Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Big Surprise

No, I'm not pregnant, so if you read the title and that was your guess, sorry to disappoint!

Yesterday was one of those days where everything grated on my nerves. The day started with Amelia waking up at 4 a.m. and unable to fall back to sleep. Luckily I was able to rearrange my day by starting work by 5:30 so I could nap when she got tired at 8:30 a.m. When I woke up, I felt better and thought the day would improve.

It did. But not for, oh, seven more hours.

Jon and I could not communicate on any kind of civil or understandable level. You know those conversations where neither of you can say anything right? Yeah, it was like that. Then, this happened:
Long story short, the state bought a sliver of land from us to widen the curved road in front of our house. They were supposed to take down a tree, but apparently the tree fell the wrong way and knocked down the limbs on the tree above. I was not in the mood for this and walked out on to the porch to glare at the workers.

Luckily, I have a silly little girl who is pretty good at brightening my mood:

I got through the rest of the day of work with no big plans for the evening. Jon had mentioned he had a potential surprise for me, but after our bickering in the morning, I asked him not to do anything special for me.

He didn't listen, and I'm glad. This was the surprise:
My own kayak! I'm so excited! Jon bought his own with his Christmas money, and although I was planning on getting own with some of our tax refund, I had started to decide against it. I rationalized that we have too many bills, too many things that need repair, all of those boring adult things. Apparently he had found it for sale online a couple months ago, and he had planned on it being my Valentine's Day gift. It took a while to be shipped for some reason, though, hence me getting it now. It couldn't have happened on a better day.

Some girls prefer diamonds, and those are nice. But I prefer kayaks :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Big Developments

A lot of big things have been happening in our home related to Amelia's development. The first has been her learning to say NO.
Initially, it seemed pretty useful. I attempted to hand her an apple slice, and she shook her head vigorously, saying ‘No, no, no!’ Wow, I thought. How nice is that? Now I’ll know for sure when she’s full.
It wasn’t even two days later that we were leaving the gym, and I said, as I do every day, “Time to go bye-bye, walk with Mama!” Instead, my peanut ran off in the other direction towards the heavy weight area, yelling “NO, NO, NO! BAAAALLLL….” with her arms outstretched towards the exercise balls. My mouth dropped as I said “Don’t you tell me no!” and grabbed her little wrist. You can imagine how enthused she was about this maneuver.
Frankly, in my mind I thought “Who in the hell do you think you are kid?!? You’re about twenty pounds, if I really want to, I’ll just toss you over my shoulder and put you where I want!” Then I thought, "Oh, great, here comes what everyone has been warning me about. The fierce toddler urge to be independent."
I knew it was coming at some point, but Amelia has reached such a nice point in her development and temperment. She can do things by herself, but there are no tantrums when I tell her the opposite of what she wants to hear. A week or two of her being able to disagree with me, and I can say it hasn't yet blown up into a constant NO fest.
The second big development has been this:
My big girl is finally starting to fall asleep on her own. In our house, this is HUGE news. Amelia has always been a cuddler and pretty dependent on Mama to go to sleep. In the early days she nursed to sleep, and she has NEVER been a fan of her crib. Even when she would be solidly out, I would lay her down in her crib and fourty five minutes she would be wailing away. At some point, I surrendered to co-sleeping, much to the disappointment and cringing of many friends and family. I had to make a choice for myself and Amelia. What would get us the most sleep and the least amount of frustration so I could enjoy her early days? Co-sleeping was the answer, but as someone who is not very assertive, it has been hard for me to constantly justify this parenting choice to others. I finally have gotten to the point where I simply say "We are doing what we feel is right for our family."

I'm not going to lie though. There have been times where I have been truly concerned that Amelia would be in school before she would sleep on her own. Frankly, I don't see what difference it makes, as long as we are all getting sleep, but I also knew that I wouldn't be able to defend my sleeping choice for that long.

