Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas

Yes, yes...I am a week late with this Christmas recap, but seriously. Show of hands of people who weren't busy as all heck in the past week? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Anyway, Christmas Eve started for Isaac by reading "The Night Before Christmas" recorded book that Ben and I made for him. He turned the pages and listened to our voices. I think he was a little confused by hearing our voices with us sitting right there with him, not talking. He was all decked out in his Christmas jammies. He went to bed, normal time, normal 5 minutes (yes, we are down to 5, count em, 5!) minutes of fussing. And then Santa elves went to work.

The plan was not to buy him too much this year. And then I discovered peek a blocks on E.bay. In all fairness, I stayed within our set budget for him.

There were even presents in "Santa paper." You can't really see them in this picture, because they are buried beneath all the other toys. Oh, the jumperoo is old. We've had that. It just got in the way of all the toys.
Exhausted and lysoled out, we called it a night. (PS. mental note to stock pile every single size battery for the rest of Isaac's life...or at least until he is old enough to understand patience.)
And then...there was a poo explosion. An explosion that drenched the cleverly selected Christmas sleeper. Sigh. A change was necessary.
I had prepared a bottle for Isaac to tide him over, so his initial waking thought would not be "food" and we could focus on the masses of toys under the tree before eating breakfast. I had not prepared for the poo explosion. Ah, well. He had his pj change, and his bottle.

And then it was time for presents! :)

I think he was a wee bit overwhelmed. But he got the hang of it. He played, and played, and played. He finally crashed and slept like a rock for a good 2 hours.

He webcammed it up for his grandparents. He even looked the part. :)

He ate his Christmas feast of ham and sweet potatoes, and mooched off Mommy's plate for some mashed potatoes and cookies.



The day was everything I could have wanted for a first Christmas. We were low-key and together as a family. We got to enjoy our baby and our time.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Eleven

Time has flown by so fast and with the passing, it took Isaac's eleven month milestone marker, the day after Christmas.

My little boy is zooming all over the house, and is never happy in the playpen anymore. He started standing up and walking along the furniture, but he is still a little tentative in doing so. We have baby proofed galore in our house. He chases the cats and has learned to "pet them nice."

Isaac's vocabulary has built way up over the past month. He says "uh oh" and "eat" in proper context. He says Iiiiiiiiiiiii dit, for his name. I also hear "dat," "wuv" and "yay!" If you asks him what the monkey says and go "oooohhh oh ah ah" he will repeat it back. :) When he catches the ball or does something we like and we say yay! he will throw his arms in the air and say it back.

I love his smile. He smiles and laughs all the time. If you say no to him he will shake his head.

And thank you, thank you, thank you, lord HE IS GOING TO SLEEP AT 8 EVERY NIGHT BY HIMSELF AND SLEEPING UNTIL A LEAST 7 EVERY MORNING. Sometimes I get really lucky and he'll sleep until 9. :) We are starting the cry it out for nap time now. I moved his big fluffly blue bunny into his crib and he loves to cuddle with it. And he is a mover in his sleep. If he falls asleep with me during the day, he wakes up as soon as he wants to move and is constricted by my body. He needs his space.
He loooooooves to feed himself. Chunks of sweet potato, carrots, and pancakes are his favorites. He is getting very good at the sippy cup (he may have learned sooner if I had realized there was a safety plug in them....) and we started on milk. He loves it. He has 4 oz a day and so far so good.

He loves to push buttons. And he loves to put his cookies throught he slot into his milk jug, which according to our Familes Fi.rst nurse, indicates his aptitude for math. We'll see. :) We also discovered "Word World" on PBS. Have you seen that show. I love it! It's genius! I would love to be an illustrator for that show.
I can't believe I am planning his first birthday celebrations already. It blows my mind.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Believe

I believe in hardwork and dedication.

I believe in perserverance.

I believe in laughing at yourself.

I believe in laughing so hard that it hurts, but not stopping.

I believe in smiling at strangers.

I believe in true love.

I believe that true love is what is left when the shine wears off.

I believe in positive thinking and the law of attraction.

I believe in karma.

I believe in miracles.

I believe in compassion and the good in people.


I believe in the magic of the holiday season.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Traditions

One of the hardest parts about living in California is being so far away from family for the holidays. Since we moved out here in 03, we haven't been home for Thanksgiving once. We were lucky enough to go home for Christmas for the first two years....then we both got promotions and the retail schedule is unforgiving. We went home the Christmas before I got pregnant. It was the first time we had been back east for the holidays in 2 years. Last year we didn't go because I was too pregnant, and I just squeezed my baby shower in Ohio in before the cutoff flying date.

We talked about going there for this Christmas, but nixed the idea early on. Traveling with a baby has proved difficult. We weren't so thrilled about the idea of traveling with him during the busiest time of the year. Plus it's cold. Cold and freezing, traveling with a baby during the busiest time of the year. Hmmm, yeah...no thank you.

Anyway, Ben and I have our new traditions that we have started for our family. It was really important to us. The first Christmas we were out here alone was hard. And it forced us to make the holidays ours. We want to make this holiday special for Isaac, even though he won't really remember until he gets older.

Every year, I go see the Nutcracker ballet with my friend K. The SF ballet company is amazing, and the Opera House is absolutely stunning.

I bake Christmas cookies for friends. Last year was the first year that I didn't get to, again because of moving and baby showers. Usually I make alot. I think my record is um....21 kinds. in 2.5 days. This year, I did only 8 and that was enough. Isaac helped. He sat in his high chair or jumperoo and supervised.

We got Santa paper for Isaac's presents from Santa. I remember this from when I was a little girl. the presents from Santa were always in different paper, decorated with some image of Santa.

I started making Isaac a stocking. It isn't finished (umm, mom FAIL), but it is quite extensive. I haven't embroidered in YEARS and there are beads and sequins...oh my. Regardless, he still has a stocking and now I know for our next child to start en utero.

