Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Much thanks

What a difference a few years can make! Instead of going out and getting schnockered on Thanksgiving Eve, I am sitting on the recliner, watching Planet Earth, and trying to pre-make as much of the dishes for tomorrow as possible. The teething baby is asleep an hour early, the dogs are curled up around me, and I am going to pour a glass of wine. I know my friends are all out, and I may be a teensy bit jealous, but life is good. :)

In that spirit, I wanted to do my "30 Days of Thankful" (or whatever they call it) that others have been posting on Facebook all month. Except that's way too much to remember for me every day, so I'm going to do it all at once.

I know no one really reads this blog, but maybe one day April will read these and know how much her mama loves her. Enough to miss Thanksgiving Eve, dammit!!

1) I am so thankful for my husband Rob. Saying he's my best friend and better half are both cliches, but so true. He rounds me out and has a way of making me calm down and not take things (quite as) seriously. I'm so happy we're in this together.

2) I am obviously ridiculously thankful for my beautiful daughter April. She is getting so bit and it is absolutely a blast to watch her learn and grow. I was so blessed to have her at all, it seems almost an embarassment of riches to have gotten such a sweet, easy-going baby. I love her so much and am amazed at the joy and love she has brought us in a few short months. I can't wait to watch her grow.

3) I am thankful to have had such wonderful, supportive parents. I'm so glad we're so close (in both relationship and distance!). And they provided such a great example of a lasting relationship, that when I found one myself, it felt familiar. They do so much for us and I know I'm so lucky!

4) I'm thankful for my sister and best friend. Funny how much we fought as kids and how different we were until a few years ago. The obvious fancy-pants cheerleader vs. nerdy alterna-teen stuff was certainly there, but we were oil-and-water in a lot of other ways, too. It's pretty amazing how close we are now.

5) I feel so lucky to have a few friends that have been in my life for the majority of it! I don't easily make new friends, and these girls know me. Like, no bullshit know me. :) I love that we can go a while without talking but pick right back up.

6) I'm also so lucky to have such a strong, loving, amazing woman in my life as my Memere. 92 years young! Such a role model for me. One of the many reasons I felt such pressure to have a baby was so that she could meet my Mem. And it warms my heart to see how close they are.

7) I'm grateful for my huge extended family. I have a billion cousins, and even though I don't always get to see them, we have such a blast when there's a big group of us.

8) I love my house and know how important it is to have a home. This place rocks and I love it. Even all those weird old-house things, like the metal cabinets and slanted bathroom. The huge windows and porch make it more than worth the quirks.

9) My first babies - my dogs. They keep me company under the covers when Rob works nights. And they're so good with the baby, surprisingly taking it well.

10) I love my career, and even if my job hasn't been all I'd hoped so far, I'm very thankful to have it!

11) I'm thankful to be able to rock my beautiful daughter back to sleep in a rocking chair that belonged to my Pepere. You just can't buy moments like that. (I just had to do that, hence the timing of that item!)

12) I'm thankful for the way babies smell. For the most part, if you catch my drift. ;)

13) I appreciate Rob's job, even though they work him too hard. He has a job, which is obviously huge right now, but they're also flexible when it comes down to it. Like letting him work remotely so he could fly out to Kansas City with April to meet me on a work trip.

14) I love living in a place with four seasons. Even though I'm not a fan of winter. The spring, summer, and fall are so perfect that the cold weather is worth it. Thinking of that first perfect spring day...

15) I'm thankful for the technology that helps me record memories, like this blog; keep in touch with far-flung family, like Skype and digital photos; connect with old friends, like Facebook; or be supported by people I've never met in person, like chat boards.

16) I am grateful to Rob's family, although we get to see them too rarely.

17) Food. I'm making cranberry bread pudding, brussel sprouts with pancetta, and carmelized onion dip for tomorrow. Not in one dish, heh. But I know how lucky I am to have such a bounty. And I love cooking, I appreciate being able to do that and share with people I love.

18) Isn't DVR friggin' awesome? Thanks for that!

19) Thanks to whoever controls these things for the health and happiness of my family and friends.

20) Neil Patrick Harris. (watching How I Met Your Mother on DVR, can you tell?)

21) All the things that make having a baby easier, like the Bumbo, jumparoo, Ergo carrier, that little seahorse thing that lights up and plays lullabies, baby monitor...

22) The medical technology that allowed me to be a mother.

