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Archive for May, 2013

31

This time of year is just crazy. May has always been my favorite month because it’s my birth month but now it’s also my anniversary month, Mother’s Day month, and my baby’s birth month.

(My poor husband. Our poor credit card.)

On Monday, Memorial Day, I turned 31. My parents were on day 5 of their stay with us, which is already 2 days longer than preferred, but it was nice to have family in town to celebrate. It was also the day after baby D’s first birthday party and we had plenty of cake leftover so there was little fanfare in the way of cake or decorations. Instead, we decided to take a drive down to Jefferson Barracks and visit my grandpa’s grave. (What? You don’t think visiting a cemetery is a fun way to celebrate your birthday?) Ok so it wasn’t exactly fun, but it was Memorial Day after all and my parents had not visited since the headstone arrived last fall, so we went. Then we finished the afternoon with some mall shopping (hello Memorial Day sales) and after a late lunch at Max and Erma’s, we had a late dinner at Longhorn. Basically, a very typical weekend for us, but I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of my birthday.

Still, there’s something about the 1 in 31 that makes me really feel that I’m firmly in my 30s. And while most people lament getting older, I have to say that I’m feeling much more…comfortable in who I am now that I’m in my thirties.

My twenties was a mix of establishing myself and figuring out not only who I am but who I wanted to be. And then accepting who I am when the two didn’t match up. Now that I’ve fought those internal battles, I have so much more inner peace and confidence. I may not always like everything about myself, but I accept it. And that’s a huge accomplishment for me.

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Seven

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Seven years ago today, I married my best friend. My favorite person on earth. And while I didn’t think it was possible then, I love him 100,000 times more today than I did all those years ago.

On one hand, seven years is a long time. But on the other, I know it’s still only the beginning. We’ve entered a new chapter in our marriage this year now that we’re “mommy” and “daddy” on top of “husband” and “wife”. Fortunately, we’ve always worked well together and try to approach parenting the same way we approach most things in life: as a team.

I feel like anniversaries are a good time to reflect and if things are good (they are at the moment) then perhaps offer some words of wisdom for other couples that may currently be struggling. But ya know what? I still don’t really feel qualified to give marriage advice. Even after seven years. Mostly because every marriage is different and what works for us may not work for others. But also? Marriage is HARD. People told me this before we got married and I just nodded along. I mean, how hard could it really be when every night is basically like having a sleep over with your (very attractive) best friend? But it is. We’ve had far more highs than lows, but we’ve had some REAL lows that lasted a LONG time and all I can say is, don’t give up. That’s really all a successful marriage is, is two people who don’t give up at the same time.

Now that we’ve thrown parenthood into the mix, it’s really shaken things up a bit. We have a lot of the same struggles most new parents do – lack of intimacy, bickering over little things, no time to ourselves to reconnect. But beyond that, I think our marriage is even better because we have just one more thing to bond over, talk about, and be completely obsessed with. That little boy is our whole life and it’s nice to be married to someone who gets it. Who sees him the same way I do. Who gets excited about the same little milestones and whose day is made by the same little giggling sound. Parenthood can be really isolating sometimes but if you’re in it with a good partner, it’s not so lonely. It’s also a pretty incredible thing to watch your husband be so hands-on with an infant; to see him display a side of himself I’d never seen before.

So while we’ll likely go out for one of those rare date nights and marvel at how quickly time has passed, we’ll also talk about the future and how excited we are about this new phase of our lives. How much fun it’s been this last year, and how much fun we’re going to have these next seven years. And the next seven. And the next…

 

 

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Baby D will soon be TODDLER D, which means his first birthday is just around the corner. I decided a long time ago that the theme would be a puppy party. It took awhile to convince my husband to go with it, but after a few weeks of seeing baby D’s face light up and hearing his little baby laugh every time a furry face showed up on the TV or at the park, he was sold.

The first and hardest thing to decide on were the invitations. I thought that with such a generic theme, there would be TONS of invitations with puppies on them to choose from.

Um, not the case.

After searching through the usual suspects – Shutterfly, Tiny Prints, etc. – I finally turned to Etsy. A couple of emails, a couple of days and only $10 later, I had my design:

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Then I decided baby D needed a personalized birthday onesie. So back to Etsy I went and found this:

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So what if they’re slightly different dogs?

The first weekend in May, I went to Party City to stock up on supplies – plates, cups, utensils and decor. My plan was to do a blue/green/orange color scheme but I couldn’t find much in orange so it quickly turned into a blue/green theme instead. My mom also pitched in and found a cute puppy pinata. So it’s coming together but I’ve still got to decide on the menu and make his birthday banner. I’ve been diligent about taking both weekly and monthly photos to show his growth progression so I’ve got something in mind for displaying this at the party but just need to find the time and energy to do it.

