Christmas 2016

Not gonna lie…Christmas is exhausting.  It’s like a giant shit show of presents, sugar, whining, giant toys, food, and no sleep. On Christmas Eve Eve I’m all ‘YAY CHRISTMAS SO FUN!’ …then by mid-afternoon of Christmas Day I’m done. Just tired of  parenting and being off schedule and sleeping in the same room as my kids.


Nevertheless we are fortunate to finally live within driving distance of my family and for that I am grateful.  Being with family over the Holidays is usually worth the exhaustion in the end. For all the hard and frustrating times we have while traveling with the kids, the fun moments tend to make it worth it.

We had “Santa” come on Wednesday night since we planned to leave Friday and didn’t want to drag all the crap up to Nebraska. Plus this gave the kids a full day to play with their new fun stuff while they were home on Thursday (aka made my day easier).


Then on Friday morning we opened the rest of our family gifts before hitting the road. Lance got Jack this giant Thomas track jump thing (without telling me) and it currently takes up half the basement…so that’s fun. I have strong feelings about toys that can not be easily stored away. Probably why Lance “forgot” to mention it. 



The trip up to Fremont was pretty uneventful (minus the dude with a gun on I29 causing it to shut down for a while delaying our leave time a bit) but confirmed the need for a van.  I can’t stand having to constantly turn around and pick up crap, give Allison her paci, get food for Jack, etc…drives me bonkers!!  I need SPACE!  and sliding doors!  and cup holders!

We went to my Dad’s house for lunch on Christmas Eve, and then spent the rest of the time at my Mom’s house with her 20 trees. Christmas decorations have never been lacking in her house.




The kids were overtired crank-fests by 5pm so we skipped church and Christmas light viewing and let them open gifts before the adults (we do Christmas Eve gift opening) so we could get them to bed before the meltdowns began.

Then we opened our gifts, drank wine, and played a million rounds of Catch Phrase.

We had a delicious dinner at my Aunt and Uncles house in Omaha on Christmas Day and played the game of logos…or something…I don’t know I spent most of the game time trying to get Allison to nap. The few minutes I played I was terrible…brands are apparently not my thing.


At least Allison rocked her buffalo check headband from the Splendid Bow Shop!

We had planned to stay one final night at my Mom’s before heading back, but after spending two hours trying to get the kids to sleep we surrendered and threw them and all the crap in the Rav and headed back to KC. They slept the entire way (thank god) and we got to listen to the Chiefs win…so not a total waste!

All in all it was a great Christmas. Holidays with kids are fun but also a ton of work…you don’t get to relax really…it’s nonstop parenting.  The holiday hangover hasn’t been too bad now that we are back to work/daycare and on schedule.  Of course we have a 4-day weekend coming up for New Years so wish me luck!

Or send wine.

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Jack at 4yrs

I feel like this blog has been very Allison heavy as of late…that little girl showed up and stole my heart what can I say.  However big brother is turning 4 tomorrow and he deserves a little love too!

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This last year has been defined by adding little Allison to our family, but it was also a year of huge growth and development for this kid.  When I think about how much he has changed over the past year my mind is blown away.  3 to 4 is definitely a big year and I feel like the ultimate transition from toddler to little kid.  Here are some random things I don’t want to forget about this past year and my number one man.

  • Jack can identify all the NFL football and MLB baseball teams….and will even remember who played who randomly.  He has also learned a bunch of NASCAR drivers and is obsessed with the little NASCAR cars you can buy (not cheap!) and pretends to race them around.  He even does pit stops.  I don’t know where this kid gets it.  We don’t even watch NASCAR (we tape races now so he can) so I’m always surprised when he talks about a driver I’ve never heard of and proceeds to tell me about their car.
  • He can write his name. This is amazing to me considering last year at this time all he could do was scribble and had no clue how to properly hold a pencil/pen/marker.  Now this kid is tracing letters and always asking how things are spelled so he can practice writing them…he loves writing his name and his daycare friends’ names.
  • He is oddly interested in the weather.  I don’t know where he gets that (maybe b/c both his parents are meteorologists?!)…but he loves watching the weather report and naming off the different temps and letting us know that on Sunday it will be sunny.  When it storms he asks to see the “radio” on our phones….aka the radar.  For some reason he thinks it is going to snow next Tuesday…clearly his forecasting skills aren’t nailed down yet.
  • He uses the words poop/toot/fart way more than I’d like.  When we say prayers and sing songs at night he likes to exchange words with toot and poop…so I mean at least he is creative right?  He gets mad if I say “A-men” instead of “A-toot”.  I assume God gets it.
  • Speaking of said  “bathroom” words…it took us MONTHS to get this kid to go #2 in the potty. #1 was relatively quick and painless.  I should do an entire post dedicated to our potty training woes…but imagine all the possible things that can go wrong…and they did.  When we thought we were getting there…he would flip the table and then hold things for almost a week.  We had some VERY miserable weekends.  When you are buying economy size Miralax….you know shit has (or in this case hasn’t…ha) hit the fan.  Then…after a rough trip to North Dakota…he got it.  I think I maybe cried a little.  So it took about 9 months from start to finish.  God please let sister get it faster…PLEASE!!!
  • Sports are his jam and he loves to play catch with the football, and hit the baseball in the backyard.  He prefers it when his Dad pitches…he told me the other day  he shouldn’t play baseball with me because I’m not very good.  Thanks kid.

