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Update 2 months later…

This has been a crazy two months, which will help explain my hiatus from blogging.  So how about the ever-common bulleted list to catch you up?

  • Lila turned one. I don’t really understand how this baby (look at all those rolls!)

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  • turned into this kid (look at all those teeth!)
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  • She’s gone from above the 90th percentiles of height and weight to 10th percentiles.  She is a complete monkey baby – always toddling around (she just learned to walk about a month ago) and opening cabinets.  But she sure does aim to please.  She likes having tasks to do and really just wants to make you happy.  I’m living in this naive world where I believe this baby will always be like this but the next one will probably be the death of me.
  • We had both of our families come into town to visit for her birthday party.  We had a really great time with her cow themed party.  There’s a field of cows behind our house and for awhile they were Lila’s favorite animals.  She would “mooo” all the time.  Then everyone came into town and she refused to make a sound.
  • Joel and I celebrated 5 years of marriage in Chicago a few weeks ago.  We had a wonderful time at one of the coolest restaurants and then we laughed ourselves into tears watching “The Book of Mormon.”
  • Our house in Huntsville still hasn’t sold.  (Want to buy it?!  http://www.valleymls.com/(S(3qflgbsggeumk4gxpegn2msq))/default.aspx)
  • So we went ahead and bought a house in Indiana. The silver lining is that our landlord is letting us out of our lease early so that she can put her house back on the market.  Thankfully this means we won’t have to pay 2 mortgages and rent and we only have to pay 2 mortgages.  Yay (?).  We bought a gorgeous new construction in a really desirable area, which will be great for resale.  We close in two weeks so that means I’m back to packing and organizing all our stuff in order to move SOON.  I will be thankful when we can rid of all of these boxes and actually unpack everything.  I am still missing all of my tupperware (which is why I had to go buy a new set) so I’m curious to go through and find that and who knows what else.
  • Joel’s brother has moved in with us for the summer and I am SO thankful for the live-in help.  A sibling of his has lived with him since before we were even engaged and I’m so used to it that I kinda want this every summer.  It’s really awesome because his brother does the dishes every night.  This is one of the most wonderful gifts someone can give me.  Plus, it’s great being like “Hey I’m running to the store, here’s the monitor, she’s asleep!”  I can go run errands so quickly when I’m not worried about buckling a baby in and out of the car seat.
  • I got a free lance gig doing some copy-editing work for the Educational Specialists at NASA.  It sounds oh so very important, and I’m a little proud of this.  It also makes me sound smarter than I really am.
  • And VERY importantly, I’ve made friends here!  I’m involved in two different play groups (involving mostly the same people each day) and I’m starting to have a group of girls I can contact and hang out with.  I’m realizing (ok, not realizing but at least admitting) that I am a social person who NEEDS other people around.  I thrive on it while it wears Joel out (hello typical extrovert and introvert).

Rage against the Mother Club

So I took the advice of friends and family seriously when it came to meeting others and trying to fit a group of friends here in our new town.  Most people told me to join a “mommy” group.  I was a little hesitant because in Huntsville, my friends were my friends because of our similarities.  Some had kids – some didn’t.  It didn’t matter either way though.  BUT- I’m up for joining groups if it helps me to meet people quicker.  For a few weeks, I was really put off that none of the groups would email me back.  Being a little prideful, I didn’t want to contact the same group twice – because come on – I don’t want to be begging for friends or anything.  The group that ended up contacting me back is called M@CC (I’m going to try and “code” the name because I don’t want someone looking for this group and landing in my blog) – Mothering as a C@reer Club.  A CAREER.  I….I just have so  many issues with this title.  First off – motherhood is not a career nor is it a hobby.  It’s not anything I was educated on, trained for, or am being paid at.  Therefore – NOT a career.  I think it’s more of a lifestyle choice if it deems such a title.  Joel didn’t really see why I was all up in arms about the  name of this group until our realtor asked if I found any groups to hang out with yet.  I said that I went to a playdate with the M@CC group.  She looked a little confused and I confessed that it was the “Mothering as a…*mumbled something incoherently*” She jumped in with “as a CAREER club – YES. Well.  I didn’t join that because I always had a career.”  And even though she did NOT mean this to  be mean or condescending, Joel immediately saw that why this title was so offensive to me.

I say all this to say that I have joined this group – except I haven’t done it officially because I haven’t paid my dues yet ($20/year) but I intend on joining.  They always send out an active monthly calendar that has multiple events every week so it offers a lot of freedom as to what events match up with Lila’s schedule.

I’m also saying all of this because last night I was pissed at this group.

