Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Craziness

I'm still here. It's been a week since I've written anything, which is funny considering that last week I thought 'Oh, next week I'm off, I can probably post every day!'

HAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!

I have high aspirations.

I don't always actually meet them.

Since last Wednesday, I have bought and wrapped presents, made cookies, stayed overnight at my grandparents, wrapped some more, visited my in-laws, spent time with my parents twice, went to our local butcher to fill our basement freezer, and today I'm working. Even though I'm on vacation.

SIGH.

I know, I know, it's like this for everyone this time of year. And yet, each year around Thanksgiving I think 'THIS year will be different. This year I will relax and enjoy the Christmas season.

Again: HAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!

No, I did enjoy it. I have a wonderful family and enjoy many blessings throughout the year. You just have to wait a week to read about them on my blog while I recover from what can only be described as a holiday hangover sans alcohol. I like to keep my readers in suspense.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snots

I love watching Christmas movies, and one of my all time favorites is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I saw it with my family this weekend. Little did I know that part of it would resemble my life very soon:
OK, so indeed my baby does not have a 'set', but she has been just about that snotty this week and she also loves a good tummy rub.

I know, you're saying to yourself "She talks about illness all the time on this blog". (I also posted about it here and here). Well, wintertime motherhood is like that. Snot, vomit, congestion for a week or two, a break of a few weeks if you're lucky, and then you're facing the same battle all over again. Heaven forbid you have multiple germ carriers little darlings in your house because then it's just one constant stream of disgusting bodily fluids and sleepless nights. Or so I hear.

Actually, Amelia is pretty happy when she's sick. As evidenced here:

And here:
The worst part of her cold has not been wiping buckets of snot off her face or having her smear it on my shirts. Instead, I have been sleep deprived for nearly a week. Because she can't take cold medicine or blow her nose, she also can't breath at night and only finds comfort if I hold her, fairly upright, on the couch. Not super comfortable for mommy. Finally after five nights of little sleep (and sometimes some tears at 2 a.m. From me. Not the baby), she slept decent last night.

I feel like a whole new person today, and a little bit over the edge with energy. Which is awesome, because I have a ton of cleaning, work, and Christmas type things to do. Like watch the rest of SNL Christmas that I missed last night, which my husband tells me includes my favorite SNL holiday clip of all time:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Crazy Week

I was totally going to write a post Thursday or Friday, but let me tell you, it's been a crazy week. Someone got their hands on my checking account number and was paying their bills with it, I locked myself out of the car while I was at the bank handling it, and now my daughter has a cold:
This creates horrid sleep at night. Which in turn leads to a crabby, unproductive mommy during the day. Thankfully, my husband took care of her this morning so I could lay in bed and try to sleep. Try. Because my mommy brain is used to waking up at 5:30 a.m. every day and thinking about cleaning, working, exercising, diapers, meal planning, playing, laundry, dishes, etc. Also it occurred to me this morning that I'm running a half marathon in April and I'm going to have to start training for it in a month. Don't ask me why this is what I think about on the rare occasion that I could sleep in.

ANYWHO, I felt like I could be lazy about my postings because yesterday I was mentioned on Life's Crazy Joke. Very generous of Meredith to give some other blogs some exposure and also gave me a break on writing. Check her out, she's a funny lady.

And now, I'm off to try to peel my rear end off the couch and do something, hopefully Christmas related, because did I mention that I have hardly anything made, bought, or wrapped? No? Um, yep, not a thing done.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Refreshed

I was on the brink of exhaustion yesterday. I can't blame it all on Amelia, as I neglected to take any naps over the weekend and there were times when I just couldn't sleep even when she was slumbering peacefully next to me. Regardless of who was to blame, I really needed a good night's sleep last night. No toddler staying up in the middle of the night or waking up every 1.5 to 2 hours. No mommy brain a-buzz with things I need to accomplish at 4 a.m. Just some rest.

I got it. Finally. Between 9 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., Amelia woke ONCE. This is as good as it gets with our daughter. I thought about getting up at 5:30, but was so cozy with Amelia that I passed back out. Till 6:45 a.m. When I woke up, I was in the best mood ever. No mumbling or tripping over my own feet to get to the coffee pot. No cursing under my breath. Just a cuddly toddler, hot coffee, and chocolate covered gingersnaps, along with a big smile on my face.

The downside is I probably won't see such sleep again for months. This made me wonder if I could barter with Amelia for her to sleep at night. Some things I could promise her:

  • Endless daytime cuddling (which she's doing now anyways).
  • Cookies and milk at every meal.
  • Unlimited access to my keys, which I only let her play with when she's driving me up the wall.
  • Letting her yank on the dog as much as she wants (sorry, Molly, we all have to make sacrifices so Mommy can get some sleep).
  • An increase in naked baby time during the week.
  • All day Sesame Street on the T.V.
I ran some of these ideas past her, and she seems not impressed, as she put her hand over my mouth while I was reading them to her. Ah, well, it was worth a shot!

** PS, if you missed it yesterday, you can now vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs by clicking the banner at the top of my page.... and you can vote for me each time you visit my site! Thanks for any votes :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thirty One

Friday I turned 31. It was a weekend full of excitement. Friday we went to eat at the new Mexican Restaurant in town. Saturday I started my day with a spinning class with the hardest instructor at my gym at eight in the morning, then followed it with taking Amelia to see Santa read a story at our library (she fell asleep-- clearly not impressed by jolly old Saint Nick), then a haircut and a massage. Sunday was my birthday party with the family.

It was a good weekend.

Now I'm busting my butt to meet a deadline at work and anxiously counting down to Christmas. Not so much because I'm dying to get presents but instead because I need to get/make the presents that I'm giving. I have a ton on my plate right now, just as probably everyone does around the holidays.

In any case, if you'd like to give me a virtual birthday/Christmas gift, click on the banner at the top and vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs! You can vote for me each time you read my blog, so it's a gift you can give me throughout the year :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Multiple Toddler Survival

This weekend, this happened at my house:
TWO toddlers in my house. That is my friend's son, Luke. He is six weeks younger than Amelia, and I managed to survive both of them for a whole 90 minutes. His parents have not been on a childless date since he was born, and I decided that this was insanity in the making. I can't have my mommy friends going insane, I need them around and with it so they keep me sane. You are probably asking yourself how it worked out.

Actually? I enjoyed it.

Don't get any ideas, Mom and Dad. It did not inspire any baby making at our house.

I did not admit the true weight of my anxiety about watching Luke to his mom because I didn't want it to add to her nervousness about leaving him. It wasn't because I didn't think I could handle him. Instead, I wanted him to have a tearless and fuss free time so his mom could feel comfortable with me babysitting him on a regular basis. Every mom needs a standby babysitter, and I am blessed enough to have mine. This mommy needs one too, and I wanted to keep Luke happy so that could happen.

You might be saying, well, couldn't you just lie if he had a hard time?

NO I couldn't. It's against the mommy honor code in my book.

