You're one year old! It's crazy to me how quickly the time flew by, but I also feel like I always knew you. It's hard for me to remember what my life was like without you in it--I think I took more showers and worked a lot? I can't be sure.
I can remember the day you were born vividly and recalling it brings happy tears to my eyes. After spending nine months basking in pregnancy magic and surprising everyone by not freaking out about childbirth, I was wheeled into the OR and I was terrified. I shook as they hooked me up and gave me medicine. I stared nervously at the ceiling as my body went numb and I waited for your Daddy to walk into the room. Time stood still as the doctor worked to get you out (thanks, by the way, for playing jump rope with your umbilical cord and getting all tangled up, you goofball!). Then it happened. I could hear you. I couldn't see you yet, but I could hear my first baby's very first cry. The doctor said, "Are you ready? You have a beautiful baby boy!" and Daddy rushed to take your picture as they unwrapped you and cleaned you up. Nothing will ever compare and no one will ever know what that moment was like when I held you in my arms for the first time and felt your tiny body against my chest. I kept whispering, "He's here! He's here! You're here!" I waited four very long, sometimes very difficult, years for you. I would have waited a thousand more. You were, and you are, the best thing that has ever happened to me.
You have a magical personality and you light up the room....and I'm not just saying that because I helped make you. You have the sweetest spirit and can find mischief where ever you may roam. You are a born comedian and you like to make people laugh (your newest routine involves pulling your diaper down a little bit so your butt sticks out). You give big kisses and high fives and you are always quick with a smile or a belly laugh. When you are mad, everyone knows it but luckily it usually doesn't last long. Now that you are a bit more mobile (not walking on your own yet but you are trying constantly) you are able to get into a lot of trouble! You are a curious little soul and like to try everything on your own. Daddy and I will show you how to use a toy or do a new "trick" and you delight in trying it on your own. I taught you how to dip your vegetables in hummus and now it's all you want to do! It's adorable to watch you "dip" your green beans into your pacifier. I also let you sometimes turn the porch light on at night and it is a highlight of your day. You just really like doing cool, big kid things.
You are my best pal and I love going on adventures with you--whether it's to Target to shop in the dollar section and get out of the house for an hour or taking the train into Chicago to see Sue the T-Rex at the museum. You are a great sport and will spend the entire day trekking the globe and soaking in all the sights. I promise to always take you on adventures. I love your adventurous little spirit and hope that I am giving you room to grow and I can't wait to travel ever more with you.
As I watch you get older and change, I am so proud of you. I'm proud of us. The first year of life is no joke for baby or parent. Nursing can be difficult, no one sleeps, everyone is getting used to one another. I feel like we learned everything the hard way, but it was the sweetest and most joyful experience. Those first few weeks were a learning experience but I miss them sometimes. Though, honestly, nothing compares to life with you now because you have this big personality and you make me laugh and you make me want to set great examples for you.
You love to eat and play and watch Sesame Street and Doc McStuffins. I love learning things you like and seeing your little face light up when I show you something I know you'll love. You color with your baby crayons and love to finger paint. You still love your sign language DVDs and it's so cool to see you picking up different signs. You've learned to point and it's your favorite trick. When you point, we tell you what something is and I think it's the perfect time the teach you things. I was at the grocery store and you kept pointing to a woman so I finally asked what her name was so I could tell you, "That's the floor. That's a red apple. That's Linda, our new friend."
Last night, I rocked you for a little longer while you slept. I watched your little chest go up and down with your breath and I looked through all the photos from your first year and let the tears fall because I feel so happy and so lucky. I hope you feel happy and lucky too. I hope as parents we are teaching you to be kind and to love deeply and to expect wonderful things to happen and to be strong. I hope you always feel loved and that your quick smile is something that stays with you until you are old and gray. Being your momma has changed me in a way I never thought possible. My heart is bigger, I love more deeply, I'm happier to be here, I appreciate what I have a little more. I mean it, you just make life really sweet.
Happy birthday, my beloved! I'm so looking forward to all the years of love and adventures and laughter and big hugs and hijinks to come. I can't wait to see you continue to grow and change in the coming years, months, weeks, days. You are my favorite favorite and the still point of my moving universe.
I turned 30 yesterday. 3-0. It is bananas. I guess I've never really thought of myself as a "real" adult before because I still feel like an awkward teenager so much of the time. But now I'm entering this new decade with somewhat fresh eyes and more determination than ever to make my life what I want it to be.
For the last month or so, I've really been regretting things I did and
didn't do in my twenties. I found myself beating myself down about
chances not taken, trips not taken, friends not kept (or kept too long in a couple
situations), career paths forgotten, dreams not chased, and everything
else. I don't believe in having no regrets, but at the same time I can't
focus on the things I would change. I had all these visions of myself at 30: put together, skinny, a perfect mom with a perfect house. I'm not really those things. My house is a disaster, I'm chubby, I often doubt my own parenting, I make mistakes but I'm happy and I'm learning. I'm not beating myself up because I'm not perfect. Every day I'm learning how to be the person I want to be and live the life I want to live. Me and my life aren't perfect, but they are pretty fucking great.
