Dear Aubrey – 18 Months


I had hoped I’d be better about these letters to Baby A&W than I have been—I got through the first year then everything dropped off. I’d like to say it’s because I was more worried about living and enjoying life…

I can’t believe I have an 18-month-old now. Aubrey, so much has changed from the time you turned 1, let alone a year ago!

First, let’s update your stats from your 18-month doctor’s appointment:
Height – 34 inches (97th percentile)
Weight – 25 pound ounces (91st percentile)
Head – 48 centimeters (90th percentile)

You’re so tall and lean right now—way too busy to eat three full meals a day in your highchair.  (We’re lucky if we can get you to sit down and eat one meal in your highchair a day.) When you do eat, you’re eating well—I don’t think we’ve found much you won’t eat. You still love your fruit and veggies, loving Greek yogurt and veggies. If you can dip food in more food, you will—pretzel crisps and hummus (you love hummus) and tortilla chips and cheese dip are your favorites.

And you’re not just walking, you’re running…and climbing. You started walking right before your 15-month birthday and you really haven’t stopped since. You climb on everything (I blame your swim classes) and you’re always moving—even in your sleep. It’s funny, a year ago we couldn’t keep socks or shoes on you and you went through your first year barefoot like a “Kentucky baby” and now you’re obsessed with your shoes and making sure you have them on all the time. (Mommy’s told you that you can’t go outside without your shoes one.)


You love being outdoors. You still love your swing, but you love just playing with sticks, your balls, the dogs, dirt, etc. When we go down to the barn you are my little helper with your own little pitchfork. Sometimes you actually help me clean stalls, other times I have to keep you from eating Tangy’s grain. You love the horses so much, it warms my heart. When you see them from the truck in their pastures you wave hello. When you see someone riding, you want to ride, too. Nothing scares you.


You’re learning so much, even when I don’t think you are. You’ve learned to say “Stop that” and wave your finger at the dogs like Grammie does. You do squats and moves like you’re mimicking mommy, and you love to push your own stroller because I’m always pushing it.


You’ve changed babysitters a couple of times—spending two days a week with Miss Morgan for a few months, and now you’re going to start staying with Miss Melissa three days a week while mommy works. It’s been getting harder for mommy to work from home when you’re awake—you always want to know what I’m doing, and you want to play on my computer. It breaks my heart to have to get after you about getting into my stuff, but I have to because I’m afraid you’ll break it. Momma’s been working a lot of late nights—doing a lot of work after you go to bed. It makes it hard for her to get much sleep and be ready for when you wake up early in the morning the next day. See, mommy’s still working full-time and doing her freelancing business, while also being a full-time mommy. I want you to see how hard I’m working to be a good role model for you, and to provide for you everything your heart desires like I was. But then I want you to see your mommy as still fun…but it’s been hard.


I’m looking forward to new adventures with you. I’m stuck in the excitement of watching you grow up and discover new things while growing and learning, and wanting you to stay little (minus the temper tantrums) forever. Thank you for the lessons you have been teaching me these 18 months—I know I have plenty more to go!


My First Year of Motherhood

A year ago I was battling fatigue from delivering a baby and barely sleeping in the hospital. I had no idea what was coming in the hours, days, months, or years that were ahead of me.


One year later, I still don’t know what’s ahead of me…

If you know me in a real life, you know that I wasn’t sure I was mother-material. I think I still felt that way while in the hospital after giving birth. My mom laughs and says that I was in denial of impending motherhood up until we got to the hospital. Maybe that’s true…

It was so surreal those first couple of weeks–to think that the little human being crying on the outside was the little bump that used to be in my inside was just weird. I, like every mother, had huge learning curves–I had never changed a diaper before, had no clue what cry meant what, and no real idea how to entertain a baby.

My first few months of motherhood were hard, perhaps a little harder than normal. My husband was living in Indiana with his new job and would come home on some weekends, so I was a pseudo-single mom, working full time and caring for two dogs and a house. It was a definite crash course in handling anything and everything, and getting used to whatever would come my way. Need to go to the bathroom but baby is awake? Just strategically place her where you can still see her, but not close to the grossness that is the toilet. Starving and want to fix dinner, but the baby isn’t going to sleep? That’s what a carrier is for.

Moms = Expert Multi-Taskers  Article on deadline and baby won't sleep in her crib? Figure it out.