23) Wine.

24) All the women I "met" on the infertility chat boards. I don't know how I could've gone through it all without them. And I cry every time one of them gets pregnant or has a baby. I can't think of a more deserving group of women. One of my biggest wishes is for all of them to get the child they want so badly.

25) That my body allowed me to breastfeed April. I was worried about it letting me down, as past experiences had dictacted. But it's still going well! April isn't really cuddly, so it gives us time to take a minute together. I love doing this for her right now.

26) Spending time together as a threesome. With our opposite shifts, it doesn't happen enough. It's my favorite! We don't even have to do anything really, but I love playing with April together, or taking the dogs and baby for a walk, anything. I hope I never take that for granted.

27) Little holiday dresses and tiny Mary Janes.

28) Finding the cord to plug in a baby monitor base after having to constantly rotate and recharge batteries for a few months.

29) Books. Both the paper kind and the e-kind. I love to read. I am also thankful for magazines. I know so much random stuff!

30) Thanksgiving! A holiday to spend with family, chow down, and reflect on how awesome life can be. Perfect.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cheers! Happy 1/2 Birthday!

So my baby is more than halfway to one! It is truly amazing how quickly these six months have flown. I love looking at the newborn pictures - how she has grown and changed so much, but she still looks like herself. Before I had a baby, I kind of thought newborns were like aliens that morph into humans that look 100% different. I guess I never paid attention to every little detail of a newborn's features before. :)

It becomes apparent to me that I have a giant baby. I heard the 70% percentile numbers from the pedi without actually processing the reality that this number means she is larger than 69% of other babies. And in some cases, WAY larger. Everywhere we go now I see babies her age, or older, who make her look like the Jolly Green Giant. Seems like even more to me, actually! Add in the fact that her pointy little butt (just like I had as a kid - confirmed through embarassing nudie kiddie photos, not in a gross way - but no longer visible under my trunk junk) ends up looking a bit Kardashian-esque under cloth diapers, and whoa. Hulk Smash! Someone actually told Rob that she was the biggest 6-month old she'd ever seen, which I think is a bit of hyperbole!

I faced my first true working mom conundrum last week. On a Thursday afternoon, I was told they really, really wanted me to attend a training for a new contract we're starting any minute now. I've been excited about this contract, it actually will involve me using my degree and experience!! I had been really worried I made the wrong professional decision, as nothing I've worked on here has played to my strengths or interests...so me being involved, and hopefully running, this project is huge for me. So of course, I said "Oh, sure! Travel is a little hard for me right now, with Rob on nights and April being still young, but I'd really love to go..." And then the details were laid out - it started the next Tuesday, ran for 4 days, and was in Kansas City, Kansas.

Wow, thanks for the notice! They also said they understood if I couldn't go...but reading between the lines, I knew saying no would be a huge issue. Plus I wanted to go! But it meant scrambling to work something out overnight for April, and dealing with pumping on the road, etc. My employers apparently felt bad for the short notice and asking me to leave the baby, so they offered to fly someone out to stay with me and watch her during the day so I could be with her at night!

I was able to cobble something together for April and the dogs, and Rob was able to compromise with his job to be able to come for two nights. So April had her first plane trip! I flew out Monday night (missing her first Halloween. Big giant tears for this mom fail), had two nights without her (one she stayed at my parents', the next my sister stayed at our house), then Rob flew with her Wednesday. We all flew home together that Friday. Logistically challenging to pack and check her gear and book the right flights, but we prevailed!

Sure, I almost exploded my business boobs (not "fun boobs" per Rob, all business) drinking Mothers' Milk Tea, and had to run out of the class the first day to pump, but we did it! And my husband is an amazing man for flying alone with her (and getting delayed on the way). I love him so much for making it happen. The two nights without her were tough, but I am so grateful to have only had to have two nights away!

Kansas City, Kansas is super lame, by the way! We went out one night in the Missouri side, which was somewhat better, but jeez. My training was great and interesting (dork alert!), and I know it was the right thing for me professionally. I have some residual guilt. I mean, how much does it suck to feel pulled in the two directions? Work vs. family. I feel like family should always win, but reality doesn't always allow that. Plus I love what I do professionally. It's a career, not just a job. And I'm there over 40 hours a week - so I have to have some satisfaction there, too. I know this won't be the last time I have to make this decision.