Some goals I'm bringing with me into this new decade:
Make Space for Good, Not for Blah
This is a constant goal, working toward make my life 95% full of wonderful, positive things and people that I love with only 5% of the obligations that I'm not that into. I'm learning to say no to projects if they don't seem right for me, to carve out time for people who make me a better person, and generally choosing to do the thing I love over the thing I dread whenever humanly possible.
I'm trying my best to get things in order with my house, my career, this blog, our finances, and the like. I have to do lists upon to do lists that will help me to organize everything. I used to be so great with keeping everything in check but then, you know, work and new motherhood. When things are in order, I feel more at peace so this is vital. I think once my house isn't so daunting I may actually, *GASP*, love it again.
Keep the Healthy Momentum Going
I've been doing a lot of research and reading about nutrition in an effort to create the healthiest diet for me. I'm continuing on this track to make sure my family and I are eating the most nutritious diet possible (with treats and indulgences here and there, too). I'm hoping to get back in the habit of making things from scratch and cooking really healthy dinners every night.
Do All the Things
I have a terrible habit of pushing things off that I really do want to do. I always make an excuse to not plan a trip or buy that really bright dress or make those complicated cookies. I want to stop just "pinning" things and actually start doing them. One of my greatest regrets is that I've made excuses or procrastinated on doing things that I really wanted to, I'm working hard to leave this regret in my twenties.
But Give Myself Some Wiggle Room
I'm done with the "busy wars" where everyone has to shout from the roof tops how TOTALLY CRAZY STRESSFUL AND BUSY LIFE IS. I'm totally guilty but it's not a competition and business is no prize. I'm learning that it's a-okay to take one night a week after the baby is asleep to skip chores and read a book instead. Relaxation is just as important as productivity.
So here's to my thirties, I'm diving in with big plans and making more and more positive changes. Cheers to 30 years!
Boy! In one month you will be ONE YEARS OLD. How? How did time fly by so quickly? I will save the teary, mushy look back at the day you are born for November 3 but trust me that I find myself thinking back to it almost daily. My teeny tiny newborn (who still lived in my belly this time last year!) is now a little boy with likes and dislikes and personality for days.
Oh, you are such a personality! You are loud in the best way and you laugh a lot. You still love to say Dada and you blow raspberries and raise your arms for So Big! You give the best high fives and wave your arms when we say "Yoooohooo!" You are still quite an eater and love almost everything we give you. Blueberries, pineapple, bananas, peas, and spaghetti top your list though. You also are showing more of your preferences--you light up for certain things that you love and dislike others. You are a BIG fan of Doc McStuffins (we think you have a crush, which means you have excellent taste and hello? she's a doctor!), Murray Monster on Sesame Street, your Baby Signing Time DVDs, Mommy, Daddy, and Kira the cat. You still bring your little Toothless stuffed animal everywhere and your small Cookie Monster stuffy usually goes to bed with you to snuggle. You are moving and shaking! You are zooming all over the house and pulling yourself up on everything. I think you're going to be walking very soon because you try so hard and you have such determination.
You started signing! You mostly sign for more and (sometimes) please. You had to sign sorry a couple when you were being naughty (you made Jackie cry by knocking over his Lego tower!). I also pretended your toy remote was a phone one time and now you constantly hold it up to your ear. It's amazing to me what a little sponge you are. I try to remind myself of that and set good examples for you every day. On that thought, you and I did the Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide awareness in honor of some friends and family we've lost over the years. It was a bittersweet event and hurt my heart to see other families who have suffered too, but I was glad to spend that day with you showing you that time and strength heal you.
Bedtime was becoming a very stressful struggle and it pains me to say I had to start letting you "cry it out." I found a gentle way to do this but dang, it breaks my heart. I know it's best for you in the long run but it's so difficult to hear you cry and not run to you immediately and hold you tightly. Bedtime is getting better little by little and I have to remind myself that motherhood is about balance and teaching you to be independent.
Here's to another month of love and laughter and raspberries and high fives. You are my favorite favorite and the light of every day. I can't believe you'll be ONE next time I write you a letter!
Ten crazy, delicious, wonderful, wacky months with you; how can that even be? Sometimes I look at you and think you still are this tiny peanut of a person, other times I realize just how much you've grown and how different you've become. I can't believe I'm going to write one more of these letters before we are celebrating your YEAR on Earth. Time is a beast.