Moms = Expert Multi-Taskers Article on deadline and baby won’t sleep in her crib? Figure it out.

I struggled to breast feed–I wasn’t making much milk and Aubrey was a lazy nurser. Those first weeks of lactation consultant meetings and the first pediatrician we went to make me feel like a horrible mother. All I wanted to do was provide nourishment for our baby girl, and I wasn’t able to do that as well. Through exclusively pumping, I made it to the end of May, when I dried up under stress. I had enough milk frozen that she still got a couple ounces of breast milk with her formula for a couple more months, then she went strictly to formula…and I was OK with that. I had learned that it was OK, that everyone is different, and to be proud that I had tried.

I’ve learned how to balance life–perhaps not very well yet, but I’m still working on it. Being a full-time working mom, plus having a freelancing business and caring for other animals is exhausting. There are many late nights, and some early mornings, so I can get work done while A sleeps. I haven’t gotten back to a normal routine with the dogs, but there are other factors with that. As Aubrey gets older, I’m excited to incorporate more of my life with her so she can start to learn and do some things on her own.

I'm hoping A learns by doing--so she goes to the barn with me most of the time.

I’m hoping A learns by doing–so she goes to the barn with me most of the time.

For my first Mother’s Day, I listed some things that I had already learned in my few short months as a mother, including:

  1. Just like with my dogs, seeing her at the end of the day makes my day. Now that she’s smiling, to see her eyes light up when she sees me fills my heart with so much joy.
  2. If you think you’re too selfish to become a parent, think again. I thought I was, but all of that is thrown out the door when that little one enters your life. You will eat last (even my dogs and horses eat before I do), only get to shower if you can quickly squeeze one in, and their clothing needs come before yours. And, surprisingly, I’m OK with that.
  3. I now have a different perspective on that family eating out with a crying child, or the mother who looks frazzled while dealing with a child at the grocery. Before you gripe about how they’re child misbehave, or how dare they “ruin” your dinner out, take a moment to wonder if maybe they’re out to eat because they just want to get out of the house, or maybe that mother is a single mom doing it on her own. Have a little more patience and maybe offer to help, or compliment.
  4. Just a simple compliment can go a long way for an exhausted mom. Even if you’re not someone into kids, just asking your friend how they’re doing, or offering to meet for lunch (with or without offspring) means the world to them. A simple text to say hello and to check on them goes a long way, more than you’d ever know.

A friend once asked me, “What surprises you the most about being a mom?” Here was my answer:

  • It surprises me how much I give of myself to her. I used to think that I was a very selfish person, hence why I didn’t want to have any kids. While it sucks to miss out on a lot of things, I know it’s for her, and that lessens the sting.
  • It surprises me how much I’ve changed in my thoughts of things. When I’d hear babies crying or toddlers acting up at restaurants I’d chime in, “Ding! Beat the kid!” (inside joke from a comedian) But now I’m like, “Oh that poor momma…”
  • It surprises me how lonely you feel as a mother. It’s hard to believe that you can feel that way when you’re constantly clung to, cried for, and pushed, but you do, especially if a lot of your close friends don’t have children. (And definitely when you move…but that’s a whole other blog post.)
  • It surprises me how I am actually starting to plan in the future…for her. I always hated those questions in job interviews, “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?” because I could honestly say I have no clue…I didn’t plan in the future, except for a few months down the road. But now, I’m seeing A riding ponies, playing sports, etc.
  • It surprises me how scared I am that I might make a mistake that will affect her in some way down the road. Am I reading enough to her? Is she eating the right things to grow and develop physically and mentally? Is she on the right track? I’m almost paranoid and find myself comparing A and ourselves to others, and I never used to do that (and I know it’s a scary cycle to do).

While A has definitely grown and evolved through the year, so have I. I’ve grown to accept that I am a mother, and I’m OK with that, and proud to be her momma. I’m just going to do the best that I can with what I know, and try my best to relish every moment. But I also want to make sure that I get back to finding myself again, and remind myself that I’m not just a mother, but a professional, a horsewoman, a dog trainer, an award-winning journalist, and a fit woman.

But, I’m still a mom. And she’s still my daughter. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dear Aubrey – 1 Year


Dear Aubrey,

I never thought we’d get to this moment–celebrating your first birthday. And, then again, it feels like the year has gone by so quickly. One year ago we were waiting for your arrival, whether your momma was ready or not!