Part of me knew it was coming. She had stopped needing to be rocked a couple months ago and had wanted to just be cuddled in my lap. Then about a week ago she went to our bed and said "UP!", so I put her in and laid with her. Rather than snuggling me back, she thrashed back and forth for ten minutes until she passed out. A few days ago, we were approaching her nap time when I saw her climb into her toddler rocking chair and try to curl up in it. Since it is only big enough to sit in, it didn't work out all too well, and she immediately announced "STUCK!" and started whining. Since it appeared that she was trying to curl up for nap time, I figured that it was worth a shot and laid her down on the couch where she usually naps. Five minutes later, she was asleep.

I'm pretty sure that my family thinks I'm crazy, but this sleep development has been as emotional for me as when she finally learned to walk. It's hard to explain, but I think a lot of it is it just seems like a very 'big girl' thing for her to be doing. For nearly a year and a half, I've been nursing, rocking, or cuddling my peanut to sleep. Now she is going to sleep all on her own. It's really a very big deal in our house and this morning as I cuddled her in the wee hours, I enjoyed every moment, as if I were trying to soak in her snuggly love.

So now, as I dry my eyes due to my crying over this AGAIN, I leave you with a few recent pictures of my big girl:

Drawing at the library

Chillin' in her OSU onesie at my grandparents this weekend-- Go Bucks! :)

Picking dandelions with her Great Uncle Eric

Making a mess!
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Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Weekend Recap

Happy Monday after St. Patty's Day! I hope you are all over your hangovers and ready for the official start of spring. We have had very warm weather where we live and it pretty much feels like early summer. I think this is going to be disastrous later this summer when we are all sweltering in 110 degree heat, but since I have no control over the matter (wouldn't that be nice if you could control the climate just in your own yard?), we have been taking advantage of the warmth. For St. Patrick's Day, we spent the evening outside grilling and I got some sidewalk chalk out for Amelia:
Quite the artist, as you can see. This is the first day that she has been feeling confident enough to walk around in our driveway and yard without holding my hand (she has no desire to trip and fall over any large rocks or bumps in the lawn) and it gave me first glimpse of how much laundry I will be doing this summer.

The warm weather has also inspired me to do some spring cleaning, so I spent a lot of time boxing up clothes that don't fit Amelia and I, dusting, packing up baby stuff that is no longer used, and other miscellaneous tasks around the house. It was great to wake up this morning to a sparkling clean house. Now the challenge is to keep it this way! Meanwhile, Amelia followed me around with her toys 'helping' me. Her new fascination is push and pull toys that she can use while running around the house:
All of this 'work' really got her appetite going. I shared during my last post that she has learned how to say 'more'. As a big eater, this has really come in handy for her:
I'm in big trouble when she figures out how to open the refrigerator by herself, I think.

Finally, we ended the weekend by spending time at my parent's house. It was another nice day outside, so her grammy got out the bubbles and wagon so she could have fun in the yard. Of course, no St. Patrick's Day would be complete without a present from Grammy and Papa:
It's funny, I don't recall St. Patrick's Day being a gift giving holiday, particularly one where 5 foot stuffed bears are exchanged. Interesting how grandparents can make any occasion a time for spoiling little ones :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Joyful Days

For the last two nights, as Amelia has passed out in my arms, I've looked at Jon and said:

"Can't we just keep her this little forever?"

Both times he has shook his head and told me no. Boys, you can never get them to play along when you need them to.

She has reached this sweet age where she still loves to cuddle me, but can walk across the parking lot while holding my hand and can tell me when she needs many things. She has not yet reached tantrum age, is silly and happy most of the day, and seems to learn new words every day. Yesterday, it was 'more':
This was taken at the park, where we decided to celebrate the warm weather with sandwiches eaten on a picnic bench, followed by play time on the jungle gym equipment and a stroll through the grass:
There is no other way that I would have rather spent my evening. Apparently Amelia was pretty excited about it too, because although I assumed all of the activity would inspire her to fall asleep on the drive home, she stayed awake. When we arrived home, she ran all over the house shrieking.

