Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Cold of the Season

On my morning walk yesterday, I had thought of all these fabulous topics for blog posts. Working on being more positive. My reflections on being unemployed in an awful economy. The cute little lion pillow I made recently. Etcetera. I was looking forward to writing a new post this morning and choosing which idea I was most interested in writing about.

All these ideas were trumped by snot.

Amelia is officially sick. I have to be honest, I'm mildly pissed about it. Not at her, mind you. Just in general. Last winter, she was sick every month. I blamed this on all the germs I was bringing home from the school I worked in. So when I lost my job, I thought, well at least Amelia and I will be healthier this year. Obviously this is not the case.

I suppose if I were to stay home all the time or frantically wipe off everything she touches with bleach wipes, we may have avoided this. I just can't do it though. Staying home all the time with a baby will drive me absolutely insane, and a clean freak I am not. And so here we are, battling the germs.

Generally, it has not been too bad yet. This just started yesterday and it's mostly a runny nose/congestion. I let her nurse a lot, and she slept on my lap last night for two hours when it became apparent that she was too uncomfortable to take a good restful nap in her crib. I gave her a nice warm bath, she ate a decent dinner, we said screw it to the evening routine and let her watch Lady and the Tramp. She was asleep by 10:00 and I laid her in our bed to ensure better than usual sleep. Allegedly, for both of us.

Nope. Worst. Sleep. Ever.

She awoke and stayed awake at 3:00 a.m., but this has been happening a fair amount lately due to her teething, so I sighed to myself and reminded myself that she isn't feeling good. I tried to let her nurse, but she about suffocated between being plugged up and not being able to breathe through her mouth. I was Miss Patient Mommy till 4:30 a.m. when I surrounded her with pillows so I could go into the kitchen and cry with exhaustion, which led to a headache.

Jon woke and attempted to help, but that just made me feel guilty, as he has to drive all day at his job. I took her back to bed with me and finally, finally, sweet sleep came at 5:15. Then she was up at 6:30. And again for good at 7:40.

Now she has been sleeping peacefully on my lap for at least an hour, and while I know I should be sleeping too, it was way too tempting to have a decent chunk of baby free time. Maybe I can sleep at the dentist's office today during my cleaning. You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

**A positive side note: She did reward me for my sleepless nights last night with this-- as she crawled under our coffee table to get to me as we watched our Disney movie, I heard these sweet babblings: MAMAMAMA! Jon and I looked at each other with huge smiles and a slight look of disbelief. She has been saying Da Da for months, presumably because it is easier to utter than Mama. She is definitely a Mama's girl and though I know someday I will wish she would stop saying my name to get my attention, I have been dying to hear those words. And now I have <3

Monday, August 29, 2011

Like Clockwork

Things in the Bryant household continue to be a pain in the ass hectic in the baby department. Amelia's second bottom tooth has popped through, her thrush has cleared up, and she is good to go in the pooping department. Despite this, her already not so good sleep habits continue to be not so great. Prior to going on vacation she was sleeping 3-5 hours in her crib at night then sleeping with me for the rest of the night. Now? Fourty five minutes before she cries for the first time. This weekend she also insisted upon waking at 5:00 and 5:30. When she made it this morning till 6:00, I was pretty darned happy. If I had the choice, though, I would take the waking early over the being up for an hour at 3:00 a.m., which has occurred about three times in the last couple weeks. Talk about a rough night.

Before vacation, she was taking 1-2 hour naps in the afternoon. Now, thirty minutes, although when they are shorter, she does take about three or four naps. The trouble with shorter naps is that she  is a little grumpy butt when she wakes. When you add that to a mommy that has not had good sleep and a little girl that has become so tied to her mama that she screams whenever she can't see her, it can be an equation for disaster.

I've generally avoided discussing Amelia's sleep history, how we handle her sleep patterns, or the reasons for my decision to co-sleep part time. This is mostly because I don't care to hear other people's advice or their admonishments about how I am further screwing her up by letting her sleep with me. But I'm not going to lie, I definitely have my moments where I doubt our decision to let her nurse to sleep and co-sleep. That is, until she starts screaming at midnight and practically turns purple by the time we get upstairs. Then, I remember that we have to do what's best for Amelia, and I'm pretty sure that letting her cut off her own oxygen supply is not super healthy.

I do have the dream that someday, like maybe when she's 12, she will actually go to sleep on her own or someone else will be able to put her to bed other than me. With that in mind, I decided to put her on a bedtime routine. At 10 months old.

That's right, I'm the irresponsible mommy that has been letting her little girl go to bed whenever she wants. During the first few months with a newborn, life is all about survival. I had sworn that by three months, she would be on a schedule. For various reasons, it didn't happen. Surely, though, by summer she would be on a good, solid nighttime routine.


