Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Fun Day

This time of year is just amazing! October is one of my favorite months: cool mornings, warm afternoons and clear blue skies in between.

We got a late start to the morning and made it to church for the second service. We usually go first service so it was nice to see all the friends we usually miss. We had a great time catching up and visiting. I love the moms I've come to know at our church. They are great friends and always there for support and a good laugh. Emily got to see one of her best buds at church who was born just a few weeks before her. I can just see them growing up and hanging out in children's church together.

After church, we had a quick lunch break and then headed to the zoo. Since the state fair is in town, the zoo wasn't nearly as crowded as it usually is on the weekends. Emily was snoozing when we first got there but woke up soon after. I can really tell she is noticing more and more the things around her. We saw a brown bear, kangaroos, a koala, monkeys, penguins and a few sleepy lions. We had a great time and I can't wait to take her again when she's old enough to walk around!

As we were leaving she got a little fussy, but calmed down in the car ride back to our house. Randy and I decided to take a detour and get frozen yogurt. Emily kept napping while we enjoyed our yummy treat.

Now we are back home. Emily is still asleep, Randy is watching tv and I'm sitting outside with the dogs blogging away. In a little more than 12 hours, the craziness of the work week will begin. But for now, all is as it should be. We're together and stress free. Days like today remind me of how thankful I am for the life I have.


3 Months

Wow. Here we are with a 3 month old baby girl! I know all parents say it, but SERIOUSLY: where has the time gone?! Didn't we just meet our tiny baby girl? Wasn't she just in newborn clothing?

Highlights for month three:

  • Baby girl is 11 lbs 10 oz and mama has officially thrown out her back lifting her up. I'm walking around like a 29 year old grandma. Not cute or fun. :(
  • She's gotten her first cold, thanks daycare! I knew this would happen eventually and not stressing about it. We've had a few scary moments where she's started coughing, then choking. I don't think I've ever gotten out of bed so fast but of course she was fine 3 seconds later. And, I can officially suction her nose like a pro. Yay, me!
  • She is still one chatty and smiley baby. I love that she will coo and then when I start talking, she stops like she's listening to what I'm saying.  When she first wakes up and when she goes to bed are her two favorite times to talk to us.
  • She's started doing this hilarious thing where she has this throaty chuckle when you take her clothes off to change in to her pjs. She only does it one time after you take her arm out of her sleeve. I've tried to get it on video but she clams up when she sees my phone!
  • She is starting to grab her blanket and toys and pull them up to her mouth. She has a small stuffed elephant that I usually leave in her car seat. the other day, I handed him to her and she grabbed him by the ear and started rubbing his head. The best part was the serious look she had on her face, like: "what in the world is this thing and how are my hands moving like that?"
  • She has also become pretty squirmy. Now that she can move her arms and hands more, she likes to "hold" her bottle. Which is all kinds of cute but since her coordination still isn't great, makes feeding time a challenge. In trying to grab the bottle, she usually ends up knocking it out of her mouth then starts kicking her legs and squirming because she's mad she's not eating. It's quite a vicious cycle.
  • We've had 1, count 'em ONE, night that she slept from 9pm to 6am! Praying more nights like that are in the near future.
3 months old also means we are so very close to finalizing the adoption. Our court date is set for the 29th and we're ready! Hoping to take some family pictures that weekend because we don't have any pictures of the 3 of us.  So slack, I know. But I'm working on it! Which now means I need to work on my roots before the big photo shoot. One more thing on the mommy's to-do list!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Top 10 Baby Gifts

Beautiful shower cake for EGB!

Emily Grace has been BEYOND blessed with many wonderful gifts.  I feel very fortunate to have so many great friends and family that have given us things we need and use on a regular basis. Before I became a mom, I always struggled with what to get new moms as gifts. Not having a baby makes it kind of difficult to know what to get a baby! Walk into any Target or Babies R Us and the choices are overwhelming. In hopes of helping other gift givers, I've compiled a top 10 list of the things that I most appreciated getting:

1) Diapers! It's so practical, I know, but so great to have stacks of diapers in her nursery ready to go.  Also, it really helps to have various sizes, so go ahead and buy the next size up.

2) Formula! Yes, again oh-so practical but needed because baby's gotta eat. Also, if you collect formula coupons, new moms appreciate those too!

