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2013: The Year That Was

27 Jan

(I thought this would be fun, and I’m impressed I did it before March)

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Flew cross-country with 3 kids under 2.  Spent the night in a children’s hospital.  Raised a baby.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I guess, technically, I did keep a resolution, since my #1 resolution is always to lose weight, and I did lose some weight.  Maybe it wasn’t “enough,” but it was something.  I’ll make more, the same ones: eat less, run more.  Oh, and secure my passwords.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My BFF’s cousin had a beautiful baby boy in December, just in time for Christmas.  I haven’t met him in person yet, but I can’t wait to sniff his little head.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes.  It was a rough year for both our families.  J’s Grammy died in January, and my Nana died exactly 6 months later.  They were both very sick, but it was still a very sad year.  We’re just glad Emilia got to briefly know them.

5. What countries did you visit?

USA!  USA!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

More doing, less thinking.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 10, the day we left for vacation.  I looked forward to it all year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving January.  My first full month back at work with a newborn, a sick newborn at that, plus J’s Grammy’s death and funeral, and my own sicknesses.  I never thought it would end.  Secondly, shooting myself with blood thinner 2x a day for a month.  And lastly, NaBloPoMo.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not spending more one on one time with J.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Minor illness, relatively speaking.  But I had: what may have been pneumonia, a sinus infection, a blood clot, and pink eye.  Good times.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The Invisible Fence for Baxter.  Total lifesaver.  Best money I could have spent.

12. Where did most of your money go?

My mortgage and daycare.  Dog treats and crackers followed a close second.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Emilia walking.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? happier
– thinner or fatter? thinner
– richer or poorer? richer

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time outside.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spent less time on my phone.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve day at John’s Grammy’s.  A pink cozy truck and lots of green frosting:

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Christmas Eve at John’s Bumpa’s.  Bad Chinese food and Little People selfies:

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Christmas morning at home.  Banana bread and too many toys:

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Christmas Day with my family.  Lots of food and a possessed Tickle Me Elmo:

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Most importantly, family:

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19. What was your favorite TV program?

The Walking Dead.  (I want to say How I Met Your Mother, but dear Lord is that awful this season).

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

How embarrassing is it that I don’t think I finished a book this year, unless you count 95 readings of the “A” book (Aligator.  Apple.  Avocado).  I tried to read The American Heiress for months and finally gave up.  (I’ve already finished Divergent and I’m halfway through Insurgent since January 1 though, so next year will be better).

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Vampire Weekend.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Les Miserables.  (Was that this year?)

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35.  I worked during the day, and at night Emilia slept at my parents and J & I went out to eat.  I got a “Mom” Alex and Ani bracelet from Emilia, and PJs from J.  Great day.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Leaving my job.  But, hey, done for 2014!

25. What kept you sane?

J.  He has a way of grounding me when I get out there.

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

You can’t hold an infant too much.  One day they’ll suddenly not want to be held anymore and you’ll kick yourself for ever putting her down.

Oh, Just Wait.

18 Dec

Since the day I told people I was pregnant, I feel like 75% of the comments I received started with “Oh, just wait…”  You feel good?  Oh, just wait till you hit 8 months in the heat, you won’t feel good any more.  You can still fit in your clothes?  Oh, just wait until that belly pops out and you have to wear a mu-mu.  You’re sleeping through the night, comfortably?  Oh just wait until the baby starts pressing on your bladder and you’re up every hour and it takes you 45 minutes to fall back to sleep and you contemplate smothering your spouse as he snores peacefully through every effort filled roll over you attempt at 2am that shakes the bed like an eartquake.

It doesn’t stop after you have the kid either.  She slept for 20 hours a day in the hospital?  Oh, just wait till you get her home and she’s up screaming every two hours.  You can put her down on a play mat and wander away while she happily bats and gurgles at her toys?  Oh, just wait until she starts rolling over and you come back to find her stuck under her crib.  She eats everything you feed her, happily?  Oh, just wait until she starts screaming at the sight of something that’s not in the carb family on her high chair tray and refusing to eat anything with corners.