I still haven’t really let myself dwell on the fact that he’s no longer an infant and it’s crazy how much our lives have changed in this last year – both good and bad. But man do I love being this little boy’s momma. So I’ll just focus on that instead.

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Is it just me or is Mother’s Day even better than birthdays? I’d much rather have a day dedicated to all I do to take care of my family versus just a day to celebrate the day I was expelled from my mother’s nether regions.

Since my little man is not quite a year old yet, it was once again up to my husband to make sure I was properly celebrated. He already let me in on my main gift the day before – professional house cleaning – since he wanted to let me choose the date. D’s birthday party is in 2 weeks, so I requested that they come next week. I’ve only ever had someone clean my house one time, and that was just a few months ago. I’d love to be able to afford a regular cleaning service, but that’s just not in the cards at the moment. But I’ll definitely jump at the chance to have it as my Mother’s Day gift!!

On Sunday morning, the three of us snuggled in bed for a bit. (My favorite part of the day!) Then the hubs gave me my presents – a new robe and a new set of pajamas! Not to mention a cute card with a sweet message about how I’m an even better mom than he expected. (Awwww.)  For breakfast it was pancakes and coffee, a little daydreaming while watching House Hunters International, and then we headed to the zoo, along with everyone else in the St. Louis area. Since it was right around nap time, baby D watched the sea lion show and then conked out in his stroller for pretty much the rest of the afternoon. Well, technically he woke up at the gift shop, just long enough to grab hold of a cute stuffed sea lion, which meant we HAD to buy it.

For dinner, we had St. Louis style pizza (Imo’s). My husband hates it but because it was my day, it was my choice. We also splurged on mini blizzards from Dairy Queen and I called it an early night, curled up in bed with the iPad and some blog reading. Pretty much a perfect day.

I didn’t take many photos, but we managed to capture this gem from the morning, sporting my new robe.

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This year marks my very first REAL Mother’s Day. Last year, my hubs took pity on me and surprised me with presents and a fabulous day, but I didn’t really feel like I had deserved it yet.

This year? I earned my Hallmark card, dammit. Particularly these last few weeks when we’ve been fighting terrible sleep issues.

But instead of the typical flowers, jewelry, and a day of no cooking, I have a few different things on my wishlist.

Mom wishlist

1. A mama’s boy of a son who is not such a mama’s boy at bedtime. (I think our current sleep issues are stemming from separation anxiety. I love the cuddles and the desire to be held but I need my sleep!)

2. A clean and de-cluttered house, that magically got that way through no elbow grease of my own.

3. A full body massage, facial, mani/pedi, and personal stylist to pick out my clothes, do my makeup, and fix my hair.

4. A coffee mug of endless lattes and a champagne glass of endless mimosas.

5. An amazing brunch somewhere without the need for reservations or an hour wait or the need to take eleventy million things with us to keep the baby entertained.

6. A steak dinner and a night at the movie theater, indulging in a giant Icee and a big bag of Reese’s Pieces. And maybe staring at Ryan Reynolds for a couple of hours.

7. Gorgeous family photos in which I look 20lbs skinnier.

8. Birthday cake. Even though it’s not my birthday (yet) and no calories in that cake, please.

9. Someone to go through and edit, organize, backup and print all of my photos from the last year (or the last 7 years).

10. A body like Sophia Vergara.

What’s on your Mother’s Day wishlist?

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My mom and I were talking about a couple of extended family members the other day.

“He’s a good dad, but he never really disciplined those girls the right way.”

“I can’t believe she would do that. I mean, she’s a good mom, but she posts some really stupid stuff on Facebook.”

“He’s a good dad, except for the fact that he’s been unemployed for years with no desire to get a job.”

So I started thinking about what it means to be a good parent. More specifically, what it means to ME. (Because we all know it’s different for everyone.)

For my entire life, I’ve believed that to be considered a good parent, one must only love their child/children. But is that enough? I’m starting to think that no, actually, it isn’t.

I look around at the young adults I know in my life and for most of them, I wonder, “What went wrong?” Their parents all love them very much. They would never intentionally harm them or set them up for failure. And yet, they still seem to struggle with life. (I guess we all do, to a certain extent. So I’ll clarify with an example in a minute.)

I have a cousin in her early 20s. She’s the youngest of three. Her father is about the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but he has a troubled past, health issues, and battles depression. Because of these things, he’s on disability and although he works, I wouldn’t call it a career. He gets by and makes sure his girls have always had the essentials in life.