I've been so thrilled this summer that she has been fairly easy going-- at least until recently-- that I started doing all the things with her that I couldn't do or didn't have time for when she was fussy and I was working. Bonfires with friends, baseball games, vacations-- all things that would mess with a schedule if one was in place. And, due to her melt downs when she is separated from me, along with her refusal to sleep for anyone else, a babysitter is not a very good option. Of course, she would survive without me in the evening, but that person would probably never be willing to watch her again and I would worry about her the whole time we were gone. So, she's been on lots of adventures this summer.

Now that school is in, people are busy and things are settling down, so here we are in a nice evening routine. I like it to a certain degree. Giving her a bath every evening, as opposed to me giving her random baths whenever I could remember and notice grime around her neck, is a nice way to end the evening together because she enjoys it. She is also going to bed every night by 9:00, which is better than 10:00 or 11:00. The downside is, it's not helping her sleep more soundly, and for her, early to bed means early to rise. People who recommend earlier bedtimes for baby sleep to improve need to spend a week with the my little contradiction to every sleep theory that ever existed.

And so, the sleep battle continues, but at least I know when each battle is going to occur.

Friday, August 26, 2011


You've probably never heard the term "pre-toddlerhood", but frankly, I don't know why it's not a distinctly noted stage of childhood development. I would define this as the time when babies are not truly toddlers yet, but are getting that annoying independent streak to them. I am pretty sure I am twice as screwed. Amelia has always strived to be a little bit more independent than most babies and has been shaking her head 'no' for months now. Last week, I was reading some moron's lady's comment that parents who ascribe to attachment theory and co-sleep with their babies are setting themselves up for needy, dependent children (wait, aren't they still supposed to be dependent? Should Amelia be doing her own laundry yet?) who can't do anything for themselves. I literally laughed out loud and coffee almost came out of my nose. Clearly, she needs to meet my daughter.

For example, during the past week, my daughter has decided she is not so thrilled with baby food anymore. I should point out, she doesn't even get jarred food. I make all her food, it's like a gourmet baby grocery store in my freezer right now. Yet, given the choice between what's on my plate and what's in her bowl, she'd prefer my pasta with feta. That's right-- feta cheese. Pureed green beans? Eh, she is not so thrilled, despite the fact that she enjoyed them a month ago. So basically, I have a nine month old who won't eat baby food and won't take a bottle.

And then there's the determination. She has discovered the dime sized hole in our couch within the last couple days. Now, I am a big believer in the beauty of distraction with kids. Redirection can definitely be a sanity saver for mommies. So, when she found that hole, I tried to show her a toy and then put my hand over the couch's blemish. I was hoping that she'd forget about how fun it is to stick her fingers in there and dig around in the cushion stuffing. Instead, she wrinkled her nose and furrowed her brow while grasping my fingers and grunting with effort. SIGH.

When you top this independence and determination with her bodily issues this week-- cutting a new tooth, thrush for the FOURTH TIME, and being mildly constipated-- you have one fussy little girl. It has been a challenging week for sure. Thankfully, her tooth is almost all the way through, we have medicine for her thrush, and she is pooping again, so hopefully things will be looking up for the weekend.

Here she is with plums all over. Her favorite thing to do when she doesn't like her food is to smear it all over her face and in her hair. Lovely.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finally, a Food Post

Recently, I added a little detail to my blog by adding this description "Health, food, and the rollercoaster of mommyhood". The problem with this is I realized I really don't talk about food much. It's not because I don't cook. I LOVE to cook. I remember when Amelia had colic and I was stuck holding her all day, I was literally depressed when we would watch cooking shows because I wasn't able to do it anymore.

Things with a nine month old are a bit easier and I get to make dinner much more often. However, documenting it for my blog is a struggle. It seems like whenever I'm just about done making our meal and reaching for my camera, she is starting to get bored and whine. Or, stories about my race training and her development seem to push my food posts off to the side.

With that in mind, today I will post what I made for dinner one day last week. And, somehow I will figure out a way to do this regularly. Maybe something tacky sounding like Food Fridays. In any case, we had linguine with red peppers, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. My most used source for cooking inspiration is, but I would say my second most used source is 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes: Delicious, Easy-to-Make, Healthy Meals for Everyone. We are not a vegetarian family, but I would say that we eat vegetarian meals about 25% of the time. It is generally less expensive than meals with meat and I enjoy cooking with fresh vegetables, especially in the summer. My husband is great about it and often raves just as much about our vegetarian meals as he does all our other dinners.

