Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Look Back at 2015

2015 was a really wonderful year for us. I haven't posted updates about our life this year on the blog nearly as much as I used to, mostly because I'm still figuring out exactly how I feel about putting a ton of photos and information about Connor's life on the internet. His life is so intertwined with mine right now that I can't really write about what's going on with me without writing about what's going on with him, so there's not a lot of blog updating going on.

But, I do want to post a sort of year-in-review update like I've done for past years. So here's a "big picture" view of what we've been up to since January 1, 2015! It's been a year full of lots of love and smiles and wonderful memories, and I'll always remember it as the first year we enjoyed as a family of three!

2015 marked 5 years of marriage, 12 years since Jeff and I first met, 26 years of Katie, 28 years of Jeff, and 1 year of Connor!

We rang in the new year and celebrated Connor's 2-week birthday at our house (and did not host our usual big New Year's Eve bash, haha!). 


Throughout January, we mostly just hung out at home and cuddled with newborn Connor. I think that's what you're supposed to do for the first couple weeks of a baby's life, but we were so busy with Christmas festivities and Jeff's brother's wedding right after his birth that we didn't get a chance to just be at home and enjoy life with a baby until it was already January!


February brought more newborn Connor cuddles and lots of visits from family. 


Jeff went on his first post-baby business trip. I survived! :)

Connor was baptized, and we had a party at our house to celebrate with our families.


We road-tripped to Dallas for my cousin's wedding.



We celebrated Easter at my parents' lake property. 


Jeff turned 28. We celebrated with a (just the two of us!) dinner out at Peli Peli.

We took a trip to South Carolina (Connor's first plane ride) to visit Jeff's parents and go to a friend's wedding.


We spent Mother's Day with both of our mothers and celebrated with brunch at Hungry's, a visit to Bayou Bend, and dinner at Chimichurri's.


I turned 26. Jeff planned a party at our house with our families, but we moved it to my parents' house at this last minute when our air conditioner broke. My favorite birthday gift? The warranty on our very expensive A/C unit that was just weeks away from expiring, but hadn't expired yet!


We spent Memorial Day hanging out by my parents' pool, where we learned that Connor does not like swimming. At all.


Our dear doctor friends Pilar & Shane came for a visit before moving to Illinois for residency.


We celebrated Father's Day with our dads (another dinner at Chimichurri's!).


We celebrated Jeff's dad's retirement at a fancy luncheon where Connor totally stole the spotlight. Jeff's parents officially moved away from Houston to their new lake house in South Carolina.


We took Connor to his first Houston Astros baseball game.


We travelled to South Padre Island with my family (the 16th annual trip we've made there!) and spent Connor's first July 4th at the beach.


We travelled to Lake Palestine for a weekend with my extended family on my dad's side.


I finally added the finishing touches to Connor's nursery.


We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with a visit to the chapel where we got married, dinner at Tony's (thanks to a gift card from my law firm) and an overnight stay and brunch at Hotel Zaza. It was my first night away from Connor (who stayed with my parents and didn't miss me at all).


We visited our local fire station and delivered treats to the firemen.


We took Connor to the park for the first time.


Blue Bell Ice Cream returned, and Connor and I were among the first to get our hands on some!

We spent a weekend in College Station, introduced Connor to all things Aggieland, and proved to ourselves that we can still host a pretty fun tailgate, even with a baby in tow!


We took a trip to Brooklyn, NY to visit my sister.


We took Connor to the pumpkin patch.


We spent Halloween weekend in College Station with many of our family members for the A&M/South Carolina football game. Connor dressed up as a football for Halloween (and perfectly avoided having to choose sides for his parents' rivalry football match-up!). The Aggies won (again). :)


We sold our old Pathfinder and bought a new (to us) Pathfinder. Definitely a boring car purchase, but we're happy to have one with 110,000 fewer miles on it.

Connor took his first steps!

Connor and I took a trip to College Station just the two of us (while Jeff was on a business trip). I was super worried about making the trip alone with a baby, but it worked out so well and we were able to enjoy my sorority's alumni tailgate.