3) Wipes! The last of the practical gifts. :)

4) Hand/foot impression kit. We received a kit that was surprisingly easy to do! We now  have her 4 week old picture and 6 week old hand print proudly displayed on our mantle.

5)  Bibs and burp clothes. Feeding time can be a messy time! Having a bunch of these on hand help to keep clothes nice and clean and with so many cute designs, they make awesome little fashion statements. :)

6) Big ticket items. If you can go in with a few people and purchase the "big ticket" items-do it! Our car seat/jogger and bouncy seat were two of the more expensive items but are ones we use every day.

7) Books. I love books and we started reading to Emily when she was just a few weeks old. The classics are great (Dr. Seuss anything, Pat the Bunny, Good Night Moon) and we also love different, unique ones (like Happy Adoption Day).

8) Something personal. We have received several homemade, personal items and I just love them because you can't find them in any store. Whether it's a monogrammed bag, print for the nursery, or hand sewn outfit and blanket, I cherish them all. I love seeing the creativity and the special time and attention put into making them.

9) Picture frames. I have taken so many pictures of Emily but have no where to put them! We have received a few picture frames and photo albums and I've really enjoyed starting to fill them up. I especially love a picture frame with Emily's picture in it that I got around the time I returned to work. It's sitting in my office and helped ease the transition from stay at home mom to working mom.

10)  Something for mom and dad! Ok, it's not technically for the baby but a gift card to a restaurant or movie tickets may just be the thing needed to get mom and dad out of the house for a much needed date night.

You may notice clothing did not make my top 10. Not that we didn't getting new clothes (because we did and my goodness, is there anything cuter that baby clothing?!?!) but a lot of what we received were hand-me downs. I have to say some of my favorite outfits had been worn and were so soft and broken in. Plus they were all in great condition because many of them were only worn once. If you are like me and cannot resist buying one cute little outfit, maybe go up a few sizes and find something that has multiple pieces (onesie, pants, top) that can be layered or mixed and matched.

Moms: what made your top ten list?  Friend and family shopping for baby: what's your one go-to gift item? Please share your comments below.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sleep Deprived

At least someone at our house is sleeping well!

I was prepared for a lot of things as a new mom: not showering every day, unofficial yoga pants dress code (score!), dirty diapers galore, spit up on everything I own, lots of visitors and endless bottles to prepare and clean. But I can honestly say, I was not prepared for the lack of sleep that comes with having a baby. I mean, I KNEW I wasn't going to be sleeping much but I didn't know how little I would be sleeping or how it would affect every aspect of my life.  10 weeks of sleeping only 3-4 hours at a time has definitely taken its toll on me.

Now, I could manage a little bit when I was home because I could catnap during the day. But being back at work has put a stop to that (although, it is tempting to just lay in the floor of my office around 3pm). Emily is ALMOST sleeping through the night and has started waking up at 4/4:30am. Which is 1) awesome that she is sleeping 6-8 hours at a time 2) crappy because a 4 am feeding doesn't leave much time to get back to bed before we have to get up and get ready for daycare and work. Plus she is still sleeping in her bouncy seat beside our bed (she will only sleep in her crib for 2 hours-MAX). I'm such a light sleeper that I always end up getting up with her because I hear her first (There is a very strong possibility that Randy is tricking me and making me think he is still asleep by being so quiet and still. And if so, I hope you enjoyed that extra snooze time because there will be a price to pay!).

So, alas, here we are stuck in a sleep derived state. Which is not at all fun, but there have been some funny moments (I can laugh about it now), like the time I....

  • Woke up from a dead sleep and yanked the small pillow Randy sleeps with out of his arms (thinking it was the baby?!?!). He was less than pleased to wake up that way.
  • Put a dirty spoon in the oven (thinking it was the dishwasher).
  • Got dressed for work....sans underwear.
  • Made it to work (on time!) to realize I had a baby sock stuck the the bottom of my high heel.
  • Made several typos in work e-mails (whoops!):  "as far as reporting toes" instead of "as far as reporting goes" and....the worst of all..."pubic" instead of "public".
  • Picked up Emily's bottle to drink it, think it was my bottled water. I realized what I did BEFORE I actually put it in my mouth, thank goodness. Yuck!
  • Changed Emily's diaper (forgetting to fasten one of the tabs) only to have my lap, couch, and floor covered in pee minutes later.
  • Rubbed nail polish remover instead of astringent all over my face (Hello! They are the same color liquid!).
As awful (or awfully hilarious) as these moments are, I consider each of them badges of honor that I wear proudly as a reminder of what I've survived as a new parent. And although I don't look forward to many more sleepless nights, I do look forward to more great stories as Emily gets older. :)