I got the basics for this dish from the above cited vegetarian cookbook. I didn't really follow it exactly, just glanced at the ingredient list and whipped it up. Here it is, the best that I can put it into words:

1 jar roasted red peppers
8-12 oz fresh mushrooms (I used portabella, you can use whichever type you prefer)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
a dash or two crushed red pepper flakes
a couple tablespoons olive oil
1 package linguine
feta cheese

Spray a medium sized frying pan with cooking spray or use a little olive oil. Saute mushrooms over medium heat in the frying pan until almost cooked through, then add chopped roasted red peppers, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (I put crushed red pepper in almost all our pasta dishes, Jon likes spicy dishes, and I think the red pepper has a nice amount of heat without going overboard). Heat through until garlic is sauteed. In a separate pot, heat water to boiling for the pasta and cook linguine. After pasta is cooked to al dente, toss it with the cooked veggies and drizzle olive oil over the mixed pasta and veggies. Toss again, taste, add seasoning and more olive oil if needed. Top with feta cheese.

We dish out our own pasta then put as much feta as we each want on our personal servings rather than dumping the whole container of feta into the final pot of pasta and tossing. You could also top with parmesan cheese if you aren't a fan of feta.

I have to add in a picture of the flowers I bought myself at our farmer's market this week:
Guess how much? FOUR DOLLARS. Awesomeness.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pemberville 5 Miler

I was originally going to title this post "Race Day", but since I envision many races in my future, that title would probably get pretty redundant (big word for writing at 6:45 a.m., eh?)  Being that my stupid ipod mysteriously ran out of battery before the race, despite that fact that I had checked it in the morning when it appeared to be plenty charged, I was able to think about and reflect upon every aspect of this experience. I wish I would have had a way to record what I had thought since now a lot of it is a fabulous blur, but I will do my best to recount my first race.

First, let me reiterate how huge I feel like this is for me. A month ago, my runs were no longer than 2.5 miles. Couple this with being 15-20 lbs overweight (about 10 of that is those last few darned pregnancy pounds) and the fact that I've never run this far even pre-baby, and I will tell you that I did not anticipate this being part of my summer plans. But, I was inspired by my friend who recently ran a half marathon and figured that if I just signed up for it, I would have to make it work.

I was very confident up until about a week ago when we went on vacation. I didn't exercise while we were gone and I pretty much pigged out. When we returned, I just was not that into running. And, it was race week. I knew I just had to squeeze out five miles during one of my runs so I knew that I could do the race without walking. I did on Wednesday, merely two days before the event. The last mile was pure hell but it was what I needed so I didn't make some pathetic excuse to try to get out of going.

Then, last night about two hours before it was time for me to leave, I started getting nervous. What was I thinking? I don't have a runner's physique, and I started fearing that I would stick out like a sore thumb. It was like high school all over again, that sensation where you feel like everyone will stare and laugh at you.

Once I got there and analyzed the crowd, I realized how silly that was but I was still really freaked out... what if I was last? As we were getting ready to start, I felt more and more like I was going to be sick, but I had to shake it off. And, I kept thinking about how I knew I could run five miles... I just did it two days ago! I'm so glad that I did too, because that thought carried me through a lot of the difficult moments of the run.

I think that my favorite part of the event was how many people in the community were sitting in their yards, cheering us on. Several people even set up sprinklers over the road so the runners could cool off, including the local fire department which set up a huge water hose. It was a good thing that the beginning of the course ran through the town because there had been a huge line for the ladies' room (which of course, only had two stalls) and I saw several women running into houses and then running back out giggling, saying "I had to go!" There were water stations at every mile marker, and the county's sheriff, Mark Wasylyshyn (seriously, that's how you spell his name, and no, I have no idea how you pronounce it) handed me one of my cups of water. This is pretty much a celebrity to me, keeping in mind that other celebrities on my list are Father Dominic and Jay Berschback.

The suckiest part of the race? The third mile. At the first two mile markers, my times reflected that my pace was just under 10:30, which is super for me. When I ran that five miles earlier in the week, it had taken me about an hour. I know that focusing on staying ahead of the people that I had already passed and working on passing people ahead of me helped a lot. Not having to push a jogging stroller for once helped too. However, that third mile was through the country, sans shade. Now, the country path that I run down each day also is out in the blazing sun, but I always leave before 11 a.m. when it is a bit cooler out. This is opposed to running at 7 p.m. when it is much hotter out. I really started to fear that I was going to have to walk at some point, and my head started pounding with pain. I intermittently swore to myself and then would tell myself, if I can just finish this mile then I will be more than halfway done, and I will be back in the shade again.

I don't have my mile to mile pace results back yet, but I know that third mile was the slowest. After that, even though my legs and feet were starting to feel like lead, I could focus on running back to town. When I hit the fourth mile marker and was told that I was at 43 minutes, I was utterly shocked. OMG, I can finish this under an hour! And, seeing people that were walking helped, too. Here I was so concerned that I was going to be last, but I ran the whole thing and that is something to be proud of in itself.

