Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Babycakes! (Week 13)

This week, Baby Lily turned 3 months old! We had a photo shoot on Sunday and it's amazing to see how she has changed in just 3 short months! And of course you know I have to do some comparisons...

Here she is at about 3 weeks with her friend, Hoot.

And here she is at 13 weeks/3 Months

I mean, WOW!!! And you see her looking up in that first picture? She's flirting with her boyfriend, Frank the Fan. ;-) All this fancy stuff the baby industry tries to say you NEED or you're a bad mother, and what's Lily's most favorite thing? Ceiling fans. Hehe.

She's getting progressively better and better at holding her head and body up. If you prop her up in your hands, she'll sit up just stick straight. It's amazing how she knows to do that. Anyway, I've been wanting to get her a Bumbo seat for a couple of weeks, but we've been trying to save as much money as possible so we can have just a little bit of savings in case of an emergency. So, this weekend we decided to splurge. I knew that Bumbo's were one of those things that could easily be found at consignment stores since they are used for such a short period of time. They are also very easy to clean/sanitize which is one of my criteria for purchasing used stuff. While we were out running errands on Saturday, Jay reminded me that our local Once Upon a Child consignment store was having a sale. You picked a ducky when you got there and it would have a percentage off that you could use for your purchases, up to 25%. So, Jay, being the awesome ducky picker he is, happened to choose one that was 25% off. Score! They just happened to have one Bumbo in stock and it even had the tray which will be awesome as she gets more hand coordination.

Lily loves it!

And it even matches her nursery. Double score! ;-)

Over the weekend, Jay decided to try defrosting the freezer to see if that would fix the fridge problem before we called a repair guy and paid a bunch of money. We'd seen (through a quick run into the Sears Outlet) that a new fridge would run us in the $600 range. OUCH! So, we figured we'd at least give this a shot first. We packed up everything out of the freezer and took it over to my moms house. Then we unplugged the fridge and left it with the doors open all of Saturday. We had to mop up water throughout the day as the ice froze but it wasn't too bad. Then, when it looked like it was nice and ice free, we plugged it in Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon we were seeing very promising results! I'm happy to say that by Monday morning we officially had a working fridge!! Woohoo! After 2 weeks of living fridge-less, this is an amazing thing.

And on top of that, Jay and I got the stroller out of the back of the car to inspect. We got this stroller on Craiglist months before having Lily. It's a nice brand and an expensive stroller new. The first time we took it out the wheels seemed to gunk up and then proceeded to be a gigantic pain in the ass for the rest of the time. It was acting like those shopping cards with a bum wheel. :-/ We'd been meaning to look at it for weeks, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. Sunday was the day. Jay oiled the wheels and we did some work. Seems like it's only when the handle bar is in the reverse position (so that the baby is looking at you) that it acts up. If the handle bar is in the regular position then it works like a dream. Is it ideal? Nah. But at least we have a working stroller and the reversible handle bar isn't as big of a deal now that Lily is a little bit older. She's really starting to like looking out and taking in her surroundings so I really think she is going to enjoy being in the stroller, and I'm going to enjoy having an option other than wearing her. As much as I love to wear her she is starting to get heavy and since she's more alert and sleeps less during the day, she doesn't want to be pressed up against me as much as she use to. Basically, she's starting to adjust to this new outside world. Here she is in her pimped out ride, and her new styling sunglasses.

We are all looking forward to going for some walks in the afternoons.

So, that was pretty much our week. Have a great day everyone!

Monday, May 16, 2011

And What a Week it Was (Week 12)

I know I'm behind on a couple of post, but I promise to go back and catch up. Hopefully, those will be my last marathon weekly blogs since I've started blogging more often during the week. Today is Week 12 of Turtle's life. I simultaneously can't believe it's been 12 weeks and at the same time, I can't seem to remember a time when she wasn't a part of our family. Her 3 month birthday is this Saturday and that just seems unfathomable.

I've started taking her weekly pictures a little differently, and hopefully it'll be easier to get more consistent pictures. I really like this new set up and wish I'd been doing it the whole time. To be fair though, I didn't finish crocheting the blanket I'm using as the back drop until about 4 weeks into my maternity leave. And when I started taking the pictures she was just 2 weeks old and I was very sleep deprived! Hehe. Anyway, I'm really happy with the way this week's picture came out so expect to see more like this.