We have breakfast together. Usually cinnamon rolls, but tomorrow it's macademia nut pancakes and sausage.

We bought one of those recordable storybooks. Ben and I alternated reading pages. We gave it to Isaac tonight and he loved it. He was enthralled by our voices and turning the pages to make the recordings start. We will have him read it every Christmas with us.

We started Isaac's ornament collection last year. I made train ornaments for shower favors and he will have one of each color. This year I added a Handy Manny ornament. We will make him a first Christmas ornament tomorrow.

Some of these traditions are old, from our families. Some of them we came up with. Either way, we are excited to have these traditions for our new family. We are excited to celebrate our first Christmas as parents with our vibrant little boy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ache

I got spoiled.

For two weeks, I was with my baby almost all day, everyday. I haven't had that since maternity leave. It was absolutely WONDERFUL. We played, we took naps, we tried new foods, we did Christmas type things....

And then I went back to work and things got busy. Work is jammed packed everyday up to Christmas Eve. Oh yeah, and it's Christmas, so that automatically means everyone is on edge and stressed out and feel the need to pack ten million things to do into 24 hour days, myself included. Every year, I try to space things out and plan, plan, plan so I don't feel the stress and anxiety shoot up, but only the happy hustle and bustle. It just never seems to work. Last week was not so fun. I had something that needed to get done almost every single night during the week...a haircut, the ballet, a trip to Wal.mart...and I worked all 5 weekdays, last week.

I missed my baby. I just wanted to cuddle up on the couch with my boy and enjoy the holiday. But there just was not time. I know, I know. Make time, right? I do too much and blah, blah, blah.

I have to work. And I have to get presents sent off. And trust me, I majorly cut back on everything this year.

I missed Isaac so much, it ached. And sitting on the couch, listening to him cry it out in his crib just seemed unfair and wrong to both of us, and made me cry. I cheated a little bit, and cuddle him in his room for a few minutes.

He is still down to 10 minutes of crying so, it didn't hurt, right?

So thankfully, with the exception of a teeth cleaning that I have to get in before the end of the year for insurance purposes (don't eve get me started on the evils of dentists). I am able to enjoy this week with my baby. It's his first Christmas. I know he won't remember it, but I will.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Biting the Bullet

BabyCenter.com sent me an email informing me that my child is 46 weeks old. 6 weeks shy of his first birthday. I really don't read these updates. I freak out if I think something is not going right. One of the things I loved about my OB was that he didn't give me unneccessary information. All I needed to know was that my baby was healthy. He didn't tell me the heart rate in an exact number, just that it sounded great. When I looked at my chart at the end, I saw how it fluctuated from week to week and I know me. I would have freaked and been concerned about something I didn't need to be concerned about. So I don't read these email things. Occassionally there will be a topic in a headline that will spark an interest, but generally I don't read them.

Anyway, 46 weeks old. I thought about where I wanted him to be, and how far he's come. In my opinion, he does alot of things that are somewhat advanced for his age, like putting his cookies through the slot in his cookie jar, and doesn't do other things as regularly or as well as another baby his age. I am not worried about him in terms of development or growth. He's perfect to me. He's healthy and he's happy.

But he wasn't sleeping well. His sleeping routine was not where I wanted it to be.

I realize that breastfeeding babies don't routinely sleep through the night until they are a bit older. But Isaac weaned himself. He's a bottle baby now. So that reason doesn't fly for me.

Plus I AM DAMN TIRED. Somehow I ended up with like, 4 jobs over the past year and no matter what I do, I have alot on my plate. I need sleep.

I thought about it long and hard. I looked at our routine and what needed to change. I talked to my husband, and then just bit the bullet.

Isaac eats dinners between 5:30 and 6, followed by his bath. Then he is allowed to play until about 7:30ish. At that time we turn down all the lights, have one last bottle and cuddle and rock for a while. Then at 8, heavy eyed or not so much (but he is 9.5 times out of 10), we go into his room, turn on his aquarium and kiss him goodnight. I put him in his crib and rub his back, tell him I love him and I will be right outside. Then I leave him and shut the door. I let him cry it out.

He screams. It started out as about 30-45 minutes of screaming, sometimes an hour. We are down to about 20 minutes. And then he sleeps. AND THEN HE SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT.

So do I.

Do I like hearing my baby scream? Absolutely not. But it is not a pained cry. He's mad. I don't go in there anymore, because that makes him scream louder. I distract myself. I don't go near his room. I clean up the kitchen and pick up all his toys around the house. I took a couple of long showers and dried my hair. I do laundry in the basement. I run the dishwasher. I don't really hear him. By the time I am done with everything, he's sound asleep and I go in then to tuck him in.

It was the best decision for us. He knows I love him. And now, he is a delight in the morning. He wakes up happy and rested and so do I. If he wakes up during the night, I don't hear him. He greets me with smiles in the morning.

It was time. We all needed this.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Recharged

Our family just took our first vacation in a long time that did not somehow involve a wedding, our parents, or Ohio. (Hmmmm, our layover was in Cin.cinnati, but that doesn't count right?) Not that those are bad things, but still. They aren't really vacations then.

We went to North Carolina to visit my husband's best friend and his wife and son. And we didn't do ANYTHING. We didn't plan anything, we didn't go on day trips. We layed around. We relaxed. We took the boys to see Santa. Ben and I went to see "A Christmas Carol" (PS, NOT a suitable movie for kids. Holy cow, some of those ghosts were SCARY!). Isaac enjoyed Otis, the dog and he learned to stand up. He liked having other people's stuff to play with. I liked not having a house to maintain or work to worry about. We rolled with the punches and it was wonderful. We played and watched TV.

It was exactly what we all needed, more so than we thought. We came back refreshed, me especially. We had the next day to get our Christmas tree and decorate. We felt like a family. :)

I came back to work feeling more motivated and ready to tackle things. I am more focused.

Seriously, we didn't do ANYTHING. I suggest you try it!