I sprinted to the finish and crossed the finish line at 54 minutes even. That's a 10:48 pace!!! I'm sure that to experienced runners, this is nothing, but to me, this is super awesome. I do not aspire to be a fast runner. I have short, stocky legs and competition against others is not my thing. But, doing better than I ever have before makes me wildly proud of myself.

I was shaking with exhaustion and excitement when I finished, and drank about five or six cups of water. Then, I found my friend and her family. Pics were taken, congratulations were said. I was elated on the way home and shared my accomplishment with Jon. I squeezed Amelia and thought about how great it will be for my little girl to grow up seeing her mommy being active, and to maybe run some races with me someday.

Next up is the Susan G. Komen 5K in September, and then I am running a 10k in October. And... I'm pondering a half marathon in April. I need to talk more to my friend about the training involved, and I would have to commit to running throughout the winter, which I'm not big on. I've always switched things up and done step/spin classes when it's cold, and running/rollerblading when it's warm. However, when I think about being able to say that I've ran a half marathon, my pulse quickens a bit with excitement.

I'm not big on quotes, but I read this one recently in an interview done with Allison Sweeney-- "I told my trainer, 'I want my body back!' She was like, 'Why go back? Go forward! Be the best you that you can be today. That might be thinner and more toned than ever.' Any time I doubt myself for whatever reason, whether it's because of my weight, my physique, or my current athletic abilities, I think of that quote. There's only one direction to go, and it's forward.... in all likelihood, with my running shoes on :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Naughty Little Monkey Update

After my rant earlier this week, I'm sure some of you wonder how much sanity I have left. That's pretty much up for debate on any given day. However, the short answer is, yes, things have improved. The day that I wrote that long complaint about her behavior, she was pretty even keeled all day, and then a nice surprise-- my parents came to babysit for a little bit. I'm guessing that my dad was a little concerned about me doing something drastic after reading my post that day. I think this makes a good, practical point about parenting-- it's always best to ask for help when you need it and to be honest about your feelings. If I had written some BS about how great mommyhood is, would anyone have offered help? No. Oh, and it helps to have awesome parents too ;) [wink, wink, Mom & Dad].

I'm also getting a few new products to help keep Amelia amused. I had originally bought Amelia a Chicco Activity Baby Walker. My friend's son loves his and it was half off at Meijer, so I thought surely this would help. She likes playing with the front of it, but refuses to push it. She gets angry and reaches backwards in a desperate attempt to find my hands so she can walk while using me for balance. So, that was pretty much an epic fail, although my cat likes the side levers. Yep, pretty much a seventeen dollar cat toy.

I had thought about buying a Juppy Baby Walker or some Baby Walking Wings, but was a bit concerned that she would hate them and then I'd have to mess around with returning whatever I bought. However, I posted something on Facebook about wanting recommendations, and a mommy offered to let me borrow some walking wings. I'm picking them up on Sunday and hope they help! Then I decided it was time that we got a wagon for Amelia. I wanted to ask for one for Christmas, but frankly, I'm desperate for additional things to do with her that will keep her fairly immobile. My mom found a Step 2 Wagon at Once Upon a Child-- has cup holders and everything. Amelia will be cruising down our driveway before we know it.

Last night was really nice because she went to bed by 9:30 p.m. (early for her, considering that she is often up till 10 or 11-- no criticism, please) and then she slept in her crib till 3:00 a.m. This is the longest she's done this since we came home from vacation. However, I must have bumped the volume on the monitor and she had been crying a while before I heard her-- she was completely freaking out (um, hence the reason we don't let her cry it out), screaming and acting like someone was hurting her. She calmed down quickly when I picked her up, but by now she was wide awake and stayed that way until 4:15 a.m. UGH. Perhaps I should mention here that I'm running a 5 mile race today. Yep. And, we have plans in the afternoon, so me napping while she does will probably not work out. Sigh.

Thankfully, we are coming up on a weekend, which means I will get some additional help from her daddy. And it's awfully hard to be upset in the morning when you wake up next to this little ham. I call this the Crazy Hair Series:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Naughty Little Monkey

My daughter has been terrorizing me since we returned from vacation. This may be her only way of protesting our reduction of her TV time. At this point, I would be willing to negotiate and let her watch cartoons all day if she'd just stop hanging on me, fussing, whining, screaming, and staying awake so much.

My real suspicion is that she is going through a developmental growth spurt. She would let us help her walk around the house all day if this wouldn't lead to my husband and I being hunched over in pain (and no, she does not like any type of walker. That would be too easy, wouldn't it?). I keep taking deep breaths, praying, and telling myself to be patient. I remind myself that it took us over a year to get pregnant and how badly I wanted a baby. I tell myself it won't last forever. I count down the minutes till her father gets home so I can have a break.