Boy, what don't you do these days? You are constantly on the move and army crawling all over the place. Last night you started propping yourself up on your hands and knees and now you look like a really, little baby crawling around. You try to pull yourself up on everything (you had your first boo boo today after a spill trying to stand up by the couch) and the bathtub is your favorite place to attempt your new standing trick. It worries me that you have no fear. None.
You are sleeping in your own bed!...most nights...We've started a routine of lavender baths, drawn curtains, and a white noise machine. Most nights you fall asleep quickly and snuggle until the wee hours of the morning. I only go in there like 84 times before I go to bed to check your breathing and let you know that I love you. I'm proud of you for taking the transition with ease.
You are an EATER! Your favorites include: pureed pumpkin, hummus, waffles, blueberries, and whatever Mom or Dad is trying to eat. You are slowly learning how your sippy cup works and you love water. You get seriously excited at meal times and we laugh at how you dance around when you see us pull out a banana or cut up bread. We've hit a road bump with nursing but that's mostly because you are too busy to sit and nurse. We went to our first Veggie Fest together and you ate all the things! Noodles and bread and sorbet and...oof...all of it. You loved people watching and all the new tastes and sights.
Each day I really look forward to our hour of playtime before your bath. I know life won't always allow us to have one-on-one time every day to just enjoy one another so I'm really soaking it in. I read you book after book while you dig through a bin of toys. I just really love spending no-phone, quality time with you. You can now play peek-a-boo with a cloth or blanket and you put your arms up for So Big! You are stubborn about signing what you want but I have hope.
You. Said. Mama. You called out for me when Daddy was changing your diaper. You refuse to say it again, even though I desperately want you to. You love to say Dada and you babble all the time. I love hearing your tiny voice in the morning, babbling until someone wakes up for you. You are still a morning baby and you have a HUGE smile when we say good morning to you. I love how excited you get when people you love are around. You light up for Grandma and Grandpa every single time. I feel like every day is full of milestones and you are constantly changing.
You were also sick for the very first time. You were inconsolably crabby all day and then woke up with a 102 fever. Your whole body was hot and we quickly brought you to the doctor. It was the saddest three days ever. You didn't want to play or eat or laugh; you just wanted to cry and cuddle your Mama. One day I resorted to dragging your high chair in front of the TV so you would eat peas while watching Mickey Mouse. If I can make you feel better, no matter what's wrong, I'll always try my best. I promise.
The coolest thing you do now that melts my heart? You give kisses! They are sweet, slobbery, open-mouth baby kisses and I love them. Multiple times a day I'll say, "Can I have a kiss?" and you land a big smooch on me. It melts me and I love it, and you.
You are becoming more and more of this amazing little personality with likes and dislikes and a sense of humor. I want to both pause time and can't wait for the future because life with you is so magical.
I love you, Bear. To another month of changes, laughter, and lots of baby kisses.
I've chattered on before about how I've never been one for being in photos. I've hidden my body behind things, covered my face, shied away from the camera.
I regret so many of those photos untaken, memories that weren't logged into a visual catalog, moments wasted thinking I wasn't deserving of being in a photo.
It's different now. I refuse to sit back and miss out on opportunities to be in photos with my baby boy.Where I used to see hair out of place, under eye circles, wrinkles, bodily imperfections, and more I now see someone who is loved, someone who is happy to spend 1am rocking a baby back to sleep, someone who has worked hard to shut down that inner criticism that ruled her mentality for too many years. I see someone who takes chances, who loves fully, who hugs tightly, who laughs loudly.
I see someone who is happy.
I'm learning to love myself, flaws and all, one photograph at a time.
....eating hot sauce and sriracha all day every day. I found a pin this week for sriracha ramen with green onions and can't stop thinking about it.
...making the usual progress around this old house. My one-chore-a-day mentality is working. Some days I manage to scrub every inch of the living room with a toothbrush or go through all my clothes to weed out things for donations but other days I only have time to wash Rowan's bottles. It's all progress.
...listening to old school Ryan Adams. I found the Demolition CD in my car about a month ago and I just can't stop. I love him so much and that album is one of the tippy tippy tops.
...reading nada at the moment, unfortunately, unless magazines count (and even then I have a stack of those being ignored too). Once I have some time I may pick up Gone Girl and jump on that train about three years too late.
...watching Gilmore Girls from the beginning. It's like falling in love all over again and I want to move to Stars Hollow. How good is that show? Ugh, I love it so much.
...loving air conditioning! Now that ours is fixed, I am so grateful for it. Those two days with a house standing still at 89 degrees was basically the worst. Sweat 4 dayz.
...looking forward to the weekend and enjoying this summery afternoon with my tiny main squeeze! We are hitting a local splashpad and having a picnic with two of our favorites then we're taking care of some errands and making time for play. Just play. Finger painting, maybe a movie, swinging on our backyard swing. After my stress-full post yesterday, I am eyes-wide-open that I need to make more time for fun. Tomorrow I have date night with Rhyno and plan to actually use it as a date...not a night cleaning the house.