This is another reason to love parenthood-- you always have reminders that it's the simple things in life that we should get pure joy from. Things like loving on your dog:

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Safety First

I've mentioned before, Amelia is one cautious girl. I've been reflecting this week on how just about everyone and their brother told me when she started walking "Oh, you're in for it now!", as if motherhood would be so much harder. I have to say that at least at this point, things have pretty much gotten easier. We have yet to see any tantrums, and she likes to stay by me (so far) when we are out and about. I never buckle her into the shopping cart, but Daddy was in charge one day last week and buckled her in when they went to pick up a few groceries. Therefore, last night when we were at the library (yes, they have carts at my library, isn't that awesome???), she decided that Mommy was being too much of a risk taker and attempted to buckle herself in:
Because she is so cautious, our baby proofing has been pretty minimal. There are plugs in the outlets, latches on many cabinets, and we have her gated out of the kitchen much of the time to prevent her from falling on the hard floor. Also, we are big procrastinators and baby-proofed as the situations came about. Baby tries to stick her fingers in the outlets? Plug them up. Baby attempting to drink bleach? Latches on the door.

No, no, I'm kidding, she didn't really try to drink bleach. We actually put latches on the doors so she'd stop whipping my plastic containers all over the place while I'm cooking.

Finally, today, at 16 months of age, she became brave enough to conquer our stairs:
I think this is pretty funny considering that I have friends who have sons that ventured up the stairs at ten months old.

Even funnier? She got almost to the top (I was right behind her, I'm not completely neglectful, people), lost her nerve, and said "STUCK!" because she was too nervous about climbing back down.

A few hours later, she tripped over a book and fell against her exersaucer (which I've been meaning to move since she doesn't use it anymore), resulting in this:

I know, you can barely see it, but still, it's her first boo boo. I almost smile when I see it because it seems like a milestone to me. I mean, she's been walking for a month and this is her first scrape or bruise. I just hope she doesn't play catch up later and break major bones or anything. It makes me queazy just to think about.

Despite today's bumps and bruises, she still has it in her to be my silly little peanut:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Just Ten Minutes...

For the past two days I have been at a conference for work. It was a bit slow, long, and man, oh man, did I forget how hard it is to be in chair listening to a speaker all day. I kept thinking, how in the world did I survive seven years of college?!? Today I am with Amelia all day long while Jon works and then goes to a gun expo. I desperately want to sit on my butt all day, doing nothing. Then I realized, that's not what I really want to do but instead is how I feel after enduring a lot of stress lately. Because I feel emotionally drained and can't escape to the gym, the couch has been calling to me... "Amanda.... come sit on me... watch mindless TV.... eat thin mints all day..."

Alas, some part of my brain objected. Perhaps because my house looks like this:

Perhaps the area that most makes me frustrated is that middle picture of my laundry. I hate laundry. It rarely gets put away. It was supposed to be my New Year's resolution but instead it continues to be one of my unresolved housekeeping issues. Sometimes I watch Hoarders to make myself feel better but mostly I am disappointed at my inability to keep our bedroom from looking like an unkempt clearnance rack.

The pack and play, on the other hand, is something that just plain needs to go. I am clearly using it as an oversized hamper. Amelia doesn't fit on the changing part of it anymore, and Jon wants to move the crib downstairs to put in that spot in an attempt to get Amelia to sleep by herself.

Thinking about all those pictures above about made me go into a procrastinator's slump. How can I clean all this up?!? And of course, I think of how I work all week and that I want to relax, but that exact thought is why my house looks like this. I think that thought all weekend, and then by Monday, I've run out of time and made no progress with cleaning.

One thing that stuck with me from my conference was this tip on time management-- any task that you want to procrastinate on, just tell yourself to do it for ten minutes, and then you can stop. It sounded like pretty good advice, so at 9:45 a.m. I got to work and by 11:00 a.m. I was able to take these pic's:

I still have the laundry mountain to work on, but I'm pretty proud of myself for getting all this done. I also cleaned up the kitchen counters and threw a load of dirty clothes into the washer. When Amelia gets up from her nap I'm going to sanitize the pack and play and put it away. I feel much better now that I've accomplished a few household tasks this weekend.

And it only took just a little longer than ten minutes :)