And just like your birth day (which was 8 days early), you have definitely done things your way this past year. You already have such a sense of self and want to do things your way in your time.

Your first birthday smash cake!

Your first birthday smash cake!

In this last month as a “baby” (though you’ll always be our Baby Girl), you’ve grown more proficient in your crawling, finally crawling more on your hands and knees than army crawling. You’re walking everywhere with everyone–you’ll grab our fingers and start walking, whether we were ready or not. You’re pulling yourself up on everything (including your crib), can get on your riding toys by yourself, and get off.

You’re eating three meals a day, plus a snack after your afternoon naps. You easily transitioned off the bottle to drinking your milk in your sippy cup. Yep, you’re transitioning off the formula onto all milk just fine. Your favorite foods include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, red and green bell peppers, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, scrambled eggs, broccoli, and black beans. You love foods with seasoning (like Mexican or Italian). You don’t like us trying to feed you, so we’re going to start trying to teach you to feed yourself things like applesauce (your favorite) and tomato soup.

Your naps haven’t been as consistent as in the past, but you’re still doing two naps a day (most days). You still have trouble sleeping through the night, and we don’t know if it’s because of teething, or what.

Fun times with daddy: Playing "boat" with a box from your Christmas presents.

Fun times with daddy: Playing “boat” with a box from your Christmas presents.

Speaking of teething, you now have two teeth! I didn’t think you’d ever have any teeth pop up, but they finally have.

No major holidays in January, you just spent the month playing with all your toys, reading tons of books (the ones with peekaboo flaps are your favorite), playing with the dogs, and following us everywhere in the house.

Everyday you go through your book baskets, find the books we've read, and then read them to yourself.

Everyday you go through your book baskets, find the books we’ve read, and then read them to yourself.

I’ll write a separate post about our entire year together, but it’s definitely been one full of many lessons, mostly sleepless nights, lots of smiles, a few tears, lots of laughs, and one remarkable little girl. You’ve definitely filled our lives with so much joy.

Sometimes the best presents are the ones we didn’t know we wanted…and I’m sure happy that I got you.

Giving Lark a kiss before we turn her out for the day. I hope you become a horsewoman like your momma.

Giving Lark a kiss before we turn her out for the day. I hope you become a horsewoman like your momma.

11 Months
10 Months
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1 Month


Hitting the Pavement: 4 Mile Training Run

Earlier I posted about getting back to healthy, getting back to me. Well, there’s no better way to do that than to dive right into half marathon training! And that’s exactly what I did this weekend.

The weekend forecast was awesome, perfect for the first outdoor run of 2016–40s in the morning, 50s during the day. I had a full plate for my Saturday, so I couldn’t relish the 50s, but I did relish it being 38 degrees at 10 am (which was the earliest I could get out). I drove to the gym for a warmup on the elliptical and then hit the walking/running trail that was behind the building. Hamilton County (Indiana) has been working to add more and more trails for walkers, bikers, and runners. This particular trail was called the Midland Trace, and it runs through all of Westfield. It was my first time running on it, and I have to say I got a little lost at one point because there was no signage to point me in the direction of where to go once we hit a busy street. So I just ran along the road on the sidewalk for a while before turning back around to head back to the gym. Next time I’m hoping to be a little more prepared.

I started off the run nice and easy, and it wasn’t until I hit the spot that I “lost” the trail that I realized I was phoning in the run. That might not be so bad, but I really wanted to see how I’d feel during those 4 miles, after not running much this fall/winter (minus the treadmill runs on my lunch break).

After the second mile, I had to shed my pullover. I had a few issues during that third mile, and that really reflected in my split time. I really kicked it into gear for the final mile, wanting to push myself to finish with a 10 minute/mile pace.

4 Mile training run splits

What really kicked me into gear was running by the local Bible college. They had a sign that just seemed perfect for the start of training season. I stopped and took a photo because, c’mon, who wouldn’t think this was God talking to them during their time of seeking inspiration?


When I returned to the gym, I did a quarter mile cool down on the elliptical, followed by some nice, long stretches. I decided it was definitely nicer to run from the gym than from my house because my cool down was still about me–I could take my time to properly cool down and properly stretch, gather my thoughts and reflect on that run. If I were at home, I’d rush inside to stretch a little bit, rush in the shower, and be dressed in no time to get back to being a mom. This forced me to continue thinking about me and thinking about my health.