Have a great weekend!
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I used to have this friend who constantly talked about how stressed she was. "I'm SO stressed" was her life's mantra and it was exhausting. Know people like that? Then you are picking up what I'm laying down.
Over the last couple weeks, I've realized that I am becoming the stress case. I am constantly thinking and worrying and wasting time stressing out over everything. Truth be told, there IS a lot going on in my life with work, relationships, child rearing, and the like but ick, enough already with the S word. I'm sure the people around me have noticed and I, ever trying to be self-aware, have definitely noticed. As I tried to fall back to sleep around 3am after feeding the baby last night, my mind started reeling. Remembering something I read years ago, I decided to jot what was bothering me down and have since decided to take a next step and see what I could do to remedy these issues.
Stress: Having #HomeownerProblems When we were house hunting, I fell in love with the charms of having an older home--the nooks and crannies and the unique personality each older home had. Now that I live in an old home I realize that shit falls apart. In a matter of weeks our lawnmower broke (with a big yard to manage this is a travesty), our dishwasher broke, our air conditioning stopped working, our guest toilet began having troubles, AND our master bath (which is currently under renovations) started leaking into our basement. WOOF! Partner this with the fact that we are in the midst of going through our home and purging the junk and I just feel overwhelmed and have fallen out of love with our little space. Solution: Tackle one thing at a time and fix the things that need fixin' first (like our air conditioning during the sweaty armpit that is summer heat). It's so easy to feel overwhelmed when you step back and realize there are 865 projects to be done. I decided to make a super detailed list of all the cleaning, fixer upper, and DIY projects that I'd like to get done before the year ends and I am slowly ticking things off my list. My goal is to do one home project every weekday--even if that "project" is just cleaning off my vanity, that's an accomplishment.
Finding Work/Life Balance (or Being Overworked/Underlifed)
I used to joke that I was a recovering workaholic but I don't think I qualify as being "in recovery" anymore. As a freelancer, I live my work life in feast more or famine mode. Right now I am in "feast," and while this is amazing and I feel grateful to have the opportunity to be working. I just stress myself out when I don't create boundaries. I feel like a bad mom when I am working with Rowan playing next to me, I feel like a bad worker when I close my laptop to focus on bath time when I have a looming deadline. For months in a row I've worked from breakfast until bedtime with short breaks in between, which is unhealthy for all involved. Solution: Boundaries. It's okay to turn down projects and it's also okay to ask someone to come watch the baby for an hour while I tackle some writing. I am learning to take advantage of the time Rhyno is home, allowing him to hang with the baby solo while I really get in some productive work hours.
Having the Lonely Girl Blues
I mostly work at home. My husband works second shift. I live somewhat far out from family and the bulk of my friends. I am solo the majority of my week and though I am someone that definitely thrives on alone time, it can be a lonely pill to swallow. Solution: Make more plans with people, plain and simple. With a hectic work schedule, I've taken to not making plans. No. I need to make time to go do fun things and meet up with all my lovers...well not really lovers...you get me.Also, two of my best friends live on my street within view of my house. Next time I mopey about being lonely, I can walk my happy ass down the street.
Being a Parenting Noob
I'm a new-ish mom and second guess a lot of my own parenting. Should I feed him more? Less? Should I wear him forever? If I pick him up when he's acting like this, am I rewarding bad behavior? Is it bad that I gave him Tylenol for his teeth twice this week? He isn't in his own room and now he'll live in my basement forever and people will make fun of him and call him Norman Bates and THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD. Solution: Calm the eff down. I try to remind myself often that I am doing the best I can and he's a happy, healthy baby. He is loved and I am trying and that's what matters most.
Ultimately, if I can work to change it then that's what I need to do. If I can't change it then I need to stop worrying about it.
I've made no bones about it that I am on the road to getting healthy. Though I've come to appreciate my body and stopped saying, "EW!" every time I look in the mirror, I have firm resolve to get healthy for my sake and to set a good example for the baby.
The thing is with nursing and working a lot and having a small human depending on you it can be kind of difficult to remember to take care of yourself (is it just me?). Instead of making a drastic calorie cut or telling myself I'm going to work out for 90 minutes a day (pretty unattainable for me at this point), I've made a few goals that will help me drop the excess pounds and boost my overall well being.
Some reasonable, daily goals:
Water, water, water
I've mentioned before, but I've always been great about drinking water. Lately, I have had more days than not that I realize it's 1pm and I've had maybe 8 ounces. I'm shooting for at least 100 ounces a day, every day, no excuses.
Curbing alcohol intake
Since Rowan is nursing less, I've allowed myself to imbibe a bit more than before...like a glass of wine or two at least once a week. A small glass of red wine after baby's bedtime here and a nice glass of white with dinner there...those calories add up (not to mention that alcohol makes me bloat instantly). I'm limiting myself to one glass of wine per week maximum.