There was a Mom’s Night Out scheduled for last night.  Even though I am an extrovert, I still am a little nervous about just showing up some place and being like HEY! Let’s hang out!  You know, because that’s weird. We finished dinner last night, I got all cute with HEELS and MAKEUP and HAIR.  I drove over to the restaurant where we were supposed to be having karaoke night (which I would not be participating in because I only karaoke once I REALLY know you.  That’s not first date material.) and hopefully having a few drinks.  I pull in the parking lot and was a little surprised by how empty the parking lot was.  Actually, it wasn’t empty but it was lacking a good number of SUVs and minivans.  So I walk in about 15 minutes late because I can’t be the new girl AND one of the first ones there but I don’t see any tables of women hanging out.  Except one.  It’s a booth with 4 women sitting at it.  I frantically called Joel and was like “Um, what do I do?!?” So I hung up and went over there and asked the first lady who  made eye contact with me if they were from the M@CC group.  She responded no and I frantically apologized and jetted back to the safety of my car.  I checked my email again for the 15th time that night but there was no response to my RSVP or any notice they had cancelled.

I called Joel and told him that I was on my way home but I was going to be stopping to get a milkshake and some onion rings first.

Emotions varied from annoyance to anger to sadness to bitter.  An actual thought I had – “Screw you b*#$^%@! I’ve got a milkshake and an episode of Dateline murder mysteries on my DVR – I DON’T NEED YOU.”  What is so frustrating is that because I haven’t paid my dues BECAUSE THEY KEEP CANCELLING THE EVENTS I GO TO (this is the second event cancelled that I was not notified about but thankfully didn’t go to the other one since it was a 45 min drive from my house) I don’t have any way of contacting anyone except for an email address to one girl who I like a lot but this is NOT OK.

She wrote me an email at about 1am that stated the event was cancelled (what?! no way!) and that she hoped I stayed home (nope!) since she didn’t email me back.  I’m just frustrated.  Frustrated with the lack of everything with this group.  This cannot be normal for mom groups, right??

St. Louis Recap (lots of baby pics)

We adventured to St. Louis this past week which I was super excited about because (1) we got out of Indiana and (2) I reeeealy like St. Louis.  It was actually our first choice when we were looking at new places to move.  So I was kinda pumped to have a long trip there.  Joel was in a workshop all day near our hotel so Lila and I mainly just hung out by ourselves during the day.  Of course, she slept most of the time so I was locked in our hotel room.  Thankfully, we were in a “suite” type room with a door separating the living area from the bedroom/bathroom so Lila got her own “room” and so did we.

Throughout the days, I was trying to come up with fun things to do which is hard when you have a kid that takes two two hour naps throughout the day and then wants to pass out at 7pm.

I'm on a boat. (heh)

I’m on a boat. (heh)

I did take her swimming for the first time.  Which, considering I’m already a little nervous about the baby and water, taking her to the pool by myself was quite a feat.  (By the way, that towel was my first hooded towel I’ve made and it went so well that I think those might become my new baby gifts!  I have a feeling Lila will have a collection of them soon.)  She LOVES bath time and hanging out in the tub, so I figured she would love a swimming pool.

WHAT IS THIS GIANT BATHTUB??

WHAT IS THIS GIANT BATHTUB??

Nope, turns out she was pretty nervous at first.  Then she fiiiinaly relaxed.

You can push me now.

You can push me now.

She never really got into the whole splashing thing, but one step at a time I suppose.  I don’t think there is anything cuter than a kid in a swimsuit because everything is just SO TINY.  She looks like a little person here and it’s pretty darn adorable, if you ask me.  We had a few friends pass down some old clothes their girls outgrew and so Lila has a summer collection of about 15 swimsuits.  I…don’t even know.  I’m going to try and embroider on some of them for practice’s sake and then I have a feeling goodwill will be getting a healthy supply of baby swimwear.

The only downsides about traveling for us is that Lila likes to have teeth break through whenever we aren’t in our own home where I can heavily medicate and don’t have to worry about her waking anyone but me and Joel.  She had 4 come through when we were in Florida/Georgia for Christmas and in St. Louis, her molar finally made its way to the surface.  On a positive side, I have found out what works really well for her.  If it’s the middle of the night crying I do a dose of Tylenol (Advil hasn’t ever really helped for the massive breakthroughs), 3-4 Hyland’s Teething Tablets, and rub some Orajel Naturals (which doesn’t have the benzocaine in it) on her gums.  A nurse friend of mine referred to it as the Holy Trinity of Teething.  It was the only thing that helped to calm her down and let her sleep.  Which if it helps the baby to sleep, then I’d do it all over again.

