31 December 2012

End of 2012

2012 was nothing extravagant for me or my family.

We didn't move into a newer, bigger house, didn't win the lottery and didn't travel anywhere exotic.

But I am leaving this year behind with some great memories.

We took a few nice family trips, spent lots of lazy days together, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries and proudly awed over milestones reached, both big and small.

I didn't take up any new hobbies, didn't change jobs, didn't lose a ton of weight and still have no clue what I'm doing in the kitchen but I'm happy to say I've learned at least a little bit about being a mom.

I'm so much more comfortable now than I was at the start of the year and I actually feel like (some days) I know what I'm doing and know my baby pretty well.

We have no plans for this evening, other than to relax at home and possibly stay up til midnight.

Happy New Year's to all of you! Thank you so much for being here and reading my boring ass posts! I love you all.

No idea why, but the top of my husbands head always gets cut out of pictures. :p 

26 December 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Modeling the little baby pimp coat she got for Christmas.

19 December 2012

First Christmas Card

This is the first year I've ever sent out a Christmas card.

 Last year at this time Natalie was a couple weeks old and I had no time or energy to put one together, collect addresses and send it out.

 The years before that it was just Matt and I, and I don't think anyone wanted a picture of just the two of us wearing matching sweaters and Santa hats.

I really wanted to get a family photo of the three of us together but it is so hard to get a decent one of us all in one frame. Even just one picture of us all looking in the general direction of the camera and not halfway blinking can be a challenge.

I decided to use a picture of just Natalie instead but it was impossible to get her to look at the camera, so when she fell asleep I snuck a cap on her, adjusted the curtains in the room for better lighting and snapped away.

I used a website called cardstore.com to create my card. They had so many cards to chose from, including a line by Taylor Swift, Someecards, Papyrus and of course their own.

I spent forever playing around with different options and made at least ten different cards before deciding on one.

Call me lazy and impersonal, but in my opinion the absolute best part of this website is that they will mail the card to your recipient, completely free! No paying for postage, no handwriting the address, no licking the envelope, no walking to the mailb... you get the idea.

Plus they were running a promo for 70% off  your entire purchase when I ordered mine and I ended up only spending like $12 bucks for 20 cards. That's the price of one card if you go to Hallmark!

Did you send out a card this year? 

12 December 2012

Subject Suggestions

I admire bloggers who can consistently write every day or every other day or even a few times a week.

I don't know what it is but every so often (okay, about every week) my mind goes completely blank and I have nothing to post about. 

I'll be on a roll, posting pretty frequently and them bam! I get stuck. 

I'll think I have an idea for a post but in the middle of writing it I get sidetracked or busy or lazy or just think it sounds wrong. 

I sometimes want to rant on about something that annoys me, like work, or TV shows but worry about sounding whiny or petty.

I sometimes want to talk about my sex life, or relationships or my marriage but know that that might be a little too much for a blog that consist mostly of baby related ramblings. Also, my mother in law reads this and I don't want too much awkwardness between us next time we eat dinner together.

I would really like to be able to write more often, besides a boring daily update of, "We went to the park, ran some errands, I changed a dirty diaper..." and so on. 

So if you have any subject suggestions you'd like for me to talk about then feel free to let me know (it can be absolutely anything).

If you're anything like me at all though then you have a hard enough time thinking of your own topics and can't advise anyone else on what to say.

06 December 2012

Natalie's Birth Story

I think before every woman gives birth for the first time she has a scene played out in her head of how things will go.

I personally envisioned my water breaking dramatically in one big gush (in the aisle of a grocery store with some poor clerk left to clean up the mess, of course) and me frantically being whisked away to the hospital.

 Reality had other plans for me though.

I woke up early one morning, four days after my due date with the need to pee, which was obviously normal.

 Then I kept having to pee, again and again. So much so that I was powerless against the urge and I couldn't make it to the bathroom which is five feet from my bedroom door in time.