I know there’s a million other things about this kid I want to bottle up and never forget…but then this would never end.  He can push my buttons more than anyone and constantly tests my patience…but then out of nowhere he can be the sweetest kid.

He is a handful no doubt and I think for me this past year has been a lesson in patience.  Trying to stay calm and not overreact to every little thing.  It’s tough.  This age has not been easy.  So many more arguments and straight up defiance.  I’m often left feeling like I failed and I have no idea what I’m doing in this whole parenting gig.

Then there are times when he is so sweet to his sister and will get her a toy to play with, or push her around in her cozy coup and my heart just melts.  I know she adores him…but I’m never quite sure how he feels about her.  I can see the beginnings of a strong relationship there…and I look forward to seeing how it blossoms as they continue to grow.

So Happy Birthday to my Jack-y Jack…my little stubborn readheaded ball of energy.  You are loved more than you will ever know!

 

A Day in the Life (Part 1: A Work Day)

I’ve been wanting to do one of these posts since Jack was born…when every week seemed different…as a way to chronicle it all and compare in the future.  Obviously that didn’t happen…but that doesn’t mean I can’t jump on the wagon now!  I always love reading these from other bloggers to get an idea of how similar/dissimilar our lives are…kids vs no kids…SAHM vs WOHM…I tend to find mundane details interesting…like when people wake up and what they watch on TV.  So here’s hoping you all feel the same…otherwise this will be extremely boring.

So it’s no secret that I work full time in addition to being a Mom full time…which is a mix of good and bad.  Working is a choice I make and after going to school for 6 1/2 years (and STILL paying for it) well I don’t take my degree lightly…I put it to work (literally) and like the daily challenge that it brings.  So here is a “typical” working day (a Wednesday a couple weeks ago) in my life.  (Part 2 will be an At Home day with Jack…which looks totally different!)

5:10am

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Now that Jack generally sleeps past the 5am mark (knock on wood) I’ve started to sllooooowwwllly get back into working out in the mornings…because let’s be honest if I don’t do it first thing in the AM then it’s not happening.  Lance and I alternate days (just in case jack does happen to wake up before 6) so Mon and Wed are my days.   It’s not easy…I find any and every excuse not to get up but recently the reality of “not breastfeeding anymore = weight gain from eating one chip” has set in.  So to the basement I go…

5:20am

DipticShaun-T FTW!!  I loved Insanity pre-pregs…so when we discovered T25 we jumped on it…25mins is perfect for our current life and fits nicely during naps too (if i MUST use such precious minutes this way!).  Also Tonya is back…for all you Insanity folk…and she does modified moves which is nice because my post c-section bod does not love doing pushups in every form imaginable.

6:20am

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Jack starts waking up just as I’m getting out of the shower…I quickly throw some clothes on and head to the kitchen to see what food Jack may or may not eat for breakfast and how many meltdowns this will involve.  Luckily Dad is on the case already.  Lance also has breakfast ready for me (scrambled eggs and toast is typical) so I eat while I prep Jack’s breakfast and get our bags packed for the day.  I make our lunches the night before so it’s all ready to go just needs to be put in bags, etc.  I find even though I HATE doing this the night before it helps the mornings go MUCH smoother.

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Oh and just because I think this is insanely cute…in the above picture Jack is trying to put bibs on his stuffed puppy.  You guys…this all started because one morning I was trying to avoid a meltdown and quickly grabbed a nearby bib and put it on his new puppy.  He did not forget…because every day since we have to put bibs on puppy.  Toddlers are crazy…and smart.

6:30am

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Time for Dad to head out to work!  This is Jack running and saying “byyyyyyyyyyye”

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Jack will refuse to sit and eat most mornings…so we just let him run around and eat in between while we try and get ready ourselves.  Not perfect but it’s life.  In the meantime I rush back to dry/straighten my hair and throw on minimal make-up…I’ve got this whole process down to about 10mins…granted most days i look like crap.