Family Matters

My parents came to visit about a week ago and stayed for a long weekend.  It was really great to have them here, mainly because it was nice seeing some familiar faces.  However – and I feel this way whenever either of our parents visit – I was also glad to see them go. —I don’t feel this way when Joel’s siblings stay with us (and we usually have one of his college-age brothers live with us during the summers) and, in fact, I ADORE it when they are with us.  Maybe it’s because I still feel like *I’m* in charge ?  I’m not sure.

I love hanging around with family, and I adore watching them interact with Lila.  Plus the free babysitter aspect is also wonderful.  But at the end of the day, I want everyone to leave so we can have our own family time.  Joel only gets to see Lila for about an hour a day (yeah, Lila goes to sleep by 6:45 pm every night).  We have a definite routine every night – dinner done by 6:15, Joel gives Lila a bath (while I clean up the kitchen), then I go put her to bed (while he finishes the kitchen if needed), and then finally we get to hang out.  When either of our parents are here, our routine gets disrupted, which isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things, except that I don’t ever feel like I get that “down time” that I need.  Plus, they aren’t that big of a help with the baby, which is frustrating.  Lila is still little and neither of our parents KNOWS her enough to know that when she starts shaking her head “No” when eating that she isn’t done eating, she’s just done with that one thing and wants something else.  And this baby is SO skinny (because she won’t sit still OMG) that we really have to shovel food in her all the time.

I wish our parents lived closer so they could have shorter visits more often.

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In completely other news – I signed up for the latest CDP exchange!  And you should too!  Just go to this link and read all about it:

http://amdoingmybest.blogspot.com/2013/03/crappy-day-pckage-exchnge-2013-2.html

The more the merrier 🙂

The Truth About Our New Home

I have been told that I am not a negative person, and I believe that.  For the most part, I try to stay positive and always find some benefit or good out of any situation.  I have to keep reminding myself to do that now that I’m in a new city in a new state and in a place that I do not like.  I’m struggling with saying I “hate” it here, because hate is a strong word and I don’t know if I’ve given this place enough time to really form that impression yet.  We’ve lived here about a month and I’m struggling to find the positives.  It’s been so gray, overcast, and cold.  On days that it is sunny, I can’t take the baby out because the wind is too strong for any sort of walk to be pleasant.  The dogs are going crazy being cooped up inside all the time.  I have to keep them in a bathroom because if I leave them in the laundry room, they instantly crap and pee all over the floor.  There are only so many times I can clean it up before I want to strangle them.  So in an effort to save my sanity, I keep them locked up.  They want to go outside but it’s too cold even for them with their coats on.

And then there are the little things I need and miss.  During the week, Lila and I would frequently go on errands.  Costco, Target, and Publix were visited almost every week in an effort to replace necessities (milk) and for sanity (OMG GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE).  I have none of those stores now.  Sure we have other places here (Walmart – sigh.  Y’all, I’m trying to make see it in a more positive light but I just can’t.) but it’s not the same.   And this seems SO DUMB for me to be bitching about stores that we don’t have.  But when you’re at home all day long, I need some sort of incentive to get out of the house.  Walmart is not an incentive.

On the bright side, the TJ Maxx is waaaaay nicer and more organized than any of their other stores I’ve ever seen.  Even the clearance racks at Kohl’s were still organized according to size.  The Chili’s here is a testing site for future stores and it might be one of the nicest chain restaurants I’ve been to.  One benefit to living here versus any other place in the South, is the farming community.  The farmers here are extremely active in pushing their produce and meat to the average consumer.  In their local chain of grocery stores (kinda reminds me of Huntsville’s Star Market), they carry local produce, dairy, meat, and other products like breads and popcorn.  THIS I LOVE.  The farmer’s market is only one day a month throughout the winter but even going to that, it was better than the farmer’s markets I went to in Huntsville.  I’m hoping for good things to come out of the weekly summer market.

Probably the most frustrating part of living here is that I’m already planning on moving back to the South.  I want to be closer to our family – end of story.  Instead, we moved much farther away and are on the way to no one.  Joel and I have both talked about how we probably won’t live here for more than 5 years, mainly because we want our families to be a big part of Lila’s life.  Joel didn’t grow up around family and I did.  I think that’s one thing he definitely missed out on growing up overseas.  So with that in mind, I KNOW I can live anywhere for 5 years.  I know I can.  But it was so much easier when we moved to Huntsville because I started graduate school and was automatically thrown into social situations with opportunities to make friends.  Now?  I am home-bound with an infant and two whiny dogs.  I have to keep reminding myself that I didn’t like Huntsville when I first moved there, and I grew to LOVE it.  But….I just don’t see that happening here.