Isaac does well with the tree. I put a bunch of baby friendly ornaments around the bottom. He only plays with those. :) The cats....not so much. I just had to strap him down so I could a good picture. He doesn't hold still. AT ALL. And it looks like I need a haircut. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

All I Want For Christmas

...is for my baby to start sleeping through the night.

Seriously. That's all I want. I am considering driving myself to the mall just to tell that to Santa. Forget the KitchenAid mixer, and the Blu Ray player. I don't really need that purple Coach purse or those EasyTone shoes. What I need is SLEEP.

Isaac is close to getting a sleep pattern down, said while holding my breath. The last time I thought that, 4 pearly whites starting cutting through his gums at the same time.

Well, now those teeth have all broke through. Realizing his need for a baby toothbrush, I also realized his need for a better bedtime routine.

Oh, he knows when bedtime is. BELIEVE ME. He knows. He knows because he HOWLS. and wiggles. and squirms. and recently, BITES. I think that may have been because of the teeth, but still. He bit me. I will not be the mother to the biter.

Anyway, Isaac goes to bed around 8. During the prevacation, I hate my life because these teeth are killing me phase, he pushed it to about 9:30 or 10. That doesn't really work for me or Ben. We need those 2 hours. Now, if he was sleeping from 10 until 7, I would be fine. But he wasn't. He was still waking up at least once a night, if not 2 or 3 times. Then he insisted on being up at 5.

So now....now, I am kinda done with the lack of sleeping routine. He's almost 11 months. He's weaning himself. He's ready. I'm ready.

So last night, I gave him his bottle. Then he nursed for a minute or two. And then just laid there, cooing in my arms while we rocked. At 8, I took him into his room, with his newly lowered crib (necessary because I have a standing man). I kissed him. Turned on the mobile, and put him down. Let the screaming begin. I told him he was fine, and I would be right outside but it was time for bed now. I rubbed his back and gave him one last hug, then left the room, closing the door behind me. I cleaned up the kitchen and did a few other things. By 8:30, the screaming had stopped. There were a few occassional whimpers, but then silence.

And then he slept until 7:15 this morning.

So I say with bated breath:

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas this year is for my baby to start sleeping through the night.

Oh, and Avent size 4 nipples. I can't throw those into the dishwasher and if I am not going to be able to sleep much at night, I can't waste any of that time washing nipples for Isaac's bottles.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shop 4 Anissa

Today is Shop 4 Anissa day!

What is Shop 4 Anissa day, you ask?

A group of shop owners and vendors are donating a portion of their sales to the Mayhew family. Head on over to do your Christmas shopping! There are a ton of great stores.

My contribution is 100% of profit made from sales on my Mary Kay website.

Its a great cause, and you will be helping a wonderful family in a very difficult time. :)

If the links above won't work for you, just click on the Shop 4 Anissa button in my sidebar.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Air Time

I am THAT mother.

I am the mother who drugs her child on the plane.

Let me explain.

We went on vacation last week to North Carolina. Our layover was in Cincinnati. This is a 4hr + flight on the way east, and over 5hr + on the way back.

The first flight, which left SFO around noon was a NIGHTMARE. Isaac slept for about 20 minutes. My husband forgot his headphones, so he couldn't watch his DVDs. Yes, I put headphones on my child and let him watch Baby Einstein or Handy Manny on a small DVD player for the flight. It worked well in the past. (And yes, this is Isaac's third trip that involves flights. He's a seasoned little traveler).

Wrangling a 10 month old child who loves to jump and crawl in a tight space is not fun.

God bless the flight agents who had the foresight to give us an entire row to oursleves. Putting Isaac in the seat inbetween Ben and I gave him much amusement and our arms and legs a much needed break. Traveling tip for mothers with infants: When you check in, specify you will have an "infant in lap." The agent saw this and switched our seats to an empty row. If I could, I would give that woman a hug and a million dollars. BLESS YOU.

Despite the extra room, Isaac was not happy. He wanted to crawl around. And he is not the teeny infant he was on our first plane trip, nor was he crawling on our second. THE 4 HOURS ABOUT KILLED ME. I almost left the plane bald, from Isaac tearing at my scalp and me excusing my self to the lavatory to scream silently and yank out my hair.

Now, I was never one of those people who scoffed and glared and huffed at mothers with their crying and screaming children on planes. I get it. Babies CRY. And they have like a 20 second attention span. Several, "knowledgable" mothers said "ooohhh, I wish I could help you." One woman even said "I am glad that is not my child." Thank you. Thank you all.

The flight time was not during one of Isaac's nap times, especially after he just napped for the hour or so we were in the car to drive to the airport. We did the best we could. And he slept for the second leg of our flight out, but maybe because it was on a tiny plane that flew lower aka MORE BUMPY and more white noise. Or maybe he was just tired from all screaming.

Did I mention he was sniffy and drippy nosed and cutting 4 teeth? Oops.

Even though we had a whole row to ourselves for the long flight back home, I wasn't taking any chances. Our flight left at 6 am, which is 3 am in California. Isaac's schedule was all out of whack due to the time difference. We normally try to keep him on PST, but lately he decided bedtime was at 10pm, not between 7 and 8. Sorry, I cannot stay up until after 1am with him. And Ben and I were both sick and had been up since 2:30am.

So I drugged him. I gave him a teeny tiny miniscule amount of children's benedryl. It was like 1/8 of the dosage. And relax, I checked with a Dr before I doped him up.

Worked wonders. He slept for 3 of the 5 hours LIKE A ROCK in his middle seat all snuggly in his blankie. I watched Harry Potter. My husband slept. He woke up and ate lunch, then watched some Baby Einstein, then played with his toys. He only fussed for the last 30 minutes. And really, people should be waking up from their flight naps by then, right?