We have entered what I think is the biggest “Oh, just wait” so far:  walking.  This is a fairly new development.  I was sure Emilia would be walking by the time we went on vacation in August.  I pictured her walking up to animals in the petting zoo, running into the arms of Minnie Mouse in Disney Land, and frolicking on the beach with her best friends.  I mean, she was pulling up on things, and cruising around furniture, surely she’s just let go and start walking, right?  Nope.  She did the cruising thing for months before she even took a few steps on her own from couch to coffee table.  She started letting go and standing on her own, but only on her own terms.  If we tried to stand her up, she’d drop to her knees and crawl away (super stubborn.  Like her father.  Who am I kidding?  Like her mother too).

Then one day she started taking a few more steps, and then a few more, and by Thanksgiving, she was walking back and forth in the kitchen, complete with standing turns.  She falls sometimes, but mostly to her knees or her butt, no major wipe outs yet (Oh, just wait until she cracks her head on the tile and screams bloody murder).  She was at the – she can walk, but gets there faster by crawling – stage for about half a day, and now she’s a full out walker.  We went to BJs the other night, and she squirmed in the carriage, so J took her out and put her on his shoulders, where she squealed with delight and patted his head.  We then took turns following her around the store as she walked, fell, got up, walked, yelled at pictures of dogs, fell, and walked as fast as she could to J at the deli, yelling “da-da!  da-da!”

After that excursion, we declared ourselves in the next phase: toddlerhood.  So far, I find it fun but exhausting.  Kind of like motherhood in general.  We’re currently Oh, just waiting for the climbing stage to start.

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Happy Saturday!

23 Nov

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That’s When my Love Comes Tumbling Down

13 Nov

what is your favorite hour of the day?

Between 6:30-7:30.

Since I work next to the day care, and Js truck doesn’t fit a car seat, I have drop off and pick up duty. Most of the time I don’t mind, but there are some days when I’m rushing out of work to get Emilia before they leave her on the doorstep. (If you want to know my favorite moment, it’s the minute she sees me at school and comes crawling over to me to be picked up. Hands down the best part of my day).

We get home around 6, and I hatehatehate 6-6:30. We’re all hungry, the dog needs to be walked, bags need to be unpacked, we’re tired, and the baby is looking rough after a day of playing, so she should probably get a bath. What’s for dinner again? The still frozen chicken or the leftovers no one liked the day before when they were fresh?

By 6:30, life seems to have settled a bit. Emilia is finishing up dinner, Baxter is looking for scraps, and, between J and I, the kitchen looks reasonable and our dinner is started. After a brief debate over who gets stuck with bath time, we decide the baby isn’t that dirty, and start the battle to shove her into her jammies after a quick wipe down instead.

We all usually go to the nursery to play a bit before Emilia’s 7pm bedtime. She yells at us to read her letter books to her, Baxter sits on our laps, jealous that he’s not getting enough attention. Playtime is brief, since she’s off to bed by 7. J and I both kiss her goodnight, turn on the bedtime music in her favorite toy, Violet (which she promptly changes to something else really annoying) and read her a book while she relaxes. Then we beg the dog to follow us out before she flips out, shut her door and proceed with our night.

The next half hour is grown up time for J and I. We finish cooking and eat together, no distractions aside from Beggy mc Beggerson Baxter. We chat about our days, our plans, or just sit and eat. It’s nice to have this downtime before we finish our clean up and get ready for the next day, before we veg out in front if the tv/computer and rescue stuffed animals from the jaws of Baxter.

Fall Foto Fun (Phall Photo Phun)

27 Oct

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Obsessed with pumpkins.  Also known as puh-puh!  I gave her some pumpkin bar the other day and J was concerned she’d be upset about eating her friend.

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More pumpkins.