This past week was crazy! With Jay being out of town and the fridge being on the fritz, we were kind of in survival mode. But at the same time, I got the house picked up and some laundry done. I think it was the feeling of being so out of control that prompted the house cleaning. Since I couldn't control any of the other stressers in my life, I could at least get my house under control.

We are trying to save as much money as possible since we blew through most of our savings while I was on unpaid maternity leave. So, we are eating at home as much as possible. This is usually pretty easy, but when you don't have access to any ingredients that need refrigeration, it becomes challenging. (Note: we'll hopefully be getting the fridge fixed this week but until then...) Additionally, you can't just pop left overs in the fridge and stretch something out over multiple nights. So, I went through the things I know how to make that would do well frozen and which used limited amounts of refrigerated ingredients. I decided on spaghetti with meat sauce, vegetable soup, and chili. So, I bought 3 lbs of meat at the grocery store planning to freeze it and thaw it out each night. But then I realized that I could go ahead and cook some of those things to make it easier during the week.

So, I browned up all three lbs of meat. I used one lb of it in the vegetable soup since that takes a while to simmer (and therefore can be a challenge to make in the evenings after work), and once it had cooled off I froze it in two batches. Then I added pasta sauce to another lb and froze that in two batches as well so all we'll have to do is cook up some fresh pasta and thaw out the sauce. The third lb I froze as it was (browned but not incorporated into anything) and will make chili one night since that's pretty easy to throw together.

So, we have 5 nights of meals ready to go which will make eating in this week much easier! AND... because I don't have a fridge at the moment I spent a lot less money at the store because I had to be more conscientious of what I bought. So, not only are we surviving under the no fridge situation, but we are truly thriving! Even after we get the fridge fixed, I think I'll probably keep making and freezing some stuff on the weekends to make life easier during  the week.

Saturday, we spent the day at our friends Lauren and Dave's house. We got to hang out with them, their three week old daughter, Zoe, and Dave's mom who is here from the UK for the week. We had such a great time and we decided that anytime we go over there we just need to plan on being there all day because that's always what happens. We got there for lunch around 12:30 and ended up not leaving until about 11pm. Oops. :-) The really nice thing about going over to their house is they have plenty of baby gear so we don't have to bring a bunch of ours. We can use their play mat to keep Turtle entertained, and they have the same high chair we have so baby girl can sit in their while we all eat. We had so much fun and Zoe is growing so much. As much as I loved Lily at that stage (about 3 weeks old), Jay and I decided that we don't envy Dave and Lauren. Even though I didn't want her to grow up when she was that old, the newborn stage is very challenging and we are loving this infant stage that she's in now. Hopefully we'll continue to feel this way instead of lamenting the speed with which she grows up.

Happy Monday everyone! Have a great week!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Friday!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm super excited that it's Friday! Jay has been working out of town all week, which I didn't want to mention because it's never a good idea to announce on the internet that you're home alone all week. He comes home tonight, and I'm so excited! The first thing I'm going to do, after hugging and kissing him of course, is take a nice LONG shower! Since I've been flying solo with Turtle the whole week, I've been taking these super quick showers in the morning. She's usually very content in the mornings and perfectly willing to hang out in her crib and look at her mobile for a few minutes, but I'm always worried that she's going to start crying the second I soap up.

Also, when I went to eat my cereal on Monday morning I realized that the milk was warm. Yuck! I was hoping that maybe the door hadn't gotten closed completely, but no such luck. Our fridge seems to be on the fritz, and unfortunately, we were really tight on cash this week so we couldn't just call up a repair guy. So, I've been roughing it without a fridge. You never realize how much you use something until it's gone. Everything cook (and I needed to cook in all week because of the cash situation) needed at least one refrigerated item. But we survived. Spaghetti-O's are awesome. I'd forgotten how much I liked them. Probably because I haven't had them since college. I did make spaghetti one night and froze the extra sauce, so last night I made some noodles and defrosted the sauce. That worked out really well. Unfortunately, Turtle decided she was hungry about a half an hour before I expected her to be, right as my noodles were finishing up. Oh well. I just reheated them when I finished with her bottle.