I am a FitBit lover, total step geek, and all around nerd. Though I've had my FitBit lovingly clipped to my underoos for months, I've barely tried to hit my daily goal. Working from home and sitting while nursing make it a bit more difficult to hit that recommended 10,000 steps a day goal but I'm making an effort.
Cut out/cut down on processed sugar
I know this to be true: when in doubt, eat real food. In the effort of saving time, there are days where I skip my usual spirulina smoothie and grab a cereal bar instead. A cereal bar. So sugar and pretty empty calories that don't do much to fill me up. Or I find myself mindlessly eating store-bought trail mix at 10pm. Rhyno, Type 1 diabetic, has also made a resolve to cut down on processed garbage.
One of my favorite girls, Molly, and I have made a little pact to keep one another accountable for the goals we've set (check out her post about it here). I'm also staying on track with MyFitnessPal and continuing to log every bite (are you on MFP? let's hook up!).
Here's a newsflash that will be news to no one: teething stinks.
Ro-bot has been in the midst of teething for what seems like eternity. I feel like every couple of weeks I'm announcing to the world that he is teething and then...nada. Though he is still all gums, most people have told us that this is how it goes with some kids.Some days he's a-okay and others he is les mis. During the rough days, I've been trying any and everything to help my babe find relief and rest.
Some of my already-tried tricks:
Amber Teething Necklace/Bracelet
This seems to be the IT thing right now and in a bout of sleep-deprived desperation, I totally bought one. I'm actually not sure how much good it actually does but Ro rocks it anyway (plus how hippie cute do babies in amber necklaces look?).
Our mesh chewer is one of my favorite things and when Rowan seems particularly miserable we stuff that thing full of super cold pineapple or strawberry and let him have at it. He's a fruit-asaurus so it seems to bring temporary relief/distraction. I've also tried ice cold gripe water and my little gripe-lover responded pretty well.
Nursing. Lots of nursing.
I'm very happy that Rowan is still happy to nurse and sometimes hang time with mom is the cure-all. Even though on rough nights this means I get about twenty seconds of sleep at a time...
If all else fails....Tylenol
I try hard not to pump Ro full of Tylenol after his vaccinations or teething. If there are other things that will work, I try them first but sometimes this is the answer. When his teething discomfort is at its most intense the answer is usually a warm lavender bath, a bit of Tylenol, and a bit of nursing with lots of snuggles.
What are your best tips for dealing with teething?
You’re NINE months! You’ve almost officially been on Earth longer
than you were in my tummy and that makes me feel all the feelings.
You celebrated your first 4th of July and you saw fireworks for the first time. Your face lit up and your little noise protector headphones made you look like a tiny DJ. We had a block party and, man, you love watching big kids. When you are more mobile I know you'll be tearing it up with all your friends in the neighborhood (including your future BFF who is due September 23rd, Mommy's BFF is having a baby boy!).
You went on your very first vacation! We went to Tennessee
and Florida and you were a freaking rock star. You are truly a kid who works
best when we don’t impose a strict schedule, your vacation days were filled with
adventures and really good naps and seeing lots of new things and sleeping really well at nighth. You saw the
ocean for very first time and it was crazy magical. You flapped your hands and
smiled your big smile when we got to the beach….then you got splashed with some
salty water and you were very over it. You also went in a swimming pool for the
first time and you are quite the little fish. When we got home we kept waiting
for you to realize that vacation was over and you were back to your boring, old
routine and pitch a fit but you didn’t. You take to change pretty well in that
You’re still partially co-sleeping. It works best for you and
for me though I am slowly transitioning you to your crib for longer naps and
bigger chunks of time at night. I laugh when I think about how I was so adamant
that at six months you’d be in your own room full time. You still nurse quite a
bit at night (you're usually up at least twice between 9:30pm and 7am) and you are the world’s lightest sleeper (we started having to take Violet's collar off at bedtime because she kept waking you up with all her jingling and jangling), but I have no doubt you’ll
be hanging in your crib by yourself before month’s end.
It’s crazy to me to think about how different you’ll be by
the end of the month because I feel like you’ve completely changed in the last
few weeks. You are CRAWLING! You’re an army crawler so you look a bit like a
tiny zombie but, boy, you are on the move. You sit up on your own and love to
hang out on the fluffy rug in the front room surrounded by toys and Violet. Daddy and I have started doing more activities with you like finger painting and little puzzles. You are in this really cool, exploratory stage where you like to feel and see and listen to everything. You love to run your hands over the wooly sheep in your Feel & Read farm animal book and you turn every object over and over in your little hands. You are a big Sesame Street fan and your face lights up when you hear Mickey Mouse's voice. You and I listen to lots of music and your favorites seem to be Murder By Death (much to Daddy's pleasant surprise) and Elvis. Daddy and I bought this little indie band's (Saintseneca) album at a concert a couple months ago and you smile when you hear the clap-clap-clap of the first track fill up the kitchen.