Yes, I am THAT mother that drugs her baby on the plane. And I am not sorry for the simple fact that I returned with all my hair.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hammer Time


Isaac loves him some toy hammer! He figured out how to use it, and now he hits things all the time...the floor, other toys, the cats, my legs....
It really doesn't bode well for the toy bat that he will open at Christmas! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Feed Myself!

Isaac likes to feed himself now. On Thanksgiving, we gave him his first "big boy meal" which consists of all the food we were eating, with the exception of the sweet potatoes. He got plain ones, without marshmallows. I don't need him to have the extra sugar. :)

Isaac's first taste of turkey.
Hey, what's this in my mouth, Mom?



Isaac's first Thanksgiving feast.


And he ate it all!
Now he only likes to feed himself. It gets messy. The only thing he will let me feed him is yogurt and some occassional cereal.
I have to be creative with his leftover purees. I roll the meats into little balls with mashed potatoes. All his fruits and veggies I just cut into small bits now and then steam them to make them softer for his chewing pleasure.
Did I mention how messy? :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ten


Thanksgiving Day was also Isaac 10 month mark.

I think this past month was my favorite, simply because Isaac learned to say "Mama."

And he crawls up to me know and gets up on his knees, stretches up his arms, and makes the "uh! uh!" noise, asking to be picked up.

My next favorite thing that developed this month was that he crawls into my lap and snuggles with me.

He has come really far this past month, especially in terms of mobility. He zooms aroudn in his walker, and he is working on pulling himself to standing. He is also able to sit up from a laying down position without rolling onto his side or tummy, like a sit up.

We discovered last week that he no longer likes to be fed. He only wants to feed himself. It has been kinda fun, because now he is eating more of what we are, and it makes my life easier. He loooooooves cheese. He finally figured out the sippy cup as well. :)

Still not sleeping through the night. :( sigh. And he's pushing bed time later and later, and nap times less and less. I guess that is probably good because our nap in the swing days are numbered as he packs on the pounds!

6 teeth!

He loves Handy Manny. He laughs when the songs come on and will turn his head to see it when he hears it come on. And no joke, he's a big Kel.ly Clark.son fan. He sings along with the radio. He watches Buck.eye football with his dad, and seems to enjoy it.

We have whole conversations now and I love it.

He figured out how to fool me by pretending he put something in his mouth, chewing and watching me dive across the floor and swipe into his mouth only to find nothing. He laughs and laughs.

Yep, my baby boy is growing up. But he will always be my little Peanut. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Miss

I did really well on the National Blog Posting Month. :( This weekend, not so much. I missed 3 days out of 30. That's not so bad right?

This holiday just took alot out of me. I was home for 4 days, and Isaac was teething. He's a teething BEAR. 4 teeth at once. 2 broke the skin, just waiting for the other two which have caused huge bulges in his gums. We need sleep. All of us.

I will have some posts up soon, to make up for the lack of posts in the past 3 days. For now, I want to give a shout out to Miss Daniela, who incidently is watching Isaac today (long story, husband goofed and she saved his butt).

I have known her for about 4 years now, I think. She has been an awesome friend and support system ever since we bonded in the windows of VS doing their insane holiday floorsets. She has adorable little boys, her 3 year old and her 18 month twins. She just started a blog here. Stop on over and check her out, leave her some love. She deserves it!

Seriously, I would have lost my mind by now if not for her.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blessings


Becoming a mother changed my life, obviously for the better. And on this day of thanks, I find it only fitting to say thank you to the little man who made it possible. He has taught me to be thankful on a whole other level, a level I didn't know I had. I see blessings more and more in my life evey single day, simply because I am a mother.

To my precious baby boy, Happy 1st Thanksgiving! I am thankful for all you have given me. I am thankful for your cuddles and smiles. I am thankful for your health and happiness. I am even thankful for your screams. Most of all, I am thankful to be your Mommy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ol' Skool

My husband and I finished Isaac's Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. Thinking about going near a toy store or department store anytime around the holidays in this metropolitan area when I worked 5 years of retail gives me anxiety and makes me want to hide in the closet until January. I wanted to get it done, and I didn't mind spending a few extra dollars for my sanity. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to get him, so we left him with Uncle C and set off for the dreaded TRU and Tar.get (Note: normally I love Ta.rget. Just not at the holidays).

Ben and I grew up without video gaming systems and without TVs in our rooms. We didn't have alot of electronic toys. What we did have was something called "IMAGINATION." This is one of the most important things I want my son to have. We chose our gifts based on that concept.

It was kinda difficult. While I appreciate the educational aspects of some of today's electronic toys, I feel a lot of them are unneccessary. Sure, Le.ap Fro.g is a wonderful concept, but I grew up without it, and hey, I can say my ABCs forward and backward. I can count. I know my colors. I can't speak for him, but I am pretty sure my husband can too... :)

Even some of the newer versions of toys we played with as children are all jazzed up. It some ways, it was kind of sad to see what they had evolved into.

I just don't really know why it's necessary. Sure, some of those toys are downright cool. And I am not saying that Isaac doesn't have some of them. If one day he asks me for that 3 foot robotic dinosaur, I just might buy it. I guess it's just to keep up with the market, right?

I guess it just makes me a little sad. It makes me sad to think that there are parents out there that believe that these toys can be substitutes for actual human contact, teaching your own child. I understand that not all parents have the time they want to spend with their child. I don't. But at the same time, I want him to learn and discover and imagine on his own.

I miss the ol' skool toys. I miss the FP barn that made that little mooing sound when you opened the double doors and that was it. The chicken didn't cluck. The tractor didn't rumble. I still knew what sounds those respective items made.

And Oh. My. Goodness. It was darn near IMPOSSIBLE to find dishes for Isaac that were coverd in pink and flowers. My million dollar idea? Gender-neutral dishes for children. Without having to buy a big kitchen apparatus. Isaac loves dishes. LOVES THEM. All we wanted were some plates and maybe a bowl and a pan or two. Seriously. My idea. I claim it. And if you already made these dishes, where the heck are you selling them?!

