggers.  For example, I think you should ask a mother's permission to post pictures in which her child appears (particularly if she doesn't have a blog herself). I am trying to be careful about that. Also, if someone lists a link to your blog on their blog, I guess it would be good etiquette to put their link on your list as well? But then will we eventually all have hundreds of links on our sites?? :) 

Well, I guess I've thoroughly dissected blogging. Now my mind can rest. :) Blog on, my dear bloggers!

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Happy 4th!


P.S. Sorry for the pink tinge on the photos...our digital camera has been acting up.

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My Little Jumperoo

Mom, I'm not so sure about this...

This is a little wobbly...
Hmmm....this bouncing is kind of fun.
And I can spin!!!
I'll just hang out here until naptime.

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