We spent a Saturday at Jeff's company's new office complex for their family open house.


We somehow managed to get both of our families to have Thanksgiving in Houston, and we were able to celebrate with all of our parents, all of our siblings, and all three living sets of grandparents! 


We weren't planning to take Connor to see Santa, but when a photographer friend from playgroup offered Santa photos as a fundraiser for another playgroup family with a sick child, we couldn't say no! Connor surprised me by smiling sweetly rather than crying instantly!


We celebrated St. Nicholas Day with chocolate coins and new Christmas ornaments.


I officially parted ways with my law firm, cleaned out my office, and said goodbye to being employed as a lawyer (for now). It still feels a bit odd to say that out loud (especially after all of the time and effort that I've put into my career so far), but it was a decision Jeff and I made after lots of prayer and discernment, and it feels right in my heart to be prioritizing my time with our little boy over everything else.

Our sweet friends Amy & Ben came for a weekend visit.


Connor turned one, and we had a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party at our house to celebrate.


We went to see the new Magical Winter Lights exhibit at Sam Houston Race Park for my mom's birthday.


We celebrated Christmas with our families.


We spent New Year's Eve with extended family in the Dallas area.


Throughout the year, we enjoyed attending various birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and gender reveal parties for our friends and family. We went to band performances and awards ceremonies for my littlest sister, Karoline, and I loved doing her hair and makeup for a few school dances! We were thrilled to have my other sister, Kristen, visit often from New York, and we've enjoyed hosting Jeff's parents, who come visit often from their new home in South Carolina.

Connor and I joined a local playgroup for babies born in 2014, and we've been attending lots of playgroup events as well as baby storytime at our library. Jeff has continued his schedule of traveling for work about 25% of the time, and this year he's taken multiple trips to a few countries in Africa, as well as a recruiting trip to South Carolina.

We're so excited for 2016! Life with Connor has been so, so fun so far, and we're really excited to keep experiencing the world with him. We have some great trips planned this year, and who knows what else 2016 will bring! We're loving our life so much right now that we can't wait to spend another year just doing life together.


Here's a look back at my previous year-in-review posts:

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Connor at Twelve Months

Here we are... an entire year of Connor! I'm a teensy bit emotional about the whole growing-up-too-quickly thing, but I also love the sweet little boy he has become over the last twelve months, and the transition from baby to little boy feels really natural and right. Life with him just gets more and more fun!


Connor's Stats:
Birth Weight: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Current Weight: x pounds, x ounces.
Birth Length: 19.5 inches. Current Length: x inches
(Will update after his pediatrician appointment!).
Clothing: Wearing mostly 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers! 

Chasing Mommy and Daddy.
Reading books, especially touch-and-feel books.
Talking in his "monster voice."
The lighting & ceiling fan aisle at the hardware store.
Touching eyes and noses.

Diaper changes.
Taking his 12-month photos (thank goodness we're done with these now!).
Being stuck in the pew at Mass.

New Tricks:
Listening when we tell him "no."
Drinking out of a regular cup without a lid.
Holding large pieces of food (like cheese sticks or bread) and taking bites.

Happy eleven months, sweet Connor Beckett. We are so blessed that God made you ours!



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Connor at Eleven Months

Oh goodness, y'all... we're coming up on ONE YEAR so quickly! This past month has been such a transition period... our little baby is becoming more of a toddler every day. Connor took his first steps about a week after he turned 10 months old, and now he's definitely toddling all over the place! I even caught myself starting a sentence the other day with "When Connor was a baby..." and had to pause for a minute to keep myself from getting all emotional about it!

Jeff calls him "Little Mischief" because he's always getting into everything around the house, but mostly we just love watching him explore and discover. The upcoming holiday season is going to be really exciting to experience with him. Connor has developed his own little sense of humor, and we're finding it so fascinating to see what he does and does not think is funny. He laughs at the most random things sometimes! We've kind of got into the habit of lying in bed and talking about him every night before we go to sleep, which makes me (1) officially really feel like a parent, and (2) wonder how many nights my parents spent lying in bed talking about me (do they still do this?!). Haha!