You are still
toothless but you are trying new foods—both pureed and just cut up—all over the
place. You love Cheerios and start every morning in your high chair feeding
yourself bits of bananas and Cheerios while Daddy and I start our day. This time last year you were in my belly and now I'm handing you little plates with dinosaurs on them so you can feed yourself sweet potatoes. Time flies.
Sometimes I look at you and just realize how big you are
now, what a personality you have. You are just a sweet kid, you love to snuggle and you have the best laugh. But you seem to feel things to the core of your being--when you are happy, everyone knows it and when you are unhappy...woof...everyone knows that too. You are the master of the hold-your-breath screamfest and sometimes all you want is your Momma. That's okay because sometimes all I want is you, too.
A few days before you were born I downloaded this app to track all your diaper changes and feedings. I was crazy about it (ask any babysitter, who had to write time what time you were changed and what was in the diaper or what time you ate and how many ounces and how long it took). When you transitioned to eat more solids, I kept up with the tracker and religiously logged all of your bites into it. A couple weeks ago, realizing that it took up a lot of space on my phone (terrible) and you weren't as unpredictable anymore so I deleted it. It's so weird but it felt like the end of your infancy and the beginning of you being a baby. You're not nursing constantly anymore so I don't need to time it and I don't panic anymore if you haven't had a wet diaper in the last couple hours. I feel like it's a small sign that we are in the swing of things. You're my baby and I'm your mom. We've kind of got the hang of this now.
To another month of firsts and changes and milestones and getting closer and closer to your very first birthday. I love you, Bear.
Excuse my French when I say that motherhood has made me realize that the rapid passage of time is a real motherfucker.
The other night I was playing with Ro-bot in his room, he was sitting up waving blocks and rattles all around and it just hit me, "You are not a newborn anymore." He is not the babe in the bump, kicking my belly at all hours. He is not that tiny baby they laid on my chest in the hospital. He is not the itty bitty baby who cried to eat every 45 minutes. He is not this brand new human anymore.
And where that makes me sad and I really long for just ONE more day being pregnant with him or just ONE more day with him when he was a newborn, I also look at him and just feel proud. Look at you sit and babble and feed yourself bits of bananas. Look at you crawl (!!) and roll around and pivot. He is no longer that teeny, tiny newborn but he is this really bubbly, funny, beautiful little human being. I'm realizing how quickly these moments pass and it makes me try to savor every minute. Even when the house is messy, Violet is waking the baby up, and my clothes are covered in who-knows-what, these moments pass all too quickly and I just want to drink them up. I want to press pause on the mornings when his little bedhead pops up and when he giggles at the mailman and when he does the "zombie baby" routine and when he reaches out for me...specially when he reaches out for me.
I bought a little sentence-a-day journal to keep better track of these tiny moments and I have set aside a day to work on his scrapbook so that years from now I can revisit this sweet time with him. But, ugh, time flies when life is beautiful.
How do you savor and record life's little moments?
....eating sweet potatoes for dinner every.single.day. I am such a creature of habit when it comes to meals and right now I am in the habit of eat a sweet potato with non-dairy butter and a pinch of salt with a side of spicy steamed veggies and tofu for dinner almost every single week night. What can I say? It's quick, easy, and effing delicious.
...making big plans! I recently bought a paper planner to map out future blog posts in hopes of FINALLY making this a consistent and productive outlet for myself. I'm also working on getting our home in order and purging more junk (unused kitchen appliances, books we won't read again, excess blankets. It all must go). Thirty is just around the bend and I want to go into my next decade with a clean, fresh, organized start.
...reading something new! I mentioned earlier this week I just finished the Andy Cohen Diaries and now I'm looking for something else to sink my teeth into. A nearly bought Go Set a Watchman out of sheer curiosity but after reading the initial reviews I just can't bring myself to tarnish my love of To Kill a Mockingbird. Not yet, any way.
...watching unREAL on Lifetime (I know, Lifetime? Seriously.) I watched the pilot after seeing some interesting previews and BOY that stuff sucks you in. It's dark, interesting, and pokes at the reality TV bear. It's a total guilty pleasure, glass of wine after the baby goes to bed watch.
...loving the sunshine when we get it! This summer has been so rainy and full of storms, the days of sunshine are extra special. Any time it is sunny enough but not insanely humid, the babe and I head out to the patio for dinner (at our shower my other mother bought me a pop-up outdoor high chair and it ROCKS). I've never been a huge fan of summer--hi, it's super hot and I sweat and boo hiss--but I'm learning to just soak in the moment....even if the moment itself is soaked in sweat and melted makeup.