So, it's been a crazy, busy week and I'm so glad it's over. Since my mom watches Turtle all week, I hate to ask her to baby sit for us too, plus she's headed to the mountains tonight to pick up my brother, so Jay and I are planning on a date-night-in tonight. I'm going to get a frozen pizza and some popcorn and we're going to watch 50 First Dates (one of our all time favorite movies) all snuggled in the bed as a family. I might even pick up some of those movie theater sized candy boxes at the grocery store. I've a firm believer that limited resources can make you more creative if you let it.

I hope everyone has had a great week. And I'll leave you with two pics I took this morning to send to Jay.

This is Turtle in her new turtle onesie we found last week at Wal-Mart.

And this one is of her flashing her gang sign for the camera. You have to teach 'em the important things, yo!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's in my life, but especially to all my first time mom friends. Can you girls believe how much our lives have changed in just one short year! I don't know about you guys but I can hardly imagine my life before Lily came into it.

For my first Mother's Day gift, Jay got me this awesome necklace off Etsy. It has a turtle (because that's become Lily's nickname), a purple bead for her birthstone (amethyst) and an "L" for Lily (it's backwards in the picture because I used my front camera on my phone and it reverses everything).

We took our Mother's out to lunch at Red Lobster and had such a great time. People are always wanting to coo over Lily but it was so nice because today people would make a point to wish me a Happy First Mother's Day when they found out she was our first.

We got our mothers photo gifts. We got a brag book for Jmom and filled it with pictures of Lily and since my mom already has a brag book, we got her a collage travel mug and I put a picture of her and Lily in it.  They were both really excited about their gifts.

When we got home we had a mini photo shoot in the front yard.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Friday, May 6, 2011

An Open Letter on Being a Working Mom

Warning: Massive run-on sentence coming up. English majors (and homeschooling moms), please divert your eyes and hold your judgement! ;-)

Dear Random Acquaintances,

When we run into each other out and about, and we're catching up, and you ask me if I've had to go back to work full time, and you have a "poor you" tone in your voice, and I tell you yes but that's it's actually been really good... don't give me a judgy look like I must not love my daughter. Just because I haven't descended into a debilitating depression over returning to work doesn't mean I don't love my daughter. Just because I'm making the best of a less-than-ideal situation doesn't make me a bad mother.

That is all.



Fortunately, this has only happened to me a couple of times but it's been difficult to deal with none the less. I guess I'm not acting sufficiently upset over leaving my child for some. But as someone who knows debilitating depression and knows how depression can be a slippery slope... I'm freaking ecstatic that my return to work has been as enjoyable as it has. Would I rather be at home with my Turtle all day? You bet your ass! Do I have a choice? No!

It's similar to the breastfeeding thing. I feel like I need to carry around a sign to pull out with my formula canister that says, "Had low supply! Tried everything! I promise!" Thankfully, no one has said anything about it. And I know you're asking, "Who does that sort of thing?" But you'd be surprised how many girls on my message boards have women asking them if they are breastfeeding and then commenting on their answer. And one posted that she thought women who stopped breastfeeding were just weak and lazy. That went over like a turd in a punch bowl (as my dad use to say). And as mad as it made me, it made me even madder that I'd let someone on the Internet get my panties in a wad.

It's infuriating that some people seem to think that a mother should act appropriately sad to have returned to work or have tried a certain amount to breastfeed before trying formula. If they don't feel you have satisfied these then it's fair to judge you. Actually this applies to lots of topics concerning motherhood. It's like mothers are the people that everyone has a right to critique. I don't know. I'm just ranting now. It's been a long week!

But this year for Mother's Day consider giving all the mothers in your life the gift of grace and understanding. On the whole, we are just doing the best job we can. And we're our own worst critics, we don't need anyone else adding fuel to our already self critical fires.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for the million small pleasures that add up to a life worth living.

  • The smiles and giggles my daughter gives me when she first wakes up in the morning.
  • The way her head has that indescribably sweet baby head smell.
  • The fact that my mom comes over to my house every morning to watch Lily so I don't have to pack her up and take her out anywhere.
  • The way Lily wants to sleep on me in the evenings when I come home from work.
  • The way my husband kisses us both goodbye before he leaves in the morning.
  • The way my friends are always just a text away when I need a quick distraction during the work day.
  • The lazy weekend we have planned in just 2 short days!
  • The fact that Lily is growing into her 0-3 sized clothes and can now wear some of the super cute things people have bought for her.