However, my mental tactics are starting to fail me. When Amelia woke this morning after eight short hours of sleep, I ran through a list in my head of people who could maybe take her for a couple hours today, just so I can gather what's left of my sanity. While I'm used to Amelia sleeping less than most babies (she typically only sleeps 9-9.5 hours, 10 hours is super for her), last night she only slept eight hours. This short night of sleep was after she wailed for a half hour last night, refusing to nurse so she'd shut the hell up so she'd calm down. Jon attempted to shout over her wailing so I would know what was going on during the season finale of Master Chef while I circled the dining room table bouncing her and humming. Thirty minutes after laying her down in her crib, she awoke screaming.

Earlier this week when we went to Meijer, more so I could get out of the house and amuse her than any real need for groceries, pretty much every person walking by would point and say "Oh, isn't she CUUTTTEEE????" It was a struggle for me not to ask them if they wanted her.

 So far this morning I've eaten a couple handfuls of pretzel M&M's and she has eaten part of her Mickey Mouse books. Oh, I didn't mention that she seems to have pica? She's like a little goat, munching and gnawing on whatever she gets her hands on. If it's paper, down the hatch it goes. Not even her "baby-safe" books can escape her one little pointy tooth and slobber that would probably eat it's way through steel.

Please don't leave the following comments after reading this post:
  • Just wait until she starts walking.
  • Just wait until she's a teenager.
  • Enjoy her now, time with your baby is short.
  • How could you be upset with her, she's just a BAAABY....
These comments will be deleted shortly before I throw my laptop out the window and grab another handful of candy.

Now, excuse me while I suck down another cup of coffee and say my mommy prayer for the day... Dear Lord, please help me be patient and let Amelia take extra long naps. Amen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Southern Roots

Don't worry, I really didn't fall off the face of the earth. We took our first big vacation with Amelia this past weekend and since it's best not to put any info about being gone on the internet, I had to leave everyone hanging. Or, I could have brought my laptop and continued posting, but that doesn't seem like a true vacation. Nor did I run while I was gone. That was probably a mistake.


Thursday we left around noon and stayed in Florence, KY, which is just south of Cincinnati. Amelia was super and slept almost the entire way. I pat myself on the back for this because I had to pee for the last hour and held it, as I did not want the stopping of the car to wake her. Needless to say, I was pretty desperate by the time we hit the big city. I may or may not have peed in some bushes at a local park that did not have their bathrooms well marked. Can you get public indecency charges by posting that in your blog? I'm not sure.
Cincinnati Skyline

Little Peanut practicing walking after Mommy committed a minor crime

We ate dinner at a nice little restaurant called Biehl Street in Newport. Amelia was getting pretty crabby by then, but Jon and I were OK with it since it was half off a bottle of wine night.
Why is a bottle of my lotion more entertaining than her toys?

The next day we went to the Newport Aquarium. Amelia loved it, for the most part, but it really wore her out and she was pretty tired afterwards. I managed to talk her into a nap and we headed to Brother's Bar and Grill, which has a lovely patio facing the Ohio River. After some lunch, we were ready to travel the rest of the way down to Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Amelia did pretty good for the second leg of our trip until about the last thirty minutes. After that she conveyed that she was thoroughly fed up with her car seat. I kept her happy by managing to contort my body so I could nurse her while she was still buckled her into carseat and then singing children's songs continuously. We had dinner with our family and then called it a night.

The next day we were well rested and ready for our family reunion. Remember when I said my teeth are awful because I inherited them from the hillbilly side of my family? I really wasn't kidding. My maternal grandmother's side of the family is from the foothills of Kentucky and they settled on top of a mountain in the Cumberland Gap region. It is now called the Hensley Settlement and is a protected part of the Cumberland Gap park. Every other year our family has a reunion down there, and some of the family heads up to the top of the mountain to relive the past. Being that we have a baby and the path up to the top is treacherous, we chose to just do the chit chat with family and gorge yourself with food part.
Hensley Reunion

Snuggling with Great Grandma post-nap

Happy girl chillin' in the camping chair
After stuffing ourselves and showing off Amelia, we rested up at the hotel. In the evening, Amelia and I went to my cousin Jessica's bridal shower. Amelia was much easier to amuse once I put her on the floor and let her try to get into mischief.

With Great Grandma and ripping her name tag off

My cousin opening her shower gifts

Amelia and her cousin Rebecca seeing what they can get into on the floor.
The next morning, we packed up and headed home. Here are a few random pic's from the trip:
The view from our hotel

Little Amelia in our big king sized bed

Ready to head back home
We had a terrific time but there is always a certain amount of satisfaction that being back home brings. And, if I stuff myself full of much more food, I'm going to need bigger pants and another package of Tums.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Mobile Family

Probably the biggest event in our household in the last few days has been this:
It's maybe not a traditional crawl, but my daughter has definitely figured out to get herself moving on all fours. As my cousin said, that military crawl clearly demonstrates that her father is a marine. Part of me is thrilled. Part of me is sad. Part of me is tired just watching her. And a large part thinks I'm in for big trouble.