“He’s still a good dad,” I would say, defending him despite the criticism.

My cousin, his daughter, had a baby a few months after me. She’s a high school dropout, unemployed with a live-in boyfriend (who’s 19 and does odd jobs for work), and really just wanted nothing more than to be a mom. She loves her son, but apparently not enough to stop smoking while she was pregnant (said she “cut back”) and now her poor baby has asthma. She also makes all the other “bad parenting” mistakes doctors warns us against – propping bottles in the crib, giving bottles full of juice instead of formula (starting around 4 mos old), putting blankets and bumpers in his crib before he could even roll over. She never cared to read a single book on caring for a baby and she uses a clinic for healthcare (not by choice, of course, but due to lack of health insurance). And lest you think I’m just being a snotty, judgmental sanctimommy, if anyone tries to offer advice or correct her, then you need to “stop reading her Facebook” and the name calling comes shortly after. She does not want help, unless it’s in the form of dollar bills.

Last month, she needed about $3,000 worth of dental care and doesn’t have dental insurance so her older sister paid for it, even though she doesn’t make much money being the manager of a shoe store. That same week as her dental work – the dental work she couldn’t afford – she went out and got the words “bulletproof” tatooed on her neck. Her FB posts are less about her kid and more about how “hot” of a mom she is.

Despite all of these things that make me want to smack her, I know she loves her son. But I just can’t bring myself to call her a “good mom” anymore.

And that’s when I realized that my definition of what makes a good parent had evolved from just merely loving your child to “loving your child enough that you change yourself to be the best possible role model for them.” That’s the new standard for me. And because of this, I know I’ll need to make some changes for myself. I’ve definitely got a lot of work to do.

 

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11 Months

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Weight/Length: Oh gosh. Maybe 24 lbs? No clue on length and we won’t have an “official” measurement until his first year appointment in June.

Sleep: Is sleep regression typical around 10 or 11 months? My usual champ of a sleeper has been fighting his naps and his nighttime sleep. ESPECIALLY his nighttime sleep. Maybe it’s because we’re not on a super strict schedule? I have no idea, but we’ll do a feeding, bath, and read bedtime stories and just as I get about 2 pages from the end, he’ll start whining and sit up to play. Then it’s a good hour or so before he finally conks out. Even if he was practically falling over in the bathtub. Doesn’t matter. As for how he does once he actually does fall asleep? It’s a crap shoot. Some nights he’ll STTN and never make a peep. Others, he’ll wake up 2-3 times and ends up in our bed beween 4 and 6am.

Feeding: Not much new here. We’re still doing purees and oatmeal, with about 4 bottles a day, and practicing real-food eating with Mum-Mums and puffs. We’ve started introducing bites of things here and there (like warm cinnamon sugar donuts in Philly), but I’m so terrified of choking that we haven’t pushed it. We also haven’t been practicing with a sippy cup but plan to do that more this month.

Developments: So many new things this month! His crawling has evolved to more of a sit-and-crawl movement. He’ll only get on his belly if he gets tangled up in his own arms and legs. But the biggest change is that he’s now pulling up on EVERYTHING! And this last week, he’s started cruising a little. He’s still got his sea legs and falls down quite a bit, but he’s getting more adventurous and it’s so exciting to see his little chubby legs supporting his tiny body. I die from the cuteness. The pediatrician said it would take about 3 months to start walking from the time he started pulling up, so that means he’ll be walking shortly after his first birthday.
What most of my photos look like. I call him "the blur."

What most of my photos look like. I call him “the blur.”

As for vocabulary, it’s a tie between “dada” and “dog.” Technically, dada was first, but he’d say it all the time without context. Just babbling. But the word dog we can get him to say on command when pointing to a dog. It sounds more like “gog” but it’s clearly dog. And just two days before his 11 month birthday, he started saying mama. He wouldn’t even babble mama for the longest time so this is exciting stuff. And he’s even saying it in context here and there. I just love hearing his little voice “talking” to us.
And earlier this month, he started making baskets with his basketball. In just one random night, he watched me put the ball in the basket and immediately wanted to try it. We cheered him on and he was instantly hooked. It was the first thing he wanted to do the next morning when he got up and for a few days after. It’s still one of his favorite activities but he’s not quite as obsessed with it as he was when it was a new trick.

Firsts This Month: First Easter, first time pulling up and standing on his own, first Cardinals game (and first home run with a Cardinals win), first airplane ride, first trip to Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), first taste of a donut, first Phillies game (and Cardinals away game), first time in the luxury suites, first time he freaked out in an elevator, first time really saying mama and knowing what he meant.