(If you've never been pregnant then just stop judging  If you have and you've never pissed yourself then kudos to you.)

Then after so many times of this happening over and over, the thought that it could be my water leaking occurred to me.

I wasn't sure though, so I did what everyone else does in uncertain medical situations and I Googled the crap out of the phrase "water leaking during pregnancy."

Maybe 45 minutes had passed, I decided I might be in the early stage of labor and laid back down, waiting to see what happened next.

My husband got up to use the bathroom, completely unaware of my labor possibility, and got violently ill with either food poisoning from dinner the night before or a stomach bug.

I knocked on the door and told him about my situation. He said he would pull himself together and drive me to the hospital. I made it a point that he need not rush, I really wasn't convinced I would have the baby anytime soon.

More time passed and I started having bad stomach cramps.

I decided I needed real medical advice, not from a computer, and I called the hospital.

The midwife I spoke to was super calm, probably because she wasn't the one about to push a 14 inch head through her vagina, and told me to eat breakfast, take a shower, relax and then come in for them to check things out.

I did none of the above.

The pain got so bad and my husband was still a complete wreck so I called my sister. She came to my rescue and drove me to the hospital.

We got there, went through all the annoying paperwork and I was given a room.

The doctor came in and told me that once I asked for it they would administer the epidural.

 I was relived to hear this but tried to wait as long as possible, just to be safe that it wouldn't wear off by the time I had to push.

That waiting game didn't last long and soon I was begging for it.

I remember while it was being administered I was shaking so bad, partially because I was a little nervous but also because I was strangely cold.

Then I got super nauseous and a nurse held a bag open for me to get sick into.

My sister was on the phone with Matt giving him updates and I think I talked to him for a little bit too.

I'm not sure what interval of time passed after that, it could have been 15 minutes it could have been an hour but the doctor checked to see how dilated I was and told me she could see the head.

I asked if it was time to push and sure enough it was.

Someone got my husband on the phone and I talked to him briefly. He said he'd try to make it as soon as possible. His mom was by his side trying to nurse him back to health to no avail.

I couldn't stress about it though, I had a job to do.

I was told when a contraction came along is when I would start pushing. I could feel the contractions, I just had no urge or instinct to push. I didn't really know how to. Basically I just sat up and held it for ten seconds as told. Thankfully there was a helpful team of nurses cheering me on coaching me on what to do.

20 minutes later, at 11:09 am my baby was being laid on my chest.

I still remember how warm her body felt on mine. It was beautiful. I held her and cried a little. My mom cut the cord.

 I talked to Matt again on the phone and he could hear her cry in the background as nurses cleaned her up and took her measurements.

He arrived as soon as he could, held her for a short amount of time before running off to the bathroom to get sick once again.

He hung around, not doing too much but trying to be involved and supportive while not puking.

I was exhausted, overwhelmed, overjoyed and felt like I was living in a dream.

The hospital took Natalie away to run some standard tests and moved me up to the maternity ward. Matt and his mom came with me.

I was told I'd get her back in an hour. I was anxious to see and hold her again but I welcomed the small break as a chance to finally rest for a bit.

This of course didn't happen because I was in a trance and busy talking about this new experience and all that had happened and how crazy everything was to my husband and mother in law. It was just so surreal.

Natalie was brought back to me and the nurse talked to me about how shift changes and medication and visitation and a bunch of other bullshit would work. She also told me that though they had a nursery in the hospital, they highly encouraged mothers and babies to be together at all times

I got the feeling I wasn't in a loving place because she then basically told my family to leave since visitation hours were over.

My mother in law promised to come see me when she could.

Once visitation began again a lot of people came to see me. Though being with my baby girl was incredible, it was also very lonely and I was so happy to see and talk to adults who weren't asshole nurses.

The night soon ended though and I was left in the room, still not having had a wink of sleep. My MIL was fortunately still around and I asked her if she would get me a snack.