Amelia is not the only one on the move. I shared recently that I've gotten into running again. Inspired by my friend who has been running many races for the past year or so and Tina's blog, I've signed up for a five mile race. FIVE MILES. Initially, I thought I must have lost my mind. I've never run five miles, even when I was twenty pounds smaller and had  a pre-baby body. But I bit the bullet and registered, and so on August 19th I'll be running my first race. This has really pushed me to quickly build up my distance, and yesterday I ran 4.5 miles. Without stopping. This has me feeling like a kick ass mommy. It has Molly feeling like a tired pooch:
I never thought I'd outrun her, but she is generally lagging behind by the three mile mark. I suspect she will be more energetic about my new endeavor this fall when it cools off. After all, I'm not running with a fur coat on. And, don't let this picture fool you-- she loves our morning run. Follows me around all morning with pleading eyes, goes in circles while I'm putting on my tennis shoes, and heaven forbid if we have to skip a day. Those days she is on my heels all day, as if I've clearly forgotten my priorities in life and she is reminding me that taking her running should be on the top of the list.

And so, Amelia is crawling, Molly and I are running... I can't leave out my husband. He has recently started kayaking with some of his friends and been insistent that we also take a trip down the river together this summer. I've been dragging my feet about this, mostly because I experience a little anxiety about leaving Amelia for long periods of time. It's not because I don't trust those that care for her. It's because she won't drink pumped milk. And, she's a fussy little pain in the butt for other people. This was important to Jon, though, and I do love outdoor activities, so I made plans for my parents to watch Amelia. This was especially nice since we went during the weekend of our fifth wedding anniversary.

We had a pretty good time until the end, when we were delayed by a thunderstorm and I completely freaked out about being away from our daughter for so long. This has solidified that although I'm sad that she is almost out of baby stage and into toddlerhood, I am excited about her not being dependent on me for her nutritional needs.

That aside, it was a terrific trip. We actually were able to have adult conversation without having to bounce, change, feed, calm, rock, or nurse a baby. Jon also had hidden a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers, and a blanket in his kayaking pack so we could have a short romantic picnic on one of the islands along the way. Surprises are not one of Jon's fortes, and so I was shocked and touched by this gesture. We also saw a bald eagle roosting right above us as we paddled. Utterly majestic. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we are considering buying our own kayaks when we have the funds to do so.

Wow... we have all really been on the move lately! Just writing about it has me thinking about an afternoon nap....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fun at the Fair

Yesterday, Jon and I headed out to take our little girl to her first fair. Being that she adores our cat and dog, I was pretty excited to see her reaction to all of the animals. I was also happy that Jon finally wasn't dragging his feet as I convinced him yet again to go to the fair. He likes the food, but not such a fan of me insisting that we go through every single animal barn.

I was a tad nervous about our timing when we left. A) Amelia has finally started taking a regular 2 hour nap around 12:30 and we didn't leave until after 11:00, therefore, I felt that we were in the tired and cranky danger zone and B) Rain was predicted for the afternoon. Upon checking the radar, it looked like what might come through would pass pretty quickly. However, thunderstorms pop up at the drop of a hat during hot Midwest summers, so you can never count on dry weather if it's humid.

Overall, it was a great trip. Amelia is not always a big fan of her stroller, especially when tired but we had her in and out so she could look at animals, and she remained pretty content:
See the gold thing in the stroller tray? That is a junior deputy badge that some very smart sheriff's deputy gave to Amelia while Mommy stopped at the bathroom. Good job, sheriff deputy, passing out pokey pins to babies. Glad my tax dollars are paying for that.

Among our first stops were the cows, pigs, baby animals, and sheep. She particularly enjoyed the baby chicks. I'm certain that if she were given the chance, she would have squeezed the life out of one or two of them. Aww, isn't that cute?

Next were the horses, where I was somewhat terrified that a horse would bite my child's hand off. Hence this expression:
Once we found a horse that she could touch the side of, far away from it's enormous gnashing teeth, we were both happier.
For all of you who are saying "OMG, why is Amanda so orange?!? Ugh, does she use a lot of fake tan lotion or overdo the tanning beds?" No, friends. I have no idea why I'm that color. Must be a weird reflection of the sun off all the animal manure onto my naturally tanned skin. I'm overly tan from my recent increase in outdoor running. I will be equally pale this winter.

We moved on to see the rest of the animals:

After that, Amelia was getting pretty sleepy, but you can't go to the fair without eating some greasy fair food. We only had a $20 bill between us, so I gave it to Jon so he could get what we wanted (Um, he bought Chinese food. At the fair. Clearly does not understand the essence of fair food) while Amelia and I scoped out the other food stands.