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Likes: Same as usual. Still in love with dogs. Still loves watching Baby Einstein. And this month he turned into a total mama’s boy!! Clearly, I am giddy over this development, much to my husband’s chagrin. I noticed it one morning after bringing him into our room, handing him over to the hubs in our bed, and then walking out of the room to use the bathroom. He started whining/crying for a minute. And later that day when I got home from work, his little face just lit up more than usual and started doing his little happy babbling for the next hour or two. After that, if the hubs was holding him and I was nearby, he’d reach his arms out for me. He also gives me about 10 times the number of kisses and hugs as he does daddy. (And if we’re being honest here, daddy is super jealous, so he’s started being a bit more snuggly with him. It’s adorable.) So all my fears about daddy being the favorite since he’s with him about 99% of the time? Not true!!

Favorite Songs: New favorites: Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid, Rubber Ducky, Somewhere Over the Rainbowand I’m on top of the World by Imagine Dragons.

Favorite Toys: A family member gave D a Melissa and Doug wood shapes puzzle for Christmas, which I finally pulled out from the closet this month. He loves banging the animal shapes together or on the puzzle board. And ever since he discovered how to put balls in baskets, he loves to show off that trick from time to time. He’s especially fond of the orange basketballs. He definitely didn’t fall far from his daddy’s tree there. He still plays with his blocks and stacker rings but more than anything, I would have to say that books are still his absolute favorite. He has a few baby-appropriate books that I let him play with because they’re virtually indestructible and I find him flipping the pages all the time. It’s usually with one hand clumsily trying to insert a finger between the pages while it’s upside down, but it’s so cool to see him enjoy something so basic as a book, when he’s surrounded by phones and iPads and laptops and TVs. There’s just something magical about a book I guess.

Dislikes:  Not much new here but now that he’s pulling up and standing, he gets frustrated when he’s tired and can’t get a good grip on the couch to pull himself up. He also doesn’t like going to bed on time anymore and will scream bloody murder to let us know. After one particularly long night where we battled bedtime, I now just let him stay up an hour or two past his bedtime, even after his bath and jammies are on, and he’ll contently play on the floor until he starts rubbing his eyes and I put him to bed. I ALWAYS try to put him to bed at his usual bedtime, but this only works about 1 out of every 3 nights. Usually, he’ll lay quietly while I read him his bedtime stories and as soon as I turn to the second to last page of Goodnight Moon, he starts whining and sits up because he knows it’s almost over and lights out. Smart little booger.

He also dislikes it when bathtime is over and will scurry to the other end of the tub to escape me when I ask him if he’s ready to get out.

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And lately, diaper changes are starting to become an issue. He doesn’t cry or whine, but he constantly tries to roll over or kicks his legs or grabs his you-know-what and I need about 5 hands just to hold him still while I put a clean diaper on him. Number twos are a two person job. Not sure how my husband handles this during the day. I’d guess there are several wet wipe baths.

What I’m Thankful For: We seemed to escape a lot of the spring sinus infections and colds that were going around so I’m very thankful for our health, particularly mine!

What I’m Looking Forward To:  His first birthday parties! I’m sure I’ll have an emotional moment when I make the realization that my BABY is turning ONE. But until then, it’s fun, fun, FUN as I buy puppy-related decorations and go hog-wild on a birthday party for someone who will never remember it.

How Mommy’s Doing: Well, my weight-loss has stalled thanks to my inability to stop eating carbs, but we just purchased a jogging stroller last week and I’ve been trying to make small improvements here and there. It’s nothing that will have me “bikini ready” by Memorial Day, but at least it’s something. I also need wardrobe help, and my house is a disaster STILL. The house issue needs to be fixed before the birthday party, and it will, but it’s going to take a lot of work.
I had one REALLY awesome day about a week ago where I won tix to my company’s suite, got my new dishwasher installed, realized my son was a total momma’s boy, the weather was perfect and I had some good things happening at work. The very next day? Sucked. Nothing really bad, per se, but I was on a high of highs and the next day the temps dropped about 25 degrees and started raining, I didn’t love my new dishwasher (I had it on the wrong setting, so I like it again now), and the baby decided he loves me SO much that he insists on co-sleeping, which we do not enjoy. So nothing terrible, but it’s just funny how one day is super awesome awesomeness and the next is just meh. Still, I can’t complain. Life is pretty good around here. Not perfect. (NEVER perfect) But pretty darn good.

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