I didn't need to worry about that, though, because he did great. I did learn that when he's adjusting, it's best to leave him alone. It never ceases to amaze me how different babies are from each other. If I leave Amelia with someone, they'd better cuddle and love her until she's decided that they are trustworthy, otherwise they are ousted from her loveable adults list. With Luke, the more attention I gave him, the more he stared at me like I was an oddball, which led to some brief tears five minutes later. I scooched up to the couch and left him alone, he found some toys to play with, and he was a happy boy. As long as I didn't sing 'Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes', that is. I knew I couldn't carry a tune, but I had no idea that it could make kids cry.

There goes my dreams of a singing career.

It took he and Amelia about an hour to really pay attention to each other. They are really cute when they play and his mother and I always joke that maybe they'll get married some day and we will have pic's of their lifetime together.

The other thing I learned was that it's almost impossible to get good pictures of two toddlers. These are the best that I could manage:
Amelia showing Luke how to best torture dog-dog.


Luke giving me the "What are YOU looking at?!" look.

Amelia too busy to cooperate for a good picture.

This one is my favorite. Luke kept trying to hold Amelia's hand and she was having none of it! Poor Luke.
Adorable! Looking forward to babysitting him again soon :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Puppy Love

First, before I start today's post, did you catch my article on Curvy Girl Guide yesterday? No? Go there now, then come back, I'll wait...

OK, moving on. Today's topic is this:
Adorable. And let me tell you, I can imagine it's taking Molly a lot of effort at this point to love our kid. Our sweet Amelia has gone from petting Molly nicely and crying with a pouted lip when we tell her "No", to grasping fistfuls of fur and smiling at us when we tell her to be nice. Also, you may not know this, but our dog seconds as an obstacle that's meant to be crawled over. Amelia enjoys vaulting herself over at least a couple times per day, squealing as she does so. Molly avoids moving until the whole thing is done and then looks at me pathetically, as if she's ashamed that her life has come to this.

This patience with our one year old is why I am continuing to walk Molly on a semi-consistent basis, despite the dropping temperatures and whipping wind. When I don't walk her, she gives me the same sad look you see in the video. I equate her walks in the country to my mommy time and feel like she will probably lose her sanity if I don't take her.

So, you can see she's pretty much the best dog ever. A big lover. Gentle as can be. I think.

Yesterday, this happened:
Yes, that's my barn and indeed it's missing part of the roof. No good. Long story short, I contacted our insurance, they suggested a local construction company, and two hours later they were out to put a temporary tarp up to prevent our barn from becoming flooded.

Two men came to my door at about 4:30 p.m. with papers for me to sign for the work to be done. Molly barks in her typical defensive manner, I let them in while saying "Don't mind her, she's nice". The first offers his hand, she sniffs and lets him pass.

The second man? Not so lucky.

Molly blocked him from entering our kitchen and growled a growl that sent shivers up my spine. I told her to stop, it's OK, and she was not convinced. It was only a five minute interaction at most, but that man didn't make it past our kitchen. At some point, Molly ceased the growling, but as the men attempted to leave, this guy attempted to pet her again.

Are you stupid? My dog doesn't like you. If you lose your hand, I don't know what to tell you.

Molly apparently felt the same because she growled again, lower this time as if to say "Listen, buddy, I'm really serious. This is my mom, and my baby, and my dad isn't here to defend them. So if you even think about touching them, I will rip your testicles off."

I felt proud and freaked out at the same time. I can remember maybe one other time where Molly has not  immediately cozied up to someone new. And even that time, I know it was nothing like this. I was entirely freaked out until they left because I know she sensed something that wasn't right. I told Jon about the whole scenario when he came home and he showered her with love. We've always assumed that she wouldn't hurt a soul, but now that this has happened, I wouldn't bet on it. We're so blessed to have a dog that loves us and protects us.

Have you ever had an experience like this with one of your pets?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Disrespected Turkey

I typically don't use my blog to vent. I find it too easy to get in the habit of griping about life, and who needs that kind of negativity? But... today I'm going to. Because this drives me nuts.

Shopping ON Thanksgiving.

To be fair, I'm not a fan of shopping. I find it frustrating and stressful, and I always worry that I shouldn't be spending money (this is what happens when you are in charge of bills in your household). Despite that, I understand Black Friday and the rush people get from finding specials and fighting the crowds. I would rather poke my eyes out with a fork, but I get why many people like it. I guess.

This year people are pushing it a bit farther and shopping ON Thanksgiving. Now, maybe this is not the first year that this has been a trend, but I think it's certainly getting more publicity. Folks are leaving shortly after their holiday meal to find their holiday deals and I think it's ridiculous. Shoppers can't stay home ONE DAY and relax? Or just shop on the internet? I really don't get it.

I do realize that not everyone is blessed enough to have family live nearby or to have halfway sane family members to spend time with. But other people do, and they want to stay at home and enjoy them, not sell sweaters and televisions on a holiday.

I think that perhaps this subject may get under my skin a little more because my mom is a nurse and has had to miss every other holiday with us for as long as I can remember. Obviously doctors and nurses can't just stay at home, and I have a lot of respect my mother's career. She has always worked in geriatrics, and now she works as a hospice nurse. So this year for Christmas she'll be caring for dying people while others are at home opening gifts and eating ham. She never complains about it, just takes it in stride. But I'm pretty sure if she had to work at a department store, it wouldn't be as fulfilling to miss the holidays. And, she's not the only one that misses holiday celebrations, we have to miss celebrating with her.

Oh, and one more thing that gets under my skin. I have read posts on facebook for nearly a month complaining about people enjoying Christmas things prior to Thanksgiving. Complain, complain, complain, about Christmas lights, music, decorations, yadda, yadda, yadda. Generally I kind of feel the same way, but I've started viewing Thanksgiving and Christmas as one big holiday season. And, I pretty much missed out on Christmas last year as I was shushing, rocking, nursing a very colicky newborn the entire season. I have catching up to do.

In any case, as I scrolled through my facebook feed on Thanksgiving, pretty much the same people that had vented about Christmas decorations being out too early were bragging about the great deals they had snagged on Thanksgiving. REALLY?!? It's super awful for me to enjoy Christmas music a week before Thanksgiving but OK for you to necessitate workers missing a holiday so you can shop? This makes no sense to me.

What do you think? Should retail stores be open on Thanksgiving?

** Now that I've ticked off probably half my readers, I'll try to reel everyone back in with this news... I'm being featured on Curvy Girl Guide this Tuesday! Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Here's the List

I've been pondering since the weekend about what to post this week. While I had almost decided on several grainy cell phone pics of Amelia cuddling with her daddy and sleeping along with a weekend recap, eh, that sounded boring. As Facebook has been flooded with people's daily gratitudes during the month of November, I've decided I should post my own list.

I should add here that although I rarely make a written list of gratitude, I do try to reflect at least once a day on what I'm grateful for. My cousin writes a daily list and e-mails it to several of her friends, and I generally am obsessive about checking my e-mail until she sends it. Partially because it is a way for me to stay connected to her even when both of our lives are very busy, but also because it is a good reminder of the small things in life that help people get past bad days, tragic life happenings, and grumpy moods. As soon as I read it, I think about what I am grateful for, and because she sends it early in the morning, I can start my day feeling grateful and remember to be this way during the day.