When I returned home, I was starting to feel under the weather (a cold has crept up on me), and so was Baby A&W. We’re not sure if it’s teething or she’s just not feeling good, but after I showered and dressed, I gathered up my little girl for a snuggle session in the recliner so she could sleep some and momma could relax.

Poor Baby A&W

Poor Baby A&W, snuggled up with her blankie and her momma.

In my pre-momma training days, long run days were either spent recovering while binge-watching Mad Men, or going out and training the dogs in agility for an hour followed by log walks, etc. Now, it seems like I might be spending those days cuddled up with my little girl. And I think I’m OK with that.


Getting Back to Healthy

The beginning of the year always seems to be the time people look for a change. Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves in the previous year. They start off with so much hope and great intentions. But, unfortunately, they don’t tend to stay on the course.

Well, guess what…I’m joining those ranks (the ones looking for a change, not the one straying off course). However, I started my journey at the end of November.


When I finally got a full-time job that allowed me to have a little more cash flow, I knew I immediately needed to get back into the gym. While I haven’t been in a “normal gym” for three years, I knew that I had to make the most of it, until I can afford to join a new CrossFit box. So I joined Anytime Fitness in my hometown. I chose this gym because it was close to my office, and open 24 hours a day. My plan has been to use my lunch break the days I work in the office to workout to get in short cardio sessions (25 minute hill or speed intervals on the treadmill). On days that I work from work from home I hope to hit the gym early in the morning before my husband has to leave for work for some weights.

It’s been so hard to be my normal self. When I lived in Lexington I had the support and community of Man O’War CrossFit. My guys were always looking for me every morning. Even after Baby A&W was born, I still managed to go almost every day. But that’s when she would sleep throughout our WODs, which made it more manageable. Our neighborhood was so perfect for walks of all lengths, and I would walk the dogs everyday after work (whether Baby A&W was in her carrier or stroller).

But now, I don’t have the CrossFit community for support. I don’t have the flexibility of a sleeping baby in her carseat to bring with me. I don’t have sidewalks, street lamps, or multiple routes for walks–country roads aren’t the best to walk on come dusk/dark. And the winter weather isn’t conducive for a baby to be out in the elements for long periods of time.

But I can’t continue with the excuses. I’m at a stage in my health that I never thought I would be at, and it’s frustrating.

So I looked for what I call “Forced Motivation.” Knowing that I’m paying for a gym membership means I need to make the most of it. For Christmas my sister paid for my registration in two half marathons (April 16 and May 7). Knowing that I have two big races. so close together, means that I need to be getting my strength back before adding the mileage.


So, I’ve been hitting the gym more regularly now. I’ve set goals–not only in weight loss but also in ability when it comes to getting back to my old self. I’m already feeling a difference and I look forward to the workouts. There have been some exhausting nights with A&W not sleeping through the night, teething, or just being sick, not to mention that I’ve worked a lot of late nights trying to hit my freelancing deadlines. But those aren’t an excuse.

I’m thankful for Coach Taylor that he continues to post the weekly WODs for MOWCF on their Facebook page. When I’m preparing for my weight lifting days, I check to see what my old CrossFit family did as far as WODs and then try to see if I can do them in some form or fashion at my “boring gym.” Or, I’ll make up my own.

Here are some workouts I’ve done:


I’m also going to get back to blogging more regularly, as I want to use this as an accountability tool again. I’m excited about the two half marathons I’ve got coming up, but also very nervous about training on my own and getting back to being fit.

Your turn: How are you getting back to being fit in 2016?

Dear Aubrey — 11 Months


Dear Aubrey,

I can’t believe that in less than a month you’re going to be 1-year-old. You will have been on this Earth for an entire year, blessing your mommy and daddy’s lives, as well as so many other people. Do you know how loved you are??

December was a big month–we celebrated your first Christmas! We were so excited to celebrate the season with you. We wanted to show you the lights and such. Mommy and daddy took you for a road trip to Lexington, Ky., (your birthplace) for a weekend. We were hoping to show you the Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park and visit with friends, but unfortunately you wound up being very sick on the way down. Your temp spiked when we arrived, so we stayed in the hotel room the first night. We missed out on the lights, but don’t worry…we plan to continue our yearly tradition next year.

We did take you to see Santa. You didn’t mind him…until mommy walked away from you and Santa. Then you cried. And cried. We had then pose as a family with Santa, and you were a little better then.