We spent a good hour and a half walking the aisles, looking for things that we wanted (Note: part of the problem was not just lack of what we wanted, but that my husband did not seem to grasp the concept of "age appropriate" toys).

I am satisfied with what we got him. Some of the toys are indeed electronic. And some of them were toys we played with as children, ordered vintage off Eba.y.

Yep, we are taking our baby back to the ol' skool....because we're ol' fools who are so cool... :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Tree or Not to Tree

That is my question.

Remember how I love Christmas? And that I didn't get a tree last year? :(

I was completely planning on getting a tree this year. I have so many new ornaments that must be displayed, since I have had almost 2 years to collect them. And I have a good amount of "baby-safe" ornaments that he can pull off the tree.

And then someone said that unless I have a baby gate around the tree, I should rethink it, period.

WHAT?!

I talked about it with Ben. It kinda makes sense. I can see my baby pulling the tree down...over, and over, and over.... He's a pretty strong kid.

Sigh. So now I face a major conundrum (Did I use that word correctly? I hope so! It sounded fun and I wanted to use it. :) )

We talked about nixing the tree this year. Not the best option in my opinion. Another option is to block it with a baby gate of sorts, but we really don't have the space. I wouldn't want the gate right around the tree, just surrounding the area. I am not even sure how that would work. I would essentially be creating a "tree room" in my living room. A third option is to anchor the tree. Either with an exceptionally heavy and sturdy base, or to tether the tree to the wall or ceiling. This option is the one that gets my vote.

But I don't really know what that entails either. Or if it would be too much work and trouble.

I had a hard enough time without a Christmas tree last year. I already have to forego the snow (The only downfall of Cali.fornia weather. It just doesn't seem like Christmas without snow. And to be clear I don't like blizzard amounts. Just enough to make it a white Christmas. And only at Christmas.).

I really, really, want my tree.

Monday, November 23, 2009

D.O.N.E.

On Thursday I will have been breastfeeding for 10 months. 10 rewarding, exhilarating, exhausting months.

My original goal was to breastfeed solidly for a year. I also wanted a completely natural childbirth, but plans change (hello, epidural!). Secretly, I was praying to make it to 9 months.

I have made the decision to stop pumping after we get home from vacation. At that point Isaac will be about 2 weeks shy of 11 months (gulp). I will only nurse him in the morning and at night. He will get one breastmilk bottle a day and one formula bottle. When the breastmilk runs out, he will be getting 2 formula bottles a day. At that point we will begin to phase in whole cow's milk.

I made this decision for a few reasons.

1. Isaac is about done with nursing. He is totally not interested in it during the day. He doesn't want to nurse for as long, he turns away and tries to sit up. He is much more interested in his food at mealtimes. Even if I tried to nurse him before his meals, he does the same thing. He is making it quite clear he is ready to move on.

2. I hate pumping. I do it for my baby, and that is the only thing that keeps me doing it: His little happy, full of food and content face. In the past month, my milk supply has started to diminish. When I came back to work, I had to pump 3 times per day. And my boobs told me I had to pump three times a day. Slowly that went from 3 to 2. I was still pumping 3 times a day at the beginning of November. I was trying to up the supply. And it worked. About 2 weeks ago, I went down to 2. That's pretty much when Isaac said "yeah, I am kinda over this, Mom. Where's my sippy cup?!" Now, I can skate by on just one pumping session.

3. This is completely selfish, but pumping has become inconvenient. Sigh. Yep. Work is busy, I have been in the field more often. Isaac and I have play dates, and I have more of a social life again. I have been taking classes and training. Lugging around Miss Medela is rough. And, Medela, while I appreciate the sleek design of your bags, you just can't glamorize pumping in the back seat of your car in a parking garage in the city. It is becoming harder and harder to find the opportunities to pump on days like that.

So yeah. Kinda done.

I am sad. I am excited for the next phase. I am slightly disappointed.

But I am mostly proud of myself and Isaac for making it this far.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love the Holiday season. I love Thanksgiving, because I love to cook and bake. But I love Christmas more.

I love everything about Christmas. I love the music on the radio. I love buying and wrapping gifts. I have a serious addiction to Christmas ornaments.

I am making Isaac his own stocking.

We are far away from our family, and we aren't able to go back east for the holidays. This has happened before. It's expensive. It's cold. And it is hard on a baby. We aren't able to be around alot of our family for Christmas.

It is important to me that we have our own traditions as a family. I want Isaac to enjoy the holiday season as much as I do. I want him to recognize it as a happy time, full of joy and love and giving.

Something I have always loved is baking Christmas cookies and giving them to friends and family. It started the first year I was out here. I love giving gifts and we had no money. It seemed like a cost effective way to give something to all the people we worked with and friends. It just grew from there. I started making more and more kinds. My record is 21 kinds of cookies.

Seriously.

Christmas Cookie weekend has become a tradition for me. I didn't get to do it last year because we had just moved, and I was preggers and went to Ohio for my baby shower over the only weekend possible to do it properly (I didn't have a tree either. :( )

This year, I am going to start it up again. Not in such grand scale, but I will make a few easy kinds. And I will let Isaac help. He loves dishes. He loves to bang on my pots and pans with spoons. He loves to bite on my rubber spatulas.

It is a tradition I can't wait to share with my son. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

For Anissa

I don't personally know Anissa.

I found her blog through a blogroll of a blog on another blogroll....and so on. I was instantly drawn to her wit and sassiness. I began to follow her at Aiming Low and Twitter. I have never met her, but I have a story that I would love to tell her.

One day I read a tweet from her that commented on TNT's cleverness at censorship. She made a remark about how they edited one of Sam.uel L. Jack.son's lines from "Sn.akes on a P.lane." to something about "monkey fighting snakes" since it was on primetime. Gotta keep it clean for the kiddies. Clever, huh?

We exchange a few comments about how SLJ was himself, one bad "monkey fighter." It made me laugh.