For instance, when Little Miss Grumpy Pants will not sleep through her whole nap and I am stuck holding her while I'm trying to work one handed? I take a deep breath and look at her soft features, her slow and peaceful breathing, her pudgy little arms, and realize that I will miss this cuddling some day. What else am I grateful for?

  • My daughter is healthy and happy. I really take this for granted until she catches a cold or flu, or until I think of the many people I know that struggle with infertility or have had children that have passed away. She drives me a little nuts some days, but she is a blessing and we are so, so fortunate that she is well.
  • I have awesome parents. They do an immense amount for us, from providing Amelia with clothes, diapers, and toys, to babysitting and listening to me gripe when I feel like I being pushed over the edge by motherhood. They are terrific, loving grandparents and let me know often that they are here for me anytime.
  • I have a wonderful marriage. It is not always easy, and we go through our up's and down's like any other couple. I have really been reflecting lately how good of a husband and father my spouse is. He is kind and makes me feel like the most beautiful woman alive. He appreciates my cooking and ability to do 50 things at once to keep our home up and raise our child. He apologizes when he's wrong, and he tells me I'm a good mom frequently. Watching him cuddle or tickle Amelia melts my heart and I'm so grateful that we are raising our daughter together.
  • The rest of my family is awesome too! It would take me all day to go through each and every one, but trust me, I'm blessed with a great family. When people complain that they have to deal with family gatherings during the holidays, I have no idea what they are talking about. I look forward to stuffing myself and then laughing around the table after a good meal.
  • Employment. I think this is a huge thing that I took for granted a year ago, and I really try to be thankful for it every day. Luckily, so far my job is making this easy. I had a few qualms about working for an online school, but it's only taken me a couple months to be amazed at the teamwork and positive attitudes that I witness every day.
  • Wonderful pets. I know, some people are not into animals, that's fine. But we are, and we pretty much have the best ever. As our daughter has been edging on abusive towards Mikey (our 8 year old 13 pound cat) and Molly (our sweet, obedient 3 year old golden retriever), I'm reminded every day that we are lucky to have them. I don't have to worry about Amelia being hurt by one of them, and she is growing up knowing how to be kind to animals.
  • All the other standards to be thankful for: a warm house, food on the table, clean water, a safe area to live, transportation. I list it off like it's nothing, but all it takes is turning on the news to be extremely grateful for any of these things.
I really could go on and on. I've been thinking of tons of 'small' things to be grateful for every day. However, I have onion rolls to start baking and a daughter to play with. So, I leave you with a picture of three of my loves and a wish for you to have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with gratitude.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Big Cake Smash

I know you've all been on pins and needles waiting for a first birthday recap. First of all, any girly girls slash party planners out there that get all thrilled about first birthday parties because they are a terrific excuse to adorn your baby in tutus, lace, and pink EVERYTHING, don't get too excited. Also, there was no theme, no Sesame Street, Dora, glitter, fancy decorations, none of that. I don't do frivolous unless someone appreciates it and guess what? Amelia wouldn't because hello, she's ONE.

I know, I know, how did God give us a girl when I was going to squander away all the chances to be excessively girly? When it's time for her to learn about make-up and high heels, I will need to designate another family member to be in charge. Otherwise, she will be a plain Jane like mommy.

I have to say that it was a really good day. Some little girl slept horribly awful the night before (sure, we can pretend she was excited about her party, but the truth is she's a terrible sleeper 99% of the time), and mommy was exhausted in the morning. But I had to plow ahead and get the house cleaned and bake a cake, so I slugged down a pot of coffee and got to it. Luckily my husband devoted his entire morning to helping out and continued to clean when I took Amelia's morning nap with her. The downside was that I was still taking a shower when guests started arriving around 11:45, but Amelia and I were in a better mood so it was worth it.

As a side note, I have to say that her birthday in November works out for us fabulously. My husband's and dad's birthdays are in the summer, and we always have their party at my house. So now? Super clean house twice a year. That means I can be a negligent house cleaner the rest of the year.

I think the rest of the recap should be told in pictures since there were enough cameras in the house to feel like we were the Kardashians.

We ate lunch first and I don't have pics of that because hello, we were eating lasagna and who has time to snap pictures when you are stuffing your face with italian goodness?

Afterwards, the opening of gifts:
Not too sure if she should really be tearing things up...

One of her favorite gifts, her phone. Have I ever mentioned the girl likes to talk?

Another favorite gift, her weeble house! Mommy likes to play with it too :)


She's smiling here, but she is not too thrilled with her baby doll. When it giggles she throws it across the room. Not a good omen for if she ever has siblings.

"Did you see how many presents I got?!?"

I can't resist posting an adorable daddy and daughter pic!

Molly waiting for the cake smash, knowing that Amelia will share with her.
Sticking her fingers in the ooey gooey pumpkin caramel cake.

She wouldn't eat any until Mommy fed her a little piece.


Finally eating a little.


This is what she does when she's finished eating-- she's smashes her food all over her tray. It drives me crazy!

Of course my dad had to take a pic of me restraining her from any further cake smashing.

Looking drunk while drinking her milk.

Many family members noted that Amelia was fabulous during her party and I have to agree. We had guests over for four hours, and she didn't fuss or whine once. I had originally thought about having a huge party at our church and adding our close friends to the guest list, but like I said in the beginning, I'm not a pro at party planning. And, I had read that such big parties can overwhelm little ones. I'm really glad that we stuck to our traditional family celebration at our home where Amelia was content and happy. It was a terrific celebration :)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

We've Returned to the 21st Century

You read that title right. You didn't know that we were living in the stone ages in my household did you?

 
I mean, we totally believe in birth control and all that. No Duggar situation going on here.

 
However, even though we are doing our part to keep the human population down, we've been living without cable. For four years.

 
FOUR.

 
Four years of no Food Network, no Monday night football, no Intervention or Hoarders. No Keeping Up with the Kardashians. No DVR.

 
You ask how I survived that long. Well, first of all, I'm a big nerd and I love to read. It was an adjustment at first, but I simply made more trips to our local library. And, when you are sans 500 channels and re-runs you, GASP, can be more productive. If you want to, that is. Otherwise you can rent movies and watch cooking shows over and over on PBS Create. Or, just sleep.

 
Oh, glorious sleep. Sleep where you are totally out on the couch by 9:00 p.m. and after you go to bed at 11:00 p.m. you don't stir until 9:00 a.m. Oh, sleep, how I miss you.

 
Sorry. Sleep is my favorite fantasy.

 
Anyways, maybe you're asking, why did you finally get cable then? (Actually satellite because although we can see a major university from our house, we can't get cable where we live. In the middle of corn fields. Just like Children of the Corn.) Well, perhaps you recall me telling that I got a new job where I work from home. It's still fabulous, but let me tell you this-- I adore anything childish, including any kind of cartoons, but I reached a point last week where I thought I was going to throw something big and heavy at our brand new fancy schmancy TV if I had to watch the same episode about earthworms on the Cat and the Hat Knows a Lot About That! one more stinking time.