...looking forward to a more relaxed schedule! The last six-ish months have been insane with work and obligations (which is a good thing in freelancing, for sure). But I'm working on that work-life balance and I've been making myself really stick to it. I was working from the time I got up until the time I went to bed almost every day and I was getting burnt out and felt guilty. Now, I'm creating boundaries and being honest about when I am and am not available. I'm happy to be busy with work but I am making it a priority to NOT answer emails while I give the baby a bath or hop on calls when I'm about to put him down for the night. I love what I do and I love being a mom, I'm just learning to strike that balance of the two.
Have a great weekend!
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If you follow me on any form of social media (in this case Instagram) you know that I am a lover of fresh flowers. Since I was a kid, nothing makes my heart quite as happy as a fresh bouquet of beauts. I can remember thinking that when I was an adult I'd always get paper bags at the grocery store and I'd always have flowers in my house (I also thought adulthood rocked cause you could drink as much pop as you wanted...).
Since I moved out on my own (and even a bit in college) I've always made a point to have fresh flowers in the house whenever possible. With two cats who like to destroy plants, it has been an exercise in creativity when it comes to keeping the blooms somewhere safe. A couple of years ago I started a formally informal routine called the Weekly Blooms--a weekly love letter to myself in the form of petals and stems. During a rocky year full of loss, disappointment, work woes, and my dad's cancer diagnosis I decided to make my weekly bouquet (sometimes bi-weekly depending on how long I can keep them fresh) a major priority. Even when money was/is a bit tighter, there's something beautiful and sunny about a small $3 bouquet of daisies on my entryway table. Over years, I've found myself really looking forward to picking out the perfect bouquet and have really come a ways in creating floral arrangements. It's nothing super fancy but it's a reminder to myself that I am wonderful. Every week. All the blooms.
Do you have any little routines like the Weekly Blooms?
I love to read. With a busy work life and mommin' it up, I haven't spent nearly enough time engulfed in a good read these last few months (and during pregnancy I was mostly reading "how to not accidentally kill your infant/you're doing everything wrong" type books). My favorite books are usually in the humor realm and lean toward memoirs (I just finished the Andy Cohen Diaries and it was such a dishy, fun read).
On my reading wish list?
Gone Girl (I'm a million years late to that party)
This week should be called "Nursing Talk" really...and on that note, you've been warned.
It's no secret that I'm on a quest to get healthy/lose some weight (unless you're new here and in that case hey gurl/boi, how you doin'?). Since the day Ro-w Row Row Your Boat was born I've lost a total of 54 pounds. I'm really happy that I've been successful in losing a chunk of weight (and I rue the days I ate pizza and drank wine pre-pregancy because I'm paying for it now). I have lost every pound I gained while I carried my babe but now I'm working on losing pre-pregnancy excess weight.
What I've learned about losing weight this time around? Trying to drop pounds while nursing a baby can be a real pain in the ass. The first couple months I was always hungry, I constantly hit plateaus, and now I have to be careful that I don't go too crazy for fear of damaging my milk supply. A couple months ago I lost 5 pounds in one week...and immediately was met with a fussy babe who was NOT getting enough of the good stuff because my supply had dipped. It's this constant dance making sure to keep my supply up while hoping to see the pounds fall off.
In researching losing weight while nursing I've come to the conclusion that slow and steady wins the race. I've gotten past the idea that I can lose 20 pounds in a month or that I can eat 900 calories a day.
Here are some quick tips that have worked for me in losing these 54 pounds and working toward losing the next 50:
Water, Water: All. The. Time.
Water is my favorite. Everyone knows chugging the clear stuff is awesome for you and I am happy that I instilled this habit years ago. I try to hit at least 80 ounces a day (but strive for my weight in ounces). I'm learning to stop drinking my calories--tea instead of wine, passing on sugary OJ for a cold glass of water, etc.
I'm not someone who has ever had a hardcore workout routine (shocking, right?). I lost 18 pounds in the month before I got pregnant with Rowan and even then I was doing a bit of time on the elliptical (how magical are those things?) and walking the track at my gym at a leisurely pace. It's just about movement with me. I would love to be someone who can train with Jillian Michaels six days a week or someone who runs miles and miles every day. Right now, that's not what works for me. I use my FitBit to track steps and aim for 10,000 a day. Down the road, I'm contemplating investing in my own elliptical since the one at my gym was a beaut and it never felt like a tough workout but blasted calories.
Choose Good Calories & Keep Track
Firstly, stick to your own calorie count. I firmly believe different people need different calorie numbers. Pre-baby weight loss, I stuck to 1,200-1,300. Now, knowing I need a few extra, I stick to 1,800 a day. It's crazy how quickly those calories can disappear when you watch what you're eating. Sure, I can have a glass of wine with toast (ugh, I love toast) OR I can have a ton of produce with a bit of hummus. I try to fill my 1,800 calories with really high nutrient things like spirulina, tofu, bananas, almond butter, fruit, steamed veggies, and hummus. I use MyFitnessPal's app to keep track of everything and I really love it--it's easy, quick, and I love the social aspect of cheering other people on (are you using MFP? What's your username, boo?).