Right about then, it started pouring. SIGH.

So, there was my husband, chowing down his Chinese food (so wrong, I tell you) while Mommy entertains the baby. It rained. And rained. And rained. It stopped long enough for us to venture back out, me still trying to determine what to eat while Jon bought a corn dog.

It started pouring again.


So, we hid in the beef and swine show barn while it rained. And rained. And rained. Jon's tummy full, Amelia excited by the rain. Here she is, playing on the bleachers and watching the rain with her daddy, while I fumed that I was hungry.

It also rained long enough that Amelia got hungry. And so, I fed her, on the bleachers, in the beef and swine barn. Seriously. You can add this to my list of places I've breastfed my daughter: Olive Garden (right in the middle of the dining room), baseball game, bowling alley, sports bar, ice cream parlor. Don't freak out, I use a cover. Unfortunately, Amelia generally believes that we are playing peek-a-boo and attempts to whip it off her face when she's done eating.

Anyways, nursing was enough to relax her, and she fell asleep. I gently placed her in the stroller, and when the rain stopped, we left. Sans fair food. At that point I just wanted to get home and dry off. Avoiding the fair food also gave me a good excuse to have peanut butter mousse and a glass of cabernet for dinner last night. All in all, a good day at the fair.

** A side note: Yesterday a mommy blogger that posts for Baby Center quoted me in her article and also linked to my blog! I'm super excited as Baby Center is a pretty popular website in the pregnancy/baby/motherhood world. It's probably as close as I'll ever be to experiencing popularity or the life of a celebrity. Check it out here: The Dark Side of Lactivism by Evonne Lack.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fifth Anniversary

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary with my husband. I feel like this number is somewhat small and an unfair reflection of what we've been through together. Why?

Because we've been together for almost half our lives.

Oh. Maybe I shouldn't put it that way. Almost makes me feel old.

In any case, we started dating when we were 16. This November, we will have been together 14 years. On and off, that is. We aren't some super couple that have lasted consistently. Oh, no. Although I did tell him that I wanted to marry him when I was 18. Luckily we were not that foolish to tie the knot back then. Young marriages may work for some couples. We would have killed each other by now. Or maybe my family would have killed him. Either way. My persistence paid off though, and after almost nine years of dating, we got married.

Through those years we have survived several break ups, two engagements, his deployment to Kuwait, a wedding, two bachelor's degrees, one master's degree, deaths in the family, purchasing a home, new jobs, a new baby, and a job loss. Sometimes I want to spend every waking moment with him. Sometimes I want to choke the life out of him. I don't know why in wedding vows they don't just get right to the point and express it that way. For better or for worse is just so bland.

In any case, life with a baby, as well as limited funds, has shrunk down our celebration just a bit. No jetting off to some tropical island for a week or anything. Instead, we will be grilling burgers, having some adult beverages, and having a bonfire in our backyard. I wouldn't have it any other way. Who wouldn't want to spend a special day with these two?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mommy vs. Mommy

I've shared before that motherhood is definitely more difficult than I anticipated. While I knew that I would be fighting battles with my daughter at some point, I had no idea that they would start from the beginning. Hours of colicky crying, trying to get her to sleep at night, breastfeeding for hours on end, endless colds during the winter, thrush three times-- there have been many struggles already. These struggles had led me to reading many parenting theories and advice, mostly online. I've read countless articles, blog posts, and forums about the latest research, ideas, and opinions on anything from sleep to eating to schedules. This is what I've learned about parenting so far:

The biggest battle mommies face is each other.

Now, I'm sure to some degree that this battle is a little more bold and colorful online because much like cyberbullying, these ladies can hide behind the anonymity that the internet provides. I guess this makes them mommy cyberbullies. However, even in person, moms are not bashful about letting you know how you should be parenting your child, as if there is some kind of manual that you've missed out on along the way.

It's taken me many months to learn that Amelia is not like any other child because no two children are the same. That sounds pretty basic and maybe silly, but when so many people are handing out advice, you start to wonder if you are doing something wrong. Together we are figuring out what works best. Even though I thought she would be a crib sleeping baby on a rigid schedule, we pretty much fly by the seat of our pants and co-sleep part time. It works for us. I would not point my finger at someone else and say "You should NEVER let your baby cry it out! I do such-and-such with Amelia and look how perfect she is!" She's not perfect and neither am I.

Apparently, perfect parents do exist though, and they are sharing their advice all over the internet world. As evidenced in this mommy's post about her struggles with sleep training.

For those of you who don't have time to read the article, basically she is trying cry it out (CIO) with her baby. If you really want to experience some strong parenting opinions, search for CIO or co-sleeping on the internet. Or, read the comments in the above article. I particularly am fascinated with these:

"You are horrible. I am sad for your children. Lazy parents are the worst."