 
And so, now we have satellite TV. Mommy gets whatever prevents her from destroying major household items.

Only two days into having several channels again and my memory is returning of what living the glorious life with cable is like. Here are some highlights:  
  • Commercials suck.
  • DVR's make them better.
  • Even the TV shows that my husband and I like are completely different (Ahem, no I do NOT want to watch the Science or Military Channel with you, husband. Thanks so much for the offer, though). Opposites do attract.
  • Not only does TV watching waste time, but so does scanning through the 120+ channels that we have, which I do about three times before I recognize that nothing is on, so I might as well turn it back to Disney.
  • My daughter likes Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Don't tell her dad. 
  • She also likes to dance to the theme music for Pulp Fiction, and I believe that this makes me the cool mom.
  • Hoarders makes me feel better about my house.
And now, it's time for me to find where Amelia hid the remote control so we can watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse all day. Happy Thursday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Numbers

Today is November 7th, and what I call my secondary anniversary. Fourteen years ago I sat in my parents driveway in Jon's black Dodge pick-up truck as we debated if we should 'go out' with each other. You know, like, be boyfriend and girlfriend and stuff. Fourteen years seems like a crazy long time when you put into perspective that I'm 30 years old. That's half my life, people. Not to say that it's been one seamless relationship without any breaks, but mostly, we've been a couple since high school.

All day I've thought about what kind of mushy things I could write about our relationship, but blah, isn't that boring? Then this afternoon I just could not stop thinking about fourteen years and how many events, emotions, celebrations, and upsets that includes. So here are the numbers...

In fourteen years, we've:
Been engaged twice
Married once
Shared one apartment and one house
Owned five different vehicles
Had five pets
Earned three college degrees
Attended one funeral
Attended many more weddings
Gotten in countless fights
Forgiven each other just as many times
Been separated by military trainings and deployment three times
Had one beautiful little girl


Christmas 2010
Happy secondary anniversary, darling husband <3

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy 'I've Kept My Daughter Alive for a Year' Day

This is it! Today is our daughter's first birthday. It amazes me that a year ago she looked like this:
And now we have this:

I recall that on her first New Year's Eve, things were getting a bit easier as a mother and I made this New Year's Resolution: to keep her alive during the coming year. My husband half laughed, half looked concerned as if I were making some threat on her life, but let's get real here: when you are a new mom, you feel like every noise your baby makes is going to equate to doom. Any little gasp, wheeze, sigh, or scream means something could be wrong. And heaven forbid if they are QUIET, because then you fear that the baby has stopped breathing (thanks so much, SIDS campaign).

Maybe instead, I should call it Happy 'I've Kept Most of My Sanity for a Year' Day. I've mentioned before, Amelia had colic in her early days and all in all was pretty high needs for the first four to six months. For the first two months, I held her constantly because she would cry if put down. I held her as I put dishes away, as I slept, as I made our frozen meals for dinner. I cried during cooking shows because it felt like I was never going to enjoy creative time in the kitchen again. During weeks two through six of her life, she would have evening/early morning screaming fits that would last for two to three hours. I would circle the dining room table, singing, shushing, bouncing, rocking, until finally I would burst into tears too and my husband would wake from his slumber before heading off to work, take her from me and order "GO TO BED". I would nod miserably, feeling like a failure as a mother and wondering if this was her disposition now, what would it be like as a toddler?

I must be doing something right because as Amelia nears toddlerhood, this is generally our girl:


A happy, silly little girl who adores her mama and who is too busy to sleep well but so worth waking up throughout the night for. She loves her books and Sesame Street, as well as her dog and kitty, and can say 'hi', 'dog', 'kitty', 'book', 'Daddy', and 'abcd'. A squealing, giggling little bundle of energy that will scream as you walk towards her in hopes that you will chase her down and tickle her.

And so, in summary, I've not only managed to keep her alive during the past year, but also managed to raise a fairly happy, very healthy little girl. This indeed is something to celebrate.

Happy birthday, Amelia May. Mommy loves you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

One Big Blur

Our weekend was crammed full of a little bit of everything. Jon had a friend visit from out of town, and as I knew that this would result in a lot of drinking, golfing, and staying up late, I packed Amelia and I up and headed to my parents. Yes, I am that great of a wife. Lucky for me this friend is allergic to pet hair, and therefore, Jon had to clean much of the house. Shockingly, it was just as clean when we returned last night, so it seems like a fair trade.

One of the biggest highlights of the weekend was the race that I ran Saturday morning. This is my third 5K since I started signing up for races in August. My goal was to run it under thirty minutes-- I would have been thrilled with a time of 29:59. Instead I ran it in 29:07!!! I was so excited that I would have done backflips if I knew how. Here's Amelia and I post race. See how happy (and sweaty) I am?
Following the race Amelia and I headed to our house so I could clean up and eat. Then we went to my friend's house to meet her new daughter, stopped at the grocery store, visited my cousin, and headed back to my parents. It was a busy, busy day and it showed-- Amelia passed out for 7:00 p.m. I thought this was one of her late naps, but instead, she was out for the night:

I was worn out too, so I headed to bed by 9:00 p.m., which was a smart move because little miss sunshine was up by 5:15 a.m.:
Sunday was a little more relaxing as Amelia played with her grandparents while I read on the couch. Perhaps this does not sound all that exciting, but any mom knows that being able to read more than a couple of paragraphs at a time without chasing down your toddler is a treat. Grandma and Grandpa really know how to wear her out and she took a ninety minute nap in the morning, which is fantastic for our busy little girl. When she woke up, she needed some cuddling from Grandpa:
In the afternoon, we met my husband and his friend for lunch and then spent a little more time with my parents. It was a great weekend. Much better than my other October weekends that were filled with the flu and missing my first 10K. Today we're back to the daily grind and counting down to Amelia's first birthday on Thursday :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm a Sucker

There was a point in our life where we owned six animals. SIX. Two dogs, two cats, two guinea pigs. It was like livin' in the freaking ark in our house. Mostly it was because I had hormones raging and needed to get knocked up like NOW. So I collected pets instead. The husband was not completely on board with it but my pouty lip and teary eyes are very convincing and I generally get my way when it comes to these matters. It was fairly short lived, though, when one of our dogs ate our cat's head.

I'm not kidding.

It's almost Halloween so I felt like I could stick that detail in my blog and it would be appropriate.

Anyways, we gave both dogs back to the shelters that we adopted them from, and were left with Mikey, our fat cat who also happens to be my first adulthood pet. Oh, and those two guinea pigs that I didn't even really like and promptly got rid of shortly after I found out I was pregnant. But, I'm a dog person, and I really missed being a dog owner. My family always had a dog while I was growing up and I was almost more depressed about living life sans canine than I was about our poor beheaded cat. Six weeks after the gruesome incident, I had talked the husband (thanks again pouty lip and teary eyes) into getting a dog. Best decision we ever made:
So now we have one cat, one dog, one baby. Good numbers that don't come anywhere near the animal hoarder I almost was. Mikey and Molly are awesome with Amelia, and so my rule has become: No more dependents in our house unless they come out of me.