So here's a picture of my baby having some barbecue with us in KC. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's a miracle my ancient fingers can type this

So, I'm old. I celebrated my 32nd birthday last weekend. Why is it I still think of myself as a ripe 24-ish? Oh, well! My age doesn't bother me, it just sounds so ancient when I put it out there like that. Thirty-two. At any rate, it was an absolutely lovely weekend! It was a great mix of adult-time and time with April, as well as fun in a big group vs. fun with our little family! On Friday night, my brother-in-law and his wife watched April while I went to go see a band from waaaaaay back in the day - The Lemonheads. I had been before with my best friend, who I've been friends with now for 18 (!@$^!) years, back in high school and it was fabulous to go and be all 90's blissed out. I got home late!!! This is a picture of our daughters together - future BFFs, just like their mamas!
And by some miracle, April slept solid that night. Hooray! Saturday she helped me make butternut squash and apple soup for a party that afternoon. We went over our family friends' house to see other friends who were visiting from Israel and carve pumpkins! As much as Fall makes me sad for the short days and cold weather coming, I do love all the traditions and flavors! It was so much fun. My sister made me an epic cake, too. :)
On Sunday we did the usual visit to my Memere's (another cake! So spoiled!) then went to a local zoo. I had never been there before, despite it being pretty close to our house. It was a great time with my husband and sister. April was pretty amazed by the animals, especially the giraffe! It made me wonder if she recognized it from Sophie, her teething toy? It really was just an awesome weekend. We had so much fun. April was a joy! She really is a good-natured and sweet baby. I am so, so lucky to have her and my wonderful friends and family.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The chompers are coming!

EEK! Teeth!!!

I came home from work on Friday to my husband excitedly telling me to wash my hands because he had a surprise. Interesting request. :) I stuck my finger in her mouth and couldn't help but notice her chewing actually hurt a bit. Sho nuff, two sharp little teeth points were digging into my knuckle. I'd love to back this up with a picture, but every time you try to check them out, she covers them with her tongue and tries to bite you.

Every day there is something else to remind me how big she's getting!

I was relieved when the teeth poked out, thinking - oh great, it must not have bothered her too much. But then came that night, and the three nights since. Poor poodle. I think it's worse than when she was a newborn! I've been really blessed with a good sleeper, and I know how lucky I am, but it makes it that much harder when she's up. It's been every two hours for the past few nights, and I'm afraid I'm messing her up. I don't want to start bad habits when it comes to sleep, but feeding her is what makes her feel better. (ha - an emotional eater like mommy already?!) She wakes up so upset and I just want to help! If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them!

We had a stupendous weekend, though! The weather was crazy - in the 80's in RI in October! We went apple picking and got some family photographs taken at a local farm. We hung out with great people (Rob's brother and his wife, my sister and her boyfriend) and had an outdoor fire - actually 2, one on each night. We also got to see one of Rob's cousins who was unexpectedly in town from Seattle, which was nice! Despite very little sleep, it was a really lovely time all around.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Frets

I think I'm a bit odd, in that I am both laid-back about some things but excessively torqued-up about others. The same would of course apply to April! Dog hair in her mouth? It happens! Skipped that bath for a few days? Oh well! Or maybe it's that I worry about being too worried, so I go out of my way to not be too "helicopter-y." Yes, that's the word I was looking for and I'm sticking with it! My new fear that I'm ready to put out there comes from something I've been noticing for the past few weeks. April just doesn't seem as happy as she was. She doesn't really babble much anymore, and her smiles are few and far between as of late. She's so serious.

Now, that isn't to say that she seems actively unhappy, because she doesn't fuss much at all. She mainly just sucks on her fingers and takes it all in. She still plays with toys, but it seems more of a compulsion to get it in her mouth. She cuddles occasionally, but more often wants to use me as a jungle gym. She is close to crawling. Physically, she seems fine. She seems interested in us and what we're doing, and makes eye contact...

I do acknowledge how silly and worried and first-time-mom-y I must sound. I've thought about calling the doctor, but I would definitely be embarassed, because I'm not even sure what I'd be asking. I'm just concerned. Probably for no reason.