"...Even so I just wanted to let you that even on social networks and everywhere you are being portrayed as an evil mother that lets her child cry for hours on end. I’d be concerned about someone possibly calling child protective services…"

"I have been a big fan of yours for a long time. Not anymore :~( Leaving babies to cry it out, all alone, at such a young age is unnatural and awful. I don’t want to be a flamer but it breaks my heart. I’ve done a considerable amount of research into this as I am currently writing a book about peaceful sleep. The thought of all those babies out there crying themselves to sleep because some self proclaimed guru presumes to tell mothers to act in a way that goes violently against their instincts makes me so angry. Sleep training is bad."

"I do feel the need to tell all of you attachment parents that you folks are crazy! You are breeding kids with no ability to be independent and this is a detrement to their social health! By the way, there comes a time when sleeping with your kids is no longer appropriate, and maybe someone should call social services on you."

I assume these moms are rich, as they have determined the best way to parent and must be writing books and making millions.

Also, please note how one mom says children's services should be contacted for using CIO (which is completely different from leaving your child in the crib night and day-- just thought I should point that out before someone suggests that I'm saying neglect is OK) and another says that children's services should be called for sleeping with your kids. Calling the mom 'lazy' really got me too-- there is nothing more excruciating for me than to hear Amelia scream and cry, and it is obvious to me that the author of this post feels the same.

I left a couple of comments for this mommy myself, the first being supportive and the second being sarcastic (what else would you expect from me?) towards the mommies that suggested protective services be contacted dependent on which sleep theory you follow. It was difficult for me not to defend my choice to co-sleep, but much like engaging in a battle with your children, a battle with other mommies is a waste of energy.

My point to my long rant is this: Mommyhood is hard. We all have different tactics as we raise our children. Hug the moms you know, provide encouragement and support, and remember that we are all doing the best we can to bring up healthy, happy kids-- even if it's not the way you would do it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

First Day of August: Amateur Updates

Being gone all weekend visiting with family has put me behind on everything, but it was definitely worth it. We went to visit my grandparents and had a terrific time. Amelia did pretty good overall and we enjoyed seeing family and getting out of town for a bit. We followed up this visit with a quick trip to my in-laws Sunday night. However, now my brain is somewhat stuck, turning over and over in my mind what I need to get done: an oil change for my car, give Amelia her bath, apply to two jobs for unemployment (sigh), clean the house, unpack, get groceries, plan dinners for the week, go for a run-- I don't even know where to start. And I certainly can't pick one theme for my post today. So I'll just review everything.

  • The Day of Doom went better-- way better-- than I thought it would. The laughing gas and ipod really did the trick and post root canal I only had to take some motrin once that evening. I still need a cleaning, some cavities to be filled, and the fixed tooth needs to be crowned, but since I tore threw my yearly insurance money, I have to wait till I switch to Jon's insurance in September. I'm happy that I've found a good dentist, though, especially one that is willing to give me nitrous oxide even just for cavities filled. Clearly, he takes my anxiety seriously. Maybe because I almost passed out while he was doing my novocaine shots. Hey, when I said I have anxiety issues, I wasn't kidding.
  • Amelia still has one lonely tooth and has not chomped me further. She must have taken my threats of switching her to formula seriously. Meanwhile, she is working at mobility but has too much genetic impatience to really perfect crawling. She mostly plants her face into the carpet after wiggling her butt around, and then starts whining and grunting. This is her "pick me up, damn it, so I can practice walking" sound. She can also roll across our bed in about five seconds so this is no longer a safe place for her unless I'm two feet away from her. Even then, it's questionable.
  • My attempts to lessen our grocery bill while also buying more locally grown food is going well, I think. Jon is really making a good effort to pack his lunch rather than buy fast food (GAG) every day. I think our weekly grocery bill is less than it was a month or two ago. If nothing else I'm happy that I didn't buy a pound of peanut butter mousse and a candy bar on our trip to Meijer today.
  • I'm further pushed to improve my health habits by two things 1) my friend is running a 5 mile race in 3 weeks, and I'm toying with the idea of running it with her and her family. I've never run 5 miles in my life, even pre-baby and minus 25 pounds, so part of me is certain that I'm crazy. Another part of me knows that I can do this, and should do this, for multiple reasons. I ran 3.6 miles today, so that's a start. 2) I'm reading The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. I'm enjoying it so much that I've zipped through it in almost less than a week, which is saying a lot when I'm concurrently keeping track of a nine month old. I'm finding it to be very inspiring, not just because it discusses a healthier way of eating, but also a healthier way of living. An added bonus: The librarian looked at me like I'm a pervert when she checked my book out for me. It's about farming lady, read the subtitle!