Until yesterday.

Two nights ago, we had a cat sneak into our garage. Jon did everything he could to try and get it out, but mostly he made it terrified, and it refused to leave. Yesterday morning, I searched the garage and thought it had wandered out during some point in the night, went to shut the garage door with a satisfied smile, and the damn thing ran back in and up the stairs to the attic. I sighed, opened the garage door again, and texted my dad about borrowing their animal trap. I felt good about being adament that we get rid of it. After all, it was probably feral anyways.


Later in the afternoon, I took the girls for a walk down the gravel lane by our house. As we were finishing our walk and nearing the end of the road, there was the kitty. I should have kept walking and been grateful that it was out of our garage. But curiosity got the best of me and I tried to approach it.

It was friendly. My story, and convictions to not keep any more animals, goes downhill from here.

Molly was obviously excited about meeting a new friend, but I thought surely this cat is not going to like her, adding to my list of reasons not to keep it. Instead, it walked up to her and rubbed against her, then meowed and rubbed against me. To top things off, it was thin. Super thin. I could see it's hips and spine sticking out.

I can't have a living creature be within five miles of my home and have it be thin. It's my southern heritage. I must feed things and get them fattened up so they know I love them.

With that, I called Jon and told him about the underfed critter, and he told me to feed it. The first cardinal rule of not increasing the number of animals on your property is DO NOT FEED THEM. To be fair, I'm sure he could hear the pouty lip in my voice.

And so, now we have a cat living on our property. It attempted to get IN our house yesterday. I texted, facebook messaged, and called everyone that I could think of, begging them to take this friendly outdoor cat. No one wants it. And you know why? Because our world is oversaturated with the darned things. Face it:

Cats are the new zombie. When the apocolypse comes, cats will outlive us all.

When I woke in the middle of the night last night, I heard it raining and worried about if it was dry and warm. After I fed Mikey and Molly this morning, I went out to the front porch to find it curled up on a blanket. I fed it, gave it water, and even gave it some of Mikey's treats. I petted it a little and could feel every vertebrae on it's spine. I sighed, knowing that we are now a three pet household unless I can find someone to take a barn cat.

I would like to say I'm going to remain firm about it remaining outside, but let's be honest, I can't make any promises. Winter is coming and I can envision a cold day coming that will make me say, Oh, come on inside...

I don't even like cats.

I'm such a sucker.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cruisin'

Some mornings, I am totally on fire with energy and ideas. Other mornings, not so much.

This is one of those not so much mornings.

However, it's been almost a week (GASP) since I've posted, and I'm super excited about this:
My little girl is finally pulling up by herself and cruising along the table and couch. For the past few weeks, she has only done this when she REALLY wants mommy and I won't bend over to pick her up right away, or she will pull herself up using us as her mountain when we are on the floor. She's a good mix of cautious and smart. She understands letting herself down on her butt, which she seemed determined to figure out with us as her security net before she would independently pull up.

Jon and I are pretty darned proud of her, as if she is the first human that ever learned to use her legs. We roll our eyes at each other when people say "You just wait, you're in trouble now!". As if we don't know that. A little bit of my eye roll includes the fact that, you people can say what you want, but nothing so far has been as bad as colic mixed with baby blues, and I doubt anything will be. Toddlerhood, teenage years, bring it on, as long as I don't have to hear her cry and scream inconsolably for three hours straight. Last year for Christmas I had to wear her in a carrier to wrap gifts and couldn't bake cookies because I had to hold her all the time. This year, I will have this:
My big girl <3

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Poop and Manners Are Important

Yesterday was a little rough. I mean, granted, Amelia has had the flu and we think she has some additional teeth coming in. Unlike us, she cannot tell us specifically what is wrong when something hurts. All she can do is whine and fuss. I do my best to be patient, but honestly, it can be really frustrating at times, especially when I am by myself. When you add that I have not been able to get as much work done as I would like since I had the flu right before she did, things were challenging yesterday.

Jon and I did come up with a few options though:

1) Buy a pair of prosthetic arms so I can type with one pair and hold her with the other pair. We are thinking of looking on Craigs List.

2) Clone myself so one of us can work and the other one can play, rock, feed, nurse, and change Amelia. That sounded like a good idea until Jon suggested a third clone. I can't handle that much competition, even if it is from myself, although it also highlights how productive I generally am as a mommy-- enough that it should take three of me to get everything done.

3) Baby straightjacket, which would allow me to pin her arms down so I can hold her and she won't slam her hands down repeatedly on my keyboard. Don't wrinkle your nose at me, swaddlers do the same thing as a straightjacket. So, I guess what I need is a toddler swaddler.

I coped by taking deep breaths, eating Halloween candy, and listening to Brittany & Meredith Live podcasts. Suddenly, at 2:00 p.m. I smelled something. I looked at Amelia all the way across the room and decided that it could not possibly be her. She has never produced something so smelly that the odor wafted across large spaces.

Until yesterday.

After I cleaned her up, she was like a whole different baby, smiling, clapping, reading her books. An important life lesson taught by an 11 month old:

Everyone feels better after a good poop.

So, with that, I worked a bit longer and we headed to the gym. Afterwards, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up some odds and ends, which included cat food because OMG when our cat can see the bottom of his bowl he follows us around meowing driving me frickin' crazy and then poops on the bathroom floor out of spite. Which teaches another life lesson:

Poop can also be used as revenge.

After we grabbed everything we needed, which included sushi, roses, and chocolate covered pretzel ice cream for mommy because I earned it, damn it, we got in line to check out. Then it happened.

Amelia turned towards the cashier next to us, opened and shut her hand repeatedly, and said "Hi!".

My jaw dropped as everyone around us said Awww, smiling and waving back at her. She turned to the teenage boy bagging our groceries and said it again "Hi!" with her little open and shut wave. He looked like he could care less about this little baby and her cuteness and maybe considered ignoring her efforts at friendliness until I gave him my tight lipped smile that said 'You'd better wave back and say hi or I'm going to kick your pimply adolescent ass.' He waved back.

I can't pinpoint exactly what was so thrilling about this moment. Maybe it was that mommyhood has been a little more tiring than usual lately and this was a reminder of the good parts of parenthood. Maybe it was because her 'hi' was so distinct and intentional, another step towards toddlerhood as she nears her first birthday. I don't really know for sure. All I know is that I texted all my family, as if she had just taken her first steps.

Now, if we could just get her to stop picking her nose...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yuck Part II

Friday I shared that I had the flu. It was no fun, and caused me to miss tailgating at the UT vs. BG game, and many bottles of Octoberfest. On the plus side, it was super windy Saturday and so being sick was a good reason to stay in where it was warm, and my body probably can't handle a whole lot more regular beer this Fall drinking season. I need to start training for Christmas cookie eating season.