6:40am

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And now the real dressing battle begins…Jack’s turn.  Obviously he knew something was up and decided to put on a show and quietly look at his book while I dressed him.

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Dressed in record time and with zero fighting…seriously…this is NOT my child.  I’m not sure who he’s trying to impress.

6:55am

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It pays off because we’re out of the house before 7!!!!  This is rare but on mornings when things go smoothly it does happen!  Hooray for no meltdowns this morning!!

7:05am

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Arrived at daycare and drop off goes smoothly.

7:15am

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Back in the car and ready for the commute to work…and COFFEE!!

7:45am

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Made it to my office.  I work on a college campus…in an old building on the 6th floor…no bells and whistles here!  Just constantly praying we don’t have that catastrophic earthquake we’re overdue for anytime soon.  Usually when I get in the first thing I do is check email, figure out a game plan for what I need to get done that day…check on progress of processes I started the day before, etc.  My day to day is different and depends on whatever project(s) we are focused on…ie. whatever proposal/grad student thesis/conference/publication deadline we have breathing down our necks.  Hooray for science research and fighting for government money!

11:30am

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Once a week we have a group meeting.  (Our group consists of a couple research staff (me), one post-doc, and about 5 graduate students working on their Masters or Phd)  Each week someone presents an interesting and current article relating to our research…and this week it just happened to be my turn!  So here I am trying to put the finishing touches on my presentation.  It was quite thrilling…that is if ice nuclei creation in long lived supercooled clouds is something that thrills you.

3:30pm

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Post talk snack…and planning out next task.

5:20pm

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Heading home…the WORST part of my day.  The U is shoved up next to the foothills which makes for a traffic nightmare every night.  There’s literally like one 2 lane road to get ALL THE PEOPLE out.  This is why I LOVE spring break, fall break, Christmas break…and summer…because getting rid of the kids creates a much smoother commute home.  I’m an old curmudgeon and college kids are the worst.  This day’s commute was made slightly better thanks to a Bill Simmons podcast with Lena Dunham.

6:10pm

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HOORAY I’M HOME!!  This little guy was happy to see me and posed for the rare selfie with me.

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In fact we got 2!  Now that we got our hellos out of the way I run faster than a speeding bullet to the bedroom to get my sweatpants on.  Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this w/in minutes of walking in the door.  Like i CAN NOT BE BOTHERED by anything until my sweatpants are on and my bra is off.  Lance is one lucky guy.

6:15pm

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Lance will usually have dinner ready to go and Jack fed by the time I get home…so we eat quick and then if I’m lucky Jack and I will sneak in some playtime before he has to head to bed.  He got a shiner at daycare this day (see his right eye) but his mood was great!  So we got about 10mins of “fun time” before starting the bedtime routine.

6:30pm

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Jack and I read a couple books (of his choosing..Go Dogs Go is a current fave…the one above is a random he dug out of the toy bin).  Then it’s prayers and into the crib!  Most nights he will go down without a fight.  We do have the occasional meltdown when he doesn’t want to stop playing…but overall it seems to work great for us.

7:00pm

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I start cleaning up the kitchen, do the dishes, and get Jack’s lunch and my lunch ready for the next day.  We have to provide all the food for Jack’s daycare and they request we don’t bring anything that needs heated…so he gets a lot of PB&J’s.  I also have a bad habit of snacking during this time…but omg are these pb pretzel chips good.  DO NOT BUY THEM.

7:50pm

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After getting things prepped for the next day I finally get to sit down and relax!  Woo!  I decide to upload pics for this post using the ipad…granted I won’t actually write this post for 2 more weeks but hey at least I got an early start!  Lance and I chat and catch up on TV or whatever we’re feeling that night.

8:30pm

Nothing worth watching on TV so I head to bed a bit early to read a bit.  Working on the last of the Divergent trilogy (Allegiant).  (Finished it a week or so ago…actually didn’t mind how it ended considering I didn’t like the book as a whole that much…the first and second ones were much better I thought.  Excited for the Divergent movie though…I sorta love Shailene Woodley)

9:00pm

Lights out and I’m pretty sure I fall asleep within minutes.

So yes there you go…a typical work day for me.  As you can probably tell on days  I work I have very little time with Jack…which sucks.  But I also only work 4 days a week so I get 3 full days with him and I think that makes up for it.  The busiest parts of my day are between 6-7 (both am&pm).  Life is usually pretty hectic and nuts and all over the place during those hours.  I know that this schedule will only change as Jack gets older and our family grows…so I’m glad I was able to document it at THIS time.

I hope to do another post on a day at home with Jack soon…so stay tuned!!

1 Year

A year ago today we met Jack.