Eat Clean, But Not TOO Clean
I believe in treats. There I said it. Since I am nursing, I do try to fill my daily plate with lots of greens, vegan proteins, antioxidants, and "superfoods." Buuuut, sometimes I just want a salted soft pretzel. And I have one with spicy mustard. When I totally deprive myself, I always fall off the wagon. Keeping my plate mostly clean helps keep the pounds off but I allow myself to indulge too. Rhyno and I want to watch movies with the babe and order Chinese takeout on a Saturday night? I'm not killing myself over it. I let myself have that spring roll and a Sprite and sodium-laden soy sauce....but not every day. It's all about balance.
Embrace Your Bod
The most powerful thing I've done in losing these 54 pounds is embracing my body as is. I've suffered from disordered eating and body dysmorphia my entire life and I can finally say I'm happy with myself. Sure, I wish more of my clothing fit and I wish I wasn't so jiggly but I'm happy. My body is strong and carried a healthy baby and continues to nourish said babe. I've survived grief and the awkward ugly duckling years and loss and nights spent making bad decisions. I'm working on creating an even healthier body but it takes so much stress off to just accept the one I have, too.
What are your best tips for slow and steady weight loss?
I love to travel. As a teenager I was a People to People Student Ambassador and got to see the likes of Spain, Italy, and France. My gramma saved up to take my cousin and I on a cruise to Alaska in high school. Even quick trips to nearby Indiana and overnights in downtown Chicago, I love to see new things and have a bit of wanderlust. Somewhere between working a ton of hours at a 24/7 on-call job, lay-offs, bills, and the general responsibilities of life in your 20s, I stopped traveling. Rhyno and I have been together nine years and only went on one trip together--our honeymoon to Disney World.
Then I got pregnant. Sometime last year I decided I wanted travel to be a priority for myself and the babe. I wanted our baby to see things and go on at least one vacation a year. With a renewed desire to create better work/life balance (more on that in another post cause, boy, do I need help there), I started planning a road trip to Florida a few months ago. With my parents in tow, we decided to drive down to visit my brother and sister-in-law with a stop in Tennessee.
My parents, Robot, and I packed up and got out of dodge the day after Fourth of July! We were able to avoid traffic and got to Tennessee in about nine hours (not bad for having an 8 month old in the car!). We spent the next day touring Gatlinburg--I HIGHLY recommend visiting. I said this is a place I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise and it is beautiful. Lots of shopping, whiskey and moonshine tastings, great (vegan!) calzones at Mellow Mushroom, and the most beautiful aquarium I've ever been to. We stayed in a gorgeous resort with perfect mountain views. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Our next stop? Florida! We spent the day with my brother and sister-in-law at Universal to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (um, amazing) and our nerdy hearts were so happy. We rode roller coasters (let's talk about how awesome Child Swap at Universal is: we were all able to wait in line together and then swap turns on the ride), drank frozen lemonade, and sweated our butts off (hi, Florida is H-O-T). We went back the next day to do more shopping and roller coaster riding, ending the night driving to my brother's place in St. Augustine.
Oh, the beach. Take me back! We spent Friday at the beach and man, that salt water felt so good. Robot was a fan of the ocean from afar and one salty splash to the face and he was over it. We packed up and hit the pool instead which he LOVED. He would have stayed in there all day if he had his way! We soothed our sunburn and hit a tiny Italian place for a family dinner. My dad said it was the best homemade pasta he's had since his fresh-from-Italy grandma was alive. It was SO good!
We spent the evening watching movies and visiting with my cousin who happens to share a birthday with Ro-wanasaurus. We packed up in the morning to head back to Illinois and drove through the night (met with bad traffic, bad weather, and SIX hotels without available rooms). I was never so happy to see my own bed! We have only been home just over 24 hours and I am already mentally planning our next trip. I forgot how refreshing it is to travel and get away from real life for a bit. I loved seeing Rowan's face as we explored new places and experienced brand new things (salt water! sand! hotels! looooong car rides!).
Off we go! You really haven't lived until you've pumped in the backseat of a car.
Loving vacation during a quick stop as we entered Kentucky.
The gorgeous view from our room in Gatlinburg!
Greetings from Gatlinburg!
Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg is the MOST beautiful place.
Seriously, colorful jellies.
That view of Orlando!
Hitting the Guinness Hall of World Records and finally wearing this LIFESAVER of a sling.
Goofing around at Universal. Yes, his 6 month sized shorts are giant on him.
Grabbing a giant donut with the Simpsons.
Dinner at La Strada with Robot's Uncle Patrick
Enjoying the sunshine and sand and even the water...from afar.