I was still feeling a bit queasy Sunday as I headed over to my parents for weekly family time. I was a little irritated that my weekend had gone by with me feeling like hell, as this flu also brought on killer headaches. I tried to focus on being thankful that I had not thrown up and that Amelia hadn't gotten my illness. Then I started pondering what my reaction would be when Amelia does get the flu at some point. I'm one of those people that will gag and be on the brink of vomiting myself when someone does so in front of me. I had been reassured by other mommies that when it's your kid, it's different. Much like being adrenaline charged at a horrible accident scene, you just kind of let your mommy instinct take over and become a puke-cleaning-up machine.

As if to answer my question, Amelia was throwing up by 6:30 p.m. At first, it wasn't so bad. I felt bad for her, I cleaned her up with my mom's help and changed her clothes. There, all better. I recalled how many mommies noted that their kids could hold down breastmilk even when they could hold nothing else down, and since Amelia will not take a pacifier, stuffed toy, blankie, nothing-but-mommy-when-I'm-mad-sad-scared-nervous-just-mommy-all-the-time-dammit, I figured she would feel better if she nursed.

She did. For about twenty minutes. Until it all came back up and then some.

I know, this is my most disgusting post yet.

And yet, while briefly grossed out, I mostly was struck with deep pain and sadness for my poor baby girl. At this point she was crying and sweating, scared and confused at was happening to her little body. And when I say little, I mean it. Amelia has consistently been in the twentieth percentile for her length. Her weight is always good and she consistently grows, she has adorably chubby cheeks, and she is generally healthy. But she's definitely a petite girl and just hours before we had a store clerk ask if she was six months old. She's almost twelve months. To see our little peanut be so sick, again and again-- I counted almost a dozen times that evening-- was more than I could take. By about the eighth or ninth time she got sick, I started crying. My dad hugged me, my mom cleaned her up, we got her comfortable again. About this time it was 9:00 p.m. and my mom announced that she needed to go to bed soon because she would have to get up for work in the morning.

You what now? Work? You aren't calling off to help me with Amelia?

I got that same overwhelming sense of who-in-the-hell-decided-I-can-keep-a-baby-alive that many parents get when they first bring their newborn home from a hospital. I panicked and grilled my mom for details about when I should consider taking Amelia to the E.R., signs of dehydration, what degree temperature is too high, when I should offer her fluids and tylenol. And, when my dad squeezed me as I cried, I wanted to look at them and say-- I can't do this. I'm the kid, you have to take care of me, take care of us. I don't want to do this adult thing anymore, I'm scared, what if I mess up and she gets hurt or worse?

Maybe I sound dramatic, a 30 year old talking about feelings of wanting to revert back to childhood when her own child is ill. All I know is that those feelings were so intense at that moment that recalling them now is bringing me to tears.

I did know that I couldn't ask my parents to call off work, so I had to take a deep breath and be strong for Amelia. And in the back of my freaked out mind, I knew that if she was super ill in the middle of the night, I could call them and still lean on them, ask them to come to my house and help me as I crumbled into a pile of emotion over my sick baby. I headed home, called Jon and asked him to pick up some pedialyte, wine, and candy pumpkins, scooped Amelia up as she started getting sick the second we pulled into the garage, and made up a little sick station in front of the TV, complete with blankets, pillows, and garbage can. We stayed up till 11:30 watching Despicable Me, waking once to be rocked again and take a sip of pedialyte that thankfully stayed down and then up for the day at her usual 6:30 a.m. Amazingly, as if nothing ever happened the night before:

I could not be more thankful that she recovered so quickly, and keep reminding myself of that today as she has a whiney ass challenging day. This is probably because she is still a little queasy and also, what better thing to happen the day after you have the flu than to oh, boy, get some more teeth in?

Poor Peanut.

Poor Mommy.

Where in the hell are those damn candy pumpkins?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yuck

My dreams of being healthier during cold and flu season because I am working from home have officially been shattered.

I have the stomach flu. Yuck.

It's not the worst flu I've ever had, and because I know at least three people who have had it recently, I am pretty sure it will be better by tomorrow morning. In truth, it's not too bad right now. Mostly it just squashed my plans of having a nice dinner at a local brewery with my family, and may ruin my plans to start drinking at 10am tomorrow (I love you, tailgating, and am so sad that we may have to wait yet another year to be together).

On the plus, it was a good excuse to take both of Amelia's naps with her today. I'm praying, PRAYING HARD that she does not get it, but there isn't much I can do to prevent it other than be as clean as possible. I'm hoping that since she is continuing to nurse that she won't get it. I'm imagining it would be pretty rough on her since my own tummy hurt bad enough today that I was sending whiny little text messages to my husband all day long.

Oh, and here is a fun fact that I learned today: When you have the stomach flu, every cartoon on PBS Kids involves the topic of food. No, Sid the Science Kid, I do not want to hear you discuss heat and how it impacts your mother's runny freakin' pancakes. I may never eat pancakes again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keep 'Em Laughin'

Posting recently has been a little bit of a challenge for me. I'm still loving working from home, especially since my boss told me that I could work from the office just one afternoon a week rather than three days-- therefore avoiding the whole babysitter issue. It's great and makes me wonder how I survived four months of working a traditional job with the whole rush in the morning and struggling to keep up with household tasks in the evening.

Since I (generally) have time to keep up with the house during the week, you would think I would have time to write on the weekends. However, it's Fall, and therefore time for baking, drinking Octoberfest beer, and watching football. This past weekend I made some apple toffee bars and for dinner one night we had jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwiches. Both were as good as they sound (thank you, Pinterest. If you'd like to see what else we will be stuffing our faces with in the near future, you can see my boards here.) We watched all my favorite college teams lose on Saturday and then I ran in a 5k on Sunday. Who has time to write?

Along with the time challenge comes my scattered mommy brain. It seems as though when I wasn't working, I could use my free time to come up some coherent themes/topics of mommyhood, or share my opinions on recent current events. But apparently concentrating all day, along with staring at a computer, drains me of any cohesive thoughts for a blog.

I'm not complaining. Just justifying my absence from the virtual writing world.

As I sat down this morning with a plan of writing a scattered list of various events in my life, I thought of these pictures:


Mom, I don't want to wear the hat.

No, seriously. Come closer and let me tell you how much I hate the hat.

Sigh. Fine, I'll wear the damn hat.

Puppy gym! Crawled right over her, poor dog.



Our daughter has been quite the little comedian lately as you can see. Our favorite gesture that she does right now, which I have yet to catch on camera, is her touchdown pose. It is just what it sounds like, her throwing her arms up as if your favorite football team just scored.

She also has had a third tooth come in this past week, and while my nipples are living in fear, she has been more interested in biting my shoulder. She leans in for what looks like a sweet little hug and then bites down on my shoulder with her little baby fang, which surprisingly hurts quite a bit for a nub of a tooth. I have a theory of parenting which entails saving your really dramatic/loud voice for when it is truly called for, and since she is only 11 months old, I reserve that voice for when she attempts to draw blood.