You were so spoiled on Christmas–everyone wanted to give you toys and celebrate. Your favorite toy was probably the rocking horse momma and daddy got you. As soon as we put you on it, you started rocking it! Definitely a little equestrienne in the making!


You’re still doing your swim classes, and you still love them. I hope we can continue your classes for a while.

You started to get your first tooth this month. It hasn’t fully popped out, yet, but it’s there.

You are talking so much now, it’s a lot of fun! You say “Mom-Mom”, “Dada”, “Neigh Neigh”, “Hat”. Plus a lot of other babble sounds. You’re army crawling like a crazy girl and starting to get into so much stuff!

A couple rare warm December days meant doing one of your favorite activities--swinging!

A couple rare warm December days meant doing one of your favorite activities–swinging!

You spend a day or two with “Aunt Brooke” while mommy’s at work, where you get to play with Claire (who’s just a couple weeks older than you) and Kendal (who’s 3). You always have lots of fun.

We’re already making plans for your first birthday. It just boggles my mind that you’re soon to be one. You enrich our lives so much, baby girl.

Love you!


Dear Aubrey – 10 Months!


Dear Aubrey,

You have definitely started to be your own little person, and I love it. You’re getting to be such a big, beautiful girl it fills my heart.

You’re now 10-months (I know, I’m more than a week late, but I had good reasons)! You’ve finally started army crawling all over the place, and you’re pretty quick about it, too. You’re getting close to being on your hands and knees, it’s any day now. And let’s talk about your walking–you’ve had a lot of fun walking around the house while you hold onto someone’s hands. You’ve got your little push-walker that you’ll push, too, but you definitely like standing more upright when you hold our fingers.

You experienced your first official snow. It had snowed after you were born, but you were too little to go outside in it. I don’t think you were too impressed with the big, wet snowflakes. It’s been a pretty warm December so far, but hopefully we’ll have more snow soon so you can play in it.


Mommy got a full-time job before you turned 10-months. She gets to work in the office three days a week and work from home two days, so that means you’re starting to be watched by other people. Grammy had knee and oral surgery and so did your Aunt, so “Aunt” Brooke stepped up and you’ve been spending the day with her, Kendall, and Claire. I think you’re really enjoying it because you are “talking” a lot more. You come home with funky hairstyles and little projects. Who would have thought a 10-month-old would have enough hair for pigtails?


You celebrated your first Thanksgiving. Your highchair was placed at the dinner table so you could eat with us and you enjoyed turkey, roasted sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and some bread. You loved it all! You even had a little of mommy’s pumpkin pie.


We’re preparing for your first Christmas and I’m very excited about it. I may or may have not taken you shopping on Black Friday with me to help pick out some of your presents, but I don’t think you’ll remember.

I’m excited for the months to come–Christmas, New Year’s, and your first birthday! I can’t believe we’re nearing one year now.

You make so many people smile and happy, it’s amazing to me. How can one little girl help turn tears and frustrations into smiles?


Dealing with Depression in Your Own Way

I wanted to share a story I wrote for a contest with everyone. The story happened to win, which I am extremely excited about, but even if it hadn’t won, I wanted to share. A couple of years ago I started dealing with depression due to a myriad of things happening in my life. I fought through it with the help of some medication and discovering CrossFit. Unfortunately, again because of a myriad of things, I’m dealing with a slight tinge of depression, but I’m not combating it with medication this time, just going through the motions and doing my best to look forward to better days ahead. Marlise Langenhoven dealt with clinical depression for almost her entire life, but because she discovered horses and the power they have to make everything better, she’s now medication-free and living her life in a more positive light. Is she 100 percent cured? No. But she’s doing everything she’s ever wanted to do now and enjoying life with her family. All thanks to finding the Time To Ride.

Not Your Standard Medication

Depression is like a dark hole, and there are days that you struggle just to see a glimmer of light. For some it can be crippling, but others find a way to fight through. They might do it on their own, with medication, or with the help of angels around them.

For Marlise Langenhoven, her angels just came in the form of horses.   Riding horses has been a lifelong dream for Marlise, but it was unreachable in her early years. Growing up in South Africa, horses and riding were for the more privileged.   Marlise grew up moving around a lot with her family moving to the United States when she was 28 years old. She struggled through abuse as a child and multiple moves until she became an adult and married her husband of 20 years, Mark.