Oh, and the entire time that I was trying to take his picture, he just kept saying "duh?" (done?) and "deeyit!" (I did it!). Super cute! It's a miracle that I got just one shot of him smiling at the camera. Here's our little boy at eleven months!


Connor's Stats:
Birth Weight: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Current Weight: 22 pounds, 11 ounces.
Birth Length: 19.5 inches. Current Length: 29 1/4 inches. Ish. Based on my amateur measuring efforts.
Clothing: Wearing 12 and 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers! 

The TV remote.
Being tossed in the air or onto a bed.
Watching the laundry in our washer and dryer.
When someone says "gobble, gobble, gobble" like a turkey.
Saying "dada!" repeatedly when I try to get him to say "mama."
Being chased.
Lifting up the corners of rugs.

Older babies trying to play with him at playgroup.
When Mommy won't let him unroll the toilet paper.
When Mommy won't let him throw the coasters.
When Mommy won't let him pull wine bottles out of the cabinet in the dining room.
When Mommy won't let him pick leaves off the houseplants.
Wearing hats.

New Tricks:
Walking unassisted!
"Talking" in a monster voice.
Doing animal sounds for a bear and a bumblebee.
Walking all the way up to Communion at Mass (and distracting everyone at church with his cuteness!).
Turning book pages.
Eating larger meals than his mama.

Happy eleven months, sweet Connor Beckett. We are so blessed that God made you ours!


Friday, October 23, 2015

Connor at Ten Months

It seems like I was just writing out Connor's nine-month post, but here I am doing the ten-month one already! Time flies when you're having fun. :) Here's our giggly, curious, sweet little boy at ten months!


Connor's Stats:
Birth Weight: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Current Weight: 22 pounds, 6 ounces.
Birth Length: 19.5 inches. Current Length: 29 inches
Clothing: Wearing 12 and 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers! 

Playing peekaboo.
Shadows and light reflections.
Being upside down.
The subway in New York.

The NoseFrida.
Sitting still for long enough to drink a bottle.
When Mommy plays with other babies at playgroup.

New Tricks:
Walking around holding onto furniture or just one of our hands.
Climbing up a step or two on the stairs.
Lots of new words: duck, light, downstairs, all done, up, this, that, and yeah (still no sign of "mama" though!).
Following basic commands/questions like "Can you drink some water?" or "Can you turn off the light?"
Sleeping a full 12 hours at night!

Oh, and y'all... he's finally getting some hair, and it looks like it's dark dark dark, just like his mama's!

So now we're less than two months away from the big first birthday! It's hard to believe. It feels like Connor was JUST born, but it's also hard to remember what it was like when we didn't have him in our lives. We say all the time that he was just the most perfect little addition to our family. His little personality just fits with us so well, and Jeff and I are having a blast being his parents.

Happy ten months, little one. As always, we are so, so proud of you, and we love being your mommy and daddy!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Pumpkin Thyme Mac & Cheese

I love baking with pumpkin in the fall. I've posted recipes in the past for some of my favorite pumpkin baked goods: pumpkin pie, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin spice bread, pumpkin chocolate chip scones, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin cream cheese bars (and more!). I decided the time had come to branch out and use pumpkin for something other than baking, and this recipe ended up being delicious! It sounds a little weird to use pumpkin in a pasta, but trust me - you should try it!


Recipe adapted from here.

2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1 lb rotini pasta
2 1/2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz smoked gouda cheese, grated
2 oz white extra sharp cheddar, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Panko bread crumbs, to garnish

1. Stir together milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and whisk together. Cook flour mixture for 2-3 minutes, then stir in thyme.
4. Whisk pumpkin-milk mixture into flour mixture until fully incorporated. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about four minutes.
5. In a separate bowl, mix grated cheeses and lemon juice. Stir the cheese mixture into the pumpkin sauce just until cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Stir pasta into the sauce little by little and serve!

Pumpkin mixture simmering!

Butter + Flour

Adding thyme to the thickened butter/flour mixture...

Pumpkin mixture combined with flour mixture...

Adding the cheeses and lemon juice...