You would think I had smacked her if you could see her face. She pouts out that bottom lip and starts this pathetic little cry. All I say is "No! No biting, Amelia!" and you'd think I had torn apart her whole little world. I have to turn my head, for fear she will see me laughing and think this is a game.

If only discipline would be so easy during the years ahead. Ah, well, I'll just enjoy it for now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Picky, Picky

Amelia has always been an eater. When we went to her two week check up, she had nursed so much that she had a callous on her lip. She wasn't all that thrilled with solid foods when she was four months old, so we waited till she was six months. When we tried again, she was excited to eat and would grab the spoon and shove it in her mouth. It was fabulous. I foolishly thought that my child would not put us through the difficult paces of a picky eater. She would try anything, and even if she made a face, I could still shovel it in her mouth, make a happy noise, and convince her to take another bite. I made the decision that Amelia would not have any juice unless it was a special occasion, and we used processed foods as treats. Her cheerios were the regular kind rather than honey nut or apple cinnamon, and she loved them. I decided that I had this eating thing down, and raising a child with healthy eating habits would be one of the areas that I would excel.

First time mommies. So overconfident.

Or at least I am, apparently. If I had to pinpoint it, I would say this pickiness started back in August when we went on vacation. Like most vacations, we went out to eat a lot, and one of the frequent meal choices for Amelia was green beans. However, green beans in a restaurant are often not just dumped from the can and seasoned with salt and pepper. Oh, no, they are slow cooked in onion and bacon pieces and simmered to deliciousness. She loved them. Then we got home and gave her our regular old green beans, slightly warm with little seasoning. She turned her head and looked at us like we had bugs crawling out of our ears.

Fast forward to October and I am battling a little one who smashes her carrots around on her tray, throws her cheerios overboard to the dog, and determined yesterday that she can use her tongue to push distasteful food back out of her mouth. I, like many moms, am facing the eternal parenting question... Do I say, oh well, that's your meal, guess you'll be hungry then? Or do I give her what I know she'll eat? At eleven months old, I know I can't tell her you can't leave your seat until you have a bite of everything. So my current tactic is, offer her the food she isn't so fond of first, while hiding what she wants (generally fruit-- I have yet to see her refuse to eat any kind of fruit-- so far, anyways). Then when she gives me that determined I am not eating anymore of this look, I give her the fruit until she's full.

It works for now. Still, I wonder what eating related challenges I will face as she gets older. Also, I wonder if she'll turn into a human blueberry like the naughty little girl on Willy Wonka. Or, in her case, a peach.

Here is a video I found of when she was four months old and we tried solids. If you add a little hair to her head, this is pretty much how she looks now when we feed her anything except chicken, fruit or cheese.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How It's Going...

I regret that it's been a while since I posted anything, but with starting my new job this week, I've had little time to write anything. So, since no one has been able to read about my new endeavor on my blog, I've been getting a lot of texts, e-mail, phone calls and facebook posts asking me how it's going. I hate to give an overall review of a job so quickly because any workplace has it's annoyances and irritations. However, so far...

I love it.

My bosses are flexible. Everyone has been really helpful. There's no chasing children down the hallway, being cussed at by five year olds, and a couple days of week, I avoid the hectic pace of the morning routine-- make coffee, pack snacks/lunches for Amelia and I, get both of us dressed, make sure she has everything she needs for the day including diapers, extra clothes, sippy cup, toys, and other miscallaneous items, and then drag all that crap, plus my work laptop and purse out the door. Oh, and let Molly outside and feed her.

I'm kind of shocked that she's been fed consistently this week.

Really, the only bad thing that happened this week is that Amelia had a miserable time at her babysitter. In all likelihood, it was probably several things that collided to make her be a screaming, crying mess the whole time she was there. But the bottom line is, we had to pick her up early both days.

Some of you are shaking her heads, saying "Oh, Amanda, she will get used to it. You can't rescue her every time she gets upset."

I'm shaking my head back at you, saying "Oh, how you underestimate the stubborn nature of my daughter."

Let's just say that Amelia threw such a screaming fit that the sitter's neighbor complained about the 'noise'. And, she pretty much refused to eat. So, to save the sanity of everyone involved, we are on the hunt for a new sitter again. This produces a lot of stress and anxiety for me, but it also highlights how incredible my new job is... when I left early Tuesday, no one minded because I could finish the day at home. Then, on Friday, Jon took Amelia home at lunch but the internet at my work was SO SLOW. My entire day is spent on the computer, entering in student transcripts online. By 2:00 pm, I wanted to slam my laptop up against the wall. The principal wasn't in so the only 'boss' I could complain to was the superintendent. I walked halfway to her office twice and turned back around, thinking that complaining during my first week of work was probably a bad idea. But, considering that I could get twice as much work done at home, I took a deep breath and walked into her office.

I got halfway through my first sentence, and she said "Oh, yes, the internet is awful! If you want to finish the day at home, go ahead. As a matter of fact, you can work at home all next week, they are fixing such and such and I think it's going to take a while."

GRIN. I mean, after I walked out of her office, of course.

So, I have a whole week of being at home with my little love, finding her a new sitter, being productive, and avoiding the morning rush.

How's it going? It's awesome :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

An Answered Prayer

I'm super excited about my new job. I start Monday, and after meeting with the superintendent and principal today, I am even more overjoyed about this position. They seem to be very flexible and also are interested in me moving into a school counseling position next school year. This is great news because A) I'm spending thousands and thousands of dollars on my education, so I feel like I should be using it, B) I will have a significant pay increase and C) I will be able to work from home full time.

I cannot describe how happy I am about all of this. When I found out that my position was being cut at my old job, I was devastated. While yes, I would be able to spend time with my daughter, I loved my job and my co-workers. Beyond that, I constantly worried that we would have financial difficulties. Every article that appeared on Yahoo about the recession resonated with me, and I worried that at some point, maybe bad things would happen, like us foreclosing on our home. I'm an anxious person, so I get right down to it immediately and worry that the biggest disaster will happen. Not the best way to cope with a job loss.

After I moped, cried, and practically had multiple panic attacks about how things would play out financially, I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. Harder than I ever have in my life, except for maybe when we were trying to get pregnant. I don't talk a lot about my spirituality because I feel that it is a lot like my sex life. It's really no one's business. My husband is the opposite. There is no bigger joy for him than to debate religious philosophy. Sometimes it drives me nuts, but other times it comes in handy. Because, if ever there were a time that I needed someone to remind me about God and the miracles He works, it was now.

I'm not going to preach about going to church or why you should pray too. It irritates me when people push their religion on other people. But I do know this-- had I not lost my job, I would still be there. I would have missed my daughter figuring out how to stand up by herself today. I would have never taken the risk of trying to find a new opportunity that would allow me to be home more often. In my view, God created a way for this to happen. And, I'm ever so grateful.