A few weeks later, Isaac and I were in the local grocery. He was riding in the cart, squealing like he always does, laughing, swinging his legs, and drawing the attention of other customers, especially women. One woman approached the cart and said to him and me "Isn't he just a little monkey fighter!"

Umm.....I must have looked shocked to no end, enraged, and horrified. The woman took a step back, and just as I was about to retaliate, I looked at Isaac.

He was wearing camo pants with a matching shirt that had a monkey on it. And monkey shoes.

Oh. I got it.

Deep breath. I laughed it off and said to her "why yes, I guess he does look like a member of an army of monkeys."

I just couldnt' bring myself to call my sweet baby a "monkey fighter."

I was shocked and saddened to hear what had happened to Anissa. I hope she gets better soon so I can share this with her!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Flaw In The System

I gave up trying to keep my floor clean. I sweep it once a day. I could sweep it 20 times a day, and it would make no difference. It's like a moth to a flame.

Isaac would still manage to find the one piece of dirt I missed and it would end up in his mouth.

With two cats and a husband who leaves stuff all over, the floor gets pretty bad. And all the flooring is hardwood. The cats scratch the heck out of their scratching pads and kitty condo, which incidently are Isaac's favorite things to put in this mouth: catnip paper and carpet strands.

It is not uncommon for me to yell "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!" about 50 times before 9 am.

Which he think is H-I-LARIOUS.

The most commonly used phrases in our household these days are "Isaac, what's in your mouth, NOW?!" and "Do not put that in your mouth, Isaac!"

It's hard to contain him. He loves his mobility and has the attention span of about 20-30 minutes. It takes me forever to get ready for work and daycare in the morning because I can only keep him contained in the playpen for about 20 minutes because the bored screams begin. I close the doors to every room except his (and the bathroom, because that is where I am getting ready) and let him crawl back and forth down the hall from his room to the living room where his toys are. There is a long runner in the hallway, so it is really the living room where the trouble begins. My kitchen has two doorways but if I leave the light off, he misses the hallway entrance.

When it goes quiet, I know there is something happening that should not be.

This morning, in the span of 20 minutes, Isaac managed to have my shoes, dried catfood, and creme de la creme...my husband's underwear off the bathroom floor.

Backtrack: I have yelled at my husband many times about leaving his t-shirt, boxers, and socks on the floor after his shower. He manages to hang up his pjs, but something about walking the extra feet to the hamper proves too much to handle in the morning. I don't get it. Even now, that his schedule has been adjusted so his has more time in the morning, the clothes still lay on the floor. His system of cleaning up after himself generally involves him picking up these said items in the evening, after 3 or 4 days worth have piled up, or not at all because his wife can't take it anymore and does it for him.

So this morning, a certain husband received this text: If having your wife ask you a million times to pick your stuff up off the bathroom floor was not a good enough reason, maybe this will do it: YOUR SON JUST HAD YOUR BOXERS IN HIS MOUTH.

And so we shall see>>>>

(NOTE: I was not able to stop this horrendous act of my child. He's FAST. And sneaky. I left the bathroom for 2 seconds to get my deodorant and he scooted in behind me. Actually, he did it so fast, I think he beamed in. Again, it was the silence that alerted me to the act. Sigh. This is also a mother FAIL. )

Thursday, November 19, 2009

You Complete Me

Certain things happen in life and they change you.


When I was 15, my birth father committed suicide. I was young. I was sad. I was confused. And I didn't know how to deal with it. So I didn't. I didn't know him very well, but I knew him enough to know what I would miss and what I was going to miss as my life went on. And I knew I was angry. But I didn't really let it change me.


Then when I was a sophomore in college, one of my best friends committed suicide. It was different this time. He made it personal to me, and made it so I was isolated in my grief in a way no one else would be. I won't rehash or give any more details than that because it isn't the point of this post. But once I entered into that phase, I was suddenly dealing with both incidents. I did what I had to do to feel better RIGHT THEN. It wasn't always pretty. It wasn't always the nicest thing. And it changed me. I don't know if I let it, or I couldn't stop it or what. But that incident and the aftermath changed me.

I had and continue to have amazing friends. Friends that didn't understand what happened, or that didn't understand how I was dealing, but stuck by me anyway. They watched me change and they supported me how I needed. I know they didn't understand why I harped on the things I did, and why I couldn't let go of some things, and why I made things into bigger things than they really were. I don't think I understood either. I look back on it, and all I can say is "you do what you need to do to get through it." And I did. But I wasn't who I remembered.

I struggled to find myself again. I couldn't be the person I was before, and I didn't know who I was now. I didn't know how to make certain people fit in my life. I didn't know how to move on, so I stayed still for a very long. I was happy but I wasn't. I don't know how to explain it. I was lost.

Alot of people noticed. My husband didn't really know how to help except to stick by me every day. It was hard for anyone to really understand. I don't wish what I experienced upon anyone. It was ugly. At times, I was ugly. And at times even life was ugly.

Things started to turn for the better one day. I can't explain how. They just took an upward swing. Then I got pregnant. I was scared. I was really scared. A baby seemed so permanent, and I thought I was still too unstable to handle it. I loved being pregnant. And I had dreamed about having a baby. I know that no one is ever REALLY ready to have a baby, but I felt extremely blindsided and unprepared.

When Isaac was born...in that minute, he changed me. He changed me into a mother. He changed me into a mother that had so much love for her son. He brought me full circle, and he completed me. He truly completed me.

I look into his blue eyes and every heartache, every sorrow, and every bad thing that I have ever seen was worth it because they brought me into this moment. They brought me into this moment in which I am this beautiful little boy's mother, and may not have been by any other road. He put my heart back together again. He has shown me what is truly important, and he made us into a family.

Every moment with him, whether its easy or hard, is beautiful. We struggle, and we will struggle in the future, but we are together.

He changed me.

And he completes me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eskimo

Before I say anything about the actual topic I am writing about today, I want to say something else.