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This past year has been the hardest of my life.  They say a mother’s love for her son is something fierce…and I get it now.  Although it took a little longer for me to develop that real strong bond with him…the love and joy he brings to my heart now grows at an exponential rate.  It’s indescribable the way his little looks make me feel…and when he tucks his head just so on my shoulder I want to stop time and never move from that moment.

Turns out…I’m not a baby person.  The 6 months mark was right around the time Jack’s personality really started to show…he became such a cool kid.  Being a Mom became fun…not just work.  Still hard yes (oh man is it still hard!) but fun too…enjoyable.  The last couple months have been even better.  We wrestle around on the floor.  We sing and yell.  We dance.  We chase each other.  We laugh.

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Jack is Me in miniature form.  (and a boy..duh)  He has that spitfire redhead personality.  Lance evens us out…and one can only hope our next child is more like him…calm, relaxed, chill…or else he might have to move out.

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Jack’s favorite things right now are (in no particular order):

blue blankie (although this is probably the top one)

Me…obviously (ok and Dad too)

pushing ALL THE THINGS around the house (his clothes basket being his first choice…activity table a close second)

The dishwasher…well actually the silverware in the dishwasher

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Strawberries, grapes, and mac-n-cheese.

Pairs of things…and crawling with one in each hand.  (ie., pan lids, blocks, cups, socks, toy cars…)

Piles of magazines stacked on side tables…that he can one by one throw off and rip up.

Jack’s least favorite things right now:

Diaper changes and getting dressed/undressed.  (so dramatic!)

Taking naps

the Stroller (actually he has NEVER liked this)

Sitting in the cart at Target (only wants to stand and throw stuff around…makes for tricky shopping)

Veggies

 

He doesn’t walk on his own yet…but he seems to be getting more steady and braver by the day.  He’ll get this look on his face like he wants to walk from one point to the next…but then he’ll drop down and crawl.  He is getting a lot better at standing on his own.  All these skills I feel like have gotten stronger over such a short period of time.  When he first started pulling up he was so wobbly and unbalanced…it’s amazing how quickly they change.  I still gasp a little when I see him standing independently.

I think our nursing days are over.  We had slowly gone down to just morning and night sessions…which i loved.  Then that turned into just morning sessions…and then the other day he refused…and my boobs didn’t mind.  So yeah…I think it’s over.  Man…breastfeeding was SO MUCH MORE than I thought it would be.  More work, more pain, more exhausting, more emotional…just all of it…MORE.  But it was good…at times very good…and worth it.  Oh so worth it.

Although that barely scratches the surface of the past 6+ months…it’s what’s on my mind now.  I wish I had updated here more often…but such is life.  I hope to drop in from time to time still…if anyone is still reading.

So with that…Happy Birthday handsome little man…I love you more than you’ll ever know.  You are my happy.

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On Motherhood

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I love this picture.  I look happily in love and glowing as a new Mom with my almost 3 week old little boy…which is exactly how I want to remember that time.

But what the picture doesn’t tell you is that I was also suffering from my first case of mastitis, uncomfortably squeezed into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, deliriously tired, and feeling guilty that my baby was not  blissfully sleeping through his newborn shoot but instead screaming (look closely).  It’s a good thing we have professionals to take pictures that paint a different story than reality…the one we want to reflect on and remember as the truth.

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A friend of mine recently had a baby and jokingly (honestly?) pokes at me for not telling her exactly how hard it would be in those early weeks.  Hard doesn’t even come close.  Everyone and their aunt Sally will tell you it’s “hard”…but no one can actually explain it in a way you will ever be able to comprehend until you’re living it.  But how can you expect them to?  I came across this article via another blogger and it really resonated with me.  (if you’re a new Mom…or even considering the idea of ever becoming a Mom I suggest you read it…then read it again at some point during those first weeks….and then read it again…)  Our minds have this amazing way of working…or maybe it’s just the magic of sleep deprivation…that the early months of new motherhood slowly turn into a fog…and what’s left is a montage of fond memories.  We slowly forget…or maybe just gloss over…the bad…and focus solely on the good.

IMG_6823 copyIt took me a while to start writing in Jack’s baby book about the early months…because I was terrified of what I might write.  In hindsight I wish I had written it down somewhere and kept it for me personally just so when #2 comes around I can reassure myself that I am not crazy and my feelings are totally ok.  Even now at 9 months in…and what feels like a lifetime away from those early days…I still feel a small shutter of terror and anxiety with the thought of ever caring for a newborn again.  Yes my controlling, change-hating, stress-ball personality may also play a role.  The thing about babies is they can teach you a lot about yourself…or more realistically force you to acknowledge things about yourself you stubbornly don’t want to admit.