Then came her first child, and the stressors of being a new mom and the new challenges the dynamic change brought about led to her diagnosis of clinical depression.   “I was very depressed, on medications … having a hard time coping with life in general,” Marlise recalls.

Then one day her daughter suggested riding lessons. “When she said that, my heart kind of sunk a little bit because where I come from, riding is a very expensive hobby, and my family couldn’t afford it at all,” she says.  Still, she looked around her home in Murfreesboro, Tenn., for a place to just take one lesson at the age of 38.

“I can remember the first time I got on and started riding,” she says. “I was just on a lunge line going around in a circle, but I can still remember how it felt to just be on a horse and to do something I have always wanted to do.”

Expecting to only take one lesson, Marlise was hooked from the very first step and continued her lessons, even though she was one of the oldest riders at her first trainer’s farm.

“When it comes to riding as an older adult, it’s very intimidating…at least it was for me,” she says. “You’re surrounded by all these young kids who are much better than you are.”

Ending the Victim Cycle

Marlise found that with every lesson, every little thing that she started getting right during her lessons, as a rider, pushed her to want to do more. She felt accomplished after every ride, no matter how small the gains were.   After about a year, Marlise and her daughter moved on to their current trainer, Lauren Romanelli in College Grove, Tenn. In one of her early lessons, Lauren said something that hit home to Marlise.

“Lauren would say, ‘Stop riding like a victim.’ But I had no idea what she meant,” she says. “I had my shoulders back, my chin was up, and heels down.”

Then it hit Marlise that she needed to let go of all the negativity and early struggles, and just live in the moment.

“Dealing with horses really taught me that I had to deal with my stuff and that I had some unpacking to do, instead of keeping it all boarded up,” she reveals. “I just needed to leave it alone and move on. Go forward.”  Her new life mantra was to no longer look back: “If you want to accomplish anything with riding, you have to move forward. You don’t achieve anything by looking back.”

Moving Forward

Now Marlise and her daughter share a leased horse together. It’s wasn’t long before Marlise was learning about more than just counting strides between jumps, but other horsemanship skills. With each stall she mucked, each hoof picked, each horse groomed and fed, she discovered more of the beauty and the strength that radiated from horses.   “

One of my favorite charges, Chance, would give me big hugs and nibble my back pockets whenever I picked his feet,” she says. “And with every perceived show of affection, or evidence of trust earned, another little piece of me would fall back into place. My time at the barn was the joy of my life.”

Marlise has also learned that life, like jumping, is about making adjustments as best you can as you go. Some days you ace it and other days not so much, but tomorrow, you tack up again, take a deep breath and try all over. It’s enlightened her and given her a new lease on life, a life without any more depression medication or extra weight. While her depression isn’t totally in the rearview mirror, she continues to manage it with exercise, riding, and therapy when needed. She attributes it all to her time spent in the saddle and in the barn, looking up and moving forward.

Marlise enjoying competing at her first three-day event with a fellow adult rider in 2015.

Marlise enjoying competing at her first three-day event with a fellow adult rider in 2015.

“I do think there is something to be said about riding and being around horses. That has really, really helped me,” says Marlise. “For me, at the barn it’s all about being in the moment—you focus on just you and your horse. There’s always something you need to focus on when you’re at the barn, and because you’re focusing on these little things while you’re riding, you shut out everything else going on. For that time, I am not a mother, I am not a wife, I don’t have responsibilities … all I have to worry about is in that barn—me and my horse.

“For that time, I can just be me, I can just be that young girl that has always wanted to ride, but never had that opportunity. For that time I can be living my dream. It’s like the only real selfish time that I have, and I’m really, truly selfish with it—I don’t care about anyone else, I don’t think about anyone else, it’s just me and my horse and riding, and our connection.”

Dear Aubrey – 9 Months


Dear Aubrey, 

You are getting so grown up! You are now 9-months-old and probably at least once a day I say I can’t believe you were the same tiny baby, whose eyes never opened (because you slept the whole time) and we thought we’d never get to grow.

You’re still such a happy girl. You love everyone, but especially your family. Mornings are so nice because we spend quiet time together reading while you have a bottle, then you play for a little bit before breakfast and the craziness of the day begins. You still do daily trips to the barn with momma, most times in your Lile Baby Carrier (on the back), but sometimes in your stroller as well. You’re still enjoying swim class, and every week you get better and better, even starting to swim towards momma!