Yesterday, I was not in the best of moods. I was cranky. And TIRED. And irritated with the world. And I didn't write yesterday's post about anyone or any blog in particular. I am sorry if I offended anyone or hurt anyone's feelings. I especially was not referring to any one of the brilliant women on my blogrolls (or men..there are a few of them too).

Now. What I was really going to say.

Ever since Isaac was a newborn, I have given him eskimo kisses. And I sing the "let's rub noses" song to him. It makes him laugh because my hair tickles him.

As he has grown, he learned what was coming when I say "Eskimo!" Just the other day, he started to lean into my face and put his nose up against mine. Even if I am not that close by, he will crawl over to me.

It melts my heart. :) And makes me feel like I can, as a mother, actually teach my child something.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Imperfect

I like to boast Isaac's accomplishments. I think this is natural, right? Comes with the motherhood territory. I do it because I am proud of him, and the progress he is making. I share these things because I want his family and friends to be able to keep up with his development and I don't have to have awkward conversation on why I didn't let them know Isaac was crawling?

I don't do it to imply my baby is perfect in any way.

He's not.

Oh, he's perfect to me.

But he's a baby boy who doesn't sleep through the night, hates bottles and formula, likes to smack me in the face and eat dirt from the floor. He burps and farts and pees on me and laughs about it. He's got a great set of lungs and isn't afraid to demonstrate their endurance in marathon screaming sessions.

And I am not a perfect parent by any means. I get frustrated. I yell. I plead and beg. I get irritated. I cry. And sometimes I go into my bedroom and close the door and turn the TV up full blast, leaving Isaac and his screams in the other room with his father. I am dealing with PPD, and I am not ashamed of it. Some days I downright hate myself, and I will be the first to say it. I make mistakes every day.

I am not afraid to scream our imperfections as loud as the accomplishments.

Why? Because I know that every single mother out there at some moment feels the same way. And it comforts me to read about it, knowing that I am not alone.

What I don't like to read is endless taunting of "oh my god my little angel is so completely perfect and never cries and has poop that smells like roses and chanel no. 5 and has been sleeping through the night since the day of birth and I have fountains of milk flowing from my skinny body that looks better than before I had a baby and I have never had mastitis and my baby's teeth came in as gentle as kittens lapping up milk and I have no stretch marks and I love my job and I make tons of money and I have no problems and every one loves me and my perfect Norman Rockwell family."

Yeah, I am pretty sure that is a crock of shite.

Don't get me wrong, I love to read about other mother's and their babies' joys and acheivements. When I hear a mother's infant is sleeping through the night or has finally cut that tooth, I want to run to them and high five her and hug her because she shared their struggles and helped me through mine. It makes me feel WORSE when I don't read that something is just not going smoothly. Maybe it is just me, but I feel empowered by the encouragement of a mother who I know has been there and made it through.

No, I don't mean I wish health struggles onto anyone. And I don't laugh gleefully at other people's pain. I don't wish hardship onto anyone.

I understand that maybe some people are not comfortable sharing hard times and frustrations. And that is fine too. The tone of those people's conversations is completely different than those up on their high horses. I respect their privacy and I won't pry into their lives to find problems.

All I am saying is that I am not perfect. And I know you aren't either. So let's be imperfect together.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Star Athlete

A while ago I fed my baby crack habit, and purchased the PP bathtime hippo set for Isaac. It has four different round toys that go in one bigger hippo that floats. Isaac took an instant liking to one of the round toys, a red and clear ball with a small yellow fish inside. He started throwing it and crawling after it.

The little ball disappeared for a few days and in the meantime, Isaac found a similar toy in the cat toys: a blue and white ball with a small gray mouse inside. I couldn't be one to let my son play with the kitty toys, so the next time I was at Tar.get, I found a set of 4 larger foam balls: one basketball, one soccer ball, one baseball, and one football.

HE LOVES THEM!

And he is already showing signs of being a sports enthusiast:


And you can be sure his Daddy is THRILLED. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beautiful

I have heard alot of beautiful things in my lifetime. I have heard beautiful melodies and lyrics. I have heard heartfelt words. I have heard honest utterings.

Few things compared to the first time I heard my baby cry.

Until today.

I was in the kitchen, making crack (aka candied pecans....not real crack). Isaac was in his walker playing with his blocks and throwing veggie snack sticks on the floor and rolling over them, because that is fun. We were having a little conversation.

I turned away and went to the other side of the counter, out of his direct line of view.

"MAMA!"

So beautiful, I almost cried.

After months and months of "Dada...Daddy...Baba....itty at....hot....", I finally got a "Mama."

It was a beautiful day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Split

Packing up clothes and toys and other things that Isaac has outgrown holds two very distinct emotions for me.

It makes me sad.

Sad, because like every parent, I think he is growing up too fast and I want to freeze time for just a moment to hold him a little longer, while he lets me. I remember certain moments related to specific items and remember them with wistful smile as I pack up memories of bring home my newborn; memories of first smiles, first times he met family and friends. As I packed up his bouncer, I remembered how he used to sleep in it as a teeny baby while I showered, seat in the bathroom.

And it makes me excited.

Excited, because it marks new steps in his life. It means he is growing up healthily, albeit too fast. Moving past certain milestones means knew ones are close ahead. Packing up the bassinet meant that Isaac was finally sleeping in his crib. Moving the bouncer into the basement makes room for the activity chair. Each item marks a transition into something new. It marks how far we've come.

Saying so long to certain baby items has been bittersweet. But at the same time, it has been relieving.

Isaac doesn't need to sit in the bouncer in the bathroom anymore. Nor do I have to wait until he is asleep to take a shower. I can put him in his playpen or in his room and take the monitor into the bathroom...and finally enjoy a shower that is longer than 5 minutes. I don't have to stand there and make the split decision on washing my hair or face because I only have time for one.

