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!
EIGHT MONTHS. How is my baby only 4 months from turning ONE?! Commence all the mommy feels! And a certain degree of panic because I am seriously fretting over where we will be celebrating Mark’s 1st birthday as there is a transatlantic move happening between now and then lol! I can’t believe how far Mark has come in these past eight months. My once itty bitty baby who needed help supporting his head is now crawling, pulling up, and standing all on his own. Mark is Mr. Independent and I’m loving almost every moment of it. It is incredible watching him crawl to the things he wants (including chasing me when I walk away), mimic the things we do, and pull up on the table when he wants a better vantage point of something. Crawling & pulling up has been a game changer this past month so, here a recap of life with our 8 month old mobile munchkin!
When Mark got the stomach flu I realized our medicine cabinet was not adequately stocked for baby. We of course had an infant fever-reducer / pain-killer on hand, but that was really the only “medicine” we had. After our trip to urgent care, we realized we needed to stock up on a few more staples to have on hand incase Mark came down with a stomach virus or any other illnesses that required home treatment. So as we enter cold & flu season, I’m sharing what’s in Mark’s nursery medicine cabinet.
With the days becoming ever shorter and the temperatures dropping more & more by the day, we are in winter prep mood here. Antwerp’s climate is fairly similar to Amsterdam, very damp & chilly but minimal snow. We pretty much stay between 30-40 all winter long. So while it isn’t “oh my gosh I can’t breath” freezing like other parts of the world (I spent a winter in Minnesota YIKES!) it is definitely cold enough that we need the right gear to keep Mark warm.
Living in the city center means we do lots of walking outside, even in cold weather. We either use our carrier or stroller to run most of our errands, like the grocery store, the pharmacy, shopping, and some play groups. Needless to say, keeping Mark cozy in cool damp weather is a must. I’ve rounded up our five favorite staples for those heading outdoors with little ones in damp cool climates.