Remember when you were tiny, and you maybe made the 15th percentile in weight? Well, at your 9-month doctor’s appointment, you’ve blown those small numbers out of the water!

Height: 29.5 inches (97th percentile)
Weight: 20 lbs 6 ounces (82nd percentile)
Head: 44.5 cm (68th percentile)

You got to decorate your first pumpkin for your first Halloween! We decided it’d be best if you painted instead of us carving, so I made some finger paint that would be alright if you tried to eat it (which you did). You had fun getting your pumpkin, and yourself, all colorful.


Your Uncle Jerry finally found a swing so you have a swing at home, and you love it! We try to go out everyday to swing, even if just for a few minutes, because momma believes the fresh air is good for the soul, and you just have a good time. I’ll push you while we play tennie with the dogs–you love watching them play and bark all the time.


Speaking of play, you’re finally starting to get the hang of your play dates with Claire. We try to go over to Brooke’s house once a week so you and Claire can play with each other, and momma and Brooke can chat.


October has been a pretty quiet month, as far as events and things. Daddy’s been home more, which you’re enjoying (and so is mom). We’re getting into the holiday season, so we’re already trying to figure out how to decorate while you’re getting more and more mobile (you’re so close to crawling!). But I can’t wait to share the holidays with you.

You’re saying “Mom-mom” and sometimes “ba-ba” for words, and you understand the sign language when I ask if you want a “ba-ba” when you start to get fussy. You’re eating solid food now–anything and everything! You like to feed yourself, so it’s hard to feed you anything unless you can grab the spoon and “help” us feed you. But that’s OK. You seem to still love your sweet potatoes and green beans, plus chicken and scrambled eggs and blueberries. Mandarin oranges are a new fave, as are roasted red bell peppers.

It’s been so fun watching you grow and learn. I know I say that every month. But I can’t wait for the next few months with you!


Dear Aubrey, 8 Months of Smiles


Eight months ago, a scrawny little baby girl came into my world and changed it in so many ways. She’s no longer scrawny, but finally a happy, healthy girl! Aubrey, you’ve grown so much, and continue to grow and learn!

Where should we start? We’ve run two 5K races together, and they’ve been a blast! The first was the Colts 5K, which had me pushing you around downtown. Then a couple weeks later we ran a 5K at a local winery, where mommy even improved our stroller time! I really enjoy running while pushing you in the stroller because it’s something that gets us both outside and I hope it teaches you to live a healthy lifestyle. As the days grow shorter and get cooler now, I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to enjoy our stroller runs together this year.


You’re loving eating like a big girl. We’ve been feeding you lots of homemade foods, and we even started feeding you some of the same stuff we’ve been eating, like our spaghetti squash baked spaghetti (with ground turkey, spaghetti squash, tomato sauce, and zucchini) and chicken and noodles. At first you weren’t too sure about the foods, but I think you like them better than plain veggies and fruit!

You’re not crawling, yet, but you’re having a good time standing when we hold you up. You think it’s a blast to climb out of our laps in the chair, then wiggle yourself to the floor where you can stand up. You’re bouncing a lot more in your ExerSaucer, and we have one of those door bouncer things that you are still getting used to, but needless to say, you love to be on your feet. If we’re not holding you up, you’re rolling everywhere you want to go. There are times we think you’re going to walk before you crawl, but we’ll just see how that goes.

Speaking of modes of transportation–you’ve been having more fun riding the horses and ponies lately. Brooke, mommy’s friend, has a pony riding business, and one of the ponies stayed at the farm one weekend. You got to ride around on her one evening when mommy was doing her chores. Then you visited the ponies for more rides. I can’t wait until we can get you a pony of your own and you can start leading it around and learning to ride!


We took you to the local apple/pumpkin farm where you got to choose your own pumpkin, ride on a tractor ride, and, of course, ride ponies. We know you probably don’t really get what all we’re doing, but it’s still fun to take you and let you experience new adventures.

Fun times at Stuckey Farms!

Fun times at Stuckey Farms!

You’re mostly wearing 9 months clothing, some 12-month pants, and a few 6-9 shirts. We’re trying to get you outfitted for colder weather, which means actually wearing socks/shoes, jackets, etc. Grammie says no more naked feet when it’s cold out!

I promise your 9-month post won’t be so late next month! Love you, baby girl!