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Even now the fogginess has already begun to set in.  The relationship with my son blossoms on a daily basis…and I no longer think of him as an angry blob who only wants my boobs…but instead the funniest, cutest, sweetest, ( and on and on and on…) little redheaded kid I know.  Lord help the woman who wants to marry him someday.

It took me a while to accept that life would not go back to normal….THIS…life with Jack…is our “new normal”.  Some things will never be the same as they were pre-baby.  Seems simple enough…but it was (and continues to be) a hard adjustment to accept.  Although I’m getting more comfortable in my roll as a Mom… I may never feel fully confident.  But I think that’s ok.

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As Jack grows older, and I learn more and more about him and myself…we make our montage of those early days that much more beautiful.

Photos by the wonderful Jylare Smith.

Jack 4-6+ months

Jack is over half a year old.  How did that happen?!  I meant to update sooner but there’s this thing called work I have to go to…oh and then I also have to take care of a small human who hates to sleep during the day.  So yeah…when I do get some time to myself I usually opt to just sit and stare at the TV and zone out with a glass of wine instead of doing more important things….like cleaning and shaving my legs.  Such is life.

So the past 3 months have been pretty great overall.  Each week day Jack seems to change and develop more into a tiny little person right before my eyes….it’s amazing and so so fun to watch.  This past month has probably been my favorite thus far.  The newborn phase is cool for like a week…then I’ll take this age please.  Jack is so aware of everything around him and it is so fun to watch him explore with all his senses.

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The “big” story at 4 months was Jack starting daycare as I headed back to work full time.  No I haven’t been sobbing at my desk.  I still get Friday at home with Jack (Lance has Mondays) so really he’s only there 3 days out of the week…and somehow I think he wishes he was there EVERY DAY.  The kid loves it and the nursery ladies love him too…and every time I’ve picked him up he’s been just happy as a clam.  So that is a huge plus and makes going to work so much easier knowing he is in good hands.  The 4 days I do work are long though and I am usually racing to get home in time to put him to bed…which means I barely get 20mins of interaction with him on days I don’t pick  him up from daycare.

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The other big story from 4 months (and continues to be…) is SLEEP.  Yep..the never ending battle.  Some days I swear I spend more time trying to get this little bugger to sleep then he actually sleeps.  To say it’s exhausting is an understatement.  As much as I hate to admit it…we’ve done a LOT of CIO in this house.  It’s not fun…but those of you that have been there know that sometimes it’s the only option left.  You know…unless I want to re-insert a pacifier every hour all night long and co-sleep till he’s 30.

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We started with Ferber…then moved onto extinction…because it just wasn’t working.  Some nights it would…other nights it wouldn’t.  No “3 nights and it’s AMAZING SLEEP FOR EVERYONE” around here.  Then you throw in teething, wonder weeks, colds, and every other excuse in the book and here we are at 6 months and I still don’t feel like we’ve got it figured out.  He goes through phases of being easy to put down…to absolutely fighting it like a madman (45min+ screaming sessions)  Night wakings are tough too…some nights he’ll just fuss a little and put himself back to sleep…and some nights he’ll cry for an hour until I finally give in and give him the boob to put him back to sleep.  If we can make it from 7pm-4am w/out any issues/feedings…I consider it a good night the most amazing night ever.  If you try and give me advice I’ll punch you…I’ve heard it all.  We’ll get there…Jack just likes to do things at his own pace.   I’m slightly bitter toward people that have babies that sleep awesome from the get-go.  I just assume they’re lying to make myself feel better.

Oh and “naps”…haha.  30-45mins is the usual around here…3 times a day if we’re lucky.  They don’t come easy though.  Some days he will go down like a little baby angel and then I race around the house trying to do dishes/laundry/eat/shower all in that short time frame.  I’ve gotten crazy efficient at a lot of things and given up on others…like drying my hair and wearing clean clothes.

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The good thing is Jack is generally a very a happy kid.  SO MUCH happier than those early months.  Smiles and squeals fill our awake time.  Happy Jack = Happy Momma!  He does have his moments though and my mind is sent racing back to the colic days…but thankfully those are few and far between.  Most of the time if he is fussy he just wants to be held.  I know soon enough he’ll be mobile and the last thing he’ll want is me to hold him and carry him around so I’m ok with it.  Plus it’s a pretty sweet work out for my arms…since actual working out is a thing of the past.  I also like the challenge of doing things one handed…keeps me on my toes.

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Around the 5 month mark Jack’s personality really started to show.  I felt like I got to “know” him a lot more.  He suddenly looked around the room for me when I would talk…and then get this huge smile on his face once he found me.  There’s seriously no better feeling than that.  He also started doing this thing when we pick him up…he’ll scrunch his legs up and bury his little head into our shoulders.  I think that’s his version of a hug.  He also gives kisses…at least I think that’s what they are…or he’s just trying to eat my face which wouldn’t surprise me either.