A nurse came to check on me and I asked her about the nursery. She said the same thing the other nurse did: they could take Natalie but they really wanted mommy and baby to stay together.

I felt like I was being scolded for wanting to sleep. I felt like a terrible new mom for wanting someone else to take care of my baby on the first night because I was burnt out.

My mother in law returned with a giant Kit-Kat. It was close to 9:00 and I knew she was getting ready to say good-bye.

That's when I reached my breaking point and just started sobbing. She held me and I told her how tired I was and how shitty I felt asking for my new baby to go to the nursery.

 She was so helpful at consoling me and then she found a nurse and explained how I needed my rest. They came and took her, and despite feeling guilty about it I was so happy to get some rest.

My experience with the staff from there wasn't much of an improvement but I didn't care. The next day my husband was a little better and he was glued to our sides. I left that evening and have been fortunate enough to have so much help from so many other people.

Certain circumstances were definitely not ideal on the day I gave birth, but all things considered the most important part (delivering the baby) went so smoothly and I couldn't have asked for a healthier, happier, sweeter baby girl.

Day of birth

Two weeks

Two months
Four Months
Six Months
Eight Months

One year
*These aren't the best photo's of her, but this is the best I did with tracking her growth.

05 December 2012

First Word

Lately I feel like Natalie is getting over her whole hating-mommy's-guts chapter in life.

She's been asking for me more, freaking out less if I try to take her from Matt and today she called me "mama".

She's babbled this word before, much like in the video but she never said it in association with me.

I've been lucky enough to capture a lot of her firsts on video: first time rolling over, first laugh, first time sitting unassisted, first time walking and now her first real word.

04 December 2012

Happy First Birthday

Happy one year birthday my little girl!

 Cannot believe today is here and almost over but it is.

I sang happy birthday to her while laying in bed together this morning and she gave me the sweetest smile.

We've had a pretty good day, though she's been a tad cranky due to a cold or teething.

The weather was gorgeous and we of course went to the park and played.

As far as monthly updates go not too much to report. Just that she's a walking champ and is communicating so well.

No full first words yet but she definitely tries to say "bath" and "out."

Still not sleeping through the night. Sigh.

I'm not sure if I'm done doing monthly update post yet or not. Most likely I think so, unless she does something really note worthy.

Happy birthday Natalie!

Update as 12/7/12:

She loves listening to music. Well, she loves listening to/watching music  videos on Youtube. Her favorites are Jack Johnson's Upside Down, Madagascar's I Like to Move It Move It and the scene from Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray dancing at the end to I Had the Time of My Life. 

02 December 2012

Celebrate Good Times

Though her birthday isn't for two more days, today we celebrated Natalie's first birthday party.

The thought of my baby turning one makes me a little teary eyed, but this is of course a good thing.

She's (almost) one! That's beautiful. That's huge and at the same time just a drop in a bucket when you look at the big picture.

She's grown so much and I am so proud to be her mama. She impresses the hell out of me every single day with the things she learns and milestones she reaches.

Anyway, if you read my last post you can imagine I didn't do the best job planning the party.

I had a vision for the decorations, knew what I wanted things to look like but didn't put a whole lot of energy into anything else.

My mother in law was the one who deserves all the credit because honestly I didn't do much.

I showed her a picture of my ideas, went to the craft store with her to get supplies for a DIY party and she took it from there.

She made the banner, baked the cupcakes (toppers were ordered from Etsy), crafted the paper snowflakes together, and let us use her home to host the party in.

She of course didn't mind and her hard work payed off. The party was a hit.

The guest list was initially around 35 people but unfortunately two larger groups of families couldn't make it because they were sick. My friend Megan and her girls were one of those groups which was disappointing but of course I understand one hundred percent. My friend Zalina and her baby Alex were also sick at home but her husband and other son showed up for a bit.