I keep telling myself that THIS is why we moved.

joel lila

Can’t you hear the squeals of laughter?

 

 

 

So this little girl gets to see her dad when he’s not completely stressed out.  So that he wants to give her a bath every night and read her stories.  So that he can help his wife clean the kitchen after the baby is in bed.

 

 

I just have to keep reminding myself of this.

 

Baby Wiser

Child of the Corn

When I was pregnant, a couple of my friends mentioned Baby Wise to me.  Having only heard negative things about the ideology, I brushed it off.  But then I actually talked to these friends and got some real-life examples of how they schedule their days out and how Baby Wise helped them, I became interested.  I began reading and researching and decided to implement this with Lila.  It turns out that people who hate BW are the ones who haven’t read it.

If Lila is the best thing to happen to me, then Baby Wise might be the second best thing to happen to me.

I joke about this, but seriously, putting her on a schedule has been fantastic.  BW isn’t for every baby or every mother, but I’ve yet to find someone who it just didn’t work for at all.  At 8 weeks, Lila was sleeping 8-9 hours a night – no middle of the night feedings or dreamfeedings.  Now at 6 months, she eats dinner at 7:30, falls asleep by 8, and wakes up at about 6:30 and eats around 7.  She naps 2-3 times a day, with at least two 2.5 hour naps during the day and maybe a quick one before dinner.  Have the benefits been awesome?  YES.  We have reaped the rewards.

It’s also been a life saver for my sanity because now I know our schedule for each day.  I know when she naps and when she’s going to be awake for awhile so I can plan our outings/errands accordingly.  With her being so well rested, she’s in a great mood 98% of the time.  All of her needs are met, and she’s just the happiest baby.  This has also been great for Joel because he can be just as assertive and active in parenting when I’m not here.

Here are some of the false claims made by non-Baby Wise parents:

  • They starve their children!
    –False.  Yes, Lila eats on a feeding schedule but if she’s hungry, then I feed her.  She’s gone through 2 growth spurts and was fed about every 2-3 hours (she’s been on a four hour schedule for a few months now).  The book tells you to feed your child when she’s hungry.  At the end of the day, you HAVE to watch your baby’s signals in order for her to be satisfied.
  • This doesn’t work if you breastfeed your kid!
    –Nope.  Lila goes 12 hours between feedings.  Someone (a family member, ahem) told me that breastfed babies can’t go more than 8-9 hours before they need to be fed until they are weaned.  Not true.  At least in my case.
  • They don’t respond to their baby’s cries!
    –False.  Instead, whenever she cries, I’m able to know that more than likely, it ISN’T hunger that’s causing her pain.  Maybe it’s gas or just being tired.  Lila also hasn’t been a normal baby in her crying.  She rarely cries, and I think that’s because I’ve been able to anticipate what she needs next.  When it gets close to her needing to be fed, I keep an eye on the monitor and wait for her to wake up so I can feed her.  She doesn’t have to cry to get my attention.
  • They believe in crying it out!
    –Yes…BUT, it’s not like you just abandon your kid in the room and say “Suck it up!”  Lila never had crying issues when going to sleep, except for one night.  She cried for about 10 minutes, but it was because she was SO exhausted she couldn’t get to sleep.  This was one of those times where I was kicking myself for getting waaay off schedule.
  • You have to wake your baby up from naps!!
    –YES, I have to do this but that’s because Lila would sleep her life away if I let her.  When she was a newborn, I would wake her every 3.5 hrs in order to feed her and hope she would stay awake the entire feeding.
  • You force your child to go to sleep!
    –Lila has a party personality and doesn’t want to miss out on anything.  She is her mother’s child, what can I say?  So, because of this, I have to go lay her down in her bed, swaddle her up, and basically give her permission to fall asleep.  My mother-in-law was visiting and I think she just wanted to see if Lila would fall asleep when she was tired.  So she didn’t put Lila down when she needed to and Lila went full force until there was a complete breakdown of exhaustion.  I’m a big believer that kids need naps, and I truly believe that MY kid needs to nap.

Though the actual Baby Wise book doesn’t have ALL the answers, I found that this website does.  Baby Wise Mom has been an awesome resource and such an encouragement to know that other kids are having sleep regressions or teething issues.  The lady who writes this blog has read almost all the baby sleeping books out there so she gives all the views at times, so that’s been a great resource.  It turns out that BW is a LOT like Baby Whisperer, but somehow Baby Whisperer has a better reputation than Baby Wise.

Of course, I write this post and watch her have sleep issues tonight.  Children always know how to make you eat your words.