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Jack also woke up one day and discovered we have 2 cats!  He now will reach out and grab for them…look around for them and watch them as they move about the room.  I think he likes Mini the best…as evident in the photo below.  They have a  certain connection…probably because they both get cranky if they don’t get food at the exact second that they want it.

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Jack started showing the signs of teething right around the 4 month mark.  He became a drooling machine!  And suddenly no finger/arm/toy was safe from his monster chomp.  Still I was a tad surprised when around 5 1/2 months his first little tooth poked through…and 3 days later the 2nd one made an appearance.  He now has 2 little bottom teeth…and I feel like the top two will be here before we know it.  My boobs are scared.

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Jack has recently mastered sitting up…and it’s awesome.  I can now just plop him down with some toys and he’s happy to just play by himself for 30-40mins!  He gets frustrated when he pushes something out of his reach, but that just means he’ll be more determined to move and get it.  Watch out world.  He’s outgrown his swing, playmat, and bouncy seat so it’s time to pack them up…which makes me a little sad…but also happy that our living room will no longer resemble a baby obstacle course.

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When Jack was about a week from his 6 month birthday we finally jumped on the solids bandwagon.  Our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start after his 4 month check-up but I just didn’t feel Jack was ready.  He hadn’t shown any of the “signs” and could care less when we ate.  So we waited and I started doing some research online about the whole solids adventure.  Then when Jack suddenly became very interested in us eating and could sit up pretty good assisted…we went out and got a highchair and fed him his first “real” food…avocado!  I don’t think he ate any of it…but after a week of trying some different purees he became an eating machine!  I’d like to do a mix of purees and BLW…more for convenience than anything…but we’ve mostly focused on the purees so far.  I feel a little overwhelmed by it all still and the few times we’ve given him big pieces of food (like the BLW method suggests) he’s taken giant bites and gagged…which freaks me out.  All part of the adventure I guess.

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I think that about gets things up to speed in the Jack dept.  I’d like to do a post on ME 6 months postpartum…if I can find the time and energy to say all that I really want to say.  Becoming a Mom has been both the most amazing experience…and most challenging.  I’ve grown and changed in ways I didn’t expect and learned so much about myself.  Having a baby truly does change everything…and not just in the day-t0-day aspect…it’s all encompassing…even the most mundane things seem to be different now somehow.  Yet better in a way.

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Jack at 3 Months

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So it happened.  Just like “they” said it would…things got better.  We’ve moved into the range of normal baby crying/fussiness.  The crying seems much more focused now and I can calm him MUCH faster…so fast sometimes I feel like I’m being spoiled and a week from now BAM things will go back to how they were.  Always in a little state of fear I guess…never really comfortable enough to declare “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!”…because we all know once you do shit will hit the fan.

Swaddling…we’ve gone back to both arms down nice and tight.  This has made a WORLD of a difference in how quickly he goes to sleep…both with naps and at night.  The Halo Sleepsack is a godsend for nighttime…and the miracle blanket is perfect for when I need to get him to nap during the day.  Both of these things I bought before he was born and after a month into his life I hadn’t used them…I was sure it was money down the drain.  Not so…turns out I just gave up too soon.  Now they are money well spent indeed.  You can’t put a price tag on being able to calm your baby.

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Jack has a lot more “happy times” now…and I spent the last two weeks of my maternity leave just gobbling up as many smiles and coos as I could.  He actually seems to enjoy tummy time and his play mat now…of course he gets bored after about 15mins but hey…it’s better than nothing!  He even rolled over at 11wks and I, mom of the year, caught it on video (thank you iphone!).

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Another big thing happened this month…we’ve gone down to ONE night feeding.  I know this will not be it for good…growth spurts and fussy nights will happen.  But man those nights when Jack sleeps for 5-6 straight hours is like heaven.  Oh I should probably clarify that just because he only EATS once a night does not mean I’m up only once a night…oh no no no my friends…there are still trips between rooms at least 4-8 times each night.  Pacifier inserting, stomach patting, and ‘go back to sleep little man’ whispering…the kid is slowly learning to put himself back to sleep.  If he can’t on his own I’ve got Dr Ferber’s book on standby for when we need it.

We’ve got a pretty solid nighttime routine going now too.  Although Jack has absolutely NO interest in books yet…as soon as I say the words “Goodnight Moon” he starts crying…we never make it past “cats and their mittens” and I’m left in suspense every night.  So we’ll just wait a little longer and try again.