Friday, October 5, 2012

Meatloaf Recipe

I love this time of year. The weather is finally starting to cool down. Crisp, cool days always inspires me to cook and bake and I'm constantly looking for the best version of a particular recipe. I recently dusted off some of my cookbooks and tried two new recipes (the other to be highlighted in a later post). Both are super easy, yummy and filling...perfect for a chilly fall dinner.


My husband is a meat and potatoes (and nothing else) all the way kind of a guy. I've made meatloaf before with (what I thought were yummy things) chunks of onions and green peppers and horseradish sauce. Randy was not so much a fan. So this time, I opted for a very paired down version.

What you need:
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup crush Ritz crackers
1 3/4 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (I use dried)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl A1

How to prepare:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine eggs and milk
  • Stir in all ingredients, ground beef last
  • Mix well (I always used my hands)
  • Put in loaf pan and bake for about 1 hr 20 mins.
  • When it looks nice and brown, drain off liquid and let meatloaf cool in pan for 5 mins.
  • Use a knife or spatula to make sure edges and bottom are free from pan. Flip upside down onto platter then use another plate to flip it right side up.
  • Cut and enjoy!
Note-you can use the liquid you drained off for gravy. But I’m not a huge fan of brown gravy, so I didn’t. Next time I think I will mix up some ketchup and little bit of A1 and use as sauce on top.   

Goes great with mashed potatoes and green beans. Enjoy!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Protecting Our Children

I've got to get something off my chest. It's been bothering me for a while. And the recent "child shaming" story was the last straw.

To parents that degrade, harshly berate, shame and speak awful of their children: what is wrong with you?! You make me sick and you should be ashamed of your behavior. They are CHILDREN. YOU are the adult. What example are you setting?  That it's ok to say hurtful and hateful things as long as it's "anonymous" or in jest? It's NOT ok. Children deserve our love, not to be the butt of some joke.

It makes me cringe to hear parents put down their children. I've read mommy blogs (one in particular) that allows parents to anonymously confess whatever is on their mind. On any given day, there are a handful of moms complaining and saying truly hurtful things about their kids And for what gain? So they can receive affirmation or approval from other parents? And by receiving so many "likes" that they are justified in saying whatever they want?

Look, I realize that adults aren't perfect and will make mistakes. They are most likely going to say something awful in the heat of the moment and will probably regret it before the last word leaves their lips. But whether spoken or written, it can never be taken back.

I also realize that I'm no parent expert 10 weeks into this whole "being a mommy thing." But I have spent almost two decades as a babysitter, camp counselor, church nursery attendant working with kids from a few weeks old to pre-teens. Please believe me, I KNOW kids are not well-behaved 100% of the time. And yes, it can be frustrating when they won't stop screaming in the grocery store isle, roll their eyes and talk back, or prefer to running through the house screaming to sleeping at 11pm. But can any parent say they never did those things? We ALL did. It's a part of being a kid. Hopefully (if we had good parents or guardians), we had someone to put a stop to our behavior by setting boundaries, reasonable punishment, appropriate rewards and good role modeling.

I know my life experience have shaped my opinion on this heated topic.  I'm so happy to finally be a mom after going through one of the most stressful but exciting times in my life: adoption. We worked hard and waited for what seems like a lifetime before holding Emily in our arms. Knowing what it took for us to finally be a family, I cannot imagine mistreating my daughter with my words or actions.

It's been 2 years since our niece, Lauren, passed away after an awful battle with leukemia. What I wouldn't give for her to still be with us. I wonder if parents that say these things about their children would still do it if they knew their child would be gone tomorrow?

So many children in our country already suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of those that are supposed to love and protect them.  Do they really need more?  To parents everywhere: PLEASE, before you take a degrading picture or post a curse filled rant about your children, ask yourself: how am I a better parent for doing this and if my child were to see it, would they feel loved?