My Favorite Things: (Early) Baby Edition

I LOVE reading about what people have recently purchased and what products they love.  Whether it’s household items or personal beauty products, I love reading about REAL people using the products.  There are so many things out there and no matter how many Amazon reviews I read, it’s nice knowing that these products are being used in houses next door (theoretically…because I don’t have a clue what the people next door to me are using…).

ANYWAY, this starts off my post of Favorite Things: (Early) Baby Edition

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This is the one item I cannot function without.  It sounds crazy – do I REALLY need a timer to tell me things?  Answer – YES. YES, I do.  The Itzbeen Baby Care Timer is one of the best gifts I was given.  Every time I feed Lila, I hit the bottle button.  It then times the hours until her next feeding.  This was AWESOME for the middle of the night feedings because when I woke up in the morning for the next feeding, I could barely remember my name, not to mention what time I woke up to feed the baby.  I was advised to feed the baby every 3 hours, which was forcing me to wake her up for almost every feeding, but at least I was able to keep her on schedule.  This timer was also great for me as I timed her sleeping schedule.  It was comforting to see the hours get longer and longer on the sleep button.  Also, this timer is what clued me in that Lila was transitioning to a 4 hour feeding schedule.  The great part about this is that it also has a night light (hello night feedings!), a switch to help remind you which breast to start with (if you are nursing your child), and it has this great 4th button, which I use as a medicine timer.  I have also dropped this numerous times and it still works.  When/if it quits working, I will be in my car on my way to the nearest Babies R Us (although it is cheaper at Amazon) to pick one up ASAP.  What I LOVE about this is that I am able to anticipate when she’s about to wake up, eat, go to sleep, etc. which really makes my life a lot easier.  Bonus – Joel is also able to take a glance at the timer and tell why she is fussing (time for sleep or time to eat), which allows me to go run errands or take a nap with no worries about the baby.

Yes, this monitor is expensive, but boy oh boy, it is worth every penny.  A friend of mine bought this and LOVED it.  Before we ended up buying one, I really debated about whether or not a video monitor was even necessary.  In the end, we decided to go with it and I am so glad we did.  The Summer Infant Monitor is absolutely fantastic.  I’m able to know exactly when Lila is sleeping, talking and hanging out, and when she’s talking in her sleep.  When she cries, I can flip on the screen and tell if she’s unswaddled or is frustrated because she can roll over.  We take this monitor with us on vacation because it really is light weight and easy to pack.  One of the biggest draws to it, is seeing how my friend uses it with her toddler who recently got moved upstairs and is in a “big boy” bed.  She’s able to talk to him through the monitor and tell him to quit playing with his toys and get back in bed.  Spying on my kid?  Awesome.

When you have a gigantic baby, those cute little receiving blankets are pretty worthless as swaddle blankets.  One of my L & D nurses advised me to “borrow” some of the flannel hospital blankets because they are MUCH bigger than those others I had.  Soon, those became too small.  Not only that, but my baby was sweating through them and was waking up all sweaty and wet in the mornings.  So I splurged and bought the aden + anais blankets, even though I was a little nervous about the price tag for blankets.  These blankets are magic.  They are huge (a little bigger than the ones found at Target and Babies R Us actually) and completely are able to swaddle Lila even as she approaches the 6 month mark.  They are extremely soft and only get softer as I wash them.  I also love that there are four of them because I can have her sleeping in her swaddle while washing the others.  Because the blankets are so light weight, I used them all summer to tuck Lila in when she was sleeping in the car seat OR as a car seat cover when we would go places and I didn’t want people to talk/touch her.  There are so many prints and patterns that I love, and I know I’ll have to get another set with the next baby because Lila will probably wear these out in the next few years.

This sleep positioner was given as a hand-me-down and I adore it!  I wanted one but couldn’t ever find one at Babies R Us or Amazon, but this is because I didn’t know what in the world they were called.  This is the Munchkin Cool Flow Back Positioner, which is apparently discontinued (definitely saving this one for the next kid!) but I know there are tons of others out there like this one.  Before she was able to roll over on her own, we used this all the time.  Lila originally wanted to sleep on her side, BUT she needed to be swaddled because she was such a spaz and would startle herself awake if left free.  We swaddled her and put her on her back in between these triangles and she was instantly able to sleep anywhere – the bassinet, crib, couch, bed, etc.  Whenever we traveled to people’s houses for a day or late night out, we would take the positioner.  We could lay Lila on any bed with complete assurance she wouldn’t go anywhere.

So these are the items I desperately needed for the first few months and would make awesome shower gifts to anyone having a baby any time soon.