Things are pretty good over here…minus the whole “back to work” thing.  It is what it is.  Each month is truly an adventure with this little one…and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Jack’s Nursery

{You can see how I used the same furniture and created a more feminine look in our daughter’s nursery here!}

When I set out to decorate Jack’s nursery I had no idea if we were having a boy or a girl…so I needed something that would work for both.  I’m not super big on boy vs girl nurseries anyway so I really don’t think it would have turned out much differently had we known what we were having.  I didn’t really have much of a plan….the walls were already grey and I knew I wanted white furniture…but that was really it for the starting point.  After browsing pinterest for weeks on end…I found I was gravitating toward the lighter grey/yellow/teal nurseries.  So that was what we went with!

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(view from the doorway)

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photo by Jylare Smith

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last 3 photos by Jylare Smith

I had to sneak in that last pic of our little family 🙂  I really love how Jack’s room came together and I look forward to watching it evolve as Jack gets older and we add more to it!

Oh and since I never got around to posting them…you can see more pics from Jack’s newborn shoot here.

Wall Paint:  Valspar Urban Sunrise **

Crib:  Graco Lauren

Dresser:  Ikea Hemnes

Rug: West Elm

Rocker: Buy Buy Baby

Various prints from Etsy: Urban Tickle, Creative Wild Child, Graphic Anthology, Sycamore Street Press

Curtains, side table, lamp, frames, book ledges, overhead light…all from Ikea.

 

** I’ve gotten some comments asking about the wall paint color so I thought I’d add that in here…unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s available anymore…maybe it goes by a different name?  I did find the number for it here.

Meeting Jack

I’ve read so many beautifully written and touching birth stories over the past year …unfortunately I am not that talented in the writing department and this is more of a brain dump of how Jack’s birthday played out.  I wrote it more for myself than anything so I apologize if it seems long and drawn out.

 

I never intended to have 5 weeks pass before telling the story of Jack’s birth…but I guess that’s what happens when you have a newborn baby.

We were all set for a cesarean birth on Monday October 22nd at 1:30pm…assuming the amniocentesis that morning came back saying the lungs were mature.  We spent the weekend finishing last minute things (like finally packing that hospital bag) and tried to relax and enjoy “us” as much as possible.  At some point late Sunday afternoon I decided I should call the hospital and see if there were any instructions I needed to know as my doctor didn’t tell me anything except to show up 2 hours early…which would mean right after the amniocentesis which was scheduled at 9:30am at a different clinic across town from the hospital.

Turns out I needed to have blood work done and so they advised I come in early that morning before the amnio appointment so that it would for sure be done by operation time.  So our schedule for Monday looked like this:  head to the hospital around 7:30am to register/get blood work done, after that go to the clinic for my amnio appointment with my doctor at 9:30am, and then after that head back to the hospital to check-in for the c-section by 11:30am.  Considering the drive from the clinic to the hospital is a good 30mins each way, we were looking at a pretty hectic morning.

I slept about as well as I could have Sunday night considering I was about to go through major abdominal surgery and meet our child the next day.  I had Lance snap one final bump pic in the nursery (it was dark outside when we left the house)…officially 37 weeks and 3 days along.  Then we were off!

The drive up to the hospital was uneventful as we both tried to take in what was about to happen in mere hours and how much our lives were about to change.  We parked and commented how the next time we’re in the car we’ll have a little baby in tow.  We made our way up to the labor and delivery section of the hospital, registered, and I got the blood work done.  We ended up not having to go to the clinic for the amnio because my doctor was on his way to the hospital anyways to deliver a baby (how’s that for timing).

Now for some reason I wasn’t nervous for the amniocentesis at all.  One of our birthing class teachers had one done in her 3rd trimester also and assured me that it was just a quick poke followed by a small cramp and then it was done…maybe 2mins tops.  Well it did not go so easily for me.  It ended up being a 30min process with 3 separate attempts of trying to get fluid from the 2 very small pockets available….all of which were unsuccessful and very painful.  Had they lasted 2-3mins I would have been fine…but the digging around for several minutes all the while laying completely still was borderline unbearable.  Maybe I’m just a pansy.

After trying for 30mins and not being able to draw out any fluid (still no clue why) my doctor gave us the choice to either go ahead with the c-section as planned or wait until I go into labor naturally and hope for the best.  He still believed the c-section was the safest route and assured me that more than likely the baby would be just fine as I had already passed the 37 week mark.  Now if you told me I would be given this choice weeks before I would have without hesitation opted for the natural route…but obviously we decided to go forth with the c-section.  I had spent the last couple weeks mentally, physically and emotionally preparing for a c-section and meeting our baby…our family and friends were all waiting to hear the good news later that day…I was ready to be done with pregnancy and start life as a mom.