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We went to a corn maze.  We were very confused.  We found our way out, but it took half the time it should have, which leads me to believe we did something very wrong.

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Yay, hayride!

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My life at 7am.  I took this picture so I’ll never forget how fun it is.

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Oh, hey, look at me.  I like pumpkins too.

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Emilia runs on Honey Dew.

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My bestie, a cookie, and a Pats win.  What more could a girl want?

The Mommy Wars

2 Oct

This is what’s wrong with being a mom today. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone. Even strangers.

The poor (ha!) Duke & Duchess of Cambridge were torn a new one by BabyCenter and its crazy-mom harpies here about their car seat usage for the little prince (George, after my dad, I assume). Because all moms are so great that they know how to use a car seat perfectly the first time they use it, one day after pushing a kid out, looking perfectly put together. Give me a break. We’ve all done “dangerous” stuff with our kids. I have to admit, I did notice the baby looked like he was a little loosey goosey in that seat, but SINCE I WASN’T IN THE CAR, I have no idea if he was driven away that way or not. (I also noticed that his blanket looked like an aden +anais, which Emilia has and loves. Or, rather, I love. So maybe they’ll get married and she’ll be Queen!)

And you know what? Even if he was driven away that way, I don’t care. He’s not my kid. I’m sure someone showed Will and Kate how to use a car seat, or will show them now. I’m sure they’re not idiots and have every intention of keeping their child safe (especially, as the commenting harpies noted, Diana died in a CAR CRASH!).

But I’m adopting my new mentality here: Not my monkeys, not my zoo. As long as what you do with your kid isn’t affecting my kid, I’m good with it. I’ve got my own screaming little monkey to worry about, I don’t need to worry about other people’s monkeys. (I’m trying to adopt this theory at work too, where sometimes I think I am literally working with monkeys, but that’s another issue).

Which leads me to my other rant in the mommy world: mommy bloggers. First of all, why do we need to “mommy” everything? “Mommy friends,” “Mommy runners,” “Working Mommies.” Can’t I just be all those things and a Mommy too? Separately? Because as far as I know, I’m Mommy to one girl (and a fur baby – gag) – not to the rest of the world.

Back to Mommy B … er, bloggers that happen to be Mommies and love to blog about being a mom. I think they fall into two categories: Those who think they are awesome, and therefore imply you’re not good enough, and those who want you know that its okay that you’re not good enough (because you need a stranger to tell you that). The first ones will show you their homemade Valentines and pictures of how they wore their newborn (while nursing!) into their toddler’s classroom to deliver them, along with organic, peanut-free, vegan treats for all the kids who had signed permission slips to eat them. The second will tell you that the Elf on the Shelf will turn your child into a spoiled, entitled brat who will grow up to have daddy issues, but that’s all okay, as long as you teach her the 59 things all girls need to learn before they turn 3.

I started this post a while ago, and originally wondered – why do you have to be one or the other – can’t you use the Ergo for things you need both hands for (i.e. wine tasting and double fisting beer) but not live with a child attached to your body 24/7? Can’t you rock your kid to sleep when she’s having a bad night, but not have to let her sleep in your bed till she’s 18? Can’t you have a big first birthday party and then invite the family over for pizza and beer the next few years? Can’t you make the baby food that’s easy to make and buy the rest? (if you’re wondering, blueberries and apples are big pains to puree) Is my kid really scarred by eating chicken nuggets at 10 months and almost being baby-napped by a dementia patient in a nursing home? (The last one is most likely “yes”).

Since when do we have to commit to a “method” of parenting? When did it become all or nothing? Why can’t we just do what we want with our kids, change it as we go along, and suffer the consequences if we started a bad habit we can’t correct? I mean, that’s how I picture it rolling in my zoo, at least. And my monkey seems happy so far.