My homie Michelle and her husband came which was so exciting because it was the first time seeing her since her little baby bump started showing! She's 14 weeks along and so adorable. The hottest future MILF I know, for sure!

Natalie got some great gifts, more presents than I expected. Everyone was so generous and I appreciate their time and love. She is a lucky baby.

The pictures I took definitely aren't the best. My friend Erin was nice enough to let me borrow her camera since the flash on mine has been broken for months. I didn't take as many pictures as I should have and most the one's I did take are candid and at bad angles but they're still important and I'm still forcing you to look at them.

Hugging her cousin Bridget

Me, Michelle and her baby!

My loves

Muffin tray and chair

Probably glaring at Erin

My sister looks like she hates life

Figuring it out

My niece Sienna and her juice face (and shirt) 

My gift to her. Going to write an entire post on it, brace yourself. 

Sweet tooth

30 November 2012

Trial and Error

One year ago today was my official due date. I was 40 weeks pregnant, exhausted and the biggest scatter brain ever.

Today two out of three of those traits have hung around.

I guess exhaustion and absent mindedness go hand in hand, but I swear my IQ has dropped 20 points since expecting.

Don’t call Social Services on me, but once I was boiling bottle nipples on the stove-top (to sterilize, not eat) and accidentally left the burner on for over 30 minutes, unattended while I ran an errand with the babe.

 When I came home the flame was out but the gas still on and the nipples melted onto the pot they were in. (Seriously, don’t judge me. I felt horrible.)

Thankfully things like that don't happen daily.

 I am often running around the house trying to get things together before heading out the door somewhere though. I am so unorganized and having so many items I need to tote along with me just to head to the grocery store does not help me out.

Then once I'm at the store checking out, Natalie starts crying for me to hold her. I pick her up, put things on the conveyor belt, drop things, accidentally bump Natalie's head on the magazine stand while picking things up, try soothing her and then feel like punching the lady behind me in the face for rolling her eyes and moving to the line next to us.

I honestly don't know how moms with multiple kids manage everything. I feel like goddamn Superwoman when I can get my act together enough to not set things on fire, let alone actually get things I need to do done.

I guess it just means I’m too preoccupied with Natalie to really pay much attention to anything else (or that my brain isn’t big enough to handle even the most simple tasks, I don’t fucking know) but most days I just feel like a hot mess.

I'm a happy, loving hot mess that wouldn't trade motherhood for anything in the world but it would be nice to have my act just slightly more together.

I'm working on it though, one mistake at a time.

What's been your biggest "doh!" moment?

26 November 2012

Cyber Monday Giveaway

 Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is right around the corner and everyone is searching for a good deal.

I decided I would host a giveaway for you all to have a chance at something free! So I'm giving one reader Tigi's Catwalk Session Series Dry Shampoo.

I love dry shampoo. It helps absorb extra oil in your hair so you look less homeless.

 I personally have to wash my hair every single day or I look like a greaseball. Seriously, I'll come into work one day without washing it and people will ask me when I'm going to bathe next.

Spray some of this in your hair though and no one will know your dirty little secret!

This giveaway is opened to current followers only, registered with GFC or not, doesn't matter as long as you're a reader!

To enter:

"Like" us on Facebook and comment below letting me know you'd like to win!

I'll update this post later this evening to announce the winner. If you're a non registered reader then please leave an email address to contact you if you win.

Happy Monday, and good luck!

The winner is Marjorie, from The Blog of MJ! Congrats Marjorie, I will be shipping your goods to you as soon as possible.

23 November 2012

First Thanksgiving

We drove up to Skyline Drive in Front Royal, VA yesterday for some quality family time, just the three of us.

It was so nice. The weather was beautiful and the scenery is gorgeous. 

We spent the day hanging out at an overlook/rest area.

When we first got there there were a lot of people but as the afternoon went on we became the only one's and I loved the isolation and quite.

Matt and I threw a frisbee around. Natalie thought that was entertaining but for the most part she just wanted to stand at a bench and pick up sticks. She loved it.