And I am sure this will continue for the rest of my life. I just wish I could feel like I'm doing a good job and not second-guess myself so much.
On a happier and less neurotic note, we took April to her first big fair last weekend, The Big E in Springfield, MA. It was such a flippin' blast, I can't even tell you! And she was such a trooper. An hour-and-a-half car ride each way, and then almost SIX HOURS at the fair. :) It was awesome to spend such a great day with my family - including my sister and her boyfriend. April was totally mesmerized by all the lights. Great memories. ...including me playing whack-a-mole with her sleeping in her carrier. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bittersweet times

This past week has been full of joy and sadness. Such is life, I suppose. My aunt passed away last week. Although it is truly tragic to think of my family without her, there are so many good memories. The funeral was today. We dressed April up and took her to say goodbye to the great-aunt she was only able to meet twice. I wish she would've been able to know her. My aunt babysat me when I was little and it was amazing to have her. She was such a character. Looking back, she was pretty strict but loving and funny and giving. Just a wonderful person.

She was in hospice before she died, so we were able to say goodbye - I am thankful for that. Her daughter found a poem that she had written to me but never given me. She gave it to me at the cookout we had on Saturday night (which was such a great time, I adore my family). I read it Sunday morning. By the date and the content, it seems like it was from when I graduated from high school. I wonder why she never gave it to me?

"To Jill with love from Jackie 6/20/97
I remember the day you were born
the image of your Dad.
A baby couldn't have been more loved.
A dream your parents had.
It's hard to believe you've come so far
Your childhood at an end:
Off you go...but not too far
It's just around the bend.
You worked so hard and it was so hard
Now you travel to a higher place
But you can go on with pride
And a smile upon your face
But in your heart there's a spot for me
I knew it was always mine
You'll always be a part of me
For in my eyes you shine"

I love you, Ma Tante Jackie!

Added to the emotional roller coaster of this week was the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01. It's amazing to think back on these 10 years. Rob and I watched some of the memorial coverage. My gosh, it was rough. It was especially heart-wrenching to see Rob break down as a teenager read the names of the fallen and, when she got to her dad, said "Butterfly kisses from your Peanut Girl." Sometimes things really take on a different light being a parent. (not to bust out the dreaded "You don't understand because you don't have kids..." that's not what I'm saying, I swear! But some things hit a little deeper now.)

On the joyous front, April is growing so fast and is so amazing. We started solid foods and it is the cutest thing ever. Man, that girl loves to eat! I was talking to family this weekend, and noted how different it can be for men and women. I am so thrilled to see her grow up, but there is the slimmest bit of pain seeing her start to need me less, knowing what's to come over her lifetime as far as pulling away from me. But Rob just seems plainly excited to look ahead at all the things she'll be able to do as she grows.

Having her has been an extra blessing during tough times. I am happy to see her bring joy to my family as we mourn our loss. Babies are true miracles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Randoms


I am trying to be better about updating! I guess I just feel a little silly when there isn't anything super-exciting to report! Things here have been really good lately. April is growing so fast and doing so well! We're just coming off such an awesome weekend. Lots of time with friends outside, which is perfect for late-August. The mornings have been so dark and have a bit of a chill, which spurs me to want to enjoy every minute we have left of summer. It's cooled off enough that I'm able to take some long walks with the stroller. We can add a rock at Lincoln Woods (a local state park where there is a very hilly, paved, 2.5-mile path around a big lake) to the places I've breastfed April!

I just dribbled coffee milk on my shirt and tried to wipe it with a tissue. It left fuzzy streaks on my boob, as if I was mauled by dryer lint.

One of the dogs (I would suspect Mini) peed on April's playmat sometime between 10:30 last night and 5:30 this morning. I smelled it when I was pumping. Not happy.

Speaking of the dogs, April is in love with them! I feel like she might smile more for them than me. :) We took a video of her laughing at them playing the other day. I however can not figure out how to open the videos I download? Incidentally, on that video Rob says how "f@#!ing cute" April is. Way to document a parenting fail, hun! :)

She's starting to go to bed earlier and I'm getting jealous of all the time Rob gets to spend with her during the day. I feel like the time I get with her is mostly cranky-time.

I don't know why I enjoy washing cloth diapers so much. It makes me a little ashamed.

Speaking of cloth diapers, there is a giveaway on a baby deals site I love. They really run some awesome specials! http://www.ecobabybuys.com/blog/?p=303

I would think it very interesting socialogically to look at the pages I've "liked" on Facebook and the people/places I'm following on Twitter in the past almost-four months as compared to my entire time on them prior. Baby blogs, mom groups, diaper shops...