  • Chick-fil-A Sweet Tea
  • Rediscovering Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing Co. in Asheville
  • Oreo Cookies
  • Celebrating my first Mother's Day on Sunday
What about you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I couldn't post this pic without a quick explination. The blanket was crocheted by one of my mom's college roomates and she made one for Lily's owl, Hoot, too! How cute is that?!?! Also, this picture was to show off the blankets. I don't actually let her sleep in her crib with loose covers like that. Don't want anyone calling CPS on me! Happy Star Wars Day everyone! May the 4th be with you! Hehe!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Welcoming a New Community Member

This past Saturday, we had a Welcoming Ceremony at the house for Turtle. I've already posted about how I came to decide on hosting a Welcoming here so I won't go into too much detail on that except to say that it was a non-religious ceremony celebrating the addition of Lily to our family.

Since two of my brothers were coming in from Asheville (just to turn back around and drive back, how awesome are they!) and were running a few minutes late, we decided to start the celebration with food. Since we were running very short on cash, I decided to keep everything simple. I had fabric left over from decorating the nursery that I used on the table and I brought down the paper lanterns I hung in the nursery. Since everything was owl themed already I decided to go with it and made fairly simple owl cupcakes. They were a huge hit and just go to prove my point that if you don't have a lot of money it's always better to go simple and dramatic rather then elaborate and run the risk of it looking cheap.

Once everyone arrived we moved out onto the back deck since it was such a beautiful day and the lighting would be much better out there. Our friend Shannon was gracious enough to "officiate" for us.

And started off by asking us what we had decided to name this newest community member.

I said that her first name was Lillian and it meant purity. Her middle name is Louise as is her mother's (me), her grandmother's and her great-grandmother's. It means mighty warrior and I hope it represents the tenacity that flows through the women in our family. Then we passed off the baby to Grandma so that we could renew our vows to each other.

Lily was still the star of the show though which is why we have this picture of her and none of us renewing our vows. Hehe. Look at those chipmunk cheeks!!!

Then we were asked to profess our commitment to raising Lily to follow her own path. And the Grandmother's were asked to do the same.

Then the larger community was asked to commit to bringing their unique perspectives and beliefs to Lily's life so that she might find her own path. Then everyone was asked to bring up the river rock they had been "warming" with their love and blessings during the ceremony, touch it to Lily's heart, offer a blessing over her and place their rock in a bowl of water. I chose rocks so that I could them display them in her room somehow as a constant reminder of all the people who love her.

Shannon then used the water, blessed by her friends and family, to bless Lily.

Mama tried not to cry during the benediction.

And Uncle Levi tried to stay awake. Hehe.

When the ceremony was over everyone wanted their picture made with the guest of honor. My mom's friend Nancy.

Uncle Aaron

Aunt Shannon


Three generations of Louise's: Kathy Louise, Bonnie Louise, and Lillian Louise

My mom's college roommates and my extended aunts. They call themselves the Sunshine Girls and I've been going to Sunshine Girl weekends most of my life. Now there is a new little Sunshinelette.

Uncle Dan and Aunt Shannon

And Nona (Jay's mom) and her friend Barbara

Of course there were plenty of pictures of just the Turtle.

This is her humble face. "Adorable? Who me? Nah!"

This is her suspicious face. "Hummmm... I'm not so sure about these people! Tell me they aren't my family!"

This is her starlet face. "Did someone call me? Am I needed for another photo-op?"

It was such a great time and I am so glad we had this little ceremony. But just like Ms. Lily, we were all beat by the end of the day!

Rocket Fart

The funniest thing happened last night! Jay had just finished changing Turtle while I was folding some of her laundry. He was holding her and bouncing her around her room while talking to her, when he noted that her belly seemed a little extra fluffy. Now we are always joking about her "Formula Belly" but it seemed even extra puffy last night. Having watched too many medical drama tv shows, I asked if it was hard. He gently pushed on it and remarked that yes, it seemed firmer on one side, but it didn't seem tender. My over-anxious, OCD, watches-too-much-Dr.-House-mind immediately went to an intestinal blockage! Oh no! What were we going to do?!!? Should we call the pediatrician? Should we take her to the hospital? Instead Jay just kept pushing on her belly at which point she let out a gigantic rocket fart! I mean, Turtle is know for her farting abilities and regularly makes her uncles proud, but this one was EPIC! I'm really surprised she didn't go flying out of Jay's arms.