We still had a good hour or so before we needed to officially check-in so we decided to just hang in the hospital lobby for a bit and process what just happened.  I instantly started to second guess our decision…and so I did what any girl would do…I called my mom.  She reassured me that I wasn’t doing a horrible thing and that everything would be fine…and we would get to meet our baby in a few short hours.  Almost like a light switch I went from being nervous and worried about everything to excited and anxious to meet our little one.  Feeling a lot more confident and excited Lance and I made our way upstairs to check in and get the process started.

From the moment we checked in things went from calm to hectic…we were told our doctor had just delivered another baby (!?) and everyone that needed to be at the c-section was available and ready to go.  I didn’t even get a chance to text my mom and let her know what was happening…I figured I would have a couple hours of waiting around before the actual operation!  Before I knew it there were multiple people in my room…nurses hooking up monitors and inserting an IV all the while I’m trying to answer questions the resident OBGYN was asking me (I delivered at a University hospital so in addition to my doctor there was a resident and a 3rd year medical student also taking part)…followed by the anesthesiologists explaining the whole spinal epidural procedure.  Lance was busy changing into scrubs during all this and before I knew it we were saying goodbye and I was being wheeled down to the operating room.  Cue nerves.

This was not my first time in an operating room so the freezing temps, stark whiteness and scary tools all over was nothing new…but still intimidating.  I started to shake.  Thankfully I had two amazing nurses who knew exactly what to say to calm me down.  They brought me a nice warm blanket to cover my top half while the anesthesiologist administered the spinal.  I don’t actually recall any pain associated with the spinal…what I do remember quite vividly is the instant warming sensation that shot down my body…it felt amazing and instantly calmed me…weird I know.  They laid me down on the operating table and Lance was let in and sat beside me.  My arms were still shaking at this point and my head was stuck in this foam pillow thing that prevented me from really turning my head much but I was still able to see Lance and we quietly talked as the procedure began.

When you research c-sections you find that they can very quite a bit based on your doctor, hospital, and urgency in which it is being preformed.  I honestly could not have been happier with how things played out.  Like I said we had two amazing nurses who constantly made sure I was comfortable and knew what was going on.  The anesthesiologist gave me the play-by-play of the procedure and kept telling me I was doing awesome and everything was going perfectly.  The only thing I felt was a little bit of pressure when they started to pull/push the baby out.  My doctor let us know it was time and as he worked he said what was happening…first the head was out and remarked that our baby had a cute face…then the shoulders…then he was out completely!  It was at this point everyone was quite and they told “Dad” to take a look and see what it was…to which Lance excitedly proclaimed “It’s a Boy!”  Jack was born at 12:36pm weighing in at 6lb 6oz.

I can’t possibly put into words the emotions that flooded me at that moment…to say it was amazing is an understatement.  I still hadn’t even seen Jack at this point but I was already in love just hearing his cries…what a relief to know his lungs were healthy and strong!  The pediatrician took Jack to one side of the room and checked everything over while Lance looked on.  Finally after what seemed like an eternity (probably only a minute in reality) Lance brought Jack over and I got to see and touch him for the first time.  It was incredible.  Even though we were surrounded by people we didn’t know with my body cut open on a table it felt like we were the only ones in the room…our new family of 3.  I don’t even remember the rest of the procedure…I remember asking at one point about my placenta (the reason for all this!) and they said it was out and they already had me almost stitched completely up.

Once the bulk of the procedure was done I was allowed to do skin-to-skin with Jack right there in the operating room.  We didn’t have a lot of space to work with but it was still amazing.  I know in a lot of cases with c-sections this isn’t even an option…and they will often take the baby away to a nursery until the mom is in recovery.  One of the things I loved about our hospital is that it is “baby friendly” and they really push skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, and rooming-in with the baby.  This was HUGE in making the whole c-section experience less crappy…dare I say enjoyable?!  I’ve heard cases where the baby is taken to the nursery and the Dad goes along leaving the mother in the operating room alone…our experience was so different and I’m so thankful for that.  Jack never left either of our hands once he was handed to Lance.

Once I was completely stapled back together (literally) I was moved onto my “real” bed and we made our way back to our labor/delivery room.  The next two hours are a blur to me now…which I will attribute to the pain killers.  I know I breastfed Jack for the first time, Lance called my mom for me, and the nurses came in every 15mins to check my vitals and asked if I could move my legs yet.  I held Jack to my chest the entire time…skin-to-skin.  After the required 2-hour stay we were moved to our postpartum room where we would spend the next 3 days getting to know our little Jack.

I hope to be back soon with another marathon post about the first few days/weeks with Jack.  We also recently got Jack’s newborn photos back so I’m excited to share some of those as well!