With Mark now nine months old, we have pretty much transitioned out of all our newborn products and are rapidly entering the world of toddler toys & gear. When I was pregnant last year, I read what felt like hundreds of blogs and articles trying to figure out what the best baby products were and which ones we “needed”. As those blogs and articles were invaluable to me, I wanted to share my experience with all the other mama’s to be out there. And since I already have a serious case of mom brain some days, I figured this would be a valuable resource when we have more littles in the years to come. Some days mom life is a blur, so I figure it was best to document it all before I forget 🙂
NINE MONTHS. Three-quarters of a year old. It is scary how close we are to this munchkin turning one! Of course, I am already in first birthday panic mode primarily because we will be moving early next year and I am not sure what our living situation will be in early March. Of course, I’m determined to make it memorable one way or another! Mark has become so much more independent this past month. He is speed crawling, pulling up, cruising, and standing unsupported for a few seconds. He has figured out how to gracefully transitioning from cruising to standing back to crawling and I am certain he will be walking way to soon. He has learned so many new sounds and babbles all the time. He loves playing with his toys and banging everything together and making music. I have a feeling this month will be the best yet. We can not wait to celebrate Mark’s first Christmas and spend the holidays with our family and friends. But before that, here is a recap of life with our 9 month munchkin!
I am not sure there is anything more festive then holidaying in Germany in December. This country seriously knows how to get into the Christmas spirit. Germany was the last country I had to visit before we departed Europe. I couldn’t imagine living in Belgium for the past two years and never making it across the border. As we were able to tie Munich & Salzburg into the same trip, it was the perfect city for our Germany experience! It took a bit of extra planning tackling this cold city with Mark, but our logistics worked great and we had a wonderful quick trip in Munich!
Salzburg, Austria. Mark’s first snow fall. Christmas markets & holiday cheer. As you might have guessed, we had a wonderful family holiday this past week. Salzburg was one of the last remaining cities on my European Wanderlust List I made back in January 2016 when I first moved to Belgium. I am so happy we were able to sneak this slightly last minute trip in before we departed back to the US. Our trip to Salzburg couldn’t have been a more festive way to kick off the Christmas season. These European Christmas Markets are really something everyone should experience!
Tomorrow, Mark will officially be earth-side longer than he was on the inside. 38 weeks and 1 day. It seems like a lifetime ago this fiesty ball of energy was first placed in my arms. And yet, I can still flashback to that day like it was yesterday. Time is an interesting thing. The saying “the days are long and the years short” is so true in mom life.
I’ve done my best to enjoy every stage with Mark. We were fortunate he was a relatively easy newborn (although we had nothing to compare him to lol) and we fell into a routine quickly. In my “prior life” I worked at Goldman Sacks and IBM where I learned to thrive on very little sleep. Who would have thought my career days best prepared me for the first few weeks of motherhood. Somedays, I do wish we could go back to the newborn stage when Mark would cuddle in our arms for hours. But most days, I love watching Mark explore the world with his ever growing mobility, having our cute conversations, & learning more about my little guy. So, in honor of my eight month munchkin, here are my eight favorite things about him these days!
Christmas card picture 2017, check! It only took 170 pictures to find one we love, but we got one! A huge success with an 8 month old & a picky mama if I do say so myself. While we could have easily picked one of the 23984032 pictures of Mark I have for the card, I was pretty set on all of us wearing our matching Irish sweaters in our first family Christmas card. I previously mentioned how Brett & I picked up these matching Aran sweaters in Dublin last year and how we saw the matching baby cardigan and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it as I was worried I would jinx us! We had just started talking about having a baby and I felt odd buying something for a little one we didn’t have yet. Thankfully, our dear friends went to Dublin after Mark was born & were able to grab us one. So, while it wasn’t the first purchase we made for Mark, this sweater was the first thing I ever envisioned our little one in.
My little souschef & I cooked up a perfect Thanksgiving feast for our family of three to celebrate Mark’s first turkey day. Living abroad is a bit harder then usual around the holidays. Thanksgiving, which obviously isn’t celebrated here, is probably one of the hardest. With Brett at work all day, being apart from our families, & no turkeys available at the grocery store, yesterday was just a regular day in Belgium. But, given how much we have to be thankful for this year, I knew we had to properly celebrate the holiday. And of course, Mark’s baby book as a spot for Baby’s First Thanksgiving so I needed to properly document the occasion! So, Mark and I spent the day making a traditional feast (sans the big turkey) and had so much fun in the process.
It’s officially the best shopping week of the year, well in my mind at least! Even though we are on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and won’t be visiting any actual stores, I am most certainly taking advantage of all the online sales. Having a growing baby means we are constantly needing new clothing for Mark & with our first home on the horizon, we have quite a long list of planned purchases. Thankfully, we have the best parents who are graciously storing all of our shopping finds until we are back Stateside so we are able to take advantage of Black Friday sales. If you are looking for any steals on baby gear, baby apparel, or other odds and ends see what I have picked up so far & what I plan to grab later this week! Happy shopping 🙂
We are oh so excited for Mark’s First Christmas in just a few weeks! We will be heading back to the US to celebrate with our extended families and have timed planned in both Texas and New Jersey (bringing Mark’s total flights to 18 in 9 months.. yikes!). While we are thrilled to be spending the holiday at our parents, I can not wait for next year when we can decorate and host! Christmas is my favorite time of the year and it’s so hard not decorating our apartment as we are gone for most of December. We have totally already called hosting Christmas for the family in 2018 and I can’t wait!!
As this is Mark’s First Christmas, Brett and I chatted how we wanted to handle holiday gift giving. We wanted a rough plan for how we would gift not only for this year, but also in future years (with potentially more littles running around!). So, in addition to setting a budget, we decided on the “something you want”, “something you need”, “something to wear”, & “something to read”! And of course, some fun little stocking stuffers! My mom always gave my sister and I an ornament that represented our year and I plan to carry on that tradition for Mark & our family. Of course, as Mark can’t request anything this year, we will be making his gift selections. So, what is on Mark’s Christmas List? Check out our Baby’s First Christmas Gift Guide below!
With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been checking Mark’s closet to ensure he has some festive attire for his first holiday season. We have a number of celebrations planned for Mark’s First Christmas like exploring the Christmas Markets in Germany & Austria, family celebrations in Texas, Christmas dinner in New Jersey, and our first family photoshoot since Mark’s newborn pictures many many months ago, we had to pick up a few new winter pieces. Ranging from family Christmas pajamas to sweater rompers and a velvet overall outfit, I’m sharing my favorite Mark’s holiday outfits for Mark!