Then we drove back to our hometown and ate dinner with my family, which always makes for an interesting time.

I couldn't be more thankful for my daughter and husband, but I don't need a holiday to tell you that. I appreciate all that I have 365 days a year. 

"This guy is hilarious."
"Oaakay, Mom, you can stop taking my picture now."
"Seriously. Stop taking my damn picture."

Matt pointing out a bird in the tree.
Sleepy head

21 November 2012

Reading and Writing

When I was a child I dreamed of one day becoming a writer. I wanted to live in New York City and write novels.

Then I found out I have absolutely zero creativity when it comes to making up stories and my life hasn't been even remotely interesting enough to publish an autobiography or memoir.

So I never pursued my dream. The desire has sort of burned itself out but that doesn't mean I don't still have a respect and passion in my heart for the art of writing.

I want this love to be passed onto my children. I want my kids to enjoy story time and to read as a hobby instead of just watching television or playing video games. I want them to enjoy writing and to use their imaginations.

When I was contacted Andrew Fersch, an author and teacher, to see if I'd like a copy of his book The Rough Draft of My Life Story, I was delighted. Not only because I like free shit but because I'm always interested in finding a good book.

Before I even opened the book up I already  liked it. I love the title and the illustration on the cover  made me think of growing old with my husband.  (Drawings are by Phil Ashworth.)

The book is filled with poetry about various things from disliking vegetables (who can't relate to that?), to cleaning your room, to silly stories about animals to deeper things like being yourself and counting your blessings. (It's a children's book, in case I didn't mention that.)

What I think I like best about everything though is how generous Andrew is. He's in the process of giving away 1,500 copies of his book and has done so already to charities, schools, libraries, children's hospitals, schools and nobodies such as myself.

He truly cares about education and youth and though he's taken a year off from teaching to hike the Appalachian Trail, start his own school and write a book behind the reason of it and write a second installment of short poems, he still runs an after school writing program in New Hampshire, volunteers with public schools and is earning a PhD in Curriculum Study and Statistics (whatever the hell that is).

Friggin' overachiever.

Anyway, here is one of my favorite poems from the book, one that I think we can all relate to and one that's appropriate in honor of Thanksgiving.

All That I Need:

I'm not tall enough (I'm six inches too short)
I have a boring house (I'd rather live in a fort)
I've got three friends (I'd rather have four)
My toy collection would be perfect (if I had just one more)
That double in baseball (was not a home run)
That roller coaster was decent (but the line wasn't fun)
My clothes don't have holes (but they certainly aren't new)
My legs and arms aren't weak (but I'm weaker than you)
I'd go play in the sun (but there's a bit of a breeze)
And I'd go lay on the beach (but the sun makes me sneeze)
But then I looked 'round, and I had a strange thought
And realized just how many good things I've got
If I didn't use my time to complain and to whine
Maybe everything in life would be just fine
Enough dissatisfaction, enough of my greed
I realized, in my life, I've got more than I need!

-Andrew Fersch, The Rough Draft of My Life Story

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Note: This not a sponsored post and Andrew didn't even ask me to write about his book, I did so because I wanted to share his work and inspire others to read and write more.

20 November 2012

We're on Facebook

Alright, I feel kinda like a douche for creating a "fan" page for my blog, and I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to post on there but whatever, everyone else is doing it.

So if you would, please "like" me and I'll love you for it. Also let me know if you have a page for your blog that I have yet to like and I'll add you to the "likes" section on my FB page.

Click here to show sum love.

Completely unrelated photo, just felt the need to add it in. 

18 November 2012

Sunday Snapshot

Had to buy her a new hat since she took off her bear one and threw it somewhere outside while we were taking an evening stroll. 

It was lost in an parallel universe and never seen again.

Or something like that. 

As you can see, she's just as thrilled about wearing this one. 

What is it about kids and not wanting to keep anything on their noggins?