When I went back and read what I had written, I realized that committing to one way or another wasn’t really the issue – the issue is what everyone else thinks.  And I read this tonight and realized she summed it up better than I could.  The “Mommy Wars” work both ways.  You may automatically think someone who does something differently than you do is implying you should be doing it that way too.  But I think more often than not, they’re just doing what makes their family, and their monkeys, happy.  So go pick your monkey up from the day orphanage you leave her at (even when you have the day off!) and do what makes your family happy – whether it involves mason jar crafts or the McDonalds drive thru for the 5th night that week.

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So, I’ve been hanging on this post for a while, debating if I should post it, if it sounded right or just came across as ranty and bitter.  And then this popped up about five times on my Facebook feed yesterday, and I almost lost my shit, because the last thing I need is someone feeling sorry for me for keeping my baby fed and happy and healthy with formula (which really isn’t that hard to make).  Ugh, just ugh.  Okay, back to not caring about what people think.  I guess its easier said than done.

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You know I love the past, ’cause I hate suspense…

26 Sep

Emilia turned one on September 6, and OMG you guys, I can’t believe she’s not a baby anymore.  She’s like, a toddler who doesn’t actually toddle yet (she crawls like lightning, but would prefer to cruise holding on to furniture, and no, she does not want any help walking, she’ll just crawl away on her own).  She’s her own little person, with opinions, and, more often, demands (like “crackah!  crackah!”)  At the moment, it’s a toss-up between who she loves more – her Disney princess little people or her doggie, who she is constantly trying to kiss.

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words I never thought I’d say: Baxter, get your tongue out of that baby’s mouth, now.

The last year has been exhausting, overwhelming and stressful, but the happiest year of my life.  J & I formed an unbelievable team to care for our two “kids” (and the big, furry one is way more work than the tiny dictator most days).  We spent the year learning what they both needed and how to do it in the best way to keep everyone happy.  There is almost nothing J won’t do without being asked, there are very little “his/hers jobs” in our house.  We have a really easy baby, but it’s not easy managing any baby, a house, a dog, and two full-time jobs.  We survived (and truly loved) the first year, and there’s no one I’d rather have by my side to wrestle couch pillows from the jaws of the beast while sweeping the floor free of Cheerios as I hunt down those GD princesses and sign over another chunk of what was previously known as the vacation fund to the daycare.

To celebrate, we threw a party for our family and friends on Labor Day weekend.  I have a love/hate relationship with parties at my house.  I love planning, decorating, and cooking, but I hate cleaning, cleaning and cleaning.  Especially for outside parties – you have to clean outside and inside, and then pray it doesn’t rain.  Which it did, hard, all morning for our party, leaving us 30 minutes to put up tents and decorate.  But, we got it all done, the food was great (I had a lot of help) and I think everyone had a good time.

Emilia loved the attention.  From the second we brought her outside, fresh from her nap and all dressed up, she soaked it all up.  She was passed around all afternoon, played with her friends, ate lots of junk, and destroyed her cake.

IMG_2256Yes, this was inspired by Pinterest.  Yes, I know it’s the devil.  I do not care, I loved it.

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Yes, that is a tattoo on my infant.

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I made that!  With fondant!

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Yum.  Nothing organic here!

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Check out my new ride, yo!

I truly can’t believe a year has gone by so quickly.  It seems like a lifetime ago that I was in the hospital, exhausted and crying, convinced I’d never sleep again, because why does that baby cry every time I put her down?!?!  Then home, trying to figure out how to hold a newborn, let a giant dog outside, and not hurt my incision going up and down stairs.  Waking up in time for J to leave for work, but not until he left a grilled muffin and a cup of coffee on my nightstand.  Buying every swaddle and nursing accessory imaginable, hoping something would help either situation.  Crying (again, there was a lot of crying) at the pediatricians because she was losing weight instead of gaining.  Finally getting in a routine, finally getting some sleep, finally not crying every other hour.  And just settling in to life, our new life, as a family, learning to take care of each other the best we could.  And looking forward to whatever life brings us next.