I no longer wake to every whimper that he makes while sleeping. We both sleep better. He is able to roll around to find a comfortable position, and so am I. I no longer have a newborn cradle in the crook of my arm while I sleep, nor have a co sleeper taking up a third of my bed. I don't have to worry about blankets falling into the bassinet. He's safe and happy in his crib, in his toasty room.

But still, every time I go into the basement for laundry, I pause at the bassinet. I run my hands along the rim and recall how small my boy looked in it. It seems like a lifetime ago and yesterday all at the same time.

I hold up his sleeper that we brought him home from the hospital in. I look at the picture of him wearing it, drowning in it because the newborn size was too big on him. I look at the newborn diaper I saved, belittled by the size 2-3 that fills the diaper stacker. So small. So very, very small.

He has come so far so quickly. I am so proud of him.

This is why you have more babies right? :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Honest Blog Award

I was awarded the Honest Blog award by CJ from My So Called Life With Twins. :) Wahoo!

By winning this award, I have a couple rules to follow:

1. Must thank the person who gave me the award, list it, and link it! CHECK! :)

2. Share "10 Honest Things" about yourself.

3. Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or htose who have encouraged you. (7? I can only pick 7?!)

4. Tell those 7 people the have been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of the guidelines in receiving the award.

Without further ado....

10 Honest Things about Isaac's Mommy

1. I eat slightly wierd combos of food, mostly involving popcorn. I eat peanut M&Ms with popcorn. I also eat Doritos with popcorn. Fritos with cottage cheese. Ketchup with scrambled eggs. Ketchup with mac and cheese. Hot dogs and scrambled eggs.

2. I love the smell of Ivory soap. I buy the bars and unwrap them and put them in my shower. I don't use them, I just smell them.

3. I hate my knees. I don't wear shorts or skirts because I hate them that much. My knee caps are funny.

4. I am an OSU fan...but did not go to school there. Neither did my husband. That's just how we roll in the Midwest.

5. I love to bake and cook. I have about 10 million recipes and cookbooks. That is only a slight exaggeration.

6. I am a horrible driver. HORRIBLE. And I get nasty bad road rage. Not a good combo.

7. I am addicted to the MTV reality shows: Real World, The Hills, The City...etc. I will not stop watching and I am not ashamed.

8. I have wierd OCDs. Like sometimes, I know I should be stressed, but I am not...so I stress that I am not stressed. And I wash my hands ALOT.

9. I sing pop songs to my baby. He loves them. I don't know any baby songs. Britney I know. He also gets alot of MB20 and RT.

10. My first job was under the golden arches of McD's. And I met my husband there. :)

Whew! Ok, these 7 people, tag!

1. Ann at The Grady Chronicles
2. Aimee at Momma's June Bugs
3. Stacie at Never Clever
4. Trisha at Totally Trish
5. Alison at (un)complicate me
6. AJ48 at Baby Steps and The Life We Live
7. Andrea at Walking the Tightrope

The only thing I will say about these fine ladies is that I love what they write. They have all helped me in different ways, and inspire me every day. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Uuuuuuuupppppp!

Isaac learned to crawl about 3 weeks ago. And then last night...he stood up. We knew it was coming...he's been doing a mean downward dog since before he was crawling.

Now his favorite thing to do is stand. He crawls over to me and climbs up my leg, or claws his way up into a standing position. And my favorite thing...he covers my face in baby kisses.

He doesn't say Mama yet, but I will take this. :)


He also crawls over to me, extends his arms ups and makes the "uh! uh!" noises, asking to be picked up.

I love that too...right now. :)

We also had our 9 month check up today. Isaac weighs in at a healthy 19 lbs 4 oz and measure 28 and 3/4 inches. He is still ahead on his motor skills and physical activity development, further convincing Ben he has a star athlete on his hands. Last night he developed a huge rash on his back, which sent me into a frenzy thinking he had a food allergy or shingles...and it turned out to be eczema.

As the Doctor was checking out Isaac, he whispered to me that he had just gotten in more H1N1 vaccine and did we want this? Sure! I was instructed not to mention it while in the office, because he didn't have enough, and barely had any of the regular flu vaccines. I assured him I was not about to start a riot. :) We got the flu booster and his first H1N1. We go back for the second H1N1, polio, and hep B in December.

And we scheduled his 12 month appointment. His 1 year checkup. 1 YEAR.

And then I cried. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Today, if you are reading my blog, take a minute and go give the Spohrs a hug on Maddie's 2nd birthday. The world is a better place because of this little girl.

Stop by the Friends of Maddie website, and help premature babies make it to their 2nd birthdays and well beyond.

And then go to your own child, and hug them as if you are never letting go. Every day with a child is a blessing. Treat it as such.

Happy Birthday Precious Maddie!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Me No Likey!

I talk alot about the things that my baby likes, things that make him laugh. He's a happy baby. But there are things of which Isaac is not so much a fan. This morning I was reminded of one such thing.

Isaac hates trash bags. I was changing the trash in the kitchen while Isaac was in his walker before leaving for the day. I shook out the new trash bag, and man oh man, did he remind me how much he did not like that! He screamed and started crying. Dually noted, little man. Mommy will never change the trash again!

He doesn't like bananas. At all. Mashed, pureed, chunked. Hates em. I have to hide them amongst other food in trickery. When I give him the chunks, he seriously picked around them, eating only the cheerios.

And um, he doesn't like sleep. Seriously. It is ridiculous how much this kid fights sleep. It gets pretty ugly at night when bedtime rolls around. This does not bode well for us.

He doesn't like to sit and read books. He loves books, just not in a sitting position. We have to read books laying on our backs on Mommy's and Daddy's bed.

And Isaac does not like having shirts pulled over his head. He cries when we are either doing this to dress him or undress him.

It is absolutely fascinating to me to watch as this little person's personality continues to develop and shine through; all these little likes and dislikes that make him uniquely him. They make him the little guy that I love. They make him uniquely my baby boy, different from everyone else.