This is not to say, of course, that I won't be griping about co-workers or the difficulties of working from home or any other of life's daily irritations within the next month or two. I'm only human. I get frustrated and annoyed. But for right now, I'm savoring what it feels like to have everything fall into place, to have faith, and to be grateful for what you are given.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Simply Amazing

I've mentioned it before, and I've been especially reminded of it this weekend-- my favorite part of being a mom is watching Amelia develop. I find it simply amazing. Within the last week, my daughter has learned to turn herself in a different direction while sitting up, can crawl over things, has started doing this funny little downward dog pose (I think she's trying to figure out how to stand!), and last night she learned how to clap.

What I enjoy even more is that once Amelia learns how to do something, she has it down completely. The first time she really clapped was last night at my parents. Then this morning, there she was clapping in her exersaucer. She was almost as fascinated as I was. She'd clap then open her hands wide, staring at them in amazement. Then she'd clap again and squeal in delight. It totally made her waking up for the day at 4:15 a.m. worth it.

Maybe this isn't as spectacular as I try to make it sound. Perhaps parents that have three or four kids think this is no big deal and think that this is just a new parent thrill. I pretty much doubt that, though. If it was not truly amazing, then parents would not constantly quiz each other-- is she crawling yet? Speaking? Any teeth? Sometimes these questions are asked out of competition, but other times I know they are asked with this intention-- have you witnessed your child learn all these delightful and new things?

There are more elements to it like the surprise of it. Amelia will do the same things for a week or two, maybe longer at times. Then, BAM, much like this past week, she learns several new things at once. And, there is being able to witness the lightbulb moment when your child puts it all together. It's hard to describe the look on her face, but when Amelia understands a concept, there is this expression in her eyes that says "OOHHH!!!! THAT'S how I do it!"

I will admit that I completely suck at keeping track of these moments in her baby book. Most of it is blank from 3 months on. I randomly think with guilt at how I really need to record these moments for both Amelia and myself. Despite that, I will never forget the thrill of seeing her discover new things. It is, I think, why mothers endure the sleepless nights and selfless days. Because nothing, nothing,  is sweeter than this look on your child's face upon making a new discovery in life:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Babysitter Conundrum

I mentioned recently that I will soon have a new job. I've been pretty vague on details because it has taken a while to hash things out with my new employer. It is an online charter school to which I have applied to several different positions. Although I am a licensed school counselor, I had hoped that even if I couldn't do what I had been trained for initially, perhaps I could start in a different position then become a school counselor with them later. This is exactly how it's turning out. My position will actually be as an advisor, with the added responsibility of entering in transcripts for the academy. This is great because the added responsibility brings with it extra income. The downside is that I will have to work out of the office part time.

We are really grateful that I've A) found a job and B) found a job that eventually will lead to me working from home full time. However, because I'm working out of the office this school year, I also have to find someone to watch Amelia. Frankly, I'd rather have another root canal than search for childcare.

My two gorgeous girls <3
I think I speak for the majority of moms when I say that finding childcare is no fun. My most basic anxiety here is that I worry someone will hurt Amelia. Maybe all moms don't have this particular fear. Maybe they just worry about overall care in general. All of those worries are completely valid. As a counselor, I've worked with enough abuse and neglect cases that I cringe when I have to find a new person to watch my daughter. In addition, I watch too much TV at times, and this includes Dateline and Law & Order SVU. Nothing good can come from watching these shows, FYI. They make an already anxious person want to down a bottle of Xanax.

If we were rich, I would have just hired her last sitter as her permanent nanny. On the other hand, if we were rich, I wouldn't work. Her last sitter was patient, kind, young and energetic, and only caring for her own 2 1/2 year old during the day. It didn't hurt that her daughter LOVED Amelia. While I hated leaving my little one every day, I was comforted by the fact that she was a minute down the street, was receiving great care, and was spending time socializing with another child. And, being that I was working in a small town, it was pretty easy to verify this person's character. All I had to do was mention in passing who Amelia was staying with, and I heard how terrific she was.

Now, here we go again trying to find someone just right to watch my daughter. I can't seem to convince my mom to retire, nor can I figure out a way to convince Amelia's Aunt Mandy that quitting her job is financially feasible. Enter Facebook. Thank you, God, for making this piece of social networking not just simply a waste of many hours of my day. All I had to do was post a plea for babysitter references and someone that I've known for years and years volunteered to watch Amelia. She's six minutes away from the office. She has a little girl for Amelia to play with. Has daycare experience. Hallelujah. Of course, my mom needs to have some grandchild fun during the week to so she has claimed Wednesdays. Even better.

Guess I will save the bottle of Xanax for another time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14, 2011: Amateur Updates

So I've been super lazy about posting lately. Frankly, I've had few ideas for new posts. Until the last couple of days, things had been running pretty smoothly in our household. It's been lovely. However, once you kind of get into a mommy groove where a daily routine is followed and life is not disrupted by teething, illness, something in your house breaking or blowing up, or some other major stressor, new ideas can be hard to come by. Not as fun for my readers, but like I said, it's been great for me.

I was going to write this nice post full of gratitude because of all the delightful things in my life lately, but while I'm still entirely grateful and feeling blessed, Amelia is sick for the second time in two weeks. UGH. And, there is a possibility that her top two teeth are coming through. DOUBLE UGH. So my already not so good sleeper has been a completely awful sleeper for the past three nights. The cherry on top being that she was up for an hour at 3 a.m. This is by far my least favorite sleeping affliction.

Therefore, because my brain is fuzzy with lack of sleep, all I can manage is listing the recent events in our life:
  • We'll start with Amelia. I think by far her most amazing development is her ability to feed herself and drink from her sippy cup. We've been giving her finger foods probably for the past six weeks, so this isn't completely new, but in the past week or so it's really struck me how amazing this is. We can chop up most of what's in our meal, put it on her tray, and she eats away. From completely helpless to I can feed myself in ten months is awesome. Watching Amelia develop continues to be my favorite part of mommyhood so far.
  • She continues to struggle with becoming very anxious and upset when I have to leave her, which is really hard on both of us. Luckily she has her select few favorite people that I feel entirely comfortable leaving her with and that she will not burst into tears and snot the second these people touch her. Despite being a huge mama's girl, as well as very stubborn, she also has a great little sense of humor. She often shakes her head no at anything, throws her sippy on the floor when she's done drinking (this isn't always funny-- but when she drops it on the poor dog's head, I definitely have to hide my giggles), and she loves to honk our noses. She also seems to be very social with other children, which I think is terrific. 
  • Jon and I have had lots of great things happen lately, mostly in the financial department. He got a nice bonus at work, we will soon be receiving a nice little sum from ODOT for a sliver of our land (and I might add, half of the sum they are giving us is for the dead tree on that land. Would life not be perfect if you always were paid to have your problems removed?), and we got a nice new flat screen TV with the gift cards Jon received for his birthday. 
  • I also have a new job pending. Thank you, God. While I love being home with Amelia, not having a second income is rather nerve wracking and something that causes a lot of anxiety for me on a daily basis. The bonus of this new job is that while I may have to work out of an office at first, I should be working from home within a year. Excellent. 
That's all that I have the attention span to update on for now. I was going to add a cute video of my little chunky monkey getting into mischief, but Blogger won't upload anything this morning, so I guess it will have to wait.



Amazon SearchBox