The fact that my knows-just-enough-medical-jargon-from-tv diagnosis of intestinal blockage had actually just been a little gas hit me as so funny that I was bent over double in her nursery laughing. And the fact that she broke into the biggest, toothless smile ever didn't help any. It was one of those moments that I knew I had to document because when she's going off to college, and I'm crying over losing my baby, I'm going to want to remember the night she just about rocket farted herself out of her daddy's arms. That and it'll make great black mail material when she starts dating. "Be home by 10pm or I'll tell him the Rocket Farting story!"

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you taking time to savor the small joys in your life?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Whew! That Wasn't So Bad! (Week 9)

Well, thankfully, I was right. The anticipation of my return to work was far worse than the actual experience. In fact, dare I say it... I'm actually enjoying being back at work which is something I never thought I'd say in a million years. So, now that you know the ending, here's the full story.

Sunday night Jay and I dropped Lily off at Grandma's house for a sleep over. We had decided that this would be the easiest for everyone. It would allow me to get a really good night's sleep and then just get up and go on Monday morning without having to deal with the separation.

Sunday night was very hard!! I cried and cried!! I told Turtle that I loved her over and over. I promised her that I'd be back soon and asked her not to forget me. Jay reminded me that I was just starting back to work during the day and not going off to war or dying! Unsympathetic bastard! ;-) I cried most of the way home and then on and off the rest of the evening. It was nice though. Jay and I were able to have a few minutes to ourselves. We took the dog out together and had a glass of wine on the back deck. We snuggled into bed and turned off the light not having to worry if the baby would sleep through the night or wake us up wanting in our bed.

Monday morning I woke up and had no responsibilities other than getting myself ready to go to work. And surprisingly I didn't even cry since I had gotten the separation over with the night before. I got out of the house on time, stopped for breakfast on the way, and pulled into work. Everyone was so happy to see me and wanted to catch up. I had been on temporary status the whole time I was pregnant so my supervisor, the office manager and I filled out my official permanent paperwork and I was hired as a company employee. My project managers were so happy to see me and ready to hand over work to me almost immediately. It felt so nice to be wanted and appreciated. The only thing anyone was worried about was that I would decide not to come back to work.

I had plenty of work to catch up on and the day just flew by. As the afternoon wore on I found myself anticipating 5 o'clock as if it were Christmas. I didn't resent being back, I didn't feel trapped and tortured, I just felt so excited and thankful for the opportunity to be going home to my Turtle that evening! And believe it or not, it wasn't a fluke.

I think part of the reason why I can actually enjoy my time away is because we have such great childcare. My mom (who raised 4 of her own) is taking care of Lily for us during the day. She's a full time tutor and therefore has a flexible schedule consisting mostly of evenings and weekends so it works out perfectly. We also pay her as well. She is in heaven! I haven't seen her this happy in years and I think that makes it even better. She loves spending time with Lily and is a much better at it than I am. I spent most of my maternity leave trying to convince Turtle to go to sleep so I could do the dishes or laundry or something. My mom spends the day taking her out on the back deck and talking about the squirrels and birds. She reads to Lily and gives her time to play on her changing table. They are just the best of buds and I find myself thankful that I can give my mom this opportunity instead of resentful of the time she spends with Lily.

So the whole week was blissfully uneventful. The weekend was crazy busy though. We had a birthday dinner on Saturday night for our friend Shannon. Her family hadn't gotten to meet Lily yet so there was lots of pass-the-baby played. Then Sunday some good friends stopped off on their way through town. Aimie is our friend Dan's biological sister. (Dan was adopted as an infant.) They found each other a few years ago and have been great friends ever since. Aimie's husband is Navy and they live in the Norfolk, VA area where Jay was stationed (and I lived) the last 9 months of his Navy career. Aimie was one of my only friends when I lived up there and I spent hours and hours with her and her kids while Jay was out to sea. I was so happy for her to get to meet Lily!

Traveling with two adults, three children, and a small dog is never easy though and they were running later than expected. (Well, later than they expected. I knew better. Hehe.) So, Lily and I took a nap on Dan and Shannon's couch while the boys watched YouTube videos.

Then Shannon got up so we talked while Lily continued her nap.

Finally Aimie and her family arrived and there was so much love in the house!

Aimie is also a Scentsy consultant so she brought lots of good smelling goodies for